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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Horrors that have new meaning

One of the changes I did not expect is to suddenly fear the horrible:
- the idea of Chris dying in some horrible tragic accident before the baby was born
- the idea of me suffering some debilitating trauma after the baby was born
- imagining, while gazing at the innocence of my sleeping child, what it must be like in real life for babies to be neglected: the scene in Trainspotting comes to mind
- the starving mothers who look into the eyes of their hungry babies whom they can't feed

These thoughts are heavy and sad.
But they make me aware of how fortunate I am, and I squeeze Zenas a little tighter.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Waking up in Africa

Every so often Chris or I look at the other and say, "we have a son." Incredulous, hysterical, frightened, giddy--all at once.

I've had to ask some of our already-experienced parent friends why they didn't adequately warn us about what it's really like. I mean, we did hear a lot about the lack of sleep, our lives changing forever, etc.. But no one really sat us down, in a formal way as I would now find appropriate, to detail the vast range and depth of emotions and experiences we'd go through in such a short amount of time. We've had more intimate and unforgettable moments in the last month than we have in the previous year.

As Aaron said, "well it's like waking up one day in Africa, and trying to describe it to someone who's never been." Well put.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

First Bath

We were instructed to wait until your umbilical cord detached.
You were eighteen days old when we ropped up your blue whale bathtub in the kitchen sink at our apartment on Masonic Avenue; you'd only had sponge baths until then.

You gave a tiny cry from the shock of the water, then quickly calmed down though your tiny firsts stayed clenched. We were careful to keep your face dry as we washed your hair, then each arm, your front, your legs, your back, and finally your tush--all the while trying you keep you covered so that you didn't get cold. Papa wrapped you in your hooded towel like a porcelain doll, and clutched you against his chest all the way to your room where we dried you, clothed you, and brushed your hair.

Conquer and Defeat

- for the first time since his birth I managed to jump in the shower while at home alone with Zenas (previously too terrified to leave him unattended, even in a state of deep sleep in the baby jail also known as a crib)

- immediately after stepping out of the shower I gazed down while toweling off only to be confronted by not only the evidence but the realization of not having even thought about shaving my legs for over a month

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mothers and Daughters

A hastily shortened visit from my mother makes me feel really grateful I have a son.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hello after 10 days

I had to resort to a non-individual email after discovering it's true what they say about this whole baby thing... I'm in a deep haze of combat sleep and constant activity, though at the end of the day it feels like I did nothing--I have literally piles of good intentions in the form of phone calls to make, emails/cards to send, bills, projects, more sleep, but they all remain untouched. Chris has to remind me that we are successful in one important thing: we have managed to take care of our baby who, thankfully, continues to be breathing every time we nervously check. In fact he seems to be growing and changing already. Nothing or no one has ever been cuter in our eyes.

We have loved all the well wishes. It's been such a treat to have a big happy ongoing celebration. If you've mentioned visiting, yes we'd love to have you meet the little guy; if you've offered food, thank you so much and we promise to gladly take you up on it, as soon as we figure out our schedule of visiting family; thank you again for the gifts, kind words, support, and thoughts. Please forgive the lack of response--and keep trying if you don't reach us, since our schedule and attention span is erratic. :-)

A brief summary for now: We love, love, love our little guy. He's healthy and sturdy (peasant stock, I tell you)--at birth he outweighed everyone else in the nursery by at least a pound. He's started gaining weight a week earlier than the average kid, and we're already doing that new-parent thing of believing that our child is indeed very special. Chris and I have an ongoing rivalry of which of us he resembles the most. At birth Zenas looked very Asian in features, but with a white complexion. Now at 10 days he looks very different already; Chris thinks that the Burns side is coming out more and more each day. I remind him daily that my genes are dominant and will crush his hopes for an eye color other than brown. Our first 10 days have been dramatic starting with the unexpected surgery/recovery, followed by a comical but truly painful situation of my body producing such an overabundance of milk that the hospital staff and subsequently hired lactation consultant (yes that's really a job title in this new world we've suddenly entered) disbelieved my claims until shown otherwise, but then said, "wow good job mommy!" I hadn't thought before of how mammary is very close to momma, mommy, mama, etc..

What we have managed to accomplish, again painfully aware that we are becoming the kind of new parents so in love with their child that they are annoying--is to take photos. If you'd like to indulge us, please check out our pride and joy here:

And though we are weary from sleep deprivation, we are for the most part deliriously happy. We've decided to keep him. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Blood

Your fingernails were too long and you would scratch yourself so I used the nail clippers but went a little too deep. It was only a drop but enough to make your parents cry. I switched to using scissors after that.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

First Cat

Tubby and Snowflake were waiting for you at home.
We were afraid they would rob you of breath but they left you alone. You did kick Tubby out of his sleeping place next to Mama, and we think you were the inspiration for Snowflake's sudden friendliness towards strangers and her amazing new jumping trick.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Introducing our...

Son (it's a boy)!

Zenas Satoshi Burns
- Zenas (pronounced like Venus except with a Z) is a family name on Christian's paternal side: both his grandfather and great-grandfather were named Zenas. We also plan to call him Zeke.
- Satoshi (have a japanese person say this for you) is a name given by my father, in memory of his favorite brother who died young (before I got the chance to meet him) -- the kanji chosen means "to teach others gently"

1 September 2010
9:09 am
8 lbs, 12 oz.
21 inches

The birth story: I started having contractions very early Monday morning... but only erratic, mild and spaced apart. They subsided in the afternoon but came back at night, which meant I was up every twenty minutes or so. On Tuesday I saw my doctor who called it "early labor" with no dilation and said it could be 1-4 days away. That afternoon my contractions were spaced closer together and pain severe enough that we went to the hospital. We were convinced it was the real deal, but at the examination, we were still only at 2cm; we were sent home with a morphine injection to help me sleep, but then my water broke and we went back to the hospital at midnight. Midway through the night we decided to get an epidural so that I could rest. My contractions were normal but I showed no progression, and the baby started to experience some drops in heart rate so that they could not proceed with augmented induction. We staved the surgery for a while, but by morning when I still had not progressed and the baby showed distress again, the doctors strongly advised a c-section. Exhausted after 48 hours of contractions and no sleep, we had to admit that at best, we'd still have to make it through another 10-12 hours of labor without guarantees--so we agreed to the c-section. We have no regrets: an hour later we met our son.

It's been a surreal first day of recovery and adjusting to our new identities as parents. We will be in the hospital until Sunday, taking advantage of the hotel-like services. Thank you all for your continued support and well wishes. We cannot wait for you (and our cats) to meet him.

Mari and Christian