Tag Archives: babymaking


I’m working on two grant applications for work and I’ve nominated myself (I know, how ostentatious of me) for the Lambda Literary Foundation’s emerging writer award, the application for which is due by March 7. I’ve already applied for two writing grants, am looking at three submission deadlines at the end of the month for short work, and submitted two other pieces for consideration in anthologies. Meanwhile Susanne and I have cobbled together the new baby’s nursery, hesitatingly accepted an invitation to a baby shower, and put together various things for our second kid. Her physician tells us that the baby could come at any time, even though we’re two weeks away from the due date. We have a backup plan in case labor begins before her mother flies into town. I’m trying to get my office ready for my short absence, and manage to keep a semblance of a writing schedule up until the rush to the hospital. And oh, my debut novel is due to be released in a little more than a week.

I’m not sleeping through the night anymore. Please don’t worry for me. It makes perfect sense, after all. There’s a lot going on. (See: preceding paragraph.) I’m no longer the French vaudeville guy spinning plates on sticks in front of a hostile audience. I’m spinning plates and juggling fire-torches at the same time. Or something. Forget it, it’s a sucky metaphor. In my 90 minutes of insomnia a night I play a little sudoku, read twenty pages of a novel, and roll over like a hot dog at 7Eleven. Once or twice I’ve groped my way out of bed to try to write a little and I wind up deleting the disaster the next day. I remember going to an exhibit in DC several years ago about women artist and insomnia, and there was this one wall—seriously, the whole gallery wall—that was a series of pen points that created a behemoth picture. I can’t even recall what the picture was. It could have been pugs dancing in tutus for all I know. The thing that stuck with me was the three gazillion dots on the wall. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. It was intricate, and mad, and just under the threshold of out-of-control.

My insomnia is nothing like that. It’s not tortured or angsty. It doesn’t feel like the edge of a precipice so much as it feels like I’m about to emerge out of a long tunnel that is curved just enough to keep from letting any light reach my retinas. It’s traveling through a space just dark enough to inspire or frighten one’s trust. So far I’ve got that trust, layered with excitement. I’m thrilled for the family to grow. I’m stressing over the external sleeplessness I know comes with round-the-clock feedings. I wasn’t worried when Susanne was laboring to bring Emile into the world that she’d be unable to walk for more than a month, but now I am. Knowledge is maybe not always power.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy, I’m fulfilled, I’m chocked up with anticipation, and the kinetic energy I contain on a daily basis this month is too much for my brain to get me to a decent sleep level. And so, I look forward to her labor, to my moment of giving her my best support, and the time when they lay a little body on her chest and she falls instantly in love with her newest child. I just have to get a ton of shit done before then, because there’s no way I’ll care about it afterward.

Dragon Blossom, or the Story of Emile’s Birth

To no one’s surprise, it is 3:08 in the morning and I am awake, groggily awake. Unlike past bouts of insomnia, on nights when I couldn’t sleep because oh, I was going to start 3rd grade, or when I had to get up this early to make a flight, I am awake by means of a constant prodding from my son, Emile. And despite the sleep deprivation and little ways that it steals sensibility from a person (such as forgetting how to open a door), just writing his name in a blog post thrills me. I’m so happy he’s here with us.

Also unsurprisingly, my wife’s child announced his need to be born on his own terms. Neither she nor I lacks for obstinacy, and both of us have an automatic resistance reflex when we’re told what to do. I’m not a huge fan of DNA as fatalistic decider for human behavior, but I admit there are things like family patterns. And proclaiming that just because Susanne went into labor two days before our scheduled induction means the little one is as stubborn as each of us is premature but fun. Because I’m zonked out these days, I’ll take fun as a sustaining activity.
Read More…

Due Date Physics

I admit that I’ve been reading up on string theory and theoretical physics, in research mode for my next novel, hence the title of this post. We were all set to go for induction this last Thursday, but then, well, nothing ever goes as planned, right?

DEFCON signage, on level 1Taking a few steps back to the last Monday in August, we were informed that our appointment would be moved earlier by an hour because our regular doctor had called in sick. So we met with another doctor in the practice. Instead of Sarah Palin’s doppelganger, who I’ve come to really like, we got a woman who looked like a soccer mom of 8 children. All I knew about her before this appointment was that she’s the doctor who does the circumcisions in the practice, and she’s kind of klutzy. Those are two tastes that I’m sure don’t taste great together, but on this day, I could be unconcerned with her gracefulness and focus on Susanne’s internal exam. Had our own doctor Palin been doing the examination, we’d have a clear idea of when to try to induce; as it was, we were going to have to wait for the fill-in to contact Susanne’s doctor, who would then call us, probably on Tuesday.

In the meantime, however, Dr. Spaz made an induction appointment for us for that Thursday.

Three. Days. Away. Read More…

Baby Class

baby entering the birth canalThis whole life creation thing makes for an unpredictable voyage, and not just because Susanne and I have been coming at it from an alternative place—I get that not every baby started out with their parents combing through medical histories and sperm count data. And I hereby note, for what it’s worth, that I may hear some unusual rantings when our child is 14 or so about how they entered into this world, in the midst of their teenage angst. I’m okay with that. We’re still going to sit through the six-week course at St. Mary’s Hospital, with the pillows brought in from home clutched to our chests as we watch painfully accurate portrayals of live births on a wide screen in the training room. Vernix is a necessary substance, I’m sure, but it does not do wonders for anyone’s look. Read More…

Baby Stuff Avalanche

baby toy thingamabobbyOur unborn dragon is now at 23 weeks and counting, and as Babycenter.com tells me, can hear sounds pretty well, so I broke out my iPod and played a little Billie Holiday the other day, thanks be to Susanne’s unending patience. One book I found suggests that I should play loud sounds in proximity to her uterus so that they won’t bother the dragon as much once it’s out in the world with us. I’m not sure I can pass off needing to vacuum our bedroom, as we have hardwood floors in there. Maybe I’ll blame it on the dust bunnies that have huddled under our bed. Protection in numbers won’t save those buggers from the Electrolux, after all. Read More…

Dragon Soccer

dragon soccer iconWe received an audience with Sarah Palin again today (read, the family practitioner who looks like Sarah Palin), and after waiting only 45 minutes, she joined us for Susanne’s latest exam. After a string of additional symptoms, like sudden, cataclysmic leg cramps, stubborn heartburn, and the mucous that accompanies late spring pollen bursts, Sarah Palin grabbed her fetal heartbeat monitor and pushed around searching for sound.

WHAM, responded the baby dragon, who I imagine had been sleeping peacefully just a scant few seconds earlier. Read More…

Marital Bedding

body pillows with animal printsIt’s an obvious statement to say that things change during pregnancy. A pregnant woman’s blood volume increases, as does her basal temperature. There are countless tales about mood swings, cravings, nausea, and old wives’ advice to predict what sex the baby will be, and some of these things are fun but many of them begin to annoy the mother and father to be because quickly, they’ve heard of these things.

Less spotlighted are some other physical changes. The pregnant woman’s gastrointestinal tract slows down so more nutrients can be absorbed from the food she eats, resulting in heartburn and a chronic need for stool softener, which she is allowed to pop like so many small candies. Read More…

My Wife Is Having a Dragon

baby dragon perched on fingersWe tromped over to our local radiology lab on Monday to get a look at the little one, still lovingly referred to as Susanne’s “parasite,” and were amazed at how much more development has happened in the last 12 weeks. There were definitely leaping hearts in the room watching every heart flutter and gulp of the wee one’s mouth.

It also appears that we’re going to have a dragon. Read More…

You Can Swim But You Can’t Hide

baby duckWhere once we were used to a monthly routine of trying to conceive, which came with its own arc of emotions, we’ve had regular prenatal visits with the good doctor here in Walla Walla. The good news is, she’s more than competent, a fixture in the city for newborn delivery, and there are no more fingers crossed visits in which we plunk down a lot of money and spend down our reserves of hope that we get knocked up. As folks know, we are happy to have a fetus in formation.

The bad news is, the doctor looks like Sarah Palin. Read More…

Deep Fried Oreos

deep fried oreosI pride myself on cooking well, and across cuisines, ingredients, and meals of the day. If someone can’t eat a certain kind of food—close friends know I never eat raw tomatoes—I enjoy coming up with substitutes, different recipes, and so on. Cooking to me represents an ever-shifting journey that feels at times like archaeology. There is literally nothing I can come up with in the kitchen that hasn’t been done by someone else before me, so I at least attempt to hold that history sacred when I’m fixing up a dish.

When I found out we were with child, after all of the excitement rolled through us, one of my first thoughts was that I’ll be able to adjust to whatever food preferences Susanne has for the duration of the pregnancy. And yet this moment marked the peak of my culinary confidence in this regard. Read More…

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