Pregnancy

Calla’s Birth Story

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Calla’s First Smile.

 

Calla Lily Augusta McGillagreen was born March 22nd, 2015: 7lbs 4oz, 19inches long, and pure heaven. She is now almost three months old (holy s***) and I figure it is high time I write down her birth story before my sieve of a brain loses all those small details I want to remember. I will warn you now that I am going to hold nothing back. If you are uncomfortable with bodily fluids or swear words, or if you are my brother and do not want to know some very intimate things about your sister, then maybe skip this post. Shame nor modesty do not exist in my vocabulary anymore. For the rest of you: read on!

My due date was March 21st, which was a Sunday. That previous Tuesday we had what would be our last prenatal appointment, little did we know. Husband and I were both recovering from colds and my midwife, true to her Granola self, suggested that we take a drive to the coast as the negative ions in the air from the crashing waves would do us good. She also mentioned that one last hurrah before the baby comes would be nice for us. So I booked a hotel in Forest Grove for the weekend, and Saturday morning we headed for the coast.

As I was very (VERY) pregnant we did more driving than anything else. First we went to Canon Beach, stopping at my favorite bagel shop before wandering around on the beach–wandering for Husband, waddling for me. Husband had brought his camera to get a couple of belly pics, as we still had yet to document how absolutely huge I had gotten.

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Look at that huge belly!

 

Holy Belly! Then the weather turned a little on us, so we went and had some hot chocolate then decided to head down to Tillamook. We visited the cheese factory, then hit the beach again walking and talking mostly about baby. Husband took a some more pictures, some beautiful and some just rotund in nature. I had a couple of what I took for Braxten Hicks–or Boson Higgs contractions as Husband liked to call them. They were kind of cool to feel as I had not had any my whole pregnancy–for the first time I could feel my whole uterus (this detail is important for later) contract from top to bottom. I think I had three total all day.

In the evening we drove halfway back home to Forest Grove to the McMenamins Grand Lodge. It was insanity there and nothing seemed to go exactly as planned, but I was strangely okay with everything. The first hiccup was they had misplaced out reservation, but were still able to figure out a room for us. We took a short nap and then had a lovely steak dinner. For the first time EVER, I sent my food back as my steak was more on the charcoal side, while I like it more on the red side. But the waitress was very sweet and not only replaced my steak, but gave us a double serving of dessert on the house.

After dinner we meandered over to the soaking pool, which felt amazing despite the couple of nosy and rude glances from a couple of women who would rather see a pregnant women’s life sucked of all joy. They probably were not that bad, but it is amazing how judgey people get when you are pregnant. After the pool we went to the theater that was just down the hall from our room and saw the second Divergent film. It was horrible and fun all at the same time, and I was safely tucked into bed at 12:30 pm. I was asleep in seconds.

Husband was not.

Little did I know he had a bought of insomnia so he took his phone to the lobby and that is where he was when I called him at 2:30 in the morning in labor.

I woke up with an intense pain in my lower abdomen, something along the lines of a period cramp on steroids–the hulk of period cramps. The first one passed as I laid in the dark. I thought about calling Husband, as I had woken up alone, but then I tempered myself thinking that if I had another one I would call him and see where the hell he was. Four minutes later another “cramp” hit and after it passed I picked up my phone and called Husband.

I felt a little silly and passive aggressive for calling him.  I didn’t think I was in labor as these cramps were so different from what I had felt earlier in the day. I didn’t feel any “contracting”, rather just some intense pain in my nether regions. In my mind I wasn’t in labor. My greatest fear before labor, was I would exaggerate what was happening in my mind and jump the gun. I didn’t want to get everyone all geared up to go–the midwife, the birth center, the in-laws to drive from Seattle, my parents to only find out I was in early labor and we had days to go. I did NOT want that to happen.

So I was not in labor. As husband had just been down the hall, it took him seconds to reach out room. I started timing these things that WERE NOT CONTRACTIONS on my phone. Husband felt that I should call Marilyn our midwife right away. I dithered as I was not having contractions, promising to call if I had a couple more. I had a couple more, all the while timing these things that were not contractions, so I called Marilyn at three in the morning. I didn’t tell her that we were in a hotel. I told her that I was having some “rhythmic cramping” that was pretty painful, and she said I should try and rest and keep her posted as things progress.

At 4, after having more “cramps” husband talked me into driving home as neither of us wanted to be at a hotel if things started getting interesting. I still would not let myself believe that I was in labor, even though as I counted on my phone the “cramps” were four minutes apart, lasting for 40 seconds, and I couldn’t talk through them. We packed up the car and drove. I felt pretty hungry at this point and knew that if I was going to go into labor I would need fuel.

Though I wasn’t going into labor, so I was just being sensible. The only thing we found open was the McDonald’s on the way out of Forest Grove, so I got an oatmeal and a milk–trying to find something that sounded appetizing. Between “cramps” I remember how still everything was–how dark and empty the streets were as I gripped Husband’s hand and he drove for home. It only took us 30 minutes to make it to our front door and we headed straight for bed. We both wanted more sleep if labor was going to kick in. But I was having cramps every three to four minutes and it was hard to get any rest in between, so I took a bath and Husband tried to sleep as it was now 4:30 and he hadn’t slept at all.

At 5 I decided to call my mom. IF I was actually going into labor it would be important for Husband to have some sleep, but I wanted someone awake with me and I knew my mom would be up getting ready for work. She made it to our house by six. She found my leaning over a medicine ball, trying to watch Mulan. I apologized for having her take off of work, as I was “just having some cramping.” At this point Husband took my phone and looked at the contraction data, forcing me this time to call Marilyn again. We were all on speaker phone as Husband described what he called my contractions. At this point I broke in and told her that I didn’t think I was in labor, I was just having some cramps. But right then a “cramp” came along and I couldn’t talk. Marilyn listened for the minute it took for the cramp to pass and then told us, “I will see you in 30 minutes at the birth center.”

I didn’t want to let myself believe that I was going into labor. Like I said I was afraid of jumping the gun. On top of that I was also afraid of my labor stalling. I had heard enough horror stories, and my way of keeping that reality at bay was to hold of on believing I was actually in labor.

But having Marilyn tell me to get to the birth center, snapped me into my reality. We called Husbands parents who packed their bags and headed for Portland. Husband, Mom, and I walked into the birth center at 7. By that point the contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting for a minute. They were strong and I was quickly entering into my own world, where the only thing that existed were the contractions and myself.

During our birthing class, a recent new mom described labor as weight training: your trainer stacks more weight than you have ever lifted onto the bar and asks you to lift it over your head. You do it, but barely and it takes everything you have to do it. You put the bar down with pride and relief, happy that you are done and that you DID it. Then the trainer asks you to do it again, and again, and again. That’s contractions. It felt like it took everything I had to get through one. In the middle of one I wouldn’t be sure I would make it through it, but then you would come out the other side and the relief would be so beautiful.

But then there would be another.

And another.

From the time we arrived at the birth center, to the time Calla was born is all a blur. I remember they checked my dilation when I first arrived and I was at five centimeters, but after that they didn’t check again unless I asked. Besides Marilyn or Kim (her assistant) checking the baby’s heart beat every 30 minutes, they left me to labor as I saw fit. We were the only ones at the birth center, as it was a Sunday. I was told I could go wherever I wanted: I could walk up and down the stairs or take a walk outside, but I was happy to stay in our room. It felt like a cocoon. It felt save, peaceful and as the contractions got more intense the more I turned inward and forgot about everything outside out room.

The room was perfect for me. It was appointed with a king size bed, that had fresh white sheets and towels. The bath tub was bigger than I had ever seen with pads for my hands and knees and candles around the edge. I flitted between the bed, the bath, the floor, the toilet, and a medicine ball. As soon as a towel got even the slightest bit wet it was whisked away and replaced with a fresh, warm one. I remember puking a lot and half the time I puked I would pee at the same time, but Kim and Marilyn worked to keep everything clean and pleasant.

I spent my whole labor naked. I couldn’t stand the idea of anything constricting like clothing. When I got cold from sweating I would put on my bathrobe, but as soon as a contraction hit I would rip it off. I know time passed but I don’t remember it. I would sometimes ask what time it was and I would always be shocked that half an hour or an hour had passed, as I felt locked in this timeless existence working through each contraction.

At no point did I think of the baby. I couldn’t think of anything but the pain and making it through another contraction. My whole existence contracted to this one thing. I know Husband and mom where there and that they took turns feeding me and having me sip smoothie and coconut water, then holding the bowl while I threw it all up again.

And when I didn’t think it was possible the pain got worse. I don’t know how long it had been since they had first checked my dilation, but I with each contraction my faith that I could handle this was chipped away. I remember saying over and over again that I can’t do this.

I guess I only really said it out loud once, as Husband told me later, but I remember repeating it like a mantra. I decided that they should check me again and if I was only a centimeter or two past five I wanted to transfer to a hospital and I wanted an epidural. This was all an internal thought process. No one knew I was thinking of transfer, when they had my lie on the bed to check, but being on the bed was the worst, and I wouldn’t lie still long enough for Kim to touch me, let alone check my dilation. With the next contraction all thoughts of transfer went out the window.

I think it was about this time that I lost my mucus plug. To me this was the first tangible, touchable, sign that things were progressing. Marilyn kept telling me how well I was doing. Then my water broke and she said, “your are getting close,” and I hung onto those words like a lifeline.

Then I was in the tub again, on my hands and knees. Husband was in the tub for a little bit for me, but unlike the photos of couples I had seen laboring in the tub together where the woman is resting back against her partner, I could not stand to be still in a contraction. I kept flipping around in the water like an otter. It helped to move and the only position I could stand to be in for very long was on my hands and knees.

I remember them keeping the water clean with a little fishnet or sometimes a towel to wipe the bottom of the tub, which was a nice touch. I remember the candles flickering, and in between contractions hanging over the edge of the tub practically passing out until another one came. Then I remember screaming instead of moaning, and Marilyn asking me to tell her when I felt like pushing.

I remember wandering how I will know what that feels like, and what felt like a second later I remember screaming that I am pushing. I was just a bystander at this point as my body was in complete control. I am told I pushed for an hour, for the most part on my hands and knees. I remember Kim telling me to go deeper with each contraction. I remember thinking that she can fucking come over here and go deeper, because I couldn’t give any more.

But then Marilyn told me to change the pitch of my scream. And as I lowered my pitch I felt my body push more effectively. That hour didn’t feel like an hour. It felt timeless–like forever to use a cliche. The first time I had reached down to feel my progress I hadn’t felt anything, but then the next time I could feel her head. I remember crying out saying, “she had hair.” Feeling my progress for myself was the most helpful thing in the world. Feeling her head and feeling her hair made it real for the first time. For the first time, I was able to think about the fact that I was going to have a baby. At this point it was inevitable.

Then her head was out. No one touched me, no one reached down except to listen to her heart beat. It was all me. I didn’t feel the “ring of fire,” when she crowned. There was too much pain to differentiate anything. But having her head out was the first sense of relief I had felt since the contractions had started almost 12 hours earlier. I couldn’t imagine having to push out her shoulders after her head, but then before I knew it I felt her sliding out and I caught her.

Then everything happened at once. Husband was in the water with me, holding me while I was holding her. I was laughing and crying as I pulled her to my chest. I turned to Husband and asked it we could name her Calla Lily. I remember the thick, white vernex covering her butt, but not much else. Marilyn and Kim (and my mom) were there the whole time, but they let us just be as a family for the first time. Calla didn’t really cry and she latched right away. We just stayed in the water for a little while, holding her and dipping blankets in the warm water to keep the parts of her that were out of the water warm.

Husband had been reticent about getting in the tub when we had talked about it before, but as soon as she was born I am pretty sure a stampede of wild boars wouldn’t have kept him out of the water, no matter what bloody color it was.

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Husband with Calla while I showered.

I was surprised to fine that the contractions after she was born still hurt. Kim kept telling me that if I wanted it to end then I should work with the contractions to get the placenta out, but I was way to tired right after Calla was born. So we just sat there for a little bit and I tried to ignore my body for a while. When the umbilical cord became flaccid, Husband got out of the water and took a shower. My mom cut the umbilical cord and got to hold Calla for the first time, while I finally mustered myself to get that damn placenta out. I got back on my hands and knees and with Marilyn’s prompting felt the umbilical cord and held onto the end of it with each contraction. Slowly I could feel it descending, till I could finally feel where the cord attached to the placenta.

Then with one last contraction I pulled the placenta out and with it came a blood clot the size of Husband’s two fists put together. At that point I told Marilyn that I could feel that had a tear . Husband and Mom went off with the baby (only to the other side of the room, but I was still pretty wrapped up in myself) and I got out to take a shower. I remember just standing in the hot water feeling so thankful that I could stand, thankful that Calla was born, and so thankful that the contractions were over.

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Our First Family Photo.

 

Then I was bundled into bed with my baby and Husband. My dad and his parents, who had all been waiting at our house were called. I held Calla as a distraction while Marilyn and Kim worked on suturing up my tear. Husband started out holding my hand but then he passed out before Marilyn was even done administering the numbing stuff. He did wake up enough to take Calla

We spent the next two nights at the birth center, which was amazing. They had a postpartum nurse who stayed with us, bringing me some Tylenol whenever I wanted. They made us breakfast in the mornings–whatever we wanted, and then had our lunches and dinners brought from any restaurant we could think of in the area. All of which was included in the price–a whooping $2500, which also included all of my prenatal care and six weeks postpartum care. The morning after, with the family gathered to wonder at the baby I was led off to another room for a massage, which was the first time in 7+ months I got to lie on my stomach = pure bliss.

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Our Breakfast – everything was so good I had the same thing each morning.

Then before we knew it we were on our way home, and now it has been three months. Time is moving so fast, and Calla is a new and different baby almost everyday. I have never witnessed so much continuous change before. She mastered smiling a couple of weeks ago, and she has just started laughing. She has only really laughed once or twice at this point and each time she does it is magical. I know before long she will be giggling up a storm, just as before long she will be sitting on her own, and then crawling, but right now each laugh is a surprise. It is a wonderful feeling waiting for her to laugh–the sweetest anticipation. Here is one last photo for you–I think it was taken about a month or so ago. It is hard to remember:

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Calla sporting her handmade Grape hat and the outfit she came home in–by far my favorite outfit.

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Life

LIfe Lately

Since it as been a while, once again I figured I would spend a little time catching everyone up on what life has been like lately. There has been a LOT going on. First, we have lived in our new house in Portland for almost a month. It seems so silly that I can say that. When we first sat down and said we were ready to start looking to buy a house, well it was such a nebulous thing. We thought we had enough money saved. We thought we knew what we wanted. And while all of that turned out to be true, it was still a very nebulous thing at the time to think about what it would be like to live in a home that we owned. But then here we are today, living very happily in a house that we own. I feel like after everything we were told about buying a house, how stressful it is, how much work there is to do, we completely lucked out. So much of buying house happens behind the scenes: the realtors, the loan officer, the house inspection, the title company I guess I just didn’t feel too connected to the process.

I think that made the process go by faster, may have even made it seem easier. So before we knew it we were moving and then the move was over and we were just living in our house. Pretty cool stuff. Below is a picture of Husband and I in front of our digs.

we moved photoThe move has been a bit of a change. We now live 30-40 minutes from my parents, whereas before we were only 10. This is more an adjustment for me than it is for Husband. We also actually live in Portland now, versus living out in the ‘burbs like before. I am getting used to living with more traffic, but I am loving living so close to beautiful parks, great restaurants, yoga studios, libraries, cafés. This is reminiscent of my time in Tacoma. I can walk a lot more to a lot more places, and we are about twenty minutes from anywhere in Portland. It is fabulous. We have been going out to eat a lot, exploring our new options. At some point our budget will dictate that we need to cool it on the going out, but then I think we will just be a little more strategic about our explorations. So far we have found a couple of gems. There is a Chinese restaurant about half a mile from us, which is really decent. Then there is a breakfast/thrift store (yes you read that correctly) joint that is super cheap and has biscuits and gravy. There is really too much to list here. Husband and I are going to get fat living here, or at least there is a lot of potential for growth. So we have also been exploring the local fauna. We are two blocks from Pier Park, which is huge. Then across the St. Johns bridge there is Forest Park, which is even more enormous. You could hike there for days. Really. Husband has been packing me and the dogs up and tromping us through the forest. It has been beautiful. He has also been bringing his camera along and experimenting. The first photo I was happy, the second photo is really more like the 50th–I will let you guess how I was feeling.

Forest Park Better Forest Park

So enough about our new digs. The other big news is that we are about 20 weeks pregnant. In just the past couple of days I have really begun to show, and everything about my body is different. Really different. I can’t believe how much change can occur in a body in such a short amount of time. The hormones are something else. I was a little bitchy the other day and when I apologized to husband he said not to worry about it. It was just because I was pregnant.

Between you and me I am not sure I would have been any nicer in other circumstances. Not sure the baby had anything to do with it, but let’s not tell Husband that. It is really nice having a “get out of jail free card.” It is also nice having a wonderful husband. That might be the more important take away.

Anyway, I have a much weaker stomach now. I have never gotten sick over something I have seen before. Once in high school our biology class was taken to OHSU to look at a cadaver. I remember watching the med student showing us the man’s leg and hooking his finger into the thigh and holding up a long rope of material telling us it was the longest vein in the body. It was really cool. But I am pretty sure if I saw that now I would vomit. Last month I saw a fruit fly hovering over my bowl of Greek yogurt and just the thought of having maybe eaten a fruit fly along with my yogurt sent me hurling to the bathroom.

Then two weeks ago when I was sick with a head cold I tried to use my Nedi Pot. Before I used to plug the drain and watch and see how much crap I could flush out of my sinuses. The more that collected in the sink, the prouder I was. Well that sent me yacking. It was unfortunate because I hadn’t yet flushed both sides of my sinuses and I had to go to bed feeling rather lopsided.

I also feel movement in my SI joints, which is really disconcerting, but thankfully that doesn’t cause me to vomit. I really hate getting sick.

On a less disgusting note, Husband got to feel the baby kick for the first time a couple of days ago. I have been feeling the baby move for about two weeks now. It is a weird feeling, and I am not sure I altogether like it. I mean it is wonderful to feel confirmation that there is indeed a living being in there. It is neat to feel more connected to this thing that is happening, but the actual movement itself, the physical sensation of it is a little disconcerting. But it was so wonderful for me to feel that Husband felt the little being move. We haven’t been able to recreate that moment, as the baby doesn’t kick on cue, but we keep trying.

Anyway that has been our life for the past month: moving and ultrasounds. Just like it is hard to believe we are in our own house, it is hard to believe that we will have a baby in just under five months. It doesn’t really seem possible.

 

 

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Life

The First Big One

468451_612859428727128_258878024_oIn five days time, Husband and I will have been married for exactly one year. When I was younger, I can tell you that I never thought I would be saying that sentence at the tender age of 25. But here we are, and I know everyone says this but just WHERE exactly did that time go? Now I am not a particularly mushy person. Do not get me wrong, I get mushy about certain things but they usually include chocolate, a very girly movie, and a certain time of the month. Husband is the romantic one. But I have to say that this past year has been, so far, the best year of my life.

Meg Ryan in Serious Moonlight talks about her first years of marriage calling that feeling, “the unbearable sweetness of it.” Now that movie doesn’t really fit this situation, and hopefully never will, as it is about a husband who has fallen in love with someone else and is trying to leave his wife. His wife (Ryan) is having none of it and throughout the course of the movie she hits him over the head with a flower-pot, duck tapes him first to chair and then a toilet meanwhile showing him wedding photos and baking him his favorite cookies so that he will fall back in love with her. I have promised husband that if he ever tries to leave me, I will use that movie as a blue print for getting him back. I swear, he wasn’t even a little creeped out.

But the phrase “unbearable sweetness” has really stuck with me. It doesn’t mean that marriage is easy. It means that despite everything that is challenging and sometimes hurtful about marriage, it is still the best decision I have ever made. Unbearable sweet is the closest I have gotten to describing that feeling. Serendipity and unbearable sweetness.

In the first year of marriage, I believe, is still the honeymoon phase to some extent. Nothing has gotten monotonous and we have yet to add major stressors to our relationship like children or trying to buy a house. That is not to say that everything has been berries and cream. While we have had some wonderful events in our first year if marriage like welcoming our first niece, baby Tulsi, into the family, we have had some hard stuff too. In February my Grandmother fell and hit her head on cement, which put her into a coma and me onto a plane out to Texas for a couple of weeks while Husband had to stay behind to work. Thankfully, t the amazing age of 93, she has made a remarkable recovery.

We continue to figure out how to balance life together. Every week is different for us between Husband’s ever flexible and changing job and my odd freelance lifestyle. Then you add in two dogs with independent minds of their own and I never really know how a week is going to look like until I am about halfway through with it. Take last month for example when I woke up to Husband exploding with colorful expletives as he tripped over puddles of diarrhea on his way to make his morning cup of Joe. Our oldest dog Boaz had gotten sick several times and then tracked it all over the house. We were cleaning for upwards of four hours and then we had to go to the vet. That was a game-changer.

There is one embarrassingly cheesy line, from some stupid Facebook quote somewhere that keeps kicking me in the butt, whenever I find myself pondering marriage: “don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most.” Having been raised in a culture that has, maybe inadvertently, taught me to always be vigilant to make sure that I am getting what I deserve it can be hard to transition from that mentality into marriage. It can be hard to stop asking if I am getting enough: enough love, attention, support and start asking if my spouse is getting enough. This is just one of the many lessons that marriage has been teaching me.

That and to never let husband get too much caffeine, as then he terns into a prickly, cranky…something. Also that I should always be fed on time, as when I go too long without food I turn into a nagging, crazy…something.

In less than three days Husband and I will be flying off to Hawaii to celebrate our first year of marriage. Thanks to our wonderful Aunt and Uncle who have graciously let us stay at their condo for the very reasonable rate of the cleaning fee, which is making this whole shindig possible. My two goals for the trip are to swim EVERYDAY and to eat some pineapple EVERYDAY. Originally my goal was to eat one pineapple everyday, but Husband put in a veto as he felt that eating one pineapple a day for ten days would result in a hospital stay by day four. I think he is being a little over protective.

On that note I should thank Husband for putting up with me for the past year of marriage and the previous two years of just regular relationship. I am so thankful that we get to build this wonderful, unbearably sweet life together.

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Happy Anniversary Baby! Love you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Two and Only McGillagreen’s

Husband and I finally went and did it–that is we blended out last name’s AND we made it legal. This craziness started about a year and a half ago when I suggested we hyphenate our names when we get married and he said, “hyphenation is dumb.” That was obviously the beginning to a fruitful and mature conversation. You have to understand that my parents kept their respective names because my mother wanted to hyphenate and my dad said, “hyphenation is dumb.” Somethings you just can’t make up. Like the fact that in many respects I married my father. I try to ignore it.

Anyway, Husband had no idea the can of worms he cracked when he told me hyphenation was dumb. Now I am not a huge fan of hyphenation my self. It just gets sticky when you add kids to the picture, and kids are sticky enough. I also don’t like the idea of having to say and write such a long name all the time. But I also believe that marriage should be a partnership between two people, and I wanted our name to be a symbol of that partnership. I liked hyphenation for that reason only: it shows a commitment from both spouses instead of just one.

I wouldn’t say that Husband and I argued about this per say; I would rather say that we had a lively, heated, debate. I may at one point have told him that hyphenation was his price he had to pay to make up for being a part of the sex that had kept women oppressed for a millenia. Some people have told me I can be a little dramatic–I honestly don’t see it. Turns out I was the one trapped in a box I couldn’t think myself out of. I was seriously distressed that we didn’t see eye to eye. I wouldn’t say I started to doubt the relationship, but hyperventilation might not have been far off.

Then Husband said these magical words, “why don’t we make up our own last name.” I honestly thought he was joking, but after we had calmed down after a good laugh the idea had stuck and before we knew it we were making  a list of all of the conceivable combinations of our two last names. There were combos that were out immediately, like McGreen which sounded like a weird moldy sandwich from McDonald’s. It took us a while to settle on McGillagreen–months really.

Deciding on the name itself hasn’t been the only hurdle. As it turns out Oregon doesn’t recognize blended last names. Kashi and I both had to go to through a legal name change. We had to go to the courthouse and petition to change our names. It started with putting up a petition on a bulletin board for all to see. I believe this is a vestigial process left over from the days before internet and telecommunications were invented, but I don’t actually know that for sure. Our petition had to be up for at least 14 days, then we had our hearing with the judge.

This is the one case where I can see how someone might call me dramatic. Maybe. I may have exaggerated the meeting with the judge. I made Husband print out legal documents and financial statements to prove that we weren’t trying to evade any financial responsibility by changing our names. I worried for the three weeks leading up to our court date, the worry kicking into overdrive for the 20 minute drive downtown. I think Husband’s hand needed to be wrung out after I kept clutching it. I mean what if the judge said no? We already made the change on Facebook?!

Turns out I had nothing to be worried about. We entered the courtroom with about 20 or so other people who were trying to change their name as well. I have to admit that my worry didn’t dissipate until after the judge signed out orders, even though the judge didn’t even sit in on the hearings. That should have been my first clue that we would be fine, considering the judge didn’t think it worth her time to officially officiate the whole process. Her aide took our paperwork, make sure it matched with some other paper work she had on us and then sat our paperwork on the accepted pile for the judge to sign later.

Looking back that wasn’t the only thing about the process that should have made me realize that everything would be fine. Before we went into the hearing they told us to just go ahead and order any extra copies that we might want of our official name change. You think that would have been a sign, especially after I asked the cashier if buying them early was bad luck and she just laughed. Apparently I am not very good at reading the signs.

But sitting in the courtroom waiting for our names to be called, none of that mattered. About five people were called before us, and all five of them were denied a name change. I think one woman hadn’t completed the archaic process correctly, another was trying to change the name of her granddaughter but hadn’t served the biological mother with papers first. And then without any pomp and circumstance it was all over. Our names were changed and we were walking out of the courthouse. Now we just have to change everything else: IRS, Social Security, driver’s licences, passports, my student loans, alumni associations, credit cards, bank, membership programs, USPS, car titles, etcetera etcetera. Since our names are already legally changed, I think we can keep the worrying to a minimum.

Right? Right?!

 

 

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Blogging

It has been a long time

But I am not dead. I swear. I have been working on a couple of different things. I have started volunteering with a local Search and Rescue team (which takes up a LOT of time with training and searches), I have taken on a new Hospice patient, I have taken on a new role with the Portland Book Review (even though it hasn’t started yet), and I have started the process of branding myself as a writer. At some point in the next year you should see the fruits of that labor but I am not making any promises yet. It is way to early to make promises.

Plus there were the holidays, which aren’t done yet.

Anyway, I have decided to make a couple of changes to how I am approaching blogging. Husband and I have created a private blog that we are going to be working on together. It is a place for him to kind of keep a journal, it is a place for me to try out ideas and draft posts for this blog (because let’s be real, half the time I am using this blog as a journal anyway) and it is a way for both of us to collaborate and share ideas. This is especially important on my part as I am better at being open in writing and there is a lot that goes on inside of me that I don’t share with anyone vocally, but I would like to especially share with my spouse in someway.

I think that the only effect that all will have on this blog is that my blog posts will be slightly fewer and there will be more time in between posts–that is when I am actually blogging regularly. We all know how great I am at that. But my hope is that the things that get posted here will be more polished and well-thought out. How about getting rid of all those grammar and spelling errors I am so good at. Especially as I try to build a professional writing presence.

I just wanted to let you all know that I am still here. I am still writing. I took a break for a while, and then I was working on somethings behind the scenes. I am hoping to have another post for you within the next week, or at least the next two weeks at the most. It is the initial post to enter into the new blog “pipeline,” so it has been turned over to my collaborator for suggestions and then I will work on it some more and get it up here. But again why make promises I can’t/won’t keep?

Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me and reads what I lay down. I really appreciate your attention and your support. One of my main goals this coming year is to make this a more reliable, consistent experience. Only because I love you all and I want you to read as much of my writing as you can stomach and then some.

Happy New Year Everybody!!

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