Thursday, October 29, 2009

Next to last prego update: the birth

As those following in email and facebook know, Patrick Wyand Pontius Rankin finally made his appearance. It wasn't quite as smooth and easy as William, but all things considered went very well.

My water broke Tuesday around noon, but labor hadn't fully started. My doctor decided to give the baby 24 hours to come naturally before trying to induce labor (also standard practice in the US, since risk of infection increases after the water breaks). One day later, still no significant change in labor pains, so we checked into the hospital, not really knowing quite what might happen.

To make this G-rated, I'll keep the details to a minimum; if you'd like to know the full labor/delivery story, just send me an email :)

They decided to use a tablet (rather than IV) to try and induce labor because I wasn't very far along yet, and the IV drip could make things go too fast. The doctor and midwife both thought one dose of the tablet would be enough, but said we could try it for another 24 hours before having to consider other options. Well, three doses and 12 hours later, finally contractions started. Greg and I think those were about the 12 most boring hours we've spent: thinking something is going to happen, only to be told a few hours later no progress had been made. We watched some pretty terrible movies on TV, Oh Brother Where Art Thou? on DVD, and some India-Australia one day test match cricket.

Since contractions started happening every 2 minutes (around midnight), we then decided to not do any more inducement procedures and just see how things played out. I was feeling about how I felt when I woke up with labor pains with William, so my mood changed to be a bit more upbeat -- thinking that if things were to progress as they did with William, we might actually have a baby by 9AM!

Around 4:30AM, our midwife consulted the on call doctor, and they offered to fully open the bag of waters to see if that helped (the leak had just been small). Being game for anything that might speed up the process, we opted for it. About 20 minutes after that was done, I felt like it was time to push, but I was confused because it was so soon. But, the midwife checked things out and said to go for it. Things seem to go much more quickly with the second baby - she barely had time to get gloves on or lay down the sterile sheets on the bed! Three pushes later, out came the baby! 16 hours after the first tablet, but only 5 hours after labor really started.

The birth process was very similar to what we had in the States, but I suspect that's because my doctor told the staff the American midwife was calling the shots. We consider ourselves quite lucky to have ended up in HYD at the same time as the midwife (who is also a personal friend and independently practicing at the same maternity hospital I chose). Also, we're grateful to have a doctor open to giving the midwife full range and to discussing with us how we wanted things to go. Not all doctors here would give patients or a midwife such freedom.

In short, our local pregnancy to delivery experience was about as positive as it could have been. When inducement became necessary, we were a bit nervous, but the cautious approach taken by the doctor (who, thankfully, agreed that C-sections are only a course of last resort) and the support of the midwife carried through to a healthy baby! I'll post about the post-partum experience later, which adds a bit more local color.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Patience is not my best virtue

As a result, I'm a little antsy at the moment, since there's not much to do except wait!

We walked to/from dinner last night (about 15 minutes each way) in an effort to encourage Floyd to come. I've been pretty active in playing with William today, too. Unfortunately, insiders tend to have a mind of their own. My doctor still says she thinks I'll deliver before the actual due date, which would mean this week. Let's hope she's right!

Our car broke down Friday night (the starter broke). Perfect timing! Thankfully, two coworkers live in our same apartment building, and they worked out a schedule between them so that we have a car available if necessary. We're quite thankful to have such a supportive work cohort!

Monday, October 19, 2009

For those of you following at home...

... silence on the blog has not indicated that anything exciting has happened. Floyd is still nicely ensconced as an insider. Last week William said, "The baby is coming Thursday night." Sadly, Thursday came and went and no baby.

Then, on Sunday he announced to Abby and Nathan, "My brother is coming on Tuesday." We'll see what tomorrow brings. I suppose at some point his prediction will be correct, but at the moment, it's just a waiting game. Everyone at the office is having fun waiting to see if I'll come in or not each morning - so it's not just we who are waiting!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I was kind of excited about Diwali (or Deepawali, depending on what part of India you're in). It seemed like such a happy holiday - festival of lights, celebrating, reveling, etc etc. Then the day arrived, and it would be an understatement to say we were all a bit shocked.

I think the main problem is that we all (me, Pam, and our visitors Abby and Nathan) forgot that we're in India, where nothing is done in moderation. Poverty? Wealth? Laziness? Hard work? Beauty? Ugliness? All here, all in extremes. And Diwali is no different.

I've been through a couple of Independence Days, and a few New Year's Eves, including one firecracker-filled New Year's Eve in Vienna. But I've never seen anything like last night. The fireworks, in some cases, explode right over the city as big as any American July 4th show. Yet, as I learned when I foolishly asked some local co-workers whether there was some kind of public or municipal display, this is very much a DIY holiday. People travel to the outskirts of the city and return with, I can only assume, a full trunkload of sparklers, crackers, bottle rockets, and whatever else they can find. The noise was literally constant from dusk at around 5pm until midnight, with odd explosions (the tails of the bell curve) before and after that. Some were so loud it felt like there was an impact. In actuality, that's just what it feels like when the blasts are 50 feet from the apartment. Loud.

William, of course, thoroughly enjoyed himself most of the time, though some of the firecrackers were too big for him, too. At the opposite end, Bagwelle cowered under various tables shivering in fear. I think she's fine now, and I suspect no lasting damage was done, but we'll see. Word is it starts again at dusk tonight.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And now a William update

Don't worry, even with the impending birth, the first child has not been forgotten. He still gets as much attention as ever, even if I do have to say "no" when he wants me to chase him or constantly get up and down (luckily, Greg still obliges). He is chatting up a storm, in full sentences none the less. Hopefully, Floyd will take note and learn to speak quickly!

We are in the process of changing William's pre-school. His first one wasn't bad, we just weren't entirely satisfied. The sort of thing where a lot of little issues eventually add up to the point that we decided to look for a new place. This is William's trial week for his new school. Today, he went with Greg for an hour; tomorrow, he'll stay with Sarwary for the full three hours, and then on Friday he'll go by himself for three hours.

The new school also has its pluses and minuses. What we really like is its humanistic philosophy. This isn't something we would worry about so much if we were in the States, where we generally share a similar set of values with the populace at large. In India, though, class is still such a major issue; we weren't so wild about William learning to distinguish between the "upper" and "lower" people, which we could tell was starting to happen. Kids definitely learn by imitation, and even at age two William was picking up from those around him that one uses different respect levels to the classroom teacher vs. the ayama (i.e., classroom helper). At the new school, the distinction between teacher and aide is much less apparent. The aide is more of a trained teacher aide.

Plus, kids are expected to help out around the classroom - put away toys, help set the table for snack, etc. Again, something that would probably be pretty normal in a US preschool, but here, the ayamas do all that for the kids ... so as a result, a common phrase of late from William was: "no, *you* do that, Mama" even though he was perfectly capable of doing the task at hand himself. He was developing a borderline sense of entitlement.

On the flip side, the new school believes that since they're teaching the little kids how to be good people, how to be inquisitive, and how to fit in with the environment, they don't have space to introduce letters or numbers until after age four. He'll still color, sing songs, play in a sandbox, learn about fruit and trees and insects, etc ... but the "traditional" 3Rs won't be taught.

He's also in a mixed age class: 15 kids from 2.5 to 4 yrs old. I'm hoping this will be a positive experience for him and not frustrating (since he is the youngest). That's part of the reason why this is a trial week.

All things weighed out, if the trial week goes OK, we've decided that - for a two year old - being an environment where he can learn respect and responsibility by example is more important than learning his alphabet or numbers. After all, we can always teach him letters and numbers at home (and do already!), but it's much harder to control the personality influences when we're not home. So, having him in an environment more in tune with our values (even if this place is a little more "natural" than we are) wins out at this point.

Neither of us ever thought we'd be making these kind of educational decisions so early - William's only two! Being overseas definitely causes one to think more about which ideas or values are important to retain from the "home" culture. Figuring out how to model and instill those same values in William (when sometimes we feel like we're the only ones who hold those ideas!) can be quite a challenge.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Possible boy's names

Though by no means is this the final list of possibilities, this is just the closest we've come to agreeing on something. All names, of course, followed by Pontius Rankin.

The chosen girl's name is: Kathryn Neale

Possibilities for a boy:
Christopher Garrett
Ian McGaughey
Patrick Wyand
Philip Bredehoft
Samuel McGaughey
Samuel Bredehoft
Nathan Wilkinson

We made a list of first and middle names we liked and tried to see what would fit well together. Though we've considered having an ethnic middle name reflecting Floyd's place of birth (one good suggestion: Aurungzeb ... he could go by "Zeb" if he didn't like his first name!), that was a little too strange for Greg and didn't really match with William Carson.

I guess we're a little boring (conservative? traditional?) when it comes to names.

Addendum: 10 yr average of popularity of first names according to SSA website.
Christopher - 8
Nathan, Samuel - 25
Ian - 72
Patrick - 98
Philip - 310
Also, Christopher and William have been the top 3 names in DC (and top 5 in MD/VA) for the last three years. Strange, no?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Breast Cancer Walk

With about 300 other people, I went on a 2K breast cancer awareness walk this morning. I enjoyed it because I had often participated in the 5K Race for the Cure in DC, so continuing something similar in India had a reassuring feel to it.

I'm not sure what the point was, though, aside from inviting local press and hoping that coverage increases awareness. No registration fee, no raising money, nothing except people walking a mere 2K (no running option either).

Honestly, were I to pick a medical problem here worthy of an organized money-raising walk, I would choose diabetes. The number of people with Type II diabetes is staggering; one newspaper article I read estimated that 1/3 of the young techies / call center-ites in HYD have Type II. With these people in the 25-35 age range, that will be a huge public health problem as they continue to age. Plus, this demographic works at night (to match the US schedule) and lives in "hostels" - neither of which are conducive to eating well or exercising.

Overweight and obese people are also prevalent amongst the middle class. I've been told this is a common phenomenon in countries with significant poor populations - people are so proud of themselves that they can provide well for their family, they eat all the fattening foods not understanding the subsequent health implications. I understand the logic, but when it translates into diabetes and heart disease on a wide scale, I think the need for public education campaign is high.

An anecdote on our small scale. When Shabu (Sarwary's sister) started working for us, too, she asked why we had chapatti (tortilla-like bread made with just wheat flour and water) rather than puri (deep fried bread). Sarwary explained that Western people think too much oil is unhealthy, which is also why she uses less oil in the kitchen. Shabu thought this over for a bit and then said, "but they can afford the oil!"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Baby's ready, are we?

Starting this month, I visit my doctor every week, just to check everything is going OK. Just like the US, I find the appointments a little tedious - it takes twice as long to drive to the hospital, wait for my appointment and drive back as the time I actually spend in with the doctor. The doctor just feels my belly, checks the fetal heart rate, asks if we have any questions, and sends us on our way.

And, like last pregnancy, I'm a pretty boring patient (knock on wood!!).

The doctor sort of surprised us today, though, by saying at the end, "Well, perhaps I'll see you before your appointment next week!" She explained that it was in a good position to be born, so she was happy to deliver it soon.

We're not convinced the baby is coming next week - it would be four weeks early - but I suppose we better, at least, pack a bag to take with us just in case!

PS - we're going on a breast cancer walk tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have time to post something non-pregnancy related.