October 2nd, 2019

edifice rex

Catching Up on Death, Death, and Life, Part III

Hello to Asta Djun-Rei!

Photo of Asta Djun-Rei as Mao Tse-Tung meeting Henry Kissinger, as portrayed by my adopted Panda son, Carl the Second
My infant daughter and my adopted son, Carl the Second, play Mao meeting Kissinger. Just because.

How time flies. Jesus god, but time fucking flies, it's unbelievable. And yet, it is true. I am a father, a papa, a daddy, and have been now for six weeks as of Monday at 19:59.

We had been told to expect her to arrive on August 29th, but the impatient girl had other ideas, popping into the world on the 19th, instead. Possibly the video below explains why; it was shot on the 15th by her mother and certainly suggests a child more than ready to explore the outside world.

Raven's pregnancy was an easy one. Basically no morning sickness — if I remember correctly, she told me she threw up twice during the first trimester — or other painful or inconvenient symptoms. The worst, for me, was that her already-keen sense of smell went haywire during the second and third months and, for her, that her feet swelled up quite a bit during the final month or so. I found myself giving her a lot of foot rubs but the tragedy is, she doesn't enjoy foot rubs; so she endured them as a medical necessity.

Anyway, her actual labour carried on the tradition. She started feeling the first hints of contractions on Sunday night, reporting them to me after I returned from my evening soccer game. We made sure we had our her overnight packed up and ready to go, just in case, then called it a night.

And in the morning, she told me she wanted to go to the hospital. But not before we shared a typical Cantonese style breakfast.

Labour or no labour, Raven needs her sustenance. Pictured is her breakfast, before we called a cab to take us to the hospital.

We arrived at Ottawa's Civic around 13:00 hours and were triaged pretty quick. Raven was deemed too far along to be sent home, not far enough to be admitted. Why not walk around for a while, come back in a couple of hours, or if your water breaks?

An hour and a half later, her water did break, Raven was declared 3 centimetres dilated and we were soon settling in for ... however long it would take.

That was at 15:00 hours. At 18:59, the baby surprised everyone but Raven — shortly before, a nurse was advising her to Breathe! but Raven said, "No! It feels like the baby is coming out!" And she was right.

So. Yeah. No epidural, no tylenol, the only pain-killer she took — then or after — was too dig her fingers into my belly's flesh and that on the back of my neck.

I have never been so happy to take such abuse (well, okay: I kinda liked it. It was a lot like a massage for me.)

Photo of my daughter, taken on 2019-08-19, moments after she was born

I'm not going to even try to recount the subsequent six weeks! Suffice it to say that that first was an entirely new category of exhaustion. No amount of partying, studying or anything else prepared me for the reality of those first few days trying to care for that utterly helpless, tiny, person becoming.

Since then, we have mostly managed pretty well, I think. Raven has had one really bad week (which meant I had one, too; I found myself force to write her a long letter, doing my best to offer understanding and support and love, while also saying in effect, You can't treat me this way!. She didn't respond with words, but it seemed to have an effect. At least, she seems happier.

Breastfeeding hasn't gone well, so Raven has resorted to a pump, which is typically providing about 70% of our daughter's food. The other 30%, obviously, is formula. I can live with that, and so can the child. Which is what matters most.

And nature's hormonal powers sure did their job on me! I fell in love with that tiny creature while she was still a slimy, bloody mess in her mother's arms. Then doubly-so when, at last, it was my turn to hold her.

I've now been changing diapers like a champ, singing to her like a fool (see the video, below) and — Raven's misfortune being my good luck — I get to feed her a lot, too.

DW's (and — wow! — especially LJ's) photo systems being the primitive beasts they are, even in the best of circumstances, you won't be seeing an enourmous amount of picspam here. For those who are interested, I now have an Instagram for shallow spontenaity. If you've got one two, let's follow each other!

I've also started a baby/parent-centric blog called The Adventures of Daddy Zesser, which I've been updating (sigh) a lot more regularly than I have been here (to put it mildly. When I get the chance, I'll see if I can figure out how to syndicate to these venerable platforms.

Anyway, that's about it for now. I am, once again, exhausted. But still very happy.

Say good night, baby ...

My darling daughter poses with her first work of art. Medium: faeces

Post-scriptum: If you wondered about the title way back at the top, "Asta Djun-Rei" is our baby's first name. The first part comes from Finland, while the second part is a transliteration of her Chinese name. We did a lot of thinking and talking about it and decided we wanted her to have the choice of embracing her white heritage or her Chinese (or both, preferably). She also has three middle names and her last belongs to my paternal grandfather — Drozdowicz. Raven insisted that my child carries my name. But she hates my actual last name (Dow, which you might notice comes from the middle of Drozdowicz; my dad got sick of having to spell out his birthname) and so my grandfather's legacy lives on after all.

And no, I won't be remotely surprised if Asta changes it back some ways down the line.