Saturday, April 05, 2008

April Showers Bring... a Statistical Anomaly

Full report to follow during the week. In the meantime, here's a teaser:

Rachel, our doula, was almost as pregnant as Karen. But she was a superhero for us, making the labor more bearable, more natural, and efficient (important if you don't want to huff and puff for a day and a half and experience a series of nervous breakdowns). Karen went from 2 to 9.5 cm dilated in 5 hours of controlled breathing, visualization, and many many body positions as suggested by our advocate. Seriously, we highly recommend having your first baby with a doula/midwife on hand... that is, unless you want all the medical interventions suggested by most modern obstetricians and hospital staff (who happily usher 40% of today's mom's to be into C-sections, 95% spinal administered pain management and an at least 85% pitocin inducements/augmentations)*. Achieving our aspirations during this birth was really satisfying, and improbable. Jasper's safe arrival was all we really wanted, but keeping it natural was the icing on the cake (and very possible if you surround yourself with the right people).
Splashdown! After 4 hours of pushing, Jasper Diego Guard popped out and landed on top of Karen. My wife went from utter exhaustion, through the sheer terror of the "ring of fire", and landed safely in euphoric bliss de amor - all in that final 30 seconds around Jasper's arrival. Karen is my new hero. I knew she could do this.
While Karen got fixed up and delivered the placenta, me and Jasper got to know each other. His expression here is a better representation of the moment than mine. The little guy was on high alert and ready to bond with his parents.

Skin-to-skin nuzzling for regulating baby body temp and stimulating the nursing instinct (and a good natural pain reliever for mom).

The nurses got Jasper away from us long enough to weigh him and put him through XYandZ other processes. I think he found the bureaucracy a bore... or maybe Jasper had just had a hard day at the office.

I sometimes got to bro-down with the little monkey, which immediately gave me ideas for fun and games.

Our class on caring for newborns said that you can start "tummy time" any time after a baby is born. Here, Jasper got down to do some push-ups (3 sets, 10 reps per), but before he could get a good upper body workout, he fell asleep.

Don't worry, we know about the back-sleeping only rule. I just wanted to give his body a few different sensations to keep him in the fluid motion feeling of his 9-month free-float in amniotic fluid. He seems to like to sample a variety of poses, which is good since there will probably be more photo-ops to come (especially once we get him in his aquarium).

*We chose Kathy Stewart, our Lamaze teacher from Full Circle Child Birth, for our doula. When Karen's water broke, Kathy had another birth in the works, so her trusted back up was Rachel Thompson, who is connected to Christian organization called Charis Child Birth. Lucky for us agnostics, Rachel gave supremely secular service. We didn't have a clue about the religious orientation of her organization until I affixed the link to this post. Anyhow, just thought I'd share this nuance. And I should probably say that we never would have wound up working with either Kathy or Rachel (or managed a natural childbirth) if we hadn't seen The Business of Being Born. Even non-breeders should check out that flick.


  1. Congratulations! Glad to hear Mom and little Jasper are doing well! We'll raise a glass of akvavit in his honour!

  2. Congratulations Jason and Karen! I am so happy for the two of you and can't wait to actually meet the little guy.

  3. Congrats Mr. and Mrs. RVA Foodie! Where are the boring stats like weight and length? I'm hoping we'll get to meet the lil foodie soon!

  4. Eric on Maplewood7:44 PM

    Congratulations! Good to see everyone is doing well. Nice to see a new neighbor!

    And so, life as you know it, has changed forever. :-)

  5. Yay! Congratulations to you both! I was just thinking it was about that time, and I duck in here for a look and there he is.... Welcome to the world Jasper!

  6. Data: 6 lbs even and 18.5" long. Karen is a pretty skinny lady, so Jasper's size was appropriate (although even smaller would probably have hurt t onless). Also, Karen's gestational diabetic diet meant that she only gained 15 lbs during the pregnancy (including the baby and placenta) and the desired effect was a smaller baby through lower blood sugar. I'm still calling gestational diabetes "a disease in search of a diagnosis." More questions? My brain hasn't returned to normal blogging mode, so I may need some prompting thru continued comments.

  7. Congratulations! And way to go on the natural birth :)

  8. Congrats from the non breeders on Maplewood (tee hee)... Look forward to see you guys walking behind a stroller this summer!!! I love the name Jasper!!! Awesome!! way to go guys!

  9. Maz'ltov and give that lady a chocolate bar!

  10. Great story man! Found you through RVAblogs...

    Congrats on a beautiful baby!

    The wife and I have used midwifes for our kids and it has always been an awesome experience, glad to hear yours went well too.

  11. Congrats to both of you!! I look forward to baby food reviews coming soon. :)

  12. I'm so excited for you both, I love the name Jasper, too! Charlie and I can't wait to meet the newest activist on the block.

  13. Congrats on the new addition!

  14. Rachel Thompson, doula (and midwife in-training):

    Holler at her with your birthing questions.

  15. Congratulations! Cute little guy! One of my good friends is a doula as well as a reiki practioner.

  16. This is going to sound like a bitch-fest. That's cuz it is. Here's the venting/data:

    Jasper has lost a pound since his birth. Karen's milk isn't coming in as quick as we'd like, so his feedings aren't really satisfying/fortifying him (which makes for lots of screaming and/or lethargy). Today, we've started supplementing with formula (hopefully very temporary).

    We've been to the doctor today and yesterday (and we have an appt for tomorrow). They've given us this electronic phototherapy device called a "biliblanket" (which is not a blanket at all!) and we're supposed to keep him hooked up to it 24/7 to reduce his "biliruben" level. He hates it. We hate it. We haven't really slept.

    But, if we're vigilant through all of this, then we won't have to check Jasper into the hospital. Hopefully, this is will be a brief interlude - an interruption of our "babymoon." Lots of bloggers report going through similar turbulence. I think the whole thing is an outgrowth of the gestational diabetes condition/treatment. It's all very complicated, but we've got lots of good support.

  17. congrats!! what a beautiful kid!!!!

  18. Status report:

    Weight up. Biliruben down. Biliblanket returned to medical aparatus company. Milk coming in for Karen (and Jasper). Formula is on the retreat. Squawking and lethargy are still 24/7, but I guess that defines a baby. Jasper is most often serene, although sometimes he changes in to Mr. Fussy Face. Had his first bath (and secretly liked it). Pooped and peed while mom'n'dad juggled him in mid-air. Time to do laundry.


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