Author Archives: kiesa

UPDATED: Hugo 2015 Best Novelette

2nd UPDATE 5/2/2015 – My infant has stopped crying long enough for me to add an official comment policy.

UPDATED 5/2/2015 – Comment policy:
I have never had any aspirations to have a “popular” blog. The purpose of this blog is mainly to keep family and friends informed about my life and interests as well as to double as a personal journal (albeit one the entire world can read). As such, it has never been important to have any policy on allowed comments. Comments were either obviously legit or spam. However, given the controversy around the Hugo nominations this year and my discussion of them, some comments may stray into a gray area.

For those who are new to my blog please be aware that I will not allow comments I feel are abusive, upsetting, or off-topic and I am the sole decider of what constitutes abusive, upsetting, or off-topic. The internet is a lovely place that allows many forums for self-expression including setting up your own blog to disseminate your opinions if they are not allowed elsewhere. That being said, I do enjoy hearing a variety of opinions assuming the opinions can be expressed in a respectful manner.

Because my blog is not popular and most “comments” are spam, all users who have not previously commented go to moderation. This does not mean your comment will not appear, it just means that I have to find the time to manually approve them. These days I have a screaming infant so it may not be instantaneous but usually comments will be approved within 24 hrs.

Now back to the original post . . .


Well . . . I’m still conflicted about what to do with Hugo voting. I’ve read all of the current novelette nominees. If there weren’t any shenanigans in play, this is how I would vote:

  1. “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)
  2. The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
  3. No Award

“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” and “Championship B’tok” were the first two novelettes I read and they bored me.

“The Day the World Turned Upside Down” was the third story and, as a story, I thought it was much better than the first two I read. The writing was good and compelling. I personally didn’t find the physics a problem because I just put the story in the fantasy category and assumed magic was responsible for the gravity issues. However, the protagonist really rubbed me the wrong way. It’s really hard when a serious relationship ends but I found his level of narcissism very off-putting.

“The Journeyman: In the Stone House” was the fourth novelette that I attempted to read. I say attempted because I didn’t get more than two pages in before giving up. The writing style was way too flowery and contrived for my tastes.

Up to this point, I was feeling really good about the novelette category. I could, without any reservations place the three slate stories below no award because I didn’t feel they were good. However, then I came to “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”. I felt this was a really good story. It is by far my favorite of the five options. The story pulled me in from the first paragraph. I got bogged down a tad during the journey to the alien world. However, once they landed it picked up again and had a great ending.

So . . . I’m still not sure how I’ll actually vote. I’ll probably vote in the order I’ve listed above. However, any stupidity that appears between now and when I place my vote may change my opinion.

UPDATED Hugo Nominations 2015

2nd UPDATE 5/2/2015 – My infant has stopped crying long enough for me to add an official comment policy.

UPDATED 5/2/2015 – Comment policy:
I have never had any aspirations to have a “popular” blog. The purpose of this blog is mainly to keep family and friends informed about my life and interests as well as to double as a personal journal (albeit one the entire world can read). As such, it has never been important to have any policy on allowed comments. Comments were either obviously legit or spam. However, given the controversy around the Hugo nominations this year and my discussion of them, some comments may stray into a gray area.

For those who are new to my blog please be aware that I will not allow comments I feel are abusive, upsetting, or off-topic and I am the sole decider of what constitutes abusive, upsetting, or off-topic. The internet is a lovely place that allows many forums for self-expression including setting up your own blog to disseminate your opinions if they are not allowed elsewhere. That being said, I do enjoy hearing a variety of opinions assuming the opinions can be expressed in a respectful manner.

Because my blog is not popular and most “comments” are spam, all users who have not previously commented go to moderation. This does not mean your comment will not appear, it just means that I have to find the time to manually approve them. These days I have a screaming infant so it may not be instantaneous but usually comments will be approved within 24 hrs.

Now back to the original post . . .


I am groggily looking up from postpartum land to consider the Hugo nominations. I have no intelligent commentary on them that hasn’t already been said better by someone else. Last year was my first year nominating and voting for the Hugos (via a supporting membership). It was a very interesting experience and I was exposed to a lot of material I would never have read otherwise.

This year my husband and I are contemplating going to Sasquan. However, we’re not entirely sure how well this will work out towing along a 6-year-old and an infant. Plus, the Hugos are obviously going to be weird this year which is very annoying. Regardless of whether or not we actually attend, I’m sure we’ll at least get supporting memberships again.

As far as voting, I’m going to read as much as I have time for and can easily get. I’ll certainly read all the novels and probably work my way down similar to last year. At least this time I don’t have any pressure to try to read an entire fourteen book series 🙂 As far as using “No Award”, it’s a slippery slope. At this point I think I’m going to try to judge the works on their own merit and use No Award to signal when I don’t believe a particular work should get a Hugo. Probably not the perfect choice but I’m not sure there is a perfect choice this year.

I’m really hoping that the Hugo packet this year is fairly comprehensive as a lot of the shorter fiction isn’t easily available. With very rare exceptions, I only buy books after I’ve read and loved them so I won’t be buying anything simply to be able to read it before voting. For my reference, I’m linking to where I can borrow the various works that are available via the public library system.

Best Novel (1827 nominating ballots)

Best Novella (1083 nominating ballots)

  • Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
  • “Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, Nov 2014)
  • One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)

Best Novelette (1031 nominating ballots)

  • “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, May 2014)
  • “Championship B’tok” by Edward M. Lerner (Analog, Sept 2014)
  • The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
  • “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, June 2014)
  • “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)

Best Short Story (1174 nominating ballots)

  • “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet (The End is Now (Apocalypse Triptych Book 2), Broad Reach Publishing)
  • “On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, Nov 2014)
  • “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “Totaled” by Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, July 2014)
  • “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
  • “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond (The Baen Big Book of Monsters, Baen Books) – Worldcat

Best Related Work (1150 nominating ballots)

  • “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
  • Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press) – Worldcat
  • Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts (Baen.com) – Part 1 and Part 2
  • Wisdom from My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press)

Best Graphic Story (785 nominating ballots)

Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) (1285 nominating ballots)

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Edge of Tomorrow screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Guardians of the Galaxy written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Interstellar screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions, Syncopy) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • The Lego Movie written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, LEGO Systems A/S Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation (as Warner Animation Group)) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (938 nominating ballots)

    • Doctor Who: “Listen” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Worldcat
    • The Flash: “Pilot” teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, story by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, directed by David Nutter (The CW) (Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television)
    • Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by Alex Graves (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
    • Grimm: “Once We Were Gods”, written by Alan DiFiore, directed by Steven DePaul (NBC) (GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, Universal TV) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
    • Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions; Space/BBC America) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat

    The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (851 nominating ballots)
    Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2013 or 2014, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).

    NICU Drama

    My recovery after the c-section continued to go well. By that evening I had stood up for a couple of minutes.

    The following morning the pediatrician showed up bright and early at 6:30am to check Julian out. He heard a slight heart murmur but noted this was fairly common with newborns and fixes itself within a day or two. By mid-morning I was walking and able to get my catheter and all remaining tubes and monitors taken off. The nurse had suggested I walk around a little more so around lunch time Jaeger, my mom, Julian, and I all took an excursion to the outside balcony. The weather and view was spectacular.

    As part of standard procedure, the hospital wanted to run a battery of tests on Julian to make sure he was doing well. Jaeger and I stayed out on the courtyard and mom took him back to his screenings. When Jaeger and I arrived back at the room we discovered Julian had failed his pulse oximetry screening. This screening is used to catch congenital heart defects.

    BCH has a nurse practitioner onsite from Children’s Hospital that rotate in 24 hr shifts1. The on-call pediatrician had our nurse consult with her and they decided to repeat the test to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. The nurse practicioner also listened and heard a faint murmor. To do the pulse oximetry screening, they hooked up one probe on Julian’s right hand and one on his left foot. The hospital was looking for both to be about the same level and also for them to be in the mid 90s range. Julian also failed the repeat.

    Thinking that possibly he just had a stuffed up nose, they got out an industrial suction device and tried to suction out his nose. It did extract some mucus and they were hopeful that was possibly the culprit. For a bit it looked like he was going to pass the screening but after a while they concluded he was still failing.

    This changed everything. All of a sudden we were moved from our standard recovery room to a “special care nursery” suite. The move was surreal. I had researched BCH’s NICU prior to picking the hospital because I half expected to end up there due to preterm labor. BCH’s NICU setup is very nice as each suite contains a private room for the baby and an adjacent room for the parents to stay. The parent’s room has two doors, one to the outside hall and one directly to the private nursery. The nursery also has a door to the hallway.

    Mom and Jaeger worked to pack up our stuff from our first room and I went with Julian to the special care nursery where they immediately put an oxygen hood on him and started doing all sorts of tests. Julian was not pleased. The echocardiogram took the longest but he also had an x-ray and many blood-test related pokes. It took about 2 hours for them to do all the testing. During most of it I stayed by his bed, let him suck my little finger, and babbled incoherently to him trying to keep him calm. The surrounding medical staff got to here all sorts of things about our family while I was desperately trying to come up with subjects to talk about.

    After all the tests were done I sat in the in-room recliner/rocker and they gave Julian back to me to nurse. This time Julian had 3 ECG probes, a probe to monitor his oxygen, and then oxygen to breath from. At one point they briefly contemplated putting an IV in his umbilical cord but one of the nurses suggested we first try breastfeeding and move to the IV if it looked like he needed additional nutrition. As it was, all the cords were a horrendous tangle to try to keep straight. Not surprising, Julian wasn’t excited by any of this and tried to breastfeed for about 3 hours straight. Unfortunately, his latch wasn’t great and I didn’t shift him from side-to-side as much as I should have due to all the tethers he had attached.

    During the afternoon results started trickling in from the various tests. The cardiologists down at Children’s Hospital had reviewed his echocardiogram and pronounced his heart normal. The x-ray showed some fluid in his lungs which hospital staff believed was probably the results of him not getting properly wrung-out during his c-section delivery. Ever since Jaeger has been threatening to invent a wringer for c-section babies.

    In any case, the pediatrician wanted him to remain on oxygen until the pulse oximeter consistently showed him in the mid-90s. So, our remaining days at BCH were in the “special care nursery” section of the postpartum wing.

    That evening as I was nursing Julian my left nipple started bleeding. The shenanigans in the afternoon had been too much for it. We started supplementing what Julian was getting from me with donor breastmilk from a bottle to give him more milk and give my nipples a bit of a break.

    Since Julian was in his own nursery instead of right by our bed it was trickier to get up to feed him. Our first night in the NICU suite Jaeger would hop up and determine why Julian was crying. If it was a feeding issue, he’d come get me and help me out of bed, otherwise he took care of it himself. It was very helpful to be able to lay back and wait to see if I was needed.

    Standing for two hours my 2nd-day post c-section turned out to have been a bit much for me. My feet ended up dreadfully swollen. My last c-section I had mainly used ibuprofen but I did end up taking Norco once a night for a couple of days. I was still doing really well recovering but physically it was a bit slower than last time due to the additional strain I had been putting on my body. In spite all all of this, I still felt much more clear-headed and more optimistic than I had the first time.

    Other than the initial stress, the NICU experience was really good. While it is appalling to see all the monitors attached to such a little baby, there was also the comfort of knowing that everyone will know as soon as something goes wrong. The nurses were obviously very experienced and were a lot of help.

    While at BCH I saw a lactation consultant every day. With Calvin I had tried a supplemental nursing system (SNS) and absolutely hated it. As a result, I was pretty resistant to trying it with Julian. In fact, on my birth preferences document I explicitly stated I did not want to use a SNS. However, on the third day when a nurse suggested I try the SNS I took a moment to reconsider. My feeding experience with Calvin was a disaster in every respect. However, even though something wasn’t quite right with Julian’s feeding, he was sucking correctly. So, I agreed to give it a shot. The nurse called the lactation consultant and we set it up. It turns out the whole thing works much better with a baby that knows how to suck.

    My recovery continued to be excellent. My OB said I would likely be discharged on Thursday. We could stay in our hospital room as long as our baby stayed in the NICU. However, the pediatrician said he’d probably discharge Julian the same time I was and just send him home with his own little tank of oxygen.

    On our third night Julian screamed in the middle of the night for about 2 hours. It’s unclear exactly why. However, the upside is it appears to have cleared out his lungs. That night the nurse was able to wean him off oxygen. In fact, when I woke up, his oxygen was detached. I thought it was a mistake till I saw there was a note that the NICU nurses were running a test to see how he did without any oxygen. This time he passed.

    The pediatrician stopped by and cleared Julian to take home without oxygen!! The whole discharge process took longer than I expected but finally, on April 2, we were able to bring Julian home!

    Julian is now nine days old and continues to do really well. Breastfeeding has been a bit challenging but nowhere near the scale that it was for Calvin. Julian has been sleeping exceptionally well and at the moment all members of our family appear to be sane.

    Photos related to Julian.

    1. They have a little room with a bed and TV when they aren’t needed.

    Julian’s Birth Story

    From Jaeger’s announcement:

    Julian Elliot Stone Logan was born at 08:55 MDT this morning. He was 10 pounds, 6 ounces. (That’s 4700 grams, for those interested in metric units.) He’s 21.5 inches long, and his head measured 15 inches. His Apgar scores were 8 and 9. Big brother Calvin is excited, though not quite sure what to make of his infant sibling.

    Selected photos are posted here.

    Same disclaimer as with Calvin’s Birth: Below is the story of my perception of Julian’s birth. What I remember and what actually happened may not be the same thing. In addition, you may learn more than you ever really wanted to know about me in which case you probably shouldn’’t continue reading 🙂


    The Pregnancy
    My pregnancy with Julian was delightfully uneventful. Off the top of her head, my original OB gave 30% odds that I would have repeat preterm issues1. As my therapist would like me to remember that actually meant there was a 70% chance everything would go normal. I decided the one thing I could do to better my odds was to reduce as much stress in my life as possible. Starting in November I dropped everything that wasn’t strictly work or home related. In addition, I saw a therapist biweekly, and aimed to go to weekly prenatal yoga and prenatal water aerobic classes. While the exercise was no doubt good, I think most of the benefit came from being able to interact with other pregnant woman.

    One reason I changed hospitals/OBs for my pregnancy with Julian was because I wanted the option to attempt a VBAC2. My previous c-section went really well but I strongly disliked having to commit to a c-section at the beginning of my pregnancy. Given Calvin’s birth weight, 8 lbs 15 oz, and prior ultra sounds we expected Julian to be large but I didn’t necessarily think that ruled out a VBAC and my OB seemed to think it could be feasible. However, at our 33 week appointment we learned that he was breech. I was not terribly surprised as at my dentist appointment the prior week I felt him “detach” when they leaned me back in the chair3. Thus, unless he swapped places again, I would have a scheduled c-section.

    Our next appointment was suppose to be week 36 but Jaeger had to travel for work (during which time I really hoped Julian wouldn’t decide to come early). As a result, my next appointment wasn’t till week 37. At week 37 we learned that he was back in head down position (yay!) and I was dilated 4 cm and 60-70% effaced. My OB seemed dubious when I told her I was walking around at 5cm with Calvin for about a month. However, everything looked good so we decided to go ahead and hire a doula. This was rather late notice but we were very fortunate to be able to find someone quickly.

    Week 38 I was at 5 cm and 70% effaced. No baby.

    Week 39. Still 5 cm. No baby. I think Jaeger and I were less surprised than the OB. We started talking about what would happen if Julian wouldn’t come on his own. Because of my prior c-section my OB wouldn’t have used pitocin in any case but I didn’t want my water broken either. My instinct said that if he wasn’t coming on his own there was a reason and I felt inducing would likely end up in the same situation as Calvin: a fairly quick labor, a fair amount of pushing, and a c-section in the end. This feeling was so strong that I hadn’t really bothered to run it by my OB and only belatedly realized I probably should. However, while I’m not sure she 100% agree with me she did say it was possible he was having trouble dropping due to head size. In any case, we decided to hope he’d come on his own but schedule a c-section for 40 weeks and 6 days4.

    Week 40. Still 5 cm. Still hadn’t dropped. No baby. My OB was on vacation so a partner checked me and seemed surprised to agree I was at 5 cm. I signed the c-section consent form and was dismayed to learn we were the first of the day, at 7:30am and needed to show up by 5:30am. Jaeger and I are not morning people. I was also dismayed to learn that not only was I not to eat for 8 hours ahead of time (I expected that) but neither was I suppose to drink anything, including water.

    Sunday, the day before the scheduled c-section, we talked with our doula and discussed how she could help support us during the c-section.

    Julian’s Birth Day
    Jaeger and I woke up bright and early on March 30, 2015. We groggily showered (I wasn’t sure when I’d get another) and made our way to the hospital. Our doula was already there waiting for us.

    I wasn’t sure why we needed to be at the hospital 2 hours early. It turns out that when a c-section is scheduled, they do a much more leisurely prep. We were immediately shown to the PACU. I got into one of the lovely hospital gowns, laid on the bed, and prepared to be prepped. They started out by monitoring Julian to double check he was still moving and his heartbeat was good. The nurse noted it looked like I was having contractions which I tried to explain didn’t actually mean anything in my case. Then she worked on inserting my hep lock (or something similar) and complained I was very dehydrated and apologized profusely that she was having trouble finding a vein. I was not entirely sure what they expected given I was told not to drink water for 6 hours. Various other things were done and paperwork filled out. Jaeger and our doula took pictures throughout.

    7:30 arrived and my OB showed up. She had been on vacation the previous week and expressed surprise that I hadn’t gone into labor on my own already. The c-section was suppose to start at 7:30 but the anesthesiologist had been called away by another mother that needed an epidural. A bit after 8:00am the anesthesiologist arrived. I was hustled into the OR. Lots of things were done including giving me my spinal. Unlike last time I didn’t go from pain to non-pain so did not actually giggle my way through the surgery.

    I was hoping our doula would be able to come in with us and take pictures but it sounds like the anesthesiologists, as a group, were cracking down on individuals that were allowing more than 1 support person in the room at a time. So, our doula instead stood just outside the door and snapped pictures through the window.

    I really wanted to watch the c-section. Our doula had mentioned some hospitals had switched to clear drapes separating the sterile/non-sterile side which sounded great to me. However, the heated air mattress-like device they had on top of me, to keep me warm, would have obstructed my view a fair amount anyway. As it was I could kind of watch parts of it in the lit picture of aspens on the ceiling. Though, the instruments showed up better than anything else which wasn’t the part I was particularly interested in.

    As my OB started she asked if I had any guesses how big Julian was going to be. I told her I was confident he was at least 9 lbs and she agreed. Julian was born at 8:55am and weighed 10 lbs and 6oz. The medical staff seemed quite impressed with his size. I think I was less surprised than they were. At least, my ribs had been convinced he was a fair bit larger than Calvin. Julian was taking to the warming table and his basic health was reviewed. His apgar scores were 8 and 9.

    It was at this point in the birth that my experience compared with Calvin’s c-section started diverging dramatically. Prior to the c-section they had me put a semi-disposable tube top on. The theory was that if the baby fit he would be nestled between my breasts underneath the tube top. I was extremely skeptical that Julian would fit and hadn’t heard what would happen if he didn’t. After the initial evaluation, which took about 10 minutes, a nurse came over, looked at my tube top and verified that Julian wasn’t going to fit. However, this was apparently easily solved by cutting my tube top off and bringing Julian over and placed on my chest with a blanket on top both of us. I can’t remember exactly how long they left him there but it was a good amount of time.

    Once I got stitched up they moved us back to the PACU/post-op room. Julian was large for his gestational age so they wanted to do a blood sugar test. At Longmont they wouldn’t let Calvin eat before his test and I was a bit worried about this. When I asked the Boulder nurse if the same thing would happen this time she looked at me like I was crazy and said they took the test after he first breastfed. Like Calvin, Julian’s latching wasn’t particularly comfortable but unlike Calvin he did seem to suck rather than chew. Julian passed his blood sugar test without any problem.

    At around 11:00 am we were moved from post-op to our recovery room. Most of the recovery rooms have queen beds but we had been told that women recovering from a c-section often preferred the single beds (with couch for partner) because they had more positioning options. Jaeger and I had discussed this and agreed that for our case we’d still prefer the queen bed. I was just going to rely on Jaeger helping to position Julian and I as needed.

    We spent most of the rest of the day napping and trying to breastfeed. Julian got several more blood sugar tests and kept getting progressively better scores. Medical staff kept popping in and remarking with some astonishment that a woman as short as myself (5′ 3″) had managed to carry a 10 lb baby. Around 5:00pm my mom and Calvin stopped by to admire Julian.

    Upon reflection, I’m really glad I ended up with a scheduled c-section. Overall, this has been a much smoother recovery than my first c-section. As far as physical recovery, I’ve had very good experiences with both my c-sections. However, not having gone through labor first for this one, and delivery in the morning, meant I was much more coherent and could really focus on Julian’s first couple of hours of life.

    (However, the excitement isn’t over yet. Continue on to hear about our exciting NICU drama.)

    1. These odds were just an educated guess on her part. There really isn’t a good way to predict spontaneous preterm labor ahead of time.
    2. Longmont will not do VBACs
    3. My OB says this is not normal.
    4. This was according to his official due date. According to my dating, he would be 41 weeks and 4 days.

    Melody Park, Boulder, CO

    Recently the Boulder Rock’n Moms group was discussing parks and one of the other members mentioned that she thought Calvin and I would enjoy Melody Park. Melody Park is a neighborhood park in Boulder. The Boulder neighborhood parks vary wildly in how good the playground equipment is. Some are pretty small but others can be very nice. Melody Park is one of the latter.

    2-5 Playground Equipment

    2-5 Playground Equipment

    The park has playground equipment for both ages 2-5 and 5-12.

    5-12 Playground Equipment

    5-12 Playground Equipment

    In addition to basic playground equipment they also had a “tire” swing which was a huge hit with Calvin. It’s not a real tire, I’m not sure they do that anymore, and the plastic is a bit light which does make it a little tricky to balance unless you have two kids.

    07TireSwing

    I suggested Calvin try the regular swings or the spinner but he wasn’t interested.

    10Swings

    He did, however, greatly enjoy the spinner attached to the 5-12 playground set.

    05Spinner

    The 5-12 playground equipment blends traditional equipment with more modern options. There are several slides and rope ladders but also features like large plastic rings stacked on top of each other that can be climbed.

    06Slide

    03Ropeladder

    02RopeBridge

    08Ladder

    09Climbing

    Overall it was a very nice park to visit. Calvin obviously enjoyed it as he’s already asked if we can go back to this park.

    Summary:

    Features 2-5 playground equipment, 5-12 playground equipment, spinners, slides, bucket swings, regular swings, “tire” swing, a variety of types of ladders, hanging pod link, balancing steps, rope ladders, rope bridge
    Surface Material Poured Rubber
    Restrooms No
    Water fountain No
    Shade At this time of year (March) there isn’t much. There might be more when mature trees on surrounding yards leaf out. There’s also smaller trees that are planted in the park that will eventually provide more shade. In addition, there’s a covered picnic area and there is some shading on the playground equipment itself.
    Picnic area Yes, one covered picnic area with a picnic table. There’s at least one more picnic table in the field next to the playground.
    Parking Convenient street parking
    Pros
    • Really nice mix of equipment for older and younger children
    • Fairly large playground that can keep kids interested for quite a while
    Cons
    • No restrooms or drinking fountain


    View Random Parks and Playgrounds in a larger map

    Suggested Maternity Shirts for 40+ Weeks

    At 40 weeks I’m down to about 2-3 outfits that still fit me. While I’m not planning to buy any more clothing till Julian is born, Jaeger and I have been contemplating useful t-shirt slogans for 40+ weeks. They include:
    * My due date is in the past
    * I’m just big boned
    * No, I am not a twin
    * There’s only one of me in here
    * Confirmed singleton1
    * It’s cozy in here
    * Not coming out till I’m good and ready
    * My schedule not mommy’s
    * Due dates are made up anyway
    * You’re going to have to come get me
    * Help, I’ve fallen up and I can’t get out.

    1. Are you noticing a trend? I’m to the point where random strangers are asking me if I’m having twins.

    The case of the disappearing kindergartener

    This evening began like most our evenings. We ate supper around 6. Calvin did a good job of eating everything he was given and got a piece of candy. After supper he listened to an audio book for a little while until 7 when it was time for bedtime stories. We finished reading an ARC of Nick and Tesla’s Special Effects Spectacular. This continues to be one of Calvin’s favorite series. Then he went off to bed around 7:30.

    Yesterday I got a new phone so I spent some of this evening figuring out the best way to transfer info to and from the phone. Around 9 I decided it was time to go to bed. As is my custom, I stopped by Calvin’s room to make sure he was still breathing. This is a habit I haven’t been able to kick ever since he was born.

    It was pretty warm today so I had opened Calvin’s window. I didn’t want him to get too cold during the night so I closed the window then turned to the bed to double check the breathing. He wasn’t in bed. I didn’t panic. He has a low loft bed that has kind of a hideaway area underneath. I look in there, he isn’t there either. I look in the closet. I look in the office. I look in our bedroom. I can’t find him.

    I call down to Jaeger and he starts looking. I call for Calvin and my calls get progressively louder. We’re fairly certain he must be on the 2nd floor as he hasn’t come down the stairs. I open Calvin’s window again to make sure the screen was intact still (it was). We start looking in other areas of the house. My mom, who is here for Julian’s birth, starts looking. We look in the basement. We look in the garage. Jaeger goes and starts looking on the 2nd floor again. I go outside and start looking. I look in the cars. I look in the linen closet. I look in the washer. I look in the dryer (stacked about the washer). I can’t find him.

    I’m starting to panic. How could we possibly lose our son between the living room and his bedroom? Could someone have gotten into our house and taken him away? How would anyone have gotten past three adults on the main level of the house?

    We look again on the 2nd floor opening up anything that could potentially hold a kid, however unlikely. I go and look under our bed again. The space under our bed is crowded because we’re storing a lot of stuff for Julian under it. However, I think I might see a toe. I move around to the foot of the bed and look under the bed skirt again. There I find Calvin. He just barely fits under the bed and appears to have had a great adventure playing hide and seek from mommy and daddy.

    We tell him not to do it again and send him back to bed.

    Terry Pratchett

    Terry Pratchett has died. His books, along with other authors, helped me survive Calvin’s first couple of years mostly sane.

    I came to Pratchett fairly late. I think the first book I listened to, Monstrous Regiment read by Stephen Briggs1, was around 2006. After my son was born in 2009 I spent hours and hours walking around the neighborhood listening to audio books while praying that the walk would put my son to sleep.

    This year, when I decided to get pregnant again, I created a list of go-to comfort audio books I could listen to in case I ended up on bed rest again2. I was extremely fortunate to avoid bed rest. However, I still ended up listening to a lot of Pratchett during my first trimester while I was laying on the couch doubled up with nausea. More recently, I’ve been listening to his books while I fall asleep to help stop my worrying about everything that could go wrong with pregnancy/birth/infancy. There’s something very grounding in Sam Vimes’ outlook on life.

    I haven’t read every Discworld book. All except the newest ones can be tricky to get via audio3. However, of the ones I have read, these are my favorites:

    On the of chance you haven’t read any Pratchett and are interested, this graphic provides a pretty good introduction to the major Discworld themes. Personally, I would suggest starting with The Watch Novels as I think they’re the most consistently written5. I feel Pratchett’s writing improved a great deal the longer he wrote and, in general, the later books are much better than the earlier ones.

    I am selfishly sad there will be no more Discworld books with their wonderful blend of humor, satire, and acceptance of the way people are6.

    1. With all the Pratchett audio books if you decide to buy or borrower them, make sure you get the unabridged version. Almost all of them of narrated by Nigel Planer, Stephen Briggs, or Celia Imrie. Unfortunately, for the older books, the easiest audio edition to purchase are often abridged.
    2. In my experience with bed rest last time I had a hard time reading but was able to listen to audio books. In fact, during my 2 week stint in the hospital I started, and almost finished, the audio version of Anathem which is 32 hrs and 27 min
    3. Though Friday I went on a buying spree when I discovered if I buy the Kindle version of many of the Discworld books they’ll currently give me a screaming deal if I add on Audible narration. Many of the books can be had for under $10 buying both the Kindle and the Audible version together.
    4. My very, very favorite scene in the series is in this book and it involves a dramatic moment towards the end when Sam Vimes reads his son a bedtime story.
    5. I would not recommend starting with The Colour of Magic. It is the first book in the Discworld series but I found the first couple of books to be kind of random. A lot of amusing anecdotes that kind of get pulled into a plot.
    6. Actually, there is one more Discworld book that will be released later this year, The Shepherd’s Crown which is part of the excellent Tiffany Aching YA series.

    Dear Julian

    From: Your Mother
    Sent: Friday, March 13, 2015
    To: Julian
    Subject: Proposed Birthday Dates

    Dear Julian,

    It’s time for you to decide on your birthday date. According to the doctor I’m 5cm dilated and 70% effaced so she thinks you should come any day now. Of course, I know my children better and, as such, don’t expect you to be born just because the doctor thinks it’s time for you to come. However, I would like to propose some auspicious days for you to consider:

    March 14, 2015
    March 14 is less than a day away so this might feel rushed to you. However, I’d like to point out that it is Pi Day. Not only is it Pi Day, it’s a special Pi Day. You would get major bonus points if you could manage to be born at 9:26:53. Please note: some people are claiming that both 9:26:53 in the morning or the evening are equally valid but daddy prefers using 24 hr time. On the other hand, he’s already fudging by dropping the first two digits of the year and using the US date notation so maybe you could convince him. I promise if you are born on Pi Day I will learn to make a decent pie crust.

    March 20, 2015
    If you decide not to be born on Pi Day, I’d really appreciate it if you’d wait till March 20. This is because on March 19 Gail Carriger is going to be at The Tattered Cover and I’d really like to go. March 20 is also the spring equinox which might be fun. Another reason this would be a good day is because Grandma will be arriving the previous day and this would allow her more time to adore you before she goes back home.

    March 24, 2015
    This is your official due date according to the doctor’s office. Personally, I don’t put much stock in this date but it’s not a bad day.

    March 26, 2015
    This is your brother’s birthday. Being born on this date might be a tad controversial but it could also be fun.

    I encourage you to pick one of the dates above. If none of those dates work, please consider being born no later than March 29. On March 31 you hit the magical 41 weeks according to the doctor’s office. At this point they want you out and they’re not going to allow you to delay any longer. Childhood is annoying enough without it starting out with grownups deciding the day you’re born. However, it is your choice whether you pick your own date prior to week 41 or let the grownups choose for you.

    Love,

    Mommy

    P.S. Thank you for staying inside till you were fully baked. That was very considerate of you.

    Pregnancy Update and False Labor

    I went to see my Dr last Tuesday at 37 weeks. She examined me and said it looks like Julian is once again head down! So, it sounds like a VBAC is back on the table. She also said I was 4 cm dilated and 60-70% effaced. Based on that, she thought there was a good chance I would go into labor in the next week or two. Of course, I was 5 cm with Calvin at this point and he was induced1. So, who knows. That being said, we decided it was probably best to prepared on the off-chance he showed up this week.

    Last time we had decided to hire a doula and and found her to be quite useful supporting Jaeger and I. This time I was on the fence because it was so up-in-the air whether a) I’d make it to full term and b) whether I’d be in a position to attempt a VBAC. However, given things look good, I decided to see if there were any doulas with last-minute openings. The instructor for the Thursday night prenatal yoga class I attend is a doula and seems pretty pragmatic so I first contacted her. She already had a full client base for the month (not surprising) but suggested someone else. We contacted her and she came over and we talked and Jaeger and I signed her up on the spot. Normally, we would have interviewed several doulas but given the possible time constraints, it didn’t seem like a good idea to linger.

    Around 12:45pm on Friday afternoon I started feeling a little weird. This is not particularly abnormal because Julian gets very active around 1ish each day. However, before stopping work for the day I made sure everything was in a spot where it would be easy to walk away from for a couple of months.

    After work I got my eyebrows waxed and the stylist told me of a show called pregnant in heels which allegedly employs armies of fashion people so woman can look perfect in their right-after-birth photos. Personally, I think you need the exhausted/haggard photo so your child can never claim they were adopted.

    I took Calvin to the dentist and learned he’s about to lose his first two baby teeth! As Jaeger notes, this means we’re going to need to develop a tooth fairy policy2.

    I got home and noticed that my contractions seemed to have become more pronounced. I told Jaeger that I didn’t want to be paranoid but it wouldn’t hurt for him to come home a bit early to eat just to make sure he got supper. I also didn’t feel like cooking so he brought home takeout from our local Indian restaurant. While I was waiting, I kind of paid more attention to my contractions and decided they might be about 5 min apart.

    Jaeger arrived home and we ate. I had the Vegetable Thukpa which was fantastic. Things were still feeling weird so I called Jaeger’s mom and asked if Calvin could spend the night. Things hadn’t quite gotten to the point where I was sure I was in labor but I figured it was better Calvin start out the night at Nana’s house rather than potentially get moved part-way through. She had guests over but said we could drop him off if we ended up at the hospital or she could come pick him up afterwards.

    After supper I laid back on the couch and continued to contract. The problem is I can usually tell when they start but have a hard time figuring out when they end so I couldn’t figure out exactly what was happening. I decided to take a shower. Jaeger decided I was sounding serious enough he was going to stage the go bags by the door. Possibly due to excitement, he managed to fall down the stairs and hit the back of his head. I was still in the bathroom and heard a big clunk. I leaned out and asked “what was that?” But big clunks are fairly common in our house with Calvin and he wasn’t crying and Jaeger was around so I decided everything was probably ok3 and went back to drying myself off. Minutes later Jaeger appears and asks where our therapy ice pack was. I told him it in the scary freezer in the garage. He did not approve of this because he has an unnatural fear of our outside freezer (ok, probably not unnatural, it is hard to find things when packed).

    Jaeger and I both ended up on the couch. Me with weird pains and him with a huge bump on the back of his head and a ice pack. Jaeger put his arm around me and emulated a contraction monitor. While I have trouble figuring out when they end, he apparently can feel it and doesn’t get as distracted by Julian’s random movements. He determined they were still coming fairly consistently 5 minutes apart and were lasting about a minute. I had a lot of dull aching from my lower back down interspersed with the occasional sharp stab but the contractions themselves didn’t hurt. I didn’t feel any sense of urgency so decided it wasn’t worth calling the doctor’s office until/unless we noticed an increase in contraction frequency/intensity.

    It was getting late so Jaeger ferried Calvin over to Nana’s house for the night, just in case. He got back and we stared at each other for a bit not sure what to do next. Eventually I lay down on the couch and dozed off. When I woke up a little bit later, the contractions were gone.

    Jaeger and I both stumbled off to bed around 10pm not sure if we were going to get woken up in the middle of the night or not. We didn’t and I had about as restful a night as I usually do these days.

    This morning I’m back to only the occasional contraction so it seems like whatever was happening last night is over.

    1. Though I finally found documentation that says I was 50% effaced on his due date/induction day so from a certain perspective, I might currently be ahead.
    2. One of the tenets of our tooth fairy policy is that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist. We’re not entirely sure what the rest will involve yet. And yes, we’ve never pretended Santa Claus is real either. I’m sorry.
    3. Jaeger said he did yell that he’d fallen down the stairs but I missed that