Welcome, Ian

April 28, 2013 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 474 views

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Fat BabySomewhere around her second trimester, my wife calculated that if she could hold out until her due date of April 25th, then her maternity leave would butt right up against a five day weekend in August, created by a national holiday and a local holiday and a puente. We had a minor scare a fortnight early, but she made it…right up to midnight on April 25th, when her labor began. She let me sleep an hour from 12:30 to 1:30 before waking me and telling me to go downstairs and clean up some dishes and crumbs from dinner the night before to make the house tidy for our guest who we were about to call.

We both showered, and I shaved, and we called Nela, the woman who was Nora’s favorite day care worker until she left to open a children’s clothing store in town a year ago. They’ve lost a bit of intimacy when they meet in the street, but Nora knows and still loves Nela, so she was our pick among the various offers we had for the midnight hospital run post. Nela showed up more or less immediately and by then I was having to give Marga kidney massages during her contractions, which were about four minutes apart. We laid out some clothes and told Nela what Nora usually has for breakfast, and we were off.

At the ER, the only door to the hospital that was unlocked, they took Marga’s socialized medicine number and plopped her down in a wheelchair. The maternity ward was summoned and they sent someone down to wheel her up to the second floor. The last time we were there, there were a half dozen other women pushing babies out of their vaginas, and we got largely ignored for many hours and told, “you’re still green” (in the fruit ripening sense). This time, not only were we about to fall off the vine, but the ward was empty, and we had the midwife’s attention all to ourselves.

After a series of technical glitches that had the nurses shuffling between three or four different monitoring machines, each easy to place on the Progress line from analog to digital, they finally had the data they needed to give the go ahead for the epidural. To prepare, she had to take off all her jewelry, and they brought out a big industrial bottle of acetate to remove the nail polish she’d spent an hour carefully applying that morning. Then Marga’s favorite hospital employee showed up, the anesthesiologist, who Marga calls The Candyman. He went though three different syringe-depressing machines before he found one that worked, and the sweet bliss of anesthesia descended upon the room.

The midwife impressed me very much. She actually spoke some English after adopting a hobby of going on weeklong dawn-to-dusk intensive English camps where Spaniards pay to stay with a bunch of Americans who have their room and board (but not travel to Spain) paid for and they spend all day talking. The midwife did a pretty good job of explaining everything. The parts that most stuck with me were how Marga had to have her legs out of balance, one extended and one bent, to keep her pelvis twisted, and therefore more open, and how the baby comes out face down and then twists out “like a screw”. I managed to block the quip, “Screwing is how we got here!” on its way from my adolescent wordplay neurons to my mouth.

Over the course of an hour the contractions slowly crescendoed. Marga reported a strong desire to push, and the midwife said, “Then push! If he comes out, we’ll catch him.” Around 5:10 we were moved to the paritorio, the birthing room, this one had a huge photo of the moon on one wall, apt for our full moon birth. Somehow she got moved, between contractions, to another bed with stirrups. Then the real pain began.

Marga switches to Basque when she’s really hurting. Once I had to be reminded that I was the hand squeezee, not the squeezer. The midwife invited me to lean over to the other end and said that the head was barely showing. I nodded, but it wasn’t clear. But then it started to come out! First the head came all the way out, and then, with a quarter turn, the shoulders appears, and with another push he slid all the way out. He took his first breath and let out a little cry before he was all the way out. It was incredible watching one human coming out of another. He was immediately placed on his very relieved mother’s chest, and we got to meet our son for the first time. He looked so healthy and perfect, I broke down in tears.

Mother and Babe

He was born at 5:35 AM on April 25, 2013, measuring 3.3 kg and 51 cm. I got to cut the umbilical cord, and was proud of myself for not being too grossed out by seeing the placenta come out and be held up for us to examine. Unlike his sister, he was immediately interested in suckling and latched on on the first try, a sensation unknown to his mother.

Pious Angel

We called the Spanish family, and when they showed up a few hours later, I went home to take a 4.5 hour nap, while Nora’s Spanish grandparents and aunt got her from school, fed her lunch, and took her back to school. When Nora got out of school we took her to meet her baby brother for the first time. She was absolutely delighted. I caught their first encounter on camera for them to enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Our newest family member spent his first day mostly sleeping, and his first night fairly awake. He drained both breasts and still wanted more. We called the night shift lactation nurse, who is a long haired young man, and he suggested that, “You really need the stimulus he’s giving you for your uterus to reposition itself and for the milk to start flowing. Still guilty from making Nora go hungry the first night, we told him that several hours of sucking was enough stimulus and he wasn’t getting any milk and to please give us some milk. He complied and we fed our babe a full syringe of milk until he was satiated.

In Spain, the mother and baby have to stay at the hospital for a minimum of 48 hours, which we did, and when no further complications presented themselves, we were released. Upon arriving home, we found a message that Nora had dictated, word for word, to her aunt for her baby brother. It was pretty adorable.

Ian's Face

Welcome to the world, Ian Rasmussen Matamoros. Our family is now complete.

Family of Four

  • J V

    congratulations! he is beautiful…very happy for you all

  • J V

    now that I watched the video I need to add that this is the cutest big sister video I have seen, it got me teary! a very precious memory 🙂

  • Maria

    cute baby, but you should listen that nurse that was telling you a correct advise, if you are breastfeeding you dont need any bottle milk, the body makes the milk that the baby needs, and the suction is a signal to the body to make more milk, a perfect machine, the baby is not gonna be hungry.

    • Yes, thank you, we understand the theory perfectly. Why don’t you wear some clothes pins on your nipples for eight hours after not sleeping for 60 hours, and THEN you can talk to me about perfect machinery.

      • Part of the reason I never want to post about my (future, nonexistent) children is a comment like this … so arrogant, so self righteous (Maria’s, I mean). People think they know you and your struggles, especially a mother’s, and it just drives me insane. I’m sure your wife knows what’s best and tries her best to do what’s best for her baby, but no matter what, some people will think she’s not doing well enough.

        Rant over … cute baby, cute big sister, happy family of four!

        • Maria

          sorry that you think that but i didnt want to be arrogant, i was telling you what i will want to hear when i was struggling with breastfeeding, is not just theory, but if you dont believe me you should call a la liga de la leche or other asociations that will give you free advice of experts.

          • My reaction was a bit emotional. I apologize.

            We are very well educated on breastfeeding; we understand the biological processes involved and are very much in favor of the practice…but each case is different. We starved my daughter when she was a few days old, to the point of her being unable to cry anymore, because the hospital insisted that she needed to learn breast feeding and that giving her artificial formula was bad for her. The hospitals are financially motivated to promote breastfeeding because of government subventions.

            Yes, breastfeeding is the ideal, but I’m putting my child’s health above ideology.

          • Maria

            well im surprised that your hospital prometed it, you are fortunate then because actually most hospital and nurses have no idea about breastfeeding, give bad advise, and promote formula since that is what interest the most to farmatologist companies that are the ones that educate them. Probably the next time you should prefer the advise of a real expert who will listen to your particular case.

          • maria

            porque me has puesto esa foto de una mujer desnuda? es disturbing, tranquilo que no dare mas mi opinion ni leere mas tu blog

          • I didn’t do that, you did. For some reason you entered “[email protected]” as your email address, and Disqus, the service I use for my blog comments, already had an image for that address. Beware of repeated x’s on the internet.

  • Chris P-T

    Congratulations Erik! We have our second coming in September!

  • Amaia

    Congratulations Erik and beautiful name

  • Just a few days before this, there was an letter – real or not- in The Guardian- which turned into a war on absolute for/against breastfeeding vs bottle. There are such extreme views, where personal experience has shown loads of babies in our very extended family who have thrived on pragmatic mixture of the two, as judged appropriate by the women of the family!

    I think the thing about Hospitals promoting formulas is a bit of a time-warp comment. Certainly, breastfeeding promotion was the norm with in hospitals and clinics where mine, and my friends kids were born, and that is 20-odd years ago.