Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Big Brother

When I told my former boss Jim, the man who hired both me and Matt, that we were having a girl and her name was to be Clare Elizabeth time stood still for a moment. A man who always has something to say was silent and misty eyed.

Finally in a quiet voice he said, that is my granddaughter's name exactly and she will be born on my wife's birthday. Then after a moment, true to nature, he said with a smile, "Your spelling Clare the right way- the Irish way- right? People will forever spell her name wrong, but those people are all idiots."

Well, Jim was right.

Three weeks into her life and Clare's name has been misspelled in numerous times: cards congratulating us on the birth of our daughter, the birth announcement emails sent out to staff at both mine and Matt's work (where there was an original email with the spelling), her insurance card (where I spelled it for the phone operator at least 4 times before hanging up), and the kicker- on her Social Security card (where it was written clear as day in my own hand).

I'm starting to get a little paranoid. Normally I am quite liberal and open to the trials of bureaucracy, but I think Big Brother might be trying to re-name our child. It is one thing for her name to appear spelled Claire, but it is anther to be changed to a completely different name.

According to the the Social Security Administration, our daughter is now named CLARKE Elizabeth. WTF SSA?

Now we just need to hope that her birth certificate came out of the name process unscathed so we can make the correction though the paperwork process that is the federal government.

Or just give in and start calling her Clarke instead of Clare.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Through Her Eyes

Mother's Day was a week late at daycare this year.

I was undecided as to whether I should attend with Clare (lots of germy, grabby hands in a two year old classroom), but I didn't want Grace to be disappointed that I didn't come. In the end she probably wouldn't have noticed- in a class of 12 kids only 2 other mom's came- but I guess I didn't want to be disappointed that I missed it either.

And I wasn't.

We made dragonfly clothespin magnets. (Somewhere during their journey home they lost their eyes and antenna.)

I was serenaded with You Are My Sunshine.

And discovered the paper plate portraits of me and Matt.

Matt was a little bit concerned about the thinning hair, but didn't voice the slightest worry that Grace made him a brunette instead of a blonde that matches her own hair color.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


It's a little bit ironic that this is my 300th post. A big, fat round number to accompany a post that forever changed our lives and the dynamic of our family. The birth of our second daughter.

At my 35th week OB appointment, my favorite doctor said it was too early to schedule Clare's induction, but suggested I start taking Primrose Oil vitamins to help speed up the process. Okey-doke doc.

During the start of my 36th week, Matt came home with the Pimp-Daddy-Caddy. That weekend the three of us went out to dinner. Matt ordered margaritas and I prayed to God that my belly would de-wedge from the booth we sat in. Given my alcohol free state, I drove home. At a stoplight I was tentative on the gas. Matt chided me and told me not to underestimate the power of the Caddy. She may be 16 years old, but could shotgun from a red light like nobody's business.

At my 37th week OB appointment, the same doctor rubbed her hands together eagerly and declared she was going to make the phone call and get my induction time slot scheduled. She came back minutes later and declared Sunday, April 25 my arrival time and I should have a baby in hand by the 26th.

She also decreed that she wasn't going to bother checking my cervix because she was sure 'I was still hard as a rock' and there was no need to put me though such an unpleasant exam unnecessarily. When I reminded her that I had been taking the Primrose Oil pills she suggested, she complemented herself on being smart enough to suggest them, but still said an exam was not needed.

At 37 weeks and 6 days, the night before I was scheduled for the induction I was awoken from my sleep with contractions. I sat downstairs from 1 - 3:30 am counting them. They ranged from 7 minutes apart to 21 minutes apart. Finally I convinced myself to go back to sleep, that no even if they were more than just crazy Braxton Hicks, they weren't regular enough to do anything about right now anyway.

After a few more hours of sleep, I woke feeling as if nothing had happened in the wee morning hours.

I was scheduled to be at the hospital at 6:30 pm on Sunday. Around 5 pm my stomach started to hurt. A little after 6 pm, while in the car on the way to the hospital I started having contractions. Not the 'oh my God I can't breathe kind of ones' they say are the true indicators of labor, but still definitely there. I went from nothing to 7 minutes part.

At 6:25 pm, as we sat at one of the last stoplights standing in our way between us and the hospital, Matt decided to demonstrate the power of the Pimp-Daddy-Caddy as we made the final turn.

My water broke.

Approximately 7 hours later, and almost exactly 24 hours from what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions the night before, I held my daughter in my arms without the assistance of pitocin.

Monday, May 3, 2010

One Week

Clare has been here for 1 week now. 7 days.

It was a week of numbers.

31 - 87 (blood sugars)
11 - 96 (blood serums)
17 - 12.3 (bilirubin)
24 (daily heel sticks)
2 (IV's thrust into her tiny hands)
60 (hours spent hovering next to a tiny isolette)
Millions (of tears shed)

I know what I am. I knew what the risks were, though I never really acknowledged they might happen to us. None of it ever touched Grace.

It is so much easier to be rational about our 4 days in NICU now that we are free and confirmed healthy. It is so much easier now to look back on those days and see that they were in fact short.

During my vigil at Clare's side, I kept telling myself not to wallow in pity. She WAS healthy. She was only in here as precaution. Look around you at the poor souls thrust into this world way too early. Clare was full term with temporary inflictions.


But it was still unbelievably hard and my heart will always ache with a new type of understanding for parents with NICU babies.

Now we fill our days with different numbers. Smiles and giggles and kisses and hugs and cuddles, already numbering well past the number of tears shed.