LAST UPDATED: October 29, 2007
MOST RECENT UPDATES (updates are dynamic so some pictures might be in the process of uploading!):
October 29, 2007: Ultrasound video
June 27, 2007: Congrats on being nosey! ONLY A FEW KNOW.....Please keep the secret.
March 21, 2003: See Aliza on the Baylor Medical Center Baylor Babies Web Page. Aliza continues to do well, but it is taking 3 of us to manage her! Thank God for Mother-in-laws!
March 20, 2003: Last night was the best night so far. Valerie and I slept most of the night, and Demple stayed up with Aliza. Aliza was in her bassinet and Demple was on the couch. Demple woke Valerie up to nurse Aliza when she cried--she slept for three hours at a time which means Valerie was only up twice in the night. Demple slept while Valerie nursed. I just slept--they did not wake me up as I had only had 5 hours sleep in five days as of last night. This was really about my limit and they said I was lapsing into periods of incoherence.
Aliza is doing well today. She is right now (1 p.m.) asleep in Demple's arms in the rocking chair (I cannot pry her out of Grandma's arms it seems. I did get to hold her for an hour this morning) as Demple snoozes. I am working from home today on our war sermon for Sunday as I watch the war. Valerie is resting too.
One thing I forgot to mention--when Demple arrived at the hospital on Tuesday, we did a webcam broadcast to my mom and dad back in KY. So both Grandma's got to see the baby at about the same time!
Pictures from the hospital:
Pictures from home:
March 19, 2003: During the day of the 18th, we had soooo many visitors. Most of Valerie's coworkers came by as well as many of our friends. We were all exhausted as we approached the night. We should have known better and knew what would follow......
Our second night (the night of March 18-19) was even more of an adventure. She sleep no more than 2-3 minutes at a time. She would nurse, fall asleep, we put her down, she cry. This continued from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. when they took her for her pediatrician checkup. We sleep then from 5 - 6:30--the first sleep again for us in 24 hours. Her pediatrician check was fine--she is eating well and no major problems. She passed her hearing screen as well.
We saw Dr. Harris again and all was well with Valerie--she would not let me say here "All was swell" (pun intended)! They were both clear to go home. We left the hospital around 1 p.m. and got home around 2 p.m. We had one close call one block from the hospital--some idiot ran a stop sign. I was prepared (he looked stupid, and for some reason, I am OVERLY cautious for the last few days), and it was a very close call, but no accident.
The cat is adapting well. He will sniff her then run away. Of course, that is his normal behavior--if this is a normal behavior for a cat!
March 18, 2003: Our first night together was an adventure! She roomed in with us and behaved exactly as expected. Newborns feed every 2-4 hours. Aliza is a Blackmon indeed--she ate every hour on the hour. Newborns should have one dirty diaper in the first 24 hours--she had three, and somehow Matt ended up with all three. But she is a delight for Matt and for her mommy, as as this picture shows. She is very extra special! Even our Ob/Gyn, Dr. Steven A. Harris, thinks so! What do you think? How can you resist me with Mom's looks and Dad's humility?
All is well with Val's health although she has the normal issues one might expect after an intense and complicated delivery. The baby saw the pediatrician today and got a clean bill of health.
Valerie's mother arrives today at 3 p.m. for two weeks of much needed and greatly appreciated help.
We have had the following visitors so far:
Bruce and Janella Rayburn--although we did not see them (or which of them). They brought a labor survival pack to me yesterday during the labor--it had all the necessities I needed--the chief of which being chocolate brownies and chocolate covered cherries!
Jill Curry--whose NICU work area is right next door to us--what a treat! She is so sweet and has been helpful in telling us what comes next!
Pam Nicholson--who made sure St. Patrick's day did not go unnoticed for us, complete with green to go around!
Bill and Chris Ferrell--who continue in their roles of lifesavers by bringing Valerie emergency sustenance--a Big Mac and a chocolate shake. I managed to sneak in a strawberry shake for me.
We have also have over 150 emails and perhaps approaching half that many phone calls. Thank you all for your prayers! We expect to go home tomorrow.
March 17, 2003: Aliza Grace Blackmon arrived today at 1:57 p.m. She weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces is 21 inches long.
Why Aliza Grace? It is a combination Hebrew and Greek name.
Hebrew component: hzyla (Aliza--joyful) [For you "scholars," out there, we "apocopated" the HEY)
Greek component: χάρις (Grace--you know what that means)!
So, she is named "joyful grace." We will be having a formal naming ceremony sometime in the future. Details here--of course you are invited!
She was named Saturday while Valerie and I sat in bumper to bumper traffic on our way to the Dallas Zoo to try to walk that baby out of the womb!
Here are her first pictures:
Valerie went into labor Sunday night at 6:45 after Matt's tried and true method--he had built two large fires in our front yard to burn out some Cedar stumps--and they say there are no rednecks in Texas! We talked to the doctor on call (not Dr. Harris) around 8:30 p.m. and he said Valerie was not in labor. Valerie was not pleased with him or his diagnosis, but he was right. We then spent more time together--Val in the tub, Val on the floor, Val on the bed, Val on all fours, Val on the cat (ok, we did not try that last one but really wanted too--we were desperate). We played the sleep for a minute, have a contraction for 2 minutes, go to the bathroom, hurt, get some water, until 3:00 a.m. this morning. We talked to the doctor again and he said come on down. I made it from Garland to Baylor Dallas in less than 30 minutes (and never exceeded 90 or so).
The delivery was actually very rough. Aliza had an improper alignment, and after two hours of pushing we determined she would not advance. So, forceps to the rescue! Aliza is fine, albeit a bit bruised, so Valerie is very sore (can you episeotomy? OW!). Add in some rogue bleeders during the delivery and life was tense for a while. But life is good and God is merciful. Mom and baby are fine. More later, now...some sleep.....
There does not seem to be many updates since January! Here is the backlog to be processed:
Valerie's Church Shower
Valerie's Personal Shower
I am sure it will happen soon.
January 16, 2003: We had our first childbirth class a week ago. We know Lamaze breathing know. Whohoo. Ok, it was not as bad as I thought it would be, but it was not fun. Every Thursday for the next 5 weeks I will there. Tonight we see the videos of the birthing process. Ewwww.
Last night was a great evening. Scooterina got hiccups. Valerie and I laughed ourselves silly as we watched her belly jump. We could even "hear" the hiccups with our baby monitor. It was so funny. Also, Valerie has learned to kinda scrunch up her body and we can tell the details of the baby. Was great fun. We could make out arms, legs, and her butt. We are so amused by simple pleasures!
We have completed the acquisition of all furniture for the nursery. We ordered a chest of drawers that doubles as a changing table from an unfinished furniture store. It will arrive in 6-8 weeks. Better hurry! Scooterina arrives in 9! :-)
We also bought all the fabric we need to have our nursery decorated. We are having bumpers pads, curtains, etc.... all made in Jamestown. We have designed it ourselves with some crucial help from a friend in Jamestown and the amazing Chrystal Pierce.
Finally, Valerie's showers are set the weekend of February 9. I am not sure how I feel about baby showers. I am not all that excited about people getting us gifts--especially since I worry more about a sense of obligation that seems to be involved in a lot of the gift giving anymore. I think there is a lot of "scam" in the whole shower and gift business, but nonetheless, I think many people are indeed generous and want to participate with us, so I demure to that. Valerie is registered at Target (The Lullaby Club) and Baby-saurus (Babies-r-us Gift Registry). Why do I call it Baby-saurus? That's what the name sounds like to me!
Our next doctor's appointment is tomorrow. Another update than!
January 8, 2003: We went to the Dallas Stars Game last night, and they won 7-4 over Los Angeles Kings.
Val near our seats
Here we are in the stands together
The final score!! Stars WIN!
January 3, 2002: 30 weeks today. Valerie is 75% of full term. Wow. Things are hopping in the Blackmon household. First, we had our doctor's appointment today (3 weeks since the last one, next appointment in 2 weeks). Everything is fine. Valerie is measuring at 30 weeks, and Scooterina's head is down in the birth position--as long as she does not get "squirrely" she will not be breach. Hearbeat is strong and regular. Valerie's weight gain is fantastically perfect--exactly where the doctor wants her to be.
The nursery is also coming together. The room is now empty of the old office stuff and being filled with nursery furniture, with plans to have the decorating done in the next few weeks.
We are amazed and blessed at the generosity and thoughtfulness of our friends and family already. Valerie's aunt and uncle, Nick and Brenda Wright, gave Scooterina her first Christmas present amazing us with their generosity. Scooterina is already spoiled! As she should be! :-)
Our good friends Bill and Chris Ferrell have placed in our care a ton (almost literally, or so it seems) of essential (and expensive) items like a pack-n-play, car seat, tons of baby clothes and many other things (yes, digital pics will be available soon!) that will save us probably a thousand or more dollars. How sweet they are!
December 10, 2002: Valerie is getting in the holiday spirit, baking cookies and preparing for a nice Christmas. The cat is preparing as well... being a cat:
In the kitchen
A few cookies
The next batch
The cat is helping
The cat is helping
The cat is helping
December 7, 2002: There has been quite a delay in getting the digital media into the proper format for posting here. That situation will not be resolved soon—I am very busy preparing for the end of the semester at DTS and getting all my other assignments and work done. To compensate you, I hope to have a media file up tomorrow of the baby’s heartbeat taken from a monitor combined with a little engineering I have done on my own.
Valerie looks very pregnant now, as you can tell in this (the first pic Val has allowed me to post. It is 800K, resolution 1600x1200) photo.
She is in maternity clothes almost exclusively now—much to the delight of everyone who kept asking her, “Are you ever gonna look pregnant?” For you geeks out there, this picture was taken with our new digital camera, a Canon G3 Powershot 4 megapixel model. It is sweet. I just got it yesterday and have been playing with it every chance I get.
November 15, 2002: We are having a girl! Updates posted soon. We will also be posting media files from the sonogram, but it will be a little while before I can do the media conversion. Patience is a virtue--in the meantime, entertain yourself by watching the countdown above.
November 6, 2002: Last night I spent almost ten minutes feeling Scooter move around. It was the first time that Valerie and I could really feel him/her being active. She/he (boy I can’t wait for the next doctor’s appointment—this political correct gender indistinctness is driving me nuts) was responding to the sound of my voice and was extremely active. It was a cool experience.
October 22, 2002: We visited the doctor today! It went very well. We thought he might do an ultrasound today, but he had a late night, and despite Valerie’s best attempts, decided to wait until the next visit. He said that the next ultrasound will be very detailed and we will concentrate on viewing a lot of the development of the child. Valerie continues to do well—although maternity pants are just about a must now. She has gained a total of 10 pounds and is exactly where the doctor wants her to be. Today was also the first measure of the tummy—but I don’t think she will let me post that. I finally have a .jpg of the tummy, but she is resisting my attempts to post it. Perhaps I can be sneaky….
The baby changed sides now, and the heartbeat is in a different location. We can hear it fairly easily now with a stethoscope, and we listed with the Doppler for a nice long time. The doctor said the heartbeat is regular, strong, and normal.
A helpful website for the curious is
Here is some additional information: Note that Valerie will be 19 weeks Friday.
You're halfway there! The top of your uterus now reaches your belly button and will grow about a centimeter per week. Your baby is about 9 inches long and weighs about 8 ounces.
She has started to swallow amniotic fluid, and her kidneys continue to make urine. Hair on the scalp is sprouting.
Sensory development reaches its peak this week. The nerve cells serving each of the senses — taste, smell, hearing, seeing, and touch — are now developing in their specialized areas of the brain. Nerve cell production slows down as existing nerve cells grow larger and make more complex connections. If you're carrying a baby girl, she already has roughly 6 million eggs in her ovaries. But since most of them will disintegrate during gestation, by the time she's born, she'll have about a million.
You no doubt feel the kicking and somersaulting of your growing baby. At times, she may be so mobile that you can't sleep. The next ten weeks or so will be your baby's busiest and most active time, until the womb gets too crowded.
• Note: Experts say every baby develops differently — even in utero. These fetal development pages are designed to give a general idea of how a fetus grows in the womb.
October 13, 2002: We heard the heartbeat using an external stethoscope last night for the first time. It is very strong. I am trying to figure out a way to hook up a recorder to hear it externally. Valerie is getting quite “poochy” and soon will have to do nothing but maternity clothes. J We are on week 18 now for those who are counting—very close to half way there!
We have also been feeling the baby move so. Reminds me of the movie Alien.
October 7, 2002: We had a little scare today. Val had been having some cramps so we had a quickie visit to the doctor. One ultrasound later and mom and dad and scooter are fine. We have a VCR tape with us this time, but the ultrasound machine did not record (someone forgot to hit play AND record, I suppose). The baby’s heartbeat is fine, and we saw the spine and the other major parts. No news on gender yet.
I think scooter was actually fine before the ultrasound, but it had an analgesic effect on mom and dad. J
September 26, 2002: We had our most recent doctor’s appointment on September 19, 2002. The doctor was way late after all night doing deliveries, so this was a quicker appointment (i.e., no sonogram). We heard the baby’s heartbeat again—he was able to find it on first attempt. Everything sounds incredible. Valerie had only gained another pound and a half—and the doctor said she is exactly where he wants her to be in terms of weight and size.
It is also about the time that we can begin to feel the baby move. We have not had that happen yet. That will be both exciting and weird!
Her clothes are tight now around the waist. No more regular jeans for a while. She is beginning to show—and Matt thinks it is really cool. He wants to do some pictures—she is refusing so far. J
Our next doctor’s appointment is in 4 weeks—and we will do a sonogram for sure then, and find out the gender of the baby.
August 26, 2002: We had our most recent doctor's appointment today, August 26, 2002. No sonogram, but he did use an external monitor and we heard the baby's heartbeat loud and clear. We also began to talk about delivery options--believe it or not.
The doctor is very pleased with Val's progress and nutrition--she has gained one pound, and is exactly where she is supposed to be. No, we will not tell you how much--that is an impolite question! ;-)
We also decied to not do the Fetal Protein Screen (I think it is called this, the one for spina bifida, down's syndrome, etc....) on our next visit. It has a high rate of false positives and there is nothing they can do about the results, except leave us to worry. We prefer to rest in God's sovereignty, no matter what He brings into our life. No matter what.
Our next appointment is in four weeks. They will do a sonogram then. :-)
We are going to have a baby! The news is out!
STILL OLDER NEWS:
After 11 years of marriage, the time has finally come for us to start our family. The first two relatives to know were Matt's Uncle Andy and Aunt Drew, two days before he died. The Lord gives and the LORD takes away. Blessed be the name of the LORD. Matt will write more telling this full story when he has processed the emotions surrounding this event a little more fully.
The next two to know were Matt's mom and dad--after matt's mom signed the smoking cessation contract! The contract is written by hand because, of course, my father's printer was not working. After we finally convinced Betty and Larry that it was true, Matt's mom ran outside smoking as fast as she could saying over and over again, "What did I agree to?" Apparently, she, like everyone else, had given up on Matt and Valerie ever having kids. She is now in the good form for giving up smoking. Whohoo. She starts in August.
Valerie's parents were the next to know. We gave her mother two grandma sleep shirts (after looking for 2 hours all over KY for them! But that is another story) and her father a grandpa plaque. They were too much in shock to respond, but they were so happy. Melissa was clued in next by phone. She will make a great aunt, we think. :-)
Brenda and Nick, Valerie's aunt and uncle, were clued in next. They had the biggest reaction of all. Brenda was crying and hopping up and down. Nick also cried some (but we told him we would not tell anyone, so don't tell him we told you. Nick, if you are reading this, no one ever looks at my home page, I promise). They are already making plans to spoil this child as much as they spoiled Melissa and Valerie, and Matt (adopted into the family.).
So far, Valerie has had few complications, but one major problem. A tragedy. A disaster. The unspeakable. She has lost all interest in chocolate and sweet things and craves vegetables. I promise I am not lying! She is always hungry. More than once she has gotten up in the middle of the night, forsaking sleep! for a bowl of cheerios. Matt thinks an alien has captured his wife. He is sure of it.
Our first doctor's appointment was Friday, July 26, 2002. Our doctor is Stephen A. Harris in Dallas, TX. We highly recommend him. We were stunned to find out they were doing the first ultrasound today--at 5 weeks! Ultrasound is amazing. I got to see most of Valerie's internal organs from the inside out--weird. I declined Valerie's suggestion that I should give it a try too. Everything looks great.
No, we did not have our VCR tape at the ready, but we did get a picture --which we are forcing you to see anyway autoloading it below. :-) We saw the amniotic sack--all was well. We saw the baby!--all was well. We also heard a heartbeat--which the doctor said is not extremely common at 5 weeks, but a great sign. I must admit that it was the strangest thing that I, Matt, have ever experienced. To hear that heartbeat and to know that Valerie and I created that life (yeah, I know, theological problem here in that God creates life, but I am talking proximal and not ultimate causality, ok?). It also crushed us in the reality that it is true. We have not been dreaming it all up. We are going to be parents.
Not knowing what to call our little blastocyst, and Valerie will not let me call him OLB (figure it out!), we have decided on the name "Scooter" for the time being. I am sure you have some great suggestions about names. Please write them down along with the reasons why we should consider them. Don't give them to us until we ask. We plan on announcing the name we have chosen. After that, we will gladly take all suggestions.
So, some of the smart ones at BIR who know Valerie have figured it out. We suspect it was the lack of eating any chocolate and the pervasive presence of vegetables that tipped them off. Matt is not sure an alien has not captured his wife. He cannot and will never get used to Valerie looking at him and saying, "I need some veggies quick!" Quite a frightening sound.
Brenda (Val's aunt) wins the first box contest (Question: Who would send the first box of stuff for baby? Answer: Brenda. Sorry Betty, you lost this race). She provided a ton of nice clothes for Valerie to wear—first quality indeed! Their enthusiasm continues undaunted. That will come in handy when we ship Scooter to them for the summers. J
Valerie's parents time (July 26 – July 31) passed all too quickly. They did bring Valerie's baby wardrobe along with her sister's former bedroom suite—thanks sis, although I am not sure sis got to contribute in the process! We sent back as much stuff as they brought down as we continue to adjust our house to the arrival of Scooter.
Bill and Chris Ferrell have been clued in as well. They have already provided a ton of toys, and now we probably have all the maternity clothes that Valerie will need. They are so excited! Our lives are now ruined as well as their's!
Another large event happened in our lives. Valerie's Princess Mobile, the venerable 1991 Honda Accord retired at 171K miles without ever having a problem. It has been succeeded by a 2003 Honda Pilot SUV (thanks to the advice of the Dallas Morning News, Edmunds.com, Demple, Marvin, and Janice Ford—who did an interior consultation with a near-teary mom to be). We recommend John Holzer at Rusty Wallis Honda in Dallas. We will have pictures of the retirement party we had for the Princess Mobile as well as the welcoming party for the new Princess Mobile soon.
Never heard of the Pilot? It is brand new and has been on sale only a month here in Dallas—and there are only 80K of them available this year. Well, I suppose 79,999 now. Read all about it and if you are interested, ask me why we changed from interest in a Chevy Trailblazer and I will tell you the long boring story. But, I digress.
We both shed tears over that Accord, believe it or not. It was the first major purchase of a new marriage, and the hallmark of things will never be the same again. J The Pilot barely fits in our garage, if you do not count on opening the rear hatch. Since we expect to keep it for 13 years, we got the top of the line EXL with the leather, DVD, etc…. Welcome years of car payments after years of not having one, but that is life.
Our estimated due date is the third week in March, subject to revision. Our next doctor's appointment is August 23.
As of August 18, 2002, we have told our Sunday School class, 3 Strands Woven, our sending church home in TN, Sevier Heights Baptist Church, and our church home in Texas, The Heights Baptist Church. So, spread the news to whomever you please. :-)
Our first picture of "junior" at 5 weeks, July 26, 2003. We heard a strong heart beat and was able to see the heart beat as well! A miracle indeed.