01 March 2011

Pub Date!!

Between Expectations was released today!! I woke up excited to casually drop in at my nearest bookstore and just happen to see it somewhere on the shelves. I was also excited about the prospect of finishing up preparations for my first official event, a discussion and reading at the Brookline Booksmith around the corner from where much of the book was written. I look forward to seeing you all there tonight at 7, unless of course you're reading this from New Zealand.

As I lay in bed, for once not bothered by that little spot of water damage on the ceiling above me, Emmaline called out from down the hall.

"Emma!" she said.

She really quite likes her own name and, also, looking at pictures of herself. This piece of parentally constructed vanity is a subject for another day. I swung my legs out from under the sheets and walked the length of the house down to her room.

"Hi!" she yelled as I opened the door.

At first I thought it was the shadows in the room, her drapes being snugly drawn to keep the heat from seeping out her drafty windows, that made her look so strange. I took a step closer and returned her hello, by which time it was clear to me that she was covered cheek to cheek in blood.

Let me preface this by saying that I was not all that surprised. It was horrific, in it's own block buster special effects kind of way, but not altogether unexpected.

About a month ago Emmaline developed a strawberry hemangioma just beneath her left eye. For the first few days I thought it was just a scratch, but when it didn't go away I accepted that it was just one of those things. My otherwise beautiful and healthy daughter had a small vascular tumor on her cheek that might grow, might stay exactly the same for a very long while, but eventually it was pretty likely to go away on its own. So I didn't panic. I didn't call Emmaline's pediatrician. I figured we would discuss it at her eighteen month visit, but in the meantime there was not really anything to be done.

Then this week she realized it was there. I think that perhaps it had gotten slightly more prominent, so she could feel the small bump on the skin. Also, she had taken to picking at her eyelashes as she is falling asleep. It sounds strange, but I assure you it is enchanting. But, again, she was moving her tiny little fingernails dangerously close to the highly vascular collection of blood vessels I was determined not to have an overreaction to.

Several months ago I was in the ER when a girl about Emmaline's age came in because she was bleeding from a strawberry hemangioma in essentially the same place. She struggled as we tried to staunch the flow and apply a pressure dressing. Though she was not losing dangerous amount of blood, could not from an opening so small, it was still horrendously messy. Her parents, who were planning on boarding a plane that very evening, were sent away eventually with bags full of supplies for reapplying another dressing if that one came off and she started to bleed again.

They left the ER, stopped to get pizza, and the blood started dripping from beneath the dressing and coarsing down her cheek. They were back within an hour. We tried more pressure. We tried surgical foam. Eventually we felt we had to send them down to Children's where, if she was still bleeding, they had more resources to stop the flow. Of course by the time they got there, the area had clotted on its own and the intern who saw her wrote a cursory note about how the patient was fine and the staff at the "Outside Hospital" had failed to employ basic measures such as applying pressure to the wound. I know. I checked the chart. Miffed as I was, I was happy this patient's face had seemed to fix itself and the family could go home and pack for their vacation.

So I knew these things could bleed. I picked Emmaline up, ensured that the bleeding had stopped on its own at some point during the night, and brought her downstairs to freak my mother out.

Mission accomplished, we sat Em down to wash her face. Had I been slightly more wise and less anal, I would have left well enough alone. I would have cleaned around the offending area but not on it. I, however, wanted her face clean and beautiful again, so of course I wiped the clot away and she was quickly bleeding all over again. Slowly, in a plump bead that would reaccumulate every few seconds, but bleeding all the same.

I moved us into the family room and turned on the TV. If we were going to have to hold her still, she was going to need something to look at.

"Baby," she said.

Grudgingly, I opened up the Netflix menu and toggled down to Dora. She leaned against my chest while I held the gauze in place and her grandmother went in search of surgical tape.

Now, I admit I haven't seen The Fighter (or any other movies from this awards season what with having a baby and all), but I'm assuming that at some point Marky Mark looked a little bit like this:

If not, then I'm not sure what all the buzz was about...unless Christian Bale runs around naked with a chainsaw in this movie as well.

Emmaline, now having gone down for her nap on freshly laundered sheets warm from the drier, seems truly none the worse for wear.

Let's hope the bandage holds long enough to get through my book signing tonight!

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