Now that we've got her home, we're really getting to know Myrna. And it feels like she's leaning on us a bit more than she did (and could) in the hospital.
Her first night at home, Thursday, was a trial for us all, with much crying, anguish, and exasperation. I can't speak for all of us, but I know at least one dude who caught only three hours of sleep before starting work at 8:00am and later dozed off in a very small chair in the play area of a secondhand children's clothing store. The lesson learned from that night was that Myrna insists on sleeping with us in our bed, something which I was really nervous about, given her tininess and my tossandturninmysleepness.
Mike had some advice about this when we saw him in September - that sleeping with an infant is sort of like when you and a buddy are out late and circumstances compel you to share a bed. You more or less sleep, but are vigilantly aware of the complete geography of the bed through every moment of the night.
Subsequent nights have gone much better and, so far, we haven't smothered Myrna. Certainly I miss REM sleep, but concessions must be made for waking up in the middle of the night to those bright curious eyes, even if said eyes mean a feeding that still requires at least an hour.
So anyway, this morning Kelly's mom headed back across the sea. Kelly and I have made up some quinoa with beets and eggplant, and if the three of us manage to do anything this evening beyond preparing food, serving food, and eating food, we'll probably have overextended ourselves.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
As of Thursday afternoon, all of us were home from the hospital. Myrna was a brave soul, with ultrasounds of her brain, tummy and hips - all which are completely in tact and properly developed, despite her early entrance. Then she had her final examination by the pediatrician and all his medical school students. By lunch time, we were all at home, starting to get back to "normal" (as if we know what normal is). This Thanksgiving was of course a bit different, but we enjoyed some difficult to find sweet potatoes with a healthy week old bundle of joy and a very loving, helpful Grandmother.
And, I don't believe we have written about her name. We had yet to decide on a middle name, though when I left the hospital we had to start the paperwork trail associated to her birth. So this Thanksgiving we gave thanks for our own little holiday miracle - Myrna Sofia Burkhalter (though she has enjoyed a stint as Myrna Jabbusch at the UniKlinik).
For the first few days of Myrna's life, Chris was the only one who could visit her. It was difficult for me, especially since I had to share him with another person (who needed him more than me). He would bring me photos and videos each day, and stories about her. I knew then that he had fallen completely in love with her, and over the past few days, I've gotten to see just how wonderful he is with her. For those who might have trouble believing how into her he is, imagine my surprise when he shows up one day at the hospital with an entire Myrna slide show on his never less than 99% full ipod. Which album got the boot to make space for his baby girl I don't know.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Reporting from the Eco-Express laundromat, where I'm in heated battle with a strikingly aggressive group of Russian dudes for a third washing machine (and blogging right now isn't improving my odds). I've got one machine for the darks, one for the lights, and I need a third for baby clothes, because the doctors told us yesterday that Myrna may be ready to come home as early as Thursday - Thanksgiving, as it happens. The little girl has put on weight steadily, and feeds confidently, so they say her metabolism is sufficient to keep warm enough without the thermocrib.
This means that today we've got more shopping to do than Kanye. As we hadn't expected Myrna til mid-December, we put off buying a lot of things that, now, we won't make it 24 hours without. So there's plenty on today's agenda.
(Jumping back to narrativity, I just scored that third machine - but not without getting barked at by a girl in Ramones jacket, who'd only been waiting a whole three minutes, against my twenty.)
Myrna had a big day yesterday, spending lots of time with the grandmom, meeting with a midwife, and showing off for a small crowd of med students. And Kelly opted to spend last night at the Universitätsklinik with Myrna. Our floor-level futon was a bit of a push for her, and so she requested a bed in Myrna's room. This has allowed us to ease a bit further into parenting - more of the feeding, diaper changing, and fuss-soothing handled by us, and less by the nurses.
I hung out at the hospital with them til about 1:00am last night. Myrna had slept and snuggled til about 11:00pm, when she became hungry. We fed her the usual 50ml of milk, after which she perked up and played for a while. I'm learning that when she's being playful and straight up trying to be cute, she's moments from demanding food. True to form, less than twenty minutes after finishing one bottle, she forced our hand and got another 10ml for dessert. Then, finally, she bedded down, quiet and content.
Anyway, a crowd is gathering over my darks, so I should probably get into position to change out the laundry before Dee Dee comes over...
Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday night we caught up with some Bruce Darnell action on the TV set in Kelly's hospital room. If you aren't familiar with this German media sensation, well, that's a shame, but appreciation does require some understanding of the language. As an accessory participant on a number of reality-based shows over here, he's shockingly addictive. My favorite moment from Saturday's talent competition, where he served on the panel of judges: "Ich habe einmal gesagt, und ich sage noch mal. (pauses to stifle a tear) Lena, du bist besonders." Something like that, anyway.
Sunday was a-lot-of-snow day. Kelly visited the baby again. Myrna continues to develop exponentially in alertness, responsiveness, curiosity, and even adorableness. Also a little in fussiness and a lot in diaper-changing hijinks, but we won't dwell on those things.
Word on the street is that Kelly will get to come home Monday. Not sure yet how she's going to do on those four flights of stairs to our apartment, or how she'll take to the futon-on-the-floor set-up we've got over here (as short-term expats, some luxuries have necessarily been sacrificed -- ask me some time about my record collection). So we will see how all that plays out, but presumably she'll be able to spend a lot more time with Myrna on the Säugling ward, and will slowly readjust to life outside the Krankenhaus as well.
Also tomorrow, Kelly's mom rolls into kölsch-town, which should be pretty helpful, what with Kelly's still-limited mobility - not to mention our general ineptness in infant-handling.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The weather continues to be nastier than that dude who called Janet "Miss Jackson," but today is a Saturday and the streets have been quiet. As hinted in the previous post, not only was today Kelly's first chance wash her hair since the baby, but, to our great surprise, she got the thumbs-up on a one-block taxi ride and some time with Myrna. We spent five hours or so with her today. Sometime in the middle, I made a run to the house and returned with some food, bringing things a little closer to the familiar.
Kelly gave Myrna a bottle, we fumbled our way through some burping (burping Myrna, that is; Kelly and I are old hats, ourselves), and I let Kelly take advantage of the opportunity for some mother-daughter diaper-changing bonding.
At the end, Kelly was feeling pretty tired, and all the moving about still brings some pain. Around 4:00pm we returned her to the Weyertal hospital for some rest. I've got errands to run and housekeeping to catch up on (Kelly's mom arrives Monday, and shouldn't have to see the state that these three days have left our apartment in).
Anyway, this visit resulted in lots of new photos, which you can find at the same Picasa page as before. And a word on Aussprache. We've had quite a few questions over how one says Myrna's name, and understandably so. Well, it's like an Autechre thing, and we prefer to let you decide for yourselves. But seriously though, the first syllable rhymes with "her" or "sir."
Friday, November 21, 2008
Today I woke up to the banging wind outside. It poured rain through the morning, then snowed after lunch. By 4:00pm the skies were clear and blue, but much of Cologne was left disheveled at best - some tram routes even halted due to power failure.
Kelly is well on the mend, and up and moving now - even out of her hospital room. This is good, because her naïveté about the amenities of the free buffet were becoming comical. She's at the Weyertal hospital recovering, and is terribly anxious to get out and over to the Universtitätsklinik hospital, where Myrna is staying. They're only a block apart, which is fine for me, but exceedingly difficult for Kelly. Hopefully we can reunite the two soon.
Myrna is better than ever, free for now of IVs or anything scary like that, and greedily consumed her full bottle this afternoon. I've done two diaper changes now, and Myrna has indicated dissatisfaction with my work in that department. She's still a very quiet baby, but things like - hypothetically speaking - getting pampers tape stuck to her leg will get a respectable Schauspielerin howl out of her.
Myself, I am tired, but really I've had it pretty easy this week. Regardless, I'm going to bed and sleeping the sleep of the just.
Thanks to everyone who wrote us today! It's a great feeling getting to share our enthusiasm. Oh, and big ups to Heike at Inlingua for the lightning-fast Official Translation of our marriage certificate on such short notice!
The sprout is nothing if not strong-willed. Shunning photographs, refusing to assume a position suitable for natural birth, upsetting her mother's shoe-tying needs, we knew this. But we were little prepared for her to arrive as early as November 20th (November 19th, if checking the calendar on US soil).
Myrna is here - tiny but healthy. We were a little freaked out for a bit, but she came out fine and is better every hour.
If it seems a little out of the blue, understand that it is SO is for us... Pictures can be found at our Picasa page, which I'll update as often as I can. Also, it's safe to assume that, for the foreseeable future, this blog will become egregiously precious.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
November 4th started here in Germany a bit earlier than in the US. For us it meant a whole bunch of changes. First, we are now six weeks from the estimated arrival of the little Brussel Sprout, and so my Mutterschutz (maternity leave) begins. A bit to my surprise, it is illegal for me to now show up at my office, so the final books and papers were moved home. Lucky for me, I still have lots of work I can do from home - finishing up a paper and sending off job applications for next fall will certainly keep me busy. In fact, I'm not really quite sure what I would do if I couldn't so easily work from home (I get bored way too easily - just ask Chris). But on the upside, I at least can lounge around in "lounging pants," and since I'm down to one pair of jeans that fit (the skinny jeans finally got too skinny this weekend) I'm happy to hang out here.
By the time we were ready for bed, no polls had closed yet. So it was off to bed not knowing what would happen while we were sleeping (kind of like the 2000 elections). I forgot to turn off my alarm clock, so by 6:30 am we were in the know of the election results. Really, quite a wonderful way to wake up.
Now the final one that needs to get the memo about changes is the little one. She still hasn't turned around into the correct position, and the chances of her now flipping on her own are fairly slim...