Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's going to be a good day!

My sister woke me up at 5:00 this morning to tell me she's in labor and is doing just fine. They are planning another home birth (their last one with two-year-old Henry went just fine, but they live two blocks from a hospital with a NICU, so nobody worry!) but don't know the sex of the baby this time, since all previous attempts to find out were thwarted by the child. He/she is already a trouble-maker, between refusing to reveal his/her sex and moving "like a linebacker" in the womb. It's another big baby, too! The midwife says it's the same size as Henry was during this stage of growth, and Henry was just shy of eleven pounds when he was born. (My sis is 6'2", so huge babies are to be expected.)

Needless to say, I am beyond excited to meet little Jasper or Agatha. (If it's a boy, he is decidedly NOT being named after the Twilight character. My sis has always liked the name, and I agree! Neither of us is fond of Twilight. She's really taking one for the team, because at least for a few years, everybody is going to assume she's a Twimom. :D ) I adore my nephew Henry and am so happy to have another member in our awesome family! My sister and brother-in-law are WONDERFUL parents, and I am so thrilled for them!

Does this tie into writing? Indeed it does! At Henry's birth, my sister asked me to be present for support and to take pictures (and to see to the needs of the two midwives, the two student-assistants my sister graciously allowed to come along, and Dad!) What a gift! Not many people get to see the birth of any child, unless they're midwives or OB-GYNs. Fewer people in today's world get to see the natural birth of a child, with the mother unmedicated and experiencing all the stages of labor fully, free to move herself around as she needs rather than being confined to a bed or even a single hospital room. :)

It was a powerful experience, and I drew on it to write the birth scene in my novel. Later, when women who'd had natural births beta-read my book, they told me nobody who reads it will believe I've never given birth myself. That is quite a compliment! I guess I did something right. I owe a lot to my sister!

Much of the first half of my novel involves the main character fearing birth, and avoiding her "duty" because of this fear. In order to understand what my sister would go through when she brought Henry into the world, I studied everything about natural childbirth I could get my hands on. Like most of biology, I found it fascinating, and I learned way, WAY more about pregnancy, labor, and birth than most child-free people ever know. I am grateful to my sister for educating me about the process and for asking me to be there when Henry was born. Not only was it amazing, but it helped me understand what my character feared as a spectator of births, and what she would experience physically as a mother birthing a child.

I may end up heading to her house later this morning. Henry, at two, is as well prepared as any toddler can be. He is excited to meet the baby and likes reading his picture book about home births (written to give kids like him some idea of what to expect.) But he is just two, and getting over a viral infection, and might have a hard time with the birth, especially when Mommy starts to make some noise. I am on call and ready to swoop in to distract him with trains and hugs if it becomes necessary. :)

In addition to that exciting news, I was also given a Butterfly Award by Stephanie over at Hatshepsut: The Writing of a Novel. Yay! I'm a coooool blooooogggg! Thanks, Stephanie! I found Stephanie's blog while googling for "Hatshepsut novel," trying to make sure I hadn't missed any published novels before I put too much work into my Hatshepsut books. Stephanie is a hard-working writer, being a history teacher, a mom, and a novelist who just began querying her first book. I have no doubt she'll get published, and together we will revive and popularize Egyptian fiction! Woohoo!!

Well, back to bed, with the hopes that I can get a little more sleep this morning. Not likely to happen, though.


  1. I'm just glad it's not Twilight inspired :) -- and definitely would love to see Egypt Fic popularized beyond the sci-fi Star-Gatish tropes.

  2. My daughter's name is Isabella, after Queen Isabella of Castile who founded the Age of Exploration (I ignore the whole part about purging Spain of Jews & Muslims). The other day a grocery checker heard me call her Bella and asked if I named her after Twilight.


    And I had a natural birth too (in a tub)- it was totally awesome! Unfortunately, I hemorrhaged and had to be rushed from the birthing center to the hospital for surgery and blood transfusions. Blecch.

    Congrats on the new niece or nephew- I hope everything goes perfectly!

  3. So far things seem to be going well. Her contractions were five minutes apart, but slowed to eight minutes apart when her son woke up and needed care. Amazing how our bodies will shift gears like that! "Can't have a baby now...must take care of other child!" Last I heard, she went for a walk to try to get things moving again.

    She wanted to have her first in the water, and was in the pool for quite some time, but her labor wasn't progressing quickly enough. Too relaxing. My sister can relax like nobody I've ever seen. She was so calm and chilled out during Henry's birth, she said "Ow" once, and was saying "please" and "thank you" while she was pushing! Crazy!

    So we're hoping for another totally relaxed, worry-free birth. :)

    Man, all those Twilight moms. My poor sis...if this is a boy, she's going to have to field that question for a long time to come. She's liked the name Jasper since we were teen-agers, and she was ticked off when she learned there's a character in Twilight named Jasper. Ha!!

  4. And that is super-cool that you named your girl after Queen Isabella. My mom has often bemoaned the fact that I don't want to have kids. I told her it's a good thing, because I'd name them after people I admire from history, so she'd have grandkids named Hypatia or Galileo or Epicurus or possibly even Hatshepsut.