Friday, April 23, 2010

Introducing...Greyson!

Greyson Eris arrived by c-section at 1:50, Saturday, April 17th. Most of you, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook already know this, but just trying to keep everyone in the loop. Here's how it went:

We got to the hospital around 10:00 on Friday, the 16th, and they dosed me up with Cytotech to get things rolling. Cytotech = one long cramp. Not fun. The nurses kept popping in every 20 minutes to reposition the fetal heart monitor because Greyson likes to move. It was a nearly-sleepless night.

6:00am on Saturday they moved me down to labor and delivery and hooked me back up to that damn heart monitor. Ultimately, I was very glad it was there, but it was SO HARD to keep still. I would've much rather been up and moving--sitting, pacing, dealing with pain--not strapped to a very uncomfortable table. They started my Pitocin to induce labor around 8:00, and that's when the real crampy, contractiony fun began. In reality, the Cytotech to ripen the cervix was far worse than the Pitocin. I couldn't even feel the regular contractions because the cramping was so constant.

It was really a very uneventful labor. By noon I'd only progressed to 1/2 a centimeter, and the contractions were coming about every three minutes. The clincher was that Greyson's heart rate took a dive after each contraction. Seeing as I was only 1/2 cm along, it was WAYYY too early for him to be that stressed out. My body and the baby were throwing on the brakes, so my doctor called it a c-section and Greyson joined us shortly after.
Only a few minutes old -- looking a little puffy but very alert!
Still in the hospital, still alert, looking dashing in a stretchy hat.
Chilling with Dad. He found his favorite chest sleeping position very quickly.

This was just yesterday after our first doctor's appointment. Greyson is looking totally sleepy and over it all.

He is an adorable, sweet baby, and a little angel. We're having some trouble breastfeeding and it's thrown me into more than my share of tears the last few days, but we'll see how that all irons out in the long run. We're soooo blessed to have this little boy in our lives, and I'm loving motherhood so far.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Last Babyless Post...

It all starts tonight!

When I went in for my OB appointment on Monday I had a touch of high blood pressure, and my doc ordered me off of work and into some rest. Admittedly, I'm a horrible patient, so I haven't rested much. The doc still thinks he's a big ole boy, so she's scheduled me to go into the hospital tonight, and we'll induce early early tomorrow morning and see if this kid (and mama) will endure a normal delivery or if it'll be a c-section.

One way or another, we WILL have a baby Greyson this weekend! And, icing on the cake, he'll probably arrive sometime tomorrow before midnight (April 17th), which just happens to be my mom's birthday. Needless to say, she's really excited, as is everyone else around here.

I'll be out of commission for a bit, obviously, but I can't wait to hop back on next week sometime and send some pics your way. Daddy the digital photographer will be hard at work, I'm certain.

Thanks for all your support and sweet comments for the last nine months. I love you all, my bloggy peeps!

Monday, April 12, 2010

No Baby, Just Books

I bet you thought I was off having a baby, eh? Yeah, not so much. He's still warm and cozy apparently, and I'm a week away from my due date, so we'll see if he decides to emerge before then. We have a memorial service for my uncle tomorrow at 2:00, so my mom is putting her money on tonight or tomorrow, since she's almost sure this child will be as hard-headed and attention-fond as I was in my youth.

In the meantime, I've been bookish, and it's about darn time. I woke up Saturday with a single-minded determination to go to Barnes & Noble and check out the in-store content available exclusively on the Nook. I've meant to go do this for a while now, since I actually received my device in January, but it seems like the proverbial stars always align their shiny butts to stop me. The last time I went, my battery had just dipped below the point of no return, and for the life of me, I couldn't find my charger or an outlet.

This weekend I was prepared! Fully charged and ready to go!

So this is the way it works: You walk into a B&N and the Nook (we'll call him Dobby today) automatically connects to the store wi-fi, and voila! You have free content from cool authors. And coupons. I love coupons. I downloaded these goodies:

"A Dreadfully Good Interview with Austen-Loving, Zombie-Slaying Author Steve Hockensmith" - Hockensmith is the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. If you're not already familiar, this is the prequel to PP&Z, which illustrates how Elizabeth came to be a zombie butt-kicker. The Q&A was really entertaining. When asked if he'd read Pride and Prejudice when he got the offer to write Dawn of the Dreadfuls, he writes:

I first read PP (as true fans don't call it) a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, otherwise known as college in teh late 1980s. I found it kind of frustrating as I recall, because nobody just came out and said what they were really feeling, which resulted in a lot of what seemed to me like unnecessary drama. to my 19-year-old  American male brain, it was infuriating. "Darcy, dude, just tell her you love her already! And don't be an ass about it!"
He later re-read and had a far finer view of things, I should add. I couldn't get into Pride & Prejudice and Zombies at all, but I'm kind of excited about Dawn of the Dreadfuls since the lack of original writing was what put me off of PP&Z.

To continue the undead theme, Carrie Ryan, author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, offers some suggestions for survival in "How to Avoid a Zombie Death."

My favorite find of the trip was probably Rebecca Skloot's short essay, "From Veterinary Morgues to Immortal Cells: My Path to Writing About Science." It seems like everyone is reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks lately, so I'm sure Skloot's name is pretty familiar to y'all. I can't wait to get my hands on it. Come on, library holds list!

In the essay, Skloot writes about the "aha" moment when she realized she could move an audience by writing about science. Her topic: the veterinary morgue at the school she was attending to be a vet. She was maddened by the number of animals killed in the name of experimentation when there were interactive computer programs available to cut down on the deaths. Needless to say, her classmates were just as affected as she was, and it was a magic moment that set her off on her current path as a science writer.

Finally, I downloaded an Easter recipe from Giada de Laurentiis, "Pea Pesto Crostini." Everyone in my house is on a bruscetta kick, so I thought this might be a nice next step when we get sick of our bruscetta.

There was much more to download, but these were the ones that really struck my fancy.

And you know my wishlist didn't go unscathed as a result of this trip. Books added to my wishlist ("e" and otherwise) while sitting in B&N:

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Stalking Books

Even when I'm not reading as much as usual, I'm still stalking books--or they're stalking me. It's a two-way obsessive relationship for the most part.

This weekend I spent some time having lunch and running around with my mom since she was close to our neighborhood here in Dallas. When we were done with our frivolity, I took off home, but I only made it as far as Barnes & Noble.  I had every intention of taking my Nook for a spin on the in-store wi-fi to catch all kinds of miraculous deals, but the battery was dead, so my plan was foiled. Instead, I perused the shelves and happened upon Ann Patchett's memoir, Truth and Beauty. If you're not familiar, though I suspect most of you have beat me to this one, it's about her friendship with poet Lucy Grealy. Grealy was most famous for her book, Autobiography of a Face, which chronicles her struggles with cancer of the jaw as a child and throughout the rest of her life. She died in 2002.

I've long been a fan of the idea of Ann Patchett's writing. I've listened to her on NPR, I've collected her books Bel Canto, Run, and The Patron Saint of Liars. Somehow I never get around to reading them, though. I can't say that I had very good luck with Bel Canto after all its critical hoo-hah, so it sort of deterred me.

Looking back, I had much the same luck with Paul Auster until I read his memoir, Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure. That sent me off to another memoir, The Red Notebook, and finally I jumped into his fiction with The New York Trilogy and Man in the Dark. Now I consider him one of my very tippy top favorite authors, but I wouldn't have "met" him properly without his memoirs. I'm hoping the same will happen with Patchett.

Here's one passage from Truth and Beauty that I thought was nice and summed up her view of Grealy during their college relationship.

Lucy, not a television star, occasionally a triumph, went back to work on her poetry, leaving drafts around the house the same way she left her scattered clothes. She gave me xeroxed copies of the poems she read and loved. She ripped pages out of literary magazines and taped them to the refrigerator. Poetry defined her, saved her. There were times it seemed to be the only thing that made perfect sense.
So far what I like most about this book is the budding creative relationship between writers. Certainly they struggle through normal friendship highs and lows, each gestating their own insecurities and daily life problems, but it's also interesting to read about the writing process and how it shows itself in their relationship.

Patchett is a master of words and raw emotion, and I just love this book so far.

If you'd like to hear Patchett discuss writing, try this NPR interview.

Of if you're interested in Grealy, try this video from her appearance on Charlie Rose to discuss Autobiography of a Face.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Personally: A Very Happy Sad Day

Today has been a rollercoaster, as trite as that sounds. Excitement, happiness, some heartbreaking news. I'll start with the good stuff.

Today was the ultrasound! Greyson has been measuring very large since week 28 (currently at week 38), so my doc has ordered regular ultrasounds to take an average of his size. That's the best way to foresee size complications over time. The first two ultrasounds placed him in the 90th and 95th percentiles for gestational age. In other words, as I've written here before: Sasquatch baby! Today was the final ultrasound, and it was done in a different office for a second opinion. And the verdict....

DRUM ROLL!

64th percentile. About 7 pounds at the moment, and probably 8-8.5 by the time he arrives if I go to my due date. Now, of course, these ultrasounds could still be flat ass wrong. There's always a 30% margin of error, which would put us back at 94th percentile. Bottom line: doctors SUCK at guessing baby size (which a number of you have told me already). So, instead of a c-section they're gonna go with the flow and see what happens. If all goes well he'll be a normal delivery and if my body throws on the breaks and says, "Nuh uh!" it'll be a c-section. My doc was squishing around on my tummy today, holding shoulders in one hand and feet in the other, and she still thinks he's gonna be on the bigger side, but it'll be a surprise for everybody.

Today had a few memorable moments in the doc's office. When I arrived at the prenatal specialist for the ultrasound, they hooked me up to a monitor to check his heartbeat for a bit. They left me in a little room in a very comfy recliner with my book. Heavenly! A few minutes later a nurse came in and said, "Your baby is asleep and we need to wake him up. Have we done this to you before?" She came at me with a little device that looked a lot like an LED flashlight. She put it to my tummy and it beeped and buzzed and sure enough, he started kicking almost immediately. It woke me up a little extra, so I'm sure it scared the crap out of my boy.

When we went in for the ultrasound, the technician described everything she was looking at: heart, kidneys, spine, etc. Old hat after five ultrasounds. Blah blah. At first he was curled into such a ball that we couldn't get a face shot, but pretty soon he moved a hand, and get this...

My sure-to-be genius, future President, nuclear physicist-turned-poet son was SUCKING ON HIS BIG TOE. Chuck asked, "Is that normal?" to which the tech replied, "Nope, I've only seen it mayyybe twice."

He's a talent already.

On the somber side, we had a death in the family today. My uncle--my mom's brother--had a stroke several weeks ago. He lived in Oklahoma, so he was there in the hospital for a bit until he could be moved to a rehab center closer to the family. He was very near my mom's house for a couple of weeks until he had a second stroke, and they moved him to an acute care/rehab facility not too far from where Chuck and I live, and about 45 minutes from my mom. Mom and I have been going to visit on weekends, and this past Saturday was no different. My uncle hasn't been able to speak, but he's been alert, responsive, even pretty darn funny at times.

Today we got the bad news that he'd crashed, and they resuscitated him, but things were not looking good. Sadly, he passed away around 9:35 this evening after multiple close calls throughout the afternoon and evening.

While I was very close to him growing up, I can't say that the relationship was solid for the last five years or so. My uncle weathered a lot of really tough stuff in his life: polio as a child, disability as an adult, depression, drug and alcohol use, and a number of other harrowing issues. I can't say he's always made good decisions along the way, but he was a creative, free-spirited, unique individual. I will miss him a great deal, and I'm thankful that we had this short time to reconnect, make our peace, and find some common ground.

Some people don't get those second chances, and I think it did us all some good.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I'm All Fooled Out


You will find no April Fooling here, folks. It seems Google has done enough of that for everyone today. No, all you'll find at mine olde blog is a sincere, "Holy crap. I'm tired." I've been running hard my entire pregnancy, and I think it's finally catching up with me. I feel quite a bit like Daisy does in that pic.
I've been planning a gargantuan programs-wide meeting at work for the last month or so, and it all came to fruition yesterday. We had about 30 guests who came from off-campus, not to mention MANY faculty and staff. We met up, we ate, we toured, we broke out into individual meetings, and we met some more. For most of that time I was running 'round trying to make sure everything was going smoothly, putting out fires where I could, and generally keeping a smile on my face while it felt like my uterus might explode. After all was underway, my boss said, "OK, you can have your first contraction now." Too late! Ha! I started that last week, so there.

While Chuck had pool last night, I stayed home and rested on the couch. The kids have developed a habit of oversleeping before school, so they went to bed at a scandalously early 8:00, and I had the TV/downstairs all to myself. Heavenly! You cannot imagine how heavenly.

Alas, today I'm still dragging. My brain and thigh fog is so significant I decided to hide myself in a classroom in a corner of the building and not come out until I can remember my own name and want to move again.

Pretty uneventful post, and a whiney one at that, but it's all I really have to say. I have much grading to do before my final ultrasound on Monday. I'm so ready to not be pregnant anymore. I  want to meet my little man and start this adventure. And I'm ready for my first significant time off work in about 7 years.

Now I'm going to take a nap in the break room. I dare anyone to try and stop me!