Saturday, October 31, 2009

Baby's first Halloween

Yes, that's daddy banana with a baby banana. Thanks to Sid for that one. I'm pretty excited to finally be part of a bunch.
The costume is a bit big on her, but the way she's been feeding I'm guessing that problem will fix itself in no time.

And here is mama with baby in her "I want my mummy" onesie, the first thing we ever bought for the baby.

They're both fresh up from nap and feeding. I was dancing around impatiently during both. Very excited about hot chocolate and It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

Know it all

I've often heard parents complain that people without kids think they know it all. Maybe they do know a few things. They knew enough to not have kids accidentally, which is more than most parents can say.

Yes, that is my introduction for my new parent tangent. I don't really think I know everything but there are things that all parents "know" which I won't accept and the biggest of these is that your kid will someday hate you.

I'd been thinking about this a lot and then on Car Talk this morning the brothers advised a mother to be ready for the hatred from her kids as they reach the later years of teenagedom. It has become a part of our culture, this alienation between parents and teens and I think we resign ourselves to it and make it a self fulfilling prophecy.

I will fight it. I will work hard to maintain a close relationship with my daughter even as she goes through her "rough" years. I won't just roll my eyes and say "Teens! What can you do?" We'll have our disagreements I'm sure and her fight for independence will be tough but her mom and I will love her and make sure she knows it, always.

Keep in mind, "Teenager" is a marketing concept anyway. A demographic created in modern times and soon after they went to work on tweens, etc. and so on. We were being asked what our "theme" was for our baby before she was even born. We were expected to choose a corporate brand, Disney Princesses, Winnie The Poo, Elmo. You see babies are supposed to love Disney Princesses and teenagers are supposed to love Hot Topic and hate their parents. Thems the rules.

So, here it is, in writing. Maybe, 14 years or so from now I can come back to this post and comment on what a naive young papa I was. We'll see...

Pics from Auntie Em

Bryna's little sis, Emily came to visit Maxine on the last day in the hospital. Auntie Em and her fiancé, David took some great pictures.

Thank Em and David. I'm excited that Maxine (and her daddy and mama) will have someone to visit in Paris but sad because I will miss having you at every Coexist Comedy Show.

Click any of the pictures to enlarge.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Baby's Big Day Out On The Town

Over the river and through the woods, (well not quite woods, but there are a lot of trees around the river) to Grandma's house we go!
Baby had her first non-pediatric related outing today as we had a wonderful visit with my mom, Grandma Kathy. SEND ME PICTURES MOM! :D
Maxine met her Great Uncle Andy, got to see her Great Aunt Peggy again and was fussed over and adored all night. My mom is kind of a baby hog. I don't know why she couldn't just hold her dog, Pumpkin, and let me hold the baby.
It was my kind of visit. Bryna and my mom yacked late into the night and I read comic books (Buddah by Osamu Tezuka. It's GREAT). See how much becoming a father grows you up?

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's real...

It's so strange to see that little tiny baby lying on my wife's chest sleeping and to think that we made her exist. We talked about it, we considered heavily, sought the advice of friends and family and then our actions made this person exist in the world. We put a microscopic cell together with an almost microscopic cell and then we waited and Bryna got big and now Maxine exists. We did that. Wow!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


My mom is so sweet. She is on her way over with her second batch of food prepared for us so that we don't have to worry about cooking. Thanks mom. That is the nicest gift. :D

The Full Story... part two.

Click for part one.

I woke up to company. Mom's were back after a two hour nap they'd returned.

Bryna was somewhat rested and having contractions regularly. I went and got some breakfast and wondered how much longer this could possibly go on.

I went back to my wife and after an exam the nurse told us pushing time was here. She was at 7. I went and told the moms and then back to Bryna and the pushing began.

She would push at the peak of a contraction for a count of ten then a breath out, big breath in and push for ten, breath in, out, and a third ten second push. Then she'd wait for the next contraction.

She was on her back but able to pull her knees up, which the nurse and I helped with. I would count and the nurse would give advice. Bryna started to get the hang of it and the pushes got productive. She started to stop at 8 on the third count. I started not saying 8 out loud and this seemed to work and got her to 10. I forget where I learned that but I was glad it helped.

She pushed for what seemed like an hour, but may have been two. The head of the baby was starting to show at the height of the push, and then to show even between pushes. The nurse had her speed up the time between pushes.

The amazing thing is, the baby was moving and seemed to be helping push. Fear went away. I felt like we were having a baby and everything felt right. the doctor came in. unfortunately our favorite Dr. Nutter had to leave after a very long shift. We got our third choice Dr. who was a bit pushy but we were ready to stand our ground. Somewhere in there the water was broken. This was before the pushing but I'm not sure just when. The Dr. was supposed to check Bryna and then talk to us about breaking the water. She checked and then just did it. So I was very on guard with this one.

The front of the table was removed, the Dr. sat in the catchers box, the room got crowded, the pushes intense, the baby began to crown, Bryna pushed, baby wiggled, she was really coming out. The Dr. said that there would be tearing or she could do a small snip. Bryna said "Sma.. sni.." I repeated "Small snip." because I now spoke labor and could translate. A small snip, just two stiches, and out came baby!!!!

She went right on to Bryna's chest. The Dr. went to cut the chord and Bryna said not yet please. the Dr. said some bs about it being two short but I don't buy it. There was plenty of chord, I think this Dr. just liked to do things her way. When she said the words, "It's stopped pulsing" we said okay to cutting the chord. In hindsight I don't think it had stopped and since she'd already clamped it it didn't really matter. I cut the chord.

Then I stepped back and went from so connected to my wife and baby to wondering where I fit in the mess of activity. I took a cell phone pic of the baby and then stood back and tried to belong, tried to feel some elation but felt only numbness. I asked Angel, one of the nurses, if he'd go to the family room and tell Anne and Kathy that they were grandmas and could wait outside the door. He did and they did and Sid was with them as well.

I was able to get closer to Bryna and to touch my baby. I wanted to hold her but I wanted Bryna to hold her more. Bryna worked on giving the baby a nipple right away.

The placenta didn't want to let go and Bryna was bleeding. Apparently placenta out equals uterus contracting equals bleeding lessening. I was worried that the pulling on the placenta was causing the bleeding but I never thought to educate myself on this part. I saw one big gush of blood that I had to look away from. I am fond of saying "Keep your blood on the inside." because I really don't like seeing people bleed. I've had terrible dreams of family member bleeding to the point of hearing it. I associate large amounts of blood with death and I have a friend who did die bleeding. Sorry to put this in the middle of this wonderful story but it was a dark moment of going back to fear. I needed my wife, best friend and the mother of my child to be okay. I tried to stay calm, the got the placenta out, pushed on the belly and were satisfied that the bleeding was slowing. Somewhere in there was some yelling for this person and that person to help.

My connection with Bryna was returning, the fear was receding. They got Bryna cleaned up and she had some bonding time with baby. The moms and Sid had now been outside the door for over an hour and were going crazy. One nurse said she didn't want to leave the room because she hated to have to say "Not yet." to the moms again. We let them in and they gushed and oowed and awed. Bryna told me we could name here Maxine, the name I'd wanted all along. The moms, Sid, Bryna and I sang happy birthday to Maxine.

And then I held my baby girl. I have felt some serious love in my time. I'm lucky that way. I've never felt it stronger than I did looking at my beautiful little baby girl.

It was the best day of my life.


More hospital adventures soon...

The biggest omission from this story is the nursing staff. After such a long, drawn out birth I lost track of all the names but they were so wonderful to us. Patient and comforting and considerate. I am looking into sending them a baskets of puppies. :D

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Full Story... part one.

We were reluctant to induce. The doctors started talking about it before we even reached the due date. I wondered if they knew something we didn't know.

Due date came... and went and more talk of inducing. We put it off. We had sex. We ate pineapple. We walked... and walked... and walked. We tried nipple stimulation. We tried a glass of wine.

We did not try a trampoline, a pint of Guinness or Mountain Mike's pizza all of which were recommended as well. I suggested we go see Paranormal Activity which I figure would scare Bryna into labor but we didn't try that.

We finally agreed to inducing as we approached the end of the second week. I think it would've been ridiculous to do it sooner and I'm glad we waited.

It was really scary to agree to as it felt like the first step in the "Cascade of intervention" that we hoped to avoid. The pitocin they use to induce makes for more intense labor which makes for more likelihood of drugs being needed, etc. etc. and we REALLY didn't want this to end in c-section.

Bryna was very shaken up by this. So, Happy Day Spa to the rescue. An hour of foot massage for just $20. I went and shopped at the Asian market while Bryna got her foot rub and I invented a new holiday to celebrate with my daughter, Try Something New Day, when you try new food at all three meals and you do something you've never done before, something big. I wanted to take all the frogs they had and set them free like that scene in ET. How do you cook a big ol' frog anyway?

Bryna felt a million times better after the foot rub and decided to get another one the next day so she could enter the hospital calm and collected. I spent the next day catching up at work and then joining Bryna for last minute errands including laundry. We'd done laundry and shopped for baby's arrival two weeks earlier but now it all had to be done again. Contractions continued and we were optimistic that labor might still come on it's own, but this was not the case.

Bryna's mother Anne joined her for the foot rub. I packed bags and then picked Bryna up and off we went. The pitocin started about 10:30. I wasn't very impressed with our first nurse who I found a bit brusque. She told us that they'd raise the pitocin very slowly but if nothing happened by morning they'd have to get aggressive because she was there to have her baby. Pushy, and not true luckily. The rest of the nurses were gentle and talked and listened and were all around wonderful. Yay nurses. Seriously, we're trying to think of the perfect way to say thank you to these wonderful folks.

My mom Kathy just couldn't contain herself and showed up at 5:30 am to see if anything was happening. I hope I wasn't rude to her. I just remember waking up and saying "What time is it? Why are you here?" before passing back out. I'd gone to sleep sometime in the wee hours of the morning as we waited for the pitocin to do it's stuff.

Bryna's mom showed up soon after and the wait was on. The longer the wait the more the fear built. I tried to comfort my wife who was having contractions for weeks now and who was anxious to have a baby. I think we both really wanted to get it going and to have a sign that things were going to get on track and go well.

Bryna's youngest sister Emily came with books and a plant. Later Bryna's sister Lydia came with Antonio, our nephew. And then, with Antonio, Anne, Mom and Lydia there things started to kick into gear which meant the family was kicked to the waiting room and we started into labor. Her cervix was at 3 or 4 and there was some blood and more intense contractions.

One nice thing is that she wasn't tied down the bed. A wireless baby monitoring device let her move around, sit on her exercise ball, etc. Labor was nice. I know that's strange, but we were excited and really connected. We'd stand together as she went through the contractions and then we'd sit and wait for the next. Stand, sit, stand, sit, feeling so in love and just, together.

Things got more intense. Things got more painful. She tried some different positions. Nurses had to constantly readjust the monitor, two flat pads on her belly held by belts at first and later by a miniskirt looking thing which was WAY better than the belts. When they checked her cervix again hours of labor had produced very little progress. This was disheartening for Bryna. Not for me of course because I'm so unflappable. I did try to encourage her to keep doing what she was doing but it was hard not to let it take the wind out of our sales a bit.

The contractions finally reached the level of pain and Bryna the level of exhaustion that she asked for pain relief. I said "Are you sure?" She said "Yes." It was my job to double check. I said, "You wanted to avoid this if you could and you're doing really great so let me ask you, IF we'd come up with a special code word, would you use it now?" She said she would indeed.

She was given a half dose of Fentanyl. The cascade of intervention loomed. She'd now been at the hospital for over 24 hours and in labor for many. We worked hard to keep connected and Bryna talked about maintaining her happy place. I worked to keep fear at bay. It felt like a very smooth pregnancy just would not agree to go right now. The two weeks late, the two interventions that were not part of plan A and my sweetheart in pain for such a long, long time...

A half hour later she got more Fentanyl. the pain was getting to great. She asked for an epidrual. I checked to see if this was what she really wanted. It was work to keep connected but we were both sweet and gentle with each other. The anesthesiologist was summoned.

He was a really cool English guy with a great bed side manner, a gentle touch and the advanced trait of recognizing Brian Eno's Music for Airports when hears it. (Our labor, relaxation music.)

Bryna got her epidural and a catheter. She got some relief. She got some sleep. I encouraged the mom's (and Sid who had shown up in there somewhere) to go home and we'd call them as soon as something happened. Sid went and grabbed me MUCH needed cough drops. A sinus infection had left me in terrible shape.

I went to sleep scared and exhausted... (Click for Part Two)

Friday, October 23, 2009


8 lbs 15 oz. Almost 22 inches long. 36 hours of labor. Our daughter Maxine is here.
We had to adjust the birth plan a-lot as induction, pain relief, more pain relief (epi-dural) were introduced but she was born vaginally and not c-section and Bryna is good, sore and battered and bruised but good.
A healthy mom and a healthy baby. :D
More details soon...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Inducing tomorrow

We have an appt. to induce labor tomorrow night at 9pm, which should see the baby being born Wednesday during the day.

I'm very excited to meet my baby girl but it is unfortunate that Bryna's 9 months of figuring out he she wants to deal with this is possibly about to be flushed away and she has to quickly prepare for her plan B, as doing the pitocin (the drug they use, not a new dance craze) will limit her movement and can cause labor to be more intense and more painful increasing the chances of her needing help from the pain fairy.

Of course the possibility was always there and she always had a plan B but it has been such an ideal pregnancy in every way, we just started to assume that it would continue to roll along just right. We did a fetal monitoring today and the nurse, who was sweet but an idiot, told us we had to stay a little longer and continue the monitoring and then said we may just keep you here all the way through. We both took it as a joke, and Bryna jokingly said "But I'm not ready to stay here." and this little peon in scrubs gets all serious and says "Well you don't get to decide." or some such crap. She left and I told Bryna not to worry that the Nurse is an idiot. After the second session of monitoring reached about half as long as the initial session a different nurse came and told us we were good to go.

I was pretty pissed but kept it to myself as I was more interested in being calm and upbeat for Bryna. We got some food at the Co-Op and as if they knew we needed comfort they had vegetarian mashed potatoes, gravy and "meat" loaf. Then more comfort, Bryna's sister Erin suggested a $20, hour foot massage at Happy Day Spa. Bryna loved it. It did her a world of good.
Tomorrow, she either goes into labor on her own, or not, either way it's go time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A wonderful thought

I think I saw a chapter of my life that was supposed to happen before I had kids. I knew that I would continue to be creative and to be who I am even after having a child. I saw my brothers and friends go through it and some of my friends got rid of their musical instruments, quit their bands, whatever they thought would distract them from being the grown up they now needed to be. And then a few months later they'd start buying back instruments and being the kind of parent who actually has something to share with their child.

When you announce you're having a kid everyone says, "Oh, you're life is going to be changing." But I discovered, by going so long without kids that your life changes no matter what. And I observed in my brothers and friends that life stays the same in many ways too.

So, I wasn't worried that I would give up my art but I have worried that I would have less of an edge and I was definitely aware that I'd have less time. I planned then not to have a child until I was successful enough as an artist that I was doing it full time and I was content with the thought that I might never have children. I thought I was content anyway. As I got into the later part of my thirties without having achieved that goal I realized that having a kid was something I wanted, really wanted, enough that I would have regrets if I waited much longer.

Yesterday I had a wonderful thought regarding the parent/artist relationship. I remembered that I used to think a steady relationship would be detrimental to my artistic output, effecting my "edge" and the amount of time I have for creativity. The effect has been the opposite. Bryna's support has allowed me to pursue my creative endeavors more than anything else. So, having a child may surprise me as well. Being a parent will take a-lot of my time, I know this, but it may give me inspiration and drive I never imagined. We'll see. :D

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Still no baby

Trying to not let this become a bad thing. Babies are often late and a test (fetal monitoring strip) yesterday determined ours is happy and healthy.
So, no worry yet. Bryna is still making progress towards labor and we're working on being calm, cool and collected which amazingly enough I'm actually having some success at. Bryna has always been better at these three Cs.
They're talking about possibly inducing tonight which would see us delivering with the Dr. that we like best. This may seem like a silly consideration in the grand scheme of things but it sure is comforting to think of being in the hands of someone you have a connection with.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

3 Days Past Due Date

Advice for expectant parents, I'd say just assume you're going to get your baby late because I assumed she on time and I don't know why I assumed that, but I did and now I can't seem to reconcile myself to waiting. I'm getting cranky and frustrated, I can't quite just go back to my life until it happens but every time I think it's happening it doesn't happen and I'm going a bit out of my head. Contractions today. Started timing them with something called "Contraction Master" but as soon as Bryna timed the first one they seemed to go away. Is it coincidence that around the same time she looked around and saw more nesting still undone and went to work? I can't help feeling like she is just keeping labor at bay until everything is perfect. What? Not scientific? Oh go get bent.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Advice from big brother

I wrote my big brother John for advice. When it comes to parenting he and his wife Raquel are my heroes and their daughters are wonderful, happy, self realized people.
Here is the advice he sent:

"If daughter doesn't get loved from dad, she will get loved from another man who might not have her best interest at heart.

Quality time always comes in the midst of quantity time.

Always watch the Simpsons

Include them in your good works, that how they learn that they are not the most important people on the planet, but then treat them like they are anyways

Tell them about Jesus so they can go to heaven when they die"

The Jesus part is totally sincere but said with a sense of humor at the same time. He does not actually fear that I'm going to hell, but he does actually believe that Jesus is magic. We Jensens are smart asses and have been for generations.

Thanks John. This is really great advice, sincerely.

Today is The Due Date!

But no sign of labor yet, well, no new signs anyway. The occasional lone contraction.
Now we get to find out just how annoying "Baby? Baby yet?" really is.
And I did it to my cousins so karmically I have it coming.
I have been twittering and every twitter post gets replies of "Congrats" and "Yay exciting." and now I think everyone is getting a bit tired of congratulating and being excited.
As for me, I'd like to have a baby now please. I waited, it's time, give me baby.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


She's already felt contractions!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Turkey's Done!

6 days 'til due date!
Bryna's belly button is now an outie. She was sure it would pop quite some time back but I didn't think so. I bet her it wouldn't pop before halfway through September while she was sure it would be any day all the way back in mid August. She made it into October.
It made me think of the little red pop up thing that lets you know when a turkey is done cooking. The baby is done apparently.
Maybe today I'll learn how to use the scanner so I can put up some ultrasound pics.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stage Fright

7 Days From Due Date!!!

Baby clothes and pacifiers and special blankets for this and special blankets for that and special pillows and Bryna's teddy bear Ocho models a baby dress.
Bryna went to her weekly appt. with the baby doc yesterday. Our little girl is moved into position. She's at stage -2 or phase -2 or scene -2, something -2, but I know that my cousin was in labor for hours and couldn't get past stage -3 so I think we're doing good. She is dilating and so far everything is go.
It feels like being backstage at a show, waiting to go on, only you've never really had a dress rehearsal and you have no idea how long you'll be standing there or what state you'll be in when you're pushed on stage.
Oh my god, our apartment is still such a cluttered mess.