Nice line while shopping @

This product was added to our catalog on Monday 30 November, 2015.


pix from the last few days

Most of the pics are fuzzy because Sarah’s not a fan of the flash, and the exposure time is so high in no-flash mode that it’s invariably a blurry picture. Ah, well… a couple of them had a flash, though, so at least a couple are fine.

Blame the captions on my lack of sleep 🙂


I need to pick up a good laptop – doesn’t need to already have wireless, I have an extra card laying around – 802.11b is fine with me, I don’t do enough intra-wireless traffic to warrant anything higher.

I have an existing P2/300 128MB laptop now – the 15.1″ TFT is nice, but only 1024×768. I don’t need much more than prob. a 1GHz cpu, as most of my work will be connecting to remote machines and doing the work there.

Any recommendations? I’m looking to spend less than $500 – if it’s over that, I’d prob. just live with the laptop I have now.


We’re home, I made this post public and made some edits (s/baby girl/Sarah/g). I’ve got pictures to upload and video to get off the miniDV tape, but at the moment, I’m heading up to take my first shower since Wednesday 🙂

me? a father?

Well, my dad (who would seem to have prior experience at this) told me about 12 hours ago to try and write everything down. The ICU visiting hours start back in about an hour (10am, I’m at least starting to write this at 8:48am) so it’ll have to be quick-ish, but I’ll try to get something written before grabbing a shower and heading back over to Duke.

So, here are the approximate times and events surrounding the birth of Sarah Cothran Manning 🙂

March 22nd, 2005
3:00am – I get up to go to the bathroom. I had crashed on the couch downstairs (I’ve been doing that lately – I get more sleep since Jessica’s up every 2 hours like clockwork to go pee). ESPN was still on, and weirdly I could hear Jessica moving around upstairs.

3:15am – Jessica comes downstairs, tells me about the abdominal pain she’s having (she had a very similar episode earlier that just went away by itself). I ask her if she wants to go to Duke ER and she says yes, so she gets dressed, I shove stuff in the car, and we’re out like trout.

3:35am – we get to the Duke ER and we do the whole “special back elevator to the 5th floor” thing to get her up to the Ob triage area. The doc that was scheduled to do the planned C-section on April 2nd (Dr. Stanly Philip) was the attending so that was working out ok. They took blood, urine samples.

5am – he guessed it might be adhesions from a previous surgery, and gave her 2mg morphine (yes, it’s fine for the baby – it normally makes them a little sleeping, but Sarah Manning doesn’t seem to really see that effect – she still wiggles around and kicks just fine).

7:30am – after a second dose of 2mg morphine (the first dose took the edge off a tiny bit, the second did nothing), I yelled at the nurse to make it 6mg now and she ran off to get the attending. This was right after shift change, so it was (our favorite, and the one to eventually deliver our daughter) Dr. Joann Carter-Gray.

Aside: I knew I would like her (Dr. Carter-Gray) when we first met back in December and we both talked about how much we loved MXC. She’s just a couple months younger than Jessica (she’s December 28th, Jessica is Sept. 11th, both 1972), and a really great doctor. Jessica (and others) will tell you, I have a bit of a natural distrust for most doctors, but she’s consistently surprised me with her knowledge.

8am – Dr. Carter-Gray orders the 6mg of morphine as requested, and Jessica (finally) feels a lot better around 9am when it’s fully kicked in. From the initial and second set of labs, Dr. Carter-Gray says it’s looking like HELLP syndrome and starts talking about wanting to do the C-section immediately. Since we’re still 11 days away from the planned one, my initial reaction (Jessica’s too, FWIW) is hesitant. Jessica and I had learned about a lot of potential diseases, but Jessica had only heard HELLP mentioned in passing on one Birth Day episode, and none of the literature we had studied covered it. Just like a normal exam, all the material you actually study isn’t covered, and some obscure thing you missed is what’s on the test! 🙂

11am – Jessica’s morphine is starting to wear off, Dr. Carter-Gray still wants to do the C-section, and our daughter casts her vote in agreement of the good doctor by literally putting her foot down. The nurse was in the room and the nurse and I were talking with Jessica when (and this is is impressive given the 10mg of morphine Jessica had had total), Jessica got a huge spike of pain from Sarah kicking downward very hard. Then, about a quart (I had asked during our childbirth prep classes, in case you’re curious) of amniotic fluid came pouring out of Jessica. The nurse hopped out to get a litmus strip (or something that looked like it), dipped it in the fluid (I’m sure others can explain this better than I, so I’ll let them do so in the comments), and said “Yup, your water just broke!”. So, Sarah wanted to have a March 22nd birthday, and they started lining up our C-section.

Aside #2: Dr. Carter-Gray’s birthday, as mentioned, is December 28th, the day after her parents’ anniversary of December 27th (2 years apart, it wasn’t a shotgun wedding :). Our daughter’s birthday is (now, officially) March 22nd, the day after our 7th anniversary. That was kinda cool. I get to buy presents for my wife and daughter at the same time 🙂

1:15pm – there were 2 other scheduled C-sections that had to be done before ours, but we bumped at least one C-section back a couple hours (I talked to the dad in the nursery a few hours later 🙂 – they took Jessica back to the OR (officially DR2 – Delivery Room 2). They gave Jessica both an epidural and a spinal (not the same thing – the childbirth prep class had a nice diagram showing a diagram of the spine and how the injection points differed). Normally a C-section (from what I’ve been told) is just a spinal which wears off faster, but they wanted to have the epidural in just in case. They do all the surgery prep work in the room without me there. I sit in scrubs outside in a chair for 30 minutes waiting on them to call me back.

1:45pm – I head back into the surgery room. They’re still doing a little bit of prep, but they have a rolling chair (that didn’t roll very well) pulled up beside Jessica’s head, and the normal curtain up separating the top and “action” sections of the table. I asked if I could watch, and they said not initially, but yes once the feet were out (she had been, and still was, breech). I recognized Mike from the Carolina Cord Blood Bank (we donated) in the room and we said hi.

2:19pm – they tell me to stand up, because the girl is getting delivered! I perceived it as very horror-movie fake gore. The site of blood from others has never been a problem for me (my own is even fine if I’m not hurting, I’m just a total pain wimp), and it was fascinating to watch. they pulled her out feet-first (of course, she’s breech).

2:20pm – official time of birth for Sarah Cothran Manning. Her APGAR scores were 2 @ 1 minute and 9 @ 5 minutes (she was stunned initially, but came around fine). She eventually measures at 18 inches, but I wasn’t around when they did that, so I can’t tell you when it happened.

2:25pm – They’ve taken out the placenta and it looks good (I had seen enough Birth Day episodes where they explain everything they look for to make sure the placenta is fine) They’re taking Jessica’s uterus out and doing the inspection, but as they start they I get pulled over by some of the nurses to check out my daughter! She’s crying a little bit, but not a ton – they’re very happy with her performance so far. There’s a lot of fluid to suction out since there wasn’t a vaginal delivery to squeeze all the fluid out, but we get that done and she’s doing fine.

2:30pm – we take her into the room over to get her weighed (5 pounds, 13.8 ounces was what the scale said, the official doc rounds it to 14 ounces). We bring her back, swaddle her up, and I sit down in the chair and they hand her to me to hold. As one could imagine, I’m being psychotically careful with her, and Jessica is looking over while they finish fixing her up (they used staples, since that question has come up a couple times). She’s not crying and more, and her big blue eyes are just looking around the room and up at me. It’s amazing to me how alert she is (especially that she’s 37 weeks, 4 days).

2:33pm – they’re 90% done getting Jessica all patched up and I sit back in the chair with Sarah and hold her next to her mother for them to chat a little bit.

2:57pm – we’re moving Jessica back her Ob room for recovery. Sarah rides on her mother’s chest for the ride over.

3:01pm – We’re back in the room, and Jessica is talking with us fine, but both her eyes are blinking very emphatically. I ask the nurses why that’s happening, and they say they don’t know but they’re not worried about it as long as she’s able to talk. They guess it’s just being tired from the surgery.

3:02pm – I’m still talking with Jessica (and holding our daughter) when Jessica stops responding and she starts shaking. She’s starting a seizure, and I’m screaming “HELP!” at the top of my lungs. The good news is Dr. Carter-Gray and about 18 other doctors and nurses are in the room in about 3 seconds, taking my daughter out of my arms (which is good, I was kind of freaking out) and getting Jessica oxygen, Ativan, and the magnesium sulfate she was about to go on anyway to prevent the seizures.

Aside #3 – seizures (eclampsia, maybe) are a somewhat common (from what I’ve been told) post-C-section symptom for HELLP syndrome. When I asked the some what obvious question “why didn’t you give her the magnesium sulfate earlier?” to Dr. Carter-Gray, she explained that it prevents the uterus from contracting (which is actually what stops the bleeding), so they don’t do it during or right after the C-section. Jessica’s seizure came on quicker than they had expected, but the good news is they were on top of it to get her fixed up. I’ve had a seizure myself back at NCSSM, and it was a bizarre and profoundly disturbing thing to watch. The good news is Jessica doesn’t seem to have suffered any damage (no tongue-biting like I did, but I think her muscles are sure to be sore).

(sometime between 3:15pm and 5:00pm) – Dr. Carter-Gray decides to be safe, to send Jessica to the ICU for 24 hours so she can be monitored. Jessica’s blood pressure, normally actually on the low side, is around 160/98. My mom’s was 220/110 with me, so it’s not horrific, but it’s very high for Jessica.

5:00pm – call Julie, then Greg, to try and get ahold of Julie.

5:03pm – Julie calls me, I explain everything that’s happened, she starts making phone calls herself. Julie is in charge of making the phone calls on the official-list-of-calls-to-make, which is great for me as I’m probably barely speaking straight.

5:15pm – Jessica is officially transferred and wheeled over to the ICU. The biggest fiasco was getting the portable oxygen tank hooked up. They told me it takes about an hour to get her all situated and that I wouldn’t be allowed back until then. So, I had out to make some phone calls (finally! It had been quite a day) and go see my daughter in the nursery.

5:30pm or so – Julie arrived and visited Jessica in the ICU before I did (the hour thing must have been an exaggeration). I get there a little later and we answer questions for the nurses and try to help get Jessica settled. The nurse’s name is Maria – I ask her if she gets a lot of West Side Story jokes/references – she says yup, she’s actually named after that character, and she also gets “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” from the Sound of Music a lot. Jessica’s barely conscious at this point. She can basically nod or shake her head in agreement or disagreement, but not much else. Her blood pressure is still around 160/95, her heart rate around 112, her respiratory around 20. Given what she had gone through, I was just happy to see it hadn’t gotten worse. They said it could take up to 12 hours or more for her blood pressure to start coming back to normal ranges. I take Julie to see her niece for a little while. As with the later visit with my parents, since my daughter’s had such a rough day, I’m not letting people pick her up. I’m sure she’d sleep through it anyway, but I want her getting as much sleep as she can – there’s some crying babies in the nursery after all.

7:30pm – my parents arrive. I meet them up (ICU is 2nd floor, Ob is 5th flood) in the Ob lounge (I had lied a little bit and told them everything went fine, just an early C-section, to attempt to prevent them from freaking out on the drive up). I explain everything that had actually happened, explained that Jessica was doing fine. I bring Sarah out of the nursery into our special (with a sign made by the nurses) “Manning Family Welcome” room (ok, it was the Ob lounge, but it was all ours while Jessica was in the ICU). My parents really want to pick up and hold my daughter, but the same rules apply (for now, while she’s asleep, which will be 90% of the time, I know). She has a dream while we’re watching her (good REM sleep)

8:00pm – I put Sarah back in the nursery, we head back up to see Jessica in the ICU. Since it’s technically supposed to be 2 back at a time, Julie stays in the ICU waiting room while I take my parents (yeah, we’re still breaking the rule) to see Jessica. She’s a lot more coherent than she had been on our previous ICU visit, talking with us fine and making conversation, asking whether my parents had already had dinner, etc. – still trying to take care of others, hooked up to 20 tubes in the ICU 🙂

8:55pm – I send Julie back into the ICU room with Jessica and walk my parents out to the parking garage, hit the cafeteria for a burger and some Doritos and a diet coke, then head back up to the room to chow down a little (rudely, in front of my wife who isn’t allowed to eat at the time).

10:00pm – they announce that visiting hours are over and will resume at 10am. Since I’m the husband/father, I figure they’ll let me stick in the room anyway (this has happened in the past, although it wasn’t the ICU in the past). Julie heads home to get some sleep.

10:15pm – Jen the {doing her job, evil rule-enforcing} nurse pokes her head in and says visiting hours are over. I beg, plead, swear I’ll be quiet and just take a nap in the corner on a pillow, but she says she’s gotten in trouble in the past by “being the good guy” and letting people stay, and it wouldn’t be fair to the members of the other families that get kicked out. However, she’s at least nice enough to let me have a pillow and blanket for sleeping out in the lounge. I wish she had said so before now, I would have caught a ride home with Julie. At this point I’m far too tired to safely drive. So, I get kicked out and go visit my daughter for a while.

10:45pm – Increasingly tired, I head over to the Ob lounge, pull one of the couches up to the tv, turn on TBS (“Conspiracy Theory” is playing), and sleep for about 4.5 hours.

March 23rd, 2005
3:06am – When I wake up (and remember, this is the room that has “Manning Family Welcome” as the sign on the door), there are 3 other people I don’t know asleep in the room with me, 2 on other other couch, one in a chair. This isn’t really disturbing to me, but I do find it a little odd. The couch I had been sleeping on just isn’t long enough for me to sleep comfortably, my right leg feels all weird and somewhat painful from the position it’s been crunched up in, so I head out of the lounge (quietly) to try and walk it off a little and get a Fresca from the vending machine (the cafeteria is open at night, from 7pm-3am, the “Nite Owl” shift – since it’s 6 minutes past, it’s “vending machine or bust” time for me now). There’s another TV in the “open lounge” (the Ob has 2 lounge areas, one is closed off with a door, the other is open – it’s very much like the open lounge and closed lounge from 2nd East New Dorm (Hunt, whatever) back at NCSSM and at 3:06am I find this amusing) so I watch that for awhile (SportsCenter is on, and they’re doing a somewhat overly detailed analysis of Barry Bonds’ interview where he’s talking about how tired he is and how he may not play this season because of it).

4:15am – Once I get sleepy again, I start to walk back into the “closed lounge” to see that sleeping-in-chair person must have been woken up by my leaving earlier and she’s now on the couch. Given that the couch wasn’t really comfortable for me, and she’s short enough to where it works for her, I just leave them as-is and try and take a nap in the nice chair in the “open lounge”.

5:30am – Wake up, neck crick, walk around a little, visit with my daughter, head back to the chair to sleep around 6:15am

7:15am – wake up in a bad position, back is hurting a little now – wake up and walk around a bit to try and work it out (it goes away around 5 minutes of walking) and decide to hit the cafeteria for a little breakfast, head on home, grab a shower, the digital camera and batteries, and head back to catch the 10am (as I’m writing this, it’s now 10:28am! doh!) visiting hours. I buy 2 egg mcmuffin knock-offs and a diet coke from the cafeteria, shove them in a plastic bag, and head home

7:55am – I get home (where I’m at now, writing this), take out the trash, listen to messages, catch up on email (well, mainly spam and some well-wishers for our anniversary), and check to see what posted since I had talked with her on the cell last night.

8:48am – I start writing this journal entry (see beginning for more relevant details)

9:35am – since I’m clearly not going to be able to make it back in time for 10am visiting hours to start and since no one else will be there (everyone is going to work today except me), I try to call to tell Jessica or at least Maria the ICU nurse to let them know. The phone line is busy, though.

9:55am – I get a call from Maria at the ICU (and let me tell you, a call from the ICU when you couldn’t get ahold of them a few minutes earlier can be scary) to let me know the good news – Jessica’s blood pressure is down to 130/70, heart rate around 65-70, temp down to 36.5 (it had been 37.8, and yes, it’s all Celsius). They’re moving her back to the Obstetrics floor into her own room, so she can finally have her Sarah with her. I’m sure she’s excited, I’m hoping to be there very soon!

10:36am – I’m finishing up this journal entry and going to (finally!) grab a shower, shave, grab the digital camera and misc. stuff, and head back to Duke.