Sunday Afternoon Ramblings

So to continue my story about Collin’s birth: My grandfather had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on February 13, 2004.  My grandparents and I had had a falling out, and he and I hadn’t really spoken in a couple of years.  To this day it bothers me that I never got to tell him goodbye.  That’s a different story, however, and I don’t want to spend too much time on it here.  Still, it is an important part of my emotional state at the time, so it needed to at least be mentioned.

On February 20 at about 9:30 PM, Crystal told me she had been having regular contractions for a couple of hours and that she thought this was it.  We grabbed our stuff and made the five minute drive to the hospital.  I remember it so vividly, how excited and scared we both were, how we both knew that this was our last drive as just a couple.  The next time there would be three of us.

The nurses did the preliminary check to make sure it wasn’t a false alarm and admitted us.  I carried our stuff to the birthing room, and we walked around the labor and delivery wing for at least an hour, trying to speed up the process.  She was dilated to about 4 or 5, and the contractions were pretty regular and getting stronger, so we were both certain he would be with us in no time.  By about 4:00 AM, she hadn’t dilated anymore and the contractions had remained the same, so we both laid down to get some sleep.

The doctor came in an hour or so later to check on her and was pleased by all of her signs and Collin’s vitals.  He told us to relax and enjoy it because we would be parents very soon.  Crystal had wanted to have natural childbirth, and up to this point, she had been okay with the pain, but around 11:00 AM she was dilated to 6 or 7 and the contractions were coming so fast and so hard that she couldn’t stand it anymore.  The doctor convinced her to have an epidural before it was too late for it to work and then broke her water to speed up the process.

The doctor who gave her the epidural did a good job, but the anesthesia itself stalled out the labor and dropped her blood pressure considerably, which make her begin puking.  At first, we thought she was having some kind of a reaction to the epidural, but later on, the doctor explained that it was the drop in blood pressure.  She had gone from intense pain to virtually no pain and the subsequent relaxation was too abrupt of a change, which caused the vomiting.

From about 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM, there was virtually no change.  She remained at 6 or 7, and the contractions remained strong but not delivery strong, so we waited.  After the doctor had broken her water, he had mentioned offhand that we had twelve hours before we needed to worry about anything.  He had meant to say twenty four hours, but at 11:00 PM that night, I was scared for her and the baby because nothing was happening.

Then, suddenly, the labor picked back up.  She dilated to 9 and the contractions became very active.  During the final pushing, Collin got stuck in the birth canal, and there were some tense moments as the doctor worked to help him through her pelvis.  When he finally came out, he wasn’t breathing.  While stuck, he had aspirated some of the thick amniotic fluid that was left in the placenta, and the doctor who had done the epidural worked steadily to suction his nose, mouth, and lungs while our doctor tended to Crystal.

Depending on the situation, five minutes is either no time at all or an eternity.  When your newborn baby is not breathing and is laying gray and lifeless on a small table with a tube down his throat to suction out sludge from his lungs, every second becomes an eternity.  At 11:31 PM on Saturday, February 21, 2004, Collin finally took his first breaths on his own and began to cry.  I cannot describe what I felt.

The nurses rushed him to their station to monitor him, and from the 26 hours of labor and vomiting, Crystal passed out.  It was half an hour before the nurses let me in to see him.  He was screaming and crying, and his oxygen levels were down around 90%, which had the nurses worried.  As I neared the warmer, I spoke his name, and all the hours of singing and talking to him in the womb paid off because he immediately recognized my voice and stopped crying.  Within seconds, his oxygen levels came up to 96-97%, and the nurses were amazed at the change.

When I first spoke his name, he shifted in my direction.  I know enough to know that he couldn’t really see me, but our eyes locked, and standing there in that nurses station, looking down at my firstborn son, and seeing my mouth, chin, and nose staring back at me, I became a different person.  All of my fears of not being an adequate parent melted away, and I knew in my heart that I would give my life to protect and serve him.  Those moments in the nurses’ station beside his warmer were nothing short of magical, and I will carry them with me until the day I leave this earth.

That’s all for now.

Saturday Afternoon Ramblings

I’m getting my stuff together for Ancient City Con.  I’ve got my signs, handouts, decorations, and T-shirts ready to go.  I’m still waiting on my books and poster to arrive in the mail.  I should have everything packed and ready to go by Tuesday night.  I’m planning to take my computer and try to get a little writing done while I’m there.  I’ve got some good momentum rolling and don’t want to lose it.

This trip will be the closest thing I get to a vacation this year.  I’m heading down a little early to spend some time with the boys and, depending on how well the show goes, may stay an extra day or two to relax a little.  Hope to get to swim with the boys and maybe take them to the beach.  I’m a little hesitant to do that because they’re both still at the ages where I have to keep a pretty close eye on them, and in the ocean, things can happen pretty fast.  So we’ll probably just play in the hotel pool.

I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I miss my kids, and this year has been especially hard because changing jobs forced us to cancel a couple of my visits, and this summer has been such a roller coaster ride that I just haven’t been able to go see them.  I’ve been able to keep talking to them on the phone 4-5 nights a week, but that’s just not enough.  Next year will be different.  I will find a way to get down there and see them more, and I will have them back up here more often, as well.

That’s all for now.

Friday Evening Ramblings

Last weekend, I helped my parents clean up around their place.  It helped keep my mind off the holiday and kept me busy.  They had a dead tree that had fallen in their side yard that needed taken care of, and knowing that it was covered in poison oak, I wore long pants and gloves to drag it to their burn pile piece by piece.  Despite being very careful, I somehow managed to get a pretty good rash from it.  The first red splotches didn’t appear until Wednesday but by Thursday, I looked pretty bad and started itching like crazy.

On a different note, I got the final proof of the new poster from Rob Brown.  Let me know what you think of it:

Roskin at the vanishing trails.
Roskin at the vanishing trails.

Monday Afternoon Ramblings

I survived the holiday weekend.  I took off the 4th, didn’t even really think about the book, but Friday, Sunday, and Monday, I exceeded my daily page goal, so I’m making good progress.  Chapter six is coming along pretty nicely, and I like the direction everything is going.  I finish my summer school class tonight and turn in grades tomorrow, so my plan is to spend the next month really busting my butt to get up to chapter eight and maybe even nine before school starts back.  I’ll have to slow way down in the fall because of my teaching schedule, but if I can get up to eight or nine by then, I can still finish the rough draft by January.

Then comes the real work, the polishing and editing.  For this book, I plan to spend a good five to six months editing each chapter, each scene, and each sentence.  I want this book to be the best so far, and what separates mediocre writing from good and good from great is the willingness to polish and rewrite, so for this book I plan to work with a couple of editors and spend as much time as it takes to get it right.

I know several of you want it done as soon as possible, but I’d rather take my time and get it right, than rush it and disappoint.

4th of July Ramblings

I write at night and always have.  My creative window stretches from about 11:00 PM until around 4:00 AM.  I’ve tried writing at other times, but I just never feel comfortable, and the writing doesn’t flow very well.  Over the years, I’ve trained myself to work within this window and still function fairly well in my day-to-day life.  If I have to work early the next morning, I start as early as possible and lose an hour or two of sleep that night.  If I don’t have to work, I might stay up until four or five in the morning, and on those nights, I’ll sleep until noon.  That might sound strange to some, but it works for me.

My ex-wife never understood this.  She complained all the time that I should write in the day and sleep a normal schedule.  My parents don’t understand it, either.  They’re from that generation that believes people should rise with the sun.  Anyone who sleeps late must be lazy and good for nothing.  They don’t seem to understand that I’m very productive on that schedule.  When I’m working on a book, I will write five to six nights a weeks, and when I’m writing, I don’t sit around staring off into space.  I’m deeply engaged in concentration, and it’s exhausting.

If I can ever get to the point where I’m writing full-time, my creative window won’t matter very often because I won’t have to get up for a day job.  Until I get to that point, I’ll keep plugging away and losing a little sleep every now and then.  As long as the end result is a good book, it doesn’t really matter.

What I’m Looking For

If I ever decide to have another relationship, it will only be with a certain kind of woman, and I will not settle for less.  Here’s what I need from someone:

1.) A friend, a woman who accepts me as I am, a woman who forgives my flaws and my mistakes without being too harsh with criticism.  I need someone I can lean on from time to time.

2.) A partner, a woman who understands my creative side and encourages me to write and promote without feeling like I’m ignoring her or putting her second.

3.) An independent thinker, a woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind or have opinions or put me in my place from time to time.

4.) A football fan, a woman who enjoys the game, not someone who just tolerates me watching it.  I need a woman who understands zone blocking, man-to-man coverage, and zone blitzes.

5.) A lover, a woman who will spend a night on the sofa kissing me for as long as I want.  A woman who wants to talk and laugh and spend time together having fun.  A woman who is comfortable making love without her makeup on.

6.) A mother, a woman who loves her children as much as I love mine.

7.) A Strong Person, a woman who can give me space when I need it without feeling neglected.  The demons that haunt me sometimes make me sit alone for long stretches with nothing but my thoughts, and I need someone who can handle this.

8.) A Nurturer, a woman who can soothe me after a long, hard day.  Sometimes, the day-to-day is too much, and while I’m quite capable of being someone else’s rock, it would be nice to be loved on from time-to-time.

And here’s what I don’t need:

1.) Another mother, one is more than enough for me.

2.) A maid, I can take care of myself.

3.) A nurse, see above.

4.) A leech, my energy is my own and very precious.

5.) A coward, life is about taking risks and putting yourself out there.

6.) A cheater.

So there it is.  Applications are available in the HR office down the hall.

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