March 2008

The movie quote meme

by DaniGirl on March 31, 2008 · 36 comments

in Memes

Filched from Alison at Party of 3, the movie quote meme.

The rules:

* Pick 10 (or so) of your favorite movies.
* Find, remember, or look up a quote from each movie.
* Post them here for everyone to guess.
* Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
* NO googling or cheating by doing an online search. Cheaters never prosper.
* Share the fun and only guess one movie.

Edited to add: They’re all outed, but this was so much fun we’ll play again soon! I can’t believe it took less than 24 hours to get them all! Let me know if you do the meme so I can play along, too.

  1. You just got lesson number one: don’t think; it can only hurt the ball club. Kate guessed it! Bull Durham, best sports movie evah!
  2. You know, there’s a million fine looking women in the world, dude. But they don’t all bring you lasagna at work. Most of ’em just cheat on you. Natasha and Reluctant Housewife guessed it: Clerks. As Natasha notes, it’s Silent Bob’s only line in the whole movie.
  3. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. And then, one not-so-very special day, I went to my typewriter, I sat down, and I wrote our story. A story about a time, a story about a place, a story about the people. But above all things, a story about love. A love that will live forever. The End. Mad Hatter guessed it: Moulin Rouge! Although after calling one of my all-time fave movies “wretched” I may have to reassess my endless affection and admiration for her.
  4. It also left a man’s decapitated body lying on the floor next to his own severed head. The head, which of this time, has no name. Trixie guessed it: Highlander! We considered naming Lucas “Connor McLeod”, partly because McLeod is my granny’s maiden name and partly for the geeky insider’s joke!
  5. Bye-bye boys. Have fun storming the castle! Madeleine guessed it: The Princess Bride, of course.
  6. Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in The Beatles, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I’d still have to bum rides off people. Liz, Kerry, Renee and Anne guessed it: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It was the first “boy drives to your house, picks you up and takes you to a movie, then takes you to a park to make out afterward” date I ever went on!
  7. Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I’m being repressed! Miche guessed it: Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Are there any movies more quotable than Monty Python? It was so hard to choose!
  8. It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing. Mama V guessed it: LOTR – Fellowship of the Ring.
  9. That ain’t no etch-a-sketch. This is one doodle that can’t be un-did, homeskillet. jo(e) guessed it: Juno! (Great movie!! I saw it when I was waiting for Lucas to arrive, one Tuesday morning all by myself in the theatre. It was actually my second attempt at seeing the movie; the first time, I lost my mucous plug in the cinema washroom between buying my popcorn and the start of the movie, and left the theatre in a fit of optimism in thinking the baby was on the way — about three weeks before he actually did arrive.)
  10. I can’t fire them. I hired these guys for three days a week and they just started showing up every day. That was four years ago. Chrissey, B&P, Suze and Rebecca guessed it: High Fidelity. The intersection of Nick Hornby and John Cusack — does it get any better than that?
  11. You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library. Erin guessed it: Good Will Hunting.
  12. Naked blonde walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm, and a two-foot salami under the other. The bartender says, I guess you won’t be needing a drink. Naked lady says…OH SHIT!!Liz and Anne guessed it: The Breakfast Club!
  13. I have no thought at all about my own reward, I really didn’t come here on my own accord. Just don’t say I’m damned for all time.NoMoEarth and Reluctant Housewife guessed it: Jesus Christ Superstar! Props for getting an obscure one! My mother used to listen to this soundtrack when she cleaned the house, and I had the whole thing memorized by the time I was ten years old.
  14. It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses. Nancy, Kerry and Karen guessed it: The Blues Brothers!
  15. All the ways you wish you could be, that’s me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not. kgirl guessed it: Fight Club. I don’t know why I love this movie so much, but I really do.

FWIW, all of these quotes are from movies I own or intend to acquire. Have fun!


From my mouth to his ears

by DaniGirl on March 29, 2008 · 5 comments

in Ah, me boys, Baby days

You know those times when you hear your own words coming from your kids’ mouths, and how unsettling it is?

We’re in the van. Tristan is in the middle row with Lucas, and Simon is in the back row. Lucas is just waking up, and Tristan is leaning over to coo something at him.

Simon, his voice heavy with weariness and consternation, says, “Tristan, for goodness sake, will you please leave that poor baby alone?”

If it’s possible to die of being overly loved, Lucas is in trouble.


Skim milk

by DaniGirl on March 27, 2008 · 28 comments

in Baby days, Lucas, Mothering without a licence

We’re sitting in the pediatrician’s waiting room, each admiring the others’ babies as they rest at our feet, each snuggled into their own baby bucket carrier. Hers is dressed in pink and is fleshy and plump and noticeably larger than Lucas.

“He’s beautiful,” she tells me, admiring Lucas. I beam, and return the compliment.

“It goes by so fast, doesn’t it?” I respond, thinking her baby is at least a few weeks older than Lucas. “When was she born?” I ask, expecting her to say some time around the end of December or early January.

“February 12,” she answers. “And how old is your little guy?”

“He was born February 8,” I say, trying not to sound defensive, even though I suddenly don’t feel like chatting with this woman.

“Oh, he’s so tiny! Was he a preemie?” she asks, unaware.

“No,” I answer rather abruptly. I consider elaborating, but can’t find the words to do so. I want to tell her that he was over 10 lbs, but is having trouble gaining weight, that he’s healthy and hearty in all other ways, but just doesn’t seem to be able to accrue the weight he is supposed to be gaining. I want to justify, to explain, to rationalize, but my words are stuck like lumps of undiluted formula in my throat; I’ve just for the first time realized that maybe Lucas’s weight gain issues are more serious than I have let myself believe. The difference in size between the two children is unmistakable, and I wonder how we’ve gone from “oh my god, what a big boy” to “oh, he’s so tiny!” How has this happened?

I haven’t blogged much about Lucas’s ongoing weight-gain struggles because like the infernal optimist that I am, I kept expecting things would be fine any day now. “Well,” I’d tell myself, “this has just been a really chaotic week and maybe I haven’t been nursing often enough. I’m sure it will be better next week.” Or, “I was sick and off my own food and drink, so of course my milk was thin.” Or, “He was spitting up an awful lot because I forgot to give him his medication one day, so of course he didn’t gain enough.” But as I controlled for one variable after another, week after week there has been one constant: Lucas simply isn’t gaining enough weight. He will be seven weeks old on Friday, and he has only gained a little more than 8 oz over his birth weight. He should have gained three or four pounds by now. It’s not as dire as it would have been if he wasn’t born a hefty 10 lbs, but I can no longer ignore the fact that the trend is clear week after week… my milk is simply not good enough this time around.

Time to face the reality: I need to supplement, and I need to supplement more. The 4 oz a day bottle isn’t cutting it. I have to crank it up to 6 oz twice a day, and I suspect that at those levels, it may have an effect on my milk supply. I want to nurse Lucas as long as I nursed Simon (to 16 months) or beyond, but I can no longer rely on my milk to provide the calories he needs to grow. I don’t know why the milk that four years ago was more than enough to sustain Simon is no longer good enough, but apparently my milk has a shelf life and beyond 38 years it begins to thin out. Or something like that. I’ll keep offering it to him as long as he keeps taking it, but I need to top him up nutritionally for now. I’m offering the bottles in addition to regular nursing as opposed to substituting, so hopefully that will help.

I don’t really know why my milk is thin. I don’t think it’s a supply issue… he’s satisfied at the end of a feed, and making plenty (and I mean PLENTY!) of wet diapers. He’s otherwise healthy and happy and generally content — except during the arsenic hours of 3 to 9 pm, which are still challenging but improving. (Best colic solution ever = running faucets. What we saved with the high-efficiency washer we’ve lost down the drain as running the tap in the kitchen is sometimes the only thing I can do to settle him!)

The reflux is still an occasional issue even with medication, but for the most part (80% of the time) it’s just normal baby spit-up amounts. I can feel the letdown and my breasts still leak even with regular feedings, so there is milk there — it’s just not fatty enough, I guess.

I’d like to rationalize and say I’ve done everything I possibly can to make exclusively nursing work, but that’s not quite true. I’ve done a lot, endured the bleeding and the nighttime alarm-setting and what seems like all-day feeding sessions and even a blocked milk duct, and we’ve worked through all of it. I could pump, I could try some sort of herbal supplement, I could pay for a few more hours with the lactation consultant. But I have two other boys and a busy house, and I’ve more or less dedicated the last month to trying to make this work and it still isn’t working out well enough. Next month we’ll be giving up our nanny, too, and there just isn’t enough of me for everyone as it is. There is always more I could do to nurse exclusively, but I think I may have reached the limits of what I’m willing to do. Now I have to make my peace with it.


I wrote the first half of this post this morning, and have since been to see my darling midwives as well. Despite his paltry weight gain, Lucas has grown an impressive 7 cm (2 1/2 inches) in length, and his head circumference has increased by 3 cm since birth, so he’s obviously growing well. He is meeting all of his developmental milestones, including and especially the social ones — he flirted shamelessly with the midwives and anyone else with whom he made eye contact.

I’m still disappointed and frustrated with the lack of weight gain, but deeply reassured that he is otherwise well. And speaking of social, he is currently sitting patiently in his bouncy chair where he has awoken from a brief nap, waiting for me to stop with the tap-tap-tapping and get back to gazing lovingly into his eyes, something I seem to spend a large preponderance of my time (happily) doing these days.

Sorry, bloggy peeps. Much as I love all of you, you really can’t compete with him for my attention these days…


A good pun is its own reword

by DaniGirl on March 26, 2008 · 5 comments

in Wordplay

I’m a sucker for a quirky guy with a guitar and bad hair, and bad puns. A friend sent me these and I couldn’t help but share. Not only are they punny, but they’re quite clever… I had to read a couple of them more than once to find the pun. Or maybe that’s just a comment on the state of my brain these days!

  • A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
  • Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.
  • A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
  • Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
  • Sea captains don’t like crew cuts
  • Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
  • In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.
  • With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
  • He often broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.
  • Every calendar’s days are numbered.
  • A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
  • A plateau is a high form of flattery
  • .

You’re welcome!


A vent about vents

by DaniGirl on March 20, 2008 · 26 comments

in Rants and rambles

Imagine the amount of laundry generated by your average family of five.

Imagine the amount of laundry generated by your average family of five, including two busy preschoolers.

Imagine the amount of laundry generated by your average family of five, including two busy preschoolers when enduring back-to-back stomach viruses.

Imagine the amount of laundry generated by your average family of five, including two busy preschoolers, when enduring back-to-back stomach viruses, when one of those family members is a newborn.

Imagine the amount of laundry generated by your average family of five, including two busy preschoolers, when enduring back-to-back stomach viruses, when one of those family members is a newborn, with diaper-leak issues.

Imagine the amount of laundry generated by your average family of five, including two busy preschoolers, when enduring back-to-back stomach viruses, when one of those family members is a newborn, with diaper-leak issues and spit-up issues due to reflux.

Imagine the amount of laundry generated by your average family of five, including two busy preschoolers, when enduring back-to-back stomach viruses, when one of those family members is a newborn, with diaper-leak issues and spit-up issues due to reflux, when the dryer starts taking two to four HOURS to dry a single load.

Imagine the amount of laundry generated by your average family of five, including two busy preschoolers, when enduring back-to-back stomach viruses, when one of those family members is a newborn, with diaper-leak issues and spit-up issues due to reflux, when the dryer starts taking two to four HOURS to dry a single load and suddenly the washer is leaving the clothes sopping wet.

I went out this week and blew almost two grand on a high-efficiency washer and dryer to replace the ancient ones (more than 15, perhaps as old as 25 years) that came with the house when we bought it. Hello and goodbye tax refund.

Imagine the amount of laundry generated by your average family of five, including two busy preschoolers, when enduring back-to-back stomach viruses, when one of those family members is a newborn, with diaper-leak issues and spit-up issues due to reflux, who have just purchased a new high efficiency washer and dryer — and the NEW dryer still takes three runs to dry the clothes.

Did you know neither the dryer repairman, nor the dryer installer, nor the dryer salesperson, nor the duct cleaning people, will come over and check your dryer vent? Did you know that they all claim they have no idea who will do such a thing, even though your new dryer manual says you should have it done once a year or so? Did you know that when talking to the dryer service people on the phone, after talking to all the above professionals and only shortly after your visit to the pediatrician finding out your six week old son is still not quite gaining enough weight so you’ll have to increase the daily amount of formula, if you burst into tears of utter frustration the service people are suddenly far more helpful? And did you know that you can actually run your dryer without it being hooked up to the outdoor vent hose at all (for a short time, at least)? But of course the service person can’t make it over until after the long weekend. And either the new dryer doesn’t work properly, or you just spent two grand on a new washer and dryer when the problem was with the vents all along.

It’s been a very long day.


It’s taken me more than a month to get this down and out onto the interwebs partly because of the hazy fog that is my brain in these early newborn days, partly because I haven’t yet figured out how to blog without using my arms (which are rarely free these days) but largely because whenever I actually sat down to write this out, the words just wouldn’t arrange themselves properly. Much like trying to get a wriggling, hungry newborn’s leg into a sleeper just a little bit too large for him, the words have been resistant and fussy.

Before I begin, I have to tell you one more time how much I enjoyed your collective company in the long final days of my pregnancy, and especially during the wet – if not terribly productive – day of liveblogging the labour. Who knew captchas could be so much fun? And now, I bring you back to the morning of the induction. If you remember, my water broke Thursday morning but I had been relatively contraction-free all day, and so they called me in for an induction the morning of Friday, February 8.

It’s a mundane start to what promises to be an exciting day. Beloved and I arrive at the hospital with my mother just after 8:30 in the morning. There’s paperwork to be completed, and my vital signs are recorded. Amanda, the almost-certified student midwife who has been my primary contact in these past few weeks puts an IV in my arm, struggling with my small, rolling veins. The midwives work in teams of two, and the presence of Amanda is a nice bonus. My primary midwife, Sandra, is off call, so Denise will attend throughout the day and Stephanie, who I think is the senior midwife on the team, will arrive in time to “catch” the baby. All in all, I have a great team and feel very well cared for.

The hospital’s induction protocol calls for the on-call OB and nurses to supervise the first part of an induced labour, so after hooking me up with the drugs and assuring me they’ll be back when things get exciting – that is, when active labour begins – the midwives leave me in the care of a nurse and a student nurse. The OB breezes in, and I like him immediately. He’s very genial and cheerful, and lays one hand on my belly and says, “Yep, that’s a 10 pounder alright.” (Eeek!) As the pitocin starts to drip into the IV, I’m only 2 to 3 cm dilated, and while my cervix is softening, baby is still pretty high in my cervix.

We settle in to wait. After some nervous playful chatter, my mother, Beloved and I – all cut from the same cloth – pull out books and begin to read. After the baby is born, I’ll go to the page marked by my bookmark (I’m in the middle of Book IV of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, Wizards and Glass) and realize that I have absorbed exactly nothing of the 40 pages or so I’ll read through that morning and will return to where I started and re-read those pages for the first time. (And, more than a month later, I’m still only half way through that book. I read six novels in the last six weeks of my pregnancy, and only about eight pages in the five weeks since.)

My natural curiousity is thwarted by the fact that the primary language of business in the hospital is French. While everyone speaks perfectly comprehensible English to me, they speak to each other in a rapid and colloquial French that I can’t hope to follow or, more importantly, eavesdrop on. I peek over their shoulders at the computer monitor they keep updating, and realize the interface and all the notes are in French, too. Foiled by my unilingualism yet again.

You might remember way back when I was trying to decide between a midwife and an OB for this pregnancy, one of the things that alarmed me about the idea of a midwife was the reduced amount of fetal monitoring during labour. However, after reading your comments and researching the matter, I realized that continuous fetal monitoring is not only not required or recommended, but sometimes causes more interventions than might otherwise be necessary. It’s therefore quite ironic that as we wait for the pitocin to do its work, I am becoming increasingly agitated by being strapped to the fetal monitoring machines. I instinctively want to move, to get up and stretch and walk. I know that walking will help motivate contractions (even if shovelling the driveway did not!) and my hips and back are screaming for movement. I keep asking the nurses to unhook me, and while they do free me from time to time, they want to strap me back after a 20 to 30 minute interval to continue to monitor the baby. I begin to pine for my midwives almost immediately.

The pitocin works its magic and contractions begin to come regularly, and frequently, but without intensity. Lunch arrives in the delivery room just before noon, and while I decide to forgo the pork stew (seriously, they served PORK STEW to the DELIVERY ROOM!) I do partake of the fruit salad and vegetable soup. Not surprisingly, both my mother and Beloved also pass on the free shit on a shingle pork stew.

I continue to be agitated to be strapped into the bed, and once again ask the nurses to liberate me. We take a few short walks in the hallway, but my hips ache so much from lying in the bed that I’m hardly mobile. Even walking small circles in the delivery room helps to strengthen the contractions and, more importantly, soothes my agitation somewhat.

Shortly after 1:30, the contractions are coming two minutes apart, increasing slightly in intensity but still quite manageable. The nurse checks my dilation again, and I’m still only 2 to 3 cm dilated, but she turns down the dosage of pitocin because she’s concerned about the lack of rest time between the contractions – not so much for right now, I suspect, but for when that intensity finally kicks in. She asks if I mind if the student nurse also checks my dilation, and I concur. I realize, when her hand is wedged deep in my hoochie, that she has no experience whatsoever in checking someone’s cervix. She looks to the nurse quizzically when she cannot “find” my cervix. Feeling magnanimous, I assure her it’s there and encourage her to go ahead and root a little deeper as I suspect I have endured more cervical exams in my lifetime than she has administered, and can tell she is not quite in the right place. To my growing alarm, she spends what seems like an eternity groping my innards. Finally, I politely suggest maybe I’ve had enough, and she gives up.

Apparently it’s neither walking nor shovelling nor pitocin that stimulates contractions, but having an unexperienced student nurse wedging her arm up to her elbow in your hoochie certainly seems to do the trick. Within 15 minutes or so, I have abandoned my book and any thoughts of wandering the hallway as I breath through the rapidly escalating contractions. My assessment of the pain goes from a three to a five to a seven in about six contractions, and I gasp for the nurse to call the midwives back. I also begin to seriously doubt my decision to experience this whole act without the benefit of drugs.

My mother has been skeptical all along of my tentative desire to birth this child without the epidural. To her credit, she remains respectful of my wishes, but a few times during the morning she has asked me if I’m sure, telling me it’s okay if I want to ask for the drugs. When I assure her that I won’t be shy about asking for them if I feel I need them, she seems mollified but still obviously perplexed by my choice. As the contractions intensify, I begin to panic and want to make sure that the epidural is in fact available if I want it. The contractions are bearable, but I’m afraid that eventually they won’t be. The nurses ask me to sign some sort of release form, and I’d love to see exactly what my signature on that form must look like. This is the handwriting of a person who is beginning to freak out.

As the pain of the contractions ratchets up, my awareness of the world contracts as well until I am barely aware of the activity in the room. There is a steel bowl on the table beside the bed, and as I lie on my side and try not to give in to abject panic, I finger the smooth coolness of the steel between contractions and find it oddly comforting. I don’t want to be touched or spoken to as the contractions escalate — I just want my midwives, or the epidural. Or a wormhole to open and rescue me from my delivery, perhaps depositing me somewhere about three days into the future, babe in arms. I’m in the bathroom trying to time a pee between contractions when the midwives finally return at approximately 2:30 pm.

As I stumble out of the bathroom and lean on the bed into another contraction, the newly arrived midwives are trying to evaluate how far along I am and how long we have until baby makes his way out. They’re trying to convince me to try the bath for some relief from the contractions, but I’m thinking that the bath is a poor substitute for drugs at this point. I find myself leaning against the wall, barely able to speak or think coherently, and manage to say, “I might be able to do this for an hour, or I can do this for ten more minutes. But I cannot do this for an hour and ten minutes. I just can’t do it.” They laugh, and I tell them, with teeth gritted, that I am not joking.

The midwives finally convince me to try the bath, and I remember pulling my socks off and muttering curses about their stupid bathtub under my breath. They check my dilation again, and it’s now around 5 cm, which is promising but still a long way from 10 cm. I find myself standing up again – I must have been on my way to the infernal bathtub to placate them – and leaning against the wall for support. The contractions are now so intense and so close together that I can barely communicate my admittedly truncated thoughts. What I want to say is, “The contractions are really REALLY intense right now, and while I can handle them at this point, I’m afraid I won’t be able to if they get stronger than this or if we go on for hours like this. Is there some way to judge whether they will get more painful, or how much longer this might go on?” What I actually say is, “Please — I need the epidural! NOW!” That’s all my mother needs to hear. If I want that epidural, in the name of all things holy she will see to it that I get that epidural. Beloved later tells me he begins to fear for the safety of the midwives if they don’t capitulate to my mother’s formidable will. I can hear her arguing rationally discussing the issue with the midwives and advocating for some sort of pain relief for me, but I am powerless to join the conversation at this point. My eyes are closed and everything happening around me seems oddly distant.

As I stand there against the wall, shuddering with the intensity of another four or so contractions with barely any respite in between, I become aware of a new sensation. Once again, my brain and my mouth are in disagreement as to the sentiment to be expressed. What I want to say is, “I’m aware from my previous birthing experiences that pressure that feels like a bowel movement may in fact be the baby making his way down the birth canal. But, that can’t possibly be – it’s much too early for that.” What I manage to gasp out is a rather alarmed, “Um, I feel like I have to poop. I don’t think I have to poop.”

I stumble back to the bed and this time when Amanda (or maybe it was Denise – really, the whole thing is a giant blur by this point) checks my dilation, in just a few minutes I’ve dilated to 8 cm. I’m teetering on the edge of panic, but Amanda’s warm hand rubbing the small of my back through each contraction keeps me grounded, and in that moment I am happy with my choice of a midwife-attended birth. The nurse had been hands-off through my contractions and tended toward being reactive instead of proactive. Where the nurse simply crouched in my line of view to ask me if there was anything I wanted (the answer being, “DRUGS!”), Amanda does not wait for me to ask for help but uses her words and her touch to reassure me and guide me through this panicked fog of escalating pain.

I begin to realize that the time for epidurals – and, for that matter, baths – has passed. Barely two or three contractions later, and I further realize that my conscious brain is no longer running this show. With a feeling that is vividly reminiscent of a manual-transmission car stuck in first gear, my body shudders into push mode and I manage to gasp out that I have to push, which terrifies the small functioning part of my rational brain that realizes this is all going far too quickly. I am astonished at the primal intensity of this urge, and how my body is now working completely independently of my brain. Amanda checks my dilation one last time, and finds me fully dilated save for a small lip of cervix, which she reaches in to ease over the emerging baby’s head.

The desire to push is overwhelming and I am powerless to resist it. While I’d heard women speak of how much a relief it is to finally be able to push, I’d never felt that sensation before. When I push, it’s as if all the pain dissipates instantly in the act of pushing. It’s blissfully sweet relief. Unfortunately, a 10 lbs baby crowning carries it’s own set of pain triggers, and I’m surprised to find I’m not nearly as stoic as I have expected myself to be. As the baby’s head emerges, I let out a primal yell, and that too feels surprisingly good. An oxygen mask has been slipped on to my face at some point, but I have no idea how long ago, and I have vague recollections of someone telling me to calm my breathing. And suddenly, I am out of steam. With his shoulders left to emerge, I find the concept of pushing completely alien. Push? Push what? What is this “push” thing you speak of? I must have said something like, “I don’t want to push anymore” because Beloved is at my shoulder talking me through it and encouraging one last burst of energy. Listening to him and only him, I find another reserve and with a few final pushes, Lucas’ shoulders emerge and the rest of his body slips out. He is born at 3:23 pm, on Friday February 8, 2008. I hold out my arms and open my eyes just enough to confirm that he’s safe and perfect as I wrap my arms around the warm, slippery bundle that is my third son.

Beloved later tells me that although this was the quickest of all my deliveries, it was also the most harrowing for him. The sheer speed of the delivery has unnerved him as badly as it unnerved me. The midwives later tease him lightly, telling him it’s been a while since they’d seen anyone pace a delivery room so frantically.

My mother, who I’m told watched the whole delivery over the midwife’s shoulder, cuts the cord. Here’s what she said in the comment thread to an earlier post:

I WAS THERE!!! Thanks to Jen and Papa Lou for babysitting. I can tell you that Dani is a very strong woman!! With “Beloved” by her side, she brought into the world another beautiful baby boy. Although I have birthed two of the best – I have never seen a baby being born. It was an awesome experience that I will never forget. I was honoured to be asked to cut the cord!!. How lucky I am to have such a loving and caring family – 5 grandchildren in 6 years.

After a lingering cuddle, they take Lucas over to the warming table to clean him up. Although he scored a 9 on his first APGAR test, they are worried enough about his chalky white palour to call in the on-call pediatrician for a consult. (This, to me, represents the best of both worlds – midwife care in a hospital with on-site doctors.) They fit Lucas’ wrist with some sort of oxygen monitor, but find his levels acceptable. The ped says the chalky palour is likely from shock, due to his rather rudely abrupt delivery, and that he is otherwise fine. (He will show other signs of his speedy delivery as well: he will spend the night spitting up mucous that did not have a chance to disappate, nearly scaring me to death the first of many times he seems to choke on it throughout the first 24 hours, and he will have small bloodblisters in his eyes and a bit of a fat lip from where his poor face smacked into my pelvic bones on the way out!) Stephanie, the second midwife on the team, arrives around this point and I realize that the delivery went much more quickly than even the midwives were anticipating.

As they tend to Lucas, I am dealing with my own residual shock issues. With a very low blood pressure of 80-something over 50 something I am shaking badly and having weird visual hallucinations that give everything in the room bright and dark auras. Amanda gives me a few stitches – not nearly so many as with Simon, who was born with his hand raised above his head in victory – while Denise and the ped minister to Lucas. Finally, after what seems like an eternity and in which time I am becoming even more agitated than I was to be strapped in the bed earlier, Lucas comes back to me. As I hold him and then let him latch on for a well-earned snack, Denise keeps her fingers ringed around his wrist to hold the oxygen monitor in place.

After a while, my own vision has cleared and Denise takes Lucas back to weigh him, administer some vitamin K and put the antibiotic drops in his eyes. While she does this and I eat the cold vegetables and mashed potatoes of my salisbury steak dinner delivered some time in the last hour or so, Amanda takes my mother and I on a “tour” of my expelled placenta while Beloved tries to ignore us. If you ever find yourself with the opportunity to tour a placenta, I highly recommend it, even if you do it while you are eating cold mashed potatoes and congealed gravy. Though I had read about everything she showed us in years of (obsessive) research, it is still fascinating to see Amanda hold open the amniotic sac and show us how all the parts work together. More reasons to recommend a midwife-attended birth!

After the tour, my mom heads out to relieve Papa Lou of Tristan and Simon, and Beloved and I have more chances to cuddle with Lucas. The midwives are laughing as they complete the reams of paperwork required by the hospital. “You weren’t kidding when you said you didn’t want that labour to last longer than an hour, were you?” Amanda asks. No wonder Lucas and I were both feeling a little shocky after the fact! Turns out the active labour clocked in at 58 minutes.

Surviving the labour and delivery without the epidural was an incredibly empowering act. It truly was a completely different experience from my deliveries of Tristan and Simon, and I’m so glad to end my childbirthing experiences with this one. I don’t think I’d recommend a medication-free delivery for a first labour, but I’m glad I was brave enough to try it. (Yes, I am claiming the victory that was actually forced upon me by the speed with which Lucas arrived. It’s my story and I can spin it as I see fit!)

Even at its most intense, the pain was not unbearable. It was almost unbearable, though, and what frightened me was the unknowable: will it get worse, and how long will it last? My recovery from the delivery was also nothing short of amazing to me, and I can only assume the lack of drugs contributed to that. Despite the stitches from a tear, I was able to sit relatively comfortably to feed Lucas that first night in the hospital, and I didn’t even need to take the Tylenol and Motrin that the nurses provided. I felt physically back to normal within just a few hours, even though I had residual issues with my, erm, digestive system a week or so later.

I had more or less planned to stay at the hospital as long as they’d let me, and joked that it was more of a hotel than a hospital stay – free meals delivered to your bed, does it get any better than that? – but with Lucas’ arrival, I was beginning to waffle and think maybe I would prefer to go home after all. Unfortunately, I needed an IV drip of pitocin to assist the contraction of my uterus until after midnight, and the hospital protocol for babies larger than 10 lbs requires a heel prick to check his blood sugar a few times in the first twelve hours. Even more unfortunately, there were no private rooms available, so Lucas and I spent his first night on earth rooming with Shania, the newborn who wails like a stuck pig (I swear, I’ve never heard such an unpleasant sound uttered by a newborn) and her inconsiderate parents. They didn’t bother to turn down the full volume of the DVD player they were watching when I arrived; around 10 pm, they decide to shower – together! (ick!!) – for more than 20 minutes, leaving me with such a full bladder and so desperate to pee that I had to drag my IV pole and the baby in the plastic bassinet out into the hallway in search of an available toilet; and, the mother allowed the baby to build up to a full wail before tending to her in the night. It was a very long, very unpleasant night. I was not overly impressed by the nursing staff, either. When my IV pole ran out of battery power at 12:45 am and an alarm began to beep, no one responded to my call button and after 15 minutes I wandered out into the hallway and to flag down a nurse to silence the infernal thing. After an endless night, I called Beloved early in the morning and begged him to “come and rescue me”. I couldn’t get home fast enough!

And that’s how Lucas Sawyer made his way into the world, one full week after his due date. Oh, and the reason he was so stubborn and waited that extra week, and dilly-dallied a whole extra day after my water broke? Well, Tristan was 9 lbs even and Simon was 10 lbs even but Lucas topped them both at 10 lbs 1 oz. I’m quite sure that Lucas was waiting for that extra ounce to accrue, just so for once in his life he could be the big brother, too.


Not good enough

13 March 2008 Baby days

Sigh. Went for another weigh-in today, and Lucas only gained 70 grams, where the ped wanted to see him gain twice that. He’ll be five weeks old on Friday and is only two ounces above his birthweight at 10 lbs 3 oz.. I don’t think the problem is with my milk supply, but perhaps with […]

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Thursday Thirteen: Things I’d forgotten about newborns

13 March 2008 Baby days

I’ve seen the Thursday Thirteen meme around forever, and have been meaning to play along. This is another one of those posts I’ve been writing in my head for days and pecking out in stolen moments over the last week or so. Thirteen things I’d forgotten about newborns: How you start hearing phantom cries in […]

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Oh no, not another post about pants

12 March 2008 It IS all about me

Oh happy day. Today is a day to celebrate, my bloggy peeps. A mere yay day is not going to do it this time. Today, we dance on table tops, buy drinks for strangers, and beam beautific smiles that will make the neighbours wonder what we’re up to. It’s a glorious day, my friends. Mark […]

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If I don’t blog soon, I’ll burst

11 March 2008 Life in Ottawa

So! Many! Bloggable! Moments!! And no time to blog them all. Oh, it’s like bloggy constipation, and if I don’t get it out soon, I’m quite sure my head will explode. Here are things that I’d dearly love to blog about if only I had the time. And trust me, in my head, they’re all […]

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