Archive for the ‘birth’ Category

I wanted to have this post up earlier, but it has been busy around here. We are all adjusting, recuperating, and learning our roles all over again. Everything is so markedly different than last time. In many ways, we are parents for the first time again, since we have never really had a newborn at home before. Washington’s name was not a sure thing until we got to the birth center. I made an executive decision. We has been waffling between two names. We liked Washington, which was a unique first name, but not a name that was so weird no one would have heard of it. Nathanael is one of Ries’ middle names.

I prayed, and so did a lot of other people, that we would have a normal birth with a healthy baby and the Lord was very good to all of us. After a short 8 hours, Washington made his arrival on March 21st, the first day of Spring. We got to the birth center just in time, around 5:15 am and he made his appearance by 6 am sharp! I plan on writing a longer post about the labor and birth, but no today. Washington was born in the tub because that is where I happened to be!

Washington was helped into the world by the two ladies that were there for Gideon’s birth, Jackie Griggs and Camilla May, two wonderful midwives that have been huge blessing to our family. Ries was, as always, an awesome coach. Daddy was happy his son waited until the last basketball game was over Sunday night to start making his arrival known.

While I was being tended to, Ries took Washington out to meet his big brother and his Gammy and Gampa. Gideon asked why Wash was not talking yet. We stayed at the birth center for a few hours.

Washington and I were both fine, great actually, so after a few hours of rest and lunch, we all headed home. Here is a picture of us with Jackie before we left.

After getting home, Washington was surrounded by grandparents.

Washington and Papa

Washington and Oma

Gideon wants to hold, kiss, snuggle, and poke Wash at every opportunity. I know this will only get worse/better. Gideon is enamored of his little brother and does not seem too disappointed that Wash does not play with him yet. Gideon seems to be taking the addition in stride. He is enjoying having his Daddy home and the full attention from Daddy he has been getting. His tune may change when he is home alone with Momma in a couple weeks.

Our first day home, Washington also had visits from Aunt Katy, Uncle Keith, Cousin Kaiden, Uncle Christopher, and Aunt Sydney. We handed out bottles of homebrew to visitors and Ries toasted with a glass as well.

As I said in the beginning of this post, we are learning about newborns all over again. It has been fun having this tiny thing here with us. He eats like a champ, a marathon sucker like his brother, who thinks eating every 30-40 minutes is life or death. Good thing I am already used to that kind of eater. My milk came in yesterday, so Wash has been happily filling his belly.

He looks very different from Gideon at this age. I am looking forward to seeing his little personality as he gets older.

We have been very blessed.

There are more pictures on my flickr page here.


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Nothing prepares you for being a parent. You may think you know, but you never do until you actually are The Mom. My sister-in-law recently had her first baby, right before Christmas, and all her triumphs and trials have made me remember those first hormone filled weeks of motherhood. Ah, the tears! The smiles! The joys! And then more tears!

The thing that floored me the most was the way being The Mom felt like a cloying burden in those early days. You feel tied down, literally, by the thing on your breast. The knowledge that you, and only you, can care, feed, and soothe this new person is, at times, overwhelming. The whole time you know that you choose this way, this child, this life and still you wonder what the heck you were thinking. Then of course, your baby smiles (or passes gas) and you think the entire world is filled with unicorns and moonbeams.

I am not seeking to dismiss the way Dads feel. In fact, I think the burden of being responsible for a family is pretty big, huge, but as I am not The Dad, I do not know and can only speak for what I felt.

I think all new Moms have to cross the Holy Crap I Have a Kid and Now My Life Will Never Be the Same Ever Until They Are Like 30 and Even Then… River. Crossing that river is hard work. Making the changes to the life you used to lead is hard. Being responsible for the care and feeding of a person is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it also the best thing I have done with my life, will do, in fact.

It is painful and joyful to bring a child into this world. You wonder, at the beginning, if you can ever do that again. Then, with time you know for certain, that the hardest things are also the things most worth having.

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Observations in which two seemingly unrelated things are brought together.

On Sunday, we started a batch of Pumpkin Ale that will be ready in time for Thanksgiving. Cornucopia!

Gideon watches one TV show a day, Animal Atlas. He likes to watch the animals. This morning, the episode was on animal babies and it informed us that the gestation period of a rabbit is 4 weeks.

As Ries was walking out the door, overhearing the rabbit fact, he turned to me and commented,

Our beer takes longer to brew than the gestation period of a rabbit.

Yes indeed.

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Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre

This post is a few days late, but life has been busy.

Gideon has a new cousin! Isaac Audie Murrell was born on April 23rd. He shares his birthday with Ries.

I am happy Isaac is here and that his parents are adjusting reasonably well. As well as two sleep deprived individuals can be doing.

Gideon will no longer be alone in the limelight, but I think his ego can handle it. He has already confided in me that he was getting tired of being smothered by all those grandmas and he is happy there are more cheeks to kiss.

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A very tired Smith FamilyGideon Ries Smith was born at 1:11 PM on Saturday May 3rd 2008.  He weighed 7 lbs. 11 oz.


Michelle was such a trooper.  She was very brave and labored for 38 hours long.  She woke me up around 11:00 on Thursday night to tell me she was having contractions.  I was half awake told her to relax and sleep as much as she can, which of course, she barely slept.  Her contractions continued through the night and so I called in work and told them I was not coming.  She labored pretty well for a long while.  Her contractions were about 40 seconds long and 7 minutes apart all morning.  Then in the afternoon they progressed to 60 seconds long about 3-4 minutes apart until 4:30 when the fun began.  She was now very serious and her contractions were 90 – 110 seconds long and about 3 minutes apart.  We called Jackie (our midwife) and told her that we were pretty sure it was time and that we needed to get to the birth center. She was at a midwifery conference (turned out to be by our house) but was going to meet us at 7:30.  After tying up some loose ends and eating a quick dinner Michelle and I headed for the birth center.  Let’s just say that Michelle did not enjoy the ride too much.  When we got there and got her first pelvic exam (at 9:00 PM) Michelle was only 3 cm dilated.  They were still pretty serious contractions so we stuck around.  Michelle labored very hard all night.  I was pretty sure she was in transition, all the sign-posts were there.  We put her in the bathtub because that was the only place where she could handle the contractions.  That may have slowed it down to some extent.  At 7:00 AM her water still had not broke so we decided to have another pelvic exam, unfortunately she had only dilated to 5 cm.  This was very disheartening.  But now it seemed that she was going into transition again.  She would fall asleep between in the 30 seconds she would have now between contractions.  I kept hoping it would be a long nap where she would wake up claiming that she needed to push, but no such break ever occurred.  We put her into the bath one more time so she could have a break but before long at about 9:30 she was pushing.  She pushed for almost 4 hours it was very hard.  But she dug down deep and pushed with all her might.


Gideon came out with such a conehead I could swore he came right out of Alien Resurrection and he must be a human / alien hybrid.  But he is still the most adorable human that walked this Earth, you couldn’t convince me otherwise.


Complications developed right after birth but I will describe that in the post below.


–Ries, proud father.

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I have faith in God.  I really do.  I know he has a plan and he is always working it out in each and every person.  I also know that he loved Gideon before Michelle and I ever even met.  I know that what is happening is because it is in His plan.  That being said, I am selfish and I pray non-stop that his plan includes that my son will make it through these tough times and come out as an ornery stubborn crying baby.


So what is wrong you ask?  Good thing you asked, because I am about to tell you.  In detail.  Sorry in advance for the length but it helps to write it and if you talked to me and asked I would tell you much the same story, whether you liked or not.


–Ries, keeping the faith

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On the Ventilator at BayshoreWhat they don’t tell you about childbirth is that time while the mother is trying to birth the placenta and dad can do nothing but sit back as both his wife and child are in a delicate state.


After Gideon was born he was not completely responsive and you could tell that he was having trouble breathing.  They hooked the monitor up to his toe and saw that his oxygen saturation was indeed low.  The only way to keep it up to an acceptable level was by blowing 100% oxygen into his nose / mouth.  There was a little meconium (baby’s first poo) in the amniotic fluid when the water broke but not too much.  When he was born I think I saw quite a bit in the fluid around him.  Our birth team worked really hard trying to keep his oxygen up and to suck out the meconium from his system.  They did a significant amount of sucking and got out a lot of gunk but it still wasn’t fixing the problem.


We decided we had to take him to the hospital.  We wanted him taken directly to Texas Children’s hospital instead of Bayshore which was only 3 minutes away.  However, I suppose it is good that we did not because Gideon was blue by the time the doctor’s looked at him in the ER.  They intubated him to keep his oxygen up and then after a little while the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) came down to get him.  Up there they took good care of him and put in an umbilical venal and arterial line.  I got to see his X-rays and you could see that his lungs were all fuzzy with something in them.  Despite Bayshore’s excellent care, we really wanted to transfer him to Texas Children’s Hospital.  When you live near one of the best pediatric hospitals in the nation you have to take advantage of it when it is something so important.  So we requested the transfer and Bayshore did not complain, they just made the call.


–Ries (and Gideon), going to the big city

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