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A labor and birth account

Well, for one thing, we had to take mama to the hospital today to take care of her massive headache.

It all started one day, a faraway last Monday, May 23, at 3:52 when Megan gave birth to Beatrix, who I have beside me now as I play Chrono Trigger. Now mama is nursing her, headache-free. I am relieved. Gramma is gone with Aunt Laurie, having a night on the town. The house is normal. Just the four of us.

However, having my mom over to help with kitchen duties and watching Lucy has been exactly what we needed. The timing was perfect. We all thought that, by the 24th, when she started her visit with us, that we'd have a couple-week-old baby for her to hold. But as it turns out, Beatrix didn't come out until exactly two weeks after Megan's expected due date.

And, as always, pregnancy and birth have their resulting complications, and never go smoothly. As a result we're done with having kids. Two girls will be enough.

Alright, so after 42 weeks of pregnancy, Megan's contractions started to get serious the evening before her c-section was scheduled. We took to the hospital to see what was what. They said walk around for two hours. We walked around for two hours and got Jimmy John's from the U District location. It was the end of the street fair, and all the vendors were cleaning up, but the streets were still cleared off. It was around 7pm on Sunday. Very weird. Very weird evening.

During the walk her contractions started to get so strong that we'd have to stop walking, she'd grab my hands, lean on me, and I'd be a wall for her as she dealt with her pain. We were walking back, stopping along the way every few minutes to have a contraction.

Oh yeah, they told us to walk around in the first place cause her cervix was only dilated 2cm. That was after last week, when her doctor said she was only dilated 1cm. We were sure she'd been more than two since that week was over, but oh well. So they said to get walking to see if she would dilate. So after the walk around U District, we came back to the hospital and did laps down several hallways several times to fill out the two hours.

We go back up to Labor and Delivery, 6th floor, UWMC. They ask us to wait in the waiting room. A fucking hour later, they let us in. After they let in a much less pregnant girl and her man, who got there after us. Goddam fucking hospitals and their ... procedures. Who knows.

They let us in. She dilated 2 more centimeters since the walk started! 4cm dilated. Probably why the contractions were so painful. We got her to contract as much in 2 hours as she did the last week. So they're like, yep labor's serious now. We knew we'd be there all night.

Thanks, TJ and Sean, for watching Lucy while Megan and I were at the hospital. Stellar gentlemen you are.

So after she'd been having contractions for like many hours, Megan asked for an epidural. The procedure was really frustrating. Megan's contractions were coming every two minutes, during which the doctor had to stop what he was doing. Then he couldn't get the needle in right, and another doctor, more experienced and British, came in to help him. He thought he was stuck on a ligament or something, from what I could gather. Also, Megan had to stay perfectly still. So she couldn't move from her position of sitting on the edge of the bed, head down, back stuck out. Poor girl. It looked like torture.

So she's contracting really really fast, she's trying not to move, it's painful as fuck, and this doctor can't get the fucking needle in her back. British woman helps out, and there, it's in. Fuck. And this all happened at like 2 or 3am.

Megan starts feeling better. She gets an hour of sleep. Somehow I managed to sleep for like four or five hours. 8am rolls around. Monday. I'm ready to get up. Well rested enough. I go downstairs to get coffee and a Seattle Times. I think Megan was sleeping. The epidural was working.

Nurses and doctors are coming in and out, telling us stuff, doing stuff, looking at monitors, reading charts.

Around 11am, Megan starts pushing. First laying on one side, then the other, then for a long time on her back. A nurse said that usually after one hour of pushing, women typically get really discouraged, but the important thing is to keep at it, despite no apparent results.

This did not happen with Megan. Noon rolls around. 1pm rolls around. 2pm rolls around. Everyone's confident it will happen soon. 3pm rolls around. Megan is pushing for the life of her. Three big pushes during each contraction.

When I began to see baby head at around ... I dunno. Somewhere in there, I saw a spot of white head and dark hair on it start to appear during pushes. Slowly, gut-wrenchingly slowly, more and more of the head appears each time she pushes, but every time it just sinks down back in there.

I start to get more and more freaked out as the time drags on and Megan works her life off to push that motherfucker out of her. She's getting all red-faced, and ... I won't get into detail. Suffice to say, pushing a baby out is hell on a woman's nether-regions.

Four hours. 3:30 or so, another doctor is called in to give an opinion on our options. It was looking like a c-section, and all its recovery time and agony was imminent, despite Megan' superhuman pushing powers.

The new doctor's opinion is that either forceps or a vacuum will work. Another male, older, middle-aged, clearly respected by everyone doctor comes in. Suggests. Episiotomy. Everyone snaps to work.

They shoot Megan's vagina up with painkillers. SHE DOESN'T FEEL A THING.

They cut her. Two more contractions later, the baby comes out.

Now let me back up. Those two contractions were, from my perspective, the longest, and the ones I'll remember best. Because those were the ones where I saw a baby exit a vagina. Bananas.

Oh my god was I glad it was over. I cried when I saw Beatrix there, getting cleaned up by a cloud of masked, gloved pediatricians. It took me about five or ten minutes, but I lost it. Tears were coming out and I was in front of a shitload of people I didn't know, but I didn't care. She was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen in my life.

I'm done typing now.

Here are some pictures.



It's been surreal.

We had our baby--Beatrix Kathleen Lisette Smith.

I wanted to name her Alice, but Megan pushed her out for four hours and then had to get cut to allow room for her to exit. So Megan can pick the name.

It was a girl. Mind blowing. I cried after she was out and I was looking at her and starting to see family resemblances in her little squishy face.

About twenty minutes after the birth, I went to relieve TJ and Sean of their babysitting duties, and bring Lucy back to the hospital to see her new sister, and, more importantly, for the first time have our family of four united.

By the time Megan was moved to a more hotel-y room, it was 8pm, Lucy's bedtime, and we had to go. So I took Lucy home and let her watch Dora for a half hour or so while I ate, then put her to bed. It was weird. Not only do I not usually put Lucy down for sleep at night, but Megan wasn't home, and even more weird, was the experience I'd been thru earlier that day! It was still hanging on me like a ... not a weight. It's more uplifting than a weight. But it was hanging on me. Dragging me down a little, but only from everyday realities, not from happiness.

In point of fact, my happiness has been overflowing since little BB was born. It's the next morning now, and Lu and I are bathed, fed, and ready to go back to the hospital to retrieve the rest of our family.

It's a great day.



I'd like to say, first and foremost, that David Ellefson's lyrics on "Foreclosure of a Dream" are better than Mustaine's singing makes them sound.

L.A. Noir is pretty fun. I'm only barely getting into it.

My baby will be cut out of Megan tomorrow if it doesn't want to come out the standard way.

Just another normal day in paradise.


Forgive me if I don't post in a while,

but the baby inside Megan is five days overdue. I don't feel like it. I'm sure I'll be in more of a mood to put up pictures of the new kid, AFTER I HAVE THE DAMN THING.

Megan must have a five-star womb.


Where's my baby, universe? Huh?

It's late and I'm inbed band falling asleep and I don't wanna type but man I'm gonna have a baby relaly ralaeyl soon and I'm sort of freaking otu and completely elated all at once. I go thru moments of pure joy and pure terror.

Mostly, I'm pretty even. The due date was yesterday, May 9. Now we're officially past due.

Megan is a goddam trooper. Thank the lord for the woman. At 40 weeks pregnant, she worked in the morning, and then took Lucy grocery shopping when I was at work at night. And I know she's not having an easy time of it.

But now I've got some time off work to look forward to, and I can concentrate completely on my family.


Kids shows don't always get it right

The Baby Einstein Company, LLC created an episode of their television program called Baby Shakespeare, World of Poetry. In it, (I think this is true) Baby Einstein creator Julie Aigner-Clark recites a poem by Robert Frost.

So since is this is one of only two Baby Einstein dvds she owns, I've seen it many times. And I never quite understood what Aigner-Clark was saying, and she says it really breathy and sensitively, making her words even harder to pick out. Over time I stopped caring, and after Lou had watched it fifty or so times, I stopped noticing.

Then one day last week, during our daily constitution, we walked over to Roosevelt High School. And by God, that poem is etched in stone on the ground as you reach the top of the steps to the front door, the south entrance off 66th. And I read that thing and it brought me to tears.

There's a reason that poem is powerful. Seeing it in that all-caps, old type font, not attached to a voice, made it much more real.

It then occurred to me that poetry is made to be read out loud. Poetry is meant to be recited by people, with their own voices and unique personalities. These differing characteristics lead to differing inflections. So you can't help having poetry be spun in a way the author may not have intended.

I shouldn't blame Aigner-Clark for making the poem boring for me, when in reality it's such a beautiful thing that its crafting is mesmerizing and it may have come down from some higher plane. But then you realize it was written by a guy, just a guy who liked writing. It's amazing.

Let me post this motherfucker right here.
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Frost, 1923


Learning to speak, scary noises, validations, a tired beans

I'm trying an experiment right now. Lucy and I are outside on the front porch, hanging out. Not going for a walk, but not staying cooped up inside. We live on a busy street, so I can't let her go too far. Thus far, it has not been a problem. The neighbor next door is using his lawnmower and it's slightly freaking her out.

She's handling it sort of well, except she keeps looking more and more upset and it standing dutifully next to me, as I sit on this bench here. And constantly is saying, "Scary," "It's okay," "Scary noise," "noise," etc. She is really fearful of noises, especially the vacuum. And "hug," while she lays her head on my arm. Now she's climbing on the bench with me, still nervous, still talking, still parroting what I say, inaccurately, and I only get a chance to type little bursts between validations.

She needs lots of validation at this stage in her life. Learning to talk needs lots of reassurances.

To put it one way.

Much of the time I'm telling her when she says something correctly or incorrectly; other times she says, "Need help?" and I say, "What do you need help with?" and she grabs my hand for me to follow her. Or she actually says what she needs "help" with, and half the time it's not something I'm going to get my lazy ass off the couch for. And also, she's the only kid in this house (for the time being). She has no other good friends. I'm always hesitant to take her over to my friend Todd's daycare cooperative, cause we get sick every fucking time. It's total bullshit. I'm sick of getting sick, and I'm also sick of Lucy not having other kids to play with. So I don't know what to do. Thinking of exploring online ads for playdates. Is that sad?

Now we've gone inside, and mama has come home on her lunch break. Nonetheless, Lucy's mood is ruined. Also, she cries at her mother whenever she comes home. And I tell her not to, and then she cries for real, but she's faking it the whole time. I scare her when I tell her not to do stuff, and not in a yelling voice, but an authoritative one.

Which makes me laugh to myself and say, "Good."

Mama just said, "You crying now? Now that dada called you on your b.s.?"

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Also, today Lucy got ahold of a red pen and now she has red ink all around her mouth and part of her nose. I'm willing to bet a little of it got in her mouth, too. Just playing the odds.

Now she's sitting next to me on the couch, eating her pbj, and I get to rub her 39-weeks-pregnant belly, with an at-least-6-lb baby in there. Lucky me. That thing is really rolling around in there.