Thursday, January 29, 2009

First doctor's visit...

I don't know nuthin' 'bout no pacie...

Well, today was Fox’s first trip out of the house and straight to the doctor’s office. It was close to feeding time when we had to leave and he started to get a bit fussy, but settled down as soon as he got strapped in the car. We thought Dr. Leeper was fantastic – friendly, easy going, funny and, most importantly, he knew his stuff. Fox didn’t cry much at all during the exam and checked out A-OK, is back up to his birth weight and is where he should be in all things important for a two-week-older. The only thing that freaked us out a bit was when the doc was pushing around on his chest and casually mentioned that he was…are you sitting down? You may want to go get a stiff drink. Don’t have access? Ok, at least don’t be sipping anything when you read this…. He’s making his own milk! The doc squeezed a little out of his right nipple. That was a jaw-dropper. But that’s entirely normal, and just him secreting Karla’s hormones, same as what causes the little red acne-like bumps on his face. I’ve since found out that this is called Witch’s Milk. Who knew???

He'p! Dis baby's got me by da th'oat!

Speaking of milk…he’s feeding nearly constantly these days. Or it seems like it, and more to Karla than to me. Poor kid, she’s usually frazzled by about 8:00 and then rallies and carries on again until about midnight or 1:00. She’ll be getting her sergeant’s stripes next week. Fox is still on breast milk and Karla pumps between feedings. We’re using a syringe when he’s not on the boob, which is no fun and a bit airy, but gets the job done. We want to try and hold out at least another week (or two) before trying the bottle, but won’t go past that as the doc told us he may have a very difficult time taking a bottle if we wait as long as two months. Complicated? Yes.

I'm still just a rat in a caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaage!!!!!

After the check up we swung by Old Navy and picked up some new outfits for him (well, Karla did, Fox and I stayed in the car and listened to Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” album), and then swung by the store where I ran in and grabbed some more diapers. Right now we’re digging the Huggies N up to 10 lbs ‘cos they fit well and have the little yellow stripe that turns green when he springs a leak. But boy, diapers are expensive!

Speaking of springing a leak… Two days ago whilst changing him, Karla got her first experience with the water monster. Good for her, most of it got on the couch, which isn’t good for the couch, but that’s why they make cleaning supplies. And then yesterday, whilst changing him yet again, he pooped on the couch…twice. Nothing major, but again, thank goodness for modern cleaning supplies. I was at the controls that time and just had to get up and let mama take over. Am I a coward? Yes. I tell ya, all that money for a changing table and I think we’ve used it three times. It’s the American way!

Rock star posin'

Other than that things have been going pretty well. He’s feeding a lot and sleeping a lot…except for at night of course when we’d like to be asleep ourselves. But the past few evenings he’s been better and mainly lets us sleep at four or five hour stretches starting around 1am or 2am. We’re looking forward to that magic one month point when everything “gets better.” But really, he’s a totally great kid and his cuteness makes up for when he’s a little less than agreeable.

Also, while I have you on the horn, I want to say thank you yet again to all the folks who have dropped off food and come to see the critter over the past week or so. You’re the tops and we’re blessed to have you all around.

Ok, have a good one!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Just a few pix...

Poor lil' monkey gettin' burped.

This is what he's like daily from 6am to 11pm...

...and this is what he's like the rest of the time.

What up, ya'll?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mix Tape

As most all of you know, music, for better or worse, is a big part my life, and the same is pretty much true for Karla to a (usually) less fanatical degree. And so it only follows that I would want to share my love of music with my son. Several months before he was born I was already coming up with a “mix tape” for him. I like how “mix tape” has become a common expression for that specific term (even though that medium is woefully outdated), sorta like “a Kleenex” refers to any brand of tissue. There’s a word for that, but I’m tired and don’t feel like remembering it right now. Anyway, with the advent of the iPod I can bypass not only mix tapes but mix cds as well. For this purpose alone we bought him a little docking station for his room and I hooked him up with my old 2-gig iPod. Amongst several artists ranging from Rachmaninoff to the Misfits I’ve also included a play list that is essentially his first mix tape.

Why? Well, of course that’s obvious and already been stated. To me it’s a bit of an education for him. I feel like I listen to a pretty wide range of music from old country & western to Krautrock and I’d love for my son to have an equally open mind which I think will help him to have an open and accepting mind in many aspects of his life. Plus, I wanted to give him a chance to be fortified with good music before his generation’s version of the Jonas Brothers or My Chemical Romance had a chance to derail him without hope. So yes, this is a bit of a selfish move as well.

Here’s the track list…

The Fox In The Snow --Belle & Sebastian
Thursday's Child--David Bowie
Tugboat--Galaxie 500
The Three Shadows Part 1--Bauhaus
A Prophecy--The Close Lobsters
Be Thou My Vision--Pedro the Lion
Crystal Ball--Felt
Once I Was--Tim Buckley
Blue Moon--Damon and Naomi with Ghost
Samson--Regina Spektor
Ocean Rain--Echo & The Bunnymen
Coney Island Baby--Tom Waits
Color Of A Lonely Heart Is Blue--Old 97's
When Company Comes--The Feelies
Who Knows--The La's
Tomorrow On the Runway--The Innocence Mission
Tell Me Why--Neil Young
Two Hearts--Chris Isaak
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight--Bob Dylan
Twilight On The Trail--Michael Nesmith
Asleep --The Smiths
Good Night--The Beatles

I'm a mod rocker!

When making my song selection I didn’t have an overall theme per se beyond trying to keep the tracks fairly low key (though not necessarily “un” noisy), as this is what he’ll be listening to in his crib at night or whilst napping. Some of them, like the first and second songs, are thrown in there for obvious reasons, though the latter was definitely a last minute addition in the hospital when he actually did come to us on Thursday. Unfortunately I can’t (yet) include Brian Eno’s hour-long masterpiece “Thursday Afternoon” as I'd hoped since he was born in the morning, but I guarantee you it will make the track list of some future mix. Other songs are obvious as they imply sleeping or babies or nighttime or love for someone, etc, etc, Peter Cetera (who is naturally absent).

And sorry Amber, I know he’s just a week old and helpless and oh so very impressionable, but I had to put some Smiths on there. Don’t be hatin’.

As I stated in an earlier post, the first song he heard post-womb was Belle & Sebastian’s “Fox in the Snow” and then the rest of the mix. This was in the hospital the first time we really had him for a long stretch on our own without interruption. I think he dug what he heard. Afterward, the first album I played for him was Jonathan Richman’s “Back in Your Life,” which is an album I’d grown extremely fond of while Karla was pregnant. If you’re not familiar with JR (reference the troubadour from There’s Something About Mary), I think you’ll find his open and purposefully wide-eyed-innocent approach towards life and love and songwriting is very fitting in many ways for a young child growing up. In fact, I think he may have a couple of just straightforward children’s albums, but Bill will have to confirm that for me.

Look at me, I’ve posted three times in the past 24 hours. Don’t worry, I won’t go overboard (maybe).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Behind the Name

We didn’t get the question so much from friends and family, but in the hospital several of the nurses asked where we got the name Fox and more than one asked if this was a family name. As to the latter: no, not at all. To the former…that’s a bit more involved.

Now Karla might have her own take on this ‘cos we’ve never really worked out an official explanation, though we’ve both riffed one that’s as correct as anything else when asked on the fly and the other just smiled and nodded and went with it. There are several reasons based on certain interests we have. We knew we didn’t want a conventional name. She had vetoed Ernest William Gladstone IV early on (which is good ‘cos I’d have called him Quart) and naming the boy after her father (Joseph Anthony) was taken care of by her older brother. Honestly, we’ve been debating various boy and girl names for years, long before we knew about the baby’s gender, that we were having a baby, that we were planning on a baby or if we’d ever even have one at all. I think I can honestly say that one year ago right now we were just as close to never having children as we were to this little blue bundled button rider lightly snoring next to me on the couch. But that’s getting way, way off the point of this post.

Please don't name me something stupid like Moon Unit.

So, as I said, for a good two years we’d submitted and rejected names to each other. I was dead set on Sailor (for a boy or a girl) and Karla fought it with a bazooka. Also, my suggestions of Simon, Bernard and yes, even Heathcliff, were all swept to the side as invalid possibilities. She didn’t have too many of her own, but I shot down a couple out of spite. There, I said it. Everyone knows I’m a jerk so no big surprise. Anyway, after we knew we were expecting, we took a Sunday afternoon and she sat down with the baby name book “Beyond Jennifer and Jason” and I logged onto (both of which I’ve used over the years to find names for characters in my stories) and we just went through the possibilities in both genders. Fox was the only boy name we readily and instantly agreed on. So, if for no other reason, that’s the reason.

But we didn’t want his name to just be a few letters placed just so without any thought to it, especially when it’s something that is unconventional. “Why did you name me Faucet, daddy?” Well, son, because I’m an idiot. So you see, Fox also worked for us for a number of other reasons. The main one is that we’re both very much environmentally minded. We’re members of the NRDC and Humane Society and we contribute what we can when we can to support animal rights and saving the habitats, etc of threatened creatures. And I’ll end my soapbox rant right there. So there you have that and to give it a bit more oomph, there’s a little gray fox that’s been living out in the small wooded area behind our house for at least a couple of years now. I don’t see him very often, but when I do I’m smitten with him and we stare at each other for awhile with what I like to think is a mutual understanding. I throw scraps of whatever I think he might like out in his general direction and tell myself I’m helping him (or maybe just the skunks) out on a cold winter’s night, much like this one (tonight he just got some old moldy bread--sorry, dude).

And that reason right there, or a whittled down/varied version of it, is what we’ll throw out to folks typically….well, if they seem like they’re interested. My family just assumes I'm insane and make decisions at random or for no other reason than to just be different. And that's ok for them to think that, even if it's completely wrong. But regardless, back to topic, our first nurse the night before Karla delivered was from Belize and she was thrilled by our reason. Man, she ruled. Anyway…

There are also pop culture references here. A very glaring one is of course Fox Mulder from the X-Files. Most folks who’ve made an association usually make that one. We’ve been big fans in our time, and while we still enjoy the show, it’s probably the lowest reason on the list right before we get down to reasons why NOT to name him Fox News. Again, I’ll set aside my soapbox.

But one pop culture reference that very, very much plays in is the tune “Fox in the Snow” by Belle & Sebastian from their 1996 (really, so long ago???) album “If You’re Feeling Sinister.” If you don’t know it, you should and if you don’t like it, you’re wrong and just so you’ll know what I’m talking about, here’s the link:
Points to Kat for being the only person to ask if that was the reference point. Also, this is the very first song Fox heard (post womb), but more on that in my next post.

We’d have possibly used the name Fox even if he’d been a girl, though we also had another name, which I think Karla has now nixed.

Ok, but what about that middle name?

The middle name took a bit longer and was only decided on for sure less than a month ago. In fact, I believe while she was delivering (or rather being delivered) I whispered in her ear, “Is it still Ewan?” She laughed and said yes.

Karla wanted something Scottish because like me she’s an Anglophile and especially likes Scotland. This also follows ‘cos of my heavy Scottish heritage. An early choice was Layne, which may or may not be Scottish, but is family as it was my father’s mother’s maiden name. We stuck with that for awhile before she decided she didn’t like it and I was cool with that. And so the search was on in full and we both spent quite a bit of time looking things up and exploring and pondering and such. We knew we had to throw out any “A” names ‘cos of the initials (you put it together), which is rotten ‘cos we both liked several “A” names like Alister and Aristotle (ok, that’s a joke). Graham was thrown out there and Ivor and Callum, etc, etc but at the end of it all, we sort of whittled it down to Ewan or Ian. Now Ian would definitely have been one of my name choices in college and in my 20s for reasons that are obvious to most of you (and I’m not going to explain it to the rest), and for those very reasons I was very wary of going along with it. For similar reasons Ewan was a questionable choice because of Ewan McGregor, whom we both like a lot. But ultimately, a name isn't owned by anyone, it's just something you call someone who is an individual and it in no way defines them as a person. I told Karla I was happy with either one and so it was Ewan. I dig it. Sometimes I’m not sure I’m saying it right ‘cos the guy applying her epidural kept saying, “Ewing? Like Dallas?” Argh, no! But I do tend to mumble sometimes, especially when I’m tired and my wife is nervous and contracting and having a wire shoved into her spinal cord.

Groovy answers, I'll let you sleep through the night.
Kidding of course!!!

So, for those of you who were interested, there you have it. And for those of you who weren’t, too late, you’ve already read it.

Boo-ya and out!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

And now, for the first time online...

Ok I’ve been politely prodded to update things here and I actually started one back in the hospital around day three but due to lousy connections, that little adventure got sideswiped. So this is an enhanced version of that entry, beginning from the beginning…

We went in for a planned induction at the hospital on Wednesday, January 14 around 7:00pm, got admitted, etc, etc. Karla was still only dilated one centimeter. Around midnight they started the epidural (which was pretty rough) plus the petosen (sp?) for inducing. Around 7:00 on Thursday morning the nurse checked her again and still no change, so they called our doc. Around 7:30 they came in and said, "We're going to do a 8:15." Yikes! I'd sorta had a notion in the back of my mind that this would happen, as did Karla, so we accepted it. It was really a quick procedure. They didn’t actually wheel her back until about 7:20 and I didn’t go in (gowned and masked and such) until about 7:25 or so and at 8:36 our boy was born.

Fox Ewan Gladstone
Thursday, January 15, 2009, 8:36am
8lbs, 6 oz
21 inches
Tastes like chicken

The procedure, on top of being quick, was extremely laid back. Dr. Dunn and her assistant and those assisting the assistant, etc, were very chatty and funny and considering Karla was awake for the procedure, this helped set her at ease. About halfway through the deal the gas passer (yeah, I’m getting all M*A*S*H on you there) stood me up and I looked down over the sheet and there’s this little head squalling and poking out of Karla’s stomach. Had I been a wit more alert I’d have been traumatized pretty severely, but as it was I was dazed and confused and sat back down and about two breaths later he was all the way out, the cord was snipped and he was being cleaned up.

An early, day 1 picture and still my favorite.

A few notable events from the past on the day he was born:

• 1559 - Elizabeth I is crowned queen of England in Westminster Abbey, London.
• 1759 - The British Museum opens.
• 1889 - The Coca-Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, is originally incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia.
• 1967 - The first Super Bowl is played in Los Angeles, California. Green Bay Packers defeat Kansas City Chiefs 35-10
• 1986 - The Living Seas opens at EPCOT Center in Walt Disney World, Florida.
• 2001 - Wikipedia, a free Wiki content encyclopedia, goes online.
• 2005 - An intense solar flare blasts X-rays across the solar system.
• 2009 - US Airways Flight 1549 makes an emergency landing into the Hudson River shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York City. All passengers and crew members survive.

And births:

• 1622 - Molière, French playwright
• 1754 - Richard Martin, Irish animal rights activist
• 1893 - Ivor Novello, Welsh composer and actor (FYI--I'm a big fan of this guy and Ivor was a late running candidate for Fox’s middle name!)
• 1906 - Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate
• 1909 - Gene Krupa, American drummer
• 1913 - Lloyd Bridges, American actor
• 1929 - Martin Luther King, Jr., American civil rights leader, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
• 1937 - Margaret O'Brien, American actress
• 1941 - Captain Beefheart, American musician and visual artist

As those of you who’ve had children know, the next few days were basically tests and nurse visits and doctor check ups and various procedures and lactation training and would you like to have his picture taken (no) and family and friends popping in and the like. All good stuff and much appreciated. I really have to commend Baptist for having an overall knowledgeable and compassionate staff and a couple of the nurses in particular really took their time with Karla, especially with the breastfeeding procedures and were highly complementary and supportive and I daresay appreciative of Karla being so agreeable and obviously eager to learn and do things right, etc. That’s my girl. But as great as all of that is, there’s nothing like getting to go home, and after a false alarm on Saturday we finally got to head out early Sunday afternoon. I swear, every idiot driver in town was out to get us, but we made it without so much as a peep from the little guy.

Those first couple days of his life Fox was super easy going, through his first shots and bath and whatnot, he’d cry out once or twice and then just sorta chill and deal with it. That pretty much continued throughout the hospital stay and even after we got home everything was going quite well until bedtime Sunday when Fox got super fussy and 11:00 o’clock became midnight became 2:00am and we finally got to “sleep” around 3:30. I think we both had our “coming to Jesus” moment separately in those hours. I’ve said this to many folks the past few days: You can memorize the books, you can believe all the stories, you can mentally prepare yourself for what you think it will be like, but nothing really equips you for 1:30 in the morning when you’ve fed, changed, burped, changed, fed, swaddled, cooed, walked, rocked, fed, fed and fed the little tyke and he’s still screaming blue murder in your ear. Part of the problem was in the hospital everything was right there at our fingertips, but back at home we were scrambling around trying to remember where we’d put this and that as much as two months ago.

Relaxin' on the couch.

So with that in mind and an afternoon nap for fortification, last night (Monday), after another docile evening, we were better prepared for what was to come, and with a bit of a feeding schedule already being established, got a tad more sleep broken down into units. He never got nearly as fussy and distressed as the first night, just let us know he was ready to eat, burp, be changed…really, at this point it’s a guessing game or any combination of the three.

Today has been more of the same, feeding and changing and poking at him while he’s asleep to see if he’ll jump or make a face. Karla pumps when she can’t feed au natural and we administer the good stuff with a syringe which tends to give him the hiccups, but as Karla gets more skilled (and yes, it is a skill) and toughens up, his feedings are becoming more one on one. He’s a strong little guy and is already holding his head up and is pretty feisty when he’s waving his arms in the air, especially when we’re trying to change him or feed him (we refer to his left hand as The Hand of Doom, Also, because of his super lungs (refer to below video) and the fact that he gets red and red-hot when he’s upset, we call him the Human Torch ( As far as a permanent affectionate nickname, nothing has really stuck, but we call him Popeye and Cyclops ‘cos he tends to squint his left eye a bit.

The Human Torch prepares to go home.

Karla is doing well overall. Aside from the lack of sleep, she’s a bit sore from the procedure and with everything going sometimes forgets to keep up with the pain meds, but the incision seems to be healing quite well and everything else has progressed as we’ve been told it should.

My mom is up from PC and of course thinks he’s perfect. When I asked her if she liked him or me more she responded, “I like the nice one.” Great. (BTW, I did the same thing to my father’s mother a few years back and got denied then as well.) K’s mom has been battling the flu so hasn’t had a chance to meet Fox, but her sis and nieces and nephew all think he’s tops, as do my cousins, etc, etc. So I guess he’ll be accepted in the clan. As for the rest of our “family,” last night Avery really discovered him for the first time in a very funny way (video here The bird is completely indifferent.

We’ve taken lots and lots of pictures and quite a bit of video, which I’ll share a bit here, so more will definitely follow in the next couple of days as I already have a couple more entries in mind.

And of course THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all of your prayers and tips and positive thoughts during Karla’s pregnancy and since Fox’s birth. He’s anxious to meet you guys, so don’t be strangers!

Check back super soon for the reasons behind his name and his first music mix.

And of course he's a rocker.

Monday, January 12, 2009

In case you haven’t heard…

I can feel it comin’ in the air tonight…oh boy.

Today Karla had her final ultrasound, a rather lengthy process as the technician viewed and measured every square (or rather round) inch of his little body. He’s so big now that it’s hard to really get a “full view” and she was up close on feet and lungs and femurs and etc. We got a couple side shots of the head but nothing you can really identify without some training and a lot of practice. The tech maintained that the due date was the 7th while our doc insists the 12th (aka today), but it’s obvious that whatever the real date, he’s running on his own schedule.

So, with that in mind and because his projected weight was 8 lbs, 12 oz, we scheduled an induction for Wednesday at 7PM. Because Karla still hasn’t dilated much at all, it’s a special type that basically allows her cervix to “soften up” and do its thing before the magic juice is added to kick her into labor. Estimated time of arrival... “sometime Thursday afternoon.” That’s a mighty long time to be in such a state. She’s not to eat anything substantial after noon on Wednesday and I’m concerned about all of that, but I guess she’ll be taken care of in all those areas.

While she was “up there” the doc also “stripped the membrane,” which I imagine is about as painful/uncomfortable as it sounds. That being done, Karla could technically go naturally before the scheduled time and is even having some mild contractions that are roughly 15 minutes apart right now, so we’ll just have to see what is the what with that.

The journey is almost over and now the real fun is about to begin. It’s been an interesting ride and we appreciate all the tips and prayers and encouragement and positive vibes these past 40 weeks. If all goes well/as planned, the next time we post we’ll have some pictures of the wee lad, and the next time you see me I’ll be a dad (yes, tremble).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

If you want an update (you got it)

Yes, we’ve been rotten about updates. But honestly, there’s been nothing to tell. Karla has been dilated less than a centimeter without change for about the past three or four weeks. Last weekend we had a bit of a false labor situation, but nothing major.

So, around 1:15 or so this morning, Karla wakes me up and she's like, "I think I'm having contractions," and long story short, by 2:00 or so we're headed to the hospital (that’s me, Karla, my mother and the Stinker). She gets admitted and put in a room and they monitor her for awhile and sure enough, she's having contractions. About 30 or so minutes into this, the nurse is like, "Well, he's not moving around like I'd like to see, so we're gonna hook you up to an IV," and they do and just before they do, he starts moving around like crazy (typical kid) but they went ahead anyway and longer story short, everything looks great, but the contractions are too sporadic and far apart to actually be labor (they’d been about 4 minutes at the house, but were between 4 and 15ish at the hospital), plus she's still not quite dilated a full centimeter. We left around 6:00, got some McDonald's, headed home and were in bed by 7:00. I got up around noon, Karla was soon to follow catching her sister up and my mom just now got up.

Breaking news…Dr. Sally (aka Karla’s sister, who in an RN) says that their concern at the hospital was that he wasn’t responding in turn to the contractions, which means he may have been under stress, etc. Of course he was only foolin’.

I have to say that this false alarm has made Karla feel more comfortable about what a contraction feels like as opposed to Braxton Hicks (see picture below). Also, we totally got our jazz together and out the door in a speedy and efficient manner, so preparation totally pays off (for all of you non-parented folks out there, like all two of you).

This experience has brought about two new slogans, as follows:

If there ain’t no crown, we don’t go downtown.

If he ain’t crownin’, I’ll be a-frownin’.

And that’s that. We have an ultrasound with an appointment to follow on Monday (the due date) and we’ll see what’s going on from there. Will we be having this baby soon? All signs point to yes, but we’ve been saying that for two weeks and we may be another two weeks out. That’s the reality of it.