14 August 2016

33/52 - First Week Home

With excitement and a bit of trepidation, we left the hospital with Oskar and headed home on our own.

Our first task was introducing him to his brother, who had waited all week back in Trout Lake with Grandma Donna. Anders has been really excited to have a brother. He has always loved little babies and has a nurturing personality. After the initial introduction - which didn't take long, given how little Oskar has to contribute to the interaction at this point - Anders immediately went into helper mode. He helped setup Oskar's bed (the pack-n-play we had for Anders), retrieved burp cloths, and anything else we asked. "Mom, can I get you anything?" "Mom, what do you need?" "I can do that." This was a good start!

Corinne summed up the first overnight at home pretty accurately: "That was challenging." Oskar didn't sleep for more than about an hour at a time that first night. It turns out that he had day/night reversal, which is just what it sounds like. He slept great during the day but restlessly and intermittently at night. This seemed to correlate with his activity in the womb; some of his most active times were just as we were getting into bed at night. The experts indicate that this usually resolves itself "in 2-3 weeks", but thankfully he seemed to settle in to an average of 2-2.5 hour blocks by about the third night. We won't be fooled this time around, though; we know that there will be many sleeping regressions in our future.

Daytime (of course)

On the morning after that first challenging night, we all went to a parade! Another one of the differences between having the first and second child is that when you have your first, you can just drop everything and focus on the newborn. But the second time, you have another child that still has things he wants to do! That weekend was the Trout Lake Fair, and Anders wanted to ride his bike in the parade. So we hauled all of us out for a hometown parade.

Anders decorated his bike and brought some candy to toss along the route. But he didn't have a chance to practice his tossing technique: on his first toss attempt (which happened to be to us), the candy only landed about one foot from his bike and he almost crashed. Anders reports that his tossing improved by the end of the parade.

When it came time for the emergency vehicles, I covered Oskar's ears to mute the loud noises. He didn't seem to care one way or the other.

The Trout Lake Fair is a local fair, put on by and for the locals. For such a small community, there sure is a lot of creativity. This "float" was our favorite this year.

After the parade, Anders and I stayed for the rest of the fair while the rest of the crew went home to relax since Corinne is on restricted duty for 6-weeks, to recover from the surgery. Just getting everyone to the parade was a major accomplishment!

Anders climbing up to run the zipline

For the entire first week home, Grandma Donna stayed with us, helping with whatever needed to be done (lots of laundry and dishes). Thanks!

Babies make so much laundry

About halfway through that first week, Grandma Lee (my mom) arrived on a short visit before her National Parks tour. She made the plans a year ago but added on a short visit at the beginning of the trip "just in case" there was a new baby to see. She got lucky. We'll see her again for a few more days at the end of her trip.

At this point, newborns spend 95% of their time eating and sleeping. They are most expressive while sleeping (and dreaming) as they move the muscles that will be used to create their voluntary facial expressions in the near future.

Practicing his smile

Here are a few things we have learned in our first week home as a family of four:

  • Changing a diaper and getting a bath are tantamount to torture, but peeing on your own face isn't worth even noticing.

  • Saving those bins-and-bins of baby clothes, toys, and gadgets was useful after all. It is much easier to pull out something you already have than to spend an hour researching which one to buy.

  • Anders really does enjoy being a big brother. Sometime in the first few days home, he gave Corinne a spontaneous hug and said "Thanks for giving us Oskar."

  • We really can do this. No matter how many times we thought "yes, we really do want another child", there's always another voice saying "You're too old and set in your ways!" "Two kids is much harder than one!" "It'll ruin everything!" So far, so good. :)

All in all, a successful first week!

- Mike, Corinne, Anders, and Oskar

07 August 2016

32/52 - Start of a New Eon

Now that we've had a few days to recover from the big change in our lives, here is the story of Eon's arrival.

The baby had been breech since early May, with no signs of moving on his own. When the ultrasound at what would be our last weekly prenatal visit showed that he was, indeed, still in the same position, we decided that we would schedule an External Cephalic Version (ECV) (aka version, aka turning the baby) for as soon as possible. Waiting longer only increased the chance that Corinne would go into labor and we would have little choice but to do an emergency C-section. Medical protocol required that we wait until 37 weeks into the pregnancy, so we scheduled for the first available day just 3 days later, on Monday.

Over the weekend, Corinne made a point to take it easy, avoiding exerting herself as much as possible. The last thing we wanted was for her to go into labor before we had a chance to attempt the turn! Meanwhile, Anders and I took a break from baby prep to visit the Hood River County Fair.

Thankfully, Monday arrived and the baby hadn't. Since there is always a chance that the version could either induce labor or stress the baby, preparations are made for a C-section, just in case. Therefore Corinne couldn't eat or drink anything starting that morning. After an acupuncture appointment in the morning - also intended to help the baby turn - we departed for the hospital with our overnight bags and infant car seat, just in case.

Corinne was hooked up to an IV for a few hours before the version to rehydrate her, then the doc arrived around 4pm to start the ECV. I'd never seen one before, but it looks like what it is: trying to push the baby around with your hands.

Our doctor tried turning him one direction, then the other. After about 30 minutes, she declared the version unsuccessful. Both Corinne and the baby were monitored during the whole procedure, and the nurses continuously commented that "the baby was happy". Corinne's monitors, however, showed that she had some mild contractions even before the ECV had started. She couldn't feel them beforehand, but after the version attempt she started to feel them. Our doc wanted to monitor her for a couple hours before deciding what to do, though we both started to get the sense that we probably wouldn't be going home that day.

Waiting, waiting through mild contractions...

Working while waiting in what would turn out to be our home for the next 4 days

Two hours later, Corinne was still having mild contractions and was slightly dilated. A few more hours later at 11pm, with contractions still present and dilation progressing, the path was clear: we were having a C-section that night. Just 45 minutes later while on the operating table waiting for the start of the surgery, her water broke, thereby confirming the wisdom of that decision. No turning back now!

Once the procedure had started, it took only about 10 minutes for Oskar to emerge at 12:24am on Tuesday morning. For the sake of the squeamish readers out there - not to mention Corinne - I will leave out the details of the C-section procedure itself. I will say that it was very cool to be able to watch. I guess all of those medical dramas and graphic horror movies finally came in handy; I was fine.

During the operation, they did discover the most probable reason for why he wouldn't turn: the umbilical cord was fairly short, somewhere less than 18 inches long. Between that and his breech position, we are pretty thankful that it all happened the way it did. We are pretty sure that Corinne had started labor before the version. By already being at the hospital that day, everything was calm and procedural. We didn't have the stress of deciding when to leave home or whether to make the 1.5 hour drive to our preferred doctor; given how she presented in the hospital, the labor would likely have progressed pretty quickly.

C-sections are a mixed blessing. They are sometimes the only option (like in our situation) and involve less pain during the delivery, but the trade-off is a much longer recovery time. It is a fairly invasive surgery, after all. We would be in the hospital until at least Thursday so that the hospital staff could monitor both patients. Oskar did have an orange pall, indicative of possible jaundice. But unlike with Anders, Oskar's bilirubin (the substance that makes him orange) never reached the level requiring any light therapy. On his 2nd day, Oskar's temperature and blood sugar were low but those were resolved over the next day.

The hospital is certified as Baby-Friendly, which among other things meant that Oskar stayed with us in our room for the whole visit.

Enjoying a double-nap

We were in the hospital through Friday, staying an extra day to allow for additional Oskar monitoring and to fix his ankyloglossia, aka tongue-tie. His tongue ended up being fixed with a simple scissor snip that made Corinne cry even though Oskar barely noticed.

We had wonderful nurses and became pretty friendly with them. As it happened, during our stay the hospital was doing a promotional video about one of the nurses and the educational program through which she became a nurse. We got to be part of the shoot! The hospital makes souvenir (aka not a legal document) birth certificates with the baby's footprint; we received an extra one signed by the film crew.

The final video and still photos should be available sometime in the next couple months; we'll post them when they are. It was great fun!

Finally, on Friday we were cleared to go home. Now the real journey begins.

- Mike, Corinne, Anders, and Oskar


We have chosen a name! Introducing...

Oskar Eon Balto Ilvedson Daly

Yes, you read that right: he has three middle names. We are those parents, the 21st century version of '60s hippie parents who named their child Sunshine Rainbow Flower Blossom.

Oskar is a solid Scandinavian name, particularly with the K spelling (which shouldn't trip up American's trying to pronounce it). Anders and Oskar sound great as a pair, and we liked the Α to Ω aspect of the two names together. Oskar was also the name of Corinne's paternal grandfather who immigrated from Norway in the early 20th century. It is more popular in the US than Anders - #181 (for the American spelling Oscar) vs #745 (for Anders) in 2014 - but still uncommon enough that he might be the only Oskar (or Oscar) in his school.

Eon is where our real nerd shows through. We set ourselves a pretty high bar for interesting names with Anders Rocket, and we wanted to stay with a science or space middle name. Eon is just cool. Scientifically, it means a billion years, or more colloquially, a really long time. This reflects how long we have worked and waited for him to arrive. It also is used to mark astronomical time periods, and this certainly qualifies as major line of demarcation in the life of our family. Thanks to Jason & Tara for the awesome suggestion!

Balto is a name Anders chose, based on a book he had just read about Balto, the sled dog. Balto (the dog) was actually named after Norwegian-Sami explorer Samuel Balto who helped explore Greenland, so it even fit with our overall theme. We have a college friend whose parents let each of their kids provide one middle name to each of their younger siblings, so that put the idea in our head to use Anders's suggestion in that way. If Anders had his way, his brother would be named Balto Asteroid Ilvedson Daly.

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions in the naming contest! They were lots of fun to read and did inspire our final choice. We'll do a separate post with the naming contest winners.

- Mike, Corinne, Anders, and Oskar

02 August 2016

Here's The Baby!

On Monday, we went to Mt. Hood Medical Center to attempt to manually turn our breech baby. The turning didn't work, but remember that part where we said there was a small risk that attempts to turn the baby may cause us to actually deliver? Well, guess what?

We are delighted to announce that our baby boy has arrived!

Name: Baby Eon1
Weight: 6lbs 5oz
Length: 19.5 inches long
Born: August 2, 2016 at 12:24am

Mom and baby are both doing well. We'll save the rest of the story for later. But for now, enjoy this photo of our "splayed chicken", about 10 hours old. (Breech babies often look that way.)

- Mike, Corinne, Anders, and "Baby Eon"

1 Eon is what we have chosen to call the baby until we make a final decision on his real name.

31 July 2016

31/52 - When's The Baby?

As of July 31st, we have entered week 37 of this pregnancy: officially full term. Hooray! We're still driving in to Portland every week for monitoring and ultrasounds. Baby is approximately 47% percentile overall, with an estimated weight last week around 5 lbs, 11 oz. We're in the home stretch, and everything still looks good (mostly - see August 1).

Probably the most common question that an expectant family gets is this: When is your due date? For us, that answer for us is easy: August 20, about three weeks away. But while that is the question people ask, it isn't really the question that people want answered. What they really want to know is: When will the baby arrive? That is, of course, a question that is much more difficult to answer with any certainty. But here is what we know...

Wednesday, July 27
Anders was born at 36.5 weeks, just shy of full term. If this baby had only made it that far, he would have arrived last week.

Monday, August 1
This baby is breech. The normal position for delivery is head down, and most babies naturally orient themselves that way as the delivery approaches. But ours has not. He's been hanging out hammock-style for the last two and a half months with no signs of turning on his own. On Monday, we will be trying to manually turn him, and by "we" I mean our doctor and a group of specialists, of course. There's a small risk that the attempts to turn the baby may cause us to actually deliver - but hopefully not.

Saturday, August 13th
This is when we reach 39 weeks. As a consequence of "advanced maternal age" (i.e. over 35...), our doctor recommends scheduling a delivery for some time this week.

Saturday, August 20th
40 weeks, aka due date. It is very unlikely that the pregnancy will proceed this far.

Of course, the other question that people ask is about gender. We have known the answer for some time, but here is an ultrasound photo from a recent visit just in case.

Meanwhile, we're doing the last minute planning and packing. We've made progress on choosing a name, down-selecting from the original list of ~200 down to a final 10. The newly arrived infant car seat is loaded in the car (the one we saved from when Anders was a baby had expired - doh!), and we're packing our hospital bags.

Wish us luck!

- Mike, Corinne, Anders and ??

24 July 2016

30/52 - Milk Truck Accident

We live in beautiful country surrounded by farming, with open irrigation ditches snaking through the valley along many of the roads. There are several organic dairies, so it is a common sight see Milky Way dairy tankers picking up the product multiple times per day. But sometimes things don't go according to plan, like when milk trucks and irrigation ditches meet.

This past Saturday, we got a call from our neighbor saying that there was a "milk truck accident", and that there may be milk leaking into the irrigation ditch. As I went out to turn off our pump in an effort to keep any milk from entering our sprinklers, I could already tell that it was too late; the yard smelled like milk. When I reached our settling pond, I saw the first visual confirmation.

This isn't supposed to be white.

I hopped on my bike to see if I could find the source of the spill. About a half mile up the road, the flashing lights lead me to the scene of the accident. It would have been hard to miss.

Somewhere around 1:30pm that afternoon, the wheel of a milk truck filled with somewhere around 7,000 gallons of milk slipped off the edge of the roadway. I imagine that the sloshing of the milk - around 25 tons - made it impossible to recover, and the entire rig rolled over, putting both tankers into the ditch. Before I arrived, the driver had already been taken away by Life Flight with a broken scapula and a punctured lung. I hear that he is expected to recover. But man, the driver compartment in that tractor looks scary.

The state police, county sheriff, county road department, and Milky Way reps were already on scene; the first wave of the emergency cleanup team arrived about an hour later.

The first tanker continued to leak its approximately 5,000 gallons of milk into the ditch for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. In high enough concentrations, milk can actually be toxic to fish, so we closed the headgate of the ditch and tried to pump as much of what remained out onto the fields rather than have it flow back into the White Salmon River at the end of the ditch.

The second tanker did not rupture in the accident, but both tanks had to be pumped of any remaining liquids so that they could be lifted out of the ditch. The cleanup crew worked through the night and had all of the vehicles and most of the detritus from the accident gone by morning.

A number of the ditch board members helped to coordinate getting the ditch cleaned up and ready to irrigate by the next day. It wasn't exactly how I planned to spend my weekend, but I guess that's a small price to pay for getting to live where we do.

- Mike, Corinne, Anders, and ??

29 June 2016

Name The Baby: The Sequel

At 32 weeks, we're getting pretty close to the end game for this pregnancy. (If he comes when Anders did, we're only 4.5 weeks away! Yikes!) Must be time for another Name The Baby contest!

Periodically over the past several months, we have been reading through baby name books looking for boy names we like, with each of us keeping an individual list of any that appealed to us. So far, none stand out overall as obvious winners. Here is your chance to help! We got some great suggestions in the first contest 8 years ago, even after discarding all of the names suggested in the original girl's name round.

This baby hasn't had a codename so far, so we're including that as a category. (We've just been calling him little brother - boring.) It's also important that the name be equally as cool as Anders Rocket; in fact, Anders has stated that his brother should have a vehicle for a middle name, too. So Best Pairing with Anders Rocket is another category.

We'll be picking winners in the following categories:

  • Most Creative (First+Middle Name)
  • Most Likely To Be Used (First+Middle Name)
  • Best Codename
  • Best Pairing with Anders Rocket
In general, we tend to like less common names (at least in this country), with Scandinavian influences or space/science related names getting extra points.

30 weeks

You can submit your entries in any fashion you like: email, SMS, social media, postal service, telegram, etc. Contest is open until the baby arrives. Participants may enter as often as they like. Be creative! Be entertaining! Have fun!

- Mike, Corinne, Anders, and <your entry here>

26 June 2016

26/52 - Lair of the Bear

When I was a kid, my whole family would go off to a family camp at the end of the summer. We'd stay in a cabin, spend time at the lake, eat together in the dining hall, and just generally do camp stuff as a family1. It was all great fun, and we wanted to find a way to pass that experience on to the next generation and enjoy it again ourselves.

It's most fun to go to camp with people you know, but for a variety of reasons we couldn't get something going here in the gorge. So instead, last year we attached ourselves to some friends of ours that attend Lair of the Golden Bear. Lair is a YMCA-style camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, owned and run by the Cal Alumni Association, UC Berkeley. Yes, we said Cal Alumni Association, despite neither Corinne nor I having attended a Cal school. And yes, it's in CA. So starting with last year, we have paid our $60 annual membership fee to join the CAA, and we have driven the 12.5 hours to Pinecrest, CA to spend a week at camp. Call us crazy, but it's the best vacation we've taken as a family.

The camp2 has about 250 campers per week-long session. Each family has their own cabin, with wood floor, basic beds, and canvas roof.

Like most things at camp, someone else takes care of most of the day-to-day tasks that take so much of our time when we're at home. Meals are served three times a day. When the 15 minute warning bell rings, everyone starts salivating and migrating toward the dining hall. The food is camp food, but it's pretty good camp food, with a good salad bar available at every meal.

In the mornings and afternoons, there are "age group" programs for the kids. Anders' 6s & 7s group went panning for "gold" in the nearby creek, went on a scavenger hunt around the camp, made s'mores and told stories, along with countless other things. When the kids are off with their age groups, the adults have time to do.. well, whatever we want! We spend a lot of time just reading.

In between programs and meals, we spent some time in the arts and crafts grove. Last year, each of us made a clay pot on a pottery wheel, then glazed and fired them. While it was fun, we're a little bit too "type A" personality to really enjoy them without focusing on all of the flaws. (One of the pots ended up with a big hole in the middle after it was fired. Oops! But all three are still on our counter, filled with tomatoes and pistachios for snacking.) This year, we opted to buy a pre-made plate for Anders to glaze.

Tie-dying is also a big activity at camp. Last year, Anders made a tie-dyed shirt, but this year we had grander plans. We brought 4 napkins, 3 pairs of underwear (Anders' idea), and a few onesies leftover from a work baby shower.

We think they turned out pretty darn great!

And no summer camp is complete without lanyards.

There are camp activities in the evenings as well. One night's activity was "Disco Bingo". The participants dress in their favorite 70s outfit and play bingo (using the letters D-I-S-C-O). When someone gets Bingo, a dance party ensues.

We knew about disco bingo ahead of time, so Corinne and Donna got a jump start on this year's Halloween costume.

Dance party!

Father's Day falls during our camp, but just being at camp together is the best gift.

Early on in camp this year, Anders found a buddy: Eddie. They met at a neighbor's Happy Hour (yes, that's a camp thing, and yes there are drinks) and spent most of their free time together after that point. While it was great for him to connect so well with someone close to his age, we did end up spending less time with him than we did last year. I suspect that this is a sign of things to come...

The camp is run almost entirely by the "staffers", college students who stay at camp and do everything: cook/clean, run age group programs, etc. Surprisingly, a majority of the staffers are not actually students at Cal; most were actually campers when they were kids. They are enthusiastic and know how to make camp fun. (Since we attend "Week 2", which is actually the first full week camp session of the summer, I often wonder how that enthusiasm might wane by "Week 10".)

The staffers put on a "wacky pool show" where they dress in costumes and jump into the pool. Here they form a human bridge and help the kid campers walk across.

Anders with one of his favorite staffers, Zara

One of the camp legends involves "Staffer Bob", a staff member who supposedly lives at camp and has a beard down to his waist. Anders and Eddie made lots of "tributes" to Staffer Bob, including turning a hollow tree stump into a fort.

Many of the evening performances consist of skits and songs performed by the staffers. But one evening activity is the "Blue Revue", a variety show of performances by the campers. Last year, Anders decided that he wanted to do a standup comedy routine at the revue. He killed it, and he loved it.

When we arrived at camp this year, many people remembered him from his performance last year. This year, he wanted to bring his ukulele so that he could up his performance game.

In order to keep the event around an hour, they usually limit performances to one song or skit. But in Anders's case, we just cut a few verses from each of the songs and they let him keep his whole act3.

As we mentioned, neither of us are Cal alumni. During camp we do need to "endure" a bit of Cal school spirit, including some songs at the evening performances and a "Go Bears!" after each announcement at the dining hall. But we have been working to build our own MIT contingency. Marnie is the MIT grad who married a Cal grad to start this crazy scheme, then we invited ourselves last year. This year we enticed fellow MIT alum Amory and her daughter Lizzy to join us.


At the end of the week we weren't quite ready to go home. We could have stayed there at least another week. But it was time for us to go.

For the drive home, we went the "eastern route" over the Sierra Nevada mountains and through Nevada. It's a little bit longer, but so much prettier.

There is some serious climbing on this route, though. At one point we saw a sign indicating 26% grade, which is the highest we've ever seen. Last year we weren't prepared for the steep climbing and windy roads; we had to make one "motion sickness" stop for Anders. This year we were more prepared and brought dramamine with us. The combination of motion sickness drugs and a week of playing hard had its effects on the ride home; Anders fell asleep just a few miles outside of camp.

It's easy to see why people come to Lair year after year. There are people in our session whose families have been coming to camp for 40 years! It is quickly becoming a tradition in our family. Next year will be a little different for us, so we haven't made a decision about whether we'll go to camp with our less-than-one-year-old. But we sure hope we can!

- Mike, Corinne, Anders, and ??

1 If you don't know what I'm talking about - or if you do and just want to hear more about it - there's a This American Life episode.

2 There are actually three separate camps within Lair of the Golden Bear: Camp Blue (ours), Camp Gold, and Camp Oski. They each have their own facilities and staff, and generally only interact during a few inter-camp sporting events.

3 Due to audio issues, some of the jokes are a bit hard to hear on the recordings.
Did you hear the one about the broken pencil?
Nevermind, it's pointless.

What did the left eye say to the right eye?
Between you and me, something smells.

Why can't you hear a pterodactyl go to the bathroom?
Because the P is silent.

What did the 3-legged dog say when he rode into town?
I'm looking for the man who shot my pa(w).