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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tate's First Bath

Here is a video of Tate getting his first bath at home earlier today. Both he and Melissa are doing great! I will write more and post some more pictures soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Welcome Home Tate! + Baby Story Vol. 3

Shortly after Tate was born he began to have some breathing complications. He scored an 8 and 9 on the APGAR test, but began to grunt and breathe slowly. It was pretty nerveracking for me but seeing as though the nurses were not freaking out, I was able to be calm. I even got to cut the cord, which was pretty sweet. Tate had to be monitored over the next couple hours. They took him to the Intensive Care Nursery and I went with him. Melissa was sewn back up and sent to a new room for recovery. I stayed with Tate in the ICN until I knew he was stable. I then checked on Melissa and she said I could go meet everyone in the waiting room and announce Tate's arrival. I was nervous and excited as I made my way to the room where all of our excited friends and family waited in expectation. When I opened the door everyone screamed. The room was not very big and there was close to 30 of our closest kin packed in there. I announced the secret baby name and people oogled and ogggled (I'm not sure what that even means). Ann, who had guessed the secret name a couple weeks before, sat proudly at the proclamation of her grandson's title. My brother and Mandie evidentally thought that his name was Taten for the first hour or so until they saw how it was spelled. It was a lot of fun having everyone there and it made the day that much more special. The nurses allowed me to bring each of the new grandparents in to the ICN individually to visit Tate. Sadly, my mom declined the invitation. JUST KIDDING! All four of them fell instantly in love with the red faced little squirrel. His breathing steadily improved and he was able to see Melissa at 9:15pm. Until that point everything was a little bit too surreal and exhausting for me to become really taken aback by the emotion of the day's events. However, when Melissa was able to hold him for the first time I cried. It was a beautiful end to an trying/exciting day. She was on a lot of drugs and cannot completely recall all of the nights events. That's what I was there for. It was one of the best moments of my life.

Baby Story to be continued...

(Tate is home safe and sound by the way! I will continue to update you guys and will finish this story soon)
The moment I entered the waiting room.
The first time she got to see him (just after he got pulled out of her belly!).
Tired boys.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Baby Story continued...

After we decided to have the C-section it wasn't long until we were both in our scrubs and getting mentally prepared. We both were pretty sure from the beginning that Mel would more than likely have to have a C-section so when the decision was finally made it was kind of a relief. We called everyone and gave them the news and folks started to head to the hospital. Melissa was content and relieved to finally have a light at the end of the tunnel. At this point there were a bunch of people gathered in the waiting room. I went out to tell them what the doctor decided. Meanwhile, Melissa was carted off to the ER. I gave hugs to my parents and Mel's, took some pictures, said hi to everyone, and headed back in to our room to wait for the doctor's to summon me. It was really strange being in the room where Mel's bed once was. It was empty and surreal. I sat there and prayed for the baby and Melissa. It was scary and exciting all at once. The nurse came and told me it was time for me to go in to the ER. She looked very professional in her scrubs, whereas I looked like a freaked out kid in a cheap looking doctor's Halloween costume that was about 10 times too big for me. With my heart about to leap from chest, I took my last few steps as a childless man as I headed to the ER. I entered the room and Melissa was already on the operating table, minutes away from being a mom for real. The operation began right away. The doctors said that I looked like a Japanese tourist with all of the cameras that I had with me (2 to be exact). I actually filmed the whole procedure. It was surreal. Melissa felt a lot of pressure (both literal and metaphorical!), but no pain. She went in to the ER at approximately 6pm, surgery began around 6:16, and Tate Justice was born at 6:24pm. When the doctors pulled him from Melissa's uterus I couldn't really say a thing. He cried. I gulped. Melissa smiled. It was a cacophony of feelings, expressions, and emotions that have been duplicated many times since. I stared in disbelief as the doctors carried Tate to a table under some bright lights and said, "Dad, come see your son." Dad. Me. They called me "dad." Surreal.

To be continued...
Who does he look like?
Not November 17.

Melissa, Tate, and I get to go home tomorrow! We are really excited. I haven't been able to upload my pictures yet so all of the pics that I have posted have either been from my brother or my cell phone. This week I will add a ton more pictures for your enjoyment!!!

*Thank you to everyone that has prayed for us, visited us (50+!!!), called us, texted us, gave us a gift, brought us food, or just checked in on us. Melissa and Tate are both doing very well. Mel does not look like she just had a baby. She looks gorgeous!

*We love you and will continue to post more about our experience here and about Tate's life!

Tate Update

Before Tate's birth story continues, I wanted to give you all some up to date information.

Right after Tate was born they did a series of blood tests on him. The tests were designed to measure the amount of white blood cells and other components of his blood. The tests take 48 hours to read but as the results are coming out the doctors can make some predictions and assessments. Since Melissa's membrane had been ruptured for an extended period of time the doctors were extra wary about infection (in her or Tate). On Wednesday around midnight (early Thursday) the doctor entered our room to tell us that they had some concerns about some of his results and needed to put him in the intensive care nursery on an I.V. with antibiotics. He had to stay in the I.C. nursery and Mel and I had to go down there to feed him or just to hold him. He couldn't leave the room and couldn't have any visitors. We were pretty bummed. If the final results indicated that he had an infection, he would have had to stay in the hospital 7-10 more days. However, late last night new blood work results came back and showed that he was improving. This morning they brought his little buns back in our room and he was given a clean bill of health from the pediatrician. We are both so happy to have him back and can't wait to bring him home tomorrow. Thank you all for praying!
End of Day 1.
They love each other (I love them too!).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Day Tate Decided He Wanted To Be Born (4 weeks before we thought he should be!)

Peeing your pants is never fun. It makes little babies cry (I know this now). It gets elementary school kids sent home from school. It gets young adults sent to specialists. And it makes Melissa go to the doctor. On Monday, after a full night of curious bed wettage, Melissa and I went to the doctor's to check get some consultation on the curious leakage. The doctor took some samples and as he left the room he said that when he returned he would either be sending us to the hospital or back to our home. We anxiously looked at each other but we were both pretty sure we were in the clear. In fact we were not (technically I suppose we were since amniotic fluid is in fact clear). When the doctor returned, he told us that we had to go to the hospital immediately. We asked if our baby was going to be born soon and he said no. He thought we were asking us if she was literally in labor (which she was not). He informed us that her amniotic sac had ruptured and that her water had broken. We asked how long we would have to stay in the hospital and he said that the baby would be born tomorrow. We wouldn't be going home. I uttered some PG-13 words and then we were off to the hospital. It was surreal. We checked in to the hospital and the doctors started her on Pitocin (to induce labor). Over the next 24 hours the doctors tried to give her meds to dilate her cervix. Her contractions started to come regularly and became rather painful. She then invited her dear friend, Epidural, to enter the room. The anesthesiologist was a really nice guy and he took really good care of Mel. He even stayed in the room for an hour or so and shot the breeze with me. It was funny. A bunch of people came by to visit which was nice. The doctor came in to check on Mel around noon and said that she was only dilated at 1cm. They upped the amount of Pitocin but her cervix proved to be stubborn. At 5:30 or so, the doctor checked her again and her cervix was still at 1cm. He said that we could continue to try to induce pregnancy but it was unlikely that Mel's cervix would dilate enough. Also, take wasn't facing the right way. We then decided to go ahead with the C-section.

Baby Story to be continued...

Here are some of the pictures that Justin took of Tate last night...
1 Day Old.
Mel's a mom!
Tate and Mom's finger.
The whole family (minus Bauer).
I just took this one on my phone.

Many more to come!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tate Justice Bowen

Hello Friends and Family!!!

Tate Justice Bowen was born on Tuesday, October 23!!! He weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces and was 19 inches long. Mel and I are so happy. He came 4 weeks earlier than expected but he is absolutely perfect! Melissa is doing great as well. I will update the blog in the next few days with pictures, fun facts, and small insights we have gained about our new little friend. We love you all and so does Tate!!! Here are some pictures (thousands more to come):
Flexing - 20 minutes old.
Tate Justice.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


On Saturday we took the MSM students shark fishing at Southshore beach in Alameda. The weather was awesome, the seagulls flocked, and the sharks were plentiful. In all we caught 7 leopard sharks. I got a bit of a sunburn, but compared to the sharks I had it pretty good. Shark fishing has been a Bowen family tradition for many years. My dad came with us and used his windsurfer to take the fishing lines far beyond the reach of a typical cast. He even rescued a guy who was kite boarding and got stranded in the middle of the bay. He was a life saver in more ways that one. My grandpa and aunt came out to visit us as well (in addition to my great uncle and aunt). It was a grand day. The students and leaders had a lot of fun. The sharks did not.
This shark can tell all of the other sharks in his school that he met D-Bo.
The fam (in blue).
The group (in real color).

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Day I Betrayed Myself (In a moment of weakness, one can find strength)

Matt's betrayal was easy to swallow. Shaun's shaving, though weak and misguided, was permissible by most accounts. Charles' insubordination, though passive aggressive and slightly hedonistic, was at best, disheartening. I was even okay when Tony and Justin trimmed up. But this??? How could I have seen this coming. In a moment of self-realization, an inner conflict that I had been toiling through came to a head. Is my manhood, and more importantly, my role as a father, personified in the reddish follicles that carpet my cheeks? At one point I may have said yes and then in the next breath denied the very thought. I heard rumors that Deej would shave on Sunday. The enemy had taken him as well. What was I to do? Carry on this chauvinistic, testosterone-laden quest as my fellow comrades fell, one by one. I thought I could. I mean, I really tried, but ultimately even I came up short. I became what I hated. The video below will better display the struggle that I am failing to clearly articulate:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We Held Up, We Waited A Minute, We Put A Little Love In It (10.0 On The Richter Scale, We Shook It Like An Earthquake, We Moved Our Tails)

Last night Jake and I saw Family Force 5 at Slim's with Jonezetta and The Secret Handshake. Both of the opening bands were good but neither held a figurative candle (where did that expression come from anyway???) to Family Force. I could use words like ridiculous, intense, weird, or insane but none would really do justice to the experience. In addition to the five band members they had 2 dancers (one was their guitar tech but he danced the whole time). The other dancer came on the stage and break danced every 10 minutes or so in a new brightly colored jumpsuit. Jake and I stood in awe and utter splendor as the bassist played his bass above his head and the lead singer, wearing silver, spray painted Hulk Gloves, donned an Optimus Prime mask and sang the rest of the song. It was a lot to take in but well worth the price of admission. Here is a crappy video from Jake's phone:

This is the video that got me in to Family Force 5 in the first place. Watch it until the end. It is insane (or just watch the end if that's all you can handle!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October 17th: Similar to November 17th, except my baby isn't here yet

Just as the multi-colored leaves of autumn have become more prevalent in the past week or so, so too has the vast spectrum of colors in my beloved beard. Ranging from deep reds, rich midnight blacks, wheat tinged blonds, to granite-colored wispy whites, the follicles on my face have begun to take over. I can't take a drink without sharing it with my chin. I can't take a bite without leaving a bit on my upper lip. This wouldn't be that big of a deal except I generally am unaware of the food residue until much time has passed. The good news is that *********** will be here soon and I will get to shave! Mel's last day of school is Friday and her/our/his baby shower is on Sunday and then it's all downhill from there!

Here is a clip from Ashlee Valett's (now O'Neal) wedding that I shot at the end of the summer.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Melissa Might Be Able To Drink Wine in 33 Days

This weekend was quite eventful. On Friday I filmed Alicia Auser and Dustin Baker's wedding. I was essentially there as a guest as well and it was a lot of fun to catch up with some friends we hadn't seen in a long time. They had a photo booth where everyone was asked to take pictures and got to give a copy to the couple for their wedding album in addition to being able to keep a copy for ourselves. It was a fun idea. On Saturday Mel and I had Lamaze class. Renee Kavanaugh (formerly Miller) was in our class as well. The class went from 8am-4pm. It was splendid. During the breathing exerise the instructor turned all of the lights off, played mood-setting instrumental music, and had us lay down on the floor with pillows. My job, as the birthing coach, was to help Melissa with her breathing techniques. I did this job pretty well...until I fell asleep. I will spare you the details, but long story short-I fell asleep while continuing to do the breathing exercise. In other words I was going "hee hee hee hoo" in my sleep. Melissa woke me up and started laughing so hard that tears came pouring from her eyeballs. It was hilarious. I am now fully prepared to be a birthing coach. Our child will be in good hands. After the class we went over to Tyler's condo for his wine pairing party. Melissa and I aren't exactly wine connoisseurs so our trip to Cost Plus presented a few challenges but in the end, we figured it out. At one point I kissed Melissa after taking a sip of an certain beverage, not knowing said unsaid beverage was all over my mustache and beard. This made her upset. She even whined. Get it? Whined. Like wined, except with an "h."

This is a video I took on my phone a couple nights ago of the baby moving in Melissa's belly. So cool/weird. I can't believe that he is due in 33 days!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Double Crossed By The Swashbuckler Least Expected (On the eve of his untimely demise)

I now know how Jack Bauer must have felt at the end of 24's first season when he found out that Nina was dirty. As a point of reference I will remind you that Charles was the best man (1 of 2) in my wedding and I have shared many a glorious experience with him. Heck, we even used to send out Christmas cards together. Just when you think you know a guy, I mean really know him, he goes and joins the like of Matt Ginn and Shaun LeBlanc in the realm of beardless sissy cowards. Harsh words, I know, but deserved nonetheless. My son will not hear of his father and Uncle Charles' exploits in the K-Car or sold-out Fish Outta Water shows. On the contrary. Only one bedtime story will be told about his so-called "uncle." My son will say, "Hey dad, can you tell me that story again?" To that I will likely respond by asking, "which story do you mean son?" He will reply by saying: "The one where you cry, featuring a tangled web of deceit, heartbreak, and cowardice." I will then proceed to tell him, for the 100th time, the story about the day his late Uncle Charles allowed a razor to touch his beard 4 days before his untimely demise.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is."

Justin is taking classes at the Academy of Art College in the city and he was asked to take some photos of the best looking people that he could find. Naturally, he called Melissa and I. Truth be told, though Melissa is quite cute, I grow uglier by the day and my beard continues to take over my face. Here are the photos:
Melly Belly 1.
Melly Belly 2.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Babies Don't Need to Live in a Nursery, Flowers Do

First off, I need to commend Rob Calame on his diligent beard growth. Until Sunday I was unaware of his solidarity in our quest. It is good to see that someone has taken Shaun's place. Yesterday Mel and I decided that we should rearrange our bedroom so that when our little squirrel is born, he will have a place to sleep. Allison came over to provide moral support. As most of you know, Melissa and I have been blessed with an affordable, albeit quaint (a cute way of saying "small"), living arrangement. When we added Bauer in to the mix we really tested the limits of our living quarters. Or so we thought. On the eve of our little one's birth we are still in a naive state of tranquility about how our home is going to accommodate all of its inhabitants. What we have learned in the past year or so is that no matter what happens it will all work out. Granted, it would be nice to have a nursery for the baby but when it comes down to it he is not going to know the difference. In hindsight he may even be thankful that he doesn't have little bears on his wall or rainbows from floor to ceiling (see: my childhood bedroom). After visiting the children in Hungary and Ukraine and seeing the homes of the Navajo families and missionaries that we have grown to love, we realized that we have more than enough to provide a "home" for this child. As long as we love and feed him he is going to be a happy camper. His birth is a mere 40 days (or less) away and Mel is ready to "not be pregnant anymore." Truth me told, the process has been relatively painless for me. Here's to 10 more kids!

Here is a funny clip of Bauer and my parent's puppy, Bella, taken on my phone. Bauer stole Bella's toy and she chased him around the couch for literally 10 minutes.