Friday, November 30, 2007

More Max

You and me and the baby makes three

I have officially been a Dad for about 42 hours. I have enjoyed every minute of it.

Yesterday was a good day. I didn't sleep all night after the birth. I had to keep looking at Max to see if he was okay. I can't help. He is just so darn quiet when he sleeps.

Anyway, even though I had been awake for more than 24 hours, I wasn't tired. It was an adventure I didn't want to miss a minute of. I've changed diapers (even the ones that looked like roofing tar in the beginning), been peed on and spit up on. You know what? I don't care.

Last night Shannon sent me home to get some rest. I wasn't crazy about leaving but one of us needs to be alert when we get to take him home. Her sister Donna volunteered to stay the night and keep an eye on them. She even gave me an Ambien pill to help me fall asleep. It is a good thing I waited until I got home to take it. Within a minute or two, I was stumbling around the house like a bear shot with a tranquilizer dart. I flopped on the bed and didn't move for 10 hours. I don't think I want to take any more of those. (Next time I'll just have the game warden shoot me in the neck.)

This morning I woke up a little loopy but couldn't wait to get back to my family.

Shannon and Max are doing great. It won't be long before I can take them home.

Thanks to everyone who has come by to visit us at the hospital and/or left nice messages. We are lucky to have such great friends and family.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

3 AM

It is 3 AM. Max, Shannon and I are all awake. It is cool, dark and quiet. We are content to just sit here as a family.

I know we should get some rest. It will be another long day.

I figure I might as well get used to staying up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The main attraction

D-Day (the invasion)


Shannon and I got to the hospital a few minutes ago. We are in the room already. It is just the two of us. The lights are off so it is kind of dim. We didn’t turn the TV on so we could relax and talk. It is cool, quiet and peaceful. This is a nice way to start the event. I am glad we have this alone time.


So much for alone time. I wouldn’t say it has been a beehive of activity but there are a couple of nurses hovering. A few minor hiccups with the IV, but nothing too scary. The doctor called to say he was running a little behind. We are looking at 5:30 for the procedure. Shannon is handling the whole situation very well. I can’t say the same for our Moms. I was handling things pretty well until they brought me my “gear” for surgery. Now I am a little dizzy.


The doctor comes in to check on Shannon and briefly goes over the plan. I am instructed to “suit up” and follow the nurses as they wheel Shannon down the hall towards the operating room. We meet the anesthesiologist as we walk. He explains the procedure for giving my wife her “spinal”. They make clear that I will have to wait outside as Shannon is prepared for the c-section. When the procedure is ready to start they will come out and get me.


I am sitting alone in the hallway outside OR 6. This area of the hospital is dark and deserted. Only a few fluorescent bulbs shed light on the shiny sterile floor. It is very quiet. I don’t think I have ever felt so isolated. I take this moment to say a silent prayer.

5:55 PM

The door opens and the nurse sticks her head out. We are ready for you now. The OR is very bright in stark contrast to the dim hallway. I am quickly ushered to a small chair by my wife’s left shoulder. A white drape blocks my view of anything but Shannon’s face. She smiles at me peacefully. I ask her if she feels okay. “Fine,” she says. “No problem at all”. I think she looks beautiful.


Dr. Ellison, the anesthesiologist, looks at me and says “stand up!...quick”. I stand and look at him. He just points over the sheet draped across my wife’s shoulders. I turn just in time to see the doctor pull my son from Shannon’s abdomen. It was fascinating.

In a blur of activity he is flipped and flopped, suctioned and cleaned. All the while I am trying to look at him. He is blue in color. “two arms, two legs…” I am surveying in my head. Two women sweep him up and take him to the warming table. He starts to cry. They tell me to come over and see my new son.

As I look down I see this chubby, pink little baby. He is shivering and wailing. I must have gotten something in my eyes when I walked over because tears were rolling down my cheeks.

I looked over to smile at my wife. I could see her blue eyes looking at me as the surgical staff worked feverously to sew her up. “You make a pretty baby,” I say to her.


We are in the recovery room.

Welcome to the world Max Daniel Minninger.

D-Day (pre-planning)

Today is the day!! I can't believe it. I don't think I have ever been this anxious. Shannon and I are finishing up a few things around the house before we head to the hospital. (Sure is nice to have the birth of your child scheduled)

We went to the hospital yesterday afternoon to get pre-registered for the cesarean section. It was an interesting experience. The pre-registration mainly consists of Shannon givng blood, having her blood pressure checked and then hooking her belly up to a moniter to listen to the baby's heartbeat. Everything checked out.

While Shannon laid there getting "monitored" the nurse was asking her questions. The questions started out innocent enough. "Name?" "Date of birth?" etc. After about twenty minutes the questions became more and more personal. "Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease?" said the nurse. My ears perked up. "Wow, she is asking questions I would never have the nerve to ask," I thought. Then the questions got better. "Have you ever had an abusive relationship?" "Have you ever been in a Girls Gone Wild video?" and on and on. After almost fourteen years of marriage I learned a lot about my wife in one thirty minute hospital interrogation. (I'm just glad they weren't asking me questions)

The question and answer session was followed by a meeting with the anesthesiologist and then a run down of the procedures by a nurse. It was all very informative. Of course it has not kept me from doing my own research into the c-section. The etymology of Cesarean is Latin. Cesar meaning "salad" and Arean meaning "Oh my gosh! What are you doing to my wife?".

So now we are all set to go to the hospital and have a baby. Shannon has been a real trooper through this whole process. She seems cool and collected. I, on the other hand, am wringing my hands.

For my wife's sake I will stay strong.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

No More Silent Night(s)

It is the beginning of the holiday season. Thanksgiving was a couple of days ago and Christmas is right around the corner. Our early Christmas present is scheduled to be here at 5pm on Wednesday, November 28th. How convenient it is to know when and where your baby will be delivered. (Those of you who know Shannon wouldn't have expected anything less!)

Because of the imminent addition to our family, I broke my own rule and put up our Christmas decorations before the Thanksgiving weekend. (I figured we might be short on time after this week.) Normally I would not waver on this. I am firm believer that the holiday does not officially begin until after Thanksgiving. In turn, Thanksgiving does not begin until after Halloween. Anyway, putting up the tree and lights started the conversation about holiday traditions. Over the last week and a half, Shannon and I have been discussing what yearly customs we had as kids and which ones we would like to carry over to our new family. We both have had a great time reminiscing.

Shannon and I have been married for almost fourteen years now and we have established some of our own rituals. As I said before, we don’t put up our decorations until after Thanksgiving. We spend Christmas Eve at Shannon’s Mom’s house. We spend Christmas morning together at our house and then drive up to my parent’s house. Those are the biggies. Some lesser events have been piling in the car with coffee and hot chocolate and driving around big neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights or going to downtown Chattanooga for the Christmas on the River celebration.

Christmas on the River is a free event put on by the city. There is a live nativity scene, music, food and a parade of boats all decorated for Christmas. At the end of the evening Santa shows up and there are fireworks. These things always help me get into the Christmas spirit. My favorite part has to be watching all of the people who come into the city for the affair. I love to sit among the crowd and take in the sights and smells.

Over the years I have learned a few things. Rednecks will drive a long way for a free event like this. That is because rednecks love Baby Jesus, funnel cakes, Christmas lights and cigarettes. On more than one occasion I have seen a young mother, Marlboro Red dangling from her lip, tell her children to sit their “GD” butts down while a Christmas carol plays in the background. Almost brings a tear to my eye. (There is a country music song in there somewhere).

Don’t get me wrong, the majority of the crowd is made up of smiling, joyful families. There are moms, dads, grandparents and friends. They sit arm and arm happily listening to the seasonal songs. People smile to say “Merry Christmas” to each other. No one is fighting over their place in line or wrestling over the latest toy. It is a great way to spend an evening.

The bottom line is that I love this time of year. I can’t wait to share some memories and traditions with my son, my wife, my family and my friends.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Countdown to Baby

Shannon had a doctor’s appointment yesterday to check the progress of the boy. He is getting bigger and more active by the minute. We have all been wondering when he would decide his “apartment” is too small and move to his new place. The boy is approaching, if not past, the nine pound mark. Shannon’s belly has grown larger than a basketball. From the side, it looks as if she is shoplifting a beach ball. In fact, the doctor said during her checkup, “You either need to have this baby or I need to buy a bigger tape measure.” The problem is Shannon is showing no signs of approaching labor. The baby is still riding high and her cervix is tighter than a submarine hatch.

Because of the baby’s size, the doctor has some concerns about labor. (So does Shannon!) He does not want the pregnancy to progress too far and the boy to get precariously big. If she goes all the way to her original due date the boy could weigh well over ten pounds. More if she goes past, this is common for first time mothers.

Dr. Mills decided the best course of action might be to schedule a cesarean delivery for Wednesday, November 28th. I think this is best. Although, I have to admit, part of me would like Shannon to go for the world record of “Biggest Baby”. She could make the cover of The Enquirer or get on Maury Povich. Who knows, maybe even a Lifetime made for TV movie starring Tori Spelling or Meredith Baxter Birney. (Painful Record: The Shannon Minninger Story)

So, unless anything happens between now and then, we will be having a baby on Wednesday, November 28th.

How nice to have something scheduled.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Things that don't fit into another post.

I have a couple of funny instances to tell that don't quite fit into another post.

Yesterday my wife and I stopped at a Chik-fil-a resturant for lunch. She ordered a box of chicken nuggets. When she was eating them she accidentally dropped one on the floor and started to cry. It wasn't until just a minute ago that I learned she really was crying about the nugget. I thought she was kidding. Hormones are crazy!

Last Friday while we were at the doctors office for her checkup the nurse led us to the exam room. Before closing the door, she said "undress from the waist down so the Doctor can examine you". I told Shannon it would be funny if I took my pants off, too. When Doctor Mills opened the door I could have said " meant her?"

We decided against it.

Party Time!

Many of the people who read this blog have been to at least one social event at our house. Maybe it was one of the “legendary” Cinco de Mayo parties Shannon and I hosted over the years. Frozen margarita machines flowing, gallons of tequila consumed, house and yard full of friends, neighbors and acquaintances.

Or, maybe you were at our last New Years Eve “Martini party”. You know, the one that went until 4 am. We went through about 12 large bottles of vodka. The next morning Shannon was upset that we didn’t sing “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight. (That is until she got the party photos back and realized we did.) Following these events, that is after partying most of the night and then cleaning the house the next day, I would have categorized myself as tired.

That has nothing on a wild weekend of baby showers.

I was not fortunate enough to actually attend the shower on Saturday. It was held at my Mother’s house. The guest list included female family members and close female family friends. I was not on that guest list. My primary duty was “pack mule”. I was instructed to show up near the very end of the festivities to load the shower gifts into my car. Judging by the “wild” look in everybody’s eyes when I arrived, I missed quite a blowout. (It could be that they were just hopped up on pastel colored icing). I spent the next 45 minutes or so carrying armfuls of little bags decorated with babies, storks, balloons and curly ribbon out to my car.

Sunday, on the other hand, was my day to shine. We had a couples shower at a downtown bookstore! I could hardly sleep the night before in anticipation. I felt like an eight year old on Christmas Eve. “Somebody pinch me,” I was thinking.

The couples shower started at 1:00 PM Sunday afternoon. Shannon and I arrived about 12:50. It was a very neat place. I had driven by several times but, I had never been inside before.(I know what you’re thinking… “Dan, never been in this bookstore? I don’t believe it!”). The store was inside one of the old brick buildings in downtown Chattanooga. I am sure it had been a factory or warehouse at some point in the last 100 years.

There was a nice little area set up in the back for the baby shower. I walked over and looked around. Some chairs, and a cake. Finger food and decorations. All of it with a children’s book theme. Then I noticed the best part - a stage with a bench and spotlight, several shower gifts surrounding it. All I could think was “Awesome, this will be just like dinner theater!” I beamed with excitement. We all know how much I love dinner theater.

As friends trickled in, Shannon and I answered many baby questions. Some people asked about our level of preparedness. Others wanted to know about a name for the baby or daycare plans. I was mostly just happy that the focus of the conversations was on how big Shannon’s belly had gotten rather than how big mine had grown. Before long, my wife and I were ushered to the bench on the small stage. It was time to open gifts.

I sat on the small wooden bench smiling out at our dear friends. At least I think I was looking at our friends. The white hot spot lights had burned out my retinas. Plus, I was sweating like a thief in a police line up. “Stay focused,” I told myself. Shannon would read the card and announce who had given the gift. I had the very important job of digging through the mountains of tissue paper and holding up the present for all to see. When I had given the appropriate amount of “ooohs” or “aaaahs”, I moved on to the next package. Before long, we were done. I spent the rest of the afternoon talking with the diverse shower guests. It was easy to relax once the pressure of sitting center stage was off. All in all, it was a pretty pleasant day.

On Monday I took the day off of work. I thought I would take a day to recuperate before heading back to the office. I was wrong. It turns out the real reason I wanted the day off was to go shopping. Because I make most of the decisions in the house, I decided not to waste this time “lollygagging” around the house. I should first make a list of the things we still needed for the baby and then create a plan for acquiring those items quickly. Once the items were purchased I should get home and organize, assemble and/or install them.

It is now Monday evening and I am exhausted.

I would sincerely like to thank everybody involved in the planning and preparation of these baby showers. Mom, Alice, Carole, Jill, Amanda and Allison on Saturday. Nathalie, Becky, Beth, Jessica on Sunday. We are very lucky to have such great family and friends. You have helped make this exciting time in our lives more enjoyable.

I am also glad that I had the chance to see so many close friends over the weekend. Thank you for your kind words and thoughtful gifts. As a token of my appreciation, you will all get a chance to baby sit in the near future.

Friday, November 2, 2007


As they say in the south, my wife is fixin’ to pop.

Shannon had another doctor’s appointment and ultrasound yesterday. I took a late lunch and went with her to the doctor’s office. I have not been to the last couple of appointments and thought it was time I got an update on my progeny.

The appointment was at 2:00 PM. We arrived in the waiting room around 1:50. The place was empty except for a teenage girl and her mom. The mom had big, bleached hair and was wearing skin tight jeans. The shoes she had on were the kind designed to be worn while twirling around a pole. “I wonder which one is pregnant,” was my first thought.

Shannon signed in and I headed towards an uncomfortable chair. No sooner had I begun to thumb through a stack of old parenting magazines, when the door opened. “Shannon,” the nurse said. Wow, that was fast. I didn’t even have time to read an article about making your own organic baby food. (I always find it funny that the same magazines that promote a “greener” lifestyle also advertise $150 jeans for a two year old.)

So I follow my wife down the hallway towards the ultrasound room. “Is it okay if I give my urine sample first?” Shannon says. “I really need to go”. The ultrastenographer says that would be fine. “Just bring the cup in the ultrasound room when you are done so it won’t get mixed up with someone else’s sample,” she says. So, Shannon goes into the bathroom and I follow the young woman into the ultrasound room.

I am just sitting there patiently waiting for Shannon to finish in the bathroom. There is an uncomfortable silence. I am tempted to hop up on the table and ask her to scan my belly and see what’s in there. I make my way over to the “husband” chair. It is a small, hard folding chair, crammed in the corner. (Similar to the “husband” chairs found outside of department store women’s dressing rooms.) In a minute in two, Shannon walks in and promptly places a Dixie cup full of her urine on the counter just inches in front of me. “Hello, I’m sitting right here!” I think to myself.

My pregnant wife wrestles herself up on the exam table, lays back and pulls up her shirt to reveal her tummy. The ultrastenographer squirts a big wad of jelly on the summit of Mount Minninger. As she moves the wand back and forth across my wife’s midsection we all stare at the flickering screen. “There is the face and a leg and the heart” says the woman. “Oh, and he is definitely still a boy”. Exactly like the last two ultrasounds, I don’t recognize any of those fuzzy, grey shapes as actual body parts. “Look, you can see hair on his head!” she says. She is just making stuff up to torment me now.

We finish the ultrasound and the results are recorded in Shannon’s file. The nice lady shows us to another exam room to wait on Doctor Mills. When we are alone, Shannon remarks about looking at the baby on ultrasound. (So now even my wife is mocking the fact that I can’t make “heads or tails” of the image). When the doctor comes in he is relaxed and smiling. He casually flips through the chart and asks how Shannon is feeling. “Great,” she blurts out. He says that everything looks good and the baby is healthy and growing. “He is six and a half pounds right now." “If you go full term he would probably be nine pounds or better.”

Shannon expresses some concern over the size of the boy. The doctor responds by saying, “You should have taken that into consideration when you chose such a big man as the father of your baby.” (Touché Dr. Mills.) He then says not to worry. In a week or so he will be fully developed. There is no reason to go all the way to your original due date. “You could go into labor at any time.” In fact, he says we will be lucky to make it past Thanksgiving without him inducing labor. No reason to wait longer than we have to.

So, in just a few short weeks we will have a bouncing baby boy.

I need a nap.