Walker Douglas Young

Apparently there is some truth to the fact that this Internet thing is viral — I understand that my blog is being passed around to a bunch of folks — so I’ll be sure to keep the blog “rated G” and I’m sure I won’t share, ahem, intimate details.

BABY YOUNG is officially Walker Douglas Young. He has papers and everything (which includes an SSN so take that you big bad privacy stealin’ felons out there…). Walker is a family name from my side, Douglas is Larry’s (and his father’s and grandfather’s) middle name (and of course, Larry’s last name is Young). My sister-in-law’s friends rightfully pointed out that the name was perfect given all the walking I had done.

He’s really perfect if I do say so myself. I had the EASIEST birth I could have imagined. It was virtually painless and there was no screaming or swearing or anything. Take THAT Tom Cruise. OK, not completely fair because my blissful birth experience was brought to me courtesy big pharmacutical company providing the magic Epidural .

Larry and I spent all day at Pier 39 hoping I’d get contractions. I had some on Thursday night and I was all excited, expecting them to get stronger and stronger. I fell asleep and then was cranky that they disappeared. The walk on the Pier and the early dinner didn’t seem to do anything. So, we went home and watched the PINK PANTHER, FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, and the Carolyn Porco video on the Cassini mission to Saturn from this year’s TED Conference. I sewed together a knit sweater that my Grammy Mary (who passed away 6 years ago) started and I finished. (The sweater-in-progress was in the knitting bag I inherited.) Still. NOTHING. Disappointed, I went to sleep knowing that in only a few short hours my mother-in-law would arrive and then Larry, Shirley and I would begin THE WAIT together.

About an hour later, at 11:30 pm, I wake up with a pretty severe pain. All Larry knows is that one moment I’m asleep on his shoulder and the next I’m saying “ow. ow. ow. ow.” About 10 minutes later, the same thing. I tell Larry to get out his stop watch. I start pacing. Contractions are STRONG and are quickly at 5-7 minutes apart. We’re supposed to wait an hour before calling the hospital. We put in a DVD of SPORTS NIGHT episodes so I can be distracted by Aaron Sorkin’s witty dialog.

By 1:30, the contractions were between 3-5 minutes apart. I’d been thinking that I might try to do this whole thing without drugs but somewhere in the second SPORTS NIGHT episode I decided that drugs were invented for a reason and I wasn’t trying to prove anything and, well, “ow.”

We get to the hospital and it’s a well-oiled machine. Three people decend on me to register and measure me. They tell me we’re at 4 cm dialated and I burst into tears, “you mean I can STAY?” — so relieved that I wasn’t going to be sent home for a night of agony. “Do you want an epidural?” YES!

Within an hour I had my drugs and I began the process of being made into a Borg. I was hooked up to so many machines and tubes by the end of the whole ordeal and I’d lost any sense of modesty I ever had but what the hell.

The entire process went very smoothly. After getting hooked up to the drugs, they found us a cot and told us to get some sleep. They cranked up the fetal monitor so we could hear the heartbeat and it lulled Larry to sleep. While not in any pain or discomfort, I didn’t sleep as I was a bit wound up with the prospect of what was to come. At one point Larry wakes up with a start because the monitor suddenly went silent as the sensor was dislodged as I adjusted my big ol’ body. Without getting into too much detail, things progressed quickly. We were really lucky that our nurse, Kalamai and Dr. Kim both decided to stay after their shifts were over to see Walker into the world. For the tension that was to come, it was great that we were with people we trusted. There were some small hiccups — there was meconium in the fluid so the NIC Unit needed to be present when Walker was born just to be sure he didn’t ingest any of it. While I was in active labor, poor little Walker’s heart rate wasn’t recovering after the contractions so they also called the NICU to come in and vacuum him out and gave me some oxygen. As soon as they got there, Walker smartened up, his heart rate got super strong and we sent them away with their unused vacuum. We decided he was going to be a cheeky kid from the very beginning… After only about 1 hour and 45 minutes of active labor, Walker was born with a perfectly round head and no blemishes or anything. I seriously thought the stork brought him and I just passed a football or something.

The NIC Unit and Dr. Kim were amazingly fast getting everything situated. Walker’s umbilical cord wrapped around his neck only once and between all of them and all they had to do, it was a well-orchestrated ballet. Despite all the potential drama, there was an incredibly relaxed feeling in the room and Dr. Kim asked Larry to tell me if it was a boy or girl — but Larry didn’t have the right angle to see and I exclaimed “it’s a boy” for everyone to hear. Walker was disconnected from me and taken over to the special baby area where he was rinsed off and weighed and measured and tagged with an RFID tag. I think he may have been equipped with a USB port as well but I’m not sure.

My stepmother, Jane, arrived 30 minutes prior to Walker’s arrival and Grandma Shirley was arriving from the east coast in 2 hours. Larry was able to go to the airport and tell her in person she had a grandson who was 2 hours old. He made sure he was there to support her as her legs gave way, just a little. My father rushed down from Sea Ranch and I called my grandmother as I was, ahem, still getting worked on. My brother came by and I blogged, all before noon.

The hospital stay was GLORIOUS. I loved our nurses. They were all very helpful teaching us the “burrito wrap” and giving us BABY 101 lessons. The biggest gift they gave us was helping us sleep through the first two nights. One of the most amazing things was I WAS ABLE TO SLEEP ON MY STOMACH FOR TWO WHOLE NIGHTS! Now there are other things that are big and sore so I’m back on my sides but wow, it was great while it lasted.

Walker is now home and the cats (which are enormous next to him — one weighing in at 16lbs, the other at 13) are becoming acclimated to him. Poor Miss Moxie did spend a lot of the first two days in the garage and in the closet but is now a bit more prepared for the random ear-piercing screams. The first night home was a bit rough with Walker waking up about every 90 minutes to eat but then falling asleep mid-meal. I had a bit of a melt-down last night after dinner — anxious that the night to come would be like the last one and I just wasn’t going to be able to handle it gracefully. Thankfully, Walker got the hang of being at home last night and slept at longer stretches. I feel a bit more human. Walker had his first doctor visit today and all systems are operational.

I’m feeling great. Been walking up and down stairs with no problems, I have the same amount of energy I would normally have with only 5 hours of interrupted sleep, and Larry and I even grilled dinner last night for Greatgrandma and grandma. I feel really lucky. However, I did get on the scale the other day and was shocked to find that although I gave birth to a 7lb 7oz child, I only lost 5lbs. I don’t get the math but given my hands and feet have blown up like a balloons and are bigger now than at any point in my pregnancy, I guess I can chalk it up to water retention.

Grandma Shirley has been amazing with the laundry and cooking and entertaining. Gigi (great grandma) is spending a lot of time singing to Walker and making up songs with bad puns. She loves bad puns.

We’re starting to find a routine (I hope) which will keep us relatively rested and satisfied. I’m hoping Walker continues to be as blissful and content as he has been but I know it’s all up in the air.

We’re looking forwared to introducing Walker to all of you.

Superb Grandma Shirley

We’re home and adjusting to life at Ocean Beach. We had a good but very active evening and Grandma Shirley works her magic to keep everyone quiet and calm and entertained with stories.

I hope to be posting more later after breakfast (for both of us) with some details about our first few days together.

A quick note to everyone all over the world who have been so incredible with all the wonderful good wishes. Larry and I are overwhelmed at how amazing everyone is. Walker’s birth has been blogged by so many wonderful people including our friends Dirk Deppey, Warren Ellis, and even posted on the PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY blog by friend and journalist Heidi MacDonald.

All this attention is a lot to live up to but I’m sure Walker will rise to the challenge. He is, after all, only three days old so we’ll take it (literally) one day at a time.

It’s a…

Countdown… T minus 0

It’s a day past the due date. (Boy, that was MEAN, wasn’t it?) I had a very quiet day yesterday. I finished some cleaning and some improvements in the kitchen that have been bugging me since we moved in (Larry said it looked like a professional had done it). I wanted to get a few more things done but I got REALLY tired all of a sudden so I went down and watched CLUELESS on HBO. For some reason, I find that movie appropriate for the situation.

I got a decent sleep on Wednesday and Thursday nights which was GREAT. It really helped my attitude. Last night was a bit rougher but today is a beautiful day and Larry and I are going to take it easy. I had a great acupuncture session (another weapon in the “we’re ready to meet BABY YOUNG arsenal) which was relaxing and wonderful as always. My friend Ifen suggested we do something spontaneous today so Larry and I are going to go down and have a nice stroll on Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. There are such fun things to see and lots of places to stop (and eat).

No good stories to tell today so I’m keeping this short. We’re looking forward to tomorrow because Larry’s mother arrives and on Monday my grandmother arrives. If the baby isn’t here yet I look forward to outings with them assuming the weather stays glorious.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention…

One of our newest books, THE HOMELESS CHANNEL by Matt Silady was reviewed in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY which gave it an A-! Whee!

Killing time…

There’s a legend in my family that my mother decided she was “finished” being pregnant. Like many a Bay Area resident, she decided to take a hike up a hill. A few short hours later, she went into labor.

I always recalled the story of her trudging up the Fillmore hill. It’s a fairly steep few blocks, so much that the 22 Fillmore bus makes a detour. Yesterday I had an appointment on Union Street and had 30 minutes on a meter. My appointment was canceled and I’m just not the type of person that will give up a prime parking spot where I infrequently visit. So, it was a nice day and I got myself a Jamba Juice, put some good exercise music on my iPod, and decided I would recreate the legend more than 38 years later. I walked a few blocks, looked up the hill and determined I would conquer it like Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay besting Everest. It only took a few minutes to ascend from Union Street to Broadway. At the top, a gaggle of tourists gathered to hear a guide and gawked as I took my last few steps to the top and raised my arms in my best Rocky Balboa impersonation.

Going down was easier.

And then I found out that apparently my mother walked up Telegraph Hill.

As you can guess (because I am writing this post now), I did not go into labor. The two mile walk later in the afternoon with my speed-walking stepmother didn’t do the trick either.

So today, on the summer solstice and the day before the due date, I sent Larry off to work to ship BLACK DIAMOND #3 (pick up the BLACK DIAMOND series at your nearest retailer) off to the printer. I did some paperwork, made some calls, reconnected with a good friend in Israel, did some errands, re-sealed the silicone around the kitchen sink (which had been bugging me for the 8 years since we moved in) and then decided that I didn’t go into labor because I clearly walked up the wrong hill.

Around 4pm, I determined that if I was going to have this baby soon, I would need to walk up the proper hill. I’ve never been to Coit Tower despite having lived in San Francisco for much of my life. I’ve also never seen the wild parrots that live on Telegraph Hill so in the spirit of “one more thing…”, it seemed like I should to make my way over to one of the best San Francisco walks which starts at Greenwich and Sansome Streets and ascend the stairs to the tower. It was an INCREDIBLE walk — the weather perfect, the flowers fragrant, the parrots flying and squawking overhead — and Mimi fueled by a bit of OCD, a positive attitude and a Sobe fruit drink. The walk was a breeze and I was barely winded (although I did take my time because, well, I may be obsessive, but I’m not stupid).

Larry made me a great dinner and now we’re going to relax and keep our fingers crossed that we can recreate the family legend.

And I have to quickly say “hey” to my friend Jared who was disappointed I didn’t post last night — so Jared, this post is dedicated to you.

I’ve become “that woman”

Yeah, despite all my best intentions and protestations, I’ve become “that woman.” You know the one, the hysterical woman that reads all sorts of gloom and doom into every little ache and pain of pregnancy. I made it through 39+ weeks and finally I caught “the paranoia.” I think it has something to do with the weeks of not sleeping — getting three hours of sleep, watching a movie, and getting another three hours of sleep. (I think I may actually sleep better when the baby comes…)

Anyway, I KNEW nothing was wrong but somehow for the last few nights, I convinced myself that the baby wasn’t moving AS MUCH (baby does actually move quite a bit) and that there wasn’t enough baby juice and that (insert random crazy thought here…) My recent parent friends Maryann and Joy both assured me that all was fine but “that woman” kept whispering in my ear.

My night-time emotional psyche finally wore down the daytime logical self and I called my doctor. “I know I’m just being paranoid but (add litany of crazy thoughts)…” and they stopped me mid-sentence. “Do you want to come in today?” YES!

I saw one of the doctors in the practice and started off with all the disclaimers, “I know I’m being crazy and everything is fine but I’m being paranoid and…” so they measured everything and told me it was all fine. However, to make me feel better and to help me sleep (as if I was one of “those women” who had the vapors and was unable to cope), they scheduled a Non-Stress Test at the hospital. I was so relieved I almost cried.

I went over there and again protested “I’m sure it is fine and I am just being silly and I can’t believe I’m doing this when there are people who really do need these tests…” as the technician did a sonogram (“don’t look if you don’t want to see the gender” but baby was being shy even if I was tempted…). The image showed that Baby had blood flow which seemed like a good sign. And it had enough juice to continue cooking for awhile. PHEW. Then she hooked me up to the monitors and the baby’s heartbeat pounded away, echoing off the walls of the small dark room. I did my “kick count” after a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of cranberry juice as babies apparently get very excited with a bit of sugar in their systems. All was well. But after about 30 minutes, the heartbeat dropped a bit and the technician came in a few times and prodded my side or adjusted how I was sitting and looked at the monitor. After a few of these episodes, seeing I was getting a bit skittish and unable to complete my easy Soduku puzzle, she declares “Baby, don’t fall asleep. I need you awake!” and pulls out a small machine she tells me she’s not going to put on my skin. Apparently it was a simple noisemaker to wake the tyke up. After a few loud blows with little response (I envisioned baby hearing something vaguely annoying but not enough to really take notice — much like my sister and brother being COMPLETELY un-phased when the fire alarm went off for lack of batteries in the middle of the night) the technician puts the noisemaker right up to my skin and BLOWS. Baby did startle a bit but went right back to sleep. It’s nice someone is getting sleep these days.

So the upshot is that everything is fine. Baby is doing the rumba as I type. And, I lost my cool just before the finish line. I guess I’ll just have to admit I’m human after all. Oh well. At least it won’t be my kid that informs me of this simple fact.


I found out that my brother’s videos are officially the most successful ever launched on the OUTSIDE website both in terms of quantity of views and length of time viewed. Apparently video #6, Fire Part 2 is the most watched.

The impressive part of all of this is my brother is almost a Luddite when it comes to the web and computers. I’m the techie in the family. However, he took a few lessons from my video producer father and went off on his own using Apple’s iMovie to edit all those videos. “Most impressive, young Skywalker; but you are not a Jedi yet.”

One (or two) more thing(s) to watch

I can’t have a blog and not give some basic props to my brother, Thayer Walker, who recently spent 20 days on an island off the coast of Panama as ‘research’ for an article in OUTSIDE magazine. Luckily he’s home from that adventure but you can see the usally charming boy lose his composure as he comes to terms with not being able to make fire, trap fish (or kill them by throwing rocks on them), and drinking from a murky ‘well’. Check out his feature story, videos, and podcast.

Gosh, he’s still cute though.

And if you’re in the mood to watch video and have wondered what it is that Larry and I do as comic book publishers, take a look at this great documentary that our friend Suzanne Burtz-Rosa did on AiT/Planet Lar.

Walkin’ that baby out

It’s Father’s Day and only 5 days away from the due date. We have about a week before we get anxious out-of-town guests who are beside themselves excited about the new family member. In preparation, I’ve been cleaning the house, filing and paperwork, errands, etc. but I’ve decided it’s important to take long daily walks. This seems to lessen my aches and pains as well as tucker me out so I don’t wake up in the middle of the night and toss and turn resulting in hours of reading or movie watching (which is becoming a nightly custom — Larry is asleep right now since I got him up at 2:30am and we watched SERENITY until 4:30. Of course, I had been up since 1am. Apparently the walk didn’t help yesterday, but I digress.)

There’s a great little path from Land’s End in San Francisco and it goes along the ridge to Eagle Point, near Baker Beach. I’ve never gone to the entire length of the trail as I always veer off to take the zillion stairs down to the cool rock meditation circle that overlooks the ocean. But even I’m not crazy enough to try that 9 months pregnant. So, I decided to just walk the length of the coastal trail.

It was a GORGEOUS day and donning the “Happy Camper” hat provided graciously by my wonderful Morrison relatives, Larry and I trudged off on our walk. It was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. The day before we’d walked about 2 miles along Ocean Beach in the fog but were rewarded with watching a harbor seal play in the surf for over 30 minutes.

The nature on this walk was much more flora rather than fauna and I do have to say, I was the celebrity on the walk. Little children gawked at my tummy and the best part of the walk was when we over heard a woman declare, “She’s tryin’ to walk that baby out!”.

Apparently that’s what my mom did with me over 38 years ago. Might as well try it for BABY YOUNG.

One more walk today…

Knocked Up

People keep saying that we’re not going to be able to do much once the baby is here and movies are certainly going to be more difficult. So, Larry and I have been trying to see all the movies we can including Ocean’s Thirteen, the Fantastic Four movie, and of course, Knocked Up.

We actually went to see the movie on Thursday night and Larry had the great idea to take my picture in front of the movie poster. WHAT A GREAT IDEA. The catch was that the theater we went to only has posters for UPCOMING movies, not movies currently playing. So, in the spirit of “one more thing…” Larry and I went on a quest to find a poster for the photo op. Good thing we planned on going downtown to see the FANTASTIC FOUR since there are two big theaters right next to each other. The quest was short-lived but could have easily turned into an obsession as I was hell-bent on finding a poster, transit ad, or something. Thank goodness we came across this great stand up.

And two more things to mention:

Being knocked up has it’s uproarious moments but the combination of no sleep, the alien fidgeting around in my belly, my sore hips and the waiting for B-day, I’d probably only give it four stars and call it “humorous”.

You will notice that my belly is hanging out all over the place. I never quite understood why pregnant ladies let their skin show. Now I know. You don’t have much choice when you’re sporting a 45 inch waist.

One more thing…

My entire life has been defined by “One more thing…”. When I was a little girl and my father would take me to bed, I would keep him standing there, talking to me in my top bunk (with my sister sleeping below) as I yammered on for 15 additional minutes about “one more thing”. In work, I’ve always taken on “one more project” including starting our own comic book publishing company, AiT/Planet Lar, at the same time that I was working at Bank of America AND getting my MBA from the University of San Francisco. Larry is astounded at my abysmal on-time record because I’m always trying to jam “one more thing” into the time before I need to leave. (A wise woman, Jennifer Nash, recently told me it was OK to be EARLY to something which is a concept I’m still working on.)

As I sit here, preparing for the birth of BABY YOUNG, only days away (due in 4 days, on June 22), I am attempting to get “one more thing” done — the creation of a new blog to document the process and see how I cope with being able to get all those “one more things” done now that Larry and I will have a small infant who will likely not cooperate with my burning desire to check things off my To Do list.

And one more thing…, as with any of my projects, this is not as simple as just starting a blog either. I even have “one more thing” with this small project. I’m testing out WordPress as part of an Adobe project I’ll still be monitoring while I’m out.

I hope you enjoy.