Aug 31, 2009

Bath time

We spent a long, exhausting day at D's school today, getting everything ready for the sub, making sure her room was arranged appropriately, and meeting with the newspaper editors. I didn't get enough sleep last night, so I was zonked by the middle of the day. I managed to take a little nap on the couch in the journalism classroom, with Kate hanging out on my chest. It was a nice nap, but it's still been a long's been really hot and we can't seem to cool down the house without blasting the air conditioner. It was all worth it, though....D got a lot accomplished, and it was our longest outing since Kate was born.

Since her umbilical cord is gone, we can theoretically give Kate a bath now, but it's still a little raw in her bellybutton. So, we gave her another sponge bath tonight, though we did use our baby bathtub (to hold her) this time. Here is the little Yoda outfit (a towel with a head covering in the corner) that she wore after the bath.

We've got more visitors coming into town tomorrow (until Sunday) and I'll also be working, so I don't know what my blog volume will be like this week. I'll keep trying to take pictures and post when I have time.


Not much to report, and I'm headed to bed. I'll leave you with a couple of cute pictures.

Aug 30, 2009

Still here

Sorry it's been a couple of days since my last post. There hasn't been a whole lot to talk about, and I updated the photo site yesterday, but I know not everyone checks that right away.

I guess the biggest news (if you can call it that) of the last few days is that her umbilical cord fell off on Friday morning. It was a pretty gross stump to begin with, and its appearance wasn't improved by falling off. I think we'll save it, but it won't be a keepsake we pull out to share with family and friends.

When she's not nursing, sometimes she gets a little upset and needs to be pacified. We're not giving her pacifiers yet, so we've been using our (clean) fingers. She enjoys it, but it makes her look a little like a monchichi.

Since we don't really have anywhere to go - and because we've been getting up so darn early - we've been relaxing in bed in the morning. She likes laying with us and on us.

This isn't a great facial expression, but it's a cute outfit.

We've been trying to get out of the house occasionally to keep sane. We've managed to run by a few stores and get lunch in the last couple of days, though our outings are currently limited to three hours.

My paternity leave officially ends tomorrow, but there are still a few things I need to help out with before I go back full time. Tomorrow we're stopping by D's school to meet with her long-term substitute, and then more family is coming into town on Tuesday.

Aug 28, 2009

Nothing to see here

Not much to report today. We ran a few errands and had lunch while we were out....apparently if you're looking to avoid a crowd, there's no one in El Torito at 3:30 in the afternoon on a Thursday. This was only our second day without visitors, so we kept it pretty mellow.

Here's Kate sleeping on me for a couple of hours this morning.

And here she is ready for her "bath." I'm looking forward to the day when her umbilical cord falls off and we can give her a real washing.

Aug 27, 2009

Another complaint

I've resigned myself to the fact that by the end of Kate's toddlerhood, every piece of fabric she owns will have some sort of poop/urine/vomit stain.  But does it have to happen the very first time we pull out a new, beautiful blanket/sheet/outfit?

Aug 26, 2009


Today was pretty calm. Kate's being pretty demanding still, mostly of attention and food, but we have been able to meet her needs so far. We'll probably try to get out (somewhere) tomorrow, so we can avoid going stir crazy. For pictures of our relaxation, check the usual site. Here are a few:

When she wasn't eating, she spent a lot of time on my lap and chest.

Here's an extreme close-up. She's starting to look a little bit like Mr. Peepers.

Can you see where she gets her feet?

If I could only sleep while she's on me, we'd both be in luck!

Aug 25, 2009

The Many Faces of Kate

The pediatrician's appointment went great this morning. Kate needed to gain four ounces in four ounce per day is about the most you can expect from a newborn. Fortunately, her voracious appetite during the last few days has paid off, and she gained six ounces. Her clogged tear duct is completely better, and she got a clean bill of health. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean she's not incredibly frustrating at times, like when she wakes D up every hour and a half to nurse. It will help with her weight in the long run, but it's too frequent to be sustainable. We'll see what we can do during the next few days.

I've posted some nice pictures from the last two days in the usual place, plus a special set of pictures I like to call "The Many Faces of Kate." There are eight pictures all taken within a couple of minutes, demonstrating just a few of the many expressions Kate can bust out at a moment's notice. I've posted a few of the strangest here, just so you aren't overwhelmed by nonstop cuteness.

Kate's Kung Fu Face (those hands were fast as lightning)

Did she just swallow a whole lemon?

Kate doing her best Peter Griffin impersonation

I think this is my favorite of the bunch....I want to blow it up to mural size and put it on a wall.

Aug 24, 2009

One Week!

Today Kate turned one week old. It was also our first full day at home alone, with no visitors of any kind. We took it easy, went for a short walk around the neighborhood, took a nap (D) and played a little Wii (me). It was very relaxing and enjoyable. Now, however, I'm as tired as Willow looks in this picture....she was drifting off, but trying to stay awake to hear the baby. So, I'm headed to bed and taking Kate with me.

I'll post more Kate pictures tomorrow, and let everyone know how her pediatrician appointment goes. Happy Tuesday!

The word of the day is "Change"

I've found that with a six day old baby, the only constant is change. It seems like every day, we have to deal with a whole new set of challenges. Something that I took for granted one day is no longer true the next, while totally new behaviors and attitudes come up hour by hour.

Her first night home was terrible, the second was great, the third was incredibly tiring, etc, etc. On Saturday morning, we were incredibly frustrated by Kate's lack of success with feedings. We were supplementing (which involves formula, a syringe, a tiny feeding tube, and a lot of patience), we were attempting to feed naturally, and we were less-than-successful at both. She would try to sleep through feedings, then fuss when we tried to put her down to sleep. She'd cry and scream while trying to latch on, but then fall asleep as soon as she was comfortable.

Some time that morning, we ended an hour-and-a-half feeding attempt with a finger feed, which just injects some milk into her mouth while she's sucking on our finger, and decided to call the lactation consultant on Monday. We had talked to several, including a nurse at the hospital, the pediatrician, and my aunt who is a nurse. They all had great advice, but we needed some hands-on assistance to find out what we were doing wrong.

Later, on Saturday afternoon, I walked into the room where D was nursing, and Kate was in-place and surprisingly non-fussy. Not only did she calm down, but she stayed on for a long time. We both worried that it was a one-time thing and that she'd be back to difficult by the next feeding, but she kept it up. Ever since, we haven't had to supplement at all, and she's been (relatively) easy to get going. On the contrary, she wanted to feed every two hours for almost a day afterward. She still falls asleep before she's finished sometimes, but she's interested again later.

This breakthrough (isn't our little girl smart?) has been great for me, because I was in charge of the supplemental bottles/syringes/tubing/refrigeration/washing/etc. D has been fantastic about feeding Kate whenever she needs it, and my responsibilities have been reduced to burping, changing, swaddling, and kissing Kate's little forehead whenever she wants it. We think (hope) that she's gaining the weight she needs for a good report on Tuesday.

Some other tidbits:
  • Kate learned (momentarily) how to suck her thumb. While in a particularly hungry state, her hand accidentally found its way into her mouth, and she went nuts. Her thumb is a little too small to get a good grip, so she was slobbering all over herself as she tried to was quite noisy.
  • She doesn't like to be put down (in a bassinet, cradle, or Pack & Play) unless she's perfectly swaddled. Otherwise, she complains until one of us picks her up and holds her, which is usually pretty soothing. They say you can't spoil a newborn, but it sure feels like she's getting there. It's a good thing she's incredibly cute.
  • Willow has gotten a lot better with Kate. We tried having her upstairs with us on Friday night, but she freaked out every time Kate started to cry. The combination of a howling dog and an already-stressful feeding was not conducive to sleep or successful nursing. D's mom slept with her downstairs (all week), but we had no choice on Saturday. Fortunately, she was great....she slept on her bed most of the night and left us in peace, then came up to sleep with us in the morning.
Here's your Kate picture fix for the day:

She definitely likes her arms up by her face.

Cute even when she's sleeping.

Here's proof of the thumb-sucking.


She was awake and attentive for quite a while today.

Aug 23, 2009

I Love "The Snug"

I mentioned a couple of days ago that swaddling was going to be key to keeping Kate happy.  This has definitely been the case, as she tends to squirm when placed un-swaddled into her bassinet or Pack & Play, where she's a tiny pebble in a sea of green or yellow.  D got a book called Baby-Gami from a teacher at her school, and it has 96 pages of detailed wraps, slings, and soothing techniques.  While it's a bit of overkill to have as many baby wraps as their are nautical knots (who needs more than two or three?), Baby-Gami has provided several hours of peace in the last few days.  While there is an official wrap called "The Swaddle,"  I've been using "The Snug."  I managed to get it right the first time I tried, and it hasn't failed me yet.

Aug 22, 2009

Today was an awesome day

Every day since Kate was born has been amazing, simply because of her existence, but today was particularly nice. We got lots of quality time (her "awake alert" stage), I got some great pictures, we had our first outing (a completely person-free patio experience at a local restaurant), and we had a nursing breakthrough (knock on wood). We also had yet-another yummy dinner and D and I got to spend some quality time with each other.

As always, more pictures have been posted to the photo are just a few.

First, Kate chilling in her bassinet this morning. As we were getting ready, we let her hang out and rest.

Next, a pic from our outing. The way she was all bundled up (and never left her car seat), it was like we never left home.

This is my new favorite picture. Isn't it great? She makes these smile-like faces all the time, and though I know it's not a true smile, it sure looks perfect in pictures.

And, a picture with Daddy. She's winking at you because of her clogged tear duct; it's getting much better and we're just waiting for the swelling/bruising to go away.

If our recent success in feeding continues, I'll post more about that later. I've also got another fun poopy-diaper story. Isn't it odd how blog topics change when a new baby enters our lives?


Who ever would have thought that someone would be so excited to change a huge, stinky, ugly green-yellow-brown poopy diaper?  I certainly never expected to, but when you're just minutes away from calling the pediatrician about your five-day-old infant's constipation, it tends to change your perspective on a few things.  I was happy to change her diaper....I was even happier to see how much better she felt afterward.  With one pantload of disgusting poopy goodness, she was cured of the constipation, a little crankiness, and a stubborn case of hiccups.

Sorry for the blog silence yesterday, but the crazy sleeping pattern was catching up with still is.  The second night at home was 10x better than the first night.  We started to get into a routine and everyone (Kate) was cooperating.  Last night was a little more frustrating, but we're still on a pretty good schedule.  Unfortunately, it feels like every time I close my eyes to go to sleep, I immediately get woken up by feeding's like my head barely hits the pillow.  D's been an incredible trouper.  She obviously has far more responsibility (and less sleep) than I, but she's managed to do it without complaint and make me look like a sissy.

Yesterday was our first non-hospital pediatrician visit.  Kate's in the 90th percentile for height and the 64th percentile for weight.  She's lost a good amount of weight since she was born (14 ounces), so we spent a while talking about getting her eating more.  We're still supplementing with formula and trying to perfect the "other" techniques....but I promise this blog won't turn into a La Leche League tutorial.  We have another visit on Tuesday.  The pediatrician says that if Kate has gained four ounces by then, we get to take her home; if she hasn't gained the weight, the pediatrician will take her home.  As you might assume, we're hoping she gains the weight.

Before we went into the pediatrician's office, we noticed that Kate had a bit of a bruise on her left eye.  It had been a little swollen since birth (you try squeezing out of a person without any side effects!), but it looked like she may have hit herself in the eye and made it worse.  As we were in the office waiting for the doctor, we looked down at Kate and there was disgusting yellow gunk squeezing out of her closed eye.  I felt like a terrible we were going to get caught neglecting her obvious sickness and have her immediately confiscated. Fortunately, the doctor quickly diagnosed it as a clogged tear duct, very common and not serious in any way.  We got some instructions for cleaning and massaging the area, but nothing more serious is necessary.  However, that's one reason why I didn't end up taking any pictures yesterday.  It looks like she got into a bar brawl with some miniature street toughs.

As the clock quickly counts toward her next feeding (in 20 minutes), I should probably wrap this up.  Today Kate will be making her first public appearance at a local eatery.  We're going someplace we can sit outside and avoid the crowds, and we're going a little after the lunch rush to minimize the number of other people in the restaurant.  Yesterday D and I each got a bit of time away from the house...D and her mom went to Babies 'R' Us for some we-didn't-know-we-would-need-this-until-the-baby-arrived-but-now-we-need-it-immediately items, and I ran my mom to the train station to head home.  It's nice having grandmas around to help out with Kate, food, and just about everything else.

Let me finish by saying that I still have the world's coolest baby (no offense), and that every moment with her is treasured.  She still doesn't cry unless there's actually something wrong, she's cute as a button, and she's incredibly expressive and interesting even when asleep (for a baby).  Lucky us!

Aug 21, 2009

Suggestion Box

I'd like to file a complaint with the Powers that Be.  If a feeding session starts at 6:00pm but happens to take a while (until 7:30) due to various circumstances beyond our control, the next three-hours-apart feeding should begin at 10:30, not at 9pm.  Unfortunately, that's not the way it works.  Boo.

Aug 20, 2009

Our Happy Family

I only took a few pictures today, and I don't have any major updates. We're doing pretty well on the learning curve...each task is getting a little bit easier each time we do it. We'll see how tonight goes.

We introduced Willow to Kate for the first time today, though it was mostly just a sniff. Willow got a little bit frantic when she realized there was a new human in the that cries and poops unexpectedly. We want to make sure she doesn't feel left out, but we also want to make sure she's appropriately gentle with the baby (not that they get to play together any time soon). In this picture, you can see Willow very pointedly not looking at the baby, because we weren't letting her get too close. Her tail was wagging, though, and she was very excited to be so near to this new bundle of excitement in the house.

Did I Say Mellow?

We came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon, and we're getting settled in. The first order of business was to forget everything we've learned about Kate since Monday and figure out how to deal with New Kate. The second item on the agenda was moving every piece of baby paraphernalia (diapers, changing table, bassinet, mobile, blankets) from it's perfectly thought-out and planned location to the spot where we now realize it actually needs to go. This is the kind of on-the-job training that only having a baby in-house can really provide.

Last night was Opposite Night. When we wanted her to be awake and eating, she was fast asleep. When we wanted her to sleep and give us some rest time, she was fidgeting in her bassinet and crying up a storm. She has definitely found her voice. For the most part, she was happy....but only if we were holding her in our arms. A good swaddling definitely helped, but I am at best a beginner swaddler at the moment....I'll be practicing quite a bit in the next few days. She's still incredibly cute, but I'm also pretty exhausted. We're still supplementing her milk with formula, so every meal time has a bunch of extra gear associated with it. I made more trips up and down the stairs last night than I have since we moved in last year.  Fortunately, two of Kate's grandmas (Yia-Yia and Grandma) are here to help, so we had a lovely dinner and a nice relaxing evening last night.  I even got to take a nap!

I posted more pictures on the photo are a few teasers. I don't have as many as I'd like....she was in the isolette under the lights in the morning, and I was busy dealing with a take-home baby in the afternoon. Her jaundice had cleared up enough by morning to be discharged, and we'll have another checkup tomorrow morning to see how she's progressing (with her weight, jaundice, and other stuff).

Here's Baby Kate's first non-hospital outfit.

She didn't like the outfit or the car seat.

But she was just fine once we got her into the car.

She didn't like her beds much, either (pre-swaddle).

Aug 19, 2009

Up and Down

Well, she couldn't be completely perfect. :)

I'll keep this short, because I need to get some sleep and the hospital wireless network is somewhat temperamental. Kate had a great day, with lots of visitors and some solid nap time. On the plus side, she had her first couple of successful feedings, and showed herself to be interested and capable. On the down side, she's currently looking for more milk than can be provided, so we're having to supplement a bit with formula. She also had a test for jaundice that came back less than perfect (8.0 is "too high" and she got an 8.1). To make sure she'll be ready to come home with us tomorrow afternoon, they decided to provide light therapy tonight, which involves an enclosed crib with a bright light. She doesn't seem to mind, and we'll see how she's doing in the morning. This is very common and nothing to worry about.....her pediatrician pronounced her "terribly healthy" this morning.

I've uploaded some more pictures to the photo site, so go there for a pictorial update. I've also got some great videos, but I'll wait until we're home before I post those. Here are a few:

She had some great periods of attentiveness, where she laid there and watched what was going on.

At other times, she got upset, but still only for a few seconds at a time. She's really mellow and quiet for the most part. I tried to get a picture every time she got upset, but I only got two shots....most of the time I couldn't get my camera out in time.

Here's when she was starting to look a little yellow.

And here's Kate's first tanning salon experience.

I have no idea what our schedule will be tomorrow, so be patient in case I can't post until late.

Aug 18, 2009

Picture time

Well, it's only been 14 hours since Kate was born, she's barely done anything but sleep, and it already feels like a long day. D and Kate both need some assistance (at least for the first day), and we have to get up every three hours to try to get Kate to eat. Though labor took a while, she came out pretty quickly once D started to push....maybe 10 minutes. That didn't really provide Kate enough time "in the wringer," and she still has a lot of amniotic fluid in her stomach. Until she gets it all out, she's a little hesitant to eat, so last night was filled with every-three-hour spit-up sessions instead of feeding sessions. Once it's all cleared out, she should be much happier and ready to eat.

We had the nursery take her for a few hours last night, so that we could sleep without having to worry about her choking on spit-up....she never appeared to be in distress, but better safe than sorry. This morning we got up and spent a little time with her during her second period of alertness. She's already got a lot of personality, but she's extremely mellow. She doesn't cry very much at all (yet) and she seems pretty amenable to anything we need to do with her (diaper changes, re-swaddling, even her vaccine shot).

All the pictures are on a Picasa album here, but I'll post a few.

Here's a good full-body shot. You can see that she's a lot bigger than she looks when she's all wrapped up.

She definitely has my feet. They're huge, and she kept her toes spread the whole time.

She's mellow, but she likes this frowny face.....she was fast asleep, but her face still has a lot of personality.

She's my little burrito!

Aug 17, 2009

First pictures

First shot of Mommy and Kate.

This is supposed to be the "misbehaving" picture, but I don't have anything to complain about. She's been very mellow since she was born, and hasn't cried for more than ten seconds in a row.

Right now she's wrapped up like a burrito on the bassinet, waiting to head to the room we'll stay in tonight. More pics later (probably).

Kate Michelle Ryan

Kate Michelle Ryan was born at 5:09pm on August 17, 2009.  She weighs 9 pounds and is 21 inches long.
She's healthy, happy, and currently snuggling in her mommy's arms.
I'll be posting pictures shortly....but before I do, I thought I would put this offer out there.

Happy baby to us!

Still progressing

No news yet, but everything is going as planned.  Probably no more posting until the birth announcement.

And so it begins

We woke up early this morning and were ready to leave the house by 6:15. We were headed to the hospital to induce delivery, but we were stopped in our tracks by a call from the hospital. They pushed us back a few hours, but we eventually made it in.

We're now at the hospital and the process has started. D was hooked up to an IV (on their fourth try) and got an epidural (after some painful searching with the needle). She's on pitocin (to start the contractions) and her water is broken, but it will still probably be a while before anything happens. D is as comfortable as one would expect, watching HGTV and waiting for this little girl to start heading out.

Updates will follow as time permits.

Aug 12, 2009

Not yet

Everything is baby yet. Our Monday appointment went well, but the baby seems to be comfortable in her little jacuzzi and in no hurry to make an appearance. Until then, we're continuing as we have been the last few weeks:
  • movies (GI Joe, Julie & Julia)
  • last minute shopping (mostly baby stuff)
  • packing bags for the hospital
  • installing a car seat base
  • other stuff
The "other stuff" includes a concert we went to on Monday. I won tickets to a private radio station concert with Ingrid Michaelson, which was held at an outdoor lounge at a Del Mar hotel. She's an up-and-coming singer/songwriter that is probably best known for having one of her songs in an Old Navy commercial. "If you are chilly, here take my sweater....'cause I-I-I looove the way you call me baby, and yooooou take me the way I am."

The venue was awesome, with perfect weather and a very relaxing atmosphere.

We got to sit back on some comfortable couches, eat some free finger foods, and listen to awesome music.

As you may have noticed, I get some pretty cool stuff from radio station contests. In the last week, I've won tickets to Julie & Julia, a free On-Demand movie, a pizza, a T-shirt, the concert discussed above, and tickets to a Flaming Lips concert. Nothing too exciting, but it makes for some fun leisure activities. I'm also happy to report that our circus tickets and clown experience were used and enjoyed.

We're ready and anxious for the baby, and I know you all are too. I probably won't be doing daily updates, but I'll make sure to post all the info after the birth. Woohoo!

Aug 7, 2009

Short Shrift

I wanted to get something written before the weekend, because Saturday is always the slowest day for blog traffic. I don't want to disappoint any loyal readers, but I don't have a lot to say about our day-to-day lives. We've been staying close to home and trying to keep D comfortable, counteracting restless sleep with yummy ice cream. I'm still working, but I'm trying not to travel more than an hour from home, so I'll be around in case the baby comes quickly. As it is, we have a pretty long drive to the much as an hour in I'd rather be nearby.

Some time in the next three weeks (but likely less than two), this blog will be transformed into the Baby Girl Ryan show.....believe it or not, we still don't have a name finalized, and we wouldn't tell you if we did. As soon as she comes, you'll get a name and lots (and lots (and lots)) of pictures. I hope you're ready for videos of a baby sleeping, because I can guarantee there will be some of those as well. And, since most babies look alike anyway (or are funny-looking), you can pretty much just search YouTube for sleeping baby and get your fill now.

Anyway, once she takes over, most other topics will likely be given short shrift. So, I thought I'd give them a shout-out before our world is consumed by diapers and crying.

First, Willow. I know she gets plenty of attention, both from us and on the blog, but she's also the only thing moving in this house besides us and the ceiling fan. She has continued to adapt to her blindness, and is doing pretty well with navigation. She doesn't run into things until she gets excited and stops paying attention to where she's going....unfortunately, that's probably about twice a day. There have been some headlong runs into walls or furniture that have made me cringe in sympathy. She's still a little frantic about food, and she seems to be more concerned when we leave the house than she used to be, but for the most part she's doing well.

It's been a while since Andrew's gotten a shout-out. While looking for an email earlier this evening, I came across one with a link to a blog post I wrote almost two years ago. It was from after we had spoken with the doctors and had a frank discussion about his long-term chances, a few days before we made some difficult decisions. It brought up a lot of emotion, but none of it had to do with how we were feeling at the time. I didn't feel sorry for us at all, because at least we got to be there with him. Instead, I just miss him profoundly.

We met with our potential pediatrician on Tuesday, and we mentioned to her what had happened with our first child. She suggested that while we should certainly remember him and mourn him, we should also make sure to close that chapter and start a new one for the new baby. She doesn't want us drawing comparisons, or feeling like the new baby is a replacement, or worrying overmuch about health issues just because we had bad luck in the past. While that was always our plan, she helped reinforce it for us. It's all part of our story, but that was definitely a different chapter. So, this is a chance to pour one for my little homie and move on.

This last picture signifies a couple of things for me. First, travel. I don't see us going much further than a two hour drive in the next several months. Fortunately, we took great advantage of our long status as DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) and have done more traveling than many people do in a lifetime. I want our kids to grow up loving travel as much as we do, so I'm sure we'll have many new adventures in the years to come, but that's a little difficult with a newborn. Besides, she won't remember it anyway....isn't childhood amnesia weird?

The second thing this picture represents is tranquility. Our stay in Hawaii in December 2007, just after we lost Andrew, was our most peaceful vacation ever. We still participated in some activities like snorkeling with manta rays and dolphins, but we also appreciated the Zen feel at the resort. We're a little too anxious at the moment to be completely calm, but we know the baby will shatter any remaining serenity that exists in our lives, at least temporarily. We know she'll cry, and keep us up, and vomit, and make messes, and be more work than we ever thought a little baby could be....but I guarantee it will be worth every minute. We welcome the challenge, and can't wait to see her!