Thursday, April 26, 2012

Come See Me at the Historic Northeast Chalk Walk this Weekend!

I'm going to be part of a team drawing at the Chalk Walk in the Historic Northeast this weekend. You should come out to this very fun, family-friendly event and say hello, draw a picture, and see the lovely drawings others make. I wasn't able to do this event last year so I'm extra excited that everything worked out with having Henry early so that I could be part of it.

Here's the picture I drew at the event two years ago:

Not my best chalk drawing, but it's fairly cute.

Anyway... hope to see you this weekend!

Related posts:
Halloween High Jinks
Event Pics: Slut Walk / Chalk Drawing Demo
Event Pics: 2011 Chalk & Walk Festival
Event Pics: KC Chalk & Walk (2010)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shadows Over Baker Street

If you want something to give you chills this summer, you should add Shadows Over Baker Street to your reading list. A short story anthology by an assortment of authors and edited by John Pelan and Michael Reaves, Shadows Over Baker Street combines characters from the universe of Sherlock Holmes with the beasts from the universe of Lovecraft stories.

"A Study In Emerald" by Neil Gaiman (author of my all time favorite graphic novel series ever, The Sandman) opens the anthology. Gaiman imagines a world in which the royalty of England has been taken over by Cthulu-esque tentacle monsters, the death of one of whom Sherlock is hired to solve.

Other stories that particularly stood out to me were:

  • "Tiger! Tiger!" by Elizabeth Bear, which was narrated by a veteran on safari with Irene Adler. Their hunting expedition is attacked by a firey tiger that melts the bullets fired at it.
  • "The Curious Case of Miss Violet Stone" by Poppy Z. Brite and David Ferguson in which Sherlock investigates a girl's odd change in behavior following a vacation. The girl herself insists she is an alien entity that became trapped inside the girl's body.
  • "The Adventure of the Arab's Manuscript" by Michael Reaves pits Sherlock and Watson against the latter's former lover who wishes to bring the Old Ones into the world.

Overall, I was impressed with how the writers were able to write in the style of Conan Doyle and bring the world of Sherlock Holmes alive with their monster-based mysteries. If you are a fan of either Doyle or Lovecraft, you'll enjoy this collection.

Related posts:
Clive Barker's Absolute Midnight
Frank Beddor Re-Imagines Alice In Wonderland
2 Novel Approaches to Fairy Tales

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Henry's Homecoming

Today at 12:30, Matt and I brought our sweet Henry home for the first time. I'm typing this with one hand & holding him in the other as he slowly wakes up from a nap. He is so precious! I'm so glad he's here! I felt a massive weight of anxiety I didn't know I was carrying fall off me when I got to sit on the couch & hold him for the first time.

So much awesome!!

Related posts:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

May Gives Birth

Exactly one week ago today, I woke up around 3:30 in the morning with what I assumed were stomach cramps. After pooing and still having them, I then assumed I was having Braxton Hicks contractions (i.e. false labor). That I could actually be in labor was ridiculous to me; I was certain that Henry would be born after his due date (kinda like how I was certain he would be a girl). But after an hour had passed and the pain had increased, not decreased, I decided time how far apart the "cramps" were, just in case.

And they were 5 minutes apart, which put me into holy-shit-I-have-to-pack-and-get-ready-for-the-hospital-NOW mode. I started packing things I'd need/want to have with me in the hospital, woke up Matt and had him call our ride (my friend Darcy), and tried not to let the pain get in the way of getting ready.

Before Darcy had shown up, I started gushing fluids every time I had a contraction, which freaked me out. I kept going into the bathroom to sit on the toilet so I wouldn't leak all over the floor. I had to pad my underpants with paper towels and sit on a regular towel in Darcy's car so I didn't get it all wet.

By the time we got to the hospital it was around 6 am, and I was having trouble walking because now my contractions were 3 minutes apart and they were quite intense. I went to Truman Medical Center's Labor and Delivery area, where I had been the previous week for an incredibly painful procedure where they tried to turn Henry out of the breech position so I could deliver vaginally. (It didn't work.) I was put into a room where the baby and I were put on monitors. They checked to see if Henry was still breech (he was), if my amniotic sack had ruptured (it had - hence the gushing), and if my cervix was dilated (it was - 1 cm).

Then they left me alone for a while as I screamed and ached through my contractions. I had started shaking uncontrollably (which they later told me was due to hormones) and was in a significant amount of pain. When they finally checked my cervix again (it was just around half an hour or so, but it felt like forever) I was dilated 4 inches. They apparently hadn't expected that to happen so quickly, and they had to rush me into the operating room.

There, I sat hunched over on the table, crying, leaking and having horribly painful contractions as the anesthesiologists numbed my lower back, then gave me a spinal injection which numbed me from the armpits down. It was such an incredible relief from the very intense pain! I could feel pressure as they worked to get Henry out via c-section. It hurt a few times as they pushed around on my belly to try and change his position, I guess, but mostly it just felt odd. Matt was there, holding my hand which comforted me.

At one point, the anesthesiologist leaned over and told me that they had everything out but the head. Then I felt as if a HUGE weight was lifted off my belly, and Henry was out! We could hear him whimpering as they cleaned, weighed and measured him. Matt got to go over and hold him, and he brought him over to my head so I could see him as they worked on putting me back together.

As I said before Henry was 4 lbs, 4 oz. He was very small (though he was considered term at 38 weeks) and had to go into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Over the next few days I recovered in the hospital. NICU nurses would bring Henry in to breastfeed, and a few times I went to see him, when I was feeling well enough. I was pumping in addition to feeding him since he wasn't eating much, and we had to feed him breastmilk with a bottle part of the time because it was easier for him to eat that way.

My hormones were going crazy and I spent a fair amount of time crying and being miserable about not being able to have my baby with me all the time (also about a serious heat rash I had). At certain points I felt completely enraged at the NICU nurses when they would come take him away from him when he was done eating. Matt came to visit me often, sleeping over with me most days so I wouldn't be alone. Having him near helped me feel better, of course.

Friday of last week I was discharged; it was emotionally wringing to leave Henry behind. I've been back to visit and breastfeed every day, and I'm pumping every 3 hours so he has breastmilk to eat when I'm not there. After a few scares with his temperature dropping and him needing a nasal-gastric tube to feed him a few times, I'm happy to report that Henry is doing much better.

He's almost back to his birth weight after the weight loss that's typical for babies post-birth. And today, he graduated to a crib from an isolette where his temperature was being regulated.

Assuming that he keeps eating well and can maintain his body temperature without help, he could be home by the end of the week! I can't wait to have him full time. Our apartment feels so empty right now.

I'm still physically recovering from the birth as well. My uterus has been contracting which makes me bleed & have cramps. It would probably feel way worse than having a period, but since I'm on pain meds for the c-section, I can't really tell. I just know it doesn't feel great. On the plus side, my tits are BANGING right now. HUGE and full of milk. (Fake tits finally make sense to me now that I've experienced natural tits that feel the way they feel). I've been producing milk like crazy and I'm glad NICU lent me an electric breast pump cause it would take forever to pump one boob at a time with the handpump Truman gave me (along with a diaper bag, baby clothes, and many other awesome, useful baby things).

In related news, I started a new 365 self-portrait project with Henry. Check out what I've done so far:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Henry James Evans-Barchers Is Born!

Today at 7:11 am, weighing in at 4 lbs 4 oz, Henry James Evans-Barchers came into the world via c-section. I will be unable to update my blog this week, as I'll be busy being exhausted for awhile, and I have to recuperate in the hospital. I'll be back next week with pictures, though - promise!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Come See Me Tomorrow at the "Future Currents" Art Opening

"Do, Think Change"
(the mixed media piece I made for "Future Currents")

Don't forget to come see me tomorrow at "Future Currents" (part of The Forum at Middle of the Map Fest) at OfficePort, 208 W. 19th St. The opening is from 5-9 PM, but I'll probably get there around 6. (Assuming that the external cephalic version I'm getting tomorrow doesn't cause distress to the baby and lead to an emergency c-section). If/when you stop in, be sure to say hello!

Related posts:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

May & Matt Tie the Knot (Pics)

Down the Aisle

Photos: Darcy B. & Amy D.
Wedding Rings/Bridal Jewelry: Vulcan's Forge
Bouquets: handmade by me
Mini Top Hat: LillianJames (I put it on the headband)
Dress: Motherhood
Wrap/Train : handmade by me
Fingerless Gloves: Artwedding
Stockings: Leg Avenue