Thursday, January 31, 2008

Breastmilk coma movie

This morning, Owen had some breastmilk and we caught a little bit of his post-feeding coma on video. It's 1 minute long, with 2 smiles, a frown, and tongue-sticking-out incident. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Walking tours of Boulder

Owen has become a big fan of walks. Well, that is to say, he is a big fan of sleeping in his stroller while mommy and daddy do all the walking.

He likes to walk when it's cold (as long as he's well-bundled)...

And he likes to go on walks when it's nice and sunny (it was 60 degrees on this day! Can you believe it's still January?!).

Adventures in Breastfeeding

Despite his early and eventful entrance into this world, Owen is definitely a laid-back little man. Especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Like his dad, Owen likes to savor his food.

In the hospital, after he was born, the lactation consultants described Owen as a "lazy eater". He likes to fall asleep while he's on the breast. The lactation consultants showed us how to jostle him awake during feedings but sometimes it just didn't work. At two and a half weeks of age (on 1/18), after his bout with jaundice, Owen still hadn't returned to his birth weight. This shocked Sean and I who thought, because Owen spent so long on the boobs, that he was gaining lots of weight! Owen's doctor told us to supplement Owen's diet with pumped breast milk and some formula. And to make sure he is REALLY awake before letting him breastfeed. So the routine has become: breastfeeding for 30-40 minutes, Sean burps while I pump the remainder of the milk, then Sean feeds him the pumped breast milk. Then, if he is still hungry, we give him some formula. After three days of this routine, on 1/21, Owen had returned to his birth weight (7bs, 4oz). After a week, on 1/28, Owen weighed a WHOPPING 8lbs 2 ounces!! The doctor is really excited that he is gaining weight and we are too. It also makes up for the fact that we spend over an hour at each feeding - even at 3am. He is a hungry little man these days as evidenced by his chubby cheeks and belly. Plus, since his belly is satiated, he is in a much more alert and happy mood (except when he has gas and then he grunts until it all comes out).


Sunday, January 27, 2008


A very nice thing has been happening to Owen's mouth the last few days or so. At certain times, he smiles! Sometimes it's just half of his mouth that smiles while the other half doesn't know what's happening -- this happens on either side. Sometimes, it looks like he is going for a big smile but it turns into a frowny cry-ey face. And once in a while, the big smile comes out, and it is the greatest thing in the world (and you know I don't say things like that lightly).

Last Friday (1/25) marked the best smile to date. Marisa was bopping Owen around on her legs, and he was making a few little smiles here and there. I came over and sat next to Marisa and made a face at the little guy. In response, he stared at me, and then smiled really big right at me. Over the next 30 seconds, he kept smiling at me, but the smile changed 3 or 4 times, from an open-faced honker to a tight-lipped grinny grin. I was overcome by one of the sweetest feelings I've ever had. I was smitten! That smile made me feel even more attached to him, and it was all I could think about all day.

Since then, Owen has smiled in response to me a few more times, but just for a second or two. Marisa hasn't been so lucky yet. Her theory is that in caveman days the dad might not stick around with the baby too long, and that the baby smiles first at the dad to make him more attached (and therefore to continue bringing home wooly mammoth meat).

Most of his smiles come during REM sleep, when he tries on all of his expressions. He will frown, smile, practice sucking, be shocked, snarl, etc, in succession with his eyes closed.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A picture is worth 1000 words

Monday, January 21, 2008

My favorite photo

This is my (Marisa's) favorite photo of Owen and Sean that we have taken so far. I took it at around 1am on 1/18. My sleeping boys...

Two Owens in the Family

Hi everyone,

Sean here. When I told my family that the baby's name was Owen, my mom mentioned that her grandfather, Tim O'Connor, had a nephew named Eoin (Owen, written in the Irish way). They lived on the Blasket Islands, located off the Dingle Peninsula on the west coast of Ireland. Eoin was born in 1913 on the Great Blasket, and my mom doesn't know if he is still alive. He is my mom's mom's cousin, which I think would make him Owen's cousin thrice removed.

Note from Marisa-- I'm a visual learner so I drew out a quick diagram to show the connection:

The Blasket islands aren't inhabited anymore -- they were evacuated in 1953 -- but you can still visit them by boat, as Alex and I did together in 1999. We also have some relatives who own the only pub (Krugers) in the town on Dunquin, on the mainland just across from the Blaskets. Dunquin is actually the westernmost town in Europe.

Here is a picture my mom found of Eoin:

And, here is a picture of Owen that I just took using my fancy mac built-in camera (asleep on his mom):

It's difficult to look for family resemblance at this point. Maybe to compare we should find a donkey to take Owen's picture with....


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cute photo from yesterday

Here is a super cute photo of Owen from yesterday (Jan 16). Half baby, half 80 year-old monkey!

Also, there are more new photos on our picasa photo album:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sean's account of the delivery

Hi readers,

Sean here. In this post I will give the details of the birth of Owen, as I remember them. Certain things may be a little gory or slimy so beware if you are squeamish!

Our story starts on Saturday Dec 29, my mom's 60th birthday (happy birthday!). Marisa and I watched the Patriots game from my parents' house in Boulder (go Pats!), while my parents, brother and his wife and mother in law were up in the mountains. I won't go into details but Marisa had some mild bleeding that we learned is a common precursor to labor, usually signaling that labor will start within 48 hours (but it can take weeks). We were excited: the baby might be coming soon!

More of the same on Sunday. On Monday, we putzed around: ran a few errands, went to the gym, and then came home to make a pizza. It was a delicious pizza, which we ate around 3 pm. Marisa noticed something awry: she was "leaking". She wasn't sure if it was amniotic fluid or pee, given the huge pressure the baby was putting on her bladder (no comment). Being a master of caution, I persuaded her to call the doc, who said to come in to get checked out. Marisa was *sure* that it was a false alarm and it took extreme persuasion for me to convince her that we should take our newly-packed labor bags with us, just in case. The bags contained practical things for labor like a massage tool, some music, a change of clothes, as well as clothes and supplies for the day or two afterwards.

4 pm, in the doctor's office. The verdict: Marisa is leaking amniotic fluid, meaning that her membranes have ruptured. The doc (Doctor Plotnick, who knows the doctor who delivered Marisa at Mt Sinai hospital in NYC) says to stick around because they are going to have to induce her. However, Marisa is only 1 cm dilated (need to get to 10 for the baby's head to fit through). Holy crap! Sean is proud to have embodied the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. Boom!

5pm, in the delivery room. Time to call the parents! The main highway to the mountains, I-70, was closed for more than 24 hours. Luckily it has re-opened and the cavalry heads down toward the hospital. Meanwhile, Marisa's parents are already scheduled to arrive the next day for a 2 week stay.

5:30 or 6 pm. The induction is started. The nurse starts giving Marisa pytocin, which mimics the natural labor hormone oxytocin. To calm her, there is music playing. Contractions start: they are pretty far apart but are getting Marisa in her back ("back labor", one of the ouchiest kinds I am told). From what I've heard, back labor is usually caused by the baby being rotated in a slightly unusual way, which will be important later on during the pushing. Marisa is dealing with the pain well at first, using the breathing techniques we learned in childbirthing class. I am doing my best to keep her calm, by massaging her and telling her she is doing great. The contractions get a bit more intense and Marisa is hurting. We try different positions to help with the pain. Our nurse, Noni, is super helpful and draws Marisa a bath, which is supposed to be the magic cure for labor pain. But it's not working -- the contraction are every 3 minutes or so and Marisa is in massive pain.

8 pm or so. Time to call for the anesthesiologist -- he comes in and puts in an "epidural". What is an epidural, you ask? It is an IV that goes into Marisa's back, outside the spinal column, and delivers a combination of numbing and pain relieving medicine. The reason to use an epidural instead of a simple shot of pain medicine is that the baby is still connected. A shot in the arm would be injecting narcotic into the baby as well. However, an epidural is delivered closer to the mom's nervous system and therefore the baby receives almost none of the medicine. Good stuff.

8:30 pm. The cavalry arrives, down from the mountains, having canceled their New Year's Eve plans. There are five of them: my mom and dad, brother, his wife and her mother. They are excited to wait for the baby, champagne in hand!

9 pm. Back in the delivery room, things are scary. The baby's heartbeat is slowing down, which is apparently common after an epidural goes in but really scary for the dad. Two extra nurses rush in and maneuver Marisa into weird positions. When she gets onto her hands and knees, the baby's heart picks back up and things calm down, although my heart beat through my chest for a while after! They also put an internal monitor on the baby, which is a wire inserted up into Marisa and literally screwed into the baby's head (not very far, don't worry). This is one more scary thing for me.... oof!

9:30 pm. Dinner time! Alex and Laura picked up Wendy's and I joined them for a burger and some ice tea.

Back in the delivery room, Marisa is now 5 cm dilated. She is in great spirits, with her legs feeling kind of numb because of the epidural, but the induction medicine still going. Noni tells us that it usually takes about an hour for each extra cm of dilation, so it looks to be a long night -- at this rate she should be fully dilated at about 2 or 3 am. This was a fun time. We relaxed, watched part of Dodgeball, and talked. I took the last photo of Marisa pregnant:

11:30 pm. Noni informs us that Marisa is fully dilated, 3 hours ahead of schedule! (holy crap again!) At about 11:40, Marisa starts pushing. The doc pokes his head in and says that he hopes we have the first baby of the year at 12:01 (we won't see him again for 3 hours). Most women need around 1 hour to push the baby out, and it rarely goes longer than 2 hours. Exciting times! We continue listening to a labor mix that Marisa made a few days earlier on the ipod....

Midnight. Marisa has been pushing for just around 20 minutes and things are moving along. She is changing positions a little, from side to side and also leaning forward. Marisa's legs aren't too numb anymore so she can push really well. The baby is coming but slowly.

12:30 am. Still pushing. Noni checks and the baby's head seems to be stuck against Marisa's pelvic bones. More pushing. Every contraction, Marisa pushes really hard for 10 seconds 2 or 3 times. Noni and I count for her and coach her. While she pushes she concentrates and crunches up, using abs that she almost forgot she had.

1 am. Baby's head is still stuck on the pelvic bone. Marisa is still pushing, as she has been for more than an hour. She is starting to get tired. Noni gives Marisa some oxygen between contractions to restore her energy.

1:30 am. The baby is still stuck, although he has moved somewhat in the right direction. Noni says that there is space for him to come through but his head isn't at quite the right angle. Marisa is still pushing, changing positions, feeling contractions, and pushing some more. Wow.

2 am. The baby is still stuck and barely moving forward but still moving. Marisa has been pushing for more than 2 hours. Noni asks Marisa if she can keep going. Marisa nods yes and keeps pushing. I am amazed by Marisa's strength. Even more amazing is something that happens when Noni checks Marisa: the baby's head is visible for a moment, although still several inches from coming out. Wow!

2:30 am. More of the same -- baby is still stuck but moving forward. Noni keeps asking Marisa if she can keep going. Later we will learn that Noni expected to have to use suction or forceps, or possibly even a C-section to extract the baby when it was stuck for hours. Marisa keeps pushing. I can tell she is getting tired but won't give up. Marisa is like that: she never gives up, even when it seems like she should. Right now, it is blowing me and Noni away that she is still pushing. The labor music mix is over and so I put on Les Miserables, which usually cheers Marisa up.

3 am. The baby is ready to come out. Marisa finally pushed his head past her pelvic bone and he is coming out soon. The doc comes back in. The last part happens fast -- the baby is still coming at a weird angle. The doc makes a quick incision to avoid too much tearing. The baby's head starts to poke out, but his shoulders are again at the wrong angle, so the doc sticks a finger in, grabs the baby by the armpit and yanks him out while rotating, like a cork out of a wine bottle. At 3:14, Owen is born! He is covered with weird-looking white gunk (I forget the name for that) and his head is super stretched out. When he first comes out, I am momentarily baffled because his head is shaped like a stretched out, curved cone, sort of like the lovechild of a party hat and a banana. I am super confused because I can't find his face on his head! That was a weird couple of seconds!

The baby is put on Marisa's belly after a five second towel rub down. That's when I got to contribute my part: cutting the cord! The umbilical cord is white and stringy. The doc clamps down either end and gives me a pair of scisssors. Three good cuts and the baby is free from his chains, no longer tied down to his mom (physically, at least).

He is weird shaped and scrunched up into a really tight ball. His skin is blue-ish purple. He gurgles but doesn't quite cry, and a couple of nurses pick him up to suck as much gunk out of his nose and mouth as possible. Within a few minutes he cries like a champ and is brought back to his mom.

3:45 am or so. I head out to the waiting room with the news! Everyone gets a quick visit with the little guy before heading home. Then, Marisa breastfeeds for the first time, and eventually we are forced out of the delivery room and into a postpartum room. The first night with the baby is crazy -- he sleeps between us and I can't stop worry about crushing him!

Well, that is my story. Owen is now 2 weeks old, so some of the terror and joy of New Year's eve 2007 has faded. It has been replaced with amazement, tiredness, and quite a bit of worrying about both Owen and his mom, who are both doing great.

Over & Out

ps - About 15 minutes after the delivery the placenta came out, along with the rest of the umbilical cord. We did not follow Alex's suggestions to fry it up with onions.

Monday, January 14, 2008

First movies of Owen

Hello again,

We have a couple of movies to share of Owen doing cute things. Each movie is 2-4 MB in size and hopefully won't take too long to download. Let us know if you have any trouble playing them -- should be easy.

Here is one from the day Owen was born:

This one was taken on Jan 9 of 8 day old Owen with the hiccups, right before getting his diaper changed (super cute!):

This one is from Jan 11 and showcases mom and son looking happy after a feeding (note to censors: no boobs visible):

Sean, Marisa and Owen

Owen's Bris

With Owen's jaundice getting better (finally!), we are able to have Owen circumsized today. We had a Jewish bris. Sheldon Ciner, recommended to us by a work colleague of Marisa's, came out to Boulder to perform the ritual. Both sets of grandparents and Carol and Gene Klinger (new friends of the Zahlers) were present. Owen was fine until he was forced to lie on his back with his hands and legs held down by his grandfathers. This boy HATES to be tied down! Oy! Imagine what he'll be like at 15!!

His Hebrew name is Yakov ben Shalom (Sean's Hebrew name given to him by Natalia when she was 3 and we visited her in Brasil).

Pictures from the Bris (UPDATED 1/23/2008):

Owen unhappy about being placed on his back...

Sheldon (the moyel) holding Owen after the circumcision:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bye bye umbilical cord stump

January 11 - Owen loses his umbilical cord stump tonight. It must have fallen off with all the leg kicking he does because we find it loose inside his onesie when we change his diaper:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New photos of Owen and Update

Hi everyone, a bunch of new photos are here (click here)

A few highlights:

Sean and Owen's matching hats

A sleepy boyo and mom.

Three generations of Raymond men.

We are home from the hospital and Owen is doing well. He has been hit with a little jaundice and so we have to keep him under these blue lights to break up the "bilirubin" in his blood. This also requires frequent blood draws to test his bili levels which are not Owen's favorite activities.

So far, here is what we know about the little guy. He is a pretty calm baby overall but a little sensitive to certain things -- we think he is physically sensitive like Sean.

Pooping (he makes a weird face and then lets it rip)
Eating his own hands

The cold (outside, on his bum when he is wiped, on his skin when he is bathed...)
Lying on his back, especially in the torture box (the bili-bed)
Waking up without a boob in his face

NOTE: We have added a "squirt meter" to the blog to record the number of unexpected showers that have happened during diaper changes. Last occurrence: yesterday 1/9/2008. Sean has had the good fortune to be involved in both!

Over & Out!
Sean, Marisa and Prince Beefsteak (who can tell me why this is an appropriate nickname?)

Coming soon: Sean's blow-by-blow account of the delivery and videos of Owen doing cute things.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Introducing Owen Zahler Raymond

Born: 1/1/2008
Weight: 7lbs 5oz (3300g for you metric people)
Length: 20in (50cm)
Eyes: Blue or brown - we're not really sure since he's been sleeping alot
Hair: Red/Brown (and lots of it!)
Interesting facts:
- 1st baby born at Boulder Community Hospital in 2008
- # of sneezes since birth: 4 (as of 5pm 1/1/2008)
- favorite food: breast milk (colostrum for now, anyway)
- favorite pastime: sleeping

First family photo: