Sunday, May 22, 2011

Welcome to Earth

Dear Aspen,

It all started with a dinner at the restaurant Zupa's. I, of course, was against the idea, because the place makes me sick, what with all the high maintenance girls who frequent it, squandering their men's hard-earned money on dainty soups and salads and chocolate-dipped strawberries, things they feel they're entitled to, neverminding the exorbitant prices nor their male counterparts who modestly exchange the fruit of their labors for un-glamorous but good, old-fashioned, hearty dollar burgers, packed with the real meat of life and smothered with the simple yet godly pleasures such as mayonnaise. I counted twenty-seven women and four men. The whole time we were there (about an hour), not once did any man enter without a woman leading his way.

That being said, the food was pretty good. I like Zupa's.

Anyway, we were there because your mom had her membranes stripped that morning, which means she was more-or-less induced, which means we were expecting you within twelve to forty-eight hours. So Grandma was watching Ariah, spoiling her, and I was watching your mom, spoiling her. Once again we'd taken up the fruitless topic of naming you. I've come up with so many awesome names (meaning they make me laugh and Teresa cringe), that I'm thinking of writing my own "Name Your Baby" book. Here's a list of a few:

  1. Andromeda (I think this is the prettiest name ever, but everyone's against me in it)
  2. Shwanna
  3. Scratia
  4. Tigra
  5. Vampira
  6. Valkira
  7. Fangra
  8. Elfira
  9. Smareglyn
  10. Grimpleasure

I'll stop at ten. I guess when it comes to babies, to me they're the ultimate product of dream. I mean, I can dream up a novel or a movie, but in the end, they're nothing more than ideas and illusions. A baby, on the other hand, grows into a god or goddess, a creator of worlds, a self-aware, thinking consciousness, the very best thing I can imagine in the entire universe. So it's hard for me to sum up all that glorious potential with a name like "Susan" or "Sally". I just want to dream and push limits and distance myself from limiting reality and ... well ... be silly.

It was about 11:00 PM, and your mom was having heavy contractions. We were watching "Tron Legacy". Cool movie with stunning visuals. Though I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were in German, because (and this is perhaps the first and only time I'll say this) for me the story actually got in the way of the visual experience. I would have preferred either an actually thought-provoking, philosophical piece, or a unabashed mindless trip through a psychedelic, neon world.

Turns out they weren't real contractions, just "Braxton Hicks". We both fell asleep disappointed and woke up rather humdrum, saying, "Well ... I guess we have to get back to real life now. I was even contemplating something as depressing as going to work, when to our joy, your mom's water broke. Then it was off to the hospital.

Your mom had been terrified of a uterine rupture, which was a threatening possibility with a vaginal birth following a C-Section (VBAC). For a long period it appeared that the contractions weren't progressing, you were stuck, and another C-Section would be necessary. After nearly eleven hours of labor (though your mom insists that it wasn't bona fide labor, because she had two epidurals) and about three hours of pushing, the doctor used a vacuum to latch onto and pull out a cylindrical piece of head. After some more pushing from your mom and pulling from the doctor, the rest of the head was procured, followed by a body. Then there you were, my slimy, new daughter with a cylindrical protrusion of head, the happy ending to a long ordeal. Good had prevailed, and lightning from heaven struck the earth upon the glorious birth of Tigra Gashler.

Actually we still hadn't agreed on a name. For the hospital records, you were "Girl Gashler". You're beautiful, life is good, and I do so very much enjoy my vacations at the hospital every few years. The nurses here at the American Fork Intermountain Health Care are among the most saintly women I've met.

There has, however, been a complication. Your mom got an amniotic infection called chorio. During labor she had a fever with a high temperature, and your little heart rate was too high for a long time. As a result, you've been separated from us and placed in intensive care for 48 hours, lest you contracted the infection when you were in the womb. It could turn into a week or more of care depending on how things turn out tonight. You're being intravenously fed antibiotics. Your mom's all right, and it appears that you'll be just fine too. Which is kind of boring to write about. I mean, by the time you're reading this, you'll either know that you turned out just fine, or you'll already be very aware of the long and gruesome, sickly life you've suffered as resulting from your unfortunate birth. Or you'll be dead and won't be reading this anyway. In any case, let's just say the air is full of tension, and only fate knows what's in store.

The runners up for your name were Evelyn, Lydia, Maya, and Aspen. We've almost agreed on the name Aspen Gashler. That is, we have agreed on it, but at least I haven't fully digested it yet. Maybe because a random woman in the hall told us that it was a tongue twister. Which I can't contest. But maybe you're that kind of girl. Your first name would resound with the crispness of the forest and the smell of sap in the sound "asp". Your last name would jut out like a waterfall with the "sh" of Gashler. Altogether you would be bold and fresh. Aspen.

The night of your birth, I told your mom that social media is dumb, and I felt no need to broadcast anything, nor any need to to sift through the resulting list of congratulating prattle. But she insisted that I post something, and as we hadn't agreed on a name yet, I posted, "Please welcome Tigra Gashler to earth." There were lots of replies such as, "Congratulations! How do you pronounce that?" Apparently it was hard for people to believe that any human being would put a tiger into their daughter's name. And alas, your mom wouldn't have it. When she found out this morning, she called me an evil man, though we had a good laugh.

Anyway, you're Aspen. Live with it. Like Ariah, your middle name will be yours to decide when you're of a timely age. Though I'm going to recommend right now: Valkyra. You'll have plenty of years to think it over.

Oh, and I love you. Even though, as far as I've gotten to know you so far, you're nothing more than a mass of constantly-sleeping baby, exhibiting no personality whatsoever, you beat Ariah in the hair contest. And it looks like you're going to be a blond. Also, I'm pretty sure you're going to be a veterinarian. A space veterinarian. We are in the twenty-first century, after all. I'm gonna go finish my burger now.


Stephen Stacey said...

Wow, that's a lot to comment on.

First, on the "more or less" scale of inducing labor, stripping your membranes is definitely a good ways on the "less" side. That is, if you believe crazy things like "statistics".

Tron Legacy had just enough plot to make us forget to notice that it didn't have hardly any plot at all, but certainly not enough for us to care what's actually going on. In that sense, I think it made itself even more invisible than its own absence would have done.

I know the woes of naming babies. I couldn't ever win out on manly names like "Victor". "Andromeda" is amazing. Anybody who tells you otherwise has an agenda, and you should be very suspicious of them. Tigra is a very good name, but let me assure you that "Aspen" is no less magical, and in many ways more so. You see, Tigra is like a character from a book. As a character, fiction can endow her with many fine attributes, but even the best character from a book is never any more than a caricature of the experience of the author, and will never truly be a living thing with all the infinite past and potential of a person. Aspen, on the other hand, is like a character from your life story. It contains all the magic and life energy of a storybook princess, but all the reality of the quirky family who makes fun stories and esoteric philosophies. Of all the names you had there, I think Aspen belongs in your family more than any of them because your family is its own story, and not one that takes place in some other place and some other time, but here and now.

No, I don't think it's any kind of tongue twister. Whoever told you that may have had a speech impediment, and I feel very bad for her.

LJ said...

DEFINITELY would've chosen Grimpleasure Gashler.

And congratufrigginlations! Your dad-flavored birth announcements are pretty much my favorite thing in the world to read.