Espen True Shackelford

Picture Album > 1999 Album > Espen

Espen True Shackelford

6:16am, Saturday, August 21, 1999
7 lb, 13oz

(Update: Nov 2001) Espen has his own section on the web site. See: (Pictures, etc.)

(Update: August 24 pm) Since so many of you have been asking: the name "Espen" means "bear of God" in Norwegian.

(Update: August 24 am) David sent some pictures.

(August 22) Espen was born Saturday morning at the Kaiser Hospital in Bellflower. His father describes him as "actually very good-natured, if he cries, you just pat his a couple times and he's okay."

I asked what he looks like, and Dave said "he's not a bad looking kid", not "ugly, like 30% of the baby population".

I asked Heather how she feels, and she said "Um... I, uh... feel sore", like "a truck ran over me, or out of me, actually".

I asked her what Espen is like, she said "He lays there and doesn't cry a whole lot, which is kinda nice", then added "but you never know what the future holds."

Heather's mother will be here in town for another week to help out.

Early Friday morning, the 20th, Heather started feeling like this was the time.  They went to the hospital and got sent back several times that afternoon and night.  They stayed at Heather's aunt's house, who lives just a few minutes from the hospital. They went to the hospital at noon, 11:30pm, then finally at 5:45am (driving quickly this time), and Espen was born at 6:16am on Saturday. They stayed at the hospital until Sunday afternoon around 4pm.

Dave commented on the tight security they have at the hospital. Immediately after birth, they attached an identification bracelet on Espen's wrist, and an electronic sensor on his ankle. During their stay in the hospital, every time they went to different areas, and during every shift change, someone checked that the ID's matched Heather's. Dave noted that they didn't check his -- they don't care if they lose track of the father, he surmised. Also, Heather got fed three meals a day, while he only got one.

To congratulate them, you can write email at, or use this web page to send an alphanumeric page to David: (Choose David Shackelford on the list, type your message, then click send page)

I have no pictures of Espen yet, so this will have to do:


Click to see back of postcard
"The Birth of Espen"*
Heather Shackelford

I don't have a picture of Espen, so instead, you'll have to look at these pictures of his parents, and imagine what he looks like.

Being Parents

A little lesson on what being parents is really like. David and Heather now no longer have to imagine what it will be like, it is reality:

*Note: This work isn't actually called "The Birth of Espen". It was on a postcard announcing Heather's senior art show at Biola. Since the show was titled "Revisionings", I have decided to take the liberty of doing some revisioning of my own, hence the name. I believe originally it was "Part 2 of Teresa of Avila Triptych".

Dave gave me a more detailed account, which not everyone will be interested in.  If you want to read about all the baby-having details like dilation, contractions, labor, and stitches, use your mouse to highlight by selecting the following paragraphs:

Friday morning, at 4:30am, Heather started going into labor.  That morning, they drove to Michigan Park, walked around for a while, went to the post office and video store, then arrived at the hospital shortly before noon.  Heather was only dilated 3cm, so they sent her home around 1pm.  You have to be dilated 4cm before they will admit you, and 10cm before you can have the baby. They spent the afternoon at Heather's aunt's house.  She was having contractions all day, at about 7 minutes apart.  By 9pm the contractions were stronger, 5 to 3 minutes apart, so they went back to the hospital at 11:30pm.  Heather was rather uncomfortable at this point. No one was at the check-in place, but eventually the "lowest person on the totem pole", came along. She was rude and unhelpful, and they couldn't stand her.  They learned that she was still only dilated 3cm.  They stayed at the hospital for a few more hours, and Heather was having contractions for one and a half minutes every three minutes.  After a few hours, a midwife (someone nicer) checked again, and she was still not at 4cm.  The midwife said they had to send her home, or she could walk around for an hour or so and see what happens. So from 2am to 3am, they walked up and down a long hallway there.  At the end of that, Heather was still only dilated 3.5cm, so they went back to Heather's aunt's house.

They stayed there for two and a half more hours, at which point the contractions weren't stopping, and Heather was feeling the urge to push, so they rushed off to the hospital again.  Dave was driving quickly, with Heather in the back seat feeling strong urges to push, so he encouraged her to "just blow instead".  He picked up the pace, (running red left turn signals, speeding, etc.), and got to the hospital at 5:45am.  They went directly to the delivery room.  At that point, Heather was dilated only 7cm, so the doctor left.  After 8 minutes of trying to suppress pushes, Heather was at 10cm, which was finally the right amount for having the baby.  By the time the doctor came back, Heather was ready, and Espen was born at 6:16am.  They spent another half an hour giving Heather some stitches, and they were all done by 6:45am.

[Next: Pictures of Espen]

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Created and maintained by Matthew Weathers. Last updated Apr 20, 2006.