Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wikileaks Commentary

I've been a longtime reader of Abu Muquwama (although I admit I've dropped off substantially since he went in-house at CNAS. Exum has a great commentary on the recent Wikileaks non-story:

"Here are the things I have learned thus far from the documents released via Wikileaks:
  • Elements within Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) support the Taliban.
  • The United States integrates direct action special operations into its counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, targeting insurgent leaders through capture/kill missions.
  • Civilians have died in Afghanistan, often as the result of coalition combat operations.
I'm going to bed, but if I were to stay up late reading more, here is what I suspect I would discover:
  • 'Afghanistan' has four syllables.
  • LeBron is going to the Heat.
  • D'Angelo Barksdale didn't actually commit suicide in prison. Stringer Bell had him killed.
  • Although a document dated 17 October 2004 claims the Red Sox were down 3-0 in a seven-game series with the Yankees, they actually went on to win 4-3.
  • Liberace was gay.
  • The Pathan remains wily.
  • Julian Assange is a clown."
I think for the most part, the Wikileaks documents aren't much more sophisticated than what me and my trusty Corporals sent up the chain in Iraq in 04/05. Which is to say, or zero value at an operational level or higher (although I am sure there are some specific nuggets in there that are more important, like say the names of Afghans that have helped the US. Jeez, Assange, what were you thinking?)

More of Andrew Exum's op-ed in the NYTimes here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cutest Niece Ever

Isn't Sidney just adorable?

Update: Finally got the spelling correct in the title. Thanks, Dad. Its not like my brain is full or anything..

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fabulous Fourth

Are you ready for some Bar-B-Que?

Yes, I am!

I know this post is a bit dilatory, but I just haven't had time while immersed in Bar Review to catch up on many posts from earlier in the summer. One in particular I've been meaning to address is the fabulous weekend we had in Spartanburg over the Fourth of July. We both had Friday and Monday off, and despite the normal travel stress (jack), the long weekend was good for our souls (and our tummies - I always come back from Mom's house a couple pounds fuller than normal).

Mmmmm... Bullhawgs!
Although the entirety of this weekend's feasting was as wonderful as always, two occasions in particular stand out. On Saturday we had a great dinner at the Tea House on Lake Lanier in Tryon NC, to celebrate Doc's graduation from residency. While the food and the view is always fantastic, we got to cap it off with dessert and a local fireworks display right out over the lake. If you've never been to the Tea House for dinner on a late summer evening, I highly recommend you try it.

Little table for the little ones
And of course, this Fourth of July's keystone meal was extravagant, with a big spread of genuine Bullhawgs BBQ ribs and pulled pork laid out before us, fresh corn and baked beans and plenty of coldbeer. We all ate out on the patio, with the Beans and the Palmers - all the little kids even got their own table, and Jack was quite at home I believe. It was fun to have some many kids running around, and later in the night you could hear neighboorhood fireworks going off all around (thank you, SC).

Even Dean got into the spirit of the holiday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Just the twelve - er... thirteen of us

You might be surprised to hear it, but there are actually twelve thirteen people in this picture. We had the pleasure of hanging out at the beach with several of our closest friends, knowing that Kim, Rae and Casey were fairly far along on the path to motherhood. Rae recently delivered a gorgeous little Callie, Casey's boy is due any day, and our Dash-2 is finally correctly oriented and on her final approach. Little did we know, Jessie was headed that way too!

From left to right: Adam, Jessie, GPII*, Stephen, Kim, Baby Girl Shaw, Jack, Casey, Baby Boy Middle-Quillen (or maybe Quillendorf, that sounds like a house that Harry Potter might have lived in...), Kris, Rachel, Callie!, and Matt. Quite a crew. I think that is thirteen, but you might want to check my math.

Not to mention, the Williams, the Pointers, the Shumakers are all cooking a little one right now. Man, is it baby-making time or what? I think we've got a whole rifle squad, almost. Or a peloton, if you are a Pomerantz. C'mon, Sara, it's time to get started on your Part Deux.

*GPII is the affectionately named soon-to-be-sibling of George, the Pomerantz's cat. No specific sex is implied by this name.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Flip flop

Baby girl Shaw has been in an unwavering breech position basically since the first time we peered into her world with our very first ultrasound.  I'm not sure if she liked hearing my stomach gurgle or the thump of my heartbeat on her forehead, but she never showed any sign of turning. It didn't matter what I did - from hanging upside down, moxibustion, visualization, swimming, chi swirling, or daily conversations with her about the benefits of coming into the world in the proper, natural way - she held her breech ground.  So, at 37.5 weeks, my OB doctor decided to try to manually turn her into the proper head-down position whether she wanted to or not, a.k.a. external cephalic version.

Today was the day.  Nothing to eat after midnight the night before made for a grumbly tummy but, given all the balls we've been juggling this past week, I was surprisingly without much worry.  We showed up at the hospital at 7am, got checked into the labor room closest to the OR in case baby girl strongly protested the forced movement, and finally got an IV started after 4 attempts. (Apparently I have deceptively difficult veins. I couldn't help but think, "where is Matt Garrison when you need him?")  The nurse then politely asked me, "Where is a nice fatty part of your body where you'd like the terb shot?"  That's the anti-contraction medication to keep my uterus from freaking out with all the pulling and pushing.  I can't say I was proud of all the options I could give her but I was happy not to have as difficult of a body habitus as my vascular system.

So there I sat on a hospital bed, naked but for a skimpy gown and ankle socks, in a room with a thermostat that read 55, with an IV and a plethora of bandages on both arms like a sad leaky pin cushion, tied to the bed with two baby monitors and sneaking "what a long strange trip this is" looks at my amazing husband when the effects of the Terbutaline hit. Now, if you've never had Terbutaline, let me enlighten you on the pleasure that is that drug. It basically makes one feel like one has just driven off the edge of a cliff and has suddenly realized that gut-dropping feeling is the fast descent to the hard ground miles below.  Palpitations, jitters, anxiety, lightheadedness, hot flushing, nausea.  Clearly, it's not, nor ever will be, a drug of abuse.  Fortunately, it passed fairly quickly and did exactly what it was supposed to do because I distinctly saw a white flag rise up from between my legs when my uterus cried "uncle."

Then Dr R walked in.  She's quite a character. I don't know if it's the red hair mixed with the insanely thick Southern accent or her unflappable demeanor despite even the most harried of circumstances, but she's one of those people that fills a room instantly.  "Alright girl, you ready for this?" she chuckled as she took off her white coat and hung it on the back of the door.  Rolling up her sleeves, she pulled the portable ultrasound over to the bed, gopped my belly with goo, and got the lay of the land.

"Yep, that's head.  That's butt.  She's still backwards.  Let's do this."  I imagine Stephen's viewpoint was rather benign as she didn't do The Haka or crack her knuckles or even spit into the dirt.  She just laid her hands on my belly and started to push.  She used her right hand to pinch the baby's bottom and the heel of her left hand to push on the head in a counterclockwise movement.  It sounds so easy, so benign, so....painless.  But I can promise you, short of labor, that is a distinct pain that I wouldn't wish on anyone.  The idea is to get the baby's bottom out of the pelvis and basically coax her into a forward somersault.  A little push and hold, check the heartbeat, push a little more and hold, check the heartbeat.  The doctor could get her halfway there but once completely transverse across my abdomen, it's like she jammed in her heels and her fingertips and said, "Sorry, not gonna happen. Nice try but I'm stronger than you."  Two attempts counterclockwise and the red streaks on my belly must have already been bright enough to make Dr R ask, "Well, do you want to give it one more go or just call her stubborn and be done."

Call it mother's intuition or strange fetal connection but as soon as she asked, "clockwise" popped into my brain.

"Let's give it one more try.  Backwards this time."  I said.

Reaching down to my spine and flattening my innards like a double-sized steam roller, I felt her bottom pop into my side and then the sweetest whispered words I've heard since Jackson first said "Mommy?" on the phone to me, "That did it."  Confirmed with the bedside ultrasound, baby girl Shaw was upside down for the first time in her life and I was absolutely beside myself.

I've had in my brain this entire time she was going to be breech, the version wasn't going to work, we were going to have a scheduled c-section next Friday, and I had come to terms with that.  Fate, lately, has been throwing us a number of curve balls, but this was a high, easy, slow pitch that was a simple hit out of the park and the circling of bases after Dr R cleaned off the goo from my belly was a sweet, welcomed reminder that life is ever changing and badness can only stack so high before goodness is bound to follow.

There is no guarantee this little one won't flip back where she started and the c-section I have not wanted will actually happen.  But for today, at least, she's where she needs to be and her gesture of compromise has renewed my excitement for the days that are to come.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Holy pageviews, Batman!

Blogger has finally added built-in traffic analytics to the Waltzing Matilda blog. I had dumped the Google Analytics code into the template a while back but always forgot to check it - the new inline stats are much easier to use and show up in the Dashboard.

What's even more interesting is that we've had 304 pageviews this month alone! Holy cow. Didn't know we had such a strong readership! (of course, a couple of dozen came from Google searches for "Waltzing Matilda" and "The Master Speed", which I am sure were unintentional).

UPDATE I: Apparent viewership* of Waltzing Matilda has skyrocketed over the last month to over 830 pageviews, including China, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, Germany, Canada, India and Taiwan. Who are these people?

*I say apparent because I have no idea if the stats app is discounting the many times Doc and I look at the blog to see if the other is keeping up with their blogo-marital duties.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Caroline Rachel Garrison - July 16, 2010

Congratulations, Matt and Rae! Welcome to a great family, Callie.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sweet Dreams, Baby...

It's funny how the things you come to rely on have a tendency to change without you really noticing, until one day you look over at you wife and son and think: "My God, when did THIS happen?"

Jack (after about 7 months) used to be a reliable go-to-bedder, as long he could get his little paws on a worn-out, purple screeching monkey. He would clutch the little creature to his face, sucking on a thumb or mouthing the monkey's tail, as his eyes rolled back in his head and he drifted off to dreamy wonderland bliss for (hopefully) a dozen or so hours.

We owe those months of bliss largely to Great Granny Frannie, who had the wisdom and foresight to buy us this little purple monkey while we were at the beach last summer, and it has carried us through a complete cycle of seasons. Little did we know, a stuffed singing bear that she gave us at the beach the year before, while Jack was still a bun-in-the-oven would soon be of near-equal importance.

Our going to bed ritual now includes, as absolutely necessary, Little Monkey, Big Monkey, a Blankey, and Roy Or-bear-son, an electro-mechanical singing stuffed animal, crooning his classic ballad "Sweet Dreams, Baby". Every night, we now rock for a half-hour in Jack's room, clutching both monkeys, wrapped in our Blankey, and repeatedly listening to Roy Or-bear-son sing his song as we nod off to dreams in Mommy's arms.

Sometimes we get fuzz in our mouth. Maybe we should just listen to Bear, instead of trying to eat him.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunny Smiles

I snapped this shot of Jack right after he climbed into Dean's bed this morning. He was so pleased with himself, he just couldn't contain it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Our little breech Tarheel

She may not be in the right position and she may be using her head as a battering ram against my stomach, but at least she's letting us know she's a true Tarheel. Wonder what body part she would have shown if she was a Blue Devil?