Carolyn Elizabeth Genzano, April 7, 2005
Stats: born in Room 331, Capital Health System Mercer Campus, 7:37 am, Thursday, 4/7/05.
Weight: 5 lb, 15 oz. Length: 19.75" Head: 32 cm
THE BIRTH - DAY ONE
4/6/05-4/7/05 (written morning of 4/8)
I don't have a lot of time now, but I'm going to get down something about the birth of Cara. As mentioned in the prologue, we had an appointment to see Burbella at 4 pm on 4/6 because Evie was feeling contractions after having gone off her anti-contraction drug. We arrived at Burbella's at 4. The waiting room was so totally full that they had set up a few extra folding chairs in which other people were sitting. The person at the desk said something about getting more chairs. We decided to wait outside in the car. We were listening to a book on CD I had just gotten out of the library for myself, a biography of Benjamin Franklin, and Evie was liking it. We also took some time to stroll over to the Dollar Store right nearby. This exhausted Evie. At 5--one hour after we were supposed to have our appointment--I went down to check and the waiting room was emptied out. So down we both came and finally got to see Burbella. It turned out Evie was dilated to 2 cm--better than before. Change was happening! Burbella figured he wouldn't be seeing us again for any appointments, because he figured if she kept changing we could go ahead on to the hospital that night and have the baby. Ev and I were very happy to hear this.
Instead of bothering to drive all the way home, we swung into the Quakerbridge Mall and had a quick dinner at Friendly's. Evie was still feeling some painful contractions, so we decided it was time to head off to the hospital. At the hospital, Ev's dilation was still only 2 cm. The baby's heart rate was apparently too steady, so Evie drank juice to wake it up. Then the hospital staff made us walk the halls for ONE AND A HALF HOURS in an attempt to make the labor really begin. It was very painful for Evie, who continued to have some contractions and had some really bad backpain. The OB triage ward, where we were, is kind of horseshoe shaped, and we would do laps back and forth of the horseshoe. We took breaks about every three laps. We must have done about twenty laps before the time was up. At the end of the time, I was praying she would be dilated further, as I'm sure Evie was--but the nurse checked and there had been no change. I was very disappointed. The nurse did say that something had started and most likely we would be back before the weekend (that day was Wednesday), but I was still very disappointed. Evelyn's mother had warned me ahead of time that her two labors for Evelyn and Claire had been remarkably quick, and that I should read up on what to do if I didn't make it to the hospital in time. Now, it seemed like the labor could take days. I had to start thinking again about whether to go back to work or whether to just start my paternity leave as of that day, or what. We didn't know what was going to happen next. They sent us home with a pair of sleeping pills for Evie. They assured her that if she actually did go into labor, she would wake up.
She did. At around 4 am, Evie started coming out of sleep. She was in and out for a while, but her contractions had grown much more painful, and though she herself had some understandable difficulty in timing them, she thought they were around three minutes apart, and regular. She woke me up at around 5:15. She had the lights on in the living room and had taken the bed comforter onto the couch, but she was unable to stay in one place for long because of the amount of pain she was in. We paged the doctor and I started getting myself dressed and getting together stuff for the hospital--it wasn't hard, as we hadn't unpacked anything from the night before. Eventually we realized that there was no reason to wait for the doctor, and that we really needed to get going to the hospital. So off we went. I drove down Route 1 at a respectable 75 mph for most of the way--fortunately it was early enough that traffic was very light and I had no trouble weaving between people. I used my highbeams to flash people out of my way as well, something I had gotten out of the habit of doing because I thought it was kind of rude. I even kind of went through a red light once. On the way to Burbella's the other day, we had ridden over a stretch of Business Route 1 which was under construction. It was down to one lane, and that lane was very bumpy and caused Evelyn to groan several times. On the way back that evening, Evie directed me through a way around the construction which was very helpful on the morning of 4/7. We made it to the hospital probably before 6:15, and I dropped Evie off at the front. A hospital staffperson who saw her walking in notified the security guard, and the guard very nicely fetched a chair for her and wheeled her up to the third floor.
At the hospital, it was discovered that Evie had already gotten to 5 cm. In a very short time, she dilated all the way through to 9 or 10. She was in a lot of pain, but the baby's heart rate was a little unsteady and the doctor had yet to arrive, so they were unable to give her any painkillers at all. I had heard a woman in another room screaming the previous night and had not relished the prospect of hearing my wife in a similar condition. But, though she was definitely in a lot of pain, she was able to hold it in and be quite quiet through the whole thing. I'm sure I would have been screaming like a little girl. When the doctor did arrive, he had no time to change fully and did what he called a "street clothes delivery," just putting on a hospital smock and boots and wearing a big face mask almost like that of a welder (he cracked a joke about welding which Evie, in her state, tried to find amusing). Almost before the doctor was ready to do it, he told Evie it was ok for her to start pushing. I held one of Evie's legs and a nurse held the other. The nurse was helpful in directing Evie. I had seen some videos in our child birth classes and had been shown examples of "good labor coaches," and had hoped to emulate their performances. These men had been very calm, lovingly holding their wives and stroking them, saying encouraging things, and counting 1-10 during the pushes. I did almost none of these things during the actual delivery. I tried to do them, but when I counted it didn't match the much louder counting the nurse was doing, so I quickly stopped. Evie didn't seem receptive to encouraging remarks at the time, though I did do some stroking early on.
After a few pushes, it became clear that Evie just didn't have enough room. I can't remember what order the next things happened in, but I think probably the first thing the doctor tried was a vacuum. I had seen this in our classes. It is actually a little cup which attaches to the top of the baby's head. The cup is attached by a tube to a pump, and when Evie pushed, the nurse worked the pump, to help pull the baby out. This slightly deforms the baby's head--the pictures I saw in the classes were rather disturbing--but it goes away, and it's apparently better than tongs. We tried this a bit. The doctor then gave her a local anasthetic (before sticking Ev with the needle he warned, "this is going to sting," which given her pain level at the time is pretty funny) and performed an episiotomy--a hockey stick shaped incision down the bottom of the vagina to help give some room (the curve at the bottom is to avoid the rectum--sorry for the gory details, but I want it all for posterity, you understand). At this point, Evelyn did not feel the incision, and I expect the contractions were not as bad, though she could still certainly feel them. Not long after this, the baby's head, the top of which had been somewhat visible for a few minutes, came totally out and I stared at the face of my child. Then, in almost no time at all, the rest of the body squirted out--along with a lot of fluid (sorry for the grossness again). Ironically, the doctor did not need his face mask at all, as most of the squirting went off to the side--fortunately away from me, since I had only my street clothes on.
We had talked about the possibility of me cutting the cord--something they let dads do nowadays--and Evelyn had told me she thought it was rather silly and that I didn't have to worry about doing it. When the moment came, however, and the doctor asked me, I said "what the heck" and did it. The cut was farther up the cord than I expected, and it took me a couple snips (Cara may have a ragged belly button--sorry Cara!), but I did it.
The baby had swallowed some fluid (I won't tell you what it was called, because I still don't remember), so they had to suction it out. As soon as the baby came out, I started breathing very heavily in utter relief and excitement. During the labor, the nurse on the other side of Evie had told me that there was a chair right behind me if I began to feel "uncomfortable." She may have said this because I was being so quiet, or maybe I looked pretty scared. But actually I was totally fine and didn't want to faint at all. Probably the closest I came to hyperventilating was after the baby was out. But it felt amazing.
Evelyn had gotten to the hospital at around 6:15, and the baby was born at 7:37. It was fast, just as her mother had predicted; it just started a few hours later than we'd expected.
As soon as the baby was out, it was placed on a counter with heating lights over it and monitors and stuff, which had been set up in the room. I went over to look at her. Now I had heard lots of stuff in our classes about how ugly babies could look, and all the weird marks and hair and scum they could have on them when they came out. I had been bracing myself for a hideous little monster with a squelchy face and oozing sores. I guess they had definitely cleaned her off almost immediately, but what I saw was a beautiful, pink, rosy little baby with a perfect little face. I know this is sappy--they say all parents think their kids are cute, even if they're ugly--but she was beautiful. The nurse said she was nice and pink and had "big feet." I tentatively stuck my finger into her hand and she did that innate reflex reaction and curled her little fingers around mine. Meanwhile I was crying a bit and my nose was running in an embarrassing manner.
They had to take the baby fairly soon to the nursery, so I stayed with Evie while Burbella stitched up the incision he'd made. It was amazing how far Evie's stomach went down immediately. I'd read that Evie would only be down to her weight at the fifth month after birth, but she almost looks back to normal already--this is probably partly due to the fact that she had been losing weight at the end because of her digestive ailment, etc. (there's that etc. again...). Later I would go down to the hospital parking lot and clip a daffodil from their flower arrangements (don't tell anybody!) to give to Evie. Daffodils are special because Evelyn had told me George brought them to Janet when Evie herself was born.
Evie eventually told me to go see the baby, so I went to the nursery, where a nurse gave her a pretty good once-over checkup. She explained everything she was doing to a resident nurse--whose name, ironically enough, was also Carolyn (I was later to call 1800Flowers to get flowers for Evie, and I'm fairly sure that the woman I ordered the flowers from was also named Carolyn; freaky!!). Cara got a lot of stuff checked over. She had all the right numbers of fingers and toes, no webbing, no weird stuff, and her reflexes seemed ok. They put her on an oxygen mask because she seemed low on that. I took some pictures of the baby, the first she would have (they'll be up on the a photos page very soon).
Our first day with Cara had its ups and downs. Mostly ups while the various parents visited--my mother gave us a box of bubble gum cigars! The parents were very helpful. We moved to a postpartum room eventually, though it took some time because (as I heard later) no fewer than nine babies were born that day! When we moved, the baby really started to open its eyes and look around, and it was very exciting. Later, after everyone had left, I began to really feel some exhaustion. The baby's blood sugar had been low, so they had started Evie on breastfeeding. We had fed Cara couple of times, and it had worked well, but no one had come back to check her blood sugar again. Also, a few temperature checks had shown the baby's temperature to be a bit low, but no one had done anything about it. Eventually a pediatrician from the hospital came in and basically freaked out when we told her this stuff, and Cara was taken to the nursery, where I watched someone there check her blood sugar (it was fine), her temperature (it was better, not too bad), and cup feed her some formula. I left the nursery convinced, as I had never been before (though it had occurred to me, obviously), that I know NOTHING about taking care of babies, and the both of us really need some help.
Speaking of which, I have been away from my family far too long, and I have to get back to the hospital. I went home last night to get a good night's sleep, but I let the cats out because they'd been in the basement all day, and they proceeded to wake me up several times during the night by running around and knocking things off of tables and biting my toes. This morning I had to pay some bills, pay my taxes (!), sort some of Cara's mountains of clothes, and I didn't want to leave before I got my memories of Day One down on the web. But now I have to go. More later...
I've already realized the irony of this situation, which is that in order to record all the time I'm spending with Cara, I have to spend considerable amounts of time away from Cara. This moment I've chosen to try to get in a few memories is the morning of the day after we all got sent home from the hospital. My mother is here and Cara is in the "infant restraint," or car seat, on the kitchen table. I spent all day on Friday, 4/8, from around noon onward at the hospital, and then I spent my first night with Cara.
OK, now Cara is upstairs feeding and I have taken a shower. Time warp! It's gotten a lot harder, as I'd anticipated, to be able to sit down and do these entries. When I was staying the night with Cara in the hospital, she was up and down all night, and I began wondering if this fathering thing was really going to work for me. But a lot is improved when you're trying to catch some sleep on a comfortable bed in your home instead of on a squeaky vinyl chair in a hospital room. I still haven't gotten much sleep in the past few days, but today I feel a little bit more confident about this whole thing.
Late in the night on Friday the baby had to take the "Car Seat Challenge." Because she was born at 36 weeks (and one day), she wasn't full term, and so might have trouble sitting upright in even an infant-sized car seat. So I had to bring in my seat and they stuck her in it and hooked her up with monitors to make sure her breathing and heart rate were ok over a period of time. This test happened in the nursery from around 2-4 in the morning (technically Saturday morning). I could have stayed and watched, but honestly I felt so relieved to not have to worry about the baby for a few hours that I walked back to the room with bouncing (and slightly guilty) steps. The baby came back around 4 and had passed the test, which we were happy to discover. Then we had to take care of her for the rest of the night. I've realized something about myself which I already knew but which has acquired special significance at this particular time in life: I am unable to nap. I can sleep in a bed at nighttime (as long as a crying baby doesn't wake me--good luck!), but when it comes to napping during the day, I just can't seem to do it. I get drowsy, yes, but actual sleep does not occur. During that first night with Cara, the only sleep I got was while she was off at her Car Seat Challenge.
Earlier that morning, my parents and Sarah had visited. Sarah brought more presents for the baby (!) and we had a nice time. The baby had a hearing test which she fortunately passed (her first A! as the technician who performed the test said). They hooked her to a cart with a laptop on it and sent little pongs of sound through a cord and kind of headphone plug into her ear, and if the machine was able to detect an echo of the sound bouncing back, it meant she could hear. The woman who ran the test, like almost everyone we met at the hospital, was very nice and chatted with us pleasantly.
We were still concerned on Friday that the baby might not get discharged with us; the pediatrician at first gave us an absolute "no" answer, but then said "we'll see about her weight tomorrow." All babies lose some weight initially from what I now understand, but with preemies one has to be sure it isn't too much; especially with Cara, who had swallowed some fluid and at that time was still having a little trouble eating (this problem seems to have gone almost to the opposite extreme now--last night, Saturday night, she seemed hungry almost all the time). On Saturday as the day went on, I became more and more anxious about whether we were going to get out or not. The obstetrician came to see Ev around noon and she was officially discharged, but there seemed to be a question as to whether the in-hospital pediatrician would discharge the baby. A male neonatologist had checked out the baby earlier that morning, but he didn't seem to know anything about being able to let the baby leave. However, Burbella said this was what had to happen. Then as Ev was signing her discharge papers, the male nurse took out a very workmanlike, battletorn pair of pliers or something which he used to detach a security device from the clamped tip of Cara's umbilical cord. The security device is an attempt to prevent the theft of newborns--scary, but true. Then the nurse talked about how when Evie was wheeled out of the hospital, we could put the car seat with the baby in it on her lap. I'm still not really sure if the baby was officially discharged from the hospital, but that's how we left--with little Cara on Evie's lap in a wheelchair. I was very glad to get us out of there; when there's something that's supposed to happen, I'm not good at waiting for it, and I was pacing the room, doing some brusque packing and asking people in the hall when we were going to leave. I told Evelyn if we didn't leave soon I was going to hyperventilate. I already know that I'm going to be the more nervous parent of the two of us. Like my own parents at times, I will be the "mother hen" who is always worried. Evie comes from a more laid-back parenting style which may have gotten her one or two more little scrapes when she was a kid, but probably allowed her to have a bit more fun too. It will interesting to see how we work together as a "team."
Fortunately, Ev's parents had nicely already gone to our house ahead of time and tidied up our bedroom, which was still cluttered with all the debris of Evie's time on bed rest. They helped immeasurably by making a dinner and generally doing little chores so that we could either take care of the baby or just try to get some rest. Then my mom came up to help us through the night. I feel a lot better when there's someone else here to watch the baby, or just someone nearby when we're watching the baby. We had Cara up in our room last night in the bassinet. Ideally or figuratively, she was "in the bassinet," but in actual fact she spent about 90% of last night either being fed, being changed, or being held by one of the three of us. For a couple of hours we sent Cara down to the foldout couch where mom was sleeping so that we could try to get some sleep--it was about the only sleep I got last night, and it actually was almost worse than not sleeping, because at the end of the couple of hours I was so drowsy and didn't want to wake up. Cara doesn't seem to particularly like the bassinet; she prefers being held, and she was very hungry. This was a complete turnaround from her first couple days, which is encouraging but not good on a night's sleep.
Don't get me wrong, though. I hadn't been looking forward to the sleepless nights, but there were moments even last night when it was just really nice to hold my baby and look at her--even when she was passing gas or when we were changing her. It's an amazing thing. Here are some things that Cara does: she puts both her arms up by the side of her head in a kind of "I surrender" type of stance. She likes flailing her arms around and it's very hard to wrap her so that she doesn't get them out. She has a way of flailing and looking around when she wants to be fed. I love it when she opens her eyes and looks around. She doesn't do it much, so that makes it even cooler when she does. She seems to have very dark blue eyes right now, but from what I understand they could settle into a different color as she grows. This morning my mother tried one of the rattle toys she has, and she followed the sound with her eyes.
Now it is later in the afternoon and my dad and brother have been and gone. I shamelessly made them cut up and tie up all the cardboard boxes left over from our various shower gifts, and mom tied up all of our piles of old newspapers, next to none of which have been read (Evie was the real newspaper reader, but for understandable reasons has not gotten to one too often of late). It was my brother's first time meeting Cara in person--he got to hold her and talk to her, and saw her with her oven mitts on. These are tiny mittens that Jim and Sarah got for her. Babies have no control over their arms, so they can accidentally poke themselves with the swiping they do--the mittens are to avoid this. Even though they look very tiny out of context, on Cara they look like giant oven mitts, and with the current hat she has on, she looks kind of like a little lawn gnome that has to get a batch of cookies out of the oven. Cara makes little random noises and twitches that don't seem to signify anything, and her facial expressions go through some very amusing configurations. She can do a very impressive yawn, she has a strong grip with her little fingers, and she is a heck of a sucker.
We have now changed Cara's clothes a few times. I was dubious about a lot of her outfits, because even the newborn ones looked too big to fit her. We've put on a newborn undershirt type thing with a newborn sack type of thing on top--it should keep her nice and warm, and the sack has long sleeves. This one she's wearing now is green with giraffes and it has an extra length of sleeve at the end that can be turned inside out to safely cover her hands--no more oven mitts. Still, currently it seems like a two-man job to get her into a new outfit--the sleeves are the worst. You have to get her little splaying hands through a long tunnel, making sure you have all the little fingers. Tough stuff! I like her little undershirt that she has on now, because it makes her look like a waiter in a fancy restaurant. It's underneath the sack thing, which gives her an extra layer of clothing, which is nice because her temperature always seemed to be a bit low when they measured her vitals in the hospital.
The vitals machine in the hospital is cool, by the way. It's a little wheelie apparatus that makes cute little computerized beeping sounds when it figures out the temperature and the blood pressure. The thermometer is remarkably quick, and the sterile covers that snap on and off the thing are very cleverly designed.
Evie is very tired today and we're trying to give her time to nap. Before she was just on bed rest, but now it's almost like a combination of me having to take care of a woman on bed rest and take care of a baby--thank God for the parents. Ev is really not as bad as when she was on bed rest, and should be getting better every day. But it's very hard to be at the beck and call of the baby when it comes to feeding. So far, Ev has been very patient and ready to do her all for Cara.
Yesterday in the afternoon I set up the Diaper Champ. The Diaper Champ is a pail with a very clever, airlock type system so that when you throw out the diapers, they don't sit around stinking up the place. Assembly was probably the simplest yet. The Diaper Champ came fully assembled except for a plastic base which screwed on with four screws, and one of its chief assets is that one does not have to buy special "Diaper Champ" bags for the thing--any trash bag that fits will do. There are already quite a few "soiled" diapers whiling away their time in the Diaper Champ's innards.
The other thing I threw together was Cara's Kick 'n' Play Bouncer, which Ev is very excited to see in action. However I'm a bit hesitant about it (mother hen again?) because I think maybe Cara is too little to fit in the harness of the thing, and possibly too underdeveloped to really enjoy the noises of the rattle toys which go in an arch above the seat, or the vibrations which can tickle her bottom. Also, like the cool acquatic-themed high chair I put together which has an electronic toy set into it, we don't have the right batteries to make all the bells and whistles work.
If we are very adventurous, we may take Cara out for a walk in the stroller today, but neither I nor my mother have really had any sleep, so we may take a pass. Even without sleep, mom has determinedly helped clean up various parts of the house and even vacuumed. It was a very nice day today though--Spring is really beginning, and soon I will be back to mowing the lawn (blech). I should also change the gerbils today. Getting back with the cats has been interesting: Buster and Shelby are curious but a little hesitant of really getting close to Cara, and they almost seemed kind of mad at me for leaving them alone so long. But now Shelby is in my lap and seems perfectly contented. I think that will be all for now.
Today Cara had her first visit to the pediatrician. The New Brunswick Pediatric Group is located about fifteen minutes from us (not bad, considering the hospital was an hour away), has five doctors, and seems like a pretty nice place. The waiting room is divided into areas for "well" and "sick" kids--which is great providing the kids go on the correct sides, but I already saw evidence of switched sides this morning. Well, nobody sneezed on Cara, anyway. We got her changed and ready to go to the doctor's, and then she decided she was hungry, so we had to put down everything and feed her for a little. Then we were off. At the doctor's when we got into the examining room, I had to strip Cara--she really didn't like that. She showed her displeasure by peeing all over the table. Apparently later in the day she decided to pee on her changing table--a new talent! I just hope she doesn't make a habit of it. Cara's weight is still doing good--I believe it was hanging in there at 5 lb, 13 oz--but the doctor wants to see her again on Friday to make sure she's starting to gain. Right now, as I write this, Cara is sleeping in the car seat. It seems to work good on her. She's been out for a long time without eating, as is her wont during the days. Last night, in what will sound a very pathetic thing but to us is a major achievement, we all were able to sleep for about three hours together without having to change or feed anyone. This may be thanks to the car seat. With all Cara's sleeping right now, it does not seem to bode too well for our night tonight. When I came home from my chores today, Evie was resting. She was going to take a nap just now but had to talk to the woman who's subbing for her class at school. In a perfect world, we'd all be "sleeping when the baby sleeps."
After the doctor visit, I changed the gerbil cage quickly and then was off into the big world, without Cara. I went to the bank to change in some rolls of coins that have been lying in a corner for months, then went to off to work (!) to tie up some loose ends. Two people at least were confused by my presence ("You're here?!"). I ended up stuck there for a lot longer than I had hoped, and discovered I may have to do some working from home while I'm "on leave." But I also showed some pictures of the baby around and sent an email to the company's production department as a kind of announcement. The lunch room got what was left of my box of bubble gum cigars--of course I kept some back for myself. Lots of people sent nice congratulatory emails and there were many comments of "she's beautiful." It's actually the most I've communicated with some of my co-workers in quite a while--a good example of my lack of small talking skills was when our in-house illustrator wandered over to my cubicle after I'd sent around the birth announcement email and asked incredulously: "You're married?"
Today Ev's parents have been hanging out with Evelyn and the baby in shifts. Right now we're between shifts, and waiting for Ev's mom to return. Shelby on my lap is becoming the normal position for these journal entries, but she's getting very curious about the little bundle in the car seat nearby.
This morning when we were going out to the pediatrician I discovered I had a runny nose and was sneezing a lot--it's spring! Hopefully I can avoid sneezing on the baby, in addition to keeping others from doing so. I seem to have been OK after this morning.
Thanks to Ev's parents I am comfortably digesting a nice dinner of chicken parmesan. And for a change, we'll make this a short entry.
Even though they've been some long days and nights, it's a bit hard to believe that week one is already almost over. Yesterday, as I understand, was the day when Evelyn was due to arrive in the world (she was actually born on the 4th). Last night we had some OK sleep--from around 9 to midnight, then from around 12:30 or 12:45 to around 3:30. Then I think it was 5:30 or 6 before we got back to sleep. Right now it's 9 am and Ev is still sleeping it off. Cara had another nice pee last night which went out of her diaper, through her outfit (which she also managed to soil the outside of, somehow), and onto my shirt. Then we had to change her, which certainly didn't make her any happier. Crying is a very effective means of communication--it zings right through my brain like a headache and I want to do whatever Cara wants to make it stop. The problem, sometimes, is finding out what she wants. We had some moments last night where nothing seemed to do the trick. Right now, of course, she's sleeping peacefully in her car seat on the kitchen table, with Janet S. by her side. Janet described to me the idea of the self-sustaining cry, where after a certain point the baby simply cries because she was crying. Cara has gotten into a few of those.
Anyway, now that the sun has risen, little Cara is a little angel again. Really she only had one bad patch last night (I don't want this journal to turn into a list of complaints about how children deprive you of sleep!). Later today, Ev's grandmother Emily (now great grandmother) will be coming to see her. On Thursday, my Aunt Sally will probably drop by along with other members of my family. There is talk of my perhaps putting together some pictures of the baby to drop off with Ev's work friends--or, if Ev is up to it, actually driving Cara over to the school to show her off. That would be interesting.
The trees in our back yard are starting to bud and get green again, which I've been looking forward to for a long time. It will be nice to come down to the living room in the mornings and see all the green waving trees through our big back windows--this kind of atmosphere is where we wanted to raise a kid.
I'll stop for now and maybe add some stuff about the rest of the day later on.
Perhaps I'll make a habit of getting in some journal time in the mornings (when Cara generally seems to sleep). Clearly I had no more time yesterday to add on to that entry. Emily did drop by, though unfortunately was not able to stay long because she had things to do. She drove to our house straight from having sat at a community college to talk about her experiences during World War II (she was filmed and we may get to see the video one of these days). Emily has had a very interesting and tough life, which would make for a great journal story. She had two children after having left her home country of Poland. Russia, being technically an ally, had finally been convinced by England that the Poles should be trained and given the chance to help fight against Germany, et al. So Emily and her (then) future husband Joseph were among the "lucky" ones able to escape from Russia. Emily journeyed through many foreign countries, meeting Joseph in the Middle East. She had two children while in "exile" from Poland. Theresa she had in Italy and George (Ev's father) in England. Emily told some stories while she was here yesterday about how she had to deal with her infants during that time. This was in the days when babies were taken into a big nursery and only fed at rigorously scheduled times--not necessarily when they were hungry. Emily also recounted a time when she was on a train with baby Theresa and was unable to feed her; stress and uneven nutrition makes it very difficult to produce milk, and Emily had none to give, so she was forced to let Theresa cry and cry until the train stopped and she was able to find a bottle and some replacement milk. There's also an excellent story I've heard before about baby George taking an unexpected solo drive in an automobile. Clearly we have it easy!
Last night was a bit of an improvement over the night before sleeping-wise. We got to bed a bit later than usual, after 10, and the baby was able to sleep until around 3 am. Then we fed her, changed her, but had difficulty getting her back to sleep, which we didn't accomplish until around 5. Then we woke up at 7, and are probably better rested than we've been in several days. Hopefully Cara will quickly fall into this kind of schedule and give us some rest. She still has some "bad" feeding habits, however, which are driving Evie to distraction (or at least, they sure would bother me). Cara will get hungry, so Ev will feed her, but after a few minutes she'll stop and maybe even drop off, as though finished. Then we'll lay her back down and she'll decide she's still hungry and start yawping again. This can go on for quite a while. She also has spat up a few times, and developed hiccups on a number of occasions. According to several sources, there is really nothing to worry about with these two habits, and it's actually pretty funny when she gets the hiccups--but they both may be a result of her gulping her food too quickly or perhaps swallowing air along with her milk. She also gets fussy as though she might be hungry, but sometimes doesn't seem to want milk--this may be related to a digestive thing, as from time to time she seems to get less fussy after burping or farting. Sometimes when I change her I have to laugh because I'm able to describe her behavior as "farting with rage." She is still peeing on things from time to time, so Janet introduced to me the very clever concept of getting the new diaper under her before even taking off the old one, to avoid having to change the cover of the changing table.
We're noticing what we hope are developing characteristics in Cara. The other day when we shook a wrist rattle toy at her, she seemed to kind of follow the sound with her eyes. She opens her eyes and looks around more often than she used to, sometimes with a very calm curiosity. She may be slightly better at holding her head. She sure loves getting her arms out whenever we try to wrap them inside, like a little Houdini. Since she often has long sleeves when she flails her arms around, Evie describes this as "flipping her flappers." Yesterday for when Emily came Janet managed to pack Cara into a cute little full body suit that is pink and has little animal faces on it. I had been worried about even trying these full outfits, which have legs with booties at the end for the feet and snap up the front, because I thought Cara was too small to fit in them correctly. But actually she fits just fine and looks quite dapper. I should get a picture of her before it has to go into the laundry.
The Diaper Champ is holding out nicely. The only flaw I see in it is that there is no good way to tell whether it is full or not, without opening the lid, which causes a lovely aroma to escape into the room--the very aroma the Diaper Champ works so hard to lock inside. I have been forced to open the lid several times now to check, but the big trash bag I put in there still has some room.
Another thing that happened yesterday afternoon was that Cara got her official hospital photos back from the developer. I got my digital camera pointed at Cara before anyone else, but before Ev moved from her labor/delivery room to a postpartum room, Cara got wheeled to the nursery and laid in a dish with a colored paper and an overhead camera flashed at her. We were able to see a little preview screen and the nurse explained to me that I could try to take another picture if I didn't like the first preview, but there was no way to go back to a previous photo once a new one was taken. I just went with the first one. We got two bigger photos and 8 wallets (one went to Emily) of this photo, which shows a Cara with eyes closed and one hand curled in what I think of as a "royal wave."
Yesterday I did end up getting over to Ev's school to deliver some pictures of Cara which I put into a little collage, a tray of cookies, a thank you card to everyone who gave her so much at the shower, and I dropped off some actual work which Evie is doing and picked up some more. Evie is currently grading papers or somesuch. It's too bad she has to do any work at all, but there are only so many things a substitute can pick up in progress.
So today will be the last day of the first week! We've seen some changes in Cara and certainly some changes in ourselves as we all get adjusted to this new life. I've very much enjoyed the times when Cara has been awake (and quiet) and I've been able to talk to her and try to interact with her. I've tried singing her a few songs that I know, so far a couple by Genesis (my favorite band, so she might as well get used to them quick), one by the Police, and one Bob Dylan song that I never seem to get through as she always gets mad before it's over (hmm...). It's always satisfying when I'm able to hold her and rock her to sleep. I'm looking forward to when we can start really playing with her, showing her all of her toys and books, and getting her to start crawling. I've already thought about showing her this Baby Einstein video we got, but we think she's probably still a bit too young to get anything out of it--she may only be able to focus on objects 8 to 10 inches away from her, and her eyes are only open about an hour a day. But as everyone tells me, they grow up very fast, so perhaps I should just be quiet and enjoy what we've got.