Monday, February 20, 2006

Cubby and Stress

This past Thursday the docs became a little concerned about how Cubby and I would handle the labor process. To be on the safe side they ordered a Contraction Stress Test. I was basically told to pack my bags and come to the hospital on Saturday ready to take a baby home. Friday I madly cleaned the house, packed our bags, paid the bills and got ready for our big trip to the hospital on Saturday.

Dave and I arrived at the hospital early Saturday morning and checked in. It was a fun adventure answering all the crazy questions, especially since the nurse didn't speak English and we didn't speak German. We had a little phrase book and it was fun to learn how to say "How often do you have a bowel movement?" We kept the book and now continue to ask each other about things like flatulence and other silly things relating to the body.

At 10 we were taken to labor and delivery and I was hooked up to a fetal monitor that watches for contractions and the baby's heart beat. I was also hooked up to a machine that slowly gave me pitocin. For 2 hours they monitored Cubby's heart while I had contractions. It was pretty fun actually, because Cubby was passing the test with flying colors, she has a strong little heart, and I was able to get a little taste of labor. I will have to say it wasn't bad at was nothing like the pre-term labor contractions I had in the fall. Dave got a kick out of watching the machine and telling me to breathe.

After the test I spent the night in the hospital so they could continue to monitor me (and because Germans like you to spend the night even with a broken pinky finger). We thought the test might kick start the labor process since Cubby has dropped and we are only 10 days or so away from her due date. But she apparently is not ready, so we will wait a little longer for her to make an appearance.

The good thing is that we are now ready. Our bags are packed, the car seat is hooked in, and we are ready for our little girl to come. I have been coaching her all along, and she knows that she has a 2 week window that I want her to come in. ANytime from February 22-March 8. But I have been asking her not to come before or after those dates. I think that the reason she didn't come on Saturday was because she knew it was only February 18 and not quite time. She is already showing great sings of obedience! =)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Dave in the Motherland

Many have been awaiting the stories and fun that I had while in Scotland. All my fun becomes wrapped up in a larger story so you will have to forgive the fact that very few pictures will be involved and more climactic verbage is necessary. Our local budget airline RyanAir is nestled about one hour away from us. We made the drive without incident, and arrived about two hours before my scheduled departure. I kissed my wife good-bye and proceeded to the checkin. As I am standing in line with fifty or so others, I reached into my backpack, my pockets, my luggage, my camera bag, and any other area that may be able to house my confirmation numbers, my directions and my rental confirmations. None of these were to be found. Many would have said to give up now, but too much was already at stake and needed to be followed through. I proceeded to my helpful Ryanair agent, showed them my passport and they produced my confirmation number with not so much as a glance in my direction. I then proceeded to the Budget(remember this it's important later) counter to see if they could tell me my confirmation number in Scotland. They said "sorry, we can't access any other country's confirmations". As I walked dejected back into the line of mal-queued Germans wanting to leave the country, I figured that I could still get my car without the magical piece of paper. With this confidence I ran to the airplane to try to get my favorite seat which happens to be 22a. It is directly above the wing and to me, although not the quietest seat on the plane, becomes the fulcrum around which the plane makes its pitch adjustments. Let's say you are going along through the air at 296 miles per hour and you hit an air pocket that forces the plane to fall 1000 feet in a second or two, you will feel the drop of the plane for sure, but when the pilot lifts the front end of the plane I am physic-ly supposed to feel less movement. All of this to say I slept like a baby the entire flight to Scotland. I managed to barely wake myself when we arrived to Prestwick, stood up to grab my backpack, which was very near the top of my head, my feet were still between the seats, so I inadvertently created a top heavy fulcrum as I pulled my heavy backpack out of the overhead storage bin. This forced me to fall straight back, luckily landing not on anyone into seat 22d, humiliation, but no laughter was heard from those surrounding me. I stood up as nothing had happened with a charlie horse in my ham, limping out of the plane as though nothing was damaged or hurt.
I arrived in the Prestwick airport, which is small. Four rental car agencies, two of which were housed in the same kiosk. Avis, National-Alamo, and Hertz comprised the agencies at my disposal. But wait, I rented from Budget!!! Why was there not a Budget rental car company here!? I walked up to the airport information counter and asked if a Budget rental car company was there in the airport. No was the answer. I stopped at the Avis counter and asked if they had a reservation for McNay. No sorry, they replied. I knew I didn't book with Hertz because it was too expensive. Lastly, I sheepisly waddled to the National-Alamo counter and asked if they had a reservation for McNay. Jackpot. The only problem now was the language barrier. Yes, Scots are to speak English, but wow, what a difference. It was like the first time in Tennessee working to understand a teenager at a JCPenney customer service counter. Some words that I picked up were "oatside" "left" and "okeedokee". All I can say is "Thank God for keyless entry" as I roamed aboat oatside pressing the bu'un.
Now for the adventure of the car. The first night was a bit hair raising, as I moved about the roundabout in the completely wrong direction and then took the wrong exit, took a diversion because a highway exit I needed was under construction and ended up in the slums of Glasgow, ended up in the wrong spot as a tractor trailor took a 90 degree turn into my lane, and ended up on frozen frost-covered roads near my destination at midnight that same night, and parked my car in a pulloff so that I could finally go to sleep as the thermometer fell to 0 degrees Celsius. I did sleep well that first night in my car, but I must say by the third night of sleeping in the car, the new car scent spray isn't working too well anymore.
This is the famous Kinkell bridge. The stretch of river you see goes upstream about a half-mile and down stream about one mile. A man named Sandy MacKintosh controls the access to this group of "beats". The first day was Feb 1 and the official first day of salmon season. Most fishermen are here to have a day away from work and to down measurable amounts of their favorite blends of single malt whiskys. Not to offend I was offered a dram to start the day, and they were right when they promised a morning of warmth. At lunchtime one feller just didn't feel much like fishing so he stayed in the car and sipped all day. He came to lunch and was most interested in teaching me some off-color phrases in the local, but slurred dialect. His favorite was "Shawttinyerbricks" and another sounded like "Peeknyercrawlr". I didn't really understand him, but he was funny and all his buddies were laughing, so I went along. I fished here for two days in the river, working the morphology, searching for that hungry mongrel, but with no luck. On the second day, I broke out my REI water purification pump, walked down to the river and vigorously filled my water bottle with the cold home brew. Trusting that the filter did its job, I nursed my bottle all evening long. Note cow across river.

Many of you already know that I love to drive and Scotland is a great place to drive. Many roads that are impossibly narrow and curvy, no one in the passenger seat who will get carsick or hypertensive, canyons to be carved with mechanical precision, and a lightweight turbo diesel car all lent to the excitement and the blast of putting nearly one thousand miles on my rental car in three days. The first day of driving was good, but a rumble in my lower abdominal region told me something might be amiss, but no trouble the first day. I slept in my car again, 5 degrees celsius, and awoke with a great urge to go outside to relieve myself. Explosive is the only word I need to use. The biggest problem was that it was very dark when I went out that morning, and dodging where it went became the next obstacle. I successfully weaved my way back to the car. If you would like to trace your way on the map, I started at Kinkell bridge near Perth. Went to the west coast and Oban, up the coast to the Island of Skye(this is where they first successfully crossed a sheep dog and a bull), all the way around the Isle then to Inverness, to Stirling(William Wallace), Edinburgh, Galloway Forest south of Ayr, and then finally back to Prestwick. Lots of stops in between. I arrived at the airport about seven hours early to finish reading a book that I had intended to read, but got nothing done, was totally uncomfortable but I did have unlimited use of a public bathroom for those seven hours.
Overall, I had an awesome trip that allowed me to be alone, to pray, to flyfish, to repent and to prepare for the arrival of my little girl. To tie it all together, I returned home and slept perfectly the first night. The second night home, I kept having to get up to use the bathroom, and finally woke up sweating at four o'clock in the morning. My boxers were stuck to me all the way around and as I made my way to the bathroom I thought to myself "man I stink". The moral of the story is "Sometimes the most profound and truthful things come from the mouth of the drunk". Now I understand the first phrase.

Monday, February 06, 2006


About 10 days ago my friends surprised me with a baby shower. I was quite surprised, though I have to admit I was on to their schemes for a while, but after many, many convincing lies, they threw me off. They had to go so far as to tell me that they had forgotten to plan a shower because they were all so busy...that hurt a little! But it all worked out in the end.

We had a snow storm on the day of the shower, but they managed to still get a good crowd out and it was fun to have my mom there as well as all the ladies from California who had come to help with the retreat.

As you can see my friends went all out. We had an Italian dinner with appetizers of bruchetta and dessert of cake and chocolate covered cherries. Everything was green and red! They even had little vases with one tulip each to hand out as party favors. There was a little card on each vase that said "When you see this today, pray for Baby McNay". One of my friends decorated my cakes with a butterfly and a dragonfly, each taken from the pattern of my bedding.

Before the gift giving began they spent some time praying for Dave and Cubby and me. It was all amazing...

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Since the retreat that I have been working on for 8 months is finished I now have some time to devote to getting Cubby's room all ready. We aren't quite organized enough to get pictures of the actual room, but I thought I would post this picture of the bedding we ordered for her. We are feeling very whimsical with the butterflies and dragonflies, but I just feel like it fits her least what we know of it so far.