Wednesday, December 23, 2009

big boy haircuts

true has been going to have his hair cut (no, i won't let dad near him with the clippers) to a kids' style place for the past two years. they charge an unreasonable amount of money, but your kid gets to sit in a dolphin chair, watch videos, and then play in the playroom (which, by my standards, isn't really clean enough). they always ask how to cut it, i always tell them, but what i always get is either haircut A, B, or C. i've never seen them do anything but three different cuts. and i don't like any of them.

then it dawns on aaron...why doesn't true get his cut at the barber shop, where the stylists are hip and fun and it doesn't cost a ton of cash. brilliant! aaron is brilliant!

true was a little bummed about not getting to jump into a container of grimy plastic balls and play in the little house, but as far as i'm concerned, he's never going back. i love his new cut!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

luca at one

a letter to luca


Hi Luca.

In just a few hours, you will be one year old. It’s so cliché to say…but really, this year has blown by and you are growing up so fast.

For a year I’ve tried to sit down and write your birth story…but I’ve either been too busy, lazy, or likely both. But it really is a unique story, so I am determined to not rob you of the tale of the night that you came into this world.

Let me set the you know, Seattle doesn’t see a lot of snow. But sometimes, the atmosphere aligns, and we are fortunate enough to experience the white, cold, magical snow. I love snow. And in December of ’08, we had a lot of it in Seattle! So the streets were icy, the city was quiet, the air was bitingly cold.

In a lull between storms, we (your big brother, your father, myself), headed out the door to a Christmas party at the Stonich/Kessler home. It was the evening of December 18th, 2008, and at the point, I was four days overdue. I felt big and bloated, and I was really ready to meet you. I had done everything I could think of in an effort to encourage labor. Nada. No signs of your readiness to show up.

At the party, it was all I could do to sit in a big comfy chair and try to act pleasant. I was happy, but I wasn’t particularly comfortable. True was having a blast playing with the train set and his friends, your dad was happily toasting friends, eating food, making merry (as they say). At some point, Dad headed out the door to go sledding. He returned bleeding, with a cut chin. It looked painful. We headed home, it was late, True was ready for bed. Your dad asked, “Are we gonna have a baby tonight?” Sadly, I said no, I didn’t think it was going to happen. He took a pain medication to numb the sting of the cut on his chin, and went to bed.

I settled into the guest room (when you are big and pregnant, it’s hard to sleep near anybody else…it’s too hot). I turned out the light, let out a sigh, and tried to sleep (near impossible at that point…good prep for the months to come). It must have been close to midnight. As I drifted off, dreaming of mountain biking and running, I was abruptly awakened by a GUSH of liquid down my legs. I grappled to pull my heart back into my chest and I thought to myself, “game on!”

I grabbed my cell phone and texted your dad, “water broke”, and I started fishing around for my suitcase, packed with everything I would need for the hospital. Your dad came stumbling up the stairs in a frantic rush, “let’s go!” I hadn’t started contracting yet, so I wasn’t in such a rush and while we waited for Dave Rider to come over to stay with True, I started vacuuming, doing laundry, changing the sheets on the bed. Dave arrived and I continued my cleaning efforts. I was obsessed with insuring the house was in order for our return from the hospital. Hello hormones! Dave and Dad looked on in disbelief.

I called the hospital and let them know we were on the way, but I wasn’t contracting. It must have been a quiet night around there, as they said to come on in (directly opposing True’s birth, where they made me stay home until the contractions were 5 minutes apart). We loaded up the van (whoo hoo for the Synchro Westphalia) and started the 3.5 mile drive to UWMC. Three blocks down the road we realized we forgot the camera, so I insisted that your dad turn around and go back home to retrieve. He didn’t want to, but I INSISTED. And you know how I can be.

Mission accomplished, we began our short drive again. This time, I had my first contraction a block from the house. Bloody hell! My eyes were wide and I started to panic as I grabbed Aaron’s arm and squeezed until it was over. I had conveniently forgotten how much having a baby hurts! Aaron drove faster. I would have expected my next contraction to be 10-20 minutes later, but it came in no less than 5 minutes. “Uh oh”, I thought, “This is going to be fast and furious”.

We pulled into the *passenger pick up only* zone and parked. You gotta love your dad for breaking some rules. I remember feeling anxious, yet happy. I remember looking at your father and feeling overwhelmed with love for him. And I remember thinking, “Damn, this is starting to really hurt”.

We made it up to the maternity ward (and why, oh why would they put the maternity ward way down the hall and UP 5 flights?), and checked in at the front desk. They brought us to an exam room, which they usually do before they admit you to a birth and delivery room. I told them right then and there to check us straight in to a delivery room and to call our doctor. They resisted, and we ended up going into the exam room. I rolled my eyes and looked at Aaron. He shrugged his shoulders.

In the exam room, a very young looking girl wearing scrubs and a white coat walked in and introduced herself as the attending doctor. HUH? I almost blurted out, “How old are you!” but I was still showing some semblance of self control. Again, Aaron and I look at each other and again, he shrugs.

Little girl doctor announces she will examine me. I counter that it is not needed, that I am in labor. She protested, needing to know if my water “actually” broke. (WTF?!) I firmly inform her that indeed, my water broke, I know what I am doing, and she does not need to examine me. She counters with threats to not move me into a delivery room until I am examined. I relented here, and let her attempt an exam. Attempt is the key word. She was so green, so new at her job and I was in so much pain that I stopped her mid-exam.

Little girl doctor says that she needs to know how dilated I am in order to have a baseline. A baseline? A baseline for what? I ask her this. I tell her that I am a reasonable woman and if she can provide me with a reasonable answer, I will concede. This really throws her off and she starts to look even younger to me. Your dad decides to get in the action and calmly states that they need to get me a room, and do it now. They obey…I guess perhaps they thought I was irrational, but your dad (not in the throws of labor) was probably rational.

I finally get settled in to the delivery room when the contractions start piling on top of each other. There is no break in between. I’m exasperated…this sucks! And in the middle of this all, the nurse is attempting to stick an IV port into a vein in my hand and she misses. A few times. Honestly, that pain was absolutely NOTHING compared to the contractions. I didn’t even flinch. But your dad on the other hand…well, he doesn’t like needles much and probably not blood and my arm is all needles and blood. He starts to turn white.
Then they tell me that they can’t reach our doctor. I would have started to panic, but I am SCREAMING at everybody and using every foul word known to man. Nothing really registers. I beg for an epidural. I plead. I demand. And I vaguely remember thrashing around. I’m all over the place, trying to get calm, trying to get comfortable. Up, down, sideways, on the floor, on the bed, crouched down, fetal position. You name it, I tried it. Your dad was holding both of my hands and I’m banging my head against his chest and he starts to sway, his knees start to buckle (remember, he was dealing with his own pain…he had a sliced chin from a sledding incident). The nurses have keyed in and Aaron hands me off to them as he staggers out of the room before he faints. Honestly, I don’t even notice.

At what seems like a glacial pace, the anesthesiologist shows up to start my epidural. He’s asking a million questions and I can’t for the life of my figure out why. I can’t talk; I just want him to hurry! I scream at him, “NOW IS A REALLY GREAT TIME TO GET THIS THING GOING!” He looks at me, and very calmly tells me that he’s not making small talk, and he’s not enjoying our conversation at all, but he needs the answers in order to proceed. I roll my eyes and scream some more and answer his questions and then I just start whimpering…the pain is so intense.

It all becomes so hazy and foggy now…but I remember feeling you starting to come out. But I really wanted that epidural, so I didn’t tell anybody you were descending or they would have told me it was too late. The nurse warned me that we could not proceed if I was feeling any sort of downward pressure and I lied! Luca, I lied and it was easy! I really really wanted an epidural!

Then boom, they get it in, they kick up the dosage and I’m screaming that I can still feel everything and why can’t they get it right?!!! The nurses tell me that they’ve lost your heartbeat (I’m hooked up to monitors on my belly that keep track of your heart rate). They start ordering me around, telling me how to position myself. I refuse, I mean, after all, I’m in charge here. Luca, I honestly did not understand the potential severity of the situation. Next thing I know, there is a woman in my face yelling at me- “Mrs. Erbeck! You must turn over right now! This is for the health of your baby! You must do it for your baby!”

Well, heck, that’s all they had to say in the first place. I think that somebody actually taking the turn to do the yelling vaulted me back to reality. Of course. Of course I will turn over and I will do it right now. I did. And I looked up and the room was FULL of people in scrubs, scrubbing. They were wearing those funny paper hats and paper booties over their shoes…just like those guys in the hospital dramas on TV. Then the realization that they are preparing for surgery…they think this is going to go c-section! This is when the panic and fear twist together the produce the adrenalin needed to be a team player…to focus on getting my job done. It is that precise moment that I know I must be a good girl…I must do what the nurses and doctors say, and I must push my little baby out.
My focus was so intense, that I noticed nothing and nobody in the room. I don’t even know what I saw. Maybe the dull and very dim first rays of light. It was over so quick…1 push. 2 push. 3 push. 4 push. And that was it, there you were. It must have been all over 2 minutes. It was 4:30 am.

And in walks Heather. Let me tell you some things about Auntie Heather. Did you know that some 2.5 year earlier, she was in a car, well on her way to a camping vacation with Uncle G when they got the call that I was going into labor with your brother. Did you know that they turned that car around and drove all the way to Seattle so that she could photograph the event? She did! And for you, wee Luca, she got up in the middle of the night, fed her 6 mos old babies, and drove on ICY roads to come and take photos of you, of us. I’m ever so grateful that she did. Those images invoke a flood of emotion…I can’t even explain.

By the way…the epidural finally kicked in full force, but you were already out. I was feeling so good then that I decided I better start apologizing to everybody that I had been incredibly rude to during labor. First up- the little young doctor girl, who was the one who ended up catching you. Then the nurses. Then the anesthesiologist. Then your dad. Thankfully they are used to the abuse!

Your dad gave you a bath, they brought you over to me and our bond was instant. You were so calm, so wide awake, so aware. You must have been awake for over 20 minutes. This, wee Luca, was amazing. All that I wanted to do was keep you safe, warm, happy and healthy. I pledged myself to you, just as I did to your brother when he was born.

We’re not sure how, but I ended up with a black eye. I think it was from the pushing. So imagine my black eye, your dad’s cut chin…and people must have wondered if they should be calling child protective services. We were quite a pair.

Your dad and I snuggled up and got cozy with you as the sun was starting to bring light and life to the day. The Husky stadium was washed in brilliant gold. It was the first sun Seattle had seen in weeks. And it seemed only proper, that you Luca, your name meaning “light”, were born on the shortest, darkest day of the year…which just happened to be filled with brilliant, beautiful light.

You are, Luca, truly a bright spot in our lives.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And he walks...

yep, the night before the wee Luca's first birthday, he decides to take up walking. his first trip was the 4 steps over to his daddy's beer.
figures it would be a beer that would motivate him....he is, after all, an erbeck.

in true's words

true says to his dad this morning, "dad, i want some grandma jam on my toast please". aaron roots around in the fridge for a while, checks the pantry, comes back with a jar of fancy fig jam and says, "true, this is all we have". true says, "uh, no thanks. i only like to eat grandma jam".

(this post was specifically for the pleasure of grandma erbeck...and not meant to send her to the stove in an effort to whip up some jam...)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

oh well

luca's gift to true for his first night in the newly shared room was...puking all over the place. not once, but twice.
luca was so ill that the next night true had to sleep in the same room with aaron, luca in his new room, me on the couch- poised to tend to luca should he need me.
so our "let's finally get some sleep" plan was ambushed by a stomach virus.
we'll try again....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Silent Night

we moved luca into true's room tonight (of course, now the room is known as true and luca's room). we'll see how it goes. maybe true will sleep right through luca's 3-4 times a night wake ups. with no monitor, you bet i will!

Oh Merry Christmas!

our lovely little street has many home holiday light displays. many of them are quite beautiful and elegant, some are not. directly across the street, gene and vern cram every light and plastic decoration possible onto their little lawn. it's quite a sight...and the reason that we don't have to bother turning on a porch light during the month of december. one of my friends even asked if we were nervous about letting our kids get to close (never thought of that, but true is looking curiously tan these days...)