Saturday, December 29, 2007

Update from the Nursery

Things are going well. Aiden was more peaceful and less fussy last night so I got a little more sleep than I had the other nights. Hurray. It's amazing how fast your perspective of sleep can change. Last week, two hours of sleep in a row was nothing - now it's a life-saving, world-altering luxury. Brad has been a fantastic hero in that department.

It makes my heart sing and cry for joy at the same time to see what a wonderful father Brad is. Not that I'm really surprised - but you never know quite what to expect- he hasn't had a whole lot of experience with infants up to this point in his life. It is a delight to see how in love he is with our little boy. He loves to hold Aiden, take pictures of him, doesn't complain when he cries at night and has already changed more diapers than some fathers change in their whole lives. He went out yesterday and got some pictures printed and got a little mini-album so he could take them into work ( today was his first day back) and show off our son. He claims that he heard Aiden say his first word today: isthmus. Ah, yes. That's our boy, displaying his top-notch vocab skills already.

So- yes. Things are going well. I feel very loved and cared for - so many people have been helping out and supporting us. It is so nice to have members of both our families close by. We are blessed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My day in a nutshell

Joy. Exhaustion. Love. Diapers. Awe. Pain. More love. More diapers. Crying. Snurfling and snorting noises ( Aiden, not me). Joy again. And again...and again...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

And here we are...

Well, folks, we made it. To Day One. I thought it would never happen, although many assured me it would. People always talk about "the miracle of birth" - I'm here to tell you, miraculous seems like a weak word when used in this context.

Giving birth has always been a big thing to me, probably since I was old enough to know what was involved. Frankly, it freaked me out. It just DIDN'T seem natural. It seemed impossibly supernatural and frighteningly grotesque. And being one of the wimpiest people on the planet, the thought of that much pain just boggled me. I just didn't want to think of what it must feel like to be in so much pain that you groaned and screamed like you were dying. I looked upon the day I gave birth as equivalent to the day of my death, in spite of the fact that I knew if I ever did give birth, I'd be drugged to the nth degree.

Thankfully, in recent days, God gave me the grace to deal with my fears so that I wasn't totally incapacitated with dread, but old doubts hung in the back of my mind, waiting for me to pay attention to them...and sometimes I couldn't ignore them. Like yesterday, as we waited through tedious hours as the drug to induce me began to take effect...and I could hear a woman in a room nearby making noises that would frighten the bravest of us. I didn't know whether to turn up the TV and ignore her, or turn the TV down to listen to her and embrace my panic.

Yes, I had drugs - a number of them, to be precise. But guess what- it still hurt, and in the end, I made those same animal noises that frightened me when I heard them in movies or real life or whatever. And you know what - I was given a power beyond myself to push this baby into the world. I know it was beyond me because I know myself. I know my limits. I know my capacity for panic and my capacity for strength... and this was just something else entirely, something that did not fit into my own character. There came a point when things were a bit dicey, ( gory details, as Brad would say, to follow in some later chapter) and God caused me to behave in a way that was just not ME. And wonder of wonders, a human being came out of me. And we are both alive. And well! And it's over! It's like I've died and gone to heaven; I've faced one of my biggest fears in life and I'm on the other side. And the reward is so indescribably precious...I can't even hardly begin to express the astonishing depth of love for this person who I had never seen twenty four hours ago.

Many thanks to all those who prayed for us as we went through our little drama. I think those prayers played a big part in what got me through when the going got really tough... and I am grateful - to you and to God.

Unto Us a Son is Given

Aiden Charles Murray Pass
7lbs. 12oz.

"...a sleep full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing."

He popped out at 11:59 - I guess he was determined not to be a Christmas baby! My eyes kept darting to the clock, hoping he would be born on Christmas day. Claire didn't, though, and she won.

We are very happy. I'll let Claire share the gory details at a later date, but it is enough to say that we saw God's hand make the difference.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Waiting at the Hospital

Claire's blood pressure was a little high this morning, so her doctor sent us up to the hospital to have the baby induced. It will probably be a at least 12 hours before much happens, so we are just sitting here relaxing - at least I am. The hospital has wi-fi, so I may post updates. I was going to use Facebook, but the hospital server has it blocked.

Futher bulletins as events warrant.

Still waiting...

...This is getting OLD.

Heading to the doctor's in a few minutes for an ultrasound and hopefully my last appointment...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007


...still on the inside. Brad and I were discussing the fact that we are both very early people. If we know we have to be somewhere at a certain time, we get there ten minutes early, if humanly possible. Sometimes earlier. We HATE being late. Hate, hate, hate. So I suppose it's natural to hope that our son will inherit this trait. But so far, he is not showing any sign of it. He only has a few more hours to be early. Tomorrow he will be on time - still acceptable. After that, he'll be late. And that's just rude. Oh dear. Let the fretting commence afresh.

We did get our "new" car though! That's the latest exciting news... Nate arrived home yesterday evening, driving our new vehicle - a red 2000 (?) Volkswagen Passat station wagon. We both love it. It's scrumptious and cute. Yes- indeed! Who knew a station wagon could be scrumptious and cute? I dare you to think otherwise when you see it. It cries out to be eaten - like a big, red lollipop. Perhaps pictures will follow at some point in the near future and corroborate my opinion.

The last time I drove a station wagon, I was in highschool, and it was the old family blue Chevy station wagon that I learned how to drive in. Now I shall be driving a family car as a parent, not a child. I'm super-weirded out by that thought.

Now we are REALLY READY for this baby to come.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Today's Trivia


- I did not have the baby. Yet. ( There are still a few hours left of today.)

- I went to the chiropractor with Penny - and then to Panera on the way home! Yesssss!

- I was asked by a neighborhood little boy if I was "Charlie's Mom." ( Charlie = Grandpa.)

- I wore slippers to Wednesday night meeting at church. They were more comfortable than the alternative. No one seemed to mind.

- On our way home, we stopped at Target to get more jelly bellies for Charli-dolls. I felt like a hoodlum in my slippers. The woman at the cash register stood there for a solid minute after the transaction went through, checking out the flavors of jelly beans on the back of the bag. " Ooo- Dr. Pepper! That's a good one! Ooooh- Toasted Marshmallow..." I felt bad for the people behind us.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

For all those who keep checking in wondering if I've gone into labor yet...

...nope, I'm still here. Our offspring seems quite content to stay put for now. Argh.

I called Penny to ask her some things this morning and had to start RIGHT OUT with, "I'm not in labor" because I knew when she saw my name on her cell phone, she might start wondering...

The instructor in my birthing class video says that you will go into labor when you least expect it, like when you are in the tuna-fish aisle...So I avoided the tuna-fish aisle for a while...but now I'm considering taking up residence there. And it's hard to NOT expect it. I think I'm even expectant in my sleep... or what passes for sleep these days. It's more like Nocturnal Pilgrimages to The Bathroom Punctuated By Dozing.

I was in the grocery store again yesterday and encountered one of the first people who I had told I was pregnant. Yes, before I even told some members of my family my good news last spring, I told the produce man at Kroger. This was because he asked how I was doing and I was experiencing a rare bout of nausea ( I only had morning sickness once or twice) and I just decided to be completely honest and give him way more information than he bargained for... I told him he might have a clean-up in aisle 4 on his hands in a few minutes... Whenever I ran into him after that - only a handful of times- he'd ask how I was and I'd update him. It had been a while since I'd seen him but there he was as I waddled into the store yesterday, and he asked how I was doing again - brave man- and I told him it could be ANY MINUTE! Then another nice employee helped me load my groceries from the cart onto the conveyor belt at the checkout...and the cashier was full of baby talk...It's amazing what a pregnant belly will do to people. But it's funny, the things people will come out with. " My uncle was born on Christmas Eve!" Oh... how nice. Gold star for you!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Not Yet

I have arrived at the stage where I'm done working, I'm running out of things to do, people have started looking at me like I'm some sort of freak of nature ( which is kind of nice in the grocery store because they get out of my way like I'm carrying the plague or something), and other people have started calling me to check in on me, which I think is very sweet but I'm sorry to disappoint them with the news that nothing has happened yet. I was a little disappointed myself that he wasn't born yesterday because the 14th was Grandpa M's birthday and I thought that would be nice for him to share that august relatives' natal number. I am trying to stay peaceful and surrendered to the fact that God's timing is perfect and I can't hurry Mother Nature...and that if he is born on Christmas Eve, it won't be the end of the world. I know I shouldn't be so impatient. After all, I still have another week til my due date. I've just been sending "EARLY! EARLY!" vibes for so long that a big part of me is expecting him ANY MINUTE NOW.

Have you ever known that something really big was about to happen - like you had prior knowledge of a fire drill, or you knew someone was going to jump out from behind your door and yell BOO, or you found out about a surprise party for yourself and you were about to step into a room and people were going to yell "SURPRISE!", or you were watching "Signs" and you knew the alien's hand was going to shoot out from underneath the door and Mel Gibson was going to cut off his fingers and the alien was going to make an unearthly shrieking sound ... and you KNEW these things were coming, and you steeled yourself for them anyway... because when they actually DID happen, you still got this spine-tingling jolt like being struck by lightning. That's what I feel like right now.

I'm bracing myself for the shock.

I'm sitting at the red light trying to guess when it's going to change because when it turns green, the pedal is going to automatically go to the metal and I'm going to burn rubber. I'm floating along in my hot air balloon, waiting to be shot out of the sky. I'm sitting at the bottom of that ride at Six Flags where they shoot you straight up in the air like 200 feet in 2 seconds, waiting for someone, somewhere to flip the switch that will send my stomach and me in different directions. Can you imagine the awful suspense of being strapped into that ride, and waiting for DAYS ON END...knowing that at any second, you could go barreling off into the stratosphere? This is how I feel.

I know that pretty soon, I'm going to start feeling contractions, or my water's going to break...but I don't know if it's a matter of minutes, hours, days, or weeks... and it's driving me cah-razy. This is an event that I have looked forward to - in joy and in dread- for the better part of my life, and I have no control over it. I wish I COULD control it - it would be quite handy in so many situations. I sat in a waiting room for about an hour and a half yesterday, waiting for my car's oil to be changed, and the tires to be rotated. It would have been nice to be able to jump up and say, " Okay, boys, you gotta wrap this up- my water just broke!" Or if you are standing in a long line at the bank and there are ten people ahead of you, I bet they would let you go to the front if your water magically broke. Or somebody corners you in the grocery store and starts up a storm of inane chatter... "Whoa!" "Well, I'll see ya! Gotta run!" The ultimate excuse to flee any scene.

Sigh. Never fear. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Claire Chews Gum

This video was taken on the way to the chiropractor yesterday with Nate and Penny. Claire never chews gum, and rarely permits me to chew it in her presence. That fact makes this video no small triumph.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You know you're getting close when... buy milk with the same expiration date as your due date.

...a passing employee at Rite Aid tells you to hurry up your shopping before you go into labor because she doesn't "do" emergencies very well...and then proceeds to tell you all about her childbirth experiences.

...your sister-in-law sets up your Christmas tree for you because you can't do it yourself! Thanks, Pen! So far, Stan hasn't toppled it.

...the junk mail inserts that fell out of the National Geographic are still on the floor because you can't reach them. Liane, I think I need Grandpa's handy li'l old-people grabbing device thingy.
( I mean, the device that old people use. Not a device that grabs old people. That sounds like something out of Far Side...)'s too much work to get the vegetables out of the crisper drawer at the bottom of the fridge.( Another place where "The Grabber" would come in handy.)'s too much work to get out of bed.'s too much work to do ANYTHING.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Trivia from my Current Life

Today I sat out on my back porch and ate a popsicle. ( Well- a frozen fruit bar, to be precise. Strawberry, to be even more precise.) It was THAT warm out. I think it was in the 70's. I even went for a little waddling walk. Hallelujah for the southern climate....or global warming- whichever it is. :) I think my blood has thinned to the point where I could not move back to the north without a severe shock to my system.

In other news, I have two more days of work left ( and maybe a workshop day on Wednesday)
( baby permitting) until I go on maternity leave for a couple months. I'm really going to miss Philip. The tentative plan right now is to start back at three afternoons a week in February... Who knows how all the details will work together but I would really like to stay involved with him; I have invested a lot in him and he's a wonderful person. I think we work well as a team. If it's at all possible, I want to make it work. I am so incredibly thankful for this job; it has been such an ideal situation for me during the past nine months. The people, the hours, the pay, the commute, the work itself - I could not ask for anything better.

In still other news, Penny and I are considering becoming vandals: we want to go around popping the big inflatable holiday snow globes that people have up in their yards. As an affront to good taste, they make us seethe with righteous anger. And speaking of vandals, why is it that the Vandals got picked to be notorious? Why not the Visigoths? Nobody says, "That was an act of visigothism!"

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bugged by Kindness

I've been getting these messages on my answering machine for weeks - maybe even months, I can't remember- from our health insurance provider, asking me to contact them about a program that I am eligible for having to do with pregnancy. I looked upon it as an annoyance, a bureaucratic bother. I figured: I don't need this, I don't want this, just leave me aLONE. I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy - what good is their silly program going to do? The more they called, the more I resisted calling them back. Every time, it was a different person on my answering machine, stupidly, cheerfully optimistic that I would return their call as soon as I could. I wondered if I was getting a reputation at the call center: " You take this one. She's a tough nut to crack. I'll give you ten bucks if she answers the phone or calls you back." Maybe they even had a pool going. ( I know- my mind is weird. And self-centered. Who is self-flattering enough to imagine that they are notorious at their health insurance company's call center?)

It became like a game of chicken. Who is going to break this cycle of madness first?! And then they started MAILING me stuff. AND leaving messages. I was amazed - and dismayed- at their persistence. Spurned lovers are less insistent to hear from you than these people. ( Not that I have had much - or ANY- experience with spurning lovers.) It seemed like every other day, some Paula, Betty, or Suzie would be leaving me a message. I wanted to wring their well-intentioned necks. Honestly, I don't know why it irked me this much, but it was like iron had entered into my soul: I did not want to give them the satisfaction of hearing from me. If I want your program, I'll get back to you. Silence is also an answer, people! Take a hint!

Last night, something in me snapped and I picked up the phone and called them. I managed to remain cordial throughout the call, and sure enough, just as I suspected, it was a program that I didn't really need ... but I wanted to scream with laughter when the woman put me on hold, and then picked up a minute later and said, " Oh, I'm sorry, you're just at the cut-off point in your pregnancy and you're not eligible for this now." She told me to call back when I got pregnant again. Um, yeah, sure. It only took me until my ninth month to call you this time... ( And PREGNANT AGAIN!!? Give me a chance to have this one first, lady!)

I don't know why I'm such an odd little tyrant about some things.