Friday, September 2, 2022

Where to Begin

I started writing this on 4/1/2020.  I never finished.  My opening line seems evergreen.  So let's hop in the wayback machine and set the dial to April Fool's Day, 2020.  


Lots of crazy shit going on and knowing where to start is not intuitively obvious to me.  So first off, let me say this post is NOT going to talk about the Covid-19.  I mean, it kinda HAS to a little, but it's not a post about coping with it, or what we're doing with it.  It's just background noise.  Really loud background noise.  But if you're thinking...I'm not reading ANYTHING about this fucking virus...then you're in a good spot.  Sorta.

I say sorta because it gets in the way of some of the stuff I want to talk about, and blocks some other stuff, and changes the way we approached some other stuff and in the end even though it's not about Covid...isn't everything in some way about covid right now?


Emma turned 18 on the 16th of March.  Without fanfare.  Because that was the week that shit went literally viral.  I canceled the reservation I'd made to the fancy restaurant we were going to celebrate the day before.  And I canceled the family party the week after. And that sucks.  She got shafted, folks.  Here's the current catalog of bullshit she's had thrown her way this past month:

Birthday party postponed
Can't see her boyfriend
Trip to Virginia Beach canceled
Weekend performances of Musical canceled
Trip to Australia postponed
Can't go to work (hostess at Chili's)
College Orientation?

This is supposed to be a magical year for her (and all the other seniors this impacts) and it's's just not.  Emma, somehow has managed to pull straight A's her senior year.  She's kicking this year's ass, and the payoff is...well...uncertain at best.

She did trot out the fact that I can no longer use 'because I'm an adult and you're a child' with her, so Angie thinks I'm going to need to pivot to 'as long as you live under my roof you need to follow my rules'.

Anyway...Happy Birthday, Emma!  I'm so proud of you, and I'm so sorry this suctacular viral apocalypse is fucking up your finest hours.

Here's Emma as part of the dragon (trio) in Shrek the musical before it was shut down...(thanks to Lota for the pictures, I stole them from Facebook)
She's wearing red...and purple

She's the one on the right.

still on the right.

So we're trying to figure out how to make it up to her, but there's some stuff we just can't fix.  Prom?  Graduation?  Prom seems doomed at this point; she's not even looking at dresses.  Even's hard to imagine how that looks for her if it gets done remotely or online or whatever.  Man, these kids are getting screwed.

And we all get it.  It's to flatten the curve and hopefully not kill a million people.  I'm not arguing that what we're doing is unnecessary.  But doing the right thing never sucked so much.


Can you say meanwhile if you mean to go back in time?

ONE WEEK EARLIER (than Emma's birthday)

Angie and I were talking about her obgyn's question to her about whether anyone had discussed 39-week induction with her.  They hadn't.  So she did.  I guess the idea is that you induce labor the previous week and it reduces the odds that you'll need a c-section.  We talked about it with the lady who taught us our pregnancy classes through the hospital and she sorta said that the study wasn't recognized by ACOG or WHO because of reasons (there was one, but I can't remember it). So we sort of opted out and said we'd just prefer it if the baby came when the baby came.

And then the world started to fall apart a week later and the news sorta sunk its hooks into our brains and started tearing at our reason and it was week 39 and we thought...if the hospitals are going to get more and more crowded with sick people and beds are we really want to wait LONGER?


That's all the further I got.  I don't know why I stopped.  I'm honestly not someone who starts writing then stops before finishing what I have to say.  Blogs are great for that kind of thing...I mean, I sometimes don't post right away, because I have to spell check/edit...although who am I kidding, I usually edit after it's already published so that no two people read the exact same words because I'm reading at the same time they are, changing it's to its and inserting words that I missed with hasty keystrokes.

So to continue, as best I can with the post I started writing two years ago...


It was almost decided for us when Angie had some minor complications that we had to check out.  We spent about 8 hours in the hospital in order to be told "all is well" and were sent home.  We went back the next week for the due date induction.  By that point the hospital was just starting the process of closing to visitors.  Rather than wait, and run the risk that I wouldn't be permitted in the hospital during the birth, the doc allowed us to be induced at 40 weeks.  

They talk about a birth plan, and I think we were pretty flexible with ours (I legit just spelled that 'ares', so that should tell you how long it's been since I've written anything), which was essentially, "natural if possible, no meds unless needed, but if circumstances dictate a change, we'll change."  

I was allowed into the birthing suite, which was a relief.  Back then we were still washing our mail, literally spraying fucking Lysol (couldn't get 409 anymore because the shelves were empty) on our bills and opening them a day later after bathing them in the sweet sweet virucidal UV light of the sun on our dining room table, so my first order of business was taking chlorox wipes and wiping down all the surfaces in that entire room.  Anything a hand or ass might was wiped with chlorine solution.  My hands were red and rough and stung a bit after three days of it.  

We were hyper focused on nurse/doctor hand sanitizing.  Before every exam we'd scold the staff if they hadn't sanitized since entering the room.  

We knew he was a boy.  We had names (Elliott James was the winner, but we had considered Finn, Kieran, Henry, and Bastian (as god is my witness did I really sign off on Bastion??)).  Angie took her meds or...was GIVEN her meds...that morning and went into labor that afternoon.  

Angie is great with pain.  Very stoic.  She had told me this.  She did, however, begin dropping many many f-bombs as her contractions started getting worse.  Meds were administered for pain...I think around 8 hours in, but I might have the timing wrong on that.  There was another F-bomb or two during this process.  I think the staff was getting scared of her.  She was pushing just after midnight, but Elliott, content, would not consent to be born.  He was labeled an "arrested descent" and a c-section was scheduled.  

In an OR suite where tubes and hoses snaked across the floor, and wires and cords were tangling into and out of machines that went "ping", he was born healthy and happy and wrinkled, with eyes so dark they defied all attempts at color categorization.  We settled on brown, but honestly, to this day, they still look black they're so dark.  His hair was curly and slightly reddish.  The nurse took my phone over the curtain Angie's face and I were occupying and took pictures on the business end where all was clean, save for the new baby.  A few minutes later they brought him to us to gaze at, but not touch, until we were wheeled back into the birthing suite.

He looked a little bit like this:

His stats:  19 3/4" Long, 7 lbs 3 oz, Eye, hair color dark brown.  I think Angie's brother Michael won the "baby pool".  

At that point Angie hadn't eaten for...a long time.  And apparently there are good reasons for this, but she nibbled on ice chips for a while before, for WHATEVER reason, she was able to drink what she wanted more than anything else in the world:  Grape juice.  I've never seen her drink grape juice before or since, and frankly, I'm not sure I ever want to, because after burning through all the grape juice in the hospital (We sent nurses to find more, begging borrowing and stealing until we could slake her grape juice thirst) she vomited it allllll back into a little plastic tub that she held on her stomach until the feeling passed.  Then returned.  Then passed again.  Despit this she still says it was "the most delicious grape juice she'd ever had in her life".  

I think that's gotta be it for now.  I don't want to blow through my muse all in one sitting.  We still had a couple days left in the hospital before heading home.  And we have months of Covid isolation and loss and grief and injustice to catch us up to the present.  

But it's a start.  

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