I still have a little catching up to do to save prosperity. This one tells of how Max and Manu made it into the world via a sharp knife, a slick doctor, and a spinal tapped, ultra frightened girl.

***************************************************

Do Elephants howl?
Do Elephants howl?

Here at the hospital while on bed rest, Pierre and I press our ears against the walls — listening to the women in the other rooms as they go into labor and eventually give birth. We’re stiff with rapture, like kids seeing a full-frontal naked person for the first time, or a game show contestant freaking in anticipation over whats behind door #3. We are experiencing our own lives, our own pasts through the women. It’s how we all entered this world. Through the greatest canal… The grandest right-of-passage of all.

Portal from another World
Portal from another World

The primal, the very animal howl from the women is unlike any call or cry I have ever heard, and from the deepest, most primal space it triggers in me that ancestral attachment. It fails to temp me into a drug-free birth however — the vicarious ease drop is enough. It’s a beautiful sound.

I’ve loved my 18 days on bed rest and me & the twins are super at 27 1/2 weeks. The doctors are talking about releasing me this weekend, saying they see no reason why I cant spend the remainder of my pregnancy at home.

Pius the teenage pope
Pius the teenage pope

The problem is, I dont want to go!
Here, my pals come visit me, Pierre comes each and every night to visit with Pius, my Whippet. Yes, CPMC even allows your dog to come and stay with you while you’re locked up. I coax Pius in bed with me, but Pierre ends that immediately. “Dont take advantage of a hospital letting your dog in by letting him climb in the sheets with you”. No fun those French.

Other reasons I like it here: I dont have to do remedial labor like cooking or cleaning, and I like having people from all backgrounds of education, ethnicity and experience to talk to, and most of all, I like being cared for by people here because in the real world, it’s difficult for me to ask others for help. Here, it’s safe. So, a few days before I am set to leave for home, I get my wish to stay.

The following morning I have my first contraction, and within 2 hours it is all over, or rather, it all is just beginning…

I have my first contraction at 7:30am, then at 8:30 then 9:00, then every 20, 15, 10 minutes. The nurses, 2 doctors and the pre-term delivery team run around my bedside in cool pandemonium.

Erma Vep says,
Erma Vep says,”Give me drugs!”

The contractions send me to the roof. “What the hell was that!?” I shriek as they grow in pain.
A pain much more severe than when I fell over a cliff on my motorcycle, than when I hit a fence with my face while jumping horses, more so than when I intentionally lit my skin with red hot metal. None of these come close to the pain of a contraction. I’ve heard men tell that the passing of boulder size gall stones through their eurethra comes close. So they say…

I yell to everyone, that women who choose to go through hours of labor are crazy! One nurse humorously agrees with me. I’ve never felt anything like it. I grab the bedpost, bury my head and wail. Shit. Budda. Breathe. Finally Paulette, a favorite nurse has me by the shoulders saying firmly, “Look at me. Breathe. You’re okay. You are going to deliver 2 beautiful children. We will take care of you. I’m here for you, look at my face.”
That was it. A connection to someone and I broke down crying.

Meanwhile the doctor is trying to get me undressed. She grabs me, forces my clothing off, demanding I cooperate. Her grounded firmness tempers me, an animal under duress being commanded by it’s owner.

At 9:50am I’m on the gurney, rushing to the delivery room. When there I’m told my spinal tap will hurt alot. They plunge it in, and I say, “Is that it?” After them contractions nothing was painful.

Dr Huh, my OBY and woman delivering my twins, said to me before she cut my abdomen, “Its going to feel like I am sitting a heavy bag on your stomach, and that I am rooting around in it for something. I’ll talk you through it. Try and relax.”

It did feel just like that, and I imagined them peeling back all the muscle, searching for Baby A, then Baby B. Pulling them out through a tiny incision and handing them over to the special group of strangers in the corner in blue sterile suits. I must have been in shock. It all went so well. I knew the kiddos had left me. They were being attended to in the corner by the doctors. I could feel Dr Huh putting me back together and I asked at the end to watch her sew me up and damn, she let me! How cool is that? There was so much blood, and I was super bloated like that cat I found washed up on the beach a few years back.

The twins had flown the nest. I could hear their cries off to one side, so faint, so small as they took them off to the ER. No romantic interlude for us, no insta-bonding, no eye candy reward in my arms. Just their cries disappearing through the corridor.

A Spork
A Spork

I was able to see each one for a split second before they were rushed to the NICU (Neo-natal intens. care unit) but I felt nothing. I was numb. Where was Pierre? What just happened?? Actually, we’d agreed Pierre wouldn’t be in the room since he faints at blood. Also, I would have totally fed off his nervous anticipation and so I was glad to be alone with the experience.

Afterwards though, he was the only one I wanted to see! He was outside and we rested in a waiting area until the doctor came to take us to see our new family. Max and Emmanuelle. They were like tiny baby birds lying in an incubation nest. Breathing 1000 times per second, absolutely no fat on their bodies under a glaring bright yellow lamp.

I didnt think about if they’d live or not, or complications. We were just all together in the room, my family, and for that moment it’s all that mattered.

A most perfect pair
What gives life?


You’ll never be alone
You’ll never be alone

>

Tags: | |

Damn, How many babies is that woman going to make?
When the belly seizes to look like a belly, and begins looking like hot lava oozin’ over the bedsheets, or like the maternal Jabba Hut, I think maybe there are too many babies in there.

How many babies do you think she is having?

How many can fit?
How many can fit?

 
 
 
 
 
> that would be 6 babies: Greg, peter, marcia, jan, cindy and booby. A Brady Bunch all in one swoop.!

If you are thinking about having a litter of kids yourself, but have questions and concerns (not over population ones of course), than you should contact Meet The Duggars for their free Daily Success email. Mrs. Duggar just pooted out child #18, and says she’s just following “a GOD who is delighting in demonstrating His great power!” I’d say. God keeps giving them to her. Uh-huh, does her husband wear a mask or something, or are we talking immaculate conception? I love those crazy Mormons.

duggars.jpg

Tags: |
Better than Birth
Better than Birth

We see billboard images of gore and horror promoting the next blockbuster, we visit restaurants where women sell beer and chicken wings with smothering cleavage, and we listen to televangelists delivering cock-and-bull harangues in the name of the good Lord to listeners across a country where gun ownership is man’s god given right. We all cross in and out of these fatuous scenes without much thought, yet… People still freak out about seeing a pregnant woman’s belly in public.
 
 

Shame on you, Tori
Shame on you, Tori

Was sup! even 52% of our wild and crazy, Us magazine readin’ youth think its obscene for a pregnant woman to show her growing belly in public. What is it that makes people talk about pregnancy as the most beautiful thing ever, and then squirm about and declare it offensive when it pokes it’s head into public view?
 

I remember riding the subway in Chicago each day to design school. There was a billboard of Rambo holding a bazooka with his sweaty, grimaced face ready to take out an entire village. Damn that movie made alot of money, and I doubt anyone complained about the obvious intent of murder and revenge conveyed in the add.

You can’t escape beauty
You can’t escape beauty

However, just behind that billboard was an ad for Benetton of a newborn baby girl. Her name was Giusy, and she was intended as an anthem to life, but instead was one of the most censured visuals in the history of all Benetton ads — if not all ads.
People sent letters and made phone calls by the 1000s demanding Benetton remove that obscene image of a newborn baby. WWRD?!!? What would Rambo do? I beieve Bennetton relented, and removed it. Affirming that life is a much more frightening prospect than death.

I too remember, while living in Boulder, Colorado, sitting at my business watching a hippie girl walk around the pedestrian walkway. Her hair with flowers, her shirt tied up, and her naked very pregnant belly being very proudly exposed.

Better than Fashion
Better than Fashion

A young hippie boy ran up and dropped to his knees and put his ear to her stomach laughing and smiling. She was so angelic to me. I then noticed a white married couple dining outdoors at an upscale steak house watching the entire tribulation with looks of disgust across their faces. I liked the irony that they were disgusted by life, while eating death, and I wondered if they would make it through their meal. Unfortunately & pitifully, their reaction isn’t uncommon. That said, if you are pregnant and find yourself in need to show off your new beautiful body, hop a plane to Argentina. When I was there with Pierre, women walked around all the time with their stomachs exposed with no drama, happy to reveal the thrill of what is soon to come. Life.

Tags:

Pierre has really gone crazy with blogging. He’s quite up to date, en vogue, tres currant w/ the stories! So, after a 3 month hiatus in the high Alps of Pregnancy, I too finally have a second to tell my own tale of how it all went down, and how Max and Manu finally made it through the portal of life.

The Power of One
The Power of One

But like Superman, when he became so angry at some personal injustice that he flew at supersonic speed against the earth’s rotation — causing it to reverse it’s spin, and thus reverse time, we have to go back a few months, when I was tipping the scale at 160 lbs and still had 2 fish swimming around in my basket.

My entire pregnancy had been fluent, effortless, and I assumed it was going to continue as Pierre and I made our way to Parinatal, a clinic specializing in high-risk pregnancy. 2 weeks prior the doctors had instructed me to take it easy and rest. I had found it impossible to stay put, as though bed rest would be the death knell of my independence.

Pierre began to worry, asking, “How much will it take to get you to go lay down?”
“I dont know.” I said. I waited, looking at him. How much would it take?
He offers, “$20 bucks … How about $20 bucks, will that get you down? Go lay down for an hour and I’ll give you $20 bucks”
“Cool”

That worked a few days…

Max, not quite ready for the world.
Max, not quite ready for the world.

At Parinatal, the doctor took one look at the ultrasound and he says to me, “Your cervix is only 7cc, I need you to check into ER today. Don’t waste time, quit your job (like I have one), stop everything. Go to ER”.
As soon as I can throw everything in a bag, I arrive at the ER, they take my vitals, shoot me up with steroids (to help the lungs and brain of Max and Manu develop quickly in case of pre-term delivery), and put me on strict bed rest. I am only at 27 weeks.
 
 

Planet Saturn
Planet Saturn

I am hooked up to 3 monitors around my belly. 2 are for the heartbeats of the kiddos and the other is to measure my contractions. It records all this on a trail of paper (see pic below) which streams out 24 hours per day killing 100s of trees in it’s wake.

Meanwhile, the twins are alive under my skin. They kick hard enough now that they’ve bruised my organs and a rib. Best of all is when their fists and elbows push up through my stomach and swim under the skin, a bit like Freddie Kruger #3 when all the souls he’d captured were trying to escape his body. I watch intently — their captivated audience.

Bed Rest ain’t for the meek.
Bed Rest ain’t for the meek.

After 3 days here I, without solicitation, have an OBY, a high risk specialist, a lactation specialist, a creative arts organizer, a chaplain, a manicurist, an adviser for preterm delivery, a social worker, and countless nurses all stop by my bedside to insure my well-being while on bed rest. The hospital wants to insure that patients don’t grow depressed (which is very common). For me, bed rest is a holiday. My room even has a better view and address than our apartment!

Bed rest ain’t cheap though. It’s so not cheap, that Pierre and I set up a poll for our readers to guess just how cheap it isn’t. Unfortunately, Pierre was too excited and he spilled the beans, so you know by now….

$5000+ per day. Had I known, I would have been demanding Henna tinctures and monkeys to pick lint from my hair.

So, I am on bed rest for the next several weeks, if not months. I must say, I have not slept this well in years. Is it worth $5000 per night? … It depends on who’s paying.

Best Rest Homies - 27 weeks and counting
Best Rest Homies
Tags: |

Bad night, not a lot of sleep. Yesterday night, for the first time Merritt was having some really strong and worrisome contractions and I wake up with a lousy feeling. She calls me a few minutes later but I press the wrong button and her call gets forwarded to the voicemail. Here is the message she left me. If you have never heard a pregnant woman scared shitless of losing her kids, that’s what it sounds like.

(click the icon)

Merritt is shaking in bed
Merritt is shaking in bed

I arrive at the hospital too late. Merritt is still in the Operation Room; I wait for her in Recovery. When she comes on the gurney, her whole body is shaking because of the drugs. The room is hot and stuffy. There is a heat wave today with temperatures not seen in 40 years; records are falling all around the Bay Area. I don’t understand why a hospital doesn’t have a better air-con system. I don’t understand why the doctor is blabbing so much about the anesthesia but nobody gives details about the kids. Merritt is still stiff and shaking. No sleep, no food, no air, no kids and my girlfriend straight from The Exorcist… My head spins, I need to sit down.

20 minutes later, a nurse takes me to see the kiddos. We cross two doors with access codes and enter the Intensive Care Unit. It’s a long room full of medical gear and computer screens, lined on both sides with sci-fi pods - the incubators. As soon as we step in, I see about 20 feet away a dark mauve fetus lying completely still in an open incubator. The thing seems to be about the size of the puppets that anti-abortion demonstrators love to exhibit on TV, and as life-less. Lights are off, nobody’s around. A few feet behind, a group of doctors, all masked and in surgical gowns, fuss over another pod under bright spotligths. The nurse hesitates: “Er… stay here, I’ll go check.” She talks five seconds to the doctors, comes back, grabs me by the arm and leads me back out, explaining vaguely: “They’re not done yet, we’ll come back later”. From all I see, one’s dead, the other’s a guess, but if the nurse doesn’t feel like telling, I certainly don’t feel like asking. She tries to put up a smile; it’s a bit futile but I’m grateful.

Back to Merritt. She’s still got the shakes. Her lower body is numb, she can hardly move her feet, but her upper body is shaking as if she’d just had 20 espressos. I feed her ice cubes, apply wet clothes on her neck and fan her with a cardboard sheet to keep her temperature down. Half an hour later, the docs come in: “Everything’s fine, they’re both hooked up now”. Wow! Phew!

Eraserhead
The little screams of Baby “A”

Back to the pod room, I finally get to take a peek up-close. The nurse claims they’re fine I ‘m not sure I believe her: two small fetuses strapped to the bed with velcro bracelets, struggling to breathe with pipes, wires and tubes coming out of their mouth, plugged into their umbilical cords or attached to the arms and feet. I don’t want to give them names yet. They’re not finished. Baby “A” cries weakly. Baby “B” looks like he’s not going to see the end of the day.

Manu at 2 hours
Manu at 2 hours

 

Max at 2 hours
Max at 2 hours

 

Merritt & Manu
Merritt & Manu

Two hours later, Merritt is feeling better, she can leave the Recovery Room. Of course, we are not going to take her directly to her bedroom. The nurse and I push her bed through across the hallways to the pod room and she finally gets the see the babies. “I can’t believe how tiny are these things!” I tell her. She replies sternly: “They’re not things anymore, they’re little people!” And she’s right, they’re not “A”, not “B”, not “things” anymore… Welcome Max & Manu.

I stop by the house in the afternoon. A quick check on the web shows me that the kiddos’ numbers are in fact perfectly normal, their condition is fine. 29 1/2 weeks, 1300 grams: It’s almost a no-brainer nowadays. So much relief. A bit later, Merritt calls with more good news. It’s starting to sink in now, the joy of being a dad. I check my phone at a red light on the way back to the hospital. It opens on the Yahoo News page with a big rainbow flag: “Supreme Court overturns gay marriage ban”. “Yes!!!”, I scream. I immediately turn left to go through the Castro, the gay district of San Francisco. Everybody’s out celebrating, laughing, smiling, kissing. What a symbol to have our kids born in an America where people are finally free to marry whomever they love, an America where the President might soon be a wise, thoughtful, competent, articulated and brilliant young black man. I feel waves of joy and I am immensely proud.

May 15th, 2008. The happiest day in San Francisco since 1849.
May 15th, 2008. The happiest day in San Francisco since 1849.

 

Tags: | |
  • english
  • french

Today, we talked to the babies. And they replied!
Here is the movie…

 

[ Javascript required to view QuickTime movie, please turn it on and refresh this page ]

Tags: |
  • english
  • french

It’s taken 84 collective years between us to finally get around to making the baby. At least that’s what we were aiming for. A baby. One.

My 4-month love salad
My 4-month love salad

A few of you know the good news, but many do not. We are prego with twins. We decided to wait until the 2nd trimester to tell everyone, when the high risk of miscarriage passed and genetic results were in.

We had been trying to get pregnant for awhile, and after a year we looked at the calendar, saw how old we both were, and decided we needed some outside ju-ju if it was going to happen.

Merritt looked at doctors for a month before settling on Dr Ryan, an amazing doctor and leader in the field of infertility medicine. Pierre loved her also, and she helped us beat the odds with IVF.

Our blog is to keep you all up to date, share ultrasounds, and describe the graphic and the impalpable in haunting detail. And since we have a captive audience, our blurbing won’t merely be about the Little People. Therapy, family, politics, crime & punishment, whatever crosses our minds will be here too.

Please keep checking back and ask us anything, except whether Pierre misses traveling or how Merritt keeps her hair so blonde.(*)

(*) While traveling through Africa, the #1 question we received from our US compadres was about Merritt’s hair. Yerp.

 

Which family name should we give to the kids?
View Results

 

Tags: |

In 2003, Pierre and I left France on our motorcycles to travel for 3 years around the world. Along the way, we met a character in a remote African village that we will never forget: The Crab Sorcerer. He lives in Cameroon in a tiny mountain village called Rhumsiki. He looks about 90 years old; no one knows for sure (many people in Africa do not know their age) but he is famous far and wide for the fortunes he gives. People travel miles to hear his predictions, and he must be good because they offer him cows, chickens and weeks worth of salaries for it. In turn, he gives it all away to the sick and elderly of his village.

We visited him one day and asked him 3 questions. He didn’t ask us anything about ourselves; he barely looked at us. He took his crab from his pocket, sat in front of a clay bowl filled with sand and pointy rocks representing what we assumed were symbolic of subjects in our question. He sat the crab inside and put a lid on the pot. The crab started kicking around and making a ruckus inside. After a minute or two he removed the lid, the crab went back into his pocket, and he began to speak.

The Crab Sorcerer
The Crab Sorcerer

Our first question, “Will we have kids?”

His answer, “Yes, you will have two, but it is because you want it that way. First a girl, then a boy.” In Africa, a fortune of only 2 kids wouldn’t be good news. You want at least 6 to take care of you in your old age.

That was the whole fortune. The other two, we’ll tell you some other day.

The Sorcerer didn’t look at us to see how we felt, or even if we were pleased with his reading. He finished our fortunes, and sat there as our young guide got up and directed us to offer a donation. Pierre laid a few dollars at his feet. He picked it up, not saying anything, and threw it back at Pierre. That was when the boy told us that villagers offer cows for his prediction (a fortune to most in the area), and so we ponied up more mazuma.

We believed him. He was an incredible man, with a presence I’ve never felt before or since.

All that to say, The Crab Sorcerer was right! A girl and a boy. The doctor found out in that order. Yay yay yay! What is more perfect than that? I didn’t want 2 boys. I’ve had boys around me my whole life. Boys boys boys. All my friends have always been boys, I have 3 brothers, a dominating father, I live with a boy, and I usually work with and start businesses with boys. Enough boys.

I’ve been having strong urges for a few years to open to befriend more women and get more female energy around me. It’s unfortunate the rest of the world doesn’t see being female as something to embrace. A known saying we heard while traveling in Ethiopia goes…. “The parents of a girl one day or another will get dishonor and shame because of the daughter’s misbehavior”.

So Pierre and I are curious to see if the girl will come first, like the Crab Sorcerer predicted. We’re sure she will.

Tags: |
  • english
  • french

There is so much Beauty in Nature!
The Power of Love!…
The Mystery of Life!…
The Futility of it all!…

How can Man find even the tiniest pride in his Art, Technology, and Achievements when our masterpieces pale so pathetically by comparison with the Genius of the Creation?

Check it out. That’s Week 16!

 

2010: Odyssey Two
2010: Odyssey Two

 

Alien vs Foetusator
Alien vs Foetusator

 

Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead




And now, click the picture below to watch….


THE MOVIE!!!!

 

Tags: |

Twins. Today my friends Ian and Locke both happened to send me the same image of this beautiful woman 36 weeks pregnant with twins. The image helps quell my fears I’ve been having about becoming a fatty, upholstered in plump.

So I go to Google searching for other pregnant women and the first image that comes up looks more like a burn victim. Good Lorb, I’m so unfamiliar with any of this. I think I’ve seen like, 3 pregnant women in my life. The images, one after another explode my fear of what my body is going to look like, and that I’m going to grow into some kind of stretch-mark Chia Pet.

Really Scary Stretch Marks
Really Scary Stretch Marks

Other images look like giganto goiters barely tethering to stomachs due to the mass pull, others like stomachs graffiti-ed with lightening bolts. Instead of putting away the computer, I gawk for 20 minutes until I’m well and disturbed.

Finally I call Pierre. Yeeelllll for Pierre. He sees what I’m doing, and tries to take my laptop away from me, saying “That’s it, give me that. I’m going to put the parent safety filters on.”

I’m really upset. So he hugs me and is trying to make me laugh, but dood, that is so sci-fi freakazoidio-show. My stomach is gonna look like Crater Planet! I’m going to sell all my stock and super-size me some plastic surgery. Eeeey!

In the end, I am mostly impressed with the woman who gave birth to triplets! Really an amazing feat, and I’m just…impressed.

http://theshapeofamother.com/Total%20belly%20time%20line.jpg

Tags:

Next Page →