Lil' Genghis, future world leader Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Slide show

Friday, March 30, 2007

Turning blonde

It seems like Bellinha will turn out to be a blonde after all. Here's a nice shot taken a couple of days ago showing her beautiful new hues.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Big Announcements

Yes, we are living in a parallel universe of baby joy and sleep deprivation but we do get the good news through the grapevine: two very special couples are now betrothed!
Aunt Cristina and Uncle Robinho,are now bound to tie the knot after exchanging engagement bands that once belonged to Grandma Helena and Grandpa Rinaldo, and Aunt Donna and Uncle Ed are also engaged. Congratulations to you guys, we love you!!

Aunt Sharon, this post's for you

Since a couple of you read the post "You Don't Want to Read This" and subsequently complained that in fact they had not wanted to read it, we realize the need for certain obscurities within the blog, particularly when the subject is so crappy.

So today, after two hours of pulling her hair out (pulling dad's hair out is difficult), mom decided at 4:30 a.m. to get a little help with a very fussy Lil' Genghis. Her dad remembered something from that infant care class taught by the sweet instructor who didn't need to tell her students that one of her parents was a hippie. Yeah, it was self-evident, but maybe that comment shouldn't have made it onto the class evaluation.

Anyway, mom was thinking it was time to call the doctor, and that triggered something in dad's brain. See, the hippie chick infant care instructor had told him that the first thing a doctor's going to ask is about her temperature, and sometimes the seemingly simple act of checking the temperature clears up other problems.

Now, said act tends to not even be noticed by babies, but leaves parents traumatized.

But if parents can get through the trauma and take the temperature, some things just have a way of clearing up. And, in this case, they did.

Dear Reader, we're trying not to treat you real shittily, and we understand that of course many of you have reading comprehension problems and another title like "You really really really don't want to read this" would also be big ignored, so we're just trying to make the best of a crappy situation and hope you can work with us.

Either way, something tells us hippie chick the infant-care instructor and other parents know exactly what we're talking about, and the rest of you are just going to have to figure it out. Something also tells us that in two months, this post will make the utmost sense to Aunt Sharon after a sleepless night with Savannah. We love you both.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Grandpa's favorite picture

Just so our dear readers know that we're still here, we're posting quick news to let you know that we're fine, that's because Grandpa Rinaldo today complained that we haven't posted in a few days.

Yesterday Bellinha had her two-week well-visit to the pediatrician and everything is fine, her weight is up and she behaved beautifully while being examined by Dr. Gwon.

So without much ado here's another picture of our little girl, this one is Grandpa Rinaldo's favorite, maybe because Bellinha displays the famous single-eyebrow raise that is one of his trademarks?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

An hour in the life of Bellinha

Please, everyone, drop mom a note and tell her how grateful we all are that Lil' Genghis is in good hands. Here's an excerpt from the little lady's life that dad sampled in lieu of mom, who is either much to proud, sweet or tired to complain adequately:

12:30 p.m.: Wet diaper. Change.
12:35 p.m.: Crying. Find new new diaper is now wet.
12:45 p.m.: Try to put in bed (following a two-hour feeding). Cries begin soon.
12:50 p.m.: Looking for a bottle. None mixed. While holding baby, turn on bottle warmer, mix two kinds of milk in three bottles, put two in fridge and one in warmer, all while trying to comfort baby.
12:57 p.m.: Bottle out of warmer and into baby.
1:20 p.m.: Time for lunch?
1:21 p.m.: Crying.
1:22 p.m.: Find new new diaper is filled, look for new new new diaper.
1:29 p.m.: Put baby back to bed, comfortably bundled and in a new outfit. Find out she now has the hiccups (common).
1:30 p.m.: Time for a hat.

Three cheers for mom! Hip! Hip! Horray!

The nature of time

With relatives, time is relative.

Witness everything with Lil' Genghis. dad was asked how he had time to do any blogging. Yet sometimes there's too much time, about eight times a day, when the seven minutes for the bottle warmer to catch up seems to take a lifetime. When she cries, a second is an eternity.

So, you might say, besides mixing metaphors, just what the hell is dad doing at 5:30 a.m.? Obviously, blogging; even Uncle Rodrigo might've been able to figure that out, if you gave him ... enough time. But dad just helped Bellinha have a mid-morning snack, and so it was time for a nutritious adult breakfast of caffeine-free Diet Coke and formerly frozen pizza. After those tortuous minutes of waiting for a bottle to get warmed, it's hard not to be fully awake. (Some light dancing/bouncing with baby and the same little song refrain are things parents instinctively know.)

So, what is it about time and music? Seems like every band has done something. The best lyrics may go to Pink Floyd:
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day/You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way. Kicking around a piece of ground in your hometown, Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
Jackson Browne offered the observation that "the only time that seems to short is the time that we get to play."

And this has what to do with the baby? Well, she's sleeping. This has what to do with the blog? Well, you've read it. Given that at four people have told dad they've read a post called "You don't want to read this, Dear Reader, it seems as if our standards can't be low enough.

And if there's anything our family thrives on, it's lowered expectations. Thanks for reading! G'night. =)

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Big correction: It's Aunt Karen, not Aunt Kathy, who has taken such great care of boydog and girldog over the last two weeks. Whoops. dad wants to smack himself over that miscue, particularly since Aunt Karen and Uncle David have been beyond accommodating. She always said she was there to help, not hinder, and took the dogs for another week after dad wrecked his back. We can't recommend their professional services and their friendship enough, even if we can't get their names straight.

Anyway, so we got the dogs back today, and things went ... quietly. The dogs seem more relaxed than normal, even, and are a little inquisitive but not even very much toward Lil' Genghis. All that said, boydog took a diaper-changing opportunity to explore Isabella's accoutrements. The rest, as they say, is history:

In other news, dad has gotten a few quiet moments with Bellinha. He finds her eyes just so darned expressive. (Unfortunately, it's tough to hold baby and take pictures at the same time, and the little one doesn't have the same awareness of what a camera lens is that we do, so she doesn't make eye contact.)

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

You don't want to read this

Aunt Sharon and Uncle Josh, both soon to be parents (albeit of different children) seem to want to know more about what this whole pregnancy and birth thing really is like. We've hinted here before how a lot of this goes unsaid, and we left a lot out of the recommended shopping lists.

Still, this seems like a good day for us to share the unvarnished truth, and for you, Dear Reader, to reconsider adoption.

Please note: This "us" and "we" stuff boils down to dad's observations, rather than his personal experiences. It's certainly far worse for mom or any mom, in the generic sense.

Let's begin somewhere.

Third trimester: Everyone has a friend who had the easiest pregnancy ever, with only a little bit of heartburn. You will never be that friend. You will always be the friend of that friend, nothing more.

As you near the successful end to your pregnancy, the most feminine thing that a female body can do, you're going to feel decidedly unfeminine. You're going to swell up like a summer sausage. You'll never be comfortable sitting, sleeping or standing. Everything is going to ache. You're going to be tired, then dead tired, then more tired. It'll get worse. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Labor: There's a quaint term in the English language for women who prefer the experience of natural childbirth, e.g., childbirth without pain killers. That term is simply "F'n idiot." Get the epidural, and keep asking about it. If you have a long labor, you may even be able to rest during the periods between contractions, and even during the contractions themselves. Note the epidural keeps women confined to bed ("back labor"), makes labor longer, and means women have to pee into a bag that has become a temporary part of their plumbing.

So what, exactly, does it mean to have to push a baby out? Witness our eccentric Russian nurse: "Thank the God for the vomit. Is the best push." Nausea happens to a majority of laboring women. And what else did the nurse say? Push like you have the constipation. Yep. Guess what that means? "Accidents" are also incredibly common among laboring women. And what does all that mean? Yep. Pack the Preparation H, the real stuff, not the cooling gel. You're going to need it.

Most babies are going to arrive covered in white stuff, like cottage cheese. Ours also arrived far more white on her own -- an arm in a strange way, the cord wrapped around in odd ways, paler than any of the three non-Asian students left at MIT. A few minutes on oxygen and things got back to normal. But guys, girls? No matter what, this is not the time to practice your infant CPR. Leave it to the pros, and stay the hell out of their way.

Episiotomy. Such a simple word. Looks minor. Wait until the scissors descend upon your loved one. That doesn't look so minor. Our doc did the cutting without asking us. It's out of your hands, anyway.

Blood? Oh, yes. You know when you leave the garden hose on, but don't hear the water flowing through the pipes any more? Something like that. The placenta gets delivered a while after the baby. It'll hang out in a pan, looking something like a surplus from a Grade B horror movie, until the hospital collects it to sell to a cosmetics company. Other family shouldn't come in until the placenta goes somewhere else.

Recovery. Preparation H. Ice packs. Ibuprofen. Narcotics.

Breastfeeding? The instructors say it's easy and natural. Right. dad asked someone if she did lactation consulting. She said she wasn't a certified lactation consultant. Pause. "It's like they have the Ph.D. and I have the associate's degree." Sure. Easy. Natural. Except the baby has no idea what he's doing, and you're new to this, too. Buy the Lansinoh. Buy the Soothies. Use both until a nurse tells you they're not meant to be used together.

Oh, and baby? Most babies start turning yellow with jaundice. The test involves scraping the baby's bleeding heel against a plastic container for about 10 minutes, trying to collect drop by drop. Something like four out of five babies get covered with rashes within the first week, some with little white zits on the inside. You're supposed to ignore it. And unless you had a really tough labor, your baby's going to have some phlegm and other fluids built up that just didn't get squeezed out enough. That means suctioning out snot and stuff from mouth and nose. That's independent of your baby's gastrointestinal tract, which has never worked. Accordingly, it's filled with something like road tar. You could look forward to the days of tar after the projectile crapping begins.

Still, Dear Reader, you'd be given a chance to bring a life into this world, to take a little fella dependent upon you for food, shelter, support and love. Within time, you'll hopefully usher this youngster through adolescence and then perhaps onto college, all to prepare him or her for a life as a successful adult. Just to make your day brighter, we offer this chart:

OK, next post we'll have some cute baby pictures, OK?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Talk to the hand!

OK, that wasn't really much of a "talk to the hand" situation, but it was the best we could come up with. The little lady's been dozing a lot, and mom's been careful to put her in the sun to ease off the jaundice:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


In the next two months, we hope to report the birth of Aunt Sharon and Uncle Pat's baby, Cousin Savannah. More babies are on the way.

This seems like a good time to talk about the little tips and tricks we've bought along the way, as well as things that parents should, and most importantly should not, buy. Here in random order are some random thoughts:
  • Lansinoh, a strong buy. Because the mom and the baby will be learning about breastfeeding together, the first few days are a little rough. And by "a little rough," picture a high-speed crash onto a rough field. Lansinoh is your friend.
  • Baby powder, a strong sell. Return this at once. Inhalation of the powder is supposed to be bad for babies, anyway. Creams can be better, but you're supposed to note that keeping warm areas moist means bacteria can grow quickly, meaning that nice little spot of diaper rash is really something else altogether.
  • Crap that dangles from above the car seat, a strong sell. Picture that stuff in an accident, attacking your baby at high speed. Get rid of it. Your kid's probably going to nap after 22 seconds in the car, anyway, so what is the point of entertaining en-route?
  • In-car baby mirror, a strong sell. Are you going to drive or are you going to baby sit? Pick one. Ditto for the "flying objects" attacking your baby.
  • Car-seat head rests, sell. If your car seat wasn't tested with 'em, your car seat wasn't tested with them.
  • LATCH tie-down system, sell. As a cop put it to us: You can have a system approved for 22-pound babies at 35 mph, or you can use a regular seatbelt tested with heavier full-sized people at highway speeds.
  • Vaseline, maybe in a squeeze tube, strong buy. In tiny doses helps prevent irritation from the diaper rubbing on baby's thighs, and helps moisturize patches of skin that are drying out.
  • and NetFlix, strong buy. If you've already subscribed, add a couple more movies per month. Even though you'll only be able to watch 3 minutes, 22 seconds at a time, you'll be grateful for the distraction.
  • Extra changing-pad covers, buy. Figure out how many you're likely to get dirty. Then doule it.
  • "Free and clear" laundry detergent, buy. That Dreft stuff has perfumes that can irritate some babies. Skip the fabric softener for the baby's load, because it can remove the fire-proofing additives in baby clothing.
  • Camel Wides, sell. Baby shouldn't be smoking yet.

Other things worth noting:
  • Car seat inspections. They're a pain in the ass to get arranged, but do it anyway.
  • Hospital receiving blankets. Somehow the hospitals seem to buy the only hospital receiving blankets large enough to actually wrap a baby in. Hospitals frown on these walking away with the parents, but some parents have been known to introduce their children to a life of a crime.
  • Extra pillows. If baby gets fed and rocked around the house, you may even need more regular pillows than you needed during pregnancy.
  • Visitor protection. Put a message on the answering machine -- we're all healthy, just tired, blah blah blah. Encourage visitors to bring food.
  • Food. Stouffer's makes a very large frozen lasagna. Domino's delivers. Nearly all restaurants offer take-out options.
  • Baby wipes. You've probably already got 21,204 packages of them. Use them liberally. If you put a couple layers underneath your kid on the changing table, chances are the next diaper change might be slightly less repulsive.
  • Doctors and nurses. You've got plenty of access to them in the hospital, and they all want to help. You hire them; use them. Get all the advice you can on breastfeeding and infant care while you can. Your insurance may cover visiting nurses and certified lactation consultants at home, too.
  • Support groups. A nurse said mom should get in a parenting support group, but the nurse said she says that about every mom. You can also get groups like the La Leche League to help.
  • Organization. Before you sit down with the baby, think about what you're going to need. Gonna be there for three hours? Get some water or a soda next to you. Have the remote control at a fingertip's reach. Remember a burp cloth and pacifier.
  • Phone stuff. We used the Bizon phone card from, which offers relatively inexpensive international rates and, most importantly, an automatic refill option. We also came up with a big phone list, which gave us easy access to relatives' phone numbers in the hospital, hospital and home phone numbers and addresses, taxi phone number, etc. Worth its weight in gold.
More later. Tired now. Sorry.

One week already!!

Time flies. Our Bellinha is one week old today. Really, it feels like such a long time ago when we were in the hospital. This exact time last Tuesday mom was in labor, and it's funny that what everyone told her is true: after it's all said and done you can't really remember the pain and suffering, all you have is good memories and a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

We are so blessed we were given this gift. mom n dad love you, Isabella. We want to celebrate you every day of every week, forever.

Somebody's getting a belly button!


Monday, March 19, 2007

Belated thanks

We've got eight unanswered messages on the machine, a ton more through e-mail and the blog, and only today did mom get to talk to the second of her four siblings. One friend wondered if we didn't want to talk to her; quite the contrary, but things've just been a bit busy! Please bear with us.

Today, a package full of gifts even arrived from Aunt Joan, who wrote one of the sweetest messages dad has ever read -- and she wrote it under the gun, just shortly after Lil' Genghis arrived. We still hadn't had a chance to reply to her, but want to let her know of course we'll consider her Aunt Joan, for she taught Grandpa John everything he knew some three and a half decades ago. Aunt Joan has always been there for us, and was even a friend of Grandma Kathryn, from whom baby Isabella gets her middle name.

So, please bear with us. Things are ... busy. =)

Lil' Genghis today got yet another visit from a healthcare professional -- she has had one every single day of her life, including over the weekend -- this time over fears of diarrhea and dehydration. Everything's just fine. We love how patient (pardon the pun) the doctors and nurses have been with us, and how they realize that educating us and helping us become better parents makes everything easier for all involved. =)

The jaundice has diminished significantly, and she's putting on weight. In other words, she's doing great.

In other business, we need to give a shout-out to Uncle Ben*, who has said that if dad's back doesn't fix itself tonight he can beg another day off work. This is of course a sign that Uncle Ben is realizing that having dad out of the office for significant amounts of time causes no detrimental effects in re: productivity, but with the back problem he'd have a hard time firing his minion. dad's running total is four kinds of pain medication, two antihistamines as sleep aids, a muscle relaxant, a couple beers, a heating pad and a back massaging thing. Weeee!

We forgot to mention that as soon as mom and Isabella started feeling better, dad hurt his back and mom's car got sick. It's odd, how some houses always seem to have a steady number of people or things sick. Aunt Ann down the street takes turns being sick with Uncle Eben, while a sweet family down the other street always seems to be two-fourths sick. Here's to hoping everyone gets better soon!

We've got just one picture from today, but it sure is a good one by mom:

* This Uncle Ben is sem arroz, and we appreciate you keeping that stupid joke to yourself. Only one person is allowed to be infantile on this baby blog, and that's dad, of course. :P

Projectile physics

It's amazing what newborns can do -- they can clutch your finger in their impossibly tiny hands, they can recognize voices and react appropriately, and they can spray bodily substances surprising distances with body parts that weren't even functional a week ago. Amazing.

So dad with the bad back is on the way to trying to get someone else to wash our disgusting laundry. Isabella is doing great -- her weight has stabilized and rebounded a bit, and she looks less jaundiced. mom is trying to take things easier.

A little quiz, for the future dads:
    What kind of clothing should you bring to the hospital?
  • Comfortable clothes, because you don't know when you'll be able to change;
  • Clean-looking clothes, so you don't feel like a war criminal waiting in line at the cafeteria;
  • Easily laundered clothes, so you can remove odd bodily fluids from unexpected places; or
  • Clothes made from very flammable materials, so you don't need to worry about washing them.
If you weren't quite sure of the answer, you're probably dumb enough to stand downwind. =)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Easy way to get the blog

Blogger offers an easy way to subscribe to the blog via RSS. It can be an easy way of checking for updates, seeing as how we're no longer able to update on a particular schedule. Use this link.

RSS is supported by Internet Explorer 7, Mozilla Firefox, and Mozilla Thunderbird.

'Nuff geek talk. Sorry.


When someone sneezes in the United States, passersby typically offer some quaint sayings: "Bless you!" "Gesundheit!" "ohmygodthat'sdisgustinggetthatoffmyneck!"

In Brazil, they more typically say "Saude!," which means "health."

Isabella has been sneezing a lot, which is the only way she can get stuff out of her lungs that shouldn't be there. It sounds like she has a cold, but all babies do this and there's nothing to be worried about. It's kinda cute, actually. Even better, we got a video of her sneezing. Sounds weird, but that's entertainment.

She got checked out by a nurse yesterday morning (sorry, things have been busy) and she's putting on more weight, which is a great thing. Born at 8 lbs 14 oz, checked out of hospital at 8-6, I think; hit 8-0, or her 10 percent limit on Thursday, and was 8-1.5 on Saturday. She's got another checkup this morning, and we think she'll be fine.

She's also a bit jaundiced still, but we think that's clearing up as well. The extra food and some sunlight help. We'll find out.

mom seems to be managing her pain but is still swollen. dad succeeded in destroying his back trying to shovel some heavy snow, so boydog and girldog aren't coming home today as planned. Aunt Ann was all set to pick them up for us while we ran to the pediatrician, but the back problems cinched it.

Soooo Aunt Kathy and Uncle David, the blackmailer and her son, have kindly offered to watch after our furry four-legged kids for a while longer. This is incredibly kind and wonderful, for at this point we've got several people in the house with potential dog-caring abilities:
  • mom, who can't walk and can't drive;
  • dad, who can't walk and can drive;
  • Grandma Biziza, who can't drive and can't stand the cold; and
  • Lil' Genghis, who can't crawl but loves being in a car.

    Three cheers for Aunt Kathy and Uncle David!

    Oh, yeah. The photos and video. Sorry. Sleep deprivation. Video might take a while to be posted.

    Disclaimer: That picture with the great lighting? All mom. She's good, ain't she?

  • Friday, March 16, 2007

    New news, old photos

    Lil' Genghis had her third visit with a pediatrician today.

    It seems the little lady is already becoming a pioneer, bringing together a weight-loss plan that most women would envy. She's down 10 percent from her birthweight (to 8 lb even, and presumably that's about 36 newtons or 3.6kg). It's not a huge worry at the moment -- everybody's fine, everybody's healthy -- but it's something they need to keep an eye on.

    Way back when, dad had a high school French class in which he learned how to conjugate an odd verb. At that point, he didn't learn useful verbs that would let him ask if someone wanted to eat, grab a beer or abuse Algerians. Instead, he learned how to say something he thought was utterly worthless, but that he can now say to his daughter: "Vous jaunissez." That's French for "you're turning yellow."

    Bellinha's got a bit of jaundice, nothing too serious, but, again, just something to keep an eye on.

    mom is not the most comfortable person in the world, but she's getting at least some of the help she needs with various sore and half-broken body parts. Considering the night before the delivery she was on morphine, maybe things are looking up. Let's all wish her well!

    Aunt Catherine had asked about the dogs: They haven't met, except by smell. Only today did we get a chance to drop off a hat, which had been in dad's pocket for some 28 hours at that point. Aunt Kathy, who runs the kennel, was told that we'd pick up boydog and girldog up on Saturday. "No, you're not," she replied. It's nice to be blackmailed by such a wise, sweet professional. Maybe we'll begin the introductions on Sunday instead (Kathy suggested Monday, which is set to be dad's last off, which could make dog introductions a bit busy.)

    So, in short, the news is still that we've got a few things to worry about but everybody's overall doing well and is healthy. We've got a visit from a ... visiting nurse sometime tomorrow if the weather provides, and she'll go back to a pediatrician at the hospital on Saturday or Sunday.

    We've got some photos and a video from yesterday, as well as one photo from today, with Grandma Biziza relaxing with Lil' Genghis at home.

    ... and Blogger tells us that they're having problems posting photos right now. Soooooooooooooooo we'll try again later.

    We're going to post a video now, which isn't yet approved, and let you worry about that, too. =)

    EDIT: dad, who in his sleep deprivation is still more capable of cognition than Uncle Rodrigo, reposted one picture. So we substituted the repeat picture for one of Bellinha in her coming-home outfit, which was sent by Aunt Melissa, who is far better than Uncle Rodrigo deserves.

    EDIT EDIT: Yeah, if you couldn't figure it out, mom approved only portions of the above message. dad won't tell her if you won't tell her. Heck, she's sitting there with Bellinha, so she's even less maneuverable than before.

    Home at last!

    Lil' Genghis made it home about 12 hours ago, and, wow, what an adventure it's been.

    We're all still learning how to work together. mom, of course, being the nutritional provider, has one of the biggest roles. But it's not as if mom works in a vacuum; Isabella actually has the biggest role, and the most to learn. Nurses kept pointing this out at the hospital; she has no other way to communicate other than crying, and hasn't yet learned to differentiate the cries (food? dirty diaper? pacifier? vodka martini with a twist of lime? burping?). She also didn't come out of the womb knowing how to feed and get comfortable, either.

    mom and Grandma Biziza together got about a 1/2 hour break in the night; mom earlier got maybe 90 minutes of naptime. It's just crazy.

    This is the first time dad has touched a computer since 9 a.m. It's a bit after midnight, and he just finished the dinner he started at 9 p.m. In response to an earlier question, the only photo of dad and Isabella was taken late this morning, and we haven't downloaded it yet. The cable for that camera is somewhere else, and dad's laptop is in a pile of luggage.

    The answering machine has eight messages on it, and a bunch of messages were not left at all. A few neighbors have already stopped by, including Aunt Cida, who brought over some food. (We've also begun defrosting the first of the meals from Aunt Donna.) Aunt Beth offered a nice resting place for Isabella, quickly growing comfy on the mom of twins.

    So, everyone's doing fine, everyone's healthy, we're all just working to stay semi-sane and semi-alert as we go through the motions. It's tiring, but we've got a beautiful little girl to look after.

    On another note: Bellinha is going to see her first snow tomorrow, and Grandma Biziza is going to want to laugh at the earlier photos of her in front of snowy lawns that were in the shade of houses. Tomorrow, we get real snow -- some 6 to 12 inches are expected here, or 25kg/m2.

    All that said, we don't exactly plan to play in the snow a lot with the little lady -- something about hypothermia, child abuse, handcuffs and jail time. She's got another check-up with a pediatrician tomorrow afternoon; hopefully everything'll be just fine, but we're watching her weight (born 8 lb 14 oz, left hospital at 8 lb 2 oz, warning sign is hitting 8 lb even) and her bilirubin, which can be a bad thing despite its sounding like some cool topping you'd get on a sandwich from a New York deli. Just a couple things to watch, just as we've got a couple things to work on. All in all, everybody's doing just fine, and Grandma Biziza and dad are proud of mom, and all three of us in turn have fallen madly in love with the little lady.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Three more photos

    Everybody's doing fine. Isabella seems to like Grandma Biziza and dad trying to sing Frank Sinatra. She also falls asleep to Norah Jones and seemed to calm down with Toquinho.


    So today mom, dad and Grandma Biziza are just sort of hanging out in the hospital room with Lil' Genghis, and there's this funny thing going on: There's three people who want to hold the baby, and there's the one baby.

    dad thinks we're all too polite and patient to do something weird, but it's going to be a while before we all get our fill of her. =)

    ... and since dad wrote that paragraph, she was picked up by grandma, mom, dad, mom, nurse and pediatrician, who tells us she's 21 inches long, which'd be ... 53.2 cm, if the conversion was done right.

    Everything is fine with Lil' Genghis. mom needs to collapse for a while, between feedings baby; a nice present just arrived, and lunch is coming soon, and there's surely going to be some sort of intercom announcement, and the next feeding could be demanded -- Isabella is a very demanding little lady, expecting only the best -- in the next 15 minutes. And now there's a knock at the door ... Better hit "publish" before things get farther out of hand!

    except there were errors in the HTML, so the first knock was a nurse offering pain relief and the second was someone looking for the birth certificate stuff. This is like the old grad school saying, "publish or perish!" 'Night.

    Random thoughts

    Every new parent is supposed to immediately embark upon a quest to make other folks new parents, as well. We're going to pass, for the time being, given two factors: A) We know diddly about being new parents, because we plan to sleep with her in the nursery tonight; and B) a lot of folks we know are already pregnant, among them Aunt Piu, Aunt Sussen, Aunt Rebecca, Aunt Sharon and Aunt Melissa (not that one, but the sister of Bea, but the other Bea, no, the other other Bea). We wish them all luck and love. And remember, the correct answer to anyone asking, "Do you want an epidural?" is, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME? MOVE IT!"

    Uncle Eddie and Aunt Amanda came for a visit today. She clearly fell in love. He clearly got nervous. Asked if this was going to put pressure on him to come up with a cousin for Lil' Genghis, he just offered, "She makes all those decisions." He's a smart guy, Uncle Eddie, a doctor and all -- so we're glad to see he's figured out who runs the show. Hrm. No pressure from us, but I think we could be the least source of the pressure on him, anyway. Hrm. Yeah:

    Please don't be nervous about some of these photos, because some were taken just after her birth, when she was covered in some protective white goopy stuff (very common, and a good thing, seeing as how, er, it's protective goopy stuff.) She's doing great.

    More photos tomorrow, probably, after the three of us get some sleep.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Let the trumpets sound!

    Lil' Genghis, also known as Isabella Kathryn, is absolutely beautiful. She arrived at 4:17 p.m. after a moderately long labor. She weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces, or 4.02 kg. Actually, those adherents of the metric system should note that her actual weight is 39.6 newtons, but that's another story.

    On to the baby pics!

    Video might not work for a while:

    Thank God for superb nurses, a stellar anesthesiologist, a solid doctor and all of the love out there. That, and epidural drugs, which likely saved someone's lives.

    ... and the idea that the epidural drugs were a lifesaver, because some folks were about to kill themselves or others.

    They don't call it 'labor' for nuthin'

    mom is in labor, aided by a whole range of pharmaceuticals. One drug helped get her ready for the baby, one drug tried to make her more comfortable last night, ...

    But now we've got the good stuff: A bunch of drugs in an epidural, and Pitosin to help things roll along.

    So, right now, everybody's doing OK. mom is comfortable and Lil' Genghis is running strong, but still very much inside. They say the typical first labor runs 12 to 24 hours, which'd mean mom still has many hours to go. Dunno if the drugs change the time scale significantly, although I know the epidural can slow things down a bit.

    It's still going to be a long day. Grandma Biziza is by her side as dad types this. mom has a lot of support, a lot of good drugs, some stunningly wonderful nurses, a stellar anesthesiologist, and, of course, that certain stubbornness that defines mom.

    By the number: It's now 11:50 a.m. Doc broke water at 9:30@2cm, epidural at 9:50, contractions have been 2-3 minutes apart.

    Last morning?

    The house phone hasn't rung yet, so dad is guessing the contractions will have to begin with another drug. (The first one can sometimes kick-start the process, but isn't necessarily supposed to.)

    That previous "Last night" post, and the question mark on last morning? Well, Lil' Genghis darn well should arrive today. Then again, Grandma Biziza said she was in the hospital for four days with each of her three children, who ultimately became C-sections, if he understands right. That's kinda mom's biggest fear -- to go through so much of labor, then have the C-section anyway, getting the worst of both worlds.

    That happened to Aunt Lelia, and dad just met someone on Thursday to whom that had happened. No matter what happens, mom is in some darned good hands. The nurses are great.

    This may be one of the longest days in mom's life -- but ultimately one of the most rewarding.

    Last night

    This is the last night mom will be quite so intimately connected with Lil' Genghis.

    They're both tucked away (in the same bed, obviously), with contractions scheduled to begin in the morning. Grandma Biziza is keeping an eye on them both until then, when dad will take over and she'll sit, nervously and alone, for hours in a waiting room somewhere. Ouch.

    dad is going to sleep, for the first time in a long time without mom, without Lil' Genghis, without girldog and without boydog. This big old house sure seems awfully empty and quiet.

    A couple more days, though, and we'll have the TV, the baby crying, the dogs barking, and mom praying for some rest. It's surely something to look forward to.

    Monday, March 12, 2007

    Tick ... tock ... tick ...

    Wellllll the bases are loaded and mom is coming into the final stretch of the ninth inning of her pregnancy. All that's left is a safe delivery and recovery, a beneficial childhood, supported adolescence, affordable college experience, and we're all set! We leave in a couple of hours.

    We've got not one bag loaded, but several several. There's a few bags of baby stuff, a couple bags of mom stuff, and a huge bag of dad stuff, not counting Grandma Biziza's stuff. What does this all mean? What the heck stuff do we have to pack?

  • Food. We're thinking ham sammiches for dad and maybe protein bars or something for mom. Not real sure there.
  • Tylenol, because apparently hospitals don't have pain medication for headaches.
  • Ice packs for painful back labor, because apparently hospitals don't ... yeah.
  • Labor and delivery bed, because ... wait, what?
  • Havianas, a Brazilian brand of flip-flop, because pregnant women find labor easier when they're walking, in the 20 minutes before they begin begging for the anesthetic.
  • A photo, of boydog and girldog, to remind mom of her youngest children and help her feel at home.

    We hope to spread news through the blog, through an unfortunately short mailing list, through the phone ... but don't know how much or how well we're going to be able to keep up. If you hear, please feel free to tell someone else. We haven't been through this before, but we keep hearing how overwhelming and exhausting everything is at the beginning.

    On the other hand, Dear Reader, you have helped keep us strong through this, and we appreciate all the support of our beloved family, Uncle Rodrigo, our wonderful friends, and Joe as we go on. Thanks for being with us, thanks for supporting us in the birth of Lil' Genghis, and thanks for offering to bring us lasagna. Wait, what?

  • Saturday, March 10, 2007

    A miracle of physics

    First, an on-topic tangent: Everybody is absolutely just fine, Lil' Genghis is still scheduled to hang out at the hospital on Monday night, and to arrive sometime Tuesday. Everything is on track, everybody is ready, everybody is healthy, everything is just fine.

    This message goes out largely to Aunt Leeanne and Aunt Catherine, two professional editors that, regardless of how many memos you write and calendars you post, still believe you're going to blow deadline.

    Second, we need to talk some here about Grandma Biziza. We could talk about how wonderfully supportive she is, how she up a job that occupies her from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. to stay here for a month, how she's trying to make mom comfortable and is always bringing her water, how she never takes vacations but still took a month off to be with her daughter and granddaughter.

    Yeah, we could talk about all that, but it's better to talk about how Grandma Biziza defies nature. Specifically, her very life violates the laws of thermodynamics.

    Witness: The human body requires energy simply to exist: to maintain a constant body temperature, yes, but to pump the heart, which moves the blood, which carries the oxygen from the working lungs. dad has heard that a body at rest burns energy equivalent to a 60-watt light bulb, which, if you've ever done the bicycle-light bulb thing at the science museum, you know this is a lot of energy. It's tough to keep that light bulb lit when you're trying your hardest, even when your body does it all the time with seemingly no effort.

    So it takes the body a lot of energy just to exist. Per Wikipedia:
    More simply, the First Law [of Thermodynamics] states that energy cannot be created or destroyed; rather, the amount of energy lost in a steady state process cannot be greater than the amount of energy gained.
    Yet Grandma Biziza can go for hours and hours on a single piece of toast.

    Then there's the idea that without added stimuli, things will kind of average out.
    In simple terms, it is an expression of the fact that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and density tend to even out in a physical system which is isolated from the outside world. Entropy is a measure of how far along this evening-out process has progressed.
    Yet Grandma Biziza always seems to have a constant level of energy and interest, regardless of food or sleep. In fact, there's damned little of either.

    Heck, Grandma Biziza drinks from the little 8oz/24cl cans of Diet Coke, and slowly sips decaffeinated coffee.

    There can only be one explanation, then: Grandma Biziza isn't using energy in the normal sense of the word. "energy," per se, has to be conserved, but there are different forms of energy. Food contains chemical energy, measured in calories, but she isn't eating enough to do the kinds of things that she does. Clearly, then, she's translating the mass of the small food into a different kind of energy. Yes, folks, Grandma Biziza is a nuclear weapon, always splitting the atom. It must be the only explanation.

    Lil' Genghis will have a lot to hear from her.

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    The horde is coming soon

    ... it'll come from inside her womb.

    The next two verses of our little Lil' Genghis song are censored for mom's sanity.

    The doctor just called, told us he'd looked over the records, and decided he wants to start getting the ball rolling on Monday, with our little daughter likely arriving Tuesday. She could still arrive earlier than that, of course, but we'll find out.

    Every sign points to Lil' Genghis being healthy, energetic and ready to go. She's just hanging around in the oven, trying to bake a little bit more.

    There's a holiday in America called Thanksgiving, where everyone gets together, enjoys each others' company and offers their gratitude, their thanks, for everything that's happened.

    We're about to have our Thanksgiving with Lil' Genghis, and it's an exciting time.

    Now, most Americans cook a big turkey for Thanksgiving. Sometimes, these are decorated with a 12-cent pop-up thermometer, which shows when it's time to remove the turkey from the oven. They look something like this:

    As Lil' Genghis grows within Suze, things are getting cramped in her belly. There's less and less spare room, and something has to give. In a way, Lil' Genghis is telling us she's just about ready to come out of the oven. mom's belly button, always an "innie," is starting to pop out showing that her daughter is just about done cooking.

    Our little girl is almost here.

    Monday, March 05, 2007

    What dad has learned

    After two rounds of reading, dad just finished "The Expectant Father," a book he plans to sent to Aunt Rebecca's husband, Josh. Some things in this pregnancy were learned from books; others, from classes; still others, from observations.

    So, dad here writes of the things he has learned so far:
  • Pregnant women may have identity crises. First might be the worry about whether they can become moms; then about whether they'll be good moms; then, DEAR JESUS IS THAT ME IN THE MIRROR? Support them, love them, hold them, tell them they're wonderful. They are, and they're also working damned hard.
  • A pregnancy can bring a couple closer together emotionally, even though she'll steal all the pillows, buy more, and then steal those, too.
  • Pregnancy can be very tough physically. People only talk about difficult deliveries, and of morning sickness. There's a whole lot more to it than that, and the paucity of conversation about the issue is awful.
  • Childbirth education classes should be taught as sex education classes in middle school. The teen pregnancy rate would plummet. Did you know most kids come out covered in white stuff that looks like cottage cheese? Have misshapen heads? Sometimes have fur? Nearly all will wind up with weird rashes and zits? No one talks about that, either, and it's odd. Our Lil' Genghis is going to be perfect in our eyes and lovable no matter what, but I'm glad we're prepared for the sights.
  • The Baby-Industrial Complex is in full swing. A huge chunk of the stuff "they" sell is actually dangerous, like those mirrors to watch your kid in the car seat; other stuff is physically harmful, such as the pacifiers designed around a chewed-up nipple. Did you know you're really not supposed to use diaper cream? Baby powder?
  • Family.

    Let me elaborate on that last one, because it sounds trite. Pregnancy gives you a whole new appreciation for family; it's all about expanding your family, after all, and about growing closer to your spouse, and trying to figure out how other family members will adjust. Family ties become even more important during pregnancy, and so family really is the most important thing to learn about here, and I mean that both quantitatively and qualitatively, for the size and type of family that you have and nurture during pregnancy will, more than anything, determine whether you ever get to shower at a time of your choosing.

  • Contraction practice

    We thought Lil' Genghis was ready to make her entry into the world today. Turns out, well, not quite yet.

    It turns out it's got something to do with her kicking around in there, angering the womb, which makes it contract, which makes her kick. So mom crashed a couple hours ago with some pain relief, and hopefully things'll look better in the morning.

    mom got a bare glimpse of what the real contractions may feel like, and she's not a big fan, not at all.

    So, Dear Readers, a request from dad: What sort of relaxation techniques or meditations have you found to work for you in other circumstances?

    Thursday, March 01, 2007

    A long voyage

    Grandma Biziza is in the midst of a 28-hour trek to the home of Lil' Genghis as we speak. This means only one thing is going to happen tomorrow, something so monumentous and important that we've been loathe to mention this here before.

    Yes, folks, it's true. Tomorrow, when grandma meets granddaughter, we're going to open up the Girl Scout cookies.

    We don't mention this lightly. For maybe six weeks, three boxes of Girl Scout cookies have lain dormant upon one of our shelves, just waiting for a nibble by Grandma Biziza, a famed grazer. And it presumably will be her first introduction to the famed cookies, as one wacko put it:
    But of course, more cookies do make the world a better place—as anyone who has ever had a crunchy, coconut-y, chocolate-dipped Samoa can attest.
    Yes, Grandma's in for a real treat.

    In the coming weeks, of course, Grandma will be an immense help, and will make untold sacrifices that will almost certainly make her want to collapse in the fetal position, rocking herself to sleep while moaning.

    But that's all in the future. Much sooner, she'll finish her voyage through four airports, plus an cross-city bus in a place where helicopters are increasingly popular to bypass traffic. Then she'll get Girl Scout cookies.

    Distant rumblings

    mom said she thought it was the time a little bit ago. Enter the concerned whispers, the comforting touches, the frantic search for socks, the need to finally charge the camera batteries and print out the phone list and and and and realize that maybe this is not it. Good exercise and practice, though!

    Something about this exercise put an old song in dad's head. The tune is by the Saffire -- the Uppity Blues Women, an Alligator Records band featuring, well, uppity blues women.

    Anyway, the song in question has lyrics posted on some sorta sex site, where the poster thought yeah, some day, someone's gonna come looking for them. The lyrics still seem pretty apt, so let's hope no one busts us for copyright violations:
    I’m a big girl now
    I can’t cry
    When you left me
    I kept my pain inside

    Though I knew we had to part
    there’s silent thunder in my heart
    I can’t talk it out
    can’t say a word
    as life moves on
    it’s all been heard
    and what lingers is so tart
    this silent thunder in my heart

    I go to my job
    smile on my face
    concealing my wounds
    and my disgrace
    though I knew we had to part
    there’s silent thunder in my heart

    I go to my job
    smile on my face
    concealing my wounds and my disgrace
    though I knew we had to part
    there’s silent in my heart
    in my heart…
    in my heart…
    in my heart…

    Lil' Genghis, girl, we know you have to part soon. mom thought she had a different kind of thunder going on in her body this morning; soon, she'll have it in her heart. We can't wait, except we can wait. =)

    EDIT: You might be able to listen to that song here.

    EDIT EDIT: This is a great time to say that Uncle Boboli introduced dad to The Uppity Blues Women. We gotta say it now, because otherwise he'll rush to take credit, and then we'd have to remind the world that Uncle Boboli also introduced dad to the art of doing shots of Goldschlagger with his grandparents on his 21st birthday, then singing "My Ding-A-Ling" to an assembled group of family -- an assembled group of Italian family, no less, all 1,823 of 'em.