Monday, November 22, 2010

"Wiggle your big toe."

If you ask any previously pregnant, or a woman 30+ weeks pregnant, they will tell you that the last few weeks of incubation seem to last longer that the first and second trimester put together. My mother warned me of this, but I hardly believed it as I soared through July running up until the end of that month.

After Labor Day, I went into pre-term labor. I was told that we'd probably have a baby within 2-3 weeks, so to me that was sometime in September.

***Begin time freeze***

I sat at home, waiting. I went back to work, waiting. My due date came, and I was still waiting. Of all the emotions that flood, seep, and blast through you, it was hardest to sit and wait for your life to start again. I was sick of just holding off on everything with the fear that the next day, I'd be unavailable because I was in labor. I just wanted that baby in my belly to be in my arms, and I really started to think that I'd be Joe's wife on Family Guy, and just be pregnant forever.

Finally, at 40 1/2 weeks, little Gil started stirring (to put it lightly). My life is about to move forward! We raced to the hospital and after just a few short hours of verbally abusing Nate, rapid labor and dilation, I was headed to surgery for a C-section. I was okay with it. I trusted the doctor's call, and at that point, I wanted what ever was best, and I wanted that baby!

After about 32 people flooded into our room, prepped me, and got me into Operating Room 2. I was about an hour away from motherhood. Once I found out that the burning smell was me, and Nate was by my side, it all went so fast. Gil was here, I was a mom, tears were shed and recovery had started.

We were moved into a recovery area (which I was abandoned promptly by my husband for my son) I just remember it was so warm in there, and I felt great. I asked immediately how long we'd be in this area, since I had spent 10 hours in triage when I was in labor back in September. The nurse told me it would be a few hours, and I was okay with that too. This particular morning was yielding a lot of Valentine's Day babies, and was about as crowded as The Olive Garden was back in February. (ha-ha!) I just wanted to know what I was in for. I knew that at some point, I'd be in my room, holding my son and relaxing. Life was moving forward. Ah!

The nurse and Anesthesiologist kept checking on me to see if the cocktail of drugs was wearing off yet. They told me as soon as I could "wiggle my big toe", I'd be in line for a room. Really? Wiggle my big toe? I couldn't help but pretend that I was Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill. I can honestly say, I have never identified with this character, because I am simply not that much of a bad ass. I was pretty excited. I kept looking at my toe and saying "Wiggle your big toe". Nate knew what I was doing, but Gil kind of overshadowed my playful little game. Oh well. I was channeling B Kiddo, and that was pretty cool with me.

So it all came down to that. All the waiting, pain, slicing and numbness was done. I could move on with my new life of motherhood and family bliss, if only I could wiggle my big toe.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's in a name?

O.G. - Original Gil

Kathy, Nate and Gil

Nate and Gil


Finally, I can proudly announce that Gil Emerson Shephard has entered this world - Again! With a poof and a spark, Nate and I are parents! Whew!

Months and months ago, we finalized our name picks. One for a girl, and one for a boy. The girls' names flowed onto our list with ease and finesse. We narrowed it to one from about 852, all of which we adored. The boys names were not that easy to make the list. Nate liked Seneca, I did not. We both liked William, but it just wasn't right. I liked Archie, and Nate most definitely did not. We always considered Gil Emerson, as a tribute to Nate's late father. Finally, the sentimentality got the best of us, and so it was. Our boy would be named after his grandfather.

According to, Gil is Greek and is ranked #2922 in popularity and #2039 on the website. Go figure.

I never met the O.G. (original Gil), who passed away in 1987, but his spirit has lived on ever since. He apparently had a wild side, lust for life and a sense of humor that could not be matched. My mother took care of him in the hospital all those years ago. His death hit her pretty hard because he was so young and had young children, one my age. He was also, well, Gil Shephard, not to be soon forgotten.

Nate and I both thought that Gil fit our first sons' name well. In utero, he was a wild man. He kicked, jabbed, prodded and elbowed his way through the third trimester. He even tried to arrive 9 weeks early, only to make it past his due date. He didn't exactly make labor fun and pleasant, so I was sure we'd have quite a kid on our hands. (Remember, we don't know if we are having a boy or girl at this point)

All along, I felt I was having a boy, so naturally I assigned a personality to him. It was one that was defiant, fussy and loud, but most certainly all mine to love and cuddle. Instead, I got a loving, cuddly, even tempered, sleeping bundle of joy. His mild manner grabs you, sucks you in and practically forces the tears to drip from your eyes.

I have to admit that it was hard transitioning from calling him Baby Shep to Gil at first, but after a while, it came naturally. I was sure that our name decision was absolutely right when we got a letter from Grandma D, O.G.'s mother. It read that she was "ecstatic about the name" and "Thank you".

Now, we have bushels and baskets full of years together -me, Nate and Gil. There are so many things that will be unpredictable. Two things I know, however. Gil will be like his Grandpa. He'll be completely unforgettable and 100% adored by everyone around him. (Already is!) The other is that he'll have a proud guardian angel looking down on him that couldn't ask for anything better for his own son.

Lastly, I was happy to realize that I was wearing O.G's wedding band around my neck in labor. Since I had a C-section, I had to take it off, so Nate had it safely stored in his pocket during delivery. I didn't plan that, but I'd like to think that was a sign that everything was going to be okay, and it was.

So here's to the Gil's! You both have a special room reserved in our hearts forever!

Friday, November 5, 2010

So, good luck with that...

I, admittedly, thought that I'd hear all kinds of advice about how to put your baby to bed, what not to do at dinner time, and how to breastfeed my new baby. The unsolicited advice has been at a minimum. I have, however, had a great time listening to all the strange, awkward and sometimes flat out inappropriate comments people make about pregnancy and babies. It's been very entertaining to say the least!

First, it started when I was showing. (I was!) It was obvious that people wanted to ask, but didn't want to offend. I have to admit that I did take offense at first, but in the way that I couldn't believe people didn't see the belly, or refused to. I then started using it as if I did let myself go after I wrangled that husband of mine, but just for a minute. Good stuff.

Here are a few of the top comments to me that I wanted to share. They are just too good to keep to myself.

1. Upon announcing my pregnancy to my parents on the phone, my mother says, "oh! What about the cats? You know they kill babies. They don't mean to, but they climb into the crib and lick the milk off their face."
What do you say?

2. I was 9 months pregnant and ran into a client that I have known for years. I hadn't seen him in person in over a year, to be fair. We met at a meeting and he said "Oh my God! You got a haircut!" I had to. I said "Of all of the physical changes in me, you notice my hair?!" he laughed, but I think I embarrassed him. He is an engineer. If you know one, you know what I mean.

"Oh hey! I was just thinking of you last night. Scott and I saw a show about how children kill their parents." I burst into laughter, and all I could say is "So, good luck with all that!"

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Whopper dilemma and other Halloween ramblings

Nate and I have had a long history of Halloween candy stresses in our lives. Well, I guess more than others, I suppose. In high school, I told him that he smelled like "old Halloween candy" and he got mad at me. Really mad at me. (A few months ago, I told him that he smelled like Barbie legs, so take it for what it's worth)

Yesterday was our first official Halloween as the united front, The Shephards. I wish that I was over dramatizing some of the following conversations and theories, but I am not. I am writing about this solely to look back in a few years and laugh. I will probably be laughing about how nothing changes.

To preface the story, I should tell you that we decided amicably, to buy (2) 105 piece bags of a combo pack of Kit Kats, Whoppers, Hershey bars, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. We have a huge neighborhood, and even this amount was a risky bet that we'd make it through.

We woke up late, as any married couple that was about to have a baby would. The first thing Nate says to me is something like, "I think kids are going to hate The Whoppers. You should give out (2) of those and one of the others." He was obviously laying in bed thinking of how bad this situation was for the children that I was about to infect with Whoppers.

Me: "I love Whoppers, and I'd be happy with them, so I wouldn't worry. The bummer candy in my opinion are the Good'nPlenty, smarties and Necco wafers."

Nate: "Whoppers are like drywall covered in chocolate. How about 5 pennies taped together? What can you do with that?"

Okay, Whoppers and pennies are NOT the same, and this is how we started the day.
Flash to several hours later ...

4:10 We started Sunday dinner early. Nate didn't want to be interrupted because to him, there is nothing worse than being interrupted at dinner. By the way, he is 33, not 91.

We ate, uninterrupted.

5:00, we got ready for the trick or treaters. Tick tock. Nothing.
6:00, I was poised (literally) by the window trying to get my first glimpse of tiny witches, goblins and princesses. Nothing yet.
6:30 We both get restless. I am at a fever pitch of excitement, and Nate just wants this over with already.

6:45 We get our first customer! I dole out (1) piece of candy.
In the next hour, we get about 15-20 kids. Nate tried to calculate exactly how many kids in retro spect. He then says, "Maybe if we get only a few more kids by 7:30, you should give out 2 each."

I am hesitant.

In the meantime, we get a good wave of kids and adults making their way down our street. This makes Nate nervous.
Nate: "Maybe we should give (1) Whopper and (1) of something else now." (Remember, Whoppers are third class citizens, apparently, so that is like giving 1 1/2 pieces.)

Me: "I think we're fine."

Another wave of kids comes by...

We went back to (1) piece each. Now, our booty is really low. My plan was to turn the lights out at 9:00. Nate balked at that.
"9:00? I can remember getting in big trouble over coming home at 8:30. ALL the parents were pissed. If you thought you came home at 11:00, you didn't."
Me: " I said, it felt like 11:00, but I know that's not true. I just don't know!"

8:26 Our bowl is D.O.A. I had to turn down cute little kids in furry little cat costumes because we just couldn't manage our candy, no matter how hard we tried.

I was really disappointed because the kids were losing out. Nate, in all seriousness, looked at me and said "I know you blame this on me. You don't think that we got enough candy at Target, and now you are mad at me."
I laughed, "No, not at all. We both agreed to the bags of candy, don't worry about it."
Nate: "We bought over $20 worth of candy, I can't run out now, it's too late! We won't get that many more kids!"
Me: " I know, I am just sad that we can't give all the kids candy, that's all."
Nate: "Turn off the lights now, it's over."

I almost forgot to tell you, that at one point Nate asked me how many pieces I was dishing out, and just wanted to see if I was throwing handfuls in kids bags. yep.

And that was our Halloween, and that is our life. We stress over the nuances of candy distribution, but it took us all of a week to have the first and middle names of a boy name and a girl name selected when I was about 7 weeks pregnant. Also last night, we both decided that Malta would be a great place to visit. And so, the adventure continues...