Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I might manage to finish the book by the time Zeke is 2...

When Dave and Michele came to visit in April, they brought a wonderful children's book for me to read to Zeke called On The Day You Were Born. It's about how the sun, moon, ocean tides, animals and people in the world celebrate a baby's arrival. It's beautifully illustrated and written in a poetic, soothing style, and as soon as I looked through it the first time I knew I was in trouble, because it's so sweet and lovely and expressive of the joy of a new baby that it makes me cry every time. After we brought Zeke home, I tried to read it to him and couldn't even get through the first paragraph before I started to bawl. The second time was not much better; I might have gotten through the first page. Last night we tried again and I was fine until I hit page 4. My mother thinks it's hilarious -- I sit there crying and laughing at myself, and she just laughs.

But it's not as bad as my reaction to The Giving Tree. One time I was merely explaining to someone else what the book was about and I choked up and started to weep. I would love for Zeke to have that book, but I may have to get someone else to read it to him.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Who the f@&k is Billy Ruebens?

As I mentioned in my previous post, Zeke is a bit jaundiced and is receiving phototherapy for it. He's doing fine and we're going home in a couple of hours. In the meantime, I learned something new.

When the night nurse came in a couple of nights ago to test him for jaundice, she said she was taking him to get his "Billy Ruebens" checked. I was a bit confused and asked who that was, and she explained that they were looking to see if Zeke had jaundice. So I figured that "Billy Ruebens" was a doctor back in the day who had come up with the test for jaundice or was some other prominent person in the medical field.

Then earlier today, we were meeting with the pediatrician who was explaining a bunch of stuff to us, and when she asked if we had any questions, I said, "actually, yes. I was just wondering who Billy Ruebens was and if he had something to do with jaundice research." She gave me the look that is usually reserved for people with dementia or some form of brain damage and explained that people hadn't been saying "Billy Ruebens," but rather, "bilirubins," which apparently is a chemical that has something to do with jaundice. Thankfully, her explanation was not followed by flashing sirens and large illuminated arrows with "moron" pointed in my direction, but it wouldn't have surprised me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Look what we made!!

Introducing Ezekiel Monash

The last 3 days have been the craziest of my life. An amazing and overwhelming combination of excitement, apprehension, tedium, dread, elation, intense physical pain, intense euphoria, and finally, a contentment that I have never known. Just typing these words is making me bust out in tears all over again. I feel so blessed and insanely happy, and I wish that everyone in the world could feel what I'm feeling right now, at some point in their lives.

But getting from noon on Tuesday to this point was going to hell and back. I had been 1 centimeter dilated for 2 weeks, and I was afraid I would pass my due date, which would have sucked on so many levels. First, as my previous posts make clear, I was completely over being pregnant. Second, my mom is coming in today, and it would have been a huge bummer for her if I didn't give birth until right before she left, because she has been so excited about seeing her new grandson. So on Sunday, I started going on 5 or 6 walks a day to try to move the dilation process along. This was a huge boon for Max, who is always thrilled when I pick up the leash and slip on my shoes. Monday I must have walked him 5 times, and I also took a couple of brisk mile long walks with the iPod.

I guess it did the trick, because I woke up Tuesday morning feeling off, physically. Very tired and achy all morning, and then at noon I started having contractions. At first they were very mild -- more like menstrual cramps than anything else -- but by 2 or 3 in the afternoon they were definitely discernable and regularly spaced, albeit far apart (at least 12 to 15 minutes). I was also having "bloody show," so I knew that the time had probably come. I called my doctor at about 3:30 in the afternoon, and he said that when the contractions started getting closer together -- under 10 minutes apart -- I should probably head into the hospital. I didn't want to head all the way over there (it's in Honolulu, about 21 miles from where we live) only to get sent home because I still had too long before true labor would begin, so Jason and I hung out for a while and figured that we'd head into the hospital at around 7 or 8. In the meantime, we let our neighbor know (she was going to look after Max while we were gone), did the dishes, did some laundry, and finished packing the hospital bag.

But by 5, the contractions were getting more intense and paintful, and were between 6 and 8 minutes apart. We decided to head in. We got to the hospital at about 6 :30 or so, but I was still only 1-2 cm dilated, so they made me walk around for hours, checking my progress every hour. So we walked. I shuffled along in my hospital gown, and Jason held my hand and walked with me and rubbed my back when the contractions hit, while I gripped his arm or the railing on the wall and tried to breathe through the pain. By 10:30 at night, I couldn't walk around anymore -- the contractions were too painful and too close together, and it was wearing me out. The hospital staff decided to put me in a labor room (up to that point we had been in a triage room) and give me a narcotic to try to dull the pain a little bit.

The pain medication didn't work. For the next few hours, I lay in bed while wave after wave of pain washed over me. At around 2 in the morning, the staff checked my cervix again, and I was still only 2-3 centimeters dilated. I was exhausted and worn out and still had a long way to go, so when they asked if I wanted an epidural, I said "hell, yes."

The anesthesiologist showed up and inserted the catheter at about 3 am, and 15 minutes later, I was in heaven. Totally, 100% pain free, though all my contractions were continuing unabated, growing stronger and stronger and moving the dilation process along. The only scary part was that the medication made my blood pressure plummet and the baby's heart rate dropped very rapidly, so all of a sudden there were 6 people in the room, poking and prodding at me, making me get up on all fours while they inserted more tubes into every orifice of my body and broke my water, and adjusting various medications to get us back on track. Finally, they got me and the baby out of distress, and I spent the next 10 hours or so dilating to 10 centimeters.

The problem, though, was that by the time I was done dilating and ready to push, the epidural was wearing off -- just in time for the hardest part. The doctor gave me two "toppers" -- smaller doses of pain medication to help me out during the pushing -- but they didn't last very long. So I spent the next 4 hours pushing out an 8 1/2 pound baby with a 14 inch head. The baby was tolerating the pushing, so we kept going. At first, it wasn't too bad, but by the last hour, he was starting to move down the canal and then got stuck behind my pubic bone, and it got kind of brutal. Finally, finally, the baby's head cleared my body and the rest of him slipped out, but I was sweating and crying, completely worn out and in horrible pain. I didn't even really get to enjoy seeing him or holding him at first, because the doctor had to stitch me up. Jason was excited, but also traumatized at having witnessed me in so much pain, so he couldn't really enjoy the moment either.

But then, after Zeke got cleaned up, we heard this squeaky little cry. And we looked at each other, smiled, and both burst into tears. There he was. Our little boo-boo. And he was healthy and looked perfect (except for a bit of a conehead) and was alert and beautiful.

The past two days we've spent hanging out in the hospital, snuggling the baby, marveling at how awesome he is, telling each other how much we love each other, and experiencing the family we have created. We were supposed to go home yesterday (Friday), but Zeke was a little bit jaundiced so the docs decided to keep him overnight for photo-therapy. Basically, he gets to spend the night in a baby incubator with a bright light shining down on him. So I'm here with him and Jason went home to spend some time with Max, get a change of clothes, and pick up my Mom from the airport. They'll come straight to the hospital from the airport, so I should be able to see them in about 6 hours. I'm exhausted and ecstatic and weepy and totally in love, with both my husband and my son, and I feel like the luckiest woman alive.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Don't call us, we'll call you

I say this without any desire to sound like a bitchy asshole, though I'm sure to some that's exactly how it will come across. But I can't talk any more about how I'm feeling these days. I've received so many lovely emails and phone calls from friends and relatives whose motives are nothing but pure and who are excited about the baby's impending arrival and how I'm doing. But the truth is, I feel like dogshit and I don't want to talk about it anymore. I've got nausea and heartburn, I can't sleep at night because I'm so uncomfortable, my feet and hands are so swollen that when I do sleep I wake up unable to feel my fingers because they have gone numb from the nerve pressure, my abdominal muscles ache and pull every time I switch positions, and my bowels are in an uproar. I'm so excited to meet my son, but to be honest, he has worn out his welcome in my body and I just want him to get the fuck out. When I go into labor and give birth, I will let everyone know, but until then, I have nothing new to report. If you want to call me and talk about the Red Sox-Indians series or how Friday Night Lights is the best show on TV or how awesome the New England Patriots are this season or the turmoil in Pakistan or what an idiot Britney Spears is, I'm all for it, but I can't talk about contractions or cervical effacement or anything like that anymore. Sorry.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The seller accepted our offer, with the only sticking point being the closing date. We wanted late December, they wanted mid November. We split the difference, so we're closing on December 3. Very exciting!

Monday, October 15, 2007

making progress

The house-hunting process has been a bit stressful. First, I'm experiencing extreme sticker shock at the price of real estate here. Basically, we're going to be spending twice as much as our Atlanta house sold for, to get something with similar square footage on 1/10 the plot of land and in a suburb 20 miles outside of Honolulu. Second, schlepping around to look at houses is physically taxing for me right now I'm less than 2 weeks from my due date and feeling absolutely enormous, and the baby loves to kick me hardest when I'm up and walking around. So getting in and out of the car and walking up and down stairs to check out open houses and showings leaves me exhausted.

But... I think we found a place. It's got 3 bedrooms, including a master suite that has a den attached that I can use as an office, a big downstairs with a new kitchen, a little yard where Jason can garden (he's way into it all of a sudden), and a two car garage. It's on a quiet street with nice neighbors, it's close to the beach and is in a community with a pool, and it's near a reasonably good elementary school, so I may be able to avoid the expense of private school for a little while. We're making an offer on it tomorrow. Fingers crossed...

Friday, October 05, 2007

The theme is "prison"

I've never thought of interior decorating -- or other similar stylistic choices -- in terms of having a theme. Because of my parents' jobs, our house was decorated with rugs and paintings and sculpture they acquired in their various diplomatic posts around the world, accompanied by neutral-toned furniture that wouldn't compete with the art and various objets. Nothing matched in the sense that they didn't pick out upholstery to match drapes to pick up the pattern in the throw pillows, but everything complemented everything else and looked cool. Likewise, I never had a bedroom that was all decorated in Holly Hobby or Peanuts characters or anything like that. It wouldn't have occured to me to ask for it, and it's not really my thing.

As a result, I've been at a loss lately when people ask me what my "theme" is for Zeke or his bedroom. I don't get this at all. I mean, he's a baby. He's not going to give a shit about themes. All he's going to want is to be warm and comfortable and to have access to my boobs whenever he's hungry. My feeling is, if his clothes and sheets and stuff are clean and safe, I've done my job, and as far as their appearance goes, anything simple and not ugly is fine by me. But the women from my exercise class, for example, ask me about my theme and tell me about how their theme for their babies' nurseries was "bears" or "sports" or "Winnie the Pooh." They look at me sort of blankly when I appear confused and a little bit panicked by the question until I blurt out, "my theme is 'baby.' Ha ha." Then their looks change to slightly pitying, as if I'm some poor soul who lacks the imagination to come up with a theme for my child, who will doubtless grow up neglected.

So I've decided on a theme. "Prison." Jason and I joke about how Zeke with be our little convict baby whose ancestors were sent to Australia when it was a penal colony. He's got a Johnny Cash Folsom Prison onesie, and yesterday I made him a t-shirt that says "I Just Spent Nine Months On The Inside." I'm trying to find some jammies that look like an orange prison jumpsuit. So there's your theme, exercise class ladies. I hope it meets with your approval.

Items from Zeke's layette

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Because we don't have enough going on these days...

We're starting the house-hunting process. We've got our prequalification letter from the bank, our realtor is lining up open houses and showings, and we want to be under contract soon so we can close before the end of December and get the tax break for 2007. Let's hope my water doesn't break as I'm traipsing through someone's house...

Monday, October 01, 2007

A womb with a view

Aww... he's got my cankles!

I'm giving birth to the creature from the black lagoon.

This past weekend we went for an ultrasound to check the baby's size and development. All looks good. We got one of those "4D" scans. I was hoping for a better shot of the baby's face, but because of the position he's in, it was hard to get a clear picture. His features look squished and weird and half his face was in shadows. But all is well, and I'm now less than 4 weeks from my due date. Which can't come soon enough, because I'm so ready to have this baby. I'm bored and huge and constantly needing to pee and I can't do much of anything without feeling completely exhausted within 5 minutes.