Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Eating and Sleeping

We had to say sad goodbyes to Grandma and Grandpa this morning — may they have a safe and uneventful journey back to Raleigh! As Ellie put it, "Grandma and Grandpa are leaving. That makes me really, really sad. But when Nana comes, I'll be happy again!" So come quickly, Nana! We look forward to seeing her tomorrow and hope we can survive on our own for one whole day.

Isla's theory on life seems to be that eating and sleeping are the primary activities one needs to be concerned with. Mostly sleeping. Oh yeah, and eating. And then sleeping. Plus a little pooing, of course. So while one expects a newborn to lose a bit of weight at first and then gain it back by about day 10-14, Isla seems to have managed to gain 13 ounces in the first 7 days. Conserve energy...wake only enough to eat...then go back to sleep. Rules for living.

Of course, if you want to sleep and pretend to eat simultaneously, the thumb comes in very handy.

But here's proof that there are eyes behind those lids. And what a cutie she is.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Introducing Isla Frances Barrett

It was an amazing experience to bring our younger daughter home to meet Ellie. I think this picture gives you a slight taste of Ellie's excitement as Crystal extracts her from the car seat.

But I suppose I should digress for a moment to give you her name! “Isla Frances Barrett”. Crystal had fallen for the name Isla some months ago and, knowing her husband, thought it wise to introduce me to it well ahead of the decision time. She knows it takes me awhile to adjust to new and different things. It's a Scottish name, derived from the "Isle of Islay", known as "the queen of the Hebrides" — a series of islands off the west coast of Scotland. (You can read about the island on Wikipedia or see a picture there.) You pronounce her name "eye-luh", or just imagine singing the last line of the Gilligan's Island theme song with a but of an "uh" at the end. Don't worry — you'll get the hang of it. We think it's a beautiful name and that it goes well with "Ellie".

Anyway — on with the pictures! Here are a couple of Ellie's first time holding Isla.

Then it was Grandma and Grandpa's turn, though Ellie couldn't be kept away!

And of course, one of the whole (newly enlarged) happy family. (Maybe it's time to replace the picture on the home page of our website, which was taken during our engagement!)

There were a few landmark events on this Isla's second day: first night at home, first overflowingly poopy nappy, first midwife's visit, first non-family visitor, and first time in the bouncy seat (she much prefers human contact).

I thought I'd add this one last shot my dad took on our pre-Isla trip to the London Aquarium of the city skyline across the Thames.

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's a Girl!

She's arrived and we're thrilled!

   Born: April 13, 2008 at 9:25pm BST
   Weight: 7 lbs 6 oz
   Head Circumference: 33.5 cm

I know you're dying for her name, but things have been a bit rushed, so give us a day to make sure we're sure the one we've picked fits her, and we'll let you know.

A little bit of the story while it's still fresh in my mind. The thing you don't want to hear when you phone the hospital to say you think you should come in with contractions lasting for a little bit shy of a minute, spaced 3 minutes apart, and mother-to-be saying she's about at her limit: "Sorry, we're closed" (!!).

They meant their delivery ward was full and said we needed to divert to the backup hospital about 10 miles away. Fortunately, our friend Eric was just a block away and was willing to pop out of the evening church service to come pick us up and drive us to Stevenage. Crystal's key message as we were driving: "No matter what they say, I'm not going back home" (recall with Ellie they told us to go home because "real labor" hadn't yet begun and she was born within an hour).

Fortunately, they welcomed us warmly and our midwife Maria and student midwife Christina were brilliant. They coached us through the toughest bit at the end and Crystal did magnificently.

Our little girl immediately began a feed (she was probably aware of how pro-breastfeeding her mum is!) and wouldn't let up. As the midwives watched me attempt to dress her they probably thought I needed some daddy lessons before being given care of this precious child. I realized I've forgotten the newborn thing a bit -- Ellie responds when I say "push arm #1!" but this one hasn't quite gotten the hang of it. But I managed to get her dressed without any major limb dislocations.

After about an hour or so they moved Crystal from the delivery room to the post-natal ward where she was sharing a large with a few other new mothers. Since it was past visiting hours, I needed to go home. The pediatrician will come for a thorough check on things in the morning (a little more thorough than most because Crystal is on thyroid medication and the baby's levels might need to be checked). Then I'll try to find a lift to the hospital to pick them up and bring her home so Ellie can meet her little sister. I think she'll be excited.

Thank you for all of your love and prayers. God is very kind to us and we are very grateful.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day Zero: The Waiting Game

Today's our due date for "li'l sister" to arrive. Crystal's been having lots of contractions for lots of days now. They're pretty regular and strong, but don't go anywhere. We went to the hospital yesterday to monitor the baby for a little while and get Crystal checked over. Everything is good and the midwives confidently predicted that we'd be delivering sometime within the next two weeks or so. Such pinpoint accuracy! We all want detailed predictions, but that just doesn't seem possible when you're in pre-labor.

Just in case, they've scheduled us for an induction on the 25th. Hopefully we won't need that appointment since Grandma and Grandpa are only here until the 22nd!

Ellie's being very patient and is excited about her little sister's arrival. We had a nice snow last week and here's a shot of the snow gruffalo we made together and the gruffalo's child that Ellie added. (Notice the poisonous wart on the end of the gruffalo's nose and the prickles on his back).