Monday, March 31, 2008

Back to the Grind

First day back at work.

It's weird.

I miss Christophe

(ok, and Pierrette too, but I'm used to being away from her when I go to work).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Earth Hour by WWF

On Saturday from 8pm to 9pm turn off your lights and join thousands around the world in making a statement about conserving energy.

I think this is a great thing to participate in with kids. Christophe is too young to remember this but for older kids its a great way to jump start a conversation about how to preserve our precious planet.

For more information check out the Earth Hour web site.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

9 lbs: No More Formula

We had an appointment with the midwives this afternoon, and Christophe was weighed again. He's nine pounds, 140z more than the last visit a week ago, or an average of two ounces gained per day. This is high enough that Christie has suggested we stop supplementing with formula, and revert to breastfeeding only.

Since that was always our desire, this is a pleasing development. Not to mention, that means that Christophe's doing well in terms of growth and weight gain.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Two Palmar Grasps: First Contact and Mommy

Two of the photos I just finished uploading are good examples of how the palmar grasp reflex makes good photos. First of all, there's first contact between Cain and Christophe:

Cain's tail was flipping about, so Christophe grabbed on. Cain didn't seem to mind.

Also, the ever-so-common adult-and-baby hand picture. It's a cliche, but I still like it, and this is my favorite of that kind, so far:

Lots of other new photos of Christophe up over the last few days in the Wiseman Conspiracy group on Flickr. In part because I've strained my Achilles tendon, so I'm not moving around a lot, so I'm spending more time with the laptop than I had been before. Also, I notice we have our first photos added to the group by someone other than Pierrette and I: thanks, mom!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Visiting the Grandparents

Once upon a time, a visit from grandparents from another province would have involved a lengthy voyage by car (or horse, before that). More recently, the airplane reduced the time requirements for the trip. These days, even the voyage is optional.

Christophe and Pierrette are visiting with Pierrette's parents (memere and pepere) in Moncton via Skype, the internet, and a MacBook:
Earlier today, Pierrette and Christophe spent some time with his great-grandmother (grand-memere) and great-aunt. One can only imagine how Christophe and his children will visit with us, at a remove.

"Football Hold"

When we change Christophe, he gets cranky. It doesn't help that we usually change his diaper just before feeding, so he's hungry, and once woken up by the changing process, cannot be easily calmed without feeding him.

After reading The Happiest Baby on the Block, I started to apply what they called the 'football hold' after changing Christophe, and letting him suck on my thumb pad. Most days, that's just enough to calm him for the thirty seconds or so before Pierrette is ready to take him and give him what he really wants: his next meal.


Something I hadn't read about before Christophe came around is the fact that newborns often get a callus on the lips from regular and frequent breastfeeding. It's quite visible and significant, and you can easily see it on Christophe's lips:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cain's Brest Frend

Apparently, breastfeeding pillows have more than one use:

Friday, March 21, 2008

The best swaddling blanket

Shawn got us 3 wonderful swaddling blankets from Solana Swaddle Wrap for Christophe. Not only are these blankets beautiful they work. Many swaddling blankets are too small so our little Houdini gets loose. These are made from light weight cotton making them breathable and extra comfy for baby. Definitely worth every penny you spend on these. Hands down our favorite blankets.

the Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy

At the beginning of my pregnancy Kim lent me this great book called the Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. Unlike all the textbook and encyclopedia style books you read when you are pregnant this is a lighthearted approach to everything your doctor wont tell you. Since the boo came early I just finished reading the last chapter today. At the end of the book there is this great list...

"The top 10 greatest concerns of pregnant woman:

10. Will my breast stay this big forever? (please, god)
9. Will I feel think sick an tired for the entire nine months?
8. Will my husband ever really understand what I am going throught?
7. Will it hurt to deliver the baby?
6. How badly will it hurt to deliver the baby?
5. Will it hurt more than a bikini wax? Less then broken leg?
4. Will I get all ugly and fat?
3. Will everything down there shrink back to normal after the baby is born?
2. Will I be a good mother?
1. Will the baby be OK?"

Busy Times

Lost has happened since my last post...

Last Sunday Christophe went for his first "walk". We had been out and about many times but never for the purpose of walking. We bundled up Christophe and took the bug out with the bassinet, we ended up walking all the way up to the Danforth and picking up a few grocery items from a small market there.

On Tuesday this week we had a midwife appointment. Christophe weighed in at 8lb 2oz. He is growing too fast a few of his smaller onesies are already too small and a few pj's are getting there. It was Sara's last day as a student so it was nice to see her one last time. She is going to make a fantastic midwife. Sara said we can start weaning him off the formula so we have been doing one feed with formula one without. Most times (well 50% of the time) that we offer him formula he refuses it. After the visit we went up to my work to show him off to my colleagues and pick up a few items that I had left behind due to his unexpected arrival.

My sister called to let us know she is coming for a short visit. She will be arriving on Sunday and staying for a few days; I am excited to have her over.

On Wednesday we had a very exciting day... we started at the Big Carrot to pick up some food, the traveled to Queen street to go to Baby on the Hip were we picked up some disposable diapers, disposable wipes, flash cards and cloth wipes. The disposable stuff is for when we hit the town we only use cloth at the house. After that we stopped in at The Upper Crust for Supper and popped in to my pre-natal yoga classes to say hi.

In the mix of all of that I still found time to take some photographs of my favorite little guy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eyes Open, Little Grandson

All is well. For those who know KS, you might want to check her blog, there's an induction underway. It's been a while since I posted. We're in a routine, but there's still not a lot of spare time in the day, so I have to pick between blogging, or cooking something significant, checking my email, watching a TV show, reading a book, or whatever -- rather than getting all of that done, or at least many of those tasks.

Part of it, I'm thinking, is that in order to function at 4am, I need 10-12 hours of interrupted sleep. Since I used to operate mostly on 4-6 hours of completely solid sleep, that means I lose an additional 4-8 hours of potential time.

Christophe's is more alert since the jaundice waned; it's nice to see his eyes open for chunks of the day, gives us a chance to speak to him, catch his attention, play with him a little. I caught this on March 5th, one of the first days he started having periods of alertness:

It's been great to have my mother around when she's been able to be here. Mostly for simple things like having some help with food preparation, dishes and laundry, but also to have her spend some time with her grandson, and help us out on occasion with the night-time tasks. On March 6th, while we were still dealing with low weight and jaundice, she was able to come up and hold Christophe while Pierrette slept. I was up for a bit, but also fell asleep, then later Pierrette woke up and spent the first feed with my mom, without needing to wake me, which was great to help me get some of the sleep I'd been missing:
In general, things are going well, although I'd be happy to have another few months off, and a few more hours in the day.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

On Scratch Mitts

We got some 'scratch mitts' in our initial clothing purchases, usually because they came with an outfit. For the most part, I've ignored these, and in the two weeks we've been caring for Christophe, he's really only had the one significant scratch:
Since then, we've been keeping a closer eye on his nails, filing them as necessary, and that seems to be sufficient. The cut on his brow has healed, and nothing new. So, barring any more surprises, I'm ready to declare scratch mitts a waste of time.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Flowers from The FeedRoom

The FeedRoom sent us flowers to celebrate Christophe's birth. Thanks, FeedRoom!

I was amused, but not surprised, to discover that my local co-workers were not responsible, that it came from our remote colleagues in New York, who don't really know me or Christophe, but are better at sending gifts than a room full of male software developers. ;)

Umbilical Cord

As Pierrette mentioned, Christophe's umbilical cord has fallen away. After the birth, it quickly dried up, and looked like this:

After that, it took over a week to progress to the cord falling off, and looking like this:

The belly button is still healing, but it seems to be healthy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sebastian's Visit

On March 9th, Kim, Sebastian and Basil came over for a little visit with Christophe. Sebastian was wide-eyed, so much so that you can see me taking the picture in his pupil.

Although he was a little unsettled at first:

He spent some time with his father:

And was soon his happy normal self:

Bo was pleased that the baby distracted the company so that no-one picked him up.

Thanks for the visit!


I have been too busy and sleep deprived to blog; so here is the update on Christophe health.

The jaundice is under control, he is steadily gaining weight - today he weight in at 7lbs 10oz. Getting him to this point was not easy on mom. We spent a few days with a every 2 hour feeding schedule that drained every bit of energy out of me.

We are still breast-feeding; however I am having milk quantity issues and am pumping to try to encourage the supply. I am also taking blessed thistle and fenugreek supplements to help my milk come in fully. Each day there seems to be a bit more so perseverance, perseverance, perseverance.

One of the things that have been the hardest on me emotionally is supplementing. Because I do not have enough milk to satisfy him we are giving him formula at each meal. I am finally able to look at this as medicine not formula but it took a while and a lot of tears.

This is a picture Geoff took at the hospital when we brought Christophe in for one of his bilirubin test last week.

On Monday we had our first visit with our family doctor Dr. Sood; it was a short visit as the sole purpose was to get a requisition for a CF test. For those of you who do not know CF runs on both sides of my family. While Christophe was still in me I got tested for CF and everything came back saying I was not a carrier of the gene however the genetic counsler wanted us to have him tested just in case; but at this point we are not worried. His test is at the Hospital for Sick Kids on March 25. I hope that this will be the only time he will need to go there in his life.

Flickr Photos and Badge (and Toes!)

I've just put up some more photos of Christophe on Flickr in the Wiseman Conspiracy group. Since some of you were pestering me for more photos, I thought I'd best announce it.

I've also put a little Flickr badge on the right sidebar underneath the post archive.

Bay Bees

The diapers we've settled on, for the most part, are these all-in-ones from

In general, I think we're pretty happy with these. Service has been good -- they were able to send us some diapers quickly when the baby came early. Canada Post prevented them from arriving quickly, but that's not Bay Bee's fault.

If you're considering cloth diapers, I'd recommend you give 'em a look.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

momentous day

lots of great moments today:

1. Lost our umbilical stump today
2. Weighed in at 7lbs 6oz
3. Bilirubin counts lowered by 100 ( on to recovery )
4. Had 8 good latches in a row

Sleepy Mommy

Well, after the rumors that I was the sleepiest parent of the family, we've finally proven that this is Pierrette's area of expertise. With a newborn, particularly with a less-than-perfect latch or jaundice, falling asleep while feeding is not uncommon. When they start to nod off, you can employ a number of different techniques for re-engaging the nursing, like tickling them, blowing on 'em, pumping limbs, etc.

Last night, when feeding, I had two jobs -- keep Christophe awake, keep Pierrette awake. So, as Christophe would begin to slow at nursing, I'd blow on him. When Pierrette's head would start to dip, I'd blow on her.

So, hah. I'm the awake one now. ;)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Lost Krzr Afternoon

We ventured out in the snowstorm to go to With Child on Pape, to look into pump rentals. After that, we popped around the corner to Shopper's, for a few supplies. Between With Child and Shopper's, we could tell the snow was hitting hard. By the time I prepared the car for the return trip, I couldn't get the whole car clean before finding that the window I started with couldn't really be seen through, even the back window with the wire in-glass heater. The trip home was a little tense.

Upon arriving home, Pierrette discovered that her KRZR cellphone had made a suicide jump out of its holster on her new diaper bag. We called it a few times and poked around in the car, but no dice. After looking a few more places and feeding Christophe, I headed back out into the snow. I found it outside Shopper's in a snowbank, still working fine (and thus responsive to being called to locate it). Hooray for devices that answer when you call.

I made up for the miserable evening by picking up some pizzas at Magic Oven. Christophe added to the excitement with a sequel I call The Triumphant Return of Poop (US Title: Pop III: The Revenge). That makes three, if you're counting. Tomorrow morning's the next round of bilirubin testing. Fingers crossed.

Marathon Feeding 2

Christie called back immediately; I was on my cell and the phone conversation was so frustrating because I kept on losing her and she would have to re-call. This was what she recommended us to do start a feeding schedule that includes lots of short feeds every 2 hours. Place him on the first breast until he is done then move to the second breast until he is done then back to the first but this time top up with formula (up to one ounce using the again the small little tube). She said it was up to us to make the decision to use the formula; however if we did not his jaundice would most likely not get better and having Christophe admitted to the hospital is not something any of us want.

Will post more shortly.

Friday, March 7, 2008

It's a Poop!

Well, Christophe laid down nine meconium diapers on the first twenty-four hours back from the hospital, the last one around 10am on the 2nd of March. After that, nothing. Well, lots of wet diapers, but no more stools.

Although this was mildly worrying, it wasn't an actual sign of danger, and although our midwives found it unusual, they quickly found from talking to their colleagues that it wasn't unheard-of. Unfortunately, jaundice is exacerbated by lack of stools, since the body can't use that avenue to eject bilirubin (and also something about bile salts, although I can no longer remember the detailed explanation).

So it is with great happiness that Pierrette and I are able to announce the arrival (return!) of Christophe's poop, first at the breastfeeding centre this morning and just now, again, at home. Photos will be available on flickr shortly. (No, not really, although I wouldn't put it past Pierrette).

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Marathon feedings

Tuesday was an eventful day again. Sara came over for a home visit and to check on the little one. However when he got weighed in at only 7lbs this was a bit alarming. Babies always loose weight in the few days after they are born but if they go more then 10% it's a flag that he is dehydrated. In the owns words "I have only had to do this one time before but I think we need to give him a little bit of formula" Those words devastated me. She said we could chose what we wanted to buy so we got organic formula. To avoid nipple confusion Sara gave us a small tube that you insert while he is feeding beside your breast. He did not seem to mind it; however it was another story for me. I think I cried through the feeding. For those of you who have not guessed I am anti-formula; and did not want to give anything other then breast milk to baby.

Wednesday she came back to weight him in at 7lbs 2oz. You would have though these would have eased my mind about the decision to give him the formula but it did not. She also left us with the following set of instructions: feed him minimum every 3 hours and at night minimum every 4 hours - so this is when the marathon feed began. If the only issue would have been his low weight I don't think they would have worried as much but we also have 2 other symptoms to deal with some jaundice (that at this point is not yet worrisome - soon to change) and lack of bowl movements. Although he has lots of pee as he demonstrates with a wet diaper prior to each feed and a few golden showers on Geoff and the bed.

Thursday since Sara had clinic hours Christie came in the morning for a home visit. He weighed in again at 7lbs 2oz; she would have liked to see more weight gain however since he did not loose anything would have been comfortable leaving it as is other then for the fact he was a bit more yellow that she liked. We discussed getting his bilirubin levels tested and together we made the informed decision to head out to Toronto East General to have the test done. The test consist of a simple heal prick (with a kind of needle that reminds me of the ones my mom uses to check her blood glucose) they also give him a bit of sugar water to suck on while all of this happens. The results take 2 hours so we headed down to the breast feeding clinic for some pointers. The lactation consultants there were wonderful and we got a few tips that we are trying to apply.

Once the bilirubin test results were back the pediatrician on duty that day came down to talk to us; he basically explained that his levels were up more then what he liked to see but should probably go down with one more day of good feedings, but he wanted us to come back tomorrow to re-test. As directed by Christie earlier I paged her for further direction.

As it is late and I need a few minutes of sleep before I need to feed Christophe again I will continue this with a second post.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sleep deprived father

Before baby was born we were convinced that Geoff would have no issue dealing with the interrupted nights; since he normally only gets 4 hours or so of sleep each night. For me we figured I was going to turn into this evil zombie because I usually sleep 10 hours each night. Were the roles ever reversed. I am functioning extremely well on 1 to 2 hour doses of sleep; on the other hand Geoff can sleep through Christophe crying at the top of his lungs. However he is getting better or I am getting better at telling if he is awake or just talking in his sleep.

The days are starting to meld together so I believe this story happend on night number 2 at home.

I was nursing Christophe and Geoff who had succesfully woken up about 15 mins before and changed Christophe's diaper had fallen into deep sleep again. I suddently needed to go pee and could not hold it in soafter screaming at Geoff, while Christophe was screaming in my arms because he got his boob removed when he was not done with me, I slapped Geoff across the back and he got up looked up at me with blood shot eyes and nodded when I said can you take baby and try to calm him down and change his diaper.

So trusting my baby's father I passed Christophe along, went to the washroom. I could hear Christophe still crying and crying I just guessed that Geoff could not console him.

Was I ever wrong. When I got back to the room Geoff was passed out sitting on the bed, Christophe was in the middle of the bed screaming at the top of his lungs; half dressed so Geoff must of started with the diaper.

I woke geoff back up by screaming at him (I know I should not have but I think this was the only way I could be louder then baby). He just looked at me and said what is wrong with Christophe, what happened. He did not remember one little thing.

However in Geoff defense despite his extreme fatigue he is doing a great job and I have had my moments too. Last night at one of Christophe's middle of the night feeding, we were both sitting on the bed me feeding and Geoff trying to keep the little one going (he likes falling asleep on my breast) and I suddenly said "JPOD". Geoff was like what are you talking about; however in my head I had been having a long conversation of the show with Geoff :-)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Christophe: Part III

So, once Christophe was born, they put him on Pierrette's chest, vernix and all. Although it's not uncommon to move right into initial breast-feeding at this point, that couldn't be done because Christophe couldn't reach -- his umbilical cord was shorter than is normal.

As an aside, umbilical cords are lumpier than I expected. I expected something pretty smooth, but it was twisty and lumpy. I wish I'd gotten a clearer picture, but you can google-search for it. So we waited for the cord to stop pulsing, then clamped the cord and I cut it.

Having the father 'cut the cord' is laden with symbology I wasn't entirely keen to explore, but there are so few parts of the delivery process I can really help with, so I caved to tradition. It was sinewy, like, well, sinews. Or rope, maybe. Gristly muscle. All that sort of thing.

After that, some of the vernix was rubbed in, and Pierrette got to hold Christophe while the placenta (which, to be honest, looks like the bag of organs that comes in a turkey, but bigger) was birthed. Watching my new son and wife interact was pretty emotional. We called a few people -- mostly relatives. After that, Christophe got to practice his first latch, he was weighed and measured, and we dressed him.

The midwives did their best to cram a few more bits of information in my head, but lack of sleep and being a little dazed drove most of it back out. By about 3:30, we were all set to leave, so we bundled up all our belongings, said our goodbyes, and went to the front desk to pick up Christophe's new baby health card, then from there to the car, and home.

Early in the morning, I left messages for Pierrette's parents and my parents, but also for Kim and Baz, who live close enough by, and have been through this experience, so it wasn't incredibly inconvenient (we hope) to ask them to pick up a few things for us -- in particular, the infant car seat, which I had left behind at Pierrette's request so as to not "jinx it," but which we obviously needed, and a few other things from the important to the inconsequential (cake!)

They arrived with those items when Pierrette was in active labour, so we didn't get to see them, although I could hear them from the tub-area where Pierrette was, including little Sebastian. When we returned home, we discovered that Kim and Lisa had set up the bedroom for us -- baby clothes, some diapers, quite possibly even some tidying, and baby's name all laid out for us. Considering we were dead tired at that point, it was a very welcome and pleasant surprise. For those of you following the last few posts, it was the setup I documented on our return and put in the first Christophe blog post to announce his name:


At 6:30 am this morning Christophe had his first noticeable hiccup and this afternoon he had his first sneeze.

These are a few pictures I took of him yesterday morning when he was only 19 1/2 hours old.

We also started a group on Flickr called Wiseman Conspiracy were we will post pictures of Christophe and his family (us)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Christophe: Part II

Baby Christophe, about eight hours old, taking a nap beside his mommy.

Going back a few hours to the early morning, at about 1:00 am, they admitted us to the labour room, and we talked about some options. The OB was still in favour of breaking Pierrette's waters. Since neither Pierrette or I were anxious to go that route, we wanted to consider other options, so we waited for our Naturopath to show up and possibly explore other routes. She tried some homeopathic solutions and some accupuncture, and while those might have helped, they didn't put Pierrette into active labour, so after some further discussion, we agreed to go forward with the breaking of the waters, which ended up taking place around 6:30 in the morning, along with some vancomycin to protect against Pierrette's positive antibiotic-resistant 'Group B' test.

After that, Pierrette progressed relatively quickly into active labour, which around 9:30 in the morning. She spent some of that time on the bed, some time standing up, mostly in continuous fetal monitoring. Once the transition phase hit around 11:00, the midwives had enough data to suggest that the baby's heart rate was no longer a problem, and that we could probably go back to occasional use of the doppler instead.

Pushing took place from about 11:30 to about 1:00. If you haven't been through labour, I'll just say that, like mountains, it's not enough to read about a mountain and see a picture of a mountain, you have to go see a mountain. So while I had educated myself about the process of labour, it wasn't the same to actually be there. It's a pretty incredible process, and a lot of work.

All in all, I think it mostly went pretty well -- once we hit active labour, Pierrette progressed very, very quickly, and it mostly went as we had desired, almost entirely naturally. It would have been nice to do a water birth at home, but ultimately, we got the desired outcome: a healthy little boy, mostly naturally-birthed.

I'll cover the post-birth next, I guess, but not in this post. That is, as they say, another story.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Christophe: Part I

Well, it's been a long day, but I guess it's time to send out 'the word' to anyone who hasn't already heard:

So, i'll cut to the point: the name-guessing contest is over, and we have a son, Christophe Joseph Wiseman. Kim was the only one to guess the first name in advance. How we got here is a bit of a long story.

Friday was a slow day - after Thursday's surprise discovery of faint contractions, we weren't sure what to expect when we went to sleep. By morning, Pierrette couldn't feel much in the way of contractions, so we mostly spent the day resting. By afternoon, I'd given up on anything happening, so I got some work done for The FeedRoom.

Although there were some contractions in the evening, nothing with enough regularity to worry about, so we went to sleep around 10:00. At about 11:30, Pierrette woke up feeling worried, as if something were wrong. She woke me up to track fetal movements and contractions. The contractions were all over the map (as they often are in early labour, and had been during hte day), but we got almost no fetal movements despite three Lindor chocolates, a Hershey's kiss and a glass of tangerine juice.

Worried, we decided to place a call to the midwives. They weighed the options of coming over with the doppler to check on baby's heartbreat, and meeting us at the hospital to do another no-stress-test, and decided to go with the latter. The first strip on the no-stress-test was fine, but it only had a single heart acceleration, which is lower than they'd like to see, so they did another twenty-minute strip. Part-way through the second strip, the baby's heartbeat dropped to 70 and got erratic for two minutes. This was enough to get an IV and oxygen into Pierrette within thirty seconds, so I guess that was worrisome.

The midwives consulted with the OB on call, and she recommended we move into a labour room, and, after further discussion, recommended we break Pierrette's waters. Since Pierrette and I were both hoping for home-birth and a very low-intervention approach, this didn't sit exceptionally well, but after talking through the available options, the midwives admitted that with the past day or two, they weren't very comfortable with a home-birth, and basically suggested we should move into accepting that a hospital birth was best for baby's health at this point.

I'll pick up this thread in the next post -- I've got a sleeping baby nearby, so I guess it's time to get some sleep myself before the baby alarm goes off again. I'vestill got to cover water-breaking, active labour, and post-labour fun. Lots to tell. And for reasons that will become evident in the next posts, thanks a lot to those who were able to help us out today - Basil, Kim, Roy, Brenda, Lisa, not to mention the 'production team' midwives from Don Mills - East York and Deanna, our Doula.