Game Time

We managed about six hours of sleep before the phone call; Steph was contracting about a minute apart for a minute each. Shannon and I were forty minutes away, so hurrying was something that could be done carefully. Michael called back a few minutes later to tell us that Steph had required they stop at Shari’s restaurant for breakfast.Okay. No hurrying needed.

Good thing, too. Today is game day in Corvallis, and all the alumni have come home to root. Traffic was backed up for about three miles over the bridge. It took 90 minutes to make the drive.

And here we are; Steph is contracting a minute or 90 seconds apart, is only communicating at need – her need –

Steph just announced that there would be no more smart-assed comments from the crowd. Michael clenched his jaw, squinched his eyes shut, and shook. I wrote:

“It’s okay to not be in here, if you are having a problem keeping serious. But DON’T jiggle Steph’s elbow while she’s working.”

He wrote back:

“I was so tempted to ask if dumbass comments were ok.”

Then he left. Good boy.

Steph has permitted in the room: me, Shannon, her aunt Theresa, Michael, Zelda, Desiree (Joey’s mom), and Joey. She also has a half-dozen friends that are allowed to poke their heads in and check, but can’t stay for more than a few mintues. It’s a goddamned circus.
Right now everyone but Shannon, Joey, Theresa and I have left to get smoothies. Steph is here, too. She’s waiting for the anasthesiologist to come and give her drugs, after which she plans to love everyone. Steph is dilated to 4, and is wearing the traditional backless hospital lingerie. Her focus (and natural immodesty) is such that she is entirely capable of standing, leaning forward over the bed, swinging her ass back and forth as she rides the next wave, and not be self-aware. She voiced her concerns for the sensibilities of the audience, thus: “If they have problems seeing my ass, they don’t belong in here, anyway.”

Fair enough.

They’ve been playing with a video camera they bought for the occasion. She taped Joey, Joey taped her, they talked about how the morning went and what has been leading up to this point. “And we woke up, but the contractions weren’t going fast enough so Daddy played with my nipples, then we went to breakfast at Shari’s. Everyone knew that I was having contractions. I think I freaked a few people out, but that’s okay. [I interjected, “Why should today be any different?”] When we left we got a round of applause from people in Shari’s, ’cause they knew it was time.”

Another sound bite: “Oh. Ooooooh. Ah-ooooh. Where the hell’s that stadol?” More contractions.

Drugs are here, now. She’s much calmer. The main difference seems to be that she has become less loud, less attentive to anything outside of her. Probably good. How would I know? I’ve never had a labor pain.

Drugs held her for 90 minutes, then she had an epidural. We were all kicked out for the catheterization and the annexing of her spinal cord.

She is now at 4 1/2, fully effaced, station -1…which basically means that she isn’t open enough to spit the kid out, but the kid isn’t fully seated with his head in the pelvic girdle, anyway. They’re going to wait for full seating at the cervix before they consider breaking her water.

Bummer. But with the drugs and the epideral, Steph doesn’t seem to mind as much.

Whoops. In the time it took to type this, her gyn came in and re-checked her – dilated to 7. Things seem to be moving right along. Joey wanted to go out for a walk. Steph told him that, if he was going, go quickly. He was NOT leaving later. He came back in plenty of time.

Epidurals are terrific. Steph is chatty, dilating, and channel surfing through the cable stations. She’s very chipper to have caught the last few scenes of Queen of the Damned, which I can only attribute to the drugs and exertion.

Contractions have tapered off, or aren’t as noticeable anymore. Michael and Shannon have gone on a yarn & sandwich run, leaving me to suffer throught he next movie, Jeepers Creeepers. This kid is going to be born with some very odd issues, just from the entertainment. Forty minutes into the movie, I think I might have some issues. Icky movie.

4:45 — Steph’s at 8, and they’re popping her water. Thar she blows, with a running commentary from Steph explaining how unpleasant it is having the water run down her butt. A sudden splashing noise as she decompresses, and now she’s covered back up.

Small talk, then, suddenly, “Oh, shit.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m having a baby.”

Joely strolls over to her, smiling, relaxed. “It’s all right. You can change your mind.”

6:25 Steph is pushing lightly, to finish dilating. The fun is nearly over. I’m glad. She seems to be, too.

7:00 …bored…bored…bored…all of us. Sponge-Bob Squarepants is our chief entertainment.

7:09 Sez the gyn: “Start pushin’!”

7:50 Baby is very close to crowning; Steph’s vagina “winks” on her third push out of sets of three.

7:57 Baby crowns.

8:08 Malachi James Swing is on his mother’s chest, at 8 lbs 3 oz and 21 inches. “Oh, God, I have a baby. What are we going to do with a baby?”

I cried more than he did.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry


Labor continues. We were half an hour from bed and got a phone call on the road; Steph is in the hospital. The baby is having low heartbeats, then high heartbeats (95 to 160). Nothing serious, but something to watch.

So we go to the hospital, ’cause it’s whatcha do. Zelda is here, which caused me some stress on the way up, wondering how she’d behave and how I’d react. She tried to touch me and shied back as if she had a booger on her finger. So far she hasn’t tried again.

To her credit, Zelda is being more a nurse than a head-case. Of course, the weekend is just beginning.

Steph looks good. Joey looks good. Nobody seems panicky or worried. Michael nearly got kicked out for being cute at Steph; women in active labor have little or no interest in joking and obnoxious little brothers — except to have them removed. Or disemboweled. Whatever shuts them up quickest.

And we’re waiting. Neo is an excellent shield against unwanted conversation with exes. Another fine reason to have a Neo.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Belaboring, again

Belaboring, again

Stephanie called early today and announced that she was having labor pains 7-8 minutes apart. So, off to Corvallis go we.

By 4:00 her contractions had tapered off to every 15 minutes, but we’re going anyway, sort of on spec. It’s probably the best plan, although it feels doomed to futility. My expectation is that this onset was sort of a warm up run, and her actual labor won’t take place for another week. I have, on extaordinarily rare occasions, been mistaken, so we’ll go just in case.

This, as a side note, is the test run of Neo in the car. I find it much easier to type this than handwrite it in a moving vehicle. Very nice, fully as fast as I would be sitting in a coffee shop, a very satisfying type. I expect that, if there is to be much hospital sitting, I’ll get to test drive it there, as well.

I won’t, though. We won’t see the hospital this weekend. But we will see Ma, which is a very good and moderately overdue sort of thing, and possibly Ed, possibly September & Rob. In addition, we will be close at hand, just in case, demonstrating our enthusiasm and readiness. All in all, this is a good idea.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

“There’s a no-return policy on brides….” Wedding Part II

The morning of the wedding resounded with pain. I didn’t feel any, myself, but the rest of the wedding party had stayed up until 3 or 4 AM, imbibing in a prodigious manner. The stripper came and went (at both parties) with only the expected results. When the males began to flag, they loaded up with beer and went for a walk, inspecting the park where the nuptials would be held. Charming had some difficulty walking, so they decided to help him remain upright and duct taped him to a tree.There are pictures.

Ma, Othello, Cinderella, Charming, Bridgette & myself went to breakfast with my aunt and uncle from San Diego, come up for the wedding. The nearly-weds had difficulty eating much; two hangovers plus excitement squared does not equal clean plates, in the algebra of appetite. The dashed off after a short while to finish prepping the wedding.

Bridgette and I spent the day running tiny errands that would be troublesome to not have completed, but were not a significant thing in and of themselves, taken alone.

And then they married.

Cinderella lurked in a tent erected for that purpose at the top of the aisle, and everyone assembled. She paced endlessly, flushed and speaking very, very quickly. By the time it was our turn to walk down, she was hyperventilating, weaving when she walked, scared to death and even more eager to get to it. I passed her over to her groom, and they did their thing.

I have not seen two people so obviously euphoric being married. She cried most of the way through it, grinning all the while. So did I, to a lesser degree. He didn’t cry until after they were done, and when I walked up to them they were kissing over and over and snuffling and he said, “I got through it without crying. I got through it without crying,” while she said over and over, “yes you did, yes you did.”

There was an entire pig roasted for the 150 or so guests, and things were lovely. They had a cute pair of goblets, with the stems forming each side of a heart. No one had thought to bring any champagne for their toast, so I confiscated one of Ma’s wine coolers and they toasted.

It was full dark by the time everyone was leaving. The newlyweds had a party to go to in their honor after the reception. I have no idea how they survived it; they were both dead on their feet. Bridgette & I hugged them and went back to Ma’s. We were pooped, too.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Is this the little girl I carried? Wedding Part I

Oh, that’s just sappy. Get thee behind me, Tevye.

Wednesday Bridgette & I went to Corvallis for Cinderella & Charming’s wedding rehearsal. They’d decided on a lush, green park for the site, in between two enormous gnarled oaks (Willamette Park, for those who know Corvallis). Each had five attendents, plus a ring bearer. Yikes. The rehearsal was low-stress and without incident. Cinderella was very, very excited, so the event was fairly fun.Rehearsal dinner was also low-stress; pizza. Dandy. I’m in favor of low-stress, low-formality in these things. Ritual and ceremony do not, I feel, have to be stuffy and artificial. I did what I could to make things run smoothly, offering the groom $10 and two six packs if he’d show up to the wedding with a pillow simulating a six-month pregnancy. He opted for a long, healthy life instead. So I offered Cinderella the same thing. No dice. The groomsmen, however, were eager for the chance at a six pack each, and agreed whole-heartedly. I clarified things; I was paying off only if all five groomsmen, plus the groom, had gravid bellies, and only if Cinderella was photographed with her skirts hiked up, running down the aisle to slay them all out of hand. They still agreed. My work there was done, so ‘Gette and I departed.

Later, Bridgette and Zelda went to ‘Rella’s bach. party (not together, just in proximity), I went to Charming’s with Othello. We had a lovely time. Bridgette had no confrontations with Zelda (good), and I left before the young lady who had been engaged to remove her clothing arrived. I am no opposed to watching attractive naked people, but I couldn’t see any good coming from having the father of the bride present to watch the groom play with a stripper.

Sleep was a very good thing.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry