July 03, 2002
...then this one cost about four to six bucks per word:
More on the story soon.
July 05, 2002
The baby is past due.
The "due date" for the baby was July 4th, but "Dependence Day" came and went and there's been no change in status. Paulette is still pregnant.
In other news...
* My stories keep coming back rejected. Haven't written anything new in a couple weeks.
* My Passat is still broken, and is likely to take about a month before it can get back on the road again.
* I've been doing a lot of research lately on certain aspects of philosophy and religion in general, the Bible and Judeo-Christianity in particular, rhetoric, and history. Much of this research is for my next novel, and much of it is simple intellectual curiosity. Alas, research shouldn't take the place of actual writing. However, I've been enjoying the thinking that goes with the research....
* A friend from Clarion West had an excellent story recently published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. Another friend, from Cornell, had a novella recently published in Analog. Yet another friend, from my high school days (although she didn't go to my high school), was also published in Analog a few months ago. I think this is all great. And/but I'm ready to join their ranks, durnit!
The weather is beautiful. Wish you were here.
July 09, 2002
The title above does not refer to my constant rejections from magazines that are not inclined to publish my short stories. Rather, it refers to how every phone conversation must now begin.
You see, since just about everyone I talk to on a regular basis on the phone knows that my wife and I are expecting a baby -- were, in fact, expecting it this past "In"dependence Day -- they therefore assume at the beginning of every phone conversation that 1) if I called them, then I have news about the baby being born, or 2) if they called me, then I have news about the baby being born.
No! The Answer is No! There is no baby! The baby has not been born yet! There is no news!
And so every phone conversation must begin thusly.
Of all of the things that I had expected to happen as a result of impending parenthood, this never even made the list. Never even *occurred* to me.
July 10, 2002
No, the baby hasn't been born yet.
So, here's what happened with the car. As many of you know, we've been a two car family ever since we've been a family. She brought her car to the marriage, and I brought mine. Alas, alack, her car died recently of natural causes. Old age. The head gasket went bye-bye, and fixing it was going to cost more than the worth of the car (even if the car were running perfectly). And so we went from being a two car family to a one car family just like that.
We started to think about whether we should get a second car and, if so, what kind the second vehicle should be. We want something safe, something to haul around the kid in, etc., etc. Boring grown-up stuff. Of course, that didn't stop us from test driving a Subaru WRX which, I must say, we both enjoyed mightily. Lots of vroooooom in that one.
Anyway, we started looking at possible contenders, but the big obstacle was money, insofar as we need money to get a second car. Money we don't have. The recurring advice from some quarters was, "Well, *we* used to be a one car family, and that was with two kids, and it worked out just fine for us!" And, of course, it's true that we should be able to get by with one car if we have no alternative. We're resourceful people.
But then again, if we're so resourceful, why can't we figure out a way to handle bringing on board a car payment?
This is what writers in the biz refer to as "back story." The set up. The story before the story. Now here's the story:
I got into an accident with my car just a few weeks after her car gave up the ghost. Very simply: while I was executing a left turn, a car in the oncoming lane executed a collision. His car was driveable after the accident; mine was not. (And, no, we didn't have rental car coverage as part of our insurance package.)
Nobody was injured (although my pride and pocketbook aren't doing so well), and my car has about a month or so worth of repair work to look forward to before I get it back. There was no ticket issued at the scene. Fault was not assessed at the scene, either, but should be soon.
Ironically, the fellows in the other car were Mormons who were in town doing missionary work. My insurance agent happens to also be a Mormon. I haven't asked yet if this qualifies as an act of God.
My passenger was a friend named Tom. He likes to embellish the story a little, and I like his version even though it's not entirely true:
"In my version I was knocked out unconscious, and came to, saw the two guys in the white shirts and name tags, and freaked out because I had picked the wrong religion."
Thus, we were rendered a no-car family.
Being a no-car family when you are about to have a baby is very interesting. For example, if we were to take a cab to the hospital and then take another cab back home from the hospital, we would legally have to have a car seat installed in the cab before the hospital police could let us go home. Or, we could simply hop on a transit bus with our little one in a carrier and no seat belts or car seats would be required. Go figure.
As you might imagine, we'll be taking on a car payment, instead.
My Passat didn't passat very well. I hope our new Dodge does a better job of living up to its name.
July 11, 2002
The answer is no. No baby yet.
July 13, 2002
No baby yet. :-P
July 15, 2002
No baby, yet.
But I did make some spicy jamalaya tonight, just in case that might help. :-)
In writing news: everything that I have that is ready to go out there is currently out there. The novel and several short stories are making the rounds. When they come back, I send them back out. I have another short story I hope to send out by the end of this week. It's probably the only pre-Clarion West story that I'll end up sending out any time soon.
Stories being out there means I'm opening my writing up for more rejection. Stories kept safely at home means I'm not going to get published. So, out they go!
July 18, 2002
No baby yet.
July 21, 2002
Paulette and Allan Rousselle are proud to announce the birth of their son:
Born July 20th, 2002 at 12:12 am (Pacific Time)
7 lbs, 15 3/4 oz
Mother and child are doing well and will be coming home from the hospital in a few days.
Pictures will be posted here in a day or two.
Thank you all for your support, kindness, and well wishes.
July 24, 2002
Well, there's lots to tell. And there have been lots of requests for photos. Please excuse any long delays in loading this page, but you asked, so here come the photos.
The short version of the first four or so days in Alexander's life go like this:
Friday morning, 7:30am. We load up and drive in to the hospital. The plan is to be induced, because we are two weeks plus one day past the due date, which makes getting that baby born as soon as possible Medically Necessary.
We show up at the hospital on time (8am), check into our room (it's like a hotel, fer crying out loud) and meet our nurse, who is amazing. Monitors are set up, vitals are taking, IV is begun, and the process gets rolling.
I won't describe all the gory details of how induction and labor work. The long and the short of it is, things are going great until, well, the baby refuses to come out. By around 11:30pm, the doctor decides that we may want to try some clever techniques (like vacuum extraction), so we move into the "delivery room."
"Delivery Room" is a euphemism for "Operating Room," by the way.
They try everything, realize that the baby isn't coming out that way, and decide to go for a cesarean section. The entire team is quick and professional, and they take care of the baby and Paulette with a minimum of fuss.
Alexander doesn't cry when he's born. I get to hold him, then bring him over to Paulette. His hands and feet are purple, but the rest of him looks mighty normal. He has some hair, and these big blue eyes. Here's what he looked like after he was two hours old. Notice that the hands have already pinked right up:
After we return to our room from the operating-- delivery room, the nurse suggests that I put on the first diaper, and she took a photo since I had the camera out. I think she was surprised that I had no problem with putting on the diaper.
Anyway, Paulette and the baby get to take in some sleep after the first feeding, and all is going well, but I can't sleep at all. The accommodations for the father are, uh, not so good. At least, in our room. I return the next day to find Paulette and her mother (who is visiting from out of town) have things well under control. Day one proceeds fairly smoothly, with the occasional feedings, sleep, and soiled diapers. I leave that night in the care of Paulette's mother, and we decide that I'll take the day shifts and she (Paulette's mother) will take the nights. So far, so good.
When I come back the next morning, I discover that one of the nurses has decided that the baby looks a little bit yellowish, so they check Alexander's blood tests. Turns out that he *may* be creeping into jaundice territory, so they take even more blood, which sets him to screaming for the first time. This (combined with an increasing case of jaundice, as it turns out) tuckers the poor kid out, so feeding becomes very difficult. However, feeding is very important to combat jaundice. Day Two was rough, with lots of crying and resisting the program. (And, no, I'm not just referring to myself.)
We had to keep Alexander wrapped up with an illuminated pad against his back which emitted ultraviolet light. This is supposed to help the jaundice.
I go home. Come back the next morning, and it turns out that the pad isn't working. So, they've put Alexander into an incubator that is bathed in ultraviolet light. They've attached Geordi LaForge-like fasteners on his temples to hold a cover over his eyes to protect them from the light.
While they look like "visor implants" from Star Trek: The Next Generation, they are really just velcro pads in the shape of a heart that are Crazy Glued to his temples. His "visor" is a little cushioned set of sunglasses with velcro fasteners at the ends. When he sits in his incubator, it's hard not to imagine all sorts of science fiction images.
In fact, I must digress for a second to point out just how science fiction-esque the whole birth process is. Let's see, there's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the 1974 version, with the hatching of the pod people. There's Alien with the c-section (and the hospital food, har, har). The Abyss, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Species also come to mind.
The writer's mind at work, I suppose.
Our Martian Baby had a much better Day Three than Day Two, as he got into a routine with the coming out of "The Box" (my term for the incubator) to feed, getting a chance to see the world for about half an hour or so, and then going back into blind-folded contemplation in his ultraviolet solitary cell. He slept better, fed better, and his mother was doing likewise. Everyone was happier.
Day four, and the routine hasn't changed much, except that we're tired of the routine and we're pretty much ready to all go home. The food at the hospital is actually not bad, but it's a limited menu. Paulette is ready to spend some quality time at home, and we'd really like the chance to let the kid enjoy his new home rather than spending time in the Box. The doctors are optimistic that we'll be able to bring him home tomorrow (Wednesday). Wish us luck.
As for me, I just want to hold the guy. Right now, all I get to do is change a diaper or two. It breaks my heart to keep blindfolding him and putting him into an incubator. :-(
And that's the one thing I'm really leaving out of this little description of events: the emotional ups and downs of labor, birth, and recovery. I'm as analytical as the next guy when it comes to solving a problem or pursuing a goal, but the emotions that go along with the events of the past few days are something else. They are hard to describe without sounding mushy to anyone who hasn't been there, or sounding woefully inadequate to someone who has.
I'm pleased to say that Paulette is recovering quite nicely from the operation, and she appears to be in excellent spirits (although, as I mentioned, she'd like to come home now). Her mother has been a wonderful help, and we're all glad that Alexander and his Grandma Dwen will get to spend some quality time before she heads back home. (Alexander's paternal grandparents will get to visit in a couple weeks.)
That's all for now. I need to get some rest before driving back to the hospital in the morning. There will certainly be more news to follow, and I'll bet there's even some non-baby-related news that awaits us all. In the meantime, Thanks again for reading, and don't be bashful about dropping me a line!
I'm going to the hospital to pick up Alexander and Paulette *right now*. The doctors say he's made wonderful improvement, so we get to bring him home. Happy day!
July 25, 2002
Paulette and Baby Alexander are safe at home now. We had a pretty good "Day Five." Highlights included: getting through our first night at home, discovering that pacifiers can pacify, even when baby is getting an immunization shot right in the thigh (he didn't cry, the little guy), having Alexander fall asleep while resting on my shoulder for the first time since he went into "the Box."
As we left the hospital with our baby yesterday, and none too soon, I had to take a snapshot of part of the sign that graces the entryway to the "birthing suites" (hospital rooms with baby stuff) because I had walked by and read it several times every day for the first four days of Alexander's life. It's a depressing thought, really, attributed to Charles Dickens. Something along the lines of "Each baby born is finer than the last."
Every time I walked by it, it seemed to me that by Chuck's account, our baby was getting less and less fine, relatively speaking, with every passing moment. I must disagree on that score.
Q: Will you post any more baby pictures?
A: Oh, okay.
Q: Will he go by Alex or Alexander?
A: The jury's still out on that one. But he seems to be nonresponsive to both, equally, at present. A friend of the family has noted that four syllables ain't likely to survive all that long. Neither Paulette nor I are particularly concerned one way or the other, so you may call him as you like. Paulette and I mostly call him "Pumpkin," "Pistachio," and other assorted terms of endearment. I wonder whether he'll ever actually learn what his real name is from us.
Q: When can we come over to see him?
A: When can you get here? Just please call first, as we might be napping.
Q: What did he weigh when he was born?
A: Just under eight pounds (7lbs 15oz). According to our doctor visit earlier today, he currently weights 7lbs 12oz, which is a remarkable recovery (since most babies lose weight at first and take a couple of weeks to get back to their birth weight.)
Q: How long was he?
A: 19in, I think. He measured 20in today. At this rate of growth, he'll be just over seven and a half feet tall by his first birthday. (Hey, if that kind of logic is good enough for Wall Street, as it has been until only recently....)
Q: Other than the jaundice, is he okay?
A: Yeppers. A very healthy baby
Q: Do you really plan to start taking him with you to events *this week*?
A: As some of you may be aware, we'd originally hoped to bring the baby to an event this past Saturday (this was before it became obvious he wasn't going to be born *until* Saturday.) Alas, the late birth and the c-section have slowed us down a little bit. But, yes, we are already taking him out for walks and have already started introducing him to friends and family. While Paulette's recovery from the c-section is astounding, she's still not going to be hiking up and down stairs much any time soon. Still, you are likely to see us at the next Clarion West party (that's this Friday. Tomorrow.), since all we have to do is drive there (we've already mastered the art of driving with the baby) and sit down... then get up and leave. BTW, that's not just some bravado talk from the dad. That's Paulette's way of putting it. Her words, and everything. I'd be okay with staying home, if that's what she wanted, but it isn't... and I'm okay with that, too.
That's all for now. I'm going to bed. :-)
July 26, 2002
Q: Is there anything that you guys need for Alexander?
A: Well, yeah, there are a few things here and there, so we set up a baby registry through Babies 'R' Us (That's "We B Babies 'N' Shit" in West Philadelphia), which in turn has an online store through Amazon.com. Kind of you to ask!
July 29, 2002
It's been over two weeks since I sent out my writing to anyone. I have three or four short stories out there -- not much, by any means -- and my novel, and I haven't heard anything back from anyone regarding them.
Which means they haven't been rejected yet. Yee-ha!
Usually, the way it works is: I send out a story in the morning, and receive the rejection letter by that afternoon.
In the meantime, I have a short story to polish that I'd written at Clarion West and then I'll send it out, I have a pre-Clarion story to finish, and I also have an idea for a new story. I may have mentioned this... it's a horror story about stress, sleep deprivation, and a baby who starts talking long before he should be able to do so....
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