And then I turn around and I realize all those tiny changes accumulate, and all of a sudden he's 5 months old as of yesterday. He can support his weight on his legs if we hold his arms, and he's sitting up (with judicious use of pillow support, of course). He has all these… facial expressions. And sounds! So many different babble sounds. And the other day I gave him a tiny taste of hachiya persimmon on my finger, and when I offered a bit more, he LUNGED at my hand and stuffed it in his face and sucked madly on it. Uh, okay dude, apparently you want to taste more food.
And I see him chilling out on his stomach pushing up alternately on his knees and arms… he even does that when he's shifting position while sleeping, like his body KNOWS it needs to try to crawl, even when it wakes him up and he screams because he doesn't WANT to be awake.
I have a feeling we really can't procrastinate too much more on the childproofing of our house.
Everywhere I go, people constantly comment on how alert and aware and interested he is in what's going on. I don't know if this is because he's small for his age, so people peg him as younger, or if they say that about all the babies, or if that really is a noticeably more intense part of his particular personality. Sure, there are some things he just hates -- being in the car seat for a long time being chief among them, as we learned after the drive to and from Yosemite last weekend. But we've yet to find his tolerance limit for being carried around outside while looking at things. His favorite directions are Up and Out, and he'll often crane his neck into crazy contortions to see more trees and sky.
Oh yeah, that hat? The reason it looks so weird is, uh... we sort of lost his hat on the way to Yosemite. And it was seriously chilly. But never fear: a rubber band, a spare pair of baby pants, and a bit of MacGyver creativity resulted in a brand new hat! Well, close enough, anyway.
Finally, he's figured out that Colin and I are important. When Colin brings Kai upstairs after he's had him in the morning, it's all gummy grins and giggles for me. And when Kai hears Colin's voice after he comes home at night, he cranes his neck around until he sees him, and more gummy grins and drooling and gleeful giggles ensue. Like we're some kind of celebrities. It is DAMNED delightful, people.
I'm not sure what we did to deserve that kind of adoration - we did THIS to him for Halloween, after all.
(I wrote this over a period of several days, which is apparently the only way I can find time to write a long blog post right now. Please excuse any temporal/tense weirdnesses or contradictions in the following text!
Also, in the interest of getting this posted ever, I'm not inserting photos this time. But feel free to check out our July set of Kai photos.)
Everyone in the childbirth class we took at our Birth Center has been sending out birth stories to the group as their babies have been born. We were the last ones to go, and I just wrote this up and sent it out. I figured I'd also post it here - it starts with my water breaking and ends with the cesarean, where the previous two posts pick up. FYI, Serena is my midwife, who we had intended be the one to deliver Kai. Of course, he had his own plans!
* * *
Well, the last of us in the class have finally joined the ranks of you parents. Colin and I welcomed Kai Liotta into our lives at 6:20 AM a week ago today. And let me tell you, he made quite a spectacular entrance!
Things kicked off when my water broke VERY thoroughly late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning. (Luckily we'd taken the advice to cover our bed with a shower curtain under our sheets!) Nothing showed signs of happening immediately, so after calling Serena to let her know what was up, we managed to override the excitement and get back to sleep.
The next morning I was feeling very mild sporadic contractions, but nothing remarkable. We went out for breakfast and headed to the birth center where Serena took my blood pressure, took my temperature, let us know what our next steps would be if I did or did not go into labor on my own, and verified that the baby was indeed still in his deeply engaged head-down position. (FORESHADOWING!) Serena predicted I'd go into labor that night; Judi was sure they wouldn't see me before the next morning at the earliest.
We spent the rest of the day knocking out our last things on the to-do list, cleaning house, and enjoying a relaxing day at home together. We walked to Ethiopian food that night, and while we were at dinner contractions started to pick up a bit - mostly varying between 10-5 minutes apart, but still very irregular. Colin and I were able to walk to a friend's house after dinner and even go get ice cream, and I was just starting to have to slow down a bit and concentrate a little during contractions, though they still weren't really painful yet.
Things really picked up after we went to bed that night. Around 1AM I woke up. The contractions had picked up to the point where they were too painful to sleep through, but more worryingly I was shivering like crazy and feeling pretty feverish. I took my temperature and it was right at 99 (100 being the point at which you have to transfer to a hospital for possible infection).
I woke up Colin and he helped me work through the steadily increasing contractions, all the while piling sweaters and blankets on me as I kept shivering. Unfortunately as the next hour progressed my temperature kept rising. After an hour of contractions coming every four minutes at at least a minute long, despite drinking LOTS of water, my temperature was 100.7 and rising. We consulted with Serena on the phone and made the decision to drive to UCSF and transfer care there.
At around 3 AM we were on our way. The car ride was surprisingly pleasant, or at least, not harder to deal with than being in our house was. When we arrived we went up to labor and delivery and got settled in. The contractions were quite painful at that point but were surprisingly easy to deal with for me. Well - easy isn't the right word (as you guys know!), but it was achievable. I was really amazed at how each one came with the rush of endorphins after it finished, making me feel super happy and blessed out.
Unfortunately things went more than a little awry just about now! As they were getting my antibiotics ready, the doctor on duty came in to examine me and do a routine ultrasound to verify the baby's position. Remember when I said he was head-down that morning? He had been engaged VERY low for weeks and weeks, in fact. And yet somehow, in the 15 hours between my exam with Serena and that morning, Kai decided to do a full flip into a footling breech position. Oops! The doctor peeked inside me and saw his feet right up inside my obliviously dilating cervix, ready to hit the ground running, apparently.
Well, that changed everything. With the infection risk and the footling breech position (the most risky one), there was no avoiding an immediate cesarean. Suddenly it was all release forms and drugs to stop the contractions and all the other unpleasant surgery preparations. Not at all what we were expecting, obviously, but we managed to stay upbeat and did find the silver lining that no matter what, we'd be meeting our son even sooner than we anticipated. Moreover, we were lucky in a way that I had the whole infection thing going on landing us in the hospital already. Otherwise we would have obliviously gone to Sage Femme and then been treated to a surprise ambulance ride to SF General once the breech was found. Small mercies!
You get a bonus photo here in the blog. :)
Into the operating room I went. Colin was able to come in too, though not Serena, and before long I was feeling all the SUPER WEIRD feelings pressure and stretching, but without any actual pain or sensation. The worst part of the actual c-section is definitely not being able to really hold your baby immediately, though I could hear him, and Colin stayed right by his side as they did all the initial exams. They brought him to my face, and seeing him there - even through the slightly hazy drugs I was on - remains one of the most powerful impressions of my life. Colin went with him as they took him off while I was sewn up and taken to recovery.
Colin brought him back to me in the recovery room but I was still pretty out of it from the drugs, plus I managed to overachieve and suffer from a fairly serious hemorrhage, so it was a couple hours before I could really hold him. Additionally, there were all the various hospital type things that they kept whisking him away to do. As Colin was going in and out with Kai, Serena stayed with me in my room. I have such gratitude to her for the support she gave then. Those hours were by far the most traumatic and painful of the whole experience, and having her there keeping me distracted was beyond valuable. But when it was all winding down I had Colin and Kai there with me, and that was wonderful.
All in all, of course we're disappointed and saddened that things didn't go as we hoped. But when it comes down to it, we have this amazing baby who is quite simply the most astonishing, riveting, amazing thing we've ever seen.
[...] At home, things are going awesomely and after we finally escaped the hospital (bleh), we've been very happy and well-rested and in great spirits. I'm much more mobile than I thought I would be at this point and we're LOVING this new phase in our lives.
Congratulations to all of you! I hope you all are well and have found your new rhythms. I can't wait to get together and meet all your new little people.
All the best,
Jess, Colin, and Kai