To be continued?

This blog isn't over but its purpose has been deflated as such as I find myself in a state of much less anxiety and a need to document my days. Less sleep also adds to the issue as writing seems like a luxury I once had to do whenever I wanted. I find the most time I have now is when I'm feeding Ryden. This takes up approximately 6 waking hours and me needing something to do while dozing off. So blogging may live on but I should be moving forward instead and finding resources to keep my mind in the game, attached to the outside world.

We have achieved baby!

YouTube Video

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Day 1-11

Oh man.

So much has happened in the last week that I feel this post is not only tardy but will never be able to cover the overwhelming amount of emotion, and events that have flown in and out. My life has flipped inside out and the ride isn't even near over. Testing your true strength is the name of the new game and I have been tested from every possible angle.
The birth went great, as best as births could go as I got a healthy baby out of the deal and I made it out in one piece. Ryden arrived at 6:30pm on Saturday night, October 2nd which was his due date. It was a one day affair, when I started to labor at about 1am and had Cam massaging my back until 1pm until I finally gave up and accepted the epidural. It was a beautiful and magical drug but I felt like I was letting myself down by taking it. There was no way to progress without it though, I was in desperate need of a rest. The end had not yet been predicted. As my designated OB was unavailable, I was working with a slew of wonderful nurses and a different OB, a woman who more or less already had a lot of patients on her plate that day. A few procedures were done in order to speed me up which were all hard to fight against in my position. The baby was in no danger, but my amniotic sac had ruptured Friday afternoon, so time was of the essence when it came down to my risk of infection. My cervix was not behaving due to a small bit of scar tissue which would not efface with the rest of the tissue and solving this problem took the team much longer than anticipated to resolve. If it hadn't been for that scar tissue, which was the byproduct from a procedure I had had two years prior to remove squamous cells, Ryden would have been out in 6 hours tops, drug free. Despite that the process took much longer, and put everyone through more exhaustion, nothing beats the moment when Ryden was suddenly evicted and I was reminded 5 times to open my eyes to see him for the first time. It's a pure wonder of science that I was able to create the organism put on my chest who then started to emit a cry. I looked up and saw Cam crying and the hyper reality of the situation hit my brain and all I could do was stare at this new being and think "God, I did it!"

When it comes down to recounting the greatest moments of your life, I cannot think of an event that seemed like such an impossible journey to seeing such a welcome outcome like giving birth to perfect, breathing, adorable Ryden. I feel I need to put this momentous deed on my resume, outlining the steps taken to achieve the goal, bulletpointing the challenges I faced and lastly, pulling through to the end of the deadline. Such achievement! Of course, I shouldn't be giving myself all the credit. Not only did Cam do his fair share of labor, but all of the wonderful nurses who were on shift that night who waited on us hand and foot to make sure we were doing ok. My amazing sister who showed up early expecting a birth only to hang around for hours and hours and eventually have to participate in the action by holding my legs up for when I had to push! And my supportive mother who showed up just in time to cheer me on (much to the nurses' annoyance) when it down to the prime moment. There is no way I could have done it on my own.

But wait, theres more! Not only do I feel at the top of the world for creating a baby, but now we get to raise him too! It's almost like I hadn't thought this far into the future. When Cam and I finally had to leave our resort-like hospital accommodation, we were giddy at the fact that we were able to put this new being in our car and drive away. An odd feeling that the car seat that we'd installed weeks ahead of time was finally being used and its purpose skyrocketing into dutiful action.

Ryden didn't say much about the beautiful nursery we'd prepared for him or the adorable clothes we put him in. He really wanted to sleep and for the first couple of nights, Cam and I had to rouse him in order to feed or change a diaper. It swung differently soon after when Ry took the wheel and let his attendees know when he needed attention. The work is no doubt demanding but rewarding every time we see Ry's little face looking so placid in his sleep.
Ryden has forced us to slow down. We ponder a bit more, when feeding him, soothing him and rocking him. My hormones are ramped up to 11 and sometimes I can be deep in thought looking at him and burst into tears. The sound of a heartbeat from the baby noise app on my iphone can also emit a gush as I think about him listening to my heart his whole existence to this point and me listening to his throughout the entire birth process on the monitors. Such an intimate sound it is to me now. Cam is calm and understanding through of all this which makes us a very happy team and we couldn't feel closer together than we do now.

The Plan!

Alright kids, I know a lot of you have specific dates and flights and agendas but unfortunately, Ryden never got the memo.

What we hope will be a timely delivery on the 2nd of October, I predict that he will emerge later than that, all bets aside. Therefore, a plan has been devised while my cervix is sealed up tighter than a hobbit door buried in a lava tube.
If the weekend comes and goes, and no amount of spicy food or swimming helps my progression, I will be going in for an ultrasound on the 5th to make sure my fluid is in plentitude and that Ry is still doing ok. If that is the case, I will see my OB again on Friday the 8th and if Ry still isn't wanting to budge than the inducement is scheduled for the 11th. My doc won't be available on 10-10-10 so its up to Ry if he wants that particularly special birth date.
Meanwhile, speaking of swimming, I hadn't done that for awhile up until today. Turns out, there is a swimming pool walking distance from the house! Of course I looked into season passes and swimming lessons for Ryden (he can start at 6 months). The facility is spartan with no lockers and a broken vending machine but the pool was large, clean and EMPTY. My goodness, I had no idea how buoyant I was! I could just float on my back without moving and still float which I have never been able to do! I swam some laps but mostly just floated around until the paranoia creeped upon me that I might be making the lifeguards nervous. Afterwards, upon leaving the facility, I couldn't help but to notice how much stronger gravity was today. Maybe the Earth's spinning bumped up a notch?


The Hospital I plan to end up at:

Blurb on the Maternity Center:

More than 2,800 babies are born at Providence Portland Medical Center each year, and the staff sees each birth as a unique and special event. Providence Portland gives each family a private, safe, spacious and thoughtfully designed haven in which to welcome their new baby. Jacuzzi tubs, nurse-provided comfort measures, and 24-hour anesthesia coverage are available for laboring mothers. After giving birth, each mom can relax in one of our postpartum suites, knowing she will receive the best of care in a quiet, family-centered environment. Babies may be kept at the bedside in the suites, and fathers are welcome to stay overnight.

However, about the same distance away is this swanky spread:

The Family Maternity Center at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center is the largest birth center in Oregon. More than 6,000 babies are born here each year. Services include an award-winning Level III neonatal intensive care unit, 24-hour anesthesia coverage, 24-hour parent education programs televised on the hospital Baby Channel, the Postpartum Care Center for moms and infants, and a Breastfeeding Clinic and Store staffed by certified lactation consultants. For medically fragile infants, the Providence NICU is staffed by full-time neonatologists and specially trained nurses, pharmacists and respiratory therapists. This is the only NICU in Washington County.

Pretty exciting!

I quit my job

Its a bit disheartening to walk out of a job you've attended and thrown yourself into for the last few years without much hurrah. No cake, no flowers but then again, this is life. A couple hugs were had and then I headed out the back door. Sometimes I expect so much as I was always the one to be obsessed with buying cupcakes for someones birthday or celebrating someones long standing employment with a big signed banner. I know that I held an important role and the knowledge and repore I have gained from the company is rich and memorable history now. I'm really happy its been had and done.

Cam and I headed over to Babies R' Us which I thought would be a fun activity to jump start our new upcoming life. He had been given a cute surprise baby shower at his workplace and his adorable workmates had stocked him up on clothes, toys and a carrying backpack that we already had a duplicate of! They are pricey items, the backpacks, and Cam was very apologetic that we already owned one but promised he would swap it with something just as fun.
So at the Babies, we browsed around but soon fell into an overwhelmed state. The amount of plastic and cheaply made overpriced goods dragged my spirit down and eventually walked out of the store with nothing. Rampant consumerism is something that most of the time I can get quite excited about but when you boil down to the nuts and bolts of what I need to raise a tiny human, I don't need a lot. Over time, he will collect a lot of things but as of right now, he can already count himself very lucky with all the amazing stuff we have.
I am just ready to mother. I've been done preparing for a long time. When I think of the 180 my life will take to do this, I get ecstatic. I consider this venture the most extreme I have ever tried and am determined to be the best at it. I still have never changed a diaper and I was never a good babysitter but this is a game I'll win and will do it with ease.
7 days left!

I have captured him on video!

Ryden likes strawberry yogurt.

Two weeks left!

Cam is very excited about the Dr. Who suit we found for Ryden today :D

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Location:N Arlington Pl,Portland,United States

How do Newborns work?

Our class tonight was fantastic. I wasn't expecting much. How to wrap and bathe a baby were the skills I was expecting to walk away with. It was a 4 hour class though so we had to cover a couple of other things at least.
Needless to say, Cam and I are better people now and will certainly be better parents. Besides the old VHS videos, the class was upbeat and full of useful information. Initially, we were asked what we were concerned the most with when having a child. We gave a vague answer about establishing routine and the overall experience. What I really wanted to say was much more selfish concerns such as the birth itself and our financial state once I stop working. Better answers that other couples had were the concern with crying, handling in-laws, managing poop, ect. Once everyone had answered, Cam chimed in with the relationship itself with your partner. A good concern but I'm sure we'll have no problem on that front. However, I am not in denial that we are naive and have never been exposed to a crying baby with lack of sleep. It has always been something you can walk away from. You hear a cry at the supermarket, the airport, you can always turn a blind eye or just turn up the music.
We are excited to see what happens to us like some sort of mad science experiment. We know everything will change but we don't know how yet. The baby situation seems to fit into some formula that we will eventually fall into too. There are charts and statistics of hourly increments when baby will cry, you will feed, change the diaper. It's been studied for years with millions of infants. I want our experience to break the mold. I'm hoping to revert to instinct than follow the step by step instructions that have been given to us. But we'll see. These methods are tried and proven and most likely, we'll get tired of being rebels.

The baby shower went great! I felt like I was 4 again with all my besties over giving me large frilly gifts. The only thing missing was the cake and ice cream. It was all so well planned and perfect and everyone who said they were coming showed up. My mother and Kim certainly had their moments of disagreement but made sure that I was to do nothing. I was so grateful as exhaustion comes to me very easily and just cleaning the house had been overwhelming.
The boys took off on a hike in the Gorge and us ladies just clucked all afternoon. I loved witnessing all walks of life coming together to talk about babies or plants or hair or whatever was clucked. There was plenty of champagne and catered food goodies (from the prestigious jewish deli Kenny and Zukes) which was delicious. Kim had worked hard for a group participation activity of everyone coloring in a fabric square in order to make a quilt for little Ryden. It was the perfect placeholder for games as everyone poured their energy and creativity into their squares. The results were very impressive and we look forward to see the finished result after Kim sews it all together. It's the most precious gesture I have ever had done for me.
Ryden got a whole load of fun stuff to get him started in life. Onesies, towels, burp towels, a tub, slings, a bouncer.... I think we can finally say we are ready for this arrival. I am furiously trying to get out Thank Yous this week as it means the world to us and these people that we have in our lives are so special and even though some are much farther than we prefer, we hope that they can always be a part of our and Ryden's life.

Belly Day!

Today was about the belly, not to mention the contents inside. I was ├╝ber excited for my ultrasound today which seemed to take place at a slightly swankier lab. I had the same tech whose only mission was to look at my cervix but gave me a tour regardless. Ryden was being fussy or perhaps overly stimulated by the instrument sweeping across his shallow egg shell. The tech was unable to see the cervix due to Ry's head being in the way so she tilted my chair back so I was nearly upside down to get him to lay off. She was able to capture some mediocre pictures so she moved on to get me some cute face shots. She whipped out a slightly larger hardware the size of a deodorant and tried to capture a 3D image of the face.
3D ultrasounds are tricky. I was unaware that the clinic had this ability but since I had extra time the tech gave it a run. The software threatened to crash the computer while she navigated to find a perfect profile. Once the device finds it's target, it locks on and the software circumvents the object to create the 3D image. The moments of opportunity are fleeting and nothing can obstruct said object. So she focused on the profile of the face in order to capture the front in 3D but at the last second, Ry would put his hand in front of his mouth ruining the image. We tried everything to get him to move it. She poked and I rolled on my side. He put up a good fight. At last when the offensive hand was removed he came down with a bout of hiccups which once again ruined the images. The only one we got is a profile with his thumb seemingly up his nose.

Back on the 2D, it was discovered that Ry's face was difficult to capture anyway as there was little amniotic fluid between it and the uterus wall. A picture was managed from the view angle below looking up his nostrils in the middle of a yawn. Awwww....

Ryden weighed in at about 4lbs. 10 oz. Getting too big for this ultrasound business. His torso measured average within the 49% percentile of his age, the femur a bit on the shorter side and the head circumference in the 91% percentile. The tech asked if big heads ran in the family.. (Thanks a LOT Cam!)

After visiting with the doctor, a different woman, since my normal OB was unavailable, I was a bit clearer of the process of what to expect when I found myself in labor and how to get to the hospital and what to do. Useful stuff! Now, onto the super fun relaxing part!

Melanie at Blue Lotus Design is a wonderful henna artist and is influenced by all different cultures but has found her own style and niche in the market of body henna. Having grown up in Auckland and traveling all over the world from India to Thailand, she is a fascinating person to work with and talk to. The design took maybe an hour and a half and is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Last time I worked with Melanie, she had had to help me out of her house after doing henna on my arms while I was still on crutches. Regardless to say, she remembered me well. At this point, Ryden was on a rampage. I can hardly get him to so much as blink when I ask people if they want to touch the belly, but the henna made him wild. Melanie compared my stomach to a waterbed in the way it was flowing around. She has worked with over 40 bellies and said mine was one the most active she'd seen. Some of the design had to be retouched from the baby wrath but all in all, it was a beautiful result that was not of the conventional preggy design. Now I feel all pretty for the Shower on Sunday, but still slightly self conscious to go to the store with just the belly bared.