Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sometimes you can get something for nothing

We dropped the baby off at a friend's house last Saturday for one hour. While they had her, they took these beautiful photographs. I've told them that we are now planning to dump the baby on them more often.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


After another half hour, Sheila came in with a man and introduced him as a surgeon from the big clinic in town. They had been watching together from the monitor at the nurse’s station, and wanted him to come in and see me and form an opinion of how things were going. He sat in the room for about an hour while I pushed. The baby never made it past the +2 station it had been in earlier and, in fact, seemed to move back to +1 (or maybe she never was that far). The consensus seemed to be that she was stuck on my ischial spines. After two hours of pushing, they let me try some other positions for another half hour. They manipulated the bed and I got up on my knees and tried pushing that way and I also tried lying on each side and pushing. Nothing…the c-section was on. I felt that if time wasn’t an issue because of the baby’s heart rate decelerations, that I could have pushed her out. I was feeling strong and not really tired. My biggest worry was that the epidural had been turned down too low (at my request) and that I’d feel everything. As soon as the decision was made I started asking them to get the anesthiologist back in to turn it back up. I was worried that they’d turn it up but wouldn’t take into consideration the 20 minutes that it would take for it to take effect again. There was some discussion of whether we’d like for the baby’s birth date to be that day or the next day since it was nearly midnight. We didn’t have a strong opinion on the topic. We were trying to decide if 17 was a prime number. As it turned out a good friend’s birthday was the 18th, but we didn’t know that at the time. My thought was that if it was so freaking important to get the baby out quickly, why would we wait around another 15 minutes to make it the next day? We headed to the O.R.

The O.R. was really cold and active. There were nurses and doctors and a pediatrician. Our family doctor who was supposed to take care of the baby wasn’t there. When we asked about it, everyone seemed a little embarrassed and said that the hospital wouldn’t let him be present at the birth because his infant CPR certification had expired. I wasn’t too excited about someone I’d just met taking care of the baby, but what could we do? The surgeon narrated every step of the surgery. I’m cutting the skin, the subcutaneous fat layer, etc. I could see a little in the reflection off the overhead light. He made a comment about my appendix scar and how there weren’t many adhesions. He asked who did it and when I told him that it was done in 1980 in my hometown, we found that we’d grown up near each other. The surgeon had gone to high school in El Paso, TX, about 90 miles from my hometown in New Mexico. Just a few minutes into the procedure he pulled the baby out and announced that it was a girl. There was a brief heart-stopping period of silence before she started crying. He held her up for me to see and then handed her over to the pediatrician who started suctioning her madly to try to keep her from breathing any of the meconium. Ken went over to the side of the room with the baby. I had an amazing sense of detachment. I couldn’t believe that the baby over there was OUR baby and that it was a GIRL. I kept picturing her hair, which was the first thing I’d seen of her.

I heard them announce the Apgar score, it was eight and then five minutes later it was eight again. It was a huge relief. Eight is a great score at altitude since virtually all babies are born blue due to the lack of atmospheric oxygen. They wrapped her up and stuck her in Ken’s arms. He brought her over to me. He was holding her so high up that I couldn’t really see her face. I kept asking him to hold her down where I could see her. He later told me that he had been terrified of dropping her. Dana took a couple of photographs and then they came and put the baby in a rolling bassinette and took her to the nursery to be further checked. Ken and Dana went with her to the nursery. I told Ken not to name her while he was gone. We’d originally planned on Dana staying with me in this scenario, but I wanted her to go and take pictures. I was hardly alone. I had the midwife and the surgeon closing me up and the anesthiologist, Rex, up by my head talking to me.

Finally they were finished and they wheeled me into the recovery room. They removed the epidural right away. I was surprised that I no longer needed it. I was shaking uncontrollably even though they kept putting warm blankets on me. They asked me if I’d like some something to stop the shaking. I asked if it would be a problem with nursing and they told me that it would not. I didn’t question them and said yes. I knew they’d never let me hold the baby if I didn’t quit shaking. One quick shot later and I stopped. Dana came back and told me that she’d weighed 6 pounds, 8 and ½ ounces. Ken, the baby, and a nurse came in. I asked Ken if he’d thought of a name. He said he had, Celia Francis. I’d thought of M*ira Francis. We didn’t decide right then, but I could tell that he liked M*ira. The baby was starving and the nurse helped me start feeding her. She latched right on; she appeared to know what she was doing. They wheeled us down to our room. I made a couple of phone calls to my mother and my sister. It was the only time my cell phone worked in the hospital, every other call we made in the four days we were there had to be made from Ken’s cell phone. We decided sometime that night that Mira would be her name. I made Ken write it out along with his last name so that we could see how it looked. It looked great.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My very long birth story, part 1

I was 12 days past my due date and I was over it. I woke up at 6:00 a.m. with cramps. I sat in bed thinking about a work issue and after a while went downstairs and called a co-worker’s voice mail to leave her a message about the work issue because I’d decided that baby or no, I wasn’t going in that day. After a while I came back upstairs and woke Ken up and was talking to him. I told him that I had cramps and was uncomfortable. After a while he pointed out to me that I had these cramps and then I would be ok for a while and then I would have more cramps – maybe I was in labor. It hadn’t occurred to me that the cramps could be contractions. I thought it was, at most, a precursor to labor.

After we decided that I was indeed in early labor he called work and told them that neither one of us would be in. I got into the bathtub for an extended bath. Ken put on one of our hypnobabies CDs for me to listen to. I just found it to be irritating. I only wanted to talk to him. My friend from work, Ann, called about the work issue I’d left her a voicemail about. I spoke to her for a little while from the bathtub but ended up handing the phone off to Ken when I had a contraction. I really didn’t want to talk to anyone but him. I got out of the tub and went downstairs to sit on the couch. Ken made breakfast for me: scrambled eggs and an English muffin. It was delicious and the last thing I’d end up eating for 24 hours despite my plan to eat and drink lightly all day as I labored. I turned on a movie that we’d watched the night before and watched all of the extra scenes. It was the only thing I did all day that I enjoyed. Ken brought me water and Gatorade and tried to get me to listen to the hypnobabies CDs. All day I clutched a pillow to my stomach. It made me feel a little better. Ken later dubbed it the Linus pillow because I carried it around like Linus did his blanket.

Around 3:00 p.m. Ken called the midwives and they said we should come in so that they could check me. As we drove over there, I told Ken that I thought we should just go to the hospital so that I could have an epidural (which I had been hoping to avoid). I had my pillow with me and asked him as we pulled up if it made me look too weird to carry it inside. He assured me that it wasn’t too weird. Sheila (one of the midwives) checked me and said that I was about 4 cm dilated. I had been 3 cm the previous day, so it didn’t seem like much progress. She recommended that we go back home and that I get into the bathtub. She said that it would be the thing I’d been looking for all day that would make labor more tolerable. I asked her if I had entirely changed my mind and wanted an epidural if it was too early to have it. She said that it was not too early but that I should try the tub. Katie, the receptionist, said encouragingly that I could do it. I was pretty certain that I had no desire to.

At home got into bed while Ken filled up the bathtub and put on another hypnobabies CD. I got in even though I did not think it was going to be helpful. I stayed in the tub just a couple of minutes before I told him that I wanted to get out and go to the hospital. Ken called our doula from downstairs and told her that she needed to come over and help him that I was asking for an epidural (exactly what I had wanted him to do in this case). I got dressed and ready to leave and sat in the recliner downstairs. Dana, the doula arrived and started stroking my arm and telling me to relax. It actually did help a little, but I still was adamant about going to the hospital. Dana said ok, let’s go. Ken was running around trying to get last minute stuff together. I went out to the car to wait. Dana stayed with me trying to help me relax.

Contractions were approximately 5 minutes apart, but I would have a big one and then a slightly smaller one about one minute later. This made me feel like everything was out of control. If my contractions were still 5 minutes apart, why the hell was I having another one after only 1 minute? After I was on the monitor, it made more sense. A big contraction followed by a smaller (but still painful) one, a tiny rest, and then another big contraction. It meant I didn’t have much down time between contractions to recover and get ready for the next one.

We live just a few minutes from the hospital. I called the midwife as we were pulling into the hospital parking lot. As we were walking into the hospital someone in a wheelchair offered me the wheelchair, as they were about to get out of it. I wouldn’t take it and kept going, clutching the Linus pillow. We went up to the 3rd floor to L&D. They weighed me (145 lbs) and took me straight into a room. We had wanted a room with a tub, but this one didn’t have one. I decided that I didn’t care and the room would do, mainly because it was close and didn’t require much walking. I went into the bathroom and changed into the gown that they gave me. Sheila showed up and brought the TENS unit for me to use until they could get everything done that had to be done before I could have an epidural. They asked me a million questions, none of which I felt like answering. Ken answered as much as he could and I answered when I had to. The TENS unit helped some, but I kept wanting it turned up. It took about 1-½ hours to get the epidural and almost all that I said during that time was “Turn it up, turn it up. I don’t think it’s even on…” The TENS unit went from 0 to 100 in increments of 10. They started at the lowest setting and would turn it up from 0 to 10 when I had a contraction and back down to 0 when I was between contractions. As things progressed, they turned it up higher and higher until they were at 100 and I was saying that I didn’t think it was even on. At that point, Dana opened the unit up and flipped a switch that turned the thing up an order of magnitude. Now it went from 0 to 1000. By the end we were at 1000 and I was saying that I didn’t think it was on.

Finally Wendy the anesthiologist showed up with the epidural. It didn’t take long to get it started. I adamantly stuck to my guns about only having the epidural, not the interstacial. It was the only thing I stuck to all day. They said it would take 20 minutes for the epidural to take effect. As contractions were 2 minutes apart, I took that to mean that I would only have to get through 10 more of them and I started counting. It actually took about 10 contractions before they even had the epidural in and then another 10. The good news was that everything started hurting less and less so that I had significant relief well before the 20 minutes were up. Proof positive, in my book, that the interstacial was utterly unnecessary.

When we arrived, they hooked me up to the external monitor. From the very beginning, the baby’s heart rate had started dipping. The nurse and Sheila were watching the monitor from the nurse’s station and would come in and ask me to lay first on my left side, then my right side, then back on my back, etc. We just couldn’t seem to find the position that worked best for the baby. Sheila came in and asked if they could place an internal monitor that would poke into the baby’s head just a little bit. She described it as feeling like when you were a kid and you stuck needles into the skin on the surface of your fingers. I said ok. After she left to get the supplies she needed, Dana pointed out to me that placing an internal monitor would mean that they would have to break my water. I hadn’t wanted my water broken, so it made me think maybe this wasn’t such a great idea after all. When Sheila came back I asked her about it. She assured me that this was what I wanted to do. I think it was more like it was what she wanted to do, because it was looking a little scary for the baby and they wanted to get a better read on her condition.

I felt nothing when she broke my water thanks to the epidural. She said that there was meconium in the water. I later found out that there was very heavy meconium. The next day the midwife, Dian, said that Sheila had described it to her and that she had only seen meconium that heavy once before in her 30 year career. The baby’s heart rate decelerations continued. They decided that maybe draining all of the fluid wasn’t the greatest idea and inserted an internal contraction monitor that allowed them to also add some saline fluid back in. I think this also helped to flush out the meconium. The thought was that the baby was having cord compressions and they fluid would cushion the cord again. The decelerations continued.

I was finally at 10 cm at about 9:00 p.m. and started pushing. I had been worried that pushing would be very hard work. I did a few pushes and they assured me that I was pushing hard and doing well and that the baby would be out soon. I thought that it seemed too easy and wanted to know if I was doing it correctly. They assured me that I was. After a while they gave me a towel to pull on as I was pushing. For one contraction, Ken held the other side of the towel. He later told me that he was amazed at how hard I pulled. I remember thinking that a friend of mine had gotten this far and then ended up with a c-section. I was sure that would not happen to me. (Insert ominous music here.)

After about an hour of pushing Sheila came in and told us that most people deliver sometime in the second hour of pushing. I though I was getting off easy. Pushing didn’t seem like nearly as hard of work as everyone makes it out to be. Sheila and the nurse put on their gowns and hats and removed the end of the bed. Ken went down to the end of the bed to look and see the baby. The baby wasn’t crowning, but he could see her and I could reach around and feel her with my hand.

Coming soon...the REST of the story...


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I think he hung out with Jessica Simpson for too long...

It's All in the Wrist
John Mayer: I've realized you can use a fork as a spoon if you use it rapidly enough.
via Celebrity Wit, Jun 6, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Left behind

I was out working in the yard this weekend and wondering what I'd done with my tomato cages in the move. It occurred to me that I probably left them at the old house because they were entirely buried in snow. That got me thinking about what else I might have left and had me chuckling when I remembered the weeks worth of dog shit in the dog run. The buyers were not the nicest people and it really amuses me to picture them discovering what was under all of that snow in the back yard when the spring thaw finally hit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Nah, this pregnancy stuff isn't affecting ME...

I had a CPR class at work this morning. The cheesy video had me almost in tears. Several times.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Girlz gone not so wild (now that one of them is pregnant)

Mexico is just not as fun when you can't drink or dive. (But it still beats work!)
Twenty weeks pregnant (half way there).

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Infertile or maybe not

For a long time now, I've thought of myself as an infertile person. I stopped using birth control in 1998, nine years ago. My ex and I tried hard to have a baby. We went as far as IVF. Twice. The second time was at the top rated clinic in the country for my age group. Nothing worked for us. Our diagnosis was officially unexplained, but everything pointed to me.

Fast forward through all of the heartache, failure, separation, and divorce to late last summer. I started seeing a new guy and I liked him. We discussed that the only way we'd have a family was through donor egg or adoption and that it was something we'd talk about seriously some day in the future. Six months later we found out that I was a month pregnant. Have I mentioned that I'm forty-two (forty-one at the time) years old and infertile?

I'm nineteen weeks along now. Everything is good with the baby. We've finally told everyone. I was sick for a short while. That photo of the birthday cake in the last photo? I can't believe I was able to eat a piece of it. Food was not my friend during that time (and I won't even mention how brutal the move was). But aside from that, I've felt great.

I'm offically thrilled (and still a little freaked out).

Moving and the blizzard

For my birthday back in December, I was planning to have some friends over to help me pack as my move was scheduled for two days afterwards. As it turned out, we had a blizzard instead. Here's a photo of my sole reinforcement showing up with groceries to get snowed in with me.

He even brought a homemade birthday cake.

Here are a couple of shots of the aftermath. Yes, that drift is halfway up the garage door and there were things in there that had to go to the new house. Fortunately, I was smart enough to park my car on the street rather than in the garage.

We did finish packing and the move did happen, largely due to my real estate agent and her well-paid snow blower guy. What I'm missing is a photo of the moving truck stuck up to it's axle at my new place. One of my new neighbors came over, not to welcome me to the neighborhood, but to ask when we were moving the truck. He's just lucky they got the truck out that day at all. I have a feeling that neighbor will be missing out on any fabulous parties I'm throwing in the next few years.

A big thanks to Ballpoint Wren for the shove I needed to get things going again. I promise more soon, including the thing that was consuming my life and kept me from saying anything at all.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Academy award for dramatics

The people buying my house should win an award for most dramatic buyers ever. We've been going back and forth and back and forth to the point where I decided that I didn't care if they bought it or not. It would have been quite the financial burden if they had not as I am locked into buying the other house, but I could have worked two jobs and rented my house, what ever.

You know how it is when you finally give up and don't care? How the other people always come back at that point and give you what you formerly wanted? That happened today. I've signed the papers, they say they will. Now, I really need to get started packing!

Really, how could they resist this place?


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Signed, sealed, delivered, I'm no longer yours

After 496 days of separation, counseling, mediation, and much discussion, my husband and I have finally filed for D.I.V.O.R.C.E. This means that in 90 days or so, I will be a free woman. Quick, someone take me out for a celebratory drink!


Friday, December 01, 2006


Cali seems to be regressing on walking rather than progressing. I took her to the doggy physical therapist (I'm lucky to live in an area where companion pets are highly valued and with a teaching hospital and an excess of vets) and she thinks that she may have radial nerve damage. The good news is that she should get better over time and that PT can help. It just breaks my heart to take her outside and have her legs slide out from under her and for her to cry. I don't like making the cute brown dog cry at all.

On the home front the people buying my house have been having my sewer scoped for two days straight now. The news yesterday was good, but who knows what they've come up with today.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Buy, sell, buy, sell

Well, I have a contract on my house and one to buy a "new" house. They buyers are inspecting my house today. I have this feeling that they are going to find a bunch of problems and ask me to pay. They seem like that kind of people. (They were "totally offended" at my counter offer, but we managed to work it out.) I hope they know that I'm finished handing them money.

On the other hand, the woman whose house I am trying to buy feels like it was "meant to be" because her house has been on the market for six months and is now selling one week after she graduates (Ph.D in physics - I googled her).


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cali and the thought of moving

Cali is taking less pain medication and feeling a lot more like her old self. I mentioned to the vet that her tail seems to hurt her sometimes. We laughed that after all of the head trauma it would be her tail that is bothering her.

I'm house hunting because I've suddenly remembered why it sucks to live on a busy street. The problem is that I love my neighborhood and change=scary.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Miracle dog continues to be miraculous

Here's a photo of Cali laying under my desk at work. It shows more of her shaved and scraped patches. She is still doing really well.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Last Saturday I went to my friend's annual Halloween party. While I'm sure a good time was had by all, I think I might have had the most fun. I was a social butterfly and a singer and dancer to boot.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Miracle dog is back in da house


Coming home

The surgeon decided that although she has multiple fractures, Cali's little skull is very stable and will not require any surgical stabilization. Her head is going to be a little misshapen, but as long as the good part underneath in intact, I can live with it.

Cali is coming home this afternoon! I am a little scared about having to take care of her by myself, but happy to have the doggy critical care unit off the payroll. I will take some "after" photos to post.

They are so good to her at the hospital. She did not like being in the kennel, so they moved her to a large dog bed, almost a mattress with a little fence around it. She is much happier. Last night one of the vet students spent most of the night on the bed with her studying. Cali is eating up the attention like the canned food they are giving her.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

She's a stinker

My dog Cali is a real stinker. This is the same dog who had surgery twice this year to fix her torn ACL. On Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. she shot out of my car and with her sister (Zoe, who is normally a girl scout of a dog) in hot pursuit ran into the street directly into traffic. She was hit by a pickup truck and it was the most horrific thing I have ever witnessed. The truck stopped as did his workmate who was in a second truck behind him. The second guy and I carried an unconscious Cali, heavily bleeding from the mouth and nose and put her right back into my car. Poor freaked out Zoe was shoved into the house. I was completely convinced that Cali was not alive and the other guy thought so as well. The guy who hit her apologized a million times and I kept telling him that it was not his fault in any way that avoiding her would have been impossible. I shakily drove as fast as I could to the emergency vet clinic. During the drive Cali regained consciousness and due to the bleeding I could hear her loud and ragged breathing. I kept calling back to her "Keep breathing Cali!" This is the human first aid training that I've had, and I'm not sure how useful it is for dogs.

Now, days later, she has been transferred to the Vet teaching hospital here in town and may undergo surgery today to repair skull and jaw fractures. She is walking (which she didn't do for two days) and delighted to see me every time I go in for a visit. She wants OUT of the kennel and needs to be much more careful with her messed up head. She is in love with the student assigned to her case and everyone at the hospital seems to like her. She is far from out of the woods but I am amazed at her spirit.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It wouldn't be Labor Day without a cookout

The spread included lamb, roasted veggies, hamburgers and hotdogs, potato salad...

The Chef:

There were EIGHT dogs present. (Too many to fit into one photo.)

Friends' kids. She was a princess and he was spiderman. (I didn't know one was supposed to dress in costume for Labor Day.)

Me and a small herd of dogs:

I should add that all of these photographs were taken by my friends Ann and Daman. I really like the one of the eggplant dish (it looks like it should be in a magazine and it tasted like it too!) and the one of Huckleberry the hound dog eyeing the food.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Did you miss Storm 2006?

I spent the weekend home in southern New Mexico. Did you know they have been having flooding in El Paso, TX and two counties in southern NM? It's a huge story locally, but was barely touched by the national news.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Evil empire part 2

Today at Starbucks, my friend in front of me was asked "do you brew your own coffee at home?" Thinking they were going to try to sell her something, she said "no." When I was asked, I said "yes" and was given a little bag of free coffee. I have the Starbucks karma going, don't I?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sometimes your soul knows what it needs

I spent the weekend listening to friends play music. It felt so good, like something I hadn't been aware my life was missing.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Evil empire

For the second time in a few days, I've gone to Starbucks (IT'S THE ONLY PLACE ONE CAN WALK TO FROM MY OFFICE) for an afternoon iced coffee and they've been out. Both times they have given me an iced americano for free and today they threw in a tangerine frozen drink as well. I feel like I should go out and buy a lottery ticket before all of my luck runs out.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Still more photos


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

More photos, but not the one my neice took of my butt


Friday, June 16, 2006

Girlz gone wild

My sister, niece, and I all went to Cabo last week. Yes, in fact, we did let my 19 year old niece drink while we are there, why do you ask? I don't think my sister was so keen on the idea, but I pointed out to her that she let me drink when I was 16.

The point of all trips that we go on together is diving and we did have a great dive at Cabo Pulmo in the Sea of Cortez. No photos of that because we didn't remember to buy an underwater camera, and I, personally, just like to look at things and feel a mild sense of euphoria when I dive, rather than trying to record it all for later. We did see a few memorable things: a school of 100s of rays, a giant eel who could have swallowed my head, a school of jacks, and a school of puffer fish. Another group diving near us had to abort their dive when they were circled by eight bull sharks. At first I thought it would have been cool to see a bunch of sharks, but later when I heard the circling part of the story I was glad that I missed out. This lovely dive was followed by a lovely beach-side late lunch that may have left me with a small case of "Why am I such an adventurous eater in third world countries?"

More photos later.


Safer Toy Guide 2008