Friday, October 21, 2011

Kate's Birth Story - Repost

Many of you have heard this story, some haven't.  One year ago, my daughter Kate was born after 7 long years of trying and 1 long day of trepidation for Angie and me.  It has been an outstanding year both personally, professionally, and physically.  I couldn't be more proud of my wife, Angie, my 16 year old Anna, my 13 year old son Grant, and our newest addition, Kate.

If you are interested to see how much a baby can progress in one year, take a look at this video of Kate's first year.

The ORIGINAL STORY (as typed on a Blackberry at 3:00am).

For those of you not on my email lists, here is the story:  

Well it was an adventure. Kate wasn't due to arrive until 11/18. So I decided to go to a work conference this week in Denver and even booked a mini vacation in the mountains for Thursday and Friday. Angie called Thursday morning to let me know she had a few signs of labor. But at her doctors appointment he said she was fine and I should stay in Colorado. 

At noon, her contractions were bad enough that Julie (her boss) sent her home. Meanwhile, I was wringing my hands on if I should return or stay for my mini vacation. Angie and I toiled over the decision until I listened to her experience a contraction over the phone and I knew it was time. One canceled hotel, one cancelled car, and 1 flight change and I was on my way. Unfortunately, I had 7 hours before the flight left. 

Back in Arkansas, the contractions got quicker and more intense. Angie's mom gathered her up and took her to the hospital. I was still sitting in the airport. Delynn, my colleague (who is 7 months pregnant herself), kept me pretty calm for the next few hours.  I even helped Angie through a few contractions over the phone. She was only 3 centimeters at that point. Plenty of time... right?

However, just before getting on the plane she was at 6 and heading for the epidural. This is the exact moment that I started 



A 2 hour plane ride with no updates. Even Delynn stopped pretending I had plenty of time. 

By the time I landed, an entire plan had been put in motion. My quick phone call revealed Angie was 10 centimeters and ready to push.  I also found out I had people waiting on me. The plane crew let me off first and the Gate crew ran with me to clear a path through the airport. 

Maisha was at the top of the escalator wanting my keys and directing me to a white SUV waiting at the terminal. Julie was waiting in her Land Rover with a police escort. As we flew through the back roads, Julie's glee at being in a police convoy kept me distracted. We survived the back roads and as we barreled down I-540, Julie explained my exact route through the ER door to my wife's room. 

Meanwhile, Maisha convinced a incoming airport passenger to drive her around the airport economy lot until she located my car. 

As I arrived at the hospital, I jumped out, got through the doors and made it just in time. The stirrups were in place and the pushing started immediately. 1 hour later, after a heroic effort by Angie, Kate Lauren entered the world. 5 lbs 1 oz, 19 inches long at 11:45pm. Mom and baby are great. Kate has a full head of brown and the tiniest hands imaginable. 

I'm a proud dad and now I get to lose sleep all over again. A heartfelt thanks to Linda, Delynn, Maisha, Julie, the police, the passengers of flight 6729, and the Willow Creek staff for a crazy, stressful and ultimately wonderful experience. 

And of course thanks to my lovely wife who did the hard work while I sat in an airport.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Fair warning.  This post is not about Crossfit nor is it a happy one.  I won't be linking to it in Facebook or any of my other social media.

It's about my Grandmother and how sad I am that she is gone.  She isn't dead, but she is gone.  Alzheimer's is a nasty, nasty disease... one that may hurt family members even more than the victim.  It's gradual and long.  It wears down family members that have to deal with all the difficulties it creates.  Sometimes, I would guess, to the point of irritation.

I'm really good at denial, as I've blogged about before.  Not your traditional denial of pretending it isn't going on, but rather of accepting the consequences.  I was telling my mom that Grandmother had it before she ever even thought to have her tested.  But that doesn't mean that once we knew that I'd accept it.

But I'm getting ahead.  My granddaddy got it years ago.  He died last year after a long slow deterioration. God spared the latter stages of Alzheimer's where one doesn't know family members.  He still knew us all, but not much else.  My grandmother took care of him virtually by herself for all those years.  Once he died, it was almost as if she gave her body permission to deteriorate too.  The effect was almost immediate.  She began disoriented and forgetful.  Soon, it was too bad to deny and mom had her tested.

I probably have the timelines wrong, but I don't care.  That's what happens when you deny reality.  But then something happened this week which brought the heaviest stones down on my shoulders.  Stones of guilt, remorse, anger, hate, and most of all, sadness.  See, I turn 42 on Monday.  My wife, being the kind, beautiful soul that she is, wants to make me whatever dessert I want.  This despite having to make cakes for my two daughters whose birthdays are all within the same week.  Oh and hosting my parents and throwing a sweet 16 and sweet 1 party.  She STILL wants my needs to be met.

That's when it hit me.  She is the sweetest person I've ever known except for my grandmother.  I made it worse by asking for my favorite dessert, a Pecan Pie.  (Side note: as another example of my denial, I've always said that German Chocolate Cake is my favorite dessert... and my grandmother made me a least a dozen of them over the years... but the real truth is I wish, every year, I'd asked for a Pecan Pie.)  My grandmother makes the best Pecan Pie in the world.  My wife has slowly replicated my grandmother's most prized recipes... sweet potato soufflé and german chocolate cake.  I have no doubt the Pecan Pie is next.

God, it's really crazy how these moments sneak up on you.  I haven't stopped thinking about her in the subsequent 3 days since this happened.  I MISS her.  I miss the woman that would tirelessly prepare the best damn food you could ever eat.  Her dishes were legendary and her recipes spread like wildfire among people lucky enough to taste one.  I miss the woman that invented the large cookie.  The Cookie Factory did not.  My grandmother was feeding me big cookies 34 years ago.  She was also the woman that taught me to throw a baseball... even though she really didn't know how.  She would stand in the back yard and let me zing baseballs at her.  Hell, I'm sure at times I terrified her.  Thank God she finally told me she couldn't do it anymore.

This woman also would meticulously alter my long sleeve shirts to fit my right arm.... and cut two fingers out of my gloves.  As a kid, I took it all for granted... not that she ever needed anything other than an "I love you..."  Thank God I said that a lot to her.

Up until recently, I use to call her every week.  But it was SO hard to talk to her.  She didn't remember talking to me last week or anything I said.  So I got a little worse at making sure I reached her every week.  She kept asking me to bring Kate to see her even though I already had.  I didn't know if I should remind her or not.  It's just really hard to know how to approach it.

A couple of weeks ago, the family moved her to an Alzheimer's assisted living place.  I think it was a great move.  She has people to interact with and a staff to keep her safe.  But selfishly, I realize that I will never see her in her kitchen again, nor sitting on her couch holding her great grandchildren.  And it just makes me really really angry.  I think of all the shitty people in this world and she gets picked to suffer this in her life.  It makes me want to kick the shit out of whoever decides this stuff.  But anger doesn't work, so I blog instead.

The most disturbing thing about this is how closely related my grandmother and grandfather's disease was.  Both were fairly healthy otherwise (except high blood pressure) but both got Alzheimer's despite being from different genetic pools.  And they got it within a similar timeframe.  I'm convinced, more than ever, it is diet.  But who know WHAT it is.  They mostly ate meat, fruits, veggies and grains.  It wasn't until much later in life they took upon processed foods, and never to the level we all eat now.  So, who knows.  We are all probably killing brain cells every day...

I don't really know how to end this.  No witty closing, no words of wisdom.  I'm sad and I don't know when I won't be anymore.  I know it will pass, but until then, I miss her.