Tuesday, July 28, 2009


So, we have known we are having a girl for quite a while, now. & we are all pretty happy about it. Before Biggie & I were married he told me he didn't really want a son the way many men seem to, but he definitely wanted a daughter. When we found out MiniMe was a girl we were very happy. For me, I was especially relieved because I had made a promise I didn't know if I could keep. Biggie had agreed that if it were a girl she could be named after my maternal grandmother, but if it were a boy, I would have to consent to give him a true Italian name. So, in case you're wondering, God loves me & I have proof.

Naming this girl isn't proving so easy. I gave Biggie a list of ten names that most of them he has commented over the years that he found appealing in some way. Talking about names is a touchy subject & I am sincerely hoping that I don't offend anyone in discussing names in this post. If I do, because I feel like it's inevitable, just know that I have been there. When Biggie told his old secretary what we were naming MiniMe she screamed across the dealership that our daughter was, "Going to fucking hate you!" & that her name is, "...an old lady name!" It sucks that people do that. I would never be so crass, but if you feel like I am, sorry in advance.

In order for me to explain my current number one choice, I kind of have to reveal MiniMe's true name. I'm just going to tell a story & let it be out there. We'll see how that works for a while. I will ask that my readers try to refrain from using her real name in the comments for this & any future comments because I do try to make a serious effort to protect her identity. Thanks.

Gram & I on my 3rd Birthday, They had just brought in my swing set.

Growing up I always knew my grandma's name was Evelyn & I didn't think very much of it. Most people called her Lynn, which was fine, but if I could have picked, I always would have picked something more spectacular for her, because she was a spectacular woman. When we wrote each other letters over the winters when she was in Florida & I in Michigan, we developed a habit of including unique names we had heard in our post scripts. I had suggested the name "Zoe" after seeing the movie New York Stories where there is a short entitled "Life Without Zoe". In her return my grandma replied, "Ok. What about Chloe?" When I asked her where that came from, (keep in mind this was in the late 1980's where these names were pretty uncommon), she responded, "it's my perfume". I always thought that was silly & I hated to admit that liked both names.

My grandma grew up the younger daughter in a fairly well-to-do family. She & her older sister, Lucille, went to private Catholic schools their whole lives. They were two years apart, but very close. When my Great Aunt Lucy graduated from high school she had decided that she was going to move to Ypsilanti to work in the bomber plant at Willow Run. My grandma dropped out of school to go with her. Grandma was only 16. While she was living & working there, she developed nearly fatal rheumatic fever. The man who would become my Grandpa came back from Germany & found her in the barracks, sicker than sick. The story I was told by him is that they never really dated before the war, they had just been friends. But, knowing my Grandma, I'm sure that the fact that she saw him as someone that saved her life in more ways than one had a lot to do with what they would come to mean to each other.

Grandma Lynn & Grandpa Red, August 1944

While I was growing up I always noticed how close Grandma & Aunt Lucy were. They were fun to be around. They both had six kids, even in the same order, 4 boys, 2 girls. While they raised their families about 3 hours apart in Michigan, they both bought houses in Florida when they retired that were about 3 blocks apart. They both were incredibly crafty & would sew together. When I was about eight years old I heard my Aunt Lucy call my Grandma "Evie", & I thought it was one of the sweetest things I had ever heard. It fit my Grandma so much better than Lynn, & the way Aunt Lucy said it changed everything. When I heard Aunt Lucy call her baby sister that name, I heard the lifetime of experiences they had shared. I heard secrets no one would ever know or understand. I heard the love of two sisters, now wrinkled & much duller than they had been, but absolutely sparkling in their joy, gratitude, and wisdom.

When I chose to name MiniMe Evelyn, I chose to do so because I could think of no greater legacy to attempt to bestow on her. Grandma taught me so many lessons in my life that I still frequently hear her voice whispering in my ear, the final lessons in her death, when I was just 16. Holding her hand, telling her I loved her, & knowing that it would be the last time I would actually hear her say it back was undoubtedly the hardest thing I had to do in my young life.

Aunt Lucy was mad that Grandma had left my Great-Grandmother's wedding ring to me, saying that I was too young to understand the responsibility. But Grandma did it anyway, & I have worn that ring on my right hand every day since it was given to me almost twenty years ago. When my Mom's Dad, who is still alive & full of piss & vinegar, tried to called our daughter Lynn, I downright pitched a fit. I insist that she is an Evie, & he doesn't understand.

About a week ago I took MiniMe to see The Spiderwick Chronicles, & in it there is a character named Lucy. The name haunted me. I began to remember the stories I'd been told about my Grandma & her sister. I remembered that Biggie had suggested the name Luciana a few months back, & I had given it the equivalent of a raspberry. But I thought about it again. I thought that using Luciana would honor Biggie's Italian heritage, as they so expect. But, I would also have a more personal, more sacred opportunity to honor my own heritage, & the heritage of sisters in my family. I see it as an opportunity to deepen the legacy I wish for MiniMe. I always hoped that if I were to have two daughters that they would love each other the way that my Grandma & her sister did.

Well, Biggie doesn't like that name. I don't think he's trying to be mean. I just don't think it means as much to him as it does to me. I'm trying to get him to pick something, anything, that we can both agree on & I am sick of not having some resolution. Honestly, I wish we could ask the baby what name she would like, but of course I have to keep in mind that MiniMe would rename herself Princess Aurora or Scarlett Violet, because they are her favorite colors.

But when my mom told Grandpa about my idea, of naming her Luciana, she didn't even get to the part about calling her Lucy. My Grandpa roared with laughter. He was smiling from ear to ear & said he doesn't know if the world is ready for that, yet. He said they would both be honored. & he said that he completely understood why I would want to name two sisters those names, because they were the best sisters he ever knew. By the way, he's 84, & he's known a lot of sisters.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Before Biggie & I went to Michigan I asked him a favor. I asked him to not reveal our birth plan to his family. I asked this because we are planning a homebirth vbac, I don't think that they would understand, & I don't want them to be worried. I have also been trying to figure out if I wanted to put this out there on this here blog, because I was afraid of the comments I would get. I'm not scared anymore. I know what we are planning is the right thing. I thought that maybe if I put this out there I might help one more woman trust her intuition & that is worth whatever comments anyone could throw at me.

I was induced at 37 weeks with MiniMe. My OB had told me that if I had started dialating she would 'strip my membranes'. I didn't ask what that was, because I thought she knew what she was doing & if it was risky, she wouldn't be doing it. I had been in the office for a routine non-stress test when she did it. Biggie was sitting right next to me. When she pulled her arm back out of my body, with my blood dripping off her gloved hand, Biggie gave me a look that I'll never forget. The look said, "Just say the word & she'll be out cold". I couldn't speak, I felt so violated. I was reeling, thinking I couldn't trust this lady, & I didn't know what to do. The next thing I remember was Biggie telling her that I was out of breath all the time. She asked me what my pulmonologist had said at my last appointment with him, & I told her my blood oxygen was 96%. She practically leaped from the room, coming back to tell me to go immediately to the hospital. She was afraid the baby wasn't getting enough oxygen & I was going to be induced.

I remember in the car, a moment where Biggie & I questioned what we were doing. We didn't get why we were doing what we were, but we were doing it anyway. I ended up with 3 12-hour doses of cervadil, a suppository that is used to soften the cervix. I laid on my left side for the majority of 21 hours because I was terrified that our baby wasn't getting enough oxygen. I writhed in pain for most of this time, to which nurses responded with little empathy, only believing that I was legitimately in pain when they held the sides of my body when I was given an epidural.

After the epidural, which only worked on one side of my body, the next doctor on call broke my water & started me on pictocin. In my records, it says that I was given the option to stop everything, sleep, & start the pictocin in the morning. I don't remember this, but when I think about it, this seems crazy. There is no way I could have slept before the epidural. My lower back felt like someone had beat it repeatedly with baseball bats & the contractions were mind-numbing. Once the pictocin was started, I went from being dialated at 3 to 6 within an hour. I was excited; I was making progress. I remember the doctor wanted to put an internal monitor in. I didn't know why. She explained that I had been in labor for a long time & they were worried that the baby wouldn't be able to handle much more. She didn't explain that this meant they were screwing a wire into her scalp. Handy little welcome to the world, eh?

Suddenly, people were looking at the paper coming out of the monitor with concern. Shaking heads, making marks, leaving to get other people to come in & do the same. The doctor told me that that MiniMe's heart was a little too high & not coming down. She said if it didn't start coming down, we would need to consider a cesarean. It seemed like as soon as she left the room she was racing back in. Apparently MiniMe's heart rate did go back down, but so far down they were panicked. The pictocin was turned off completely. I was told that I would be getting a cesarean immediately, that it wasn't a choice, that MiniMe was dying. When they rushed me into the operating room I thought that once they got me settled they would let Biggie come in. They roughly shaved my lower belly with a cheap single blade disposable, nicking me several times. They tried to get some sort of medicine in my iv, but it wasn't working. On a good day my blood pressure is low, but after laying in a bed for a whole day, it was at a crawl. They had my arms strapped down like Christ on the cross while they poked me with needles & panic at the same time. It hurt. I cried. I asked for Biggie. They told me that there wasn't time & they were going to have to "put me out". They said if they couldn't get this one last iv to flow they would have to put in a central line. They didn't say this to me, but to each other, as if I were already "put out". A central line, in my jugular vein. So, not only would I have a scar on my belly, but on my neck, too. I pumped my fists & let myself weep. My heart rate went up & the iv flowed. I was unconscious.

MiniMe was born two days before my birthday. On my birthday I was still in the hospital, but to celebrate Biggie agreed to watch Funny Girl with me on the laptop. We ended up fighting because MiniMe was having trouble nursing & he was afraid she was starving. After he left to go home, because I asked him to, I ended up dripping little drops of clostrum into her mouth with a medicine cup, weeping because I was terrified that I wasn't doing the right thing.

While the first week that we were home was one of my favorite times in our marriage, Biggie only had one week off & after he went back to work things were not okay. I did not have post-pardom depression; I was very closely bonded to MiniMe before she even came out of me. I couldn't take my painkillers because I was alone most of the time, was afraid I would fall asleep & not wake up when she needed me. My incision became infected & Biggie had to clean it out with peroxide for me twice a day. I drove 45 minutes each way to see a lactation consultant twice a week. MiniMe couldn't go for more than 4 hours without eating for the first 3 months of her life, & this was only to be once a day. The rest of the time she had to eat every 2 hours. So for the first 3 months of her life I never got more than 4 hours of sleep at a time.

I went back to work, full time, when MiniMe was just 9 weeks old. My marriage suffered terribly. We bought a new house to be closer to our work & MiniMe's school. I think if had been thinking more clearly at the time I would have just stayed in our old house & quit working. It didn't occur to me.

It took me nearly two years to figure out that my reaction to MiniMe's birth was not normal. I sought therapy & was told I had indicators of post traumatic stress disorder. Throughout the therapy I had nightmares that were largely flashbacks. I realized that I was terrified of having another child because I didn't want to go through what I had again. My therapist recommended a new movie tht had just comeout on video, "The Business of Being Born". I watched it with Biggie & that was one of the handful of times I have seen him cry. He was furious. It was exactly what had been done to me.

So I've been investigating what our options are for the last two years. & this is what we've come to. I'm excited, not scared. I just wish we could decide on a fricken name.