The McBryders

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Awhile back on NPR, they had a feature about a man that recorded sounds that "took people back". For instance, the clanking of the tetherball chain might take a recess teacher instantly back to the empty schoolyard, after all of the kids had gone back to their classes. (I'm making that example up - however that particular sound takes ME back to Thoreau Elementary - walking tardily through the schoolyard!) Anyway, if this guy had a super-subtle recording device I bet any breastfeeding mother would be able to recognize the recording of a child eating. Pant-pant-pant-snuffle-swallow. Repeat.

This is just one of many weird thoughts that cross my mind while I am watching Sammy eat.

I know many women get into the spiritual nuturing Earth-Mother feeling of breastfeeding. I am trying to get there. But I just can't rid my mind of the picture of the big sow lying on her side as her multitudinous piggies eat. I'll keep working on it. Until I reach that zen state, I will have to make due with these images to keep me in that loving state:

  • Sammy using her shoulder for leverage when she's REALLY hungry. Shrug swallow shrug swallow shrug swallow...
  • I am no longer in the wince and grimace stage of breastfeeding (thanks Mom for the tip on black tea bags!)
  • Every once in awhile a little gas smile will surface and all I can see, since her mouth is hidden, is a softening of the eyes and a dimple in her cheek. That look kills me everytime.
  • Wondering if she will do another Victory Dismount - where she launches herself off my breast while simultaneously raising her right arm over her head. "Done!"
  • The definition for Milksop is a timid man, ineffectual and childlike. However, I propose another definition be added. Specifically the heroin-junkie-"I-just-got-a-fix" milk coma expression as seen on this little girl's face:

Fitting, no?

And as a bonus for all her fans - here is "Happy Baby":

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Two weeks old!

As of this morning, Samantha is two weeks old! Wow! It seems so much longer than merely two weeks. Here are a few snapshots from the last few days!

The remains of Sam's umbilical stump fell off on Sunday, so she was able to get her first bath! She seemed to really like the bath, but the drying off not so much! Brrr!

Dad admits that he really digs Sammy's little feets!

Mother and daughter getting a little shut-eye.

Just like mom... a natural in front of the camera! Irresistible! I can't stand it!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

How to find time?!?

What a week this has been! I had heard that there is a kind of 'time-warp' thing that happens during delivery - where three hours go by in a matter of minutes (thank goodness!), but I had no idea that that time warp continued after delivery! We'll wake up around 8am and begin our day feeding Sam, a few 'cycles' later, next thing I know it is 4:30 pm! Where does the day go? I really don't have lofty goals these days; if I can pay the bills on one day and return a phone call on the second day I think I am doing pretty well!

We have had a wonderfully enjoyable time having vistors and going on outings this last week: my brother and his wife came up last Friday (the jaundice day) and it was so good to see them!

Notice the limp noodle pose!

One day we took Samantha to visit her two great grandma's. Talk about a star! My grandmas live in the same retirement center so it is easy to visit both, and as we walked from one area to the next we attracted quite the following. A silent but far-reaching cry of "baby on the floor!" went out to all residents, and as we turned to go around a corner we were met with dozens of people who had come to see the baby. It was a very touching sight - as one woman said " It has been decades since I have seen a 6 day old baby!" But I don't think anyone was as "tickled-pink" as my grandma R:

The next day we took Samantha to meet my chiropractor - which isn't as strange as it sounds. His wife is the receptionist and she became pregnant 12 weeks before me, so for the last few months we have been exchanging pregnancy and then delivery tales. I must say though, we had FAR different delivery stories: she did a home delivery in a tub! Wow. I can't even imagine that.

The next day we dolled up Samantha in her very first knit-by-Stephanie piece of clothing and took her to meet David's client. Here she is in her handknit sweater:

Looking back at this week, I guess we have done a lot: I haven't even mentioned Bryan and Tara's visit, or Judy's, or Lara's, or her Uncle Bob's, or Deane and Erikas's visit or the hearing test and blood draw she had to get at the hospital, or our first restaurant experience or our first life-passed-by-before-our-eyes experience...but I think I'll let David tell you all about that!

Here's Sam being fed by her "Aunt" Lara!:

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Tired, Happy Parents (sung to the tune by R.E.M.)


What an exhilarating, thrilling experience these last few days have been. Ever since noon on Tuesday we have been flying high as we devote ourselves to watching, learning about and loving Samantha (not to mention laughing at her occasionally, too).

We were lucky to spend two full days in the hospital (by today's standards two days seems lucky!) where we holed up and were given great care by some wonderful nurses. And that self-imposed isolation has continued here at home. Everyday we learn something new. Things like how many expressions a little being can make (unintentionally!), how important it is to keep our patience with one another as we try to calm Sam, how huge the heart can expand to include a new person so absolutely, how incredibly small and perfect a pinkie fingernail can be.

We had our first pediatrician's appt today. Last night Samantha was yellow and limp as a little wet noodle - the symptoms of the typical third-fourth day jaundice. But after a couple of thirty-minute meals, she quickly gained her energy back in the middle of the night. And today at the appointment she was given a clean bill of health. And a shot in the thigh for HepB.

Slowly we are getting our routines down. I was able to take a shower today! I entered a store for the first time in a week.

So...about the delivery. Please read on at your own risk - I tried to make an abbreviated post without all of the graphic details, but was unable to. So, be prepared. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I started early labor in the evening on Saturday, August 6th. I had been told that the threat of induction brings on labor, and they were right! Of course we started timing the contractions right away and called in when they appeared more regular. I was told to go to sleep if I could and to call back if they intensified to the point where I couldn't sleep through them. At four in the morning we called in and went to the hospital. My dad drove us, and my mom accompanied David and me in triage. After an exam it turned out I was only at 1 cm dilation and 80% effacement, so they had us walk around for an hour and a half to see if I would progress further, but to no avail. So, back home we went.

Sunday was long and painful. Sunday night (well, 2 am Monday morning) David and I went back to triage (sans parents this time... we felt we could deal with the disappointment of being sent home again better just the two of us) and found out that I had progressed to...2 cm. This time I accepted the morphine shot they offered me so that I could get SOME sleep.

Which I did, but so did my contractions - nothing for the first half of the day. Talk about disappointing! Especially since I was still in a world of pain in my back. I called in to find out what was going on and the nurse thought that I was describing the symptoms of a baby that was head down but turned the wrong way (Occiput Posterior, "Sunny Side Up"). Man! David and I had worked pretty hard at devising strategies for helping me relax through contractions (we were doing hypnobirthing), but nothing had prepared me for the non-stop pain of this OP positioning. Which, I might add, has a tendency of causing prolonged labor. Lovely.

That afternoon my contractions came back. After three or four hours of 1.5-minute contractions ranging from 3 to 13 minutes apart, we decided to "average" the timing of the contractions so that we could call in (the hospital wants to see them at every 4 minutes, lasting a minute for a full hour - 4-1-1). My mom, David and I went back to the hospital at 8pm Monday August 8th. This time I had finally gotten to 4 cm so I was able to be admitted. We "graduated" David said.

My first stop was the jacuzzi tub in our birthing suite to get some relief. Our doctor came in and we went over our birth plan with her. We wanted to deliver as naturally as possible. Like I said, we had done some hypnobirthing practice, and I had practiced relaxation techniques in my yoga classes, and I was extremely interested in being able to change my positions during labor (squatting instead of pushing on my back, etc).

An hour later I was at 5 cm. Contractions were still intensifying and the next few hours were a blur as I slowly made my way to 6 cm, then to 7 cm. I would NEVER have been able to get through this without the fantastic support I recieved from David, my mom and our very own wonderful nurse, Theresa. With every contraction they were a fine-tuned machine as I breathed "In-2-3-4 Out 2-3-4-5-6-7-8" and shouted out commands according to what I needed for that particular contraction. More hours passed (I think I had been going for 8 or 9 hours at this point - not to mention those couple of days prior). I was ready for my next exam. I had gone back down to 6 cm.

Devastation. Apparently, with every contraction I was also pushing, and due to Sam's position (and size!) it was causing my cervix to swell. Swell shut, actually.

It was at this point that I asked about medication.

From this moment on, our birth plan flew out the window, and you know... if I had to do it all over again I would make the same choices.

I got an epidural, and pitocin (to keep the contractions going). Then a catheter. Then an internal uterine monitor. Then an oxygen mask because the baby was decelling (the heart rate was dropping). Then an internal heartrate monitor for the baby. I was told that I had all of the gadgets that Hotel Swedish had to offer.

I was now getting that overwhelming urge to push, but I had to wait for the new doctor (shift change) to finish with another delivery before I could get the go ahead. The nurse thought I was completely dilated, but needed the confirmation. She came in and told me that I could go ahead and push. I begged to be allowed to squat but was told that my legs would buckle under me. So I told them that at the very least I was going to go on my side, which I did.

It was apparent that Sam's head was going to be big, and we were told that the only chance of delivering vaginally was to use a vacuum extractor (think plunger - in fact, you can see the bruise left by this process on the picture with Theresa). Sheesh. This meant a trip to the bright lights of the OR delivery room. Surreal. The stretcher ride, seeing my dad walking down the hall as he realized it was his daughter that was being wheeled by, the three big movie camera type lights, the looming face of the anethesialogist, the noise of all the staff in the room, my mom and David having to get into sterile scrubs, my legs being put into wierd furry leg warmer things and then into stirrups, the shouting "push, push" as I couldn't help but to push. And in a matter of minutes, Samantha was born and placed on my belly. Wow.

I really could not process it - here she was, and yet I couldn't get that this was our daughter. David, on the other hand had no problems realizing this, as I looked at him and he was wonderfully happily emotional.

We were wheeled back into our birthing suite and Samantha took to breastfeeding like a fish to water. I am so thankful (though lately, every day has presented it's challenges!).

Anyway. There you have it. The saga of Samantha's odyssey. Chapter One.

Thank you all for you well wishes and congratulations. It is so much fun reading your emails and comments. Please leave comments if you can - we love to see who's been watching.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

She's Here!!

Sam is here and we are home at last!

This is just the super quick update, expect more later...

Samantha Clare
Born August 9th, 2005 11:41 am
9 lbs 3 oz, 21.5 inches
Perfect in every way.

A couple of photos:

So dang cute!!

(Notice the blanket crocheted by my mom! Aww.)

The proud, beaming, weepy, tired parents.

Where she is now.

That is all for now - there will be more soon.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The I word...

Well - it has been an interesting couple of days. Yesterday we went in for our second "post-date" appointment. Every four or so days after the due date has passed, the doctors want to see a nonstress test for the baby to make sure that she is still comfortable and tolerating womb-life. Our first appointment had been very reassuring. Yesterday's not so much. Unfortunately my doctor was on-call, so when she came in to give me my exam (again, no change. grr.) she had just introduced the topic of induction when she got paged to deliver a baby.

I was put on the external monitor, and there I sat for close to an hour. Samantha was obviously very comfortable since she was asleep most of the time, and I had no contractions to speak of. When my doctor came back (fast delivery!) she didn't see enough of a reaction, and saw a couple of decels (I guess where the heart-rate dips down) so she wanted me to have another appointment Saturday the hospital since the office was closed.

So. We also discussed induction and she set up an appointment for me for next Wednesday (the 10th) since that is the day she is on-call. I didn't feel very good about that. I really don't want to be induced. I guess I just figure that my body knows best, but I didn't feel I was able to stand up to the medical authority. I left feeling very frustrated.

But, my parents were champs. They invited David and me over for dinner: we had barbequed salmon on the patio and then played pegs and jokers (we thought of you guys, Californiagrammy!!) and got our minds off the whole thing for awhile.

That night it seemed like every time I woke up I had mild cramps. We got ourselves ready for the appointment (including going through and bringing our hospital bag just in case they didn't like what they saw). We got to the hospital and got strapped onto the monitor. Again, we were there for about an hour. The monitor kept shorting out and we would lose the heartrate, or the uterine movement rate, but apparently they got enough of a reading to think that everything was ok with Samantha. There were no decels; I had short, sharp contractions that she reacted to; we got the green light to go home.

So here we are. We are crossing our fingers that things will progress naturally before Wednesday. I go into the hospital again on Tuesday to get Misoproxil (or something like that - a medication to help ripen the cervix) and another nonstress test. My doctor said 30% of the time the Miso will bring on labor. Regardless of how things progress, come Wednesday night or Thursday, little Samantha should be in our arms!

Thank you all for your words of encouragment and support - you guys are great! :-)

Friday, August 05, 2005

Due Date Plus Eight

Well, one week and one day ago we really began Jonesing to meet our daughter. All you wonderful bloggers have helped keep us sane with your comments and your own blogs, offering anecdotes and all types of sage advice. Thank you!

Since July 28 (our "official" due date) we have mainly spent our time doing relaxing things together, like watching TV, going to movies, going shopping, making dinner, keeping the house as tidy as possible (oh fun!), and gardening. We've also engaged in some activities that have been known to "jump start" a slowly developing labor... these include walks (long and short) and other things I won't get into here.

We're happy and relaxed as possible given the situation. Our friends email and call us constantly, and all receive the same message: "not yet." We both agreed just yesterday that if we could erase the anxiety, this past week has been beyond lovely. We've been given an excuse to take a vacation, at least in our minds, from the stress and strain of everyday life, and we've both been enjoying the idyllic Seattle summer.

One particularly humorous development is Steph's mom and dad learning to rely more upon their cell phone. They'll stop by (they live next door) to tell us they're going out for a couple of hours and that they have their cell phone on and with them. They're making HUGE strides into the 21st Century!

Here are a couple photos from the past few days. We'll keep you posted!

Trying to get comfortable in front of the Boob Tube

Water cure for hot swollen tootsies. Water torture for curious cat.

Whacking weeds in the summer heat