Recap o’ the last week or so

Well, it was finally Monday.  We had to call in at crap-o’-clock in the morning to check on the details, and then got had to have them call us back.  We’d gone to bed fairly late (in hindsight: shall this happen again, I think we’ll be aiming for a much better night’s sleep considering), and were still sleeping when they called back to tell us to be there at 11:30.

We finished up, and headed on in (we were even *gasp* running on time, so I didn’t even really get to speed – figured the “pregnant wife” excuse probably wouldn’t go over well if we got pulled over and they checked the details :P).  We got in to find… an empty desk.  It turns out that to get into the secret Kaiser Labor and Delivery club, you have to ignore said empty desk, walk in the door with a “Ring Doorbell before entering” sign taped over by plain white paper, and stumble around until you find someone with a clue (which can sometimes be hard, at Kaiser 🙂

We eventually got checked in, and had the new guy helping us to check in (thankfully, this time, with the help of one of the clueful people working.  After a few minutes, one of the nurses came over to shepherd us to our room, and get us garbed up.  The stylish “We need access to your butt-crack” robe for Kirin, and a very stylish blue-green… sauna suit.  Elastic cuffs on the arm, neck to ankle length, and a puddle of sweat building in each arm.  None of this really made sense to be wearing, as they wouldn’t be doing anything medical beyond setting up the IV for probably, oh three hours.

The IV was… fun.  Most of the time, we’d swear she has no blood – referring to the fact that her blood pressure is usually in the 100-110 / 50-70 range.  I’m pretty sure the nurse was thinking the same, as she seemed to have some trouble getting it in.  They finally had to use her left hand, and when they got it, they got it so good that it shot blood several feet across the floor in the process – so I guess she -does- have some blood in there after all.

Our nurse(s) had a decent sense of humor, or could at least take a joke.  They had to do a bit o’ shaving in preparation – I told Kirin that she’d left her a nice star design in the process.  One of the other nurses jumped in with “Really?  She usually does hearts”.

One of the awesome things about dealing with a medical institution which has no doubt been sued a few too many times, Kirin got to answer every question they had on the average of 3 times.   Things like: “Have you ever been hospitalized?”, etc.  Seriously, I think she had a canned speech by the end.  They had the surgeon come in and talk with us for a bit before finalizing things.  She asked if we were sure on the c-section, and offered to do one last check (to see if a trial of labor / induction) would be reasonable, if we weren’t.  I think I talked her into taking up the offer – she’d been waffling on the whole thing before, but wasn’t really keen on the whole “operation” thing.  The doctor did the normal checks and pokes and prods, and declared “Well, you’ve made the right choice.” – evidently, things hadn’t really progressed in the last two and a half weeks, and he -still- hadn’t dropped.

After waiting a random amount of time, we rolled on in to the OR.  Or, rather, she did.  I’m still have no idea why I can be present for the procedure, but not, say, for the spinal, and other preparation.  But nooo, I had to wait outside.  Sitting on a crappy little chair.  There was a little window in the door, through which I could make faces at Kirin, and see some of what was going on.  I caught glimpses of them bending her in that “stretch out the gap between your vertebrae” way, and then there was someone in the way, and finally, I saw a look on Kirin’s face that screamed: “OMGWTFBBQ”.

The surgeon came out a bit later to let me know that she was doing better now, but that Kirin sorta panicked a bit after the spinal took effect. I can’t really blame her – I would imagine that would be a tremendously freaky experience.  When they finally let me in, we all discussed the “noone’s going to tell Kirin what’s going on” rule (by her choice).  Turns out: I didn’t really want to see what was going on, in general, as I am fairly squeamish, and I really don’t want to see that.

Not to say that I didn’t peek – my seat was sort of next to Kirin, but there was the machine the anesthesiologist was using. Which in turn means that from my point of view, if I looked a bit to my right, I could see what was going on.  For the most part, all I saw was the doctors’ backs, but I occasionally got a glimpse of what was going on.  But I sure didn’t keep watching for long.

My job at that point, was to distract Kirin as much as possible so she’d calm a bit – they had a sedative to give to relax her, but it’s the sort of thing that they can’t really give until the kid is out.  Other annoyances (by proxy): having a nose itch when your arms are strapped down to the table thing – at first, we had to have the anesthetist give her nose a scratch -  after that, strangely the anesthetist didn’t mind me removing Kirin’s oxygen mask to give a scratch now and then.  We talked about random stuff (can’t even really remember what) until about the point that I peeked, and saw them starting to yoink him on out.  A few moments later, we heard a shriek pierce through the room – he’s got some -lungs-. Once he was out, they popped Kirin a little sedative, which calmed her dow to the point that I thought she was going to start napping a few times.

After a few minutes, they stole me away to come watch them assess him.  He’s huge, and he’s got a full head of hair, and he’s still crying. He seemed to calm down (aka – quit screaming) when I reached over and touched him.  They gave him an Apgar score of 8 or 9 – the only thing I noticed that seemed off was that while he was a nice bright pink in general, his feet were a little blue – but that worked itself out.  Someone commented that he looked more like a one-month old than a newborn – and it’s really kinda true.

They bundled him up after finishing up their testing, and had me hold him, and carry him over to show Kirin. Let me say now:  10 lb., 3 oz. Heavy kiddo!  We somehow talked them into unstrapping her arm from the table so she could touch him.  I basically sat there staring at him as he looked up at me – such a cutie. :)  Eventually, they finished the last set of sutures (well, staples) and shooed me out the door.

I took my seat (same seat from before the surgery) since Tristan is, well, tough on my back muscles 🙂 Various members of the team that did the surgery trickled out and congratulated us/me.  One of the surgeons also mentioned that Kirin had lost a bit more blood than they normally like – but she was doing okay.

We wandered on over to the recovery room, with me carrying him.  It’s an amazingly big room – it turns out it’s basically a much more spacious version of the “Mother/Baby” rooms, but with more gear.  They ran more tests on Tristan, and offered to give him a bath, which we accepted.  They eventually took Tristan off of the ginormous heat lamp, and let Kirin hold him for a while.

The stay – note that this is a little blurry to me – getting a few hours of sleep here and there tends to severely mess with your sense of time.

We finally got moved into our final room – a considerably smaller, but otherwise fairly equivalent room.  One of the good things about Kaiser (at least in the Santa Clara Homestead campus) is that 95% of the recovery rooms are private rooms.  This is partly because they encourage “rooming in” – basically, the newborns don’t really ever go to the nursery.  I think this is likely a sneaky trick to avoid paying someone to work in said nursery, but it also has the positive effect of having you get used to taking care of the kid, while there are nurses around who can help you if you’re entirely incompetent.

The room consisted of your standard issue adjustable medical bed, a rocking chair, a pull-out chair, some tables, a TV player with DVD & VCR, a sink, and the mini-crib.  Oh, and a private bathroom.  Overall not too shabby for a place that’s generally considered cheap.

First – the negatives – the pull-out chair/bed thing SUCKED.  First off, it’s about as wide as I am, meaning there was no way I could sleep on my back without having my arms up in the air.  Second, the chair was hell on my back.  The good news though, was that I got so little sleep that I was thankful for any I could get, and it turned out that it was less bad on my back than carrying Tristan around was 🙂

There was a lot of good in the room though – we went through a ton of DVDs since we were up at all odd hours of the night, trying to get Tristan to sleep.  The little crib thing was awesome – it was basically a bassinet on a cart, with a big storage drawer that was magically always full of whatever we needed to take care of the kid (diapers, wipes, alchohol swabs for the cord, and later gauze/petroleum jelly for the circumcision wound – it was regularly restocked).  Between that and the sink in the room, it made taking care of the kid much much simpler as we were trying to figure it out.

One of the “fun” bits was that Samurai was home, so I had to run back to walk him and check on everyone, and get food.  One of the downsides is that while they expect that you’re going to be staying there, they don’t provide the partner food.  Thankfully, Kirin (being notoriously picky when it comes to food) wouldn’t eat half of what they gave her, so I tended to steal bits here and there, and go out and snag something for us both when it was time to check on the dog.

See, we expected that I’d be able to dart off “about” every 8 hours to check on things.  The problem is, Tristan didn’t agree.  Since Kirin was roughly stuck in bed in the beginning, there wasn’t much she could do to console him whilst I was out – so we tried to time it when he had just fed and nodded off.  Unfortunately, this led to me being able to go at very sporadic times (like a 4am run).

One of the fairly annoying things is that even when Tristan decided to nap, there was still a neverending brigade of nurses and doctors coming in – for the first day and a half, it was about every half an hour.  Makes sleeping, well, infeasible.  Some were routine checks, some were nurses coming to give pain meds, there was the occasional lactation consultant (since Kirin wanted to breastfeed).  The timing is also not ideal – there’s a 1 am weigh-in for all of the newborns.  They did a hearing test at about 6am.

The first test was sort of scary – basically, it consists of strapping some freaky plastic things over his ears, attaching electrodes to various parts of the head, and presumably making noise from the ear piece and seeing how he reacted.  The first test (which I went to) didn’t go too well – the electrodes kept trying to fall off – in the end, it failed him.  The next night, they did it again (I was either home at the time, or passed out), and he was fine – I’m wondering if the faulty electrodes weren’t to blame the first time, but either way.

We learned a ton in a few days – I’d never really cared for an infant, but most of it’s pretty straightforward, so far. My first few days basically can be reduced to a flowchart:

Baby crying? <==========\
||                     ||
\/                     ||
Is he mouthing         ||
everything in => Feed = |
sight?                 ||
||                     ||
\/                     ||
Is he no longer        ||
mouthing               ||
everything in => Burp = |
sight?                 ||
||                     ||
\/                     ||
Does he feel warm      ||
or cold?  =>  Adjust  = |
||                     ||
\/                     ||
Check the              ||
diaper? => Oh crap    = |
||                     ||
\/                     ||
Is he restless?        ||
=> Move/rock/bounce   =_/

So, I decided to try to get Samurai into the kennel for a few days – but it turned out his vaccines were about a week out of date, so they couldn’t take him.  Well, let’s just say, Samurai got a walk about every 12-14 hours thereafter, but he survived. So I wound up making a ton of trips back – handy for all those random things that we needed and forgot, etc. Many DVDs and food items found their way back to our room as a result.  And I managed to sneak a hat home to let the cats get used to his smell.

Thankfully, Tristan seems to have this sense such that when we’re both getting really sleep deprived, he’ll manage to randomly take a 4-6 hour nap.  That said, it -could- be that we just got so tired we could sleep through crying – towards the end, I was sleeping so soundly that Kirin literally could not wake me without getting up, walking over to me, and poking me.  Calling my name / letting Tristan cry at me / calling my cell phone which was sitting next to my head / etc. all failed to wake me up.  Really creepy.  But that said, the nurses would eventually come and check if he cried for too long (usually when we were preparing to feed him) so it seems more likely that he really did just powernap for several hours.  Too bad the hours range wildly.

Finally, on Thursday, they were to be discharged – I took home most of the not-really-needed stuff during the last dog-run, and we were pretty much ready to get out the door when they came by at 11 with the discharge paperwork.   Except that they weren’t ready.  It took until about 3:40 (hint: there’s a nurse shift change is at 3:30) to actually hear back from them, and then things weren’t even wrapped up until about 5pm.

Here’s one I don’t understand:  they make a huge deal about making sure you have your carseat, and it’s properly installed, and that they won’t let you take the kid home unless you’re set.  Except that it’s all lies. They had someone wheel Kirin down, and before I even brought the car around, the person was gone.

We got home, introduced Tristan to the cats and dog, fed him, and… immediately left again!  To Babies R Us, to pick up certain things we hadn’t been sure on.  Like diapers – well, we had diapers, size N (for newborn!). Unfortunately, Tristan decided to entirely skip that, and go on to the next size up.  We also got a Medela breast pump – we both think the whole breastfeeding thing is generally a good idea – unfortunately, we’re slackers, and it’s rough getting all the angles etc. right to get him feeding – and then he gets REALLY flustered if you don’t fix it fast enough. Oh, and he’s stuck in power-gnaw mode. So far, we’re both loving it – it’s a lot easier on her to actually express said milk, and it means that I can actually feed him without her actually having to be physically present and taking part in it, which is a Really Good Thing(TM) when he wants to feed every 1-3 hours.

And that’s basically where we are now. I’m sure I’ve left out details (and likely important ones at that), but things are still hazy.  Sleep deprived.  And I just spent an hour and a half typing things instead of napping while Tristan was sleeping…

More tests, yay

Well, since Kirin’s at 42 weeks even now, they had us back in today for more check-uppery.  They managed to actually get her back her ID this time (which is good, as she had to hand over her driver’s license since they lost her medical card last time), and all.  The same “wonderful” receptionist was there – the only really annoyance of note is that she evidently had no concept of when people got there – so she was asking folks to speak up if they were first.   But it seemed to be a bunch of people who actually knew her/worked at the hospital, and us.  And we came in last, so it was pretty straightforward.

Tests went well – they did a NST (Non-stress Test – basically measuring when/how intense contractions were, and also the baby’s heart rate)   Puntypaws decided to be, well, awake, this time, so the NST only lasted 20 minutes (instead of the 40 it took last time), and looked just fine, evidently.   We also, in the process, discovered that with the sound turned up too far, the heartbeat sounds roughly like a dog barking.

They decided to do an ultrasound, too, on a whim (like, it wasn’t scheduled or anything – they basically asked if she’d had one scheduled, we said no, they said “we can probably get you in anyway”) to check the fluid levels.  They found her to be a quart low, and so tried to top her off with ultrasound gel.  Well, okay, actually everything was fine, but they -did- try to use about a quart of gel in the process.  The doctor said she was the messy type, and we all had a laugh or three.

Puntypaws evidently may have dropped some, position-wise, which is good (still holding out hope on things deciding to go naturally before Monday to spare the C-section).


Kaiser’s health plan… well, I’ve said it before – the coverage is good,  the doctors are good… the administrative staff is, well, fairly atrocious.


The receptionist takes her card, checks us in, and tells us we’ll get the card back on the way out.  Except we never do – and neither of us notice until we get home.   We call, they look for a few minutes and then come back with “No, I totally remember giving it to you.”

Except, you know, the pesky fact that they didn’t, and they didn’t really have a chance to.   New card ordered, so, whatever.  No big deal, but it’s still exceptionally lame.  This from the same receptionist that we had to spend several minutes waiting for the last time we were there, because they decided it was way more important to go play with a visiting coworker’s baby rather than, you know, doing their job and maybe playing with the kid after checking us in (we arrived at the same time, and there was otherwise no line.  The receptionist for the other department was basically staring at her the whole time, as if to so, “are you kidding?”   Not sure how long we -would- have waited, except Kirin finally got fed up with it, said something along the lines of “Are you … kidding me?  I’m not standing around for this”, and sat down in front of the desk to wait, which, evidently, wised up the person.

So the doctor was supposed to call us back Friday, as mentioned previously, and he never did.   He also didn’t call back Monday, nor call nor respond to the email sent on Tuesday.   We -did- however, finally get a call from the doctor’s office, and an email from the doctor, today.

We went in for one more check.   Generally, all is well, but puntypaws isn’t dropping down through the various bone structures he needs to to come out au naturale.   So, the talk of c-sections came about – and in the end it looks like, barring natural processes kicking off before then, we’re going for a c-section – not exactly ideal, but it’ll work.

So back to the Kaiser suckery… So, this appointment should have already happened.   Really, it was supposed to be scheduled at the end of the ultrasound on Friday. ‘Cept they didn’t actually ever set it up, which in itself was a minor screw up.  Except that it snowballs a bit.  During the appointment today, the doctor was trying to schedule the c-section – only, see, now they’re entirely booked for the week.  Unclear whether getting in when we were supposed to would -really- help, but it sure wouldn’t have hurt matters.The doctor actually apologized for it, saying he felt to blame, even though he didn’t have direct control over scheduling things.   We also later heard him yelling at some of the administrative folks about how they needed to find a solution, as it was their screwup that put us in the situation in the first place.

So in the end, he says he’s going to set one up for Monday, but also may see if there’s anything available earlier (realistically read this as:  Friday – they don’t schedule them on the weekends).  So, he heads off to the next appointment, and we get the administrative assistant lady.  In her defense, she’s new.  Ignoring that, she’s not really fit to be working without supervision.  On the order of A) having to ask -us- what she was setting up because the doctor confused her and B) not knowing how to set up the appointments, having to find help (who, I swear, the dude was dressed like he could have been the janitor),  and how, tell me, do you work for an OB/GYN and not know how to spell fetal?  Anyhow, ten minutes later, finally gets it sorted, and lets us know that we need to call in two hours in advance on Monday, to see if they can find an available bed.

Er… this is our -solid- backup plan – what the @$)!?   So, at this point, we have a “maybe if we’re lucky and they can squeeze us in on Monday” appointment.  Maybe.

On the upside, it’ll be a Virgo at that point, and doesn’t everybody love a Virgo?


So, first off, I’d like to mention that our kid evidently has hair.   As in, one of the ultrasound shots has a label of “HAIR” next to it, because the Ultrasound Tech wanted to point it out.

Secondly, the doc never called us back today as he was supposed to.  Moral of the story?  New expected birth date:  Febtober 3012.

41 week ultrasound

Today was the ultrasound that they used to determine that Puntypaws is still swimming in plenty of fluid and not about to dry out, or something. Unfortunately, lying on my back was so uncomfortable that I did not get a really good look at the screen, but we do have new ultrasound pictures to post.. they probably don’t look like much, though. The good news is that he’s still doing well in there and the bad news is that I will likely “require” intervention to get him out. The even more bad news is that his estimated weight is 10lb 4oz so the intervention is probably going to be the surgical kind. I don’t currently have “plans” as to how to get him out of me but the doctor is supposed to get back to me on that.. I doubt that will be today with how time is going. Hey, if the kid stays put until next Friday at about 11:03am, he will be a Virgo..

On top of that, the lovely staff at Kaiser lost my insurance card so I anticipate lots of fun times regarding that ahead. Is it malicious or accidental when the chick swears she gave me my card but I neither can find it nor remember receiving it, I wonder? Thankfully, my record number is printed on my receipts from the appointments so I can bring that in and hope they don’t give me any shit.

Nonstress test, still overdue

Today was the first of the late-ass fetal monitoring appointments, the “nonstress test.” It was pretty painless, though minorly boring; the heart rate monitor and contraction sensor were strapped to me by a bit of a sleepy-looking tech or nurse or someone, and then I was reclined in a homestyle reclining chair and handed a button to track noticeable movement. Of course, the kid decided not to perform.. he only kicked about five times throughout the 40 or so minutes we were in there. Unfortunately, needing to pay attention to said movement negates the ability to do fun things like play with my Nintendo DS (which, since I’m old, I still call a “Gameboy”). Anyway, it’s a noninvasive monitoring procedure that told me a) the kid’s heartbeat is fairly normal, but it didn’t spike like they were looking for, and b) I am still not having major contractions, unless one counts attempting to pass gas as a contraction (for the record, that’s how it’s recorded on the printout – yay?).

The ultrasound of baby-swimming goodness is scheduled for Friday (at one week of overdueness), assuming he doesn’t decide to fly out before then. I can’t help but hope that if he stays in for this week that he stays in for one more week, giving him Virgoan status… of course, assuming that he’s doing all right and can handle that sort of thing. I have heard a lot of stories lately of kids arriving a couple of weeks late and being perfectly fine.

I’m just really hoping he doesn’t need to be cut out of me – no desire for surgery, thanks. I’m not too gung-ho about natural processes (I plan to have pain medication if I am in nasty pain, or, like, at all) but I’m also not thrilled about surgery.. and by not thrilled, I mean that it scares the shit out of me and also grosses me out. I suggest that the c-section video not be shown to anyone, or at least anyone who may need one.

So, that’s where we are!