Archive for October, 2005

Serenity Movie TicketI’ve plugged and plugged the movie Serenity to the point where some people have questioned whether I’m being paid to do so. Simon chose the exact day that we were planning on seeing it to make his debut appearance, so it has naturally been on the backburner for a while.

Yesterday we braved the movie theatre with a baby. So Simon saw (or at least slept through) his first movie! We intentionally chose the 1:30PM showing in the hopes that there would be very few people there. We were lucky enough to have the entire theatre to ourselves for the first two-thirds of the movie. At that point some random creepy man showed up. Who pops in to watch the last third of a movie? What’s that about?

So on to the movie. The following could be considered a bit spoilery, so don’t read it if you want to see the movie without knowing ANYTHING. Despite a weak beginning, I thought the movie was very good. Once it got rolling, Serenity was quite fun. The strength of the show (Firefly, which Serenity was based on) was always the characters, and I thought that was true of the movie, as well. It’s hard to introduce and get people invested in a cast as large as this one, but I thought Whedon & Co. pulled it off.

The effects were adequate, but not spectacular. In this movie, that wasn’t a problem because the character development and plot really took over the movie. For once, in a science fiction movie, the effects were secondary. They were a means to an end. Very much like the original Star Wars movies. Definitely NOT the “look what I can do with CGI” that the later three became.

I was surprised how well the story worked, and Joss Whedon, NOBODY WAS SURPRISED WHEN YOU KILLED ****. If there’s anybody who doesn’t get too attached to his characters, it’s Whedon. Nobody is safe in a Whedon TV show, and apparently movie.

I’m not certain that Serenity did well enough to justify a sequel, or a return of the series to TV. One can only hope. Regardless, they’ve done an excellent job with the movie that they made. It’s still in theatres and you should go see it if you get a chance. Or if not, put it on your list of movies to see on DVD.

I’ve posted another photoset over at Flickr. This one is small, but there are some cute photos in there!

In other news, I’m sitting here watching football (Go Skins! 35 points in the first half? Who are you, and what have you done with my team?), with a sleeping baby on my chest. I’m not sure what it is, but the Snugli puts Simon to sleep nearly instantaneously. Not that I’m complaining. Because I’m definitely not.

Simon & Casey Being Super CuteFirst off, our moms are awesome. Kate’s mom spent two and a half weeks with us here cooking, cleaning, and generally making our lives so much easier after Simon was born. She left today, and we’re already missing her! So thanks Mom! While I took Kate to the airport today, my mother picked up where her mother left off and kept Kate company. We are blessed to have such wonderful, supportive families.

The other thing I wanted to mention was this opinion piece in the Washington Post about Down Syndrome babies and prenatal testing. I don’t have much to say about it other than I thought it was an EXCEPTIONAL piece, and I just wanted to throw it out here for other people to read.

Simon & Casey Being Super Cute I’m not sure what this would be an advertisement for, but darn it, it would sell. I mean really. A cute dog AND a cute baby? Who can resist that? Shameless? Sure. Effective? Yup. This picture comes from the new set of baby photos on Flickr. I swear that some day this will become my blog again, and not Simon’s.

In all seriousness, Casey has been SO GOOD with the baby. She is super curious about him, and just wants to sniff. Oh, and lick his feet. Casey LOVES licking feet, but she is super-enthusiastic about licking Simon’s. We’re not overly enthused about letting her do this, so after one or two licks, she gets sent to her spot. Naturally, she shoots those puppy-dog how-could-you-ruin-my-fun eyes at us, and we (well, I, at any rate) feel horrible.

She’s also jumped into the “protective dog” role, which is so not like her. She makes a big show of jumping up and barking like a fool whenever somebody knocks on the door, and as soon as they are let in tries to punish them by loving them to death. Yeah, you’re a badass, Casey. Bad. Ass.

Peter, don’t read this. And if you do, don’t tell your mom where you learned that new word.

This post has been a long time coming. I knew that life would be a good deal more hectic once my son was born, but I really had no idea what I was in store for. It just seems like I have a billion teeny tiny little things to do. I’ve been noticing that these are things that prior to Simon’s birth I probably would have procrastinated doing. Maybe it’s because I have my mother-in-law living with us and I don’t want her to know what a huge slacker I am in real life. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Labor story.

I’m not really sure why I’m posting this, as this is a pretty personal event. I guess part of me wants to help other people who are having children know what to expect. Another part of me just wants to tell the whole world every teeny detail of my son’s birth, whether they want to hear it or not. At least this way, you can choose not to read on, if you so desire.

The following is my version of the events that happened on September 30, 2005. Kate will have her own version, or additions to this, perhaps. Simon, of course, will not remember any of this and will have to rely on Dad’s poor memory. I am not normally a fan of long posts, but this post is FREAKING LONG. For those who aren’t a fan of text and just want to flip through pictures, all the pictures that I’ve used in this story (plus some) are posted on Flickr. I’ll try not to be too graphic, but if you’re squeamish at all, you may not want to read the following. All times are approximate.

September 30, 2005

1:00AM – We had both gone to bed around midnight. Around 1AM, Kate walks into our bedroom (she spent the last month or so of pregnancy sleeping in our comfy guest bed) and tries to convince me that her water has broken. Unsuccessfully. “Are you sure?”, I ask. “No”, she replies. Very convincing.

1:30AM – I go to check on Kate. After some discussion we feel that we should play it safe and call the doctor. Dr. Anderson, to be specific, was on call and assured us that we did the right thing. “Sounds like you’re going to be having a baby today!”. And with that, we start gathering our things to head to the hospital.

The Emergency Room at 2:30AM2:30AM – We take our time gathering our things, walking the dog, and getting out the door. We have this luxury because the hospital is all of 5 minutes from our house. Very convenient. We show up at the Emergency Room (the only place you can check into the hospital at that time of day) and check in. They take us upstairs to labor and delivery, where our first nurse (we went through 3 whole shifts!) Courtney, did some preliminary tests. The test to tell if Kate’s water had indeed broken was. . . inconclusive.

Walking Around the Hospital3:00AM – 5:00AM – The doctor decided that the best course of action at this point would be to have us walk around the hospital for 2 hours to see if that stimulated labor, or moved the baby around enough to really indicate the water had broken. This picture was taken as we are doing our rounds about the labor, delivery, and post-partum wards. Walking around a hospital at this hour of the morning isn’t nearly as appealing as it sounds. And if you think that it doesn’t sound very appealing to begin with, you’d be right.

5:00AM – 8:00AM – Just as Kate has had it and lays down to rest, her water officially REALLY breaks. No inconclusive tests this time. They hook her up to a monitor and discover that she is having itsy-bitsy contractions. She doesn’t really feel them, so lays down to rest. You’d think I would do the same. But no, I run home to walk and feed the dog and make sure arrangements for her are in place, pick up a few things from the house, make a few phone calls, and dash back to the hospital. One of the phone calls was to Kate’s parents, so they could get on the road (they live in NY).

8:00AM – The doctor stops by to check up on Kate first thing in the morning, and finds that . . . well, suffice it to say that labor isn’t really progressing at all. Since Kate’s water has broken, the chance for infection is markedly higher, so the doctor recommends assisting labor. Kate takes a pill that was supposed to help move things along. I am being intentionally vague. They give this wonder-drug 2-3 hours to work, so we sat back to wait (some more).

11:00AM – Wonder-pill has done it’s job, but contractions are still pretty weak. The doctor administers Pitocin (an artifical hormone) which really kicks labor into high gear.

12:00PM – 2:30PM – After Pitocin is administered, the contractions start coming HARD and FAST. Kate is dealing pretty well with most of them, but after about an hour and a half, decides that the pain is getting to be too much, and we ask our current nurse (Melanie) to call the anesthesiologist and order the epidural.

As is often the case, the anesthesiologist was stuck in surgery, and so it was at least an hour before she showed up, and Kate was in some serious pain. I can’t speak to whether this was the worst pain she’s ever felt, but if eyes rolling back into her head, and forsaking loud sounds for soft sobs of pain were any indication, I’d say it hurt pretty good. I was just starting to get pretty freaked out when the anesthesiologist showed up to administer the epidural.

After the administration of the epidural, I watch the nurses start to walk back and forth, looking concerned. Kate, I think, was mostly oblivious that there might be a problem. But I’m standing there watching the contractions and monitor, and can see the baby’s pulse dropping pretty significantly. Outwardly, I’m trusting the nurses to take care of the situation (which it appeared they were) because I don’t want to freak Kate out, but inwardly I am FREAKING OUT. But after hooking Kate up to some oxygen, the little guy bounces right back (WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU ALL DOING TO ME OUT THERE?!?!), and with Kate about to feel some relief, we have a much-needed respite right around the corner.

Kate and Nurse Melanie3:00PM – The epidural kicks in. As you can see from the picture, Kate is all smiles because, did I mention, the EPIDURAL HAS KICKED IN. Thank God.

A quick sidebar regarding our nurses: In short, they were awesome. In this picture with Kate is Melanie, the second nurse we had while at the hospital. We were there for her entire shift. We had three nurses over the course of labor and delivery – Courtney, Melanie, and Micki. They were all fantastic. Seriously, I feel pretty confident that we made it through the labor and delivery because of the wonderful care of our three nurses. Our doctor was excellent, of course, but she was only there occasionally and for the critical big moment. The nurses were in and out far more frequently, and we became pretty attached to them.

Kate and Nurse Courtney Kate and Nurse Micki

Dr. Anderson checks with us again at this point, and asks Kate “What are you trying to do? Show off?” after discovering that Kate has gone from less than 1cm to 7cm in all of an hour and a half. To many of you that won’t mean much, but to some of you that will be impressive. She leaves us so that Kate can rest while the Pitocin does it’s job with the contractions she is no longer feeling.

4:00PM – Just for the record, everything from 11AM to 5PM is very approximate with regards to the time it happened. Everything through there is quite the fog, honestly. At some point after the epidural was administered, just as Kate and I were about to drift off for a couple of Zs, her parents poke their heads into the room! Into the labor and delivery room!! Yeah, I wasn’t quite expecting to see them there. But they were a welcome site, and were so excited to see Kate. We hustled them out pretty fast, as the next stage was about to start.

5:00PM – 7:00PM – Pushing. Oy. Even though the epidural was there to cut the pain, this was a tough two hours. The boy just didn’t want to come out. Not even a little. Apparently Kate has a tough pelvic something-or-the-other, and baby boy was pretty big and rotated just the wrong way. Halfway through the 2 hours of pushing, the doctor came in and decided to TURN THE EPIDURAL OFF in the hopes that this would help Kate push.

So two full hours of exhausting pushing lead to the eventual decision that he was going to have to come out via c-section. Which is exactly what Kate didn’t want. It was 18 hours since her water broke, and for all that work to have to resort to a c-section was pretty upsetting for both of us. Surgery is never a happy thing, but poor Kate was SIMPLY EXHAUSTED at this point, and there really wasn’t any other option.

I was mostly a wreck at this point, too. I realize that actually going through labor is so much worse than what I did, but let me tell you this: watching somebody you love endure that much pain is NOT FUN.

7:00PM – 8:00PM – This hour was consumed with talking to the doctor and making the c-section decision, breaking the news to her parents, and getting ready for surgery. At about 8PM, they let me into the operating room, where I made a beeline for Kate’s head, where we were both kindly shielded from the surgery taking place barely 3 feet away. I will not go into details regarding surgery. I’ve given too much detail already! Time of birth? 8:10PM.

The c-section was the culmination of one of the most amazing, frightening, traumatic, and joyful experiences of my life. When they poked little Simon over the curtain to say hello (WAHHHH!!!!!), I couldn’t believe he was ours. I’ve had over week to get used to this idea of parenthood, and I STILL can’t believe he is ours. What a responsibility. What a joy. And what an amazing honor to be chosen as the parent for this child.

Our three days in post-partum is a whole separate story. One which I will not go into now. Suffice it to say that last Monday we were able to bring our baby boy home. We’re thrilled to have him, and we have so many people to thank. The doctor, our nurses, our parents and families, friends visiting and praying, the list goes on and on. So begins the adventure called parenthood. Please, be gentle.

Kate made the observation last night that Simon’s first words may very well be “No, Casey! No!”.

I promise that I will eventually post a full account (more or less) of labor, delivery, and the joy that followed. But time and sleep have been scarce, and blogging has been low on the priority list.

I’m running on about 3 hours of sleep in the past 3 days, so this is going to be short (plus, I’m expected back at the hospital soon). Kate is running on about 1. He was delivered via c-section, and both mother and baby are doing well, although Kate is expectedly uncomfortable. More on the whole process and pictures will be coming later, but here are the critical stats.

Simon Murray Campbell

Born September 30, 2005 @8:10PM

Weight: 8lbs 13oz

Length: 20 3/4in