Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Proud Parents

Time for some Momma/Dadda lovin'!

Joy wonders sometimes how he could have been inside her.

My Hyrum dances at the

Even if he still hasn't figured out how to breastfeed, he sure does love sucking on fingers. It quiets him something wonderful.

I always like any shot I get where Hyrum has the start of a smile on his face. Here's another one. (You may need to click on the picture to get it zoomed in to see it.)

Actually, fingers aren't the only things he's willing to chew on. Tonight he took a chunk out of my nose.

What was my nose doing there? Well ... dads do strange things when their babies yawn.

Silly little dreams come true

Joy is always fascinated to learn what unusual dreams/goals her husband has, which he only seems to tell her about after they happen (albeit, not usually in the third person). Today was the fulfillment of another little dream.

When I first came to Ithaca 6 years ago, I wondered if I would manage to get married, or even have a child while I was here. One of the symbols of that blessed turn of events was the changing table in the men's bathroom at church. I wanted to change my little child on that changing table before I left Ithaca. Every once in a while, when I felt low about my dating chances, I would talk to that changing table. Yes, out loud. No, no one else was there. And then when we got married, I still thought about it -- maybe someday, we'll have a kid, and I'll be able to change their diaper on you.

Today I did. It was also his first time being changed in public.

Joy comments to our son, busily sucking on her finger, "You have such a fun daddy. He talks to changing tables. The question is, will he still talk to the changing table, now that the dream came true, or is he done?"

Well, today I spoke to Hyrum, rather than the changing table. I think mostly I speaking to Hyrum in the future, rather than the table itself. It's nice when silly little dreams come true

Well Fed

Although we have not figured out nursing yet, I am so grateful that my baby is well fed and doing great. He is gaining weight as he should again and at this rate sometime next week he should be back to his birth weight. I am so thrilled.

Now that he is healthy again we are getting to know him better. He is much more content (especially right after eating :), and we are being able to spend happy quiet time with him as well as having some fussy time. He now sleeps 4 to 5 hours at a time and will have some hours of wakefulness inbetween. It is so nice to be able to let him sleep as long as he wants now that we don't have to wake him every couple hours to try and feed him. I like letting him figure out how to wake up by his little self.

Another fun thing, as Derrill mentioned in the last post is that he is more and more feeling comfortable about getting out of the fetal position. It is such a comfort and blessing to start to see signs of him feeling comfortable around us and trusting us to take care of all his little needs. That is one of the payoff of parenthood for me. I am so grateful that he is with us finally and that the first part is past :D

I love you all and I am sorry to family that we will be yet at least another two years far away for the post doc. We think of you much more often than we contact you and are hopeful for a day when we are not so distant.

Friday, March 28, 2008

An arm and a leg

Hyrum largely likes staying in his fetal position, with his fists tucked up to his face and his legs scrunched up to his body. Particularly when he does this wearing his green outfit, Joy likes to call him a frog.

But he's starting to move his hands and legs more now. The thing that impresses us is how deliberately he moves! Joy thinks it looks like he's conducting music.

And he dives into the crowd!

Asleep, but sticking his leg out and up. That was exciting in a way only parents of a newborn frog understand.

Hyrum, setting new records in baby singing. Here he is trying out Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries! (actually, yawning)

Hey! Who's three-piece suit does a guy gotta spit up on to get a little service around here?

Wow! He really IS the Light of the World!

We LOVE this outfit and are thankful he was born small enough to wear it his first Sunday at church on Easter. (slept right through it too)

The conductor takes a bow.

First intimations of a happy smile. Ahh, my son.

Oh, I'll tell you where to go...

... and what to research when you get there.

DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE! My personal job market is over. I have found a position that should be fulfilling, supportive, and set me on the road for the work I'd like to do in the future. What is it?

I'm going to be a postdoc for my adviser, Per Pinstrup-Andersen, for the next two years.

So where are we going? Nowhere!

... That doesn't sound right somehow. Anyway, we're here for the next while, and we're looking forward to it.

So I guess no one wins the poll since "nowhere" wasn't an option, but thanks for playing anyway. Join us next time in two years.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Welcome home, Baby-H

The pictures we've posted so far have been largely from his stay at the hospital. Here are some of the darling boy is in his natural habitat:

Hyrum watches his mother ... who was eating chocolate at the time.
"Hmm... how can I get me some of that?"

"Maybe if I do some tricks with my tongue I can get some chocolate."

"Seventy six trombones led the big parade!"

"The food goes in here, Dad. C'mon!"

"Hey, keep away from my bink! I'll deck ya!"

(Scenes deleted from Mike Tyson Punch Out)

It was a total knock out. A happy victorious baby.

Actually, even though Joy and I think he most often looks like her brothers, he kinda looks like me in this shot. How, we can't identify yet, but it's nice to think he gets more from me than his sneeze and his quivering chin. For the record, the baby Look-a-Like Meter has come up with 10% more like Joy and spot on, dead even between us, depending which picture of Joy we use.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gaining Weight

I haven't had the heart to write this post until now, since the emergencies with our baby appear to be over at present. It has been several days of real panic.

Sunday we found what we thought was blood in our babies diaper. Along with the fact that he just hadn't been eating enough to keep a bird alive this really was more than I could take and I wept much. We decided that we should give Hyrum a blessing and invited a neighbor, Michael, over to help Derrill give the priesthood blessing. We did receive some measure of comfort from the blessing. Derrill's mother suggested we call her brother Sherm who has worked in a Neo-natal unit and is a family practice doctor. When we called Sherm he said that the orange spots in his diaper where normal, called brick dust, and that they would go away (later we found out they are more normal for an infant that is dehydrated).

Sherm also talked to us about feeding our baby and suggested that we visit with a lactation consultant. He said that we needed to get 10 oz of milk into our baby a day. He also suggested that some things that would help me relax for trying to nurse and to use a warm cloth for 5 minutes before feedings. Additionally a good friend, Marcy suggested somethings that have been very helpful.

So armed with new advise, I was able to get Hyrum to nurse for 4 to 5 feedings before we saw the Pediatrician on Monday. I had been somewhat relieved by his starting to nurse. We set up a schedule and time for me to get done with feedings (so they wouldn't last 2 hours anymore).

Then we went to the Pediatrician and found out that Hyrum had lost at least 15% of his birth weight. A parent should be worried if the baby looses 10%. We discussed feeding options with the doctor and he suggested I see a lactation consultant also. I spoke to the lactation consultant on the phone and made an appointment to see her the next day.

PLAN: We would feed him mother milk from a syringe and pump 10 times a day, by Wednesday if he had not gained at least 2 oz then we would start to suppliment with formula, and if he hadn't gained any by Friday it would be the hospital and IV fluids for him. I was somewhat panicked and therefore fed him every two hours trying to get more than 10 feedings a day.

The visit with the lactation consultant went well and we rented a hospital type pump so that we could more efficiently extract mother's milk.

Wednesday we went in to see the doctor and happy day our baby had gained 7 oz in the two days that had past. I was so relieved! There is more to do, I still have the goal of breast feeding him, which is not happening at present. But I feel very happy with his health and that things are going in the right direction. Heavenly Father has been so good to us. I am so grateful for our sweet little one and have faith that things will continue to improve.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Back by popular demand

So I had the chance to count last night, and I took almost 130 pictures of or with Hyrum in the hospital. Here are some more of his different faces and memories.
When Hyrum was coming out, the doctor told me to get my camera ready. The doc didn't seem to understand that we didn't want any pictures of bloody naked baby. "Most dads would be clicking away by now," he said, severing the umbilical cord. No, I had my orders, my preferences, and the angry looks of more than half a dozen wives whose husbands had taken pictures they were uncomfortable with. So this was the very first picture of Hyrum. I'm considering learning how to photoshop so I can stick an apple in his grip. Doesn't it look like he's biting down on something?

This is Hyrum in his first outfit, about to come home. Looks like he's already figured out what the true purpose of clothing is: teething toy.

Hey, is that ... pizza I smell? Let me have some!
(One of Joy's favorite shots)

This was the expression on Joy's face when she first got a good look at her baby and hold him. Can I get a big chorus of cyber- awwwwws?

Here he is laying on daddy again. He really does seem to have a preference for keeping his bottom lip tucked in.... But it sure is nice to get shots with the corners of his lips turned up slightly. Tiny hints of the smile to come.

The hospital rooms had nice borders around them that them feel very cozy and homey. This was ours.

Hyrum tries to sing along, but doesn't know the words yet. But he has nice, rounded vowels (mostly waaaa) and great volume!

Happy Mommy.

"Good night, New York!" mmmwa!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Starring: Hyrum I

A quick word of explanation why this first video is so cool. Hyrum had not yet eaten at the hospital, and it was 48 hours since he was born. After another frustrating attempt of constant screaming, I went out to the nurse and asked her when they were going to rush in with an IV pack (only I didn't put it that way). She said it was borderline. So Joy and I had a difficult conversation, and with a new steel in her eyes that the nurses noticed, Joy began a battle campaign that lasted ALL NIGHT and into the morning until about 10am with Hyrum.

Finally, at long last, he nursed. This was the video of a happy, fed Hyrum for the first time. We were so thrilled and happy.

The second video is just cool because it was his first night on earth and he looks so adorable.

Baby Heroin

To briefly explain Joy's last couple posts: Hyrum does not like to feed. He has been a very hungry baby, and therefore a very unhappy baby when it's feeding time. VERY unhappy. Then one night, Joy came down with a solemn look on her face and asked if I had strong objections to giving him a pacifier. Well, no, I assume that all babies end up with one [though my mother tells me I didn't ever get one] and then you work on weaning them off that at a later time, but the peace it buys now is worth the deferred pain.

He LOVED it. He quieted down and baby-smiled at once.

When it fell out, I popped it back in because he started to cry. When he cried after having had it for only two minutes, I began to worry.

When it fell out the second time, I popped it back in and he put up one hand to keep it held in. I commented to Joy that I hadn't realized just how addictive binkies are. They're Baby Heroin! Joy of course already knew this and told me that was why she was so serious when she asked if I thought it was a good idea. Well.

When it fell out the third time, I stuck it in his hand and guided it into his mouth. He slapped both hands over it to hold it in. This being 2 in the morning, Joy and I doubled over laughing and I managed to get the picture before sleep overpowered him and it fell out again, without being noticed.

We were gratified in the next two days that he sometimes spat the bink out, and that he still liked our company and fingers even after discovering nirvana. The baby doc has since told us to ixnay the acifierpay to avoid ipplenay confusion [gotta watch the censors, who I hope don't mind mentioning heroin], and he hasn't minded.

We're really glad we did it because it strengthened his feeding reflex, and we feel it gave him some confidence. He has fed better since we gave it to him.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Ending

So this is not really an ending, having children doesn't end when once begun, but I was miserable this morning and there is a happy ending to the day. I feel that through the grace of God, answers to prayers, a blessing, and listening to advise of friends and family that I was able to do something right today. Today my baby actually nursed twice without crying for two hours before he would do so and nursed longer than any time in the last two days. I was so thrilled I could not explain it in words really. I was feeling like I was starving my baby, because he wasn't eating and not only was he refusing to eat, but he would scream for the whole two hours that I would try for every feeding. So though there will be many more opportunities to succeed and to fail, this was my piece of heaven for today.

He loves me, he loves me not

I was prepared for sleepless nights (thanks to Derrill's mom we have been getting some sleep), I was prepared for being a parent to be difficult. But I was not prepared for how hard it would be. I am so grateful for our little son, he is such a blessing - I still can't believe that he is the miracle that we have from God that came through my body.

I do hope that there is a day in the future that I feel that I have done something right, and that he likes me more than he doesn't.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Baby Showers!

The first one was about January 3rd, I think. Derrill had just left Santa Barbara for his job market conference, and I was still there with his parents. Derrill's home ward was very generous in giving us a baby shower. It was so fun! So many people came.

It was at Sister Houston's house, the same place we had our open house when we got married. Everyone was so nice and came. It was a great time. And I want to thank them again for the wonderful party and their generosity. There were 30-40 people there, and everyone said they were surprised at how many people, that they had never seen so many attend.

Derrill says this is just proof of how much everyone loves me, and since he's typing this on my behalf, he gets to interrupt.

I was overwhelmed by all the love. Below are some pictures that I recently received from that baby shower. We played "When will the baby drop" where you put a teeny toy baby in an ice cube and have people guess when the baby will fall out of his ice cube, and "Baby hidden objects" where you put a whole bunch of things that a baby might need or play with on a tray and people have to remember them after they are hidden from view.

My other shower was Feb 23, here in Ithaca. My friend Shari wanted to do the baby shower for me, and many kind people in the branch wanted to help out with it.

(D: Actually, Shari begged for the privilege before we were even pregnant, and then the other women jumped in because they really wanted to help too. Joy is so loved!) Derrill has been bragging on me....

So this one was fun too! And many of my friends came to this party. There's a picture of the beautiful Baby Cake that Jen made. We played "chocolate poo in the diapers" where you melt a candy bar in a diaper and have everyone guess from inspection and smell what candy bar it used to be, and "Which Watson?" meaning people guessed whether Derrill or Joy did ___________. People got to guess what Derrill and I were up to when we were kids. (D: We had enjoyed preparing that when Joy threw Shari's baby shower, so I was pretty excited to do that for ours.)

My favorite foods at both showers were quiche. There were baby quiches at the first shower (D: Made with real baby! Accept no substitutes.) and *smack Derrill playfully* a large, homemade quiche at the second one.

Another moment of economic zen

I don't typically turn to politicians for outstanding discussions of important economic principles. As a profession, they tend to be tied with journalists for the worst scores on economics tests administered to professionals... a very frightening statistic when I get down to it. But Prof. Craighead of Miami University -- one of my erstwhile potential employers -- posted this clip from a Robert Kennedy speech in 1968, and I thought it really explained the limitations of "scoring" nations according to GDP accounting. So I thought I'd share it while Hyrum sleeps:

The thing I remember most my professors mentioning that isn't included in GDP but ought to be is time mothering. It's a major work (as we are rapidly discovering on a whole new level), and it's very difficult to impute the worth of a mother in terms of toasters, movie tickets, and haircuts. The typical proposal for 'how we might-could do such a thing' (as the Utahns might put it) is to figure out how much a family would have to pay an outsider for similar services: the cooking, the cleaning, the day care, and so on. This goes along with a discussion we had recently at the Friday Forum, and from a familiar article written by an honest feminist, that we'd all really like to have a wife.

But this misses the magnificent point that was made at the LDS Church's recent Worldwide Leadership Training meeting, to which all members were invited. They mentioned a need to separate our concepts of 'home-making' from 'house-keeping.' House-keeping, they said, can be delegated to someone else. Home-making cannot. What makes a house a home is a divine work that cannot be abrogated or done in absentia, and as the more important work, is the part that's hardest to put into any calculation of GDP.

So here's to my wife and my mother, and their noble callings, sacrifices, and divine natures.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Too many baby pictures?

Too many baby pictures? What's that mean?
It's like too much money, there's no such thing....

Joy is impressed at Derrill's ability to bond with Hyrum while still getting his work done. Hyrum happily napped in daddy's lap for over 2 hours.

This was Joy, just about to go into battle. Thirty minutes ago the doctor said Hyrum would need to be hand- delivered to her, and this is her go-to attitude. Within 2 minutes, they wheeled her out to produce another miracle.

I'm proposing a contest to come up with the best caption for this one. He was laying on Daddy at the time, who got a little camera-happy with the close-ups.

As a kid, Derrill's favorite toy was named Sheep. This is Sheep's younger brother, Lamb, come in to check up on the progeny.

Hyrum ponders deep thoughts:

What is the meaning of life?

How can free will coexist with the fore- knowledge of God?

Why does Dad need to take so many pictures? You'd think he'd never seen a baby before!

Word up, Yo. Welcome to my crib.

The end of a busy night. Time for some shut eye.