27 September 2008

Rocket's First Week

It's hard to believe that the first week of life for Anders Rocket is now over! He spent that first week in Seattle, and in many ways it was lucky that he arrived when and where he did. We had so many people around to help us, which became even more important when we left the hospital.

Sunday night we took him home from the hospital to his grandmother's house. But shortly before we left, one of the last things that the hospital did was to draw more blood from his heel in order to continue to monitor his risk for jaundice. After having spent the previous 36 hours in the hospital with minimal sleep, we were exhausted, and this final bilirubin draw was hard to bear. The nurses drew his blood in our recovery room, and he screamed bloody murder the whole time. We could do nothing but sit and listen. I'm not sure who of the three of us was more uncomfortable.

The next challenge in getting him home was the car seat. We had bought one for ourselves and even did a trial run installing it in both of our cars, but of course it was at home. Thankfully Malinda and Jean lent us their infant car seat; it even happened to be the same model as ours, so my trial run paid off after all. They were also loaning us some of their unisex infant clothes and a bassinet, but we would have to pick up the bassinet later in the week.

Once home we needed to continue to feed him every 2-3 hours, whether he woke up or not. Thankfully, we all ended up comfortable with the 3 hour interval. We also needed to continue to supplement his breastfeeding with formula, as he wouldn't be able to get enough just yet. After a few days we had it down to a pretty good system, but feeding time was definitely a two person endeavor at this point. Since we didn't have anything lined up as a bed for him, our Mom's improvised for us. Yes, that is a suitcase. We were pretty sure he wouldn't know the difference.

Come Monday morning, we had a flurry of followup appointments: post partum checkup, pediatrician (another random selection, given that we had already selected one in Hood River), lactation consultation, blood work at the lab. The initial jaundice tests put him in a high risk category, and the results of Monday's draw showed that his levels were still rising. It was at this point that delivering in a "big city" paid off the most.

The pediatrician ordered treatment via an in-home service called "Infant Home Phototherapy." Treatment for jaundice involves exposing the skin to certain frequencies of light that help breakdown the bilirubin molecule into a water soluble form, to reduce the work that the still-developing liver has to do. This service brings a light bed into your home along with a visit from a nurse every morning to draw blood for the bilirubin test. He then sleeps on the bed - which looks very much like a flatbed scanner - with bare skin, getting the most light exposure possible. We liked to call it his "Space Bed." By mid-week when his levels still rising, the nurses brought an additional light paddle to place on his stomach. We were a little concerned that he would have problems sleeping, but they were all unfounded.

Our nurses were also trained lactation specialists and could do many of the things for which we would otherwise have needed to go to a doctor's office. As a result, after Monday we had no additional checkups outside of the house - nice! We're sure that if we had delivered in Hood River, Anders Rocket would have had to remain in the hospital for the week until the jaundice disappeared.  Not only that, these nurses were so skilled that they could do the bilirubin blood draw with no crying from Rocket!

Once we had given him a name, we told our nurse Camille on her next visit. When she came back the next day she said that she had liked the name so much that she relayed it to her 12 year old son. His response was "That's so cool - why didn't you name me Rocket?"

We ended up in Seattle for much longer than we had hoped; we were anxious to get home to Trout Lake, but we wouldn't get that opportunity until his last blood test on Sunday showed that his levels were continuing to go down even after being taken off of the bed. Being in Seattle did allow us to be waited on by Corinne's mother and all of the other visitors who stopped by to get a first glimpse at the new guy, though. So it certainly wasn't all bad. ;)

Once we got the good word on Sunday, we started to make plans for the drive home on Monday. Rocket's first road trip!

- Mike (& Corinne & Anders Rocket)

26 September 2008

Rocket Has A Name!

Six days after Rocket's birth, he now has an official name!

Anders Rocket Ilvedson Daly

Anders: This was the one boy name that we heard early - back when we thought we were having a girl - and thought "you know, we should keep that in mind for the next one." It was also suggested by two different people (Simon & Tara W.) during the "Name The Baby Contest - Lightening Round". It is Scandinavian in origin, and means... man or manly. How more appropriate could you get? We're pronouncing it the Norwegian-ish way, as "On-ders".

Rocket: We've liked the codename Rocket all along, and now that we've been calling him that in person for almost a week it really seems to work.

Ilvedson: We thought about using Ilvedson as a first name, but decided that it would just be a bit too cumbersome or difficult for people to pronounce. We did agree, though, that if he ever becomes a professional baseball player that he would use that as his first name. (Thanks to Jeff Kette for that suggestion!)

Daly: We had a hard time coming up with a way to determine the last name. Neither of us are fans of hyphenated names, so that was ruled out early on. We got lots of interesting submissions that combined both of our last names: Ilvedalyson, Dailvedlyson, even Devilson! But we just couldn't do it. We could have made up something entirely new out of thin air, but that isn't really us, either. So then we were down to a choice of two. Then we thought: "You know, a coin has two sides..." Yes, it's true - we really did flip a coin for the last name. Only a week before the delivery (though we didn't know it at the time), we flipped a coin while sitting in a park in Portland. The photo at right is of the actual coin, and the result of the actual toss!

- Mike (and Corinne and Anders, who will undoubtedly still be called Rocket)

25 September 2008

Rocket's Landing - The Story

Now that we have officially announced Rocket's arrival, we thought we'd take a bit more time to relay some of the details. (Don't worry; there won't be anything explicit or gross!)

Lately we'd been getting a little behind on our posts here. A number of topics from the last few weeks are as of yet unmentioned: our latest Alton Brown party; several recent visitors; an update on our garden; some photos of deer bouncing around the yard; and our anniversary weekend in a swanky hotel in Portland, to celebrate the last of them without kids. As it turns out, we managed to sneak in that last trip in the nick of time!

Corinne had two baby showers scheduled for this past weekend: Saturday, 9/20 in Seattle and Sunday, 9/21 in The Gorge. So on Friday morning we piled into the car and headed North to Seattle. We stopped at the airport along the way to pick up the surprise visitor of my Mom, who traveled from NJ to attend both showers. Friday night Corinne and I went to our friends Malinda and Jean's place for chinese takeout and some last minute shower preparations.

Saturday early morning, all of our plans changed quickly.

Corinne woke up at shortly before 7am to use the bathroom. Right after she got up, she roused me and told me to run to the bathroom to get her a towel. I was still pretty asleep, so it took me a few minutes to figure out what was happening. After a few quick phone calls and consultation with both our mothers, we determined that it was likely that her water had broken and that we should probably head to the hospital. If I had learned one thing from all of the pregnancy books that we received, I knew that the next 48-72 hours (or longer) would be extremely busy and tiring. So I managed to get a quick shower before all 4 of us got in the car and drove to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue. We hadn't heard of this hospital, but someone suggested to us that they had a good birthing center. And we certainly weren't going to drive all the way to Hood River at this point!

We arrived at the hospital at about 8:30am and Corinne was admitted and given her own labor and delivery room. The first exam at about 10am showed that she was somewhere around 5cm dilated already! In retrospect, we think that she was probably in labor for some of the previous 2 days which would explain why sleeping Thursday night was the worst of the entire pregnancy (no longer than 1 hour intervals). This exam also showed that meconium was present, which meant that there was no going back; we weren't leaving the hospital until this baby was delivered! At this point it was clear that we weren't going to make our 11am shower; we contacted the organizers of both the Seattle and Gorge showers to let them know of the change in plans.

One of the biggest advantages of this unscheduled early delivery was that so many friends and family had scheduled to be in Seattle for the shower. In particular, Clare (wife of Corinne's cousin Tor) who is a OB-GYN nurse in Tulsa, OK was visiting for the long weekend. She arrived at the hospital at about 10:30am that morning and was with us for the entire day until delivery. We had hired a doula in Hood River, but obviously that wasn't going to help us in Seattle. Clare was that and more - awesome!

At about 11am began what would be the most difficult part of the day. Corinne's contractions started to get stronger and started to get increasingly painful. We hadn't prepared an explicit "birth plan", but we did have a desire to keep the birth as natural as made sense. For about an hour, Corinne endured the pain while Clare and I applied pressure to her back and massaged muscles to try to relieve some of the pain. She did an incredible job keeping the pain from overwhelming her and focusing on the end result, but the pain was just getting to be too much. After some mild pain relievers didn't seem to help much, we opted for an epidural. We wanted to try to keep it on the milder side so that she could still feel contractions and would be able to push more easily when the time came. Our anesthesiologist did a great job, and within about an hour the pain was gone but she was still able to move her legs normally and feel the contractions but without the pain. Thank goodness for modern medicine!

Corinne's latest OB-GYN appointment in Hood River was only 2 days earlier, on Thursday, where they took samples to test for Group B Strep (GBS). Unfortunately, those results hadn't come back yet, so the hospital administered an antibiotic through her IV as a preventative. By 1pm she was fully dilated, but the nurse wanted us to wait for the remainder of the antibiotic to flow through her system. That was just fine with Corinne, though. Now that she had the epidural, she was more comfortable than she had been in at least several weeks! She enjoyed some much needed relaxation time. Then 2pm came, and it was time to start pushing.

Pushing was actually rather uneventful compared with the painful contractions of earlier in the day. When each contraction came, she would push and we would instruct and encourage her. In between contractions the room was relatively quiet and relaxed. Rocket was progressing slowly, but was still progressing. After about 3 hours the doctor suggested using vaccuum to help speed the progress. Rocket was close at this point, so with the help of the vaccuum was born after just two more contractions.

It was at this point that we received our next big surprise. The doctor held Rocket up and exclaimed: "And... it's not a girl!" Many of you had already written to us saying "hey, didn't your doctor tell you that she was SURE that you were having a girl? Yes, she did. I'm sure she'll be surprised when we meet with her. ;)

After we got over the initial shock, it was all smiles. We had lots of fun "exposing" all of the family and friends to Rocket's unexpected gender. Everyone (including us) had the same reaction: shock and utter disbelief, dropped jaws, followed by laughing. I had particular fun sending a "closeup" of the juicy bits to Corinne's brothers Leif and Loren, letting them figure out the rest on their own. I hope that doesn't get me in trouble for distributing child pornography or something ridiculous like that.

Since Rocket came a little early and was technically considered a preemie, the hospital ran some extra tests and did some additional monitoring. His blood sugar levels were low, so we had to start feeding him formula shortly after birth in order to try to get them up to normal. We were concerned about nipple confusion and tried to avoid having him bottle fed so early on, but we didn't have much choice as breast milk takes some time to come in. Six hours of monitoring and a few feedings later his levels were near normal, but we would have to continue to feed him formula until he could breastfeed. Rocket needs to be fed every 2-3 hours, to make sure that he gets enough nutrients to finish his development.

It was great to have so many visitors at the hospital! The group photo that we included in the announcement is indicative of the amount of support we got from friends and family during the whole weekend. We weren't prepared for any of this and weren't in our home town, so we had to rely on others to fill in the gaps. Our friends Malinda and Jean loaned us a number of key items, including a car seat so that we were able to take him home from the hospital. We bought our own car seat, but of course it was at home. Corinne particularly enjoyed the Dr. Pepper and latte that she was brought while in the hospital; both are things which she gave up during the pregnancy!

By Sunday night we were tired and ready to go home - at least home to West Seattle. We can definitely understand people who want to home birth. We definitely wanted to have the security of all of the facilities available at a hospital, and the folks at Overlake were friendly, knowledgeable, and cared. But at the same time a hospital is not exactly the most relaxing place. In between feedings the nurse would tell us to try to get some rest; 10 minutes later, however, someone from a different department would come in to do some test or draw blood or give us some forms to fill out.

When our 24 hours was over we were extremely tired and ready to leave. After about 5 hours of trying leave, we finally made it out and were home in bed at about midnight on Sunday night.

Now that we've left the hospital, it's up to us to take care of him! I wonder how we do that?

- Mike (and Corinne and Rocket)

24 September 2008

Rocket Has Landed!

We are happy - and surprised - to announce that on Saturday, September 20th at 5:06pm Corinne gave birth to a happy, healthy baby BOY!

Name: TBD! (See below)
Weight: 7lbs 11oz
Length: 19.25in
Location: Overlake Hospital, Bellevue WA

There were lots of unexpected aspects:

  • The baby wasn't due for another 3+ weeks
  • We were in Seattle for her baby shower, so we had to choose a doctor and hospital "at random"
  • Our Hood River doctor told us after looking at our ultrasounds that she was SURE that we were having a girl! She was so sure that she said if she was wrong she needed to find a new line of work.

Everyone is healthy and doing well. One nice aspect is that we had lots of family in town for the shower. We're staying at Corinne's mother's house in West Seattle while Rocket (our codename for our still nameless son) is treated for jaundice, which is common for early babies. Our plan is to head back to the Gorge as soon as we can, hopefully at the end of the week.

We sure are glad that he came early; 7-11 is plenty big!


Oh, and it's time for the Name The Baby Contest - Lightening Round. We only have a few more days to come up with a name for him! None of the baby girl names that were submitted during the last round are doing us any good right now. ;) namethebaby@ilvedson.com

More details - and more photos - will follow. First, need sleep.

- Mike, Corinne, and baby-to-be-named-later

09 September 2008

Taryn and David Visit

Taryn visited us for the weekend and brought along her new beau David. A friend of David's was getting married in Trout Lake, of all places! Apparently Trout Lake was a favorite vacation spot due to the spelunking opportunities, so they decided to marry here.

We had a good time getting to know David and showing our guests the local attractions which include the river and neighboring farm animals. The first farm stop was Green Pastures Farm where we get our eggs. (Fresh eggs direct from the farm make one realize that grocery eggs have as much flavor as cardboard! All those bugs that the chickens eat while roaming in the fields must be flavorful.) We admired her beautiful chickens, were entertained by the donkeys, and gave the barn kitties some love.

The next stop was at the White Water Holsteins Organic Dairy, a member of the Organic Valley Coop. During Taryn's visit in February, Mazzi had a good time checking out the cows. This time most of the attention was focused on the calves. This one apparently thought that milk should come out of Taryn's finger.

The last weekend activity was a stop by Bingen's Huckleberry Festival to see our favorite entertainer, The Reptile Man. He tours with all sorts of reptiles and snakes and puts on quite a show, for child and adult alike.

Their visit also coincided with the peak of the gorge harvest. They went home with a trunk full of corn, peaches, pears, tomatoes, huckleberries, nectarines, and more! Taryn has lots of plans for canning and pickling, so we hope to see some of those fruits and veggies again some day. ;)

- Corinne and Mike