Unbelievable excitement ensues as two Seattleites prepare for a baby!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Baby Blotter

Sophia greets the world.

None of this is especially fresh news, but I figured it might be interesting to get Sophia's first-month timeline written out and published. Besides, I need a lot of text into which I can insert random but important photos of our young daughter. Enjoy the photos, because I doubt anybody will actually read through all of this.

Oct. 2004 - None of Your Business
Nothing to see here. Move along.

Sophia, starting to calm down a tad.

Nov. 26, 2004 - Leigh Finds Out
Prompted by some eyebrow-raising aches and pains, Leigh urinates on a tiny stick and discovers that she is pregnant - which for my money is just a really strange methodology for learning that you're pregnant. Her first order of business is trying to decide whether she should be ecstatic or really freaked out. She settles on both.

After work - during which co-worker and friend Chavi cheerfully regales Leigh with tales about all the bratty kids she dealt with over Thanksgiving - Leigh drives to Yakima to meet up with me and the rest of her family. Inexplicably, she doesn't say a word about it to me, instead allowing my to spend the majority of the night in blissful ignorance playing "Risk" with her brother Bryan and cousin Christofer. I lose badly.

Sophia gets her first bath.

Nov. 27, 2004 - Chris Finds Out
The next morning, Leigh and I work on a puzzle in Linda's kitchen by ourselves while the rest of the family watches television in the family room. Leigh begins to tell me the shocking news by buttering me up.

"I have a secret that needs to be kept, but I'm not sure if I can trust you to keep it," she says sweetly, impressing me with both her need for absolute tight-lipped secrecy and her accurate assessment of my secret-keeping abilities.

Upon receiving my quizzical assent to her demands, she hands me a sweet card that reads, "Times, they are a changin' - congratulations, Daddy!"

Sophia luxuriates in her first bath.

As I look, thunderstruck, from the card to her weakly smiling, mildly freaked-out face, Christofer walks casually into the room and begins making small-talk. With Leigh's demands for absolute secrecy still reverberating in the otherwise empty container of my skull, I immediately stifle all emotion.

An hour later, I am still searching for the opportunity to get Leigh alone to chat - or to show and/or release emotion of any kind - when I get the idea to create that opportunity by heading to the supermarket for groceries. Leigh quickly agrees to come along, when Christofer, seemingly hell-bent on maintaining his sadistic tyranny over any conversation between Leigh and I on this topic, cheerfully volunteers to tag along.

Amazingly, several teeth-gritting hours later, Leigh and I finally get a chance to chat and to share our excitement and fear; hopes and worries; and general levels of emotional decay.

Sophia and Mommy get some quality time.

Nov. 29, 2004 - Confirmation
Leigh visits the doctor, who confirms that she is, indeed, pregnant. Excitement and general freaked-out levels continue to rise.

Mommy and Phia cuddle a little.

Dec. 1, 2004 - Crippling Gas
Leigh begins several consecutive months of "terrible" gas and constipation that wreak havoc with her well-digestive being.

Yes, I ran this past her before publishing. In fact, Leigh insisted I publish this comment, saying she wanted to "raise the brown veil" on the trials of pregnancy.

Sophia gets a little shut-eye.

Dec. 4, 2004 - Lyle Finds Out
Leigh runs into her Dad at Tidefest in Gig Harbor and tells him she's pregnant. Much merriment ensues.

Grandpa Lyle has an excellent rapport with Sophia.

Dec. 5, 2004 - The Hafners Find Out
My father, in town for business, stands in our basement and looks skeptical while, in the middle of conversation, I invent some fictional pretext to get my Mom on the phone. When I finally make the big announcement, my Dad gives the biggest grin I've ever seen. However, on Mom's end, all I hear was screeching, wailing and sobbing, followed by a near-traffic accident. Sister Amy is similarly pleased.

The newest Hafner joins the clan.

Feb. 2005 - Morning Sickness
After escaping her first trimester without any morning sickness, Leigh spends virtually the entire fourth month vomiting.

Mother and baby.

Feb. 17, 2005 - Got the Hives
Leigh begins to break out into a strange rash but avoids going to the doctor, reasoning that if she ignores the problem that it'll go away. Amazingly, this well-reasoned medical approach doesn't work. Leigh winds up getting a full-blown, head-to-toe case of the hives - and a severe talking-to from her doctor.

Bryan bonds with his niece.

Feb. 23, 2005 - It's a Girl!
We go in for the major ultrasound and blood tests, and find that our baby is healthy, evidently enjoys kicking her mother's innards black and blue, and is of the female persuasion. The ultrasound technician confirms this by taking a picture of Sophia's, um, undercarriage and typing "GIRL" next to her, well, parts. Her subtlety was appreciated.

Bryanne gets to know her ... second cousin? Cousin twice removed?

April, 2005 - Gargantuan Baby?
The doctor throws us for a loop by informing us that our baby is not only incredibly large for her age but that she will likely be ready to pop out within a month. All of this proves be thoroughly wrong, and in fact the doctor doesn't remember telling us any of that at the next appointment.

The first bath at home was a little traumatic.

May 15, 2005 - Showering Madness
In a moment of madness, we decide to eschew the idea of a series of traditional baby showers, opting instead to just have a bunch of friends over for barbecue, beer, and a casual good time. Despite a rainy day, more than 80 people show up, thoroughly freak out the cat, and give so generously that Sophia will be vastly better-dressed than her parents during her first three years of life.

Quality time with Mommy.

June 11, 2005 - Chris Gets Old
I turn 29. Hooray.

That hat never stays on.

July 4, 2005 - Birth of the Blog
I get the incredibly sharp idea of building a blog to keep everybody updated on baby and other Hafner happenings. Of course, that gets a little more difficult when I don't regularly update it.

Daddy and Phia regard each other warily.

July 5, 2005 - Birth Imminent?
I write in the blog that "blast-off" might be "imminent." It isn't.


July 6, 2005 - Bags are packed
Feeling that birth is right around the corner, we pack the bags for the hospital and begin readying the car for the drive to the hospital - a drive that would never actually take place.

Sophia gets thoughtful.

July 8, 2005 - Bedrest
After Leigh refuses to see a doctor about her increasingly blotchy right arm ("It'll go away if I ignore it," she said), the doctor notices the arm in a subsequent appointment, diagnoses high blood pressure, and puts Leigh on immediate bedrest. Leigh, of course, subsequently spends very little time resting and even less time in bed.

More ominously, however, the doctor warns Leigh to beware of a "sense of impending doom." Um, OK.

Linda compares outfits with Sophia.

July 9, 2005 - Birthday and visit
Leigh celebrates her 29th birthday with a visit to the Swedish birthing suites. We are told that we will be kept in triage for up to three hours upon admission before we are transferred to a birthing suite. We pout, but in actual point of fact we will wind up sitting in triage for roughly five minutes before being wheeled rapidly into a birthing suite.

Sophia's still not sure about baths.

July 18, 2005 - Dilation Nation
After a doctor's appointment in which Leigh was told she was 1 centimeter dilated and 50 percent effaced, the doctor adds that there is a 30 percent chance Leigh will give birth within days. "We are well and truly in the home stretch now," I write. The home stretch is actually nowhere within sight.

Yo yo yo ... Sophia flashes gang signs.

July 20, 2005 - Be Surprised
I write in the blog, "I would not be surprised if Sophia joined us soon." She does not.

Erica visits with the girls.

July 27, 2005 - Due Date
Due date arrives, and nothing happens - unless you count us bouncing off the walls in anticipation.

Stackson meets the newest member of the family.

July 29, 2005 - Ewww
Leigh blows her mucus plug and winds up with some bloody show. This grotesque sign is supposed to mean that Leigh will be giving birth in the next day or two. "We appear to be close," I write. We are not close.

Sophia likes to suck on Mommy's finger.

July 31, 2005 - Dead Baby Scare 2005
A quiet morning is interrupted when Leigh remarks that she hadn't felt Sophia move in some time. I assure an increasingly panicky Leigh that everything is fine and refer to the baby books for reassurance. After paging through alarming sections regarding stillbirth and mothers who have to carry and deliver long-dead babies, I eventually find the correct section - which recommends we instantly head to the emergency room to receive emergency treatment in the hope that our ailing baby "can still be revived."

The freaking-out begins in earnest and continues until, powered by her mother's surging adrenaline, Sophia resumes her normal schedule of tenderizing her mother's internal organs. Leigh and I collapse into a sweaty, twitching pile of nerves.

Sophia gets squinty.

Aug. 2, 2005 - Still no baby
The endless waiting leaves us numb and a bit loopy - to the point where I publicly compare Sophia to a toy one might purchase with cereal box UPCs.

Grandma Cathy holds Sophia.

Aug. 4, 2005 - Bizarre Cervix
The doctor, puzzled, discovers that Leigh is four centimeters dilated and, thus, past the first stage of labor. In attempting to describe why Leigh is not actually having contractions or, you know, a baby, the doctor posits that Leigh's cervix is "really messed up."

That's the medical term, of course.

Linda and Bryanne say hello.

Aug. 6, 2005 - The Big Moment
At 9 p.m., Leigh and I agree to meet downstairs to watch some TV in an hour. Twenty minutes later, Leigh feels a sharp, stabbing pain that she initially ascribes to gas. Breaking water and the onset of 40-second-long contractions, beginning two minutes apart from one another, quickly give the lie to that theory. In fact, the length, intensity, and frequency of the contractions begin to convince me that we are well beyond the first stage of labor - and that we need to get to the hospital immediately, if not sooner.

Leigh, howling with crippling pain, instructs me to put the salad dressing in the refrigerator, close the windows, finish sending e-mail, and in general to tidy up the place before we go.

Unfortunately, my plans to careen wildly through the city in the "panic drive" to the hospital are soon dashed. Leigh can't stay in the car during her contractions, no matter what we do with the seats. After three tries, we make it to the top of the driveway.

At the top of the driveway, Leigh cries, "I want the drugs!" She doesn't get a chance to get the drugs.

Somebody's sleepy ...

As Leigh's contractions continue to build, and with visions of delivering my child on the front lawn dancing in my head, I call an ambulance ("But we don't know if insurance will cover it," protests Leigh). Instead, firefighters inexplicably arrive - it's not as if we need to hose Leigh down - and they call an ambulance.

As Leigh is screaming and moaning in the back of the ambulance, the paramedics pepper her with questions that she can't answer, while I ride in the front, making small talk with the driver. Leigh tries not to push, since she feels she could give birth at any time.

At the hospital, we are faced with a bemused triage nurse who apparently regards the ambulance drama as just another mother freaking out. Her scornful mien disappears when she gives Leigh a quick check and discovers that where she expected a partially-dilated cervix, there is now a baby's head. The doctor barely arrives in time to catch the baby.

Labor started around 9:45 p.m. at home. We arrived at the hospital at 11:00 p.m., and our darling baby Sophia was born at 11:27. She was 8 pounds, 15 ounces, and 19 inches long - with an adorable purple face with massive fatty jowls.

I still thank God that I didn't have to deliver that baby on the driveway.

Aug. 7, 2005 - Anniversary
Half an hour after birth, we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. Leigh chose to observe the moment by acting incredibly exhausted, while I simulated excitement. We each got a few hours of sleep before visitors came.

Soon, however, it was time for me to step up to the plate for baby's first diaper change. Unfortunately, I struck out badly.

For those unaware with the inner workings of baby stool - and how sadly ignorant those people are - the first few baby poops after birth are a hellish substance known as meconium. It is a black, tarry substance simply impossible to remove.

Meconium owned me in that first diaper change. The combination of my inexperience, the viscosity of this awful substance, and a wiggly baby conspired to get tarry poop all over baby's clothes, her still-healing belly button, her changing table, and me. I went through a full container of baby wipes finally getting her cleaned up and was a shell of a man when it was all done.

Aug. 8, 2005 - Coming Home
Feeling fairly confident in our abilities to parent, we left the hospital at roughly 5 p.m. ready to being our life at home together. Isn't life grand?

Eight hours later, after escalating screaming, fever, and dehydration - and that just from Leigh and I - we were back in the hospital, in the emergency room.

Kevin and Jessica meet Sophia.

Aug. 9, 2005 - Back in the Hospital
Our depressing hospital stint began with the baby getting formula to assuage her immediate needs, and Leigh getting an uncomfortable cot and a shared room with an edgy family dealing with a heavily jaundiced baby. I was sent home, but Linda, Lyle and I eventually made it back into the hospital to help support a thoroughly exhausted Leigh.. Poor little Sophia got an IV drip, a spinal tap, and a temporary urine catheter.

Many round-the-clock nights of feeding, crying, and diaper changing began - and, again, that's not even taking into account Sophia's needs.

Sophia gets open-mouthed.

Aug. 11, 2005 - Back Home, Redux
We gratefully return home, and this time it sticks. Linda stays for several days, and then my mother arrives to help us out.

Aug. 11 is also remarkable for Sophia's remarkable poop blast.

Lyle gets some good time with the baby.

Aug. 15, 2005 - Sweat Lodge
We had been told by the doctor to keep an eye on Sophia's temperature, so we noted with some alarm a precipitous drop in her temp. Despite sweltering temperatures, we geared her up in several layers of clothes and a hat to keep her core temperature up - but all this did was produce a very sweaty and grumpy baby with a low core temperature.

On Aug. 15, after several days of this, we finally got the bright idea to test the thermometer on me. According to the thermometer, I was more than a degree under temperature - meaning that thanks to a defective thermometer, we'd been sweating our baby out for no particular purpose. Considering our recent hospital stay resulting from baby dehydration, we were .... somewhat frustrated with this revelation.

Aug. 19, 2005 - Growing Girl
Heading back in to see the doctor, we learn that not only had Sophia already regained all of her birth weight, forging into the 9-pound range, but she had grown to 22 inches long.

Aug. 22, 2005 - Home Alone
Our last live-in support leaves, and we begin fending for ourselves. Things go remarkably well.

Aug. 30, 2005 - First Road Trip
We drive to Portland and back - and live to tell the tale.

Sept. 3, 2005 - Four-Week Birthday
Nothing else really happened this day.

Sept. 6, 2005 - One-Month Birthday
... and I finally get this post up, after two weeks of planning.

At the end of her first month, Sophia is stunningly beautiful and surprisingly good-natured, considering what she's been through. In the next week or so (which means sometime in 2008), I'll write a post describing Ms. Phia in detail - her likes, dislikes, her little personality quirks.


Anonymous GPa and GMa said...

Thanks for this wonderful journal of Sophia's Story. What a saga... and told with such love and humor! I laughed until the tears came.

3:27 PM

Anonymous Aunt Amy said...

I'd like to amend Chris's comment about "Sister Amy being similarly pleased". Sister Amy was in fact screaming in the middle of a Borders book store and frantically dashing about trying to get better cell reception in order to lavish Chris and Leigh with congratulations...

4:05 PM

Blogger Senihele said...

All I can say, Haf, is you'd better take over those midnight feedings for Leigh. A wonderful timeline!

5:49 PM

Blogger ganancy said...

Wow, what a great tale you tell! I think you have the most beautiful baby on earth, she is so pretty, what a dolly. How can she lose with such a gorgeous mom and dapper dad? Have fun with her, the story is just beginning...

7:19 PM

Blogger mrclm said...

Two things:

1) now that I'm back in school, you have to quit being funny. It's hard to explain to a bunch of theologians why you are laughing out loud in class when someone is talking about crack addiction. Naked baby pictures on laptop screen only make me look worse.

2) another week or two and 'Phia is going to have more hair than Daddy.

Congrats on your new job. Now I just have to figure out how to convince Amazon.com that I am you when purchasing my insane number of books each year...

Big Chris
Because I said so blog

8:18 PM

Blogger carrie said...

Sophia is ABSOLUTELY adorable- Great Job Leigh! :-)

BTW- how do you know Erica Fitzroy? She used to be my neighbor in Kennewick... it's a small world!

-Carrie (Croffut) Barker

PS: What are your true thoughts on Dr. McD now?!?

8:15 AM

Blogger JMB said...

I laughed, I cried, I laughed again... a wonderful post.


12:15 PM

Blogger ChaviLicious said...

Ok - Yes I was a rude girl after thanksgiving but you forgot to mention the numerous ways I made up for it after being so inconsiderate!!!!

9:56 AM


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