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It has now been a full week since Jackie’s birth, and our new family configuration is really starting to thrive. After a difficult and fussy first three days, Jackie settled into a peaceful, healthy routine. Katie deserves all the credit for making our daughter happy in her new home. As I told my mother (big Jackie) and mother-in-law (Katie’s mom Janet), I have a new appreciation for mothers after seeing Katie face and successfully meet the initial challenges of childbirth and nursing.

What, me worry?

What, me worry?

Janet has been with us for the past nine days, and we’re very grateful for all her help looking after the dogs while we were in the hospital, cleaning up around the house, running errands and shopping for us, and helping prepare meals. When she isn’t helping with things around the house, she can usually be found doting on her granddaughter. Life during Jackie’s first week would have been chaotic and extremely difficult without Janet’s hard work, love, and support.

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Joyous Nana and her granddaughter.

Nana also gave Jackie her first bath the other day, and it went much better than I ever dreamed it would. Our old house stays pretty cold in the winter, so a mid-winter’s sponge bath couldn’t have been too comfortable for the baby. Give Janet credit for making it as pleasant as possible…

I’m also appreciative of Jackie’s two older brothers, Baxter and Robah, for their good behavior. We predicted that Baxter would be curious at first, and then disinterested with a tiny human who can’t even hold a tennis ball, much less throw it for him. We predicted Robah would be loving and slobbery. We were right about both.  Surprisingly though, both dogs are quite protective of their little sis. The five of us went on our first family outing today — a thirty-minute walk around Five Points.

Baxter and Robah meet/sniff Jackie.

Baxter and Robah meet/sniff Jackie.

Daytime feedings have become fun-with-music sessions. I guess we like to nourish Jackie’s ears while Katie feeds her stomach. First, I play dance or big band music and dance with Jackie to get her awake and ready to nurse. When Katie takes over, she plays oldies and sings along as Jackie eats. Jackie may or may not like these meal-time theatrics, but I assure you that Katie and I are having a ball.

The rest of the family, including my parents, Katie’s dad Ben, my brother Rich, and Katie’s sister Sarah, haven’t had too much time to visit Jackie yet. Sarah and Rich did hold Jackie at the hospital…

Here are some assorted pictures from the past week. Feel free to come visit whenever…we want Jackie to meet the rest of her family and parents’ friends.

Jackie Jones was born at 10:05 p.m. on December 23 by way of c-section. She weighed 10 lbs., 8 oz., and was 22 in. long at the time of birth. After holding her for the first time, I realized how futile it would have been to hold out longer for vaginal birth. Jackie was just too big to enter the world without some help from her doctor and surgical team.

Katie did extremely well with the c-section procedure, and continues to recover quickly. On top of that, Katie even complied whenever the nurses asked her to put down her Blackberry (it was a little touch-and-go at first). In all seriousness, my wife is a rock and I didn’t expect anything short of courage and grace from her before, during, and after delivery.

jackie_with_cord

Cutting the cord.

Cutting the cord.

We should have known that Jackie would be a large newborn when one of the nurses on our floor guessed that Katie was carrying twins. I think that at least one-third of her wardrobe is already too small for her on day one. She’s going straight to 3-6 month-sized clothes.

Wow...10 lbs., 8 oz., 22 in.

Wow...10 lbs., 8 oz., 22 in.

dad_and_jackie1

Her long fingers were one of the first things that struck me when I held her for the first time.

Piano lessons in her future?

Of course, Katie and I are enamored with our baby girl. Based on her appearance during her first day ex utero, she has a Jeffcoats nose and a Watson chin. I wonder if other new parents have identified physical resemblances from their mothers’ side of the family before noticing characteristics from their fathers’ side. Regardless of who she resembles, her mother and I think she’s perfect.

mom_and_jackie

mom_and_jackie_close_up

I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to the nurses, staff, and doctors at the REX Hospital Birth Center. They have really made us comfortable and confident as new parents during our first thirty-six hours under their watch. Most importantly, they delivered to us our daughter. We love her, love her, love her.

jackie_dressed

The doctor decided it would be best for mother and child to do a c-section in about 30 minutes. Jackie’s arrival is imminent!

Katie hasn’t dilated more in the last hour and a half. The doctor wants to give her another hour…if there’s no change between now and then, they might decide to do a cesarean birth. That would happen sometime tonight depending on other patients who need c-sections.

Katie has dilated a little more (up to 6 now), and the contractions seem to be coming stronger (even though they are still about two minutes apart). Jackie seems to be in a traversed position, so it would be nice if she would rotate a little before she debuts. Slowly, but surely she’s getting closer. It’s hard to believe that Katie’s still not in active labor yet, but we’re still hopeful that she’ll come tonight.

Bless her heart…she just watched me eat pad thai with shrimp take-out while she sipped more ginger ale and tried to find a position that’s anywhere close to comfortable. Katie’s always cool like that. Don’t worry though…I made sure to get her permission beforehand.

Well, here we are, waiting for further developments. Dilation and active labor are our immediate goals. The obstetrician who welcomed us last night just took off for the holidays; she’ll be replaced by another OB who happens to be my co-worker’s brother-in-law. From all we’ve heard, we’re in good hands with him.

A mysterious rumbling, drone-like sound is coming from somewhere on the floor below us — it sounds like Robah snoring and groaning, so it’s a comforting reminder of home.

The reality is starting to set in that the baby will not be coming anytime very soon. In fact, I have a feeling that Jackie will be a Christmas Eve baby, but a lot could happen (even cesarean birth) between now and midnight tonight.

We’ve put our playlist on pause for an Ellen/The Sopranos television break.

All is well at the Birth Center. The contractions seem to be intensifying more and more, but Katie hasn’t had any change in the amount of pain and discomfort. No one who works here is brazen or foolhardy enough to speculate about the time of delivery. We get the feeling that it will be later than 5:00 p.m. this afternoon.

I ate a bland lunch at the Quizno’s here at the medical center and walked past one of the nurseries on my way back. There they were — little bundles of life, flushed red and pink, wrapped tight in each baby container. When I returned to our room a few minutes ago, Uncle Bob Pollard was singing,  “Happy little babies with red cheeks…you will rock them gently out of sync,” from Official Ironmen Rally Song when I returned to the room. Don’t you love it when music syncs, whether coincidentally or supernaturally, with life? If Salt-n-Pepa’s Push It comes on in a few hours, we’ll know it’s time for Katie to go to work.

After breaking Katie’s water, she got some pain relief from the doctor on call. Things are going very well. Contractions are about a minute and a half apart. Janet is keeping us company in the delivery room. So is Stephen Malkmus, who is singing about the “Cadillac of winter” vis a vis “Old Jerry.”

Katie has insisted on wearing her Saucony running shoes during all this for some reason, so she looks like she ran right in this morning full with child. Of course, I think she looks cute.

Go Jackie go. The nurse gave us a noncommittal ballpark delivery time of about 5:00 p.m. We’ll see.

Katie’s water has broken and she’s about to get a little pain relief. Things are progressing nicely. Panda Bear’s “Comfy in Nautica” is playing on the stereo, so Katie can think of her happy place.

We slept a little last night, Katie in her hospital bed and me in the roll-away cot they were able to find (apparently they are a hot commodity around here). I am very grateful for the cot, because the alternative, a “recliner” that couldn’t have been designed with human users in mind, would have been difficult.

Katie is having minor contractions this morning. The doctors will apply the first dose of the inducing agent, called pitocin, in about fifteen minutes after they reattach the monitors and IV. It’s an IV drip that they adjust until the desired frequency and intensity of contractions are achieved. Then we should get this baby party started!

Image from Raleigh

Urban dirt-biking

I took this post-apocalyptic picture outside Jones Barber Shop in Raleigh last year.

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