The Parasite Came Out, Yay!

So we are home, it is Monday at around 11:30 AM, and we have had our first night alone with the baby. It was not so bad as we expected, although he made diaper-stew 3 times between 1 AM and 7 AM. Where does all that stuff come from?

We got OK sleep though, and the baby did not die so all in all it was a successful night and we are fairly confident that we can keep him in a non-dead state.

All in all the whole experience has been a lot easier than I thought it would be! I particularly liked the c-section, although I know Johanna would have rather had 48 hours of pain for some reason. I like how it was all scheduled. I think a c-section is a pretty male approach to birth, it appeals to my sense of order. “You have a baby in you? Well hand me that x-acto knife, the big one, and let’s see what he looks like!”

Up until we made the c-section appointment, though, it was a very feminine sort of pregnancy, which is the way it should be I suppose. We had a midwife (who was really great actually), you may have read about our adventures in Santa Cruz lady-acupuncture complete with singing, and we haven’t even told you all about the birth classes we had to take. “Back in the olden days, all the ladies would get together and sing when they had birth pain! It was very super for a lady! These modern doctors and their modern ways, they must be coming from Mars or something!” I had a lot of practice in keeping my big mouth shut and being supportive while waves of annoyance washed over me.

So when we went in to see the OB who was doing the surgery last Tuesday he had a very appealing way about him that I appreciated. We asked him if we needed a “birth plan,” which is one of those things that every one of the squintillion birthing-books we have says is absolutely essential, and he says “Birth plan? What birth plan? Here’s the birth plan: we cut your belly open and take out the baby. That’s your birth plan.” I confess I like a bit of medical confidence, after we had the acupuncture we asked the midwife if that stuff had ever worked for her and she said “No, I’ve never seen it work, but some people think it does so I thought we might give it a shot.” That is OK I suppose, but I think you will agree that it lacks a little bit of the “do this to fix that” approach to medicine that I prefer.

So in any case, that is pretty much how it went – we went to the hospital, the doctors cut her belly open and pulled out the baby. As Johanna mentions, seeing him come out a little bit blue was scary; we’d both just read a New Yorker article about the advances in obstetric medicine over the last century and I remember the huge wave of fear that washed over me while reading about babies coming out blue. It was probably the first time that I had a real sense of what it must feel like to be responsible for a little life that you have only partial control over.

That day was pretty uneventful really, to be honest the whole weekend was a lot easier than I had anticipated. The baby slept almost the whole day, I trucked him back and forth between Johanna and the nursery about a hundred times, and Johanna and I observed that he was cute more than once. Johanna was very successful breastfeeding which was an immense relief, because that is another thing that we had been reading could be really hard. Here too was another divide between the male and the female way of doing things, though; the first few times I helped with the “latch-on”, and basically how I do it is I grab the back of the baby’s head, wait for him to cry, then shove his face into the boob with alacrity. I thought it worked pretty well but later we moved from that to the gently wipe the baby’s lips with the nipple approach, which works pretty good too I suppose. In any case, Leo has grown accustomed to snacking on Johanna and I think we are in good shape on that front.

The next couple of days were more of the same; look at the baby, marvel at his powers of cute (every time I took him back to the nursery, I inspected the other babies, and I think I can confidently tell you that, objectively speaking, the cuteness of our baby surpassed by a wide margin the cuteness of all the other babies), feed the baby, try and get that horrendously sticky and vile substance that he excreted off of his butt while trying to keep his feet out of it, getting peed on (twice so far), and just in general having a good time.

Then we went home, and here we are. It is better to be home than in the hospital, we all watched TV together as a family last night, and it was fun. Johanna is healing up nicely and has no trouble moving around, and the baby is still sleeping a lot. He has also started crying when he is hungry, which is a big relief because we have been a little worried about keeping to a feeding schedule during the nights if he didn’t make his desires known. I suppose in retrospect that that was a silly worry to have.

Well, that’s it! I guess we will probably have to change the subtitle of our blog now since his relationship with Johanna has become more symbiotic than parasitical at this point. Also, thanks to everyone that visited us in the hospital and bought us baby presents! Now we get to start using all that stuff.

Baby Leo

2 ½ days ago our little son Leo Voolich Wright was born. Here is the story with pictures. Caleb and I arrived at the hospital at 5:45 and were ushered into the recovery room where they had Caleb dress up like the Pillsbury doughboy.

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Mostly I was scared of the anesthesia, because the idea of shooting something into my spine scares me. The anesthesiologist told me that Caleb couldn’t come in the room because if something went wrong he didn’t want him in the way.

So then they shot me in the back and my legs got super heavy and from then on I was pretty disoriented. There was a paper sheet between me and the surgery. And Caleb stood up near my face. The doctor, who on Tuesday, had told me that “they were gonna cut open my belly and take the baby out”, talked about his golf game with the other doctor while I felt little movements in my belly. And then our little baby came out. Behold!

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I still couldn’t see anything. I heard someone ask Caleb if he wanted to take a picture. And then some time later I heard some crying. After Caleb told me that the baby was blue at first and it was real scary. He didn’t breath for 45 seconds. Hence, his Apgar score of 8. But basically, he is totally healthy. After some more time them finally brought the baby for me to see.

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Caleb and I are pretty pleased that we have the cutest baby in the whole world. He had a crazy wrinkle face when he first came out, but seems to be losing some of his wrinkles over the past couple of days. Here is the face that I am getting to know and love:

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A nurse taught us a way to burp that did not make Leo very happy:

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Leo also had some visitors, Grandpa Ken, Aunt Crystal, and Uncle David. Also Hilary came by to see us, and Yvette and David but we didn’t get pictures of them.

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Tomorrow is a big day for us. I think my milk is coming in, so it is now the calm before the storm. Caleb and I will never rest again.

’twas the night before christmas

We go in to get our little baby tomorrow morning. Right now I’m real sleepy, but I’m a bit afraid I wont be able to sleep in anticipation. And I’ll need my sleep. We have to be at hospital at 5:45 AM. Someone from the called with instructions: “go to the green door and dial 1 on the black phone”.

We met the surgeon on Tuesday morning. He was exceptionally tanned looking like he just got off a fishing boat or back from a trip to Miami. I asked him if we needed a birth plan for a cesarean. He laughed and said “you don’t need a plan. Here’s the plan, I’m just gonna cut open your belly and take out the baby”.

I think we’re ready. I just looked at my baby to-do list and I still haven’t signed up for google day care, bought a diaper bag, got the car seat checked, or turned the baby’s head around. But no one can be perfect.

We got some junk mail from Similac today which I was about to throw out but Caleb said might come in handy. And in fact, it did. I used the hospital check list to pack my bag. So let’s hope similac got the list right.

Tomorrow we’ll be parents!

Holy crap, we’re about to have a baby!

This is our last weekend before we are parents. Being pregnant is kinda lame because you can’t go out and party on your last weekend of freedom because it is so friggin’ hard to move at all. After a walk around the block I need a 30 minute nap. And you can’t get loaded b/c the baby needs calcium more than it needs booze. So we’ve cranked up the Brahms and poured ourselves tall glasses of milk (except the milk part).

How can I be so sure that this is our last weekend before the baby? Last weekend I thought it might be our last weekend before the baby. Dan, Becca, and Alex came over and I titled our photo album, “weekend before the baby”. I can’t resist some pictures.

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While I’m sure that you thought it was my psychic womanly instinct that lets me know I’m going to have a baby this week, it is more likely that it is my scheduled C-Section that lets me know.

Everyone kept telling me the baby would turn. I heard multiple times from the nurses and acupuncturists, you have a lot of fluid in there, it’ll be real easy just to push him around. So two weeks ago we went to Dr. Turn Babies Around of silicon valley. He spent a lot of time pushing on my belly, but the stupid baby wouldn’t turn. Our little baby isn’t the push over everyone thought he was.

Nesting

Nesting is the phase in pregnancy when the husband and the wife no longer want to leave the house and instead want to spend all their time cleaning and preparing for the little one. This is sometimes a sign that you are about to go into labor. Our childbirth instructor told us that if the woman wanted to clean perhaps she should save her energy for the delivery.

It’s hard to imagine that I’ll ever get the urge to clean, but this weekend Caleb had that urge and our house is feeling more and more baby ready.

My domestic project was the dresser. I had planned to buy a new dresser but instead on Saturday morning we stopped by the used furniture shop and picked up an old wooden dresser for $50. So my project for the weekend was to fix up the dresser. Sand it, prime it, and paint it blue so that our little child would learn to that he was a boy. (Oh, Barnard have I forsaken thee?)

Like every great artist before me, I had a vision of what our baby’s dresser would look like. It’d be blue with pictures of our favorite animals on it. A cute hippo in the corner and maybe a giraffe or an elephant. For some reason I was convinced that the best way to draw animals was by using stencils. Thus started my long quest to find animal stencils. I learned a few things about stencilling this weekend: 1) stencilling can be used to draw fairly fancy pictures by using multiple overlays and for each one painting a new color, 2) Google ain’t gonna help you find stencils in the bay area. Nor will any of the stores that you might expect to have them: Jo-anns, Borders, Target, Home Depot. Well Home Depot has Disney stencils, but no cute jungle animals. 3) Making your own stencils is time consuming and a little disappointing when when they don’t work.

Sanding and painting was a bit more successful. The only rough spot was when a bee started buzzing around me. The sun was really hot and the paint was drying quickly I didn’t want it to dry splotchy. But at the same time I have a mild allergy to bees and started to get terrified that my allergy would be exacerbated because I was pregnant. My pregnancy hormones kicked in. The decision between potential splotchy dresser and potential bee sting was to much to bear. I started sobbing hysterically and running back and forth to get away from the bee. Fortunately, prince charming came to my rescue. Caleb came outside and put the finishing touches on the dresser and I watched from our bee free pantry.

Now we have a beautiful blue dresser with no animals on it and a collection of stencils that we have no use for.

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Hawaii is a fun and romantic place to go

Hello all! Johanna says that I am very crappy at the blogging skillz, and I suppose she is correct because it was my job to blog about our trip to Hawaii, and that was like months ago and such.

So I don’t know how many of you know this about me, but I am an Exceptionally romantic fellow, and I can tell you right now that capital letter is no accident. My woman instructed me that what she wanted for her birthday was a nice trip, a little nature involved, and no planning on her part required. So what did I do? I went to a wedding, got mildly loaded, and met someone who lives in Hawaii! My Exceptionally romantic mind made the connections that you might expect, if you were only as romantic as me, and dammit, Hawaii it was. So I proceeded to make no plans whatsoever, until the week before Labor Day weekend when it all seemed possible somehow, and then maybe ten minutes of hard internet labor later, we were practically in Hawaii. Us

How many acupuncturists does it take to turn a baby?

18?

Well at least to try. Saturday Caleb and I decided to be props at an acupuncture seminar in Santa Cruz where we got the attention of a whole hut full of acupuncturists. Unfortunately, our stubborn little baby still has his head over on the right hand side of my belly. So we may have to try a new technique soon.

Nonetheless, we got to observe the hippie midwife-acupuncture culture in Santa Cruz and have somewhat of an anthropological adventure. We arrived mid-class. It was being taught in a fancy hut behind the midwife’s home. There were 17 women and one man eating gingerbread and drinking water with mint leaves gathering around a lady lying on the floor with four pins in her belly. It all seemed innocuous until they turned the woman on her back and started exclaiming — “do you see that, we’re gonna have to bleed her!” My acupuncturists leaned over and assured me that they wouldn’t have to bleed me.

Since they were running late, they had to move on to me and save the bleeding for another time. So I didn’t get to witness this technique.

The first lesson on me was “is the baby really breech?”. I lay down on a table. The teacher spent some time palpating my belly and then invited a few other people to try. She was teaching them to identify the parts of the body. She then invited Caleb over to try and suggested that this would also be his first time feeling for a baby in a pregnant lady. I think it hurt poor Caleb’s feelings, because he said, “Hey, I touch that belly all the time”.

At the same time, most of the women in the room seemed very interested in my pulse. So people kept coming over and holding my wrists, usually one person on each side. Eventually I found out that people could tell the sex of the baby based on my pulse and so everyone wanted to guess the sex.

Given that we only heard two names, it seemed like all people there may have been named after animals. The teacher was named Raven and during the lesson she kept talking about a woman named Seal. Seal is much smaller then me, so it’d be much harder for her baby to turn.

When it came time for the needles, my acupuncturist explained why she had chosen her technique. On the topic of the needles she stuck in me to prevent me from going into labor, we overheard, “what points did you use?”. My acupuncturist: “I used spleen 9”. Response: “Really? I use that to induce labor” and then another voice, “well maybe that’s one of those that goes both ways”.

After the treatment, to thank us, the group sang us a song from the north west corner of north America. It wasn’t in English, but it translated into something about hugging a baby named Noah and giving him all your peace. Lying there I was trying to decipher what northwest corner of north America meant. My Dad grew up in Seattle, and I certainly couldn’t imagine his parents singing him such a song.