The Gill Family Webpage

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A long awaited meeting

We had several people come visit us in the hospital. Max was very cooperative and let Doug, Dave, Amy, Melanie, and Derek hold him without crying. Will opted to look from afar!

Max's very first visitor was his Grandma. Mom dropped off Zoe at daycare and headed in to see her first grandson! You can see from the picture that she was beside herself with happiness! I was a bit sad that she couldn't be there at the time of his arrival, but Zoe needed her Grandma more than I did. We actually were about to call in the babysitter we had lined up for Zoe and have Grandma come in, but Max came so fast that we didn't have the chance!

Later that day, Zoe came for a visit! Talk about being excited! Daddy picked up Zoe from school and brought her in. He made sure she that she got a bracelet just like her Mommy, Daddy, and brother. It said, "Big Sister!" just like her shirt!

She opened the door to my room and ran over to my bed and jumped in with me. We talked for a bit about school and then we went to see her brother, "Max". She had a present for him (a rattle) and he had a present for her (prince and frog figurines). Ah, brother and sister getting along with a little bit of help from commercialism!

Zoe immediately took to Max. Her first words to/about him, "Oh my baby! So cute!" Then she played with his piggies and told him how they went "all the way home". There was also a little "coochie coochie coo" action going on. We caught a bit of the love on video. Enjoy!

A Nashville Welcome

On the second morning of our hospital stay we were awakened by some lady who knocked on our door and asked us a very strange question.

"Good morning! Would you like to be visited by the Titans today?"

I thought maybe I misheard her. "Excuse me?"

"The Titans visit new mothers and babies once a month and today is the day. Would you like them to stop by this morning?"

I was really confused now. "The Tennessee Titans? The football team?"

"Yes ma'am. They'll be by between 10 and 11 if you're interested."

"Um, okay."

So 2 Tennessee Titans players came to visit Max and Mommy ... and Daddy and Grandma!

Everett was just about to leave the hospital to drop by work for a few hours when they arrived with an entourage of press. Keith Bulluck and Mike Rivera signed team photos and then paused for a few pictures.

So weird and so Nashville!

The video's kind of shaky, but it is what it is! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oh boy!!

After many months cooking in the oven, we are proud to announce that he's done!

Maximilian Boucher Gill arrived at 12:33 am on Monday, September 21, 2009 weighing 8 pounds 2.5 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches in length. Little Max has all 10 fingers and 10 toes accounted for and is perfect!

It started to get tricky around dinner time on Sunday night. All day long I was feeling kind of worn out and achy and I didn't have much of an appetite which was unusual for me. We had had a packed and tiring day with Zoe - who did not nap! - so I just figured that I was tired and achy from taking care of her. Luckily I was able to take a nap in the afternoon when Everett took Zoe to the park to burn off some energy.

I put Zoe to bed and came down for dinner. I wasn't hungry and was starting to experience some "gastro-intestinal" issues. I just felt like I had really bad gas pains. I tried going to the bathroom, but the pain did not stop. The pain wasn't coming in intervals though so I didn't think much of it...until I did.

We sat down to watch an episode of the West Wing and I moved from the soft couch to the more sturdy rocking chair thinking that the hard back would make me feel better. It did and then it didn't. I got up to walk around the kitchen and came back in the living room to stare into the concerned faces of Everett and my Mom. I tried to reassure them by alternating the phrases, "these are just gas pains" or "these are just practice contractions". They didn't seem appeased.

I finally told Everett to start counting - both the minutes between these suckers and their durations. I told him that these particular pains probably started at least 40 minutes ago. He looked more concerned.

After one painful "gas pain", I said that if I got another one, I would take a shower.

I took a shower.

After a second painful "gas pain", I said that if I got another one, I would call the doctor.

I called the doctor.

The doctor informed me those were probably not gas pains, but contractions. Duh! She said I could take my time, but that I should probably head to the hospital.

So we did. Everett and I packed a few last things and then piled into the car with the contractions about 6 minutes apart and lasting for anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds. Ouch. It was like clockwork though, those contractions. When we were in the car, I knew one would be coming because it was exactly 6 minutes from the last one. I had three contractions on the way in and each one felt like it got more intense than the previous one. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

We arrived at the hospital and attempted to check in, but no one was at th desk. HELLO? I'm in labor here! Everett went to find someone as I paced the hallways in pain. I had probably 4 more contractions before I was checked in. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.

They brought me to triage to determine if I was really in labor. They hooked me up to the contract-o-meter and got the baby hooked up to the monitor as well. I had a contraction (ouch) and all of a sudden 3 nurses came flooding into the room to join the nurse who was helping me. Evidently when I contracted, the baby's heart rate took a digger. This could indicate that the umbilical cord was choking my baby and would require an immediate c-section. This same thing happened with Zuzu. Oh no, please no. I was told to turn on my side and the next contraction (ouch) yeilded no change in the baby's heart rate. Thank goodness!

The nurse checked me and I was at 5 cm. That, along with the strong sense I was feeling to push led them to admit me formally as a delivering Mommy. Here we go!

They wheeled me across the hall and we got set up. I can't even remember how many more contractions I got (ouch, ouch, ouch infinity), but eventually I got the epidural placed. To be honest, I think the contractions hurt Everett more than they hurt me - I kind of squeezed his hand hard, plus he didn't like to see me in pain - but I was glad to have that sweet, sweet elixir!

At one point, Everett said, "You're contracting." Which I took as a question. I said, "I don't think so." And he replied, "No, you are contracting!" and he pointed at the contract-o-meter which was pinned at the top! Sweet, sweet elixir!

Then we played the waiting game. We took some pictures, watched Dirty Dancing on TV (it was on when we got there), and posted updates on Facebook.

Around 10:30 or so the doctor arrived and broke my water with the knitting hook tool. Gushhhh. Turns out, my water wasn't leaking at all!

Around midnight, I started pushing. I remember visualizing my baby's head traveling down the birth canal and that with every push he was getting closer to being in my arms. I vividly recall thinking, "I am going to push this child out now!" In fact, I told Everett that I was going to push him out on the next push.

The next contraction came and I was ready to push. As Everett counted to 10 the first time (I pushed 3 times per contraction), I pushed with all my might. I rested, took a deep breath, and started over again. Push!!! "Okay, one more time, you're doing great Mom!" the nurse said. Everett started counting for the third and final time, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6..."

"Wait! Stop pushing! The baby's shoulder is stuck!" the doctor shouted.

I froze.

The doctor maneuvered the baby in some way to free the shoudler and then said, "Okay, push!"

I pushed with all my might and then I heard my baby for the very first time!

Everett declared, "It's a boy!"

I cried tears of joy as they placed that sweet little man upon my stomach, still attached to me, still wet, and still screaming. I bent down and touched his head and tried to kiss his head. My baby, my sweet Mango, my son.

Our son.

Welcome Max. Welcome to the family.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good eats

This weekend was spent eating well!

On Friday night we headed to one of my Mom's (and our) favorite pizza joint - Mafiozas! We ordered the Gill Special - a spinach, feta cheese, and sausage pizza (trust me, it's to die for!) and an onion pizza for dinner. And for dessert? Cannolis and chocolate mousse!! So! Very! Good! Zoe had her first taste of a cannoli after some prodding, but she wouldn't eat the tiny chocolate chips that resided within the rich ricotta-based filling. "I don't like chocolate." Sometimes I have serious doubts that this kid is actually mine!

On Saturday we headed downtown and walked along the riverfront exploring the train station and Fort Nashborough. They had forcasted rain, but it turned out to be a lovely day!

We headed to the Wild Horse Saloon for lunch afterwards and Zoe got a kick out of seeing the racing horses on the ceiling. After she was finished eating (mac-n-cheese of course!), she headed out to the dance floor to dance with about 7 random children who were bustin' a move out there as some local talent sang loudly upon the stage. I don't think Miss Zoe will have trouble making friends!!

I ordered the fried pickles, a Nashville favorite. I know it sounds kind of gross, but it's not. That's me, all big an preggers in the picture holding out fried pickles that were served in a guitar-shaped wire basket. Mmmmm, fried pickles!

That night, Everett and I headed out to celebrate our 4 yr wedding anniversary while Mom and Zoe stayed behind playing and reading stories. We decided to go to dinner and a movie which is one of our favorite nights out and one that isn't too common now that we have a toddler. We used to take Zoe to movies when she was a baby, but we fear now that it would be a disaster given her very short attention span! A few more years perhaps!

We ended up seeing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3D! We laughed, we cried (I really did!), and we laughed some more. This movie was just what the doctor ordered! The 3D animation was pretty cool too! It wasn't the usual "Oh my goodness, here comes a yoyo at my face!" kind of 3D, just good ol' fashioned three-dimensional depth.

We ate at Dave and Busters for dinner. If you're not familiar with this establishment you should know that it's a very fancy, very romantic restaurant...complete with buffulo wings, a sports bar, bowling alley, skee ball, and video- and coin-games galore! So it might not be the fanciest of places, but Everett and I aren't exactly fancy people! We love to play the games and collect tickets for prizes! That night we scored over 1,000 tickets in about 25 minutes! Yes, we're that good...or at least lucky! We're saving up for the 2-sided blender. We figure we've got 2 kids who may like different kinds of fruit smoothies! We've got about 6,000 tickets and need another 3,000 more. I think we can do it!

On Sunday we ran a few errands. We stopped by the mall to ride the carousel. Zoe had a blast with Grandma. It constantly amazes me just how excited she can be with something so little! I hope she's just as excited about her little sibling!

Friday, September 18, 2009

False alarm

We had a doctor appointment this Monday. I'm still 3 cm dilated, but 4 pounds up! I was a little concerned though because I wasn't sure if I was leaking amniotic fluid. They did a test and it was negative so we went home.

Fast forward to today...

These are pictures of me this morning in the hospital. I was still unsure about whether what I am experiencing is normal or is excessive fluid loss. I kept imaging Mango floating in less and less fluid in my uterus while becoming dried out like a wrinkly prune. How's that for visualization? But given that I had to be induced with Zoe due to a low amount of amniotic fluid in the ol' womb, I decided to play it safe and went and had everything checked out.

I went to the hospital myself and told Everett not to worry - and you know he didn't, right? I kept him informed via text messages all morning long. But I know he was on edge.

It took a while to get checked in to the hospital. They had no OB triage rooms so I was checked into an actual Labor and Delivery room, complete with the baby station set up to receive the newborn. That kind of freaked me out. I was just there to get checked out after all. I was not having a baby today, right? Right!?

They did 2 tests to check to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid. The first test came up "possible amniotic fluid leak". Excuse me? They took a sample for test #2 and said if that came back positive, they would induce me, and I would be giving birth within 24 hours. Excuse me?

I couldn't do much but lay there in the bed listening to Mango's steady heartbeat on the monitor and feeling his/her movements underneath my massive belly. So I did what I do: I fell asleep while awaiting the results from test #2.

I was awoken by the sound of the nurse entering the room. She said she called my doc - who was off today- twice. On the first call, the doc told the nurse that I was smart for coming in to get everything checked out and if that if I needed to be induced, she would come in for me. Can I tell you how much I love my doctor!! The second call was made after the test came back negative. No amniotic fluid leakage here! The doc said to relax, go home, monitor everything, come back if things change, and that she'd see me at next week's appointment.

"Whew." That was both my response out loud and Everett's response via text message at the news.

We want to see Mango, but today is just too soon. We'll be ready for the arrival whenever s/he comes, but goodness! Hmmm, due date's in 11 days. We better get ready soon!

(This last picture is a view of downtown Nashville from the L&D room today.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Play it again

We headed to the hospital tonight for a little Baby 101. We signed up for a refresher course on "Labor and Delivery" and were greeted with some graphic videos of childbirth and an annoying labor partner named "Jeff". He was this dude in the video who was very supportive for his partner, but Everett and I couldn't help but laugh at his demeanor.

"Yes, dear."

"You're doing great, dear."

"I love you, dear."

All said while he was wearing very nice khakis, a blue and white striped button up shirt (buttoned all the way up of course) and suspenders. Suspenders! He was quite a snappy dresser!! But he was saying all the things he should as his beloved pushed and shoved their little one out with no epidural! But something about it seemed silly this time around. Maybe it's because we've been there before, but the scenarios on the video all seemed contrived - even though they were real, documentary style videos.

I guess we were just recalling our own experience which was so different from all the couples showcased on the video. I know every birth experience is different, but it's one thing to say that and one thing to believe it.

One thing is certain however. Even though it wasn't very pretty, as soon as those little ones popped out of their Mommas and were delivered onto the Moms' now empty belly, I couldn't help but feel a wave of love and emotion flow through my whole body. My eyes teared, my breath quickened, and my grip on Everett's hands tightened. Because no matter how contrived these women's birth experiences seemed or how different they were from my first birth experience or how different my second birth experience is going to be, the end result is the same. And that is the beautiful commonality in all birth experiences.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nailing it again

As per my pregnancy tradition, Mom and I went and got our nails done! We went to the same beauty training school we went to two years ago, but this time the experience was a little different. The two students were very nice and very honest about how they "couldn't paint nails very well", "didn't like to touch feet", and how they "didn't want to be a beautician" because she was "going to be a bartender anyway." Hmmmm.

So our nails may not be salon quality, but we sure had fun!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mom's here!!

My Mom arrived in Music City USA this Saturday and we sure are glad to have her! Everett left later on Saturday to look at houses in Florida and then had to leave again on Tuesday for business. So needless to say, we are happy she's here just in case Mango decides on an early arrival!

Zoe's been so dragon crazy since last week's Dragon Fest, so we headed to Dragon Park where Zoe met up with some of her friends from school. Mom got to see Zoe first-hand interacting with her peers and we had fun! She got to chase Zoe around the huge playground while I found places to sit and look on from a distance.

Zoe is having a ball with her Grandma and I'll be sure to post some pictures of this dynamic duo soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I'm not just a Mom, you know. I'm a teddy bear.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Showered with paint

So last night I was showered with paint and affection! Amy and Melanie, two of my very good friends, offered to throw a baby shower for Mango and I, but really we have everything we need so I suggested a Girl's Night Out theme instead and we had a blast! They set up a party at a local Paint Your Own Pottery studio and brought in some of my favorite foods - pizza and cake (made by the same lady who made our awesome wedding cake!) and beverages - wine and beer. Okay, I did not partake in the alcoholic delights, but I did manage to drink some soda...and then spill it on the table - there's one in every crowd you know!

I painted a garden gnome and I know every time I see it in our Floridian garden, I'll be reminded of what great friends I have back in Nashville.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I see you, Mango!

Well we're at week 37 and as promised, we had another ultrasound today to determine the level of amniotic fluid in the ol' womb. I've posted pictures of the u/s because I didn't get a chance to scan in the actual files, but honestly, these look as good as it gets.

The vertical picture is a "Skeletor" impersonation. It looks as though there's a light source coming from the left and when you squint you can see the top of the homer-like head, hollow eyes, and nose slits. Cute, eh? But what's really cute is Mango's big cheeks! Just like Zuzu, this baby has big round cheeks that made the technician giggle at their size!

The horizontal picture is the profile. Again, if you squint you can see the forehead, the indent where the eyes are, and the protruding lips. Below all that (to the left) is a little arm and hand. Trust me, it's there.

So let's see, what else did we learn at the doctor's office today? Well let me give you some direct quotes from our doctor:

1. "You like to grow them big!" Excuse me? We got an estimated fetal weight from the u/s and today Mango is estimated to be 7 pounds, 7 ounces!! Zoe was 8 lbs, 2 oz at 4o weeks, 4 days. The doctor said that she thinks that if I go the full 40 weeks, Mango might be around 8 lbs, 6 oz or so!! So there doesn't seem to be an issue with the level of my fluid, otherwise Mango would not be so big! I guess this is good news!

2. "You are 3 cm dilated already, my dear!" Yikes!! Now this doesn't mean I'm going to give birth at any minute. I asked the doctor if that was an indication of when the baby might come, but she said all it means is that I have 3 cm less to go when I finally do go into labor.

3. "Better have your bags packed!" She doesn't think I'll go the full 40 weeks only because statistically second babies come sooner. She offered to schedule an induction for 2 weeks from today at 39 weeks (earliest the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists will allow). I said no. I really want this baby to come out when s/he is ready, but goodness gracious I hope s/he comes out before s/he is a thousand pounds!

Next doctor appointment is next Monday! (Assuming my belly is still HUGE.)

There's a nest in my freezer

Did I mention that we cooked this weekend too?

I made a double batch of tomato sauce (keep in mind that my single batch is a normal person's double batch) which included 42 meatballs, 15 sausages, and 4 large potatoes. I plan on making 3 pans of baked ziti to freeze along with the majority of the sauce and meat.

Everett made 9 loaf pans of Shepards Pie. The pies were made of ground beef, lentils, mushrooms, carrots, onions, tomatoes (fresh and sun-dried), jalapenos, a bunch of fresh and dried spices, mashed potatoes, and cheese. Mmmm, cheese. These 9 pans also made their way into the freezer.

You see, we're like squirrels stocking up for the long winter ahead.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Dragons and monkeys

We had planned on spending our last three-day weekend as a three-person family visiting friends in Atlanta. When we called our doctor's office to ask if it was okay, the nurse pretty much said we were nuts to be thinking of driving 4 hours away and if we had to go, she could send along my prenatal records with us. Hmmmm, I guess we are 3.5 weeks away from "go time". The reality of the whole thing kind of hit us hard - we're going to have a baby!! (Again!!!)

So we spent the weekend in Nashville enjoying some of the local offerings. On Saturday night, we met some friends for a picnic and went to see some Chinese Dragons. Before the performance of Shakespeare in the Park (which we did not stay for), the Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville Lion and Drum Team performed a Dragon/Lion/Drum Extravaganza Show - I don't think that was the official name of the show, but it should be! Zoe once again sat entranced by the live actors on stage. In between acts, she would look at Everett and I and say, "More dragons!"

At one point during the show, the dragons made their way down the aisle and Zoe was lucky enough to have Nick (the very sweet boy of my friend GiGi) bring her closer to the aisle to get up close and personal with the big crazy dragon beast. Everett and I were a little worried that Zoe would freak out being so close to the crazy white fluffy dragon (as all dragons should be, of course), but she loved it! Thank goodness for Nick! Afterwards, all Zoe kept talking about was "That boy who brought me to the dragons. He got hit in the head. What he name?" Poor Nick got a little love tap as the dragon left the area and Zoe couldn't stop talking about it!

Zoe also had fun playing with the other kids that were there. One little boy, a few weeks older than Zoe, had a truck. A yellow truck. And Zoe just couldn't stop talking about it. I seriously have no idea what it takes to get things stuck in her head, but the yellow truck made an impression.

Then there were the brothers. One was a baby who was "craw'ing" - that's crawling for those who can't understand Zoe-speak. The other was an almost three year old who got a little more than he bargained for when he came to give Zoe a kiss. He was a little shy at first, but Zoe just stepped right up and made it easy for him. Oh goodness, help us now!

Sunday we headed to Babies R US. I told you I needed newborn diapers! Too bad I bought number 1 diapers and not newborn ones! Oh well, they should be fine (you know I'm going to have to go back there!). We also stocked up on the infant meds. Not that Mango will ever get sick, you know?

Finally, on Monday we made it to the Zoo. We played in the gym area, rode the carousel (the monkey, once again), ate some lunch, and looked at a few animals all before naptime.

After such a jam-packed weekend, I am actually looking forward to sitting at my desk tomorrow!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Baby on the brain

Seriously, they should not let a woman in my condition go near a Babies R Us when they are having a mega sale on all things tiny and newborn!

Our goal - okay, my goal - was to get a new coming-home-from-the-hospital outfit for Mango. After all, we have plenty of newborn clothes and things from when Zoe was a newborn herself so we don't need much. But we headed to the store, parked in the "Expectant Mother" parking space (Everett loves taking advantage of this!), and headed inside.

I was in there for maybe 2 minutes when I started oohing and aahing (and crying - darn hormones!) over the little bitty tiny clothes, shoes, and hats! I forgot just how itty bitty they are. Newborn arms are soooo short compared to their body so the arms on those clothes are just plain silly looking! About an hour and a carriage full of "deals" later, we left the store.

The bad news: I forgot to get newborn size diapers. I have none. I am going to have to go back. I have no choice. Oh well!

When we got home, I put everything in the washing machine. While my baby's clothes were being washed, I put together the baby items that I had washed the previous weekend: the baby car seat, the baby bouncer, the baby bjorn, the baby activity mat, the baby boppy pillow, and the baby crib sheet. I got out the baby mobile and baby mirror and put all the baby toys inside the baby crib.

Baby, baby, baby. I got baby on the brain!

After the clothes were washed, I folded each item with love. All I could picture was my little Mangos' arms, legs, and belly filling in the empty cotton garments. I imagined the hours I would spend starting at "Mommy's rock star" or my little "snuggle saurus" ensconced in those itty bitty clothes.

Sigh. Happy sigh.

The two pieces of clothing I did not put away were Mango's coming home outfit; those will be packed in the hospital bag along with the booties knitted by Everett's Grandmother.

Squeeze please. You don't have to ask me twice, Mango! I can't wait to get a hold of those chubby little newborn thighs!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

End of summer fun

With the passing of August comes the passing of what is traditionally referred to as summer. So sad! But you can see from smile on Zoe's face that she took the end of summer like she takes most things: in stride!

The flower she is wearing in her hair is from Mommy's "'garden" (technically a pot of flowers I bought at the start of the summer) and I get a kick out of it whenever Zoe says, "You grow these for me Mommy? Thanks!"

We spent the last weekend in August busy! Saturday morning we finally made it to the downtown public library for the marionette show. This month's show was Cinderella and I've never seen Zoe sit so still, rapt with attention, staring straight ahead, and taking it all in! She would periodically turn to me or Everett and say things like, "Her Mom is not nice!" or "I like the fairy!" or "She a princess!" She is still talking about it! I have to say that the production was quite good! A direct quote from Everett, "That's about a million times better than I thought it would be!"

On Saturday night we headed to Portland, TN to the Sumner Crest Winery for their 10th Annual Grape Stomping Festival. We got there a tad late to sign up for the actual grape stomping, but we were there in plenty of time to eat our packed picnic, sample some of their wine (well, Everett did mostly!), play games, and listen and dance to the live band.

Although I did my share of rug cutting, Zoe was the real Solid Gold Dancer of the evening. Don't believe me? Then you've never seen this girl in the presence of music!! Check out the video yourself:

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Throwing away stem cells

Before we found out we were "with child" with Mango, Everett and I had been planning a 10 day trip overseas. We had narrowed down the where to a tour around Spain with a short trek into Morocco. In fact, the weekend before we saw those two pink lines, we had gone to the bookstore and had almost bought the travel books (we love travel books!). But alas, a Spanish Invasion was not to be made by us this year.

So what were these two wanderlust-filled individuals to do with a growing belly betwixt them? We decided on a cruise! We figured that on a cruise we could go out and see foreign lands (albeit, very touristy-regions of foreign lands), but that all our stuff would be in one place. Plus there would be food available whenever I "needed" it and every night would be filled with shows and fun things to do. And when I got too tired, I could take the elevator to our room while Everett gambled our earnings away in the casino - uh I mean, while Everett invested in our future.

So we determined the best weeks to travel while knocked up and then searched the cruise website based on travel dates for places to go. We had been a cruise last year with my family to some the Eastern Caribbean ports, so we headed west and settled on a cruise that included stops at Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico! I had never been to Mexico before (Everett went for his bachelor's party!) so I was excited to add another country to my list of places visited.

It was beautiful! Exactly what we needed! We danced, we swam, we ate, we connected, we had fun! One of our excursions from Costa Maya was to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins near the Mexico-Belize border. That's one of them with us in the picture up top. That day was super hot and I took advantage of the many benches that littered our walk through the park and drank water and coconut juice like it was going out of style.

As far as I'm aware, I did not encounter even one mosquito on that trip. This is important because mosquitoes can carry the dreaded Malaria Disease. The CDC website does not consider this area big malaria risk, after all they do not even recommend people traveling to the area to get shots beforehand.

Evidently, it's a big enough risk that if you travel to this region, you are not allowed to give blood for a year. You know, just in case the malaria is hiding within your veins and is just waiting for the right time to strike you down.

I cannot donate my placenta like I wanted to and so all the potentially life-saving stem cells contained within it will be thrown away like last week's garbage.

This truly bums me out. On the one hand, I should be grateful that (1) I do not have malaria, and (2) screening methods for donated bodily fluids is strict. On the other hand, I have a precious resource that I must waste. I hate waste. I re-use and recycle everything I can. But sometimes your hands are tied and you must throw that plastic jug into the landfill where it will spend eternity languishing in the dirt for your children's children's children's children's children's children's children to excavate. Hmm, maybe I'm slightly over-analyzing things.

I guess the silver lining is that Everett and I had a wonderful trip together, and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything!

But if you know of anyone who is in need of some black-market stem cells, let me know! hahaha