Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Fifth Chamber

It's true what everyone says: that your child opens up a part of your heart you never even knew that you had. We have so much love for our little boy. A fifth, secret, chamber of our hearts has been opened wide. Every moment is a joy and we're just getting started.

And you know your love is bottomless when you're excited to be woken up in the middle of the night... 3 times!

Day 9 of Life: A Reason to Travel

Rai already has one international friend.
Joe Morimoto from Yokohama, Japan sent him this wonderful drawing the day he heard the news. Amazing that he was able to capture Rai so perfectly without having actually yet met him! And never mind Rai, check out his rendering of Maciej. Ashe is even better!
Joe is the son of Taka, an old friend of Maciej's from his time in Japan. On every visit to Japan since finishing the work term there, we have met up with Taka and he has always been incredibly generous and hospitable. Last summer, we had a fantastic hotspring experience together!
Taka's boy Joe will certainly grow into a wonderful man, as well and Rai will have a great friend to visit in Japan once he starts traveling the world like his parents!
Just a few short hours later, a response from Taka.... Joe was so happy to see himself on the internet!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baby Parts

Why is it that baby parts are always so cute?
We've fallen in love with every tiny part of Rai from his big eyes to his little nose and mouth to his teeny fingers and toes.

Day 8 of Life: Rai's First 'Hike'

Just around the corner and two blocks downhill.
In the few short months that we've been in this new apartment, we've followed those directions dozens of times. Today, however, our usual walk towards the 43rd Avenue entrance to Golden Gate Park took on much more meaning. This was the first time we would take this city hike as a family of three.
The sun shone brightly on Rai's first week birthday. The warmth of the sun coupled with the fact that we'd been locked indoors for more than a week now was more than enough to convince us that this would be the perfect chance to take Rai out on his first outing or, as we'd prefer to call it, his first hike.
So, around the corner and downhill two blocks we went with Rai strapped onto Maciej's belly, the rocking of his steps lulling Rai into a womb-like state of bliss. We followed our typical route: around the wild and beautiful lake at that Park entrance, then into the forest beyond, heading for the Pacific Ocean only 5 blocks away.
We wouldn't make it to the Pacific today; Rai was hungry, Ashe was still fatigued from the difficult week behind us. Instead, we lay down in the grass, found a nice log on which to lay our little boy, and enjoyed the sun on our skin. Rai too, loved his first dose of warm afternoon rays.
This is a 'hike' we'll be doing very often with Rai -- the trees, water, flowers and sound of surf reminding us that there are hundreds of hikes we must show Rai in San Francisco and beyond.
One at a time, we'll make each and every one of the natural places we've come to love in the hills, along the coast, and in the forests around San Francisco even more special by showing them to little Rai.

Guardian Angels?

We're told that everyone has a guardian angel -- some one or some being who watches over them during difficult or dangerous times. Your guardian angel could be a recently passed ancestor, some ancient clansman ensuring the growth of his kinfolks over the centuries, a supernatural being, or perhaps just a schizophrenically induced voice inside your head.

Rai, however, has protectors of a very different kind. His protectors are real, they are strong, they are heroes and every night Rai sleeps protected by them. Thank you Great-Auntie Gayle for the wonderful Batman blanket. Homemade and enjoyed for two decades by one family, it is now in our family and will be greatly enjoyed by Rai if not more by his Papa. And thanks to your Grandma who gave you that Superman figure.

It's never too early to believe in guardians, protectors and heroes. Maybe that's why superheroes are such an enduring part of our culture and have persevered for six decades despite so many other changes. Your Papa can't wait to read the latest Batman sagas to you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 7 of Life: The Long Nights Begin

Getting back to the breast feeding following all those easy bottle feeds in the hospital was a challenge for you, little Rai. You had a great feed at the hospital right before we left, another fantastic one when we got home.

Then, the tough times began. Enjoying the comforts of home, you must have decided that breast feeding was too much work. "Give me the bottle back," you yelled. We showed some patience and stamina and you tested both as at 8pm, 1 am, 3am, and 6am, you decided that you'd fuss, wail, and cry for at least an hour before you actually did some breast feeding.

Challenging times ahead... but when we see you sleep peacefully like this, all the lost sleep and hard work is easily forgotten.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rai Meets Rye (Bread)

In case you were wondering, our boy's name, Rai, is pronounced like the 'rye' of rye bread, not like 'ray' as in 'ray of sunshine' (although he's that too!).

With that in mind, we introduced little Rai to Rye, the personified loaf of rye bread we had sitting around our home as we waited for his arrival -- a gift from Ashe's mom at the baby shower.

Incidentally, we also found out that most of the clothing we have for Rai is a bit too large...

Day 6 of Life: Home at Last

Rai ate like a future hotdog eating contest champion, downing more than 70 mL of milk per feed for a full day. He jumped several weight classes, soiled 3 to 4 diapers per hour and urinated on his Papa's hands every chance he got. Hard work like that is always rewarded and our reward was an official discharge slip from the hospital.

After 6 long days in the hospital, we finally brought our boy home. The hospital stay had been wonderful and the staff incredible but there was nothing like the moment we lay Rai down on our own bed and cuddled as a family. No wires, no blue lights, no vital sign checks. Just the three of us and a bounty of love, joy and gratitude.

Our lives will never be the same and, as my father wrote to me, we have certainly just embarked on a journey that will be more difficult than any of our previous journeys.
Welcome home, Rai. Welcome home.

Day 5 of Life: Feed, Sleep, Feed, Sleep...

On Day 5, we had guests galore passing through and marveling at the lawn mower-sized engine Ashe had to use to pump her breasts for the sweet elixir that would bring our little boy into better health. Maciej's dream was fulfilled as Rai quickly became the apple of everyone's eye. At one point, little Rai looked up at 3 generations of mothers above him. Later, Auntie Nikki was back for feeding time and showed off her mothering skills.

The doctors told us to 'be vigilant!'. You were losing too much weight and we needed to work hard to bring your weight up, get your system going, and get you out from under those blue lights. And vigilant we were. While Ashe recuperated from her surgery, Daddy Mac woke every 2.5 hours on the dot, raided the stores of pumped breast milk, and bottle fed his little boy. Dreamily, Ashe fumbled with the lawn mower engine and pumped that milk.

"Bottle, did you say?" You loved the bottle so much that one was never enough. As one bottle ran low, your eyes darted around seeking the nearest vessel of creamy, yellow fluid. "Must have more... must have more!" We indulged your voracious appetite and soon you were downing 1 mL per second, finishing off whopping 70+ mL loads in one feeding. Well done, Rai, well done.

"Get him back on the breast! With the bottle it's like Thanksgiving every meal!" warned the Lactation Consultant later that day. Hmm... tough transtional times ahead?

Day 4 of Life: Movin' Up in the World

On Day 4, we were told that you needed to spend some time in the tanning salon (look up bilirubin to understand why). So, we packed up our bags and took the elevator up 4 floors to the Pediatric Ward on the 7th floor. Welcomed by the friendly staff we quickly got you into the 'blue light special', your own baby-sized tanning bed. Doctor's orders: come out for feedings only! We had to break the rules when we saw just how cute you are so we pulled you out for a little black and white photo shoot.

Day 3 of Life: Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

After your 24 hour labor, then the shock of life outside the womb, you certainly needed some rest on Day 3.
You slept.
We watched.
This was the best show in town.

Day 2 of Life: Visitors and Your First Burrito

On Day 2 of life, you spent most of your time lying around in bed with your parents and welcoming a few visitors: your Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie Nikki. Paramount on your father's list of firsts, you also tried your first burrito, a burrito at least half your body weight.