Monday, June 30, 2008

Eat, Sleep, Eat,, Sleep...

Such a thoughtful little monkey.

We've been a bit pokey about posting photos on here lately, but honestly, time is flying! Ivan is already three weeks old and we still feel like he was born about ten minutes ago. Sergio's been back at work and Sasha's mom is getting ready to head back to Arizona next week. Ivan has already taken his trip to the US Embassy to apply for his passport and establish his American citizenship, not to mention get shown off to our coworkers. In addition, he's mastering new skills like holding up his head, conducting imaginary orchestras with his tiny hands, cooing, and just generally entertaining us. Or fussing. Ivan definitely puts on his fussypants from time to time...but we try not to focus on that too much. Grandma Kathe has taught Sasha a few tricks that have gone a long way in making Ivan a little bit happier (mostly to do with the importance of burping, burping, burping...).

Must expel the gasses...

Oh, and we LOVE swaddling. Thanks to Leigh and Andrew and Nicole for that Miracle!

Trust us, he loves it.

The other activity around here is eating. Sasha feeds Ivan pretty much round the clock. The kid is hungry!

Only milk stops the screams...

The good news is that he's gaining weight. (A big debt is owed to Megan for holding Sasha's hand through the mysteries of early nursing and weight gain!) Ivan's packed on about ten ounces in the last week or so, and got a clean bill of health from the Medical Unit at work yesterday. He's still a lightweight and fits the description of what some medical "experts" call a "banana baby" (long and lean). Apparently babies born at higher altitudes like Mexico City (or even Denver for that matter) tend to be on the smallish side as their weight gain slows significantly after the 33rd week of pregnancy (due to the restricted oxygen when you're up here like us). The little ones can fall about a half pound or more behind babies at normal altitudes by the time they are born. So Ivan's got some eating to do to make up for lost time! So far, he seems to relish the challenge.

Hooray food!

And in fact, Ivan's belly IS getting a little bigger. Also his hair is staying reddish-blond for now -- he's looking a bit like a little orangutan actually -- and his umbilical cord fell off (any takers?). We also just discovered that he has a dimple in his chin. Cool!


Our other baby animal is doing great and we're making an effort to make sure she doesn't feel too left out of things as she slips down the family pecking order. Aunt Margaret sent her a nice present that seemed to please her very much: now she can boss the frog around. She swiftly removed each of Frog's eyes to guarantee his dependence.

Still Daddy's Little Princess...

We'll close this entry with some sleepy photos. We try to keep it real sleepy around here!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Doesn't always look like this -- especially not around 4 am.

Well, we're coming up on Ivan's two week birthday. Unbelievable! The past week has been packed with milestones. One of the perks of being brand-new is that there is a whole world of things to do for the first time!

LouLou's okay with her lower notch in the pecking order.

The main thing we've been working on around Casa Moreno is eating. Ivan has a hearty appetite, but we're still trying to get him back to his birth weight. Babies lose some weight the first week and then once the mom's milk arrives the little ones start packing it back on. Sasha feels like a 24-hour diner these days but it will be worth it to see Ivan's little chicken legs plump up!

We had our first pediatrician visit today and got the report from the doc that all looks well, so that's great news. Ivan seemed mildly annoyed by the whole ordeal, but has been such a trooper the last few days that we didn't hold it against him.

See, we've been battling the Mexican bureacracy to get this kid a name. We've had to haul Ivan out in the car and to a nearby military hospital three separate times this week to get his birth recorded with the Civil Registry, the first step for both Mexican and American citizenship. We've had all kinds of trouble with Sasha's name not fitting the Mexican standard; Mexican women don't change their name when they get married, and nearly everyone has two family names so our situation has been causing all sorts of civil servant distress. The fact that Sasha didn't mention her middle name on the hospital form just added insult to injury.

Ivan seemed to find a sort of narcotic effect in the whole administrative nightmare that had Sergio cursing (apparently "crap" is part of the Mexican lexicon) and Sasha weeping on the inside as we were sent back to the hospital to start the paperwork all over again -- through hours of traffic mind you. Ivan took a more sane approach and slept through each outing, thankfully. At last, today, we got this kid an official name and an official birth certificate. Actually, we got him 11 birth certificates, so he should be set for life. And best of all, we are never ever going back to the Civil Registry again --hooray!

Certified, for real.

As for Ivan's name, lots of folks have asked for some sort of story behind it (and there are some -- hint: watch the movie "The Right Stuff") but basically Sergio just digs the name Ivan. You can pronounce it EE-VAHN or EYE-VAN depending on how continental you feel. Here at home, we say Eye-van, but we like both. Gustavo was Sasha's idea and is a popular Latin name with a nice reference to all of her Scandinavian relations. We think the name could be either sophisticated or tough---and we hope for both qualities for our little boy!

We've also started grooming this little sophisticate, we've given him his first couple of baths. Sergio takes the reins at bath time because Sasha is basically terrified. For her, water comes in one temperature: too hot. One weird thing: Ivan is shedding his skin like a little snake---the doctor said this is totally normal though Sasha was rather alarmed. Alarmed is kind of the normal state of mind for her these days.

We know what you want, little man.
Ivan doesn't really love the water, but he is very relaxed after the bath so they're good before bedtime. And it is hilarious to brush his hair, which is a kind of strawberry blonde fuzz at the moment. We've been told it could end up any variety of colors. Same with his dark blue eyes. Time will tell!

He really likes to use his arms. His tiny, uncontrollable arms.

Bedtime overall has been a little rough. Ivan seems to fight against sleeping and prefer eating. All the time. But we're getting the hang of it.

Thinkin' about food...

Sergio is getting good at walking around with the baby, and is an excellent diaper-changer. Sasha's strengths are in the areas of twilight feedings and lightning- fast costume changes.

Also, one-handed photography.

Our final first to report today is taking out the stroller! Last week when Sasha was starting to feel game again (update: she got her fishing line stitches out on Monday this week and is walking fairly upright again), we ventured out for some short jaunts in the buggy.

Um, there's a sidewalk...

Ivan totally dug his first outing, and seemed to pretty much hate the second. Maybe that means he is more of an art connoisseur and less of a gourmand because our first outing was to an artesania gallery and the second was to an outdoor produce market.

At any rate, Ivan looks spookily angelic sometimes and Sasha is thrilled to have the bassinet so she can gaze dreamily at him as they walk around Polanco.

Never has on enough clothing, even in June.

Sergio is wrapping up his paternity leave, so it's back to the office next week -- time has flown!

Goodbye, Papa Homeless Guy!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sasha tells the Ivan story

Okay, thanks to my very supportive family (Grandmas are awesome!) I'm grabbing a few minutes here and there to update folks on the events of the last week. We've had just tons of great notes from all of our far-flung family and friends on the news of Ivan's arrival, and a whole bunch of you have asked for more details on the big day. So here goes.

As you know from my last whiny email bemoaning his late arrival, Ivan did not come on any of his three estimated due dates. So on Saturday last, Dr. Felix M. decided we needed to meet him at the hospital to make sure the placenta was still providing enough nutrients for the baby. Apparently, the further you go past 40 weeks the more likely it is that the placenta will start to fail. Some babies will actually start to lose weight and there are other complications that go along with the baby staying in too long. So with all those concerns in mind, we headed off to the hospital for a look-see quite early last Saturday morning. Traffic is MUCH easier at 7 on the weekend compared to during the week. But other than that distinction, our visit seemed at first like a rerun of last month's hospital visit: a very quiet hospital ward with a cast of a zillion residents and interns (ABC is a teaching hospital here in Mexico City) and the galloping sounds of the fetal monitoring machine as it read my contractions and the baby's response to them. I was having contractions about ten minutes apart but that's the kind of prelabor that can apparently last for ages. And disappointingly, it appeared that our little dude was not responding to the contractions as he should indicating that indeed the placenta was starting to fail.

With that in mind, Dr. M wanted to induce labor. Yikes! We had discussed this possibility though we had thought it would be a worst-case scenario a little further down the road. Originally, Dr. M had felt comfortable waiting until the 42nd week which would have bought us a few more days. But our doctor and the team at the hospital were pretty convincing that our baby would do better outside than inside, and we were soon on board. I took a pill and labor in earnest began. We were told we would absolutely be having a baby that day which was pretty mind-blowing. We were pleased with ourselves for remembering to bring along our packed bags but a bit bothered that we had forgotten to arrange for LouLou's daycare!

As the contractions became stronger, the room grew more crowded with various medical professionals and students clocking me and my baby's moves. Eventually, the doctor came in to tell us that he suspected that the cord was caught around the baby's neck. He said that the baby was fine but if the heart beat pattern continued with no change even during the most intense contractions, "we would have to look at other options." That's how doctors talk all over the world I guess. As it turns out, even with the strongest contractions and after five hours of what the doctor termed "good labor", there was an established pattern of strong contraction, decelerating heartbeat and no dilation. The doctor advised immediate surgery.

Sergio's last view of Sasha pre-delivery

And in no time, we were off! The doc was out of his track suit and into scrubs, I was visited by an anesthesiologist and wheeled off down the hall, and Sergio was sent to get his camera and wait to join the surgical team in the operating room.

Bring it.

I was so happy to have my mom there, and she offered some very down-to-earth wisdom when I started to feel a little sorry for myself that my plans for a natural childbirth were by now completely shot. My mom mused that it seemed to her that getting hung up on the "how" of childbirth might be more about the mom than the baby. I had to agree and it was as good a time as any to start learning the art of being flexible!

I was in surgery within 30 minutes and while I couldn't see every detail (thankfully no doubt!) , I was very fully aware and able to feel a part of it all. Sergio was an eyewitness to the whole thing so I'll let him give his account (warning: it's a tad graphic):

So I had been waiting myself for a few minutes after they rolled Sasha away, wearing scrubs for the first time in my life and trying to calm the butterflies going to town in my stomach. They finally summon me into the O.R., where I see Sasha on the surgical table with her arms spread out and tied down, crucifixion-style, and various doctors and nurses busy at work. They put me directly behind Sasha's left shoulder, the best position in which to both comfort her and watch what was happening.

Dr. M worked fast -- his hands moved quickly and deftly, steadily working on the 8-inch incision across Sasha's belly. Cut, suction, cut, suction -- it was obvious this was not his first rodeo. After no more than 10 minutes of that, he pulled out what looked like an 18-inch ice cream paddle made of stainless steel and with thick finger grooves molded into the handle. He shoved that deep into the incision and wedged it there with the handle sticking up and straight out of Sasha. The docs gave me a quick "All set? Camera ready?" to which I responded a vague "uh-huh" and nodded yes, hesitantly. He then pulled back on the handle and in one motion Sasha's uterus popped out. I snapped a photo and by the time the light of the flash receded there was a naked screaming baby laying on the table between Sasha's legs, with Dr. M cutting his umbilical cord. I was then shuttled over to the corner of the room to watch the pediatrician stick various tubes in the baby's nose and mouth, all the time saying "looks good, looks good...." I was now a father.

Dr. M liked to give me the business, and predicted many times pre-delivery that I would faint or pass out in the delivery room. I did not -- but not for any particular intestinal fortitude on my part. The whole thing was just so surreal and happened so quickly that by the time my brain could process and react to it, it was over. In other words, it was awesome. Now back to Sasha.

Sergio sat right next to me and while I was certainly a bit anxious about it all, I was so excited to see and hear the baby it all went by in a flash. After some preliminaries, I felt some tugging and then all of the sudden, I heard a tremendous cry. I turned to look at Sergio and saw a huge sunbeam smile.

I insisted I could still operate the camera in my condition...

...but the anesthesiologist decided to step in.

It took less than an hour for the little guy to enter the world yelping and after Dr. H the pediatrician took a peek at him (and made many thumbs-up signs!) he was handed over for our inspection.

Note: not a sign of Blackfoot disease.

And he was gorgeous! And loud! And had all his parts!

I am completely unaware of what is happening right now! - Ivan


Ivan and I recovered in the hospital for a few days with Sergio and my mom taking turns looking after us and keeping us company in our hospital room.

We even had a nice visit from our cousins in Mexico City:

Bolivia in the house.

Meanwhile Sergio spread the news back at work and around the world, passing out cigars where he could and generally taking care of business. My mom helped me keep my cool as I learned about nursing the baby, bathing the baby and on and on. What a brand new world we've entered!

We came home on Tuesday to a very curious dog, a house full of gorgeous flowers and the beginning of a parade of delicious baked goods and even complete meals cooked by our lovely neighbors. We're all a bit sleepy around here, but we could not be happier. Here's hoping the next few weeks will bring a lot of this...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen...

It is our great pleasure to introduce to the world:


Hi, everybody.

Born 1:45 p.m., 7 June 2008
6 lbs, 14 oz
20.1 inches long

Mother and baby are doing very well. Everyone was excited to finally meet the little guy.

First-time grandma!

Keep checking the blog for more pictures and the full birthin'-the-baby story coming soon...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Nothing Doing.

Sasha is a little cranky these days.

Well, our first estimated due date came and went. And so did the second estimate. And so we're left to assume now that this little dude is staying put for the duration. Apparently he takes after his father: no sense moving once you get comfy.

Another dude who enjoys hanging around upside down.

Frankly, we're all getting a little impatient around here, anticipating the arrival of this kiddo! But in the meantime, Sasha's mom arrived and Sasha has started her maternity leave so the ladies of the house are trying to keep entertained by pretending to be on vacation instead of on Labor Patrol. After all, a watched pot never boils!

When we saw the doctor this week he suggested he wouldn't look to make any drastic moves like induction until late next week though we are going to do another hospital visit tomorrow to get a read on things and try to make some plans. One of the doc's suggestions for getting things moving is just lots and lots of walking to stimulate labor. Sasha has totally taken this to heart, including a marathon session today that included a few pit-stops for sightseeing.

Skydancing or whatever this is called would probably also stimulate labor.

LouLou the Dog likes the lots of walks prescription.

Sasha has almost completely worn out her mother who is still adjusting to the altitude, but they did have a good time checking out the Anthropology museum. Both ladies feel that there just might have been some Mayan mojo in the air that will get things going...

and to those so inclined, we welcome all of your prayers, wishes, magic tricks etc.