Archive for March, 2009

Photos, Middle Names, Dates

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Photos of Julia are up on the ZenFolio site.

Turns out that Lee is a more common middle name in my family than I realized.  Dan and Cathy both have Lee as middle name.  A couple others’ too, but forget who at the moment.

My Aunt Shirley (Dad Stevens’ sister) also has March 4th birthday.

The Donut Song

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

When I was a kid my Grandpa Mallone (Mom’s dad) used to sing a couple songs to us.  “You Are My Sunshine” was popular, but “The Donut Song” was the best.  The lyrics as I recall are:

Oh I walked around Columbus and I walked around the block
And I walked right in to a donut shop.
And I picked me a donut right out of the grease
And I handed the man a fine cent piece.
Well he looked at the nickle and he looked at me
And he said “This nickle’s no good you see.”
“For there’s a whole that goes right through.”
Said I “There a whole in the donut too.”
“Thanks for the donut, good bye”

I sang this to all three of my kids in the delivery room when they were born.  Finally a few months ago I remembered to ask grandpa where the song came from.  He remembered singing it around the fire camping with the Boy Scouts.  I think he was a troop leader (maybe founder) somewhere out in northwestern Ohio.  I think this was the late 1930′s.

In writing the post earlier about Julia’s birth I googled some lines from the song to see if I could find anything about it.  Turns out that I’m not the only person with fond childhood memories of this song:


Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

I was sleeping in the kids room when Heather called to me around 5:30am asking if I’d fetch her a cup of water and a couple popsicles.  I dragged myself out of bed mumbling under my breath wondering why she couldn’t get them herself.  Oh, contractions, eh?  Well, we’ve had those a few times over the last month or so, no big deal.  I dutifully collect the provisions from downstairs and return to bed for a bit more precious sleep.

A couple hours later I’m up and wrangling the kids to get them ready for school.  Contractions haven’t stopped, in fact they are more frequent and more painful.  Hmmmmm.  Heather calls the midwife at the hospital while I explain to kids what’s happening.  “Mommy’s belly has to squeeze hard to make the baby come out.  Maybe it’s time for the baby to come, maybe her body is just practicing.”  The kids seem to take this remarkably in stride.  We call the grandparents and tell them to make sure they have cell phones on them today.

Around 8:30 or so and we need to get to the hospital.  I’m practically begging the kids to cooperate with me during the morning routine, really, please.  They’re pretty good and are excited about what’s going on.  Brendan holds on to me and doesn’t want to let go when I drop him, but we manage without too much drama.

Driving to the hospital maybe 9:00-ish.  Having been through this drill a couple times I’m still not much less anxious than the first time.  Difference is that this time I know whan to be anxious about.

Hmmm… guess we need a name.  Kid wasn’t supposed to come for another week and we’re pretty unprepared.  Heather had mentioned Julia a few weeks ago so I’d been mulling over that.  I wasn’t immediately fond of it but it grew on me.  For Fiona we had books of names and lists and long talks comparing our favorite names.  For Brendan we had discussed a few names but had to decide on one in the hospital.  For #3 there was just one name in contention unless we wanted to pick something out of thin air.  Fiona was almost Isabella – still love that name but know a couple Isabellas now.  Brendan would have been Madeleine if he was a girl, but again we now know a few Madeleines.  I’d love something Italian as a nod to my Italian ancestry – Lucia maybe?  Nah, Julia is pretty.  Julia Lee Callahan Stevens.  Lee is both my dad’s middle name and Heather’s grandfather’s middle name (the great grandfather with whom Julia shares a birthday.)

In the hospital now, they are monitoring Heather, taking blood, etc.  Hook up the IV.  At some point Heather and I look and each other and realize what was already obvious to the staff – they aren’t evaluating Heather’s condition, they are prepping her for the c-section.  More phone calls.

The very friendly nurse can’t get the IV into Heather.  Thank goodness Heather has gotten over much of her needlephobia.  Several tries later and the nurse goes to find someone else to try.  Lucky for us the one nurse with legendary ability to find veins comes on duty just at that moment.  She used to work in corrections and had to deal with drug addicts whose veins were a mess.  Apparently she has drawn blood from between a patient’s fingers before when nothing else was usable.  She nails the IV first try.

They bring in the scrubs for me.  Actually not scrubs this time, some type of all white, one piece, tyvek bodysuit thing.  Looks like a painter’s outfit.  Heather gets wheeled off.  I wait a bit.  I remember this wait being subjectively forever with Fiona’s and Brendan’s births, not so long this time.  I make my way down the hall and take the seat at Heather’s right shoulder.

I try to make small talk with Heather to distract her from what’s going on.  I fail.  We chat with the anesthesiologist, she’s very friendly.  I guess they always are the ones sitting up above the patients head during surgeries so they develop the appropriate conversational skills.

Julia decides that this is a good time to start a gymnastics routine.  The docs and nurses actually all stop what they are doing to watch in amazement at the obvious gyrations.  I comment that it’s not fair for them to say things like “Look at that, that’s amazing!” right after cautioning me not to look over there past the drape.

Heather and I chat, trying to decide if they’ve actually started the procedure or not.  I’m certainly not going to look to find out, would likely pass out.  Doc says something that makes it obvious they have.  I few moments later we hear a little baby wail.  Heather mentions to me later that you can actually feel when they lift the baby out.  They hold Julia up above the drape so we can see for all of about 3 seconds before she’s off to the fry warmer.

Aside from that first wail she hasn’t been crying.  Has been a few minutes now.  Not a real cause for concern but they do try to get more gunk out of her lungs just to be sure.  Anesthesiologist (I can’t believe I’m spelling that right, or at least well enough to fool spell checker) takes camera from me and is snapping lots of photos.  They wrap Julia up and bring her over to me.  I do my best to hold Julia where mom and daughter can get a good look at each other.  More photos.

After a little bit I move with Julia back to a seat against the wall to make room for the bed they wheel in for Heather.  For a few minutes it’s just Julia and me by ourselves.  I sing her the Donut Song, just as I sang it for her siblings when they were born.

Julia was taken away upstairs to see if they could dislodge more gunk from inside her.  Heather and I were in a small room on the delivery floor for a couple hours until Heather had recovered enough for us to move up to the maternity floor.  We were told that Julia was fine and that they’d bring her to us soon.  At this point it has been 2-3 hours since Julia’s birth, we haven’t seen her since the delivery room, and we’re tired of waiting.  As first time parents we would have dociley waited for the mechanization of the hospital to deliver our child to us.  As second time parents we would have asked about maybe possibly getting her sooner.  But by the third time it pretty obvious how this work around there – so I strolled down to the nursery and asked them for our baby.  Finally, some time with Julia.

Julia was born at 12:32pm and we finally got her to Heather’s room in the maternity ward sometime around 3:30.  Kids are still at school and their naptime just ended at 3pm.  Mom Stevens is on the road, hopefully here around 6:00 or so.  Time to figure out logistics.  After spending a little time with Heather and Julia I go to retrieve big brother and big sister from school so they can meed their new sibling.

I walk into Fiona’s class first.  She’s sitting at a computer with some other kids, her back to me.  The teachers look up and ask excitedly if the baby has arrived.  I nod.  They ask name and I say that I’ll let Fiona tell them.  Fiona notices me and comes running over.  We step out into the hallway and I tell her that the baby came.  She’s bursting with excitement and runs into her classroom to announce that she has a new baby sister.  I hail Fiona back to me and tell her Julia’s name, at which point Fiona even more excitedly runs back to the classroom to announce this bit of news too.

This reaction is actually a bit of a relief.  Fiona has been excited about the arrival of a new baby, but she wasn’t a big fan of the name Julia when Heather mentioned it to her.  Fiona wanted us to name her sister Rainbow.

I chat with Ms. Julie and Ms. Raza for a moment then sign Fiona out of the class.  Hmmm.. where did she go?  Oh, she’s already down the hall telling Brendan’s whole class.  I hurry to snatch Brendan and give him the news.  He’s pretty excited and wants to tell his teachers.  Hmmm.. where’s Fiona?  Oh, she’s across the hall announcing the news to the other room.  Brendan has grown from not wanting a new baby several months ago to being lukewarm about it lately, so his enthusiasm at this point is a relief.

I sign Brendan out and grab his stuff from his cubby.  Fiona is awol again…. down the hall this time telling whoever she randomly comes across the news.  We pile into the minivan, I produce two tootsie-pops that I procured from somewhere, and we’re off to the hospital.

Our friend Christine is already there and holding the baby when we arrived.  Heather had updated her facebook status and Christine is between jobs so drove right over.  It’s nice to have a friend around to share excitement with.  Kids are both wired, Fiona wants to hold Julia immediately.  She’s been waiting anxiously for months for the chance to hold her baby sister.  The novelty of a new sibling wears off pretty quickly for Brendan and after a bit longer for Fiona.  I set them up watching Air Buddies on my laptop.  Mom Stevens is there shortly afterwards.

After the movie I take the kids down to the cafeteria to eat.  They’ve about had their fill of that hospital room so I just need to get them out for a bit.  I get some chicken strips, fries, etc.  The kids treat the food with disdain.  Normal rules are suspended today, I let Fiona have the piece of chocolate cake she had picked out and Brendan gets his green jello.  The green jello turns out to look much more exciting than it tastes, Brendan wants my pudding instead.  No way buddy, I earned this pudding today, but I’ll go get you your own.

We return upstairs for a little bit before the kids need to head home to bed.  I head home with them to help Mom Stevens with their bedtime.  Trying to keep their routine as similar as possible and make sure they have lots of attention from Heather and me during these first few days.  Getting to sleep takes a while, but eventually they capitulate and I get to head back to the hospital.