Monday, September 29, 2008

New Every Morning

Recently I read a great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered by your old nonsense."

There is some great truth in this quote. As I pondered it, I realized it reminded me of a Bible verse from Lamentations about God's mercy being new every morning.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD."

The beauty in both of these quotes is that our present and future doesn't have to be governed by our past. The Bible verse brings out the fact that we can't do it on our own. It's through God's grace and compassion for us that we can abandon our old ways and not be fated to repeat them. I'm so grateful I don't have to pull myself up by my bootstraps. Instead I can exist in the beautiful mystery of where obedience to God and his mercy and grace towards me meet.

This truth has been a great encouragement to me lately as I have so many new things to figure out in life.

Waking up together one morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Return of the Belly Button

A lot of weird things happen to your body when pregnant. Some things are more publicized than others, probably to ensure that the human race continues to propagate. :-) One of the changes that freaked me out the most was having my belly button pop out. I know - pretty irrational. But for some reason I felt vulnerable having the little guy sticking out when he should be sticking in. Maybe it stemmed from watching The Matrix too much. (Come on, I'm sure you remember the belly button scene.)

All of this gives you context to understand my relief of the past week as I noticed that my belly button is indeed returning to his "innie" state, just like everyone told me it would. I guess I had to see it with my own eyes to believe it.
P.S. Hmmm, I just realized I call my belly button a "he." Is there a literary term for assigning gender to a gender-neutral object?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Four Generations

Desmond's great-grandparents (Larry's folks) visited for a short while this weekend. It was cute to see four generations of Krafts together. It was the first time Desmond wore a collared shirt. He didn't seem to mind it as much as his father does. ;-)

Four generations of Kraft men - Larry, PopPop, Peter and Desmond

MomMom enjoys holding Des in the rocker my dad gave us.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Six Blissful Days

Today marks Desmond's 6th day at home. He's gained back more than his birth weight and is very strong. We're thrilled at his good health. Unfortunately, my (Katharine) recovery has been slowed by a small hematoma along my incision. So we'll be doing some intense wound care for several weeks, which is rather painful but manageable.

This week we've been busy with the usual activities of diapering, feeding, rocking, not sleeping, etc. It's amazing how quickly your life changes - emotionally, physically and spiritually - all within such a short timespan. As our friend Dave A. said after the birth of their daughter 4 days before Desmond was born, "It's totally worth it." I couldn't agree more.

This may sound odd, but Peter and I were kind of looking forward to the sacrifices that accompany parenthood. The first six years of our marriage have been so much fun. We've delighted in getting to know one another better. There have been so many adventures we've had together and challenges we've overcome together. It's been amazing.

In the past year we started to get the feeling that life was a bit too easy. A bit too centered around pleasing our own desires. It seemed we needed a revolution of some sort. Revolution comes in many forms; ours arrived under the name of Desmond.

God calls us to put others before ourselves. Parenting is a beautiful expression of this concept. Peter and I are reminding ourselves of this high calling as we deal with the loss of continuous sleep, the reconfiguring of relationships, and the uncertainty of the future. I'm grateful for our wonderful son. It makes facing this new challenge a true joy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Just one more day

After a week long technology hiatus, I'm mass communicating again! Thankfully Peter has been in much better shape than I have to keep everyone posted on the events of the past week. Despite the challenges of having Desmond spend time in the NICU, it has still been one of the coolest experiences of my life.

The exciting news is that Desmond is now out of the NICU and staying in the regular nursery at the hospital. The doctors want him to finish his antibiotics treatment and then will let him come home Monday evening!

In some ways, I feel like we've had parent-training wheels on during the past week. At first Desmond was closely monitored in the NICU, where nurses did everything for him at first. Then slowly let us change a diaper or give him a bottle here or there. Now that Desmond is in the regular nursery, we are allowed to do everything for him. I'm sure it will sound crazy to me later, but that was a welcome change for us. It feels like we have at least some limited control over his care. Then tomorrow, off come the training wheels and we're on our own!

As for me, I'm recovering really well. It's been a bit overwhelming leaving the hospital and going home, but our family is taking really good care of Peter and me. I won't go into many details about my C-section here, but if you want to know the details just ask me. I will say that I forgot to breathe a few times on the operating table, which gave the nurses a bit of a scare. The slightly morbid side of me found the whole surgery process pretty fascinating.

Thanks for all the supportive emails and phone calls you've sent us. When I was still in the hospital, Peter would read the emails out loud to me each night. It is incredibly comforting and encouraging to have so many people rejoice with us over Desmond's birth.

Hmmmm... As I write this, Peter is holding Desmond and we have just heard his first audible fart. I never thought a fart would sound cute. :-)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

We're home

Katharine and I came home from the hospital today (Friday). It definitely felt weird to come home without our son, but the car seat is ready to go as soon as he is ready to come home. Until then, we are visiting about twice a day, interspersed with helping Katharine to recover from the c-section surgery. She is a trooper, and had been doing very well, with minimal pain medication, but she does have a hard time getting up and down stairs and gets worn out very easily.

Desmond is doing very well these days. After a second dose of surfactant, the chemical they used to treat his lungs, he really started doing much better. Today, he finally was allowed to come off of the supplemental oxygen, and he has also begun feeding through his mouth. Both of those things are significant milestones that need indicate he is getting much closer to breathing well in the real world as opposed to an incubator. An optimistic view of his homecoming is that he might be able to come home on Monday after finishing the 7 day course of precautionary antibiotics they have him on.

Now that we are home, we should be able to provide updates more often. Hopefully I can get Katharine to write a bit on the laptop. For now, I'm headed to bed for some much needed rest.

Oh, and I'm also going to post some information about all of the interesting and creative responses I got to our little weight and birth-time puzzle. Here's a teaser...
- Most obscure language: cold-fusion
- Most Simple solution to the weight: just look it up in a database of md5 hashes

Desmond update number 1

Here's the update email I sent out 2 days after Desmond's birth.

Hey Guys... here's the latest.

The initial take on Desmond's breathing difficulties turned out to not be entirely accurate. After about a day in the NICU, his need for supplemental oxygen began to increase where it should have decreased. This led the doctor's to believe that he has Respiratory Distress Syndrome. That basically means that his lungs are immature and are not able to absorb all of the oxygen that he needs.

Despite this being a setback, considering our initial impression of his condition, in actuality it means that only now are the doctors able to treat him correctly. They performed a small procedure to treat his lungs, and he showed instant improvement. So, for day 2, he has shown steady improvement. The treatment for Respiratory Distress Syndrome is straightforward and generally very successful. We have been told that his recovery should not be in doubt, only the amount of time it takes for him to get up to full strength. Even though we are very concerned for him, we have become convinced over the last 2 days that he is receiving excellent care by professionals who are both talented and compassionate.

Katharine is recovering well, and we should go home on Friday. We probably won't be able to take Desmond with us right away, but we are very grateful to live only 2 miles away from the hospital, so we can visit very easily. From here on out, to avoid spamming a lot of people, we will probably just post updates on our blog...

Thanks so much for all of the support. We feel very loved and cared for, and we feel that Desmond is coming into a world that, despite many challenges, will show him a lot of love as well. Please continue to pray for his full recovery.

Take care,

PS. On a lighter note, the little heart shaped shield that they use to cover up Desmond's groin area during his many chest x-rays is actually called "The Gonad Protector". For a minute, I thought the nurses were complementing my son when they were talking about protecting the gonads. Turns out, Gonad is a highly technical medical term, but I always thought it was just slang.

The Krafts have a baby

Here's the text of the email I sent out announcing the birth of our son. So far, there have been several people who were on the email bcc line that not receive it, so I apologize if you were expecting an email but have been in the dark until now.

Hey Everybody,

I am pleased to announce the birth of Desmond Knight Kraft. Desmond was born on Monday, September 8th, and weighed in at a veryrespectable weight. After 8 hours of induced labor without any progress, the doctor decided to go with a c-section. Katharine is definitely my hero... she was awesome from start to finish.

Unfortunately, Desmond is in the NICU right now. He was having a hard time breathing due to an excess of fluids in his lungs, so they are feeding him extra oxygen to help his lungs catch up. It's a minor concern, and we expect a quick recovery, but we would still appreciate your prayers for this situation.

We are very grateful for everyone's encouragement, advice, and prayer. Of course, this is only the beginning of a crazy new adventure, and we hope that everyone of you can get to know little Desmond soon. His life will surely be richer if he has the opportunity to know you.

We are at Inova Fairfax Hospital and would be happy to receive visitors if you can spare a minute to stop by. I'll also be sending out an update when we (hopefully) find out that Desmond is 100%. For future updates, you can visit:

Take care,

Baby's Birth Weight = X pounds, Y ounces
Baby's Birth Time = HH:MM:SS

MD5sum(X) = 8f14e45fceea167a5a36dedd4bea2543
MD5sum(Y) = 6512bd43d9caa6e02c990b0a82652dca
MD5sum(HH:MM:SS) = 47350265dd94444790732a97466c1389
All values in ASCII, no whitespace included.

If you feel like it, email me the the true values of X and Y for a prize. Email me the correct value of HH:MM:SS for the big one. The first correct answer gets bragging rights. If you include code/commands, the shortest implementation gets cool points (these tend to be worth a lot in our household).

If you have no idea what any of this means, sorry... check the blog in a few days if you are curious.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Facts of Life

It's good I've been reflecting on the "big picture" because we found out on Friday that my induction date has moved up a week! The current plan is to induce labor on Monday, September 8th (my mom's birthday!). We're taking this week to relax and have fun as much as possible before we enter the temporary tunnel of chaos that comes with being new parents.

In the meantime, I'm still reflecting on my last few days of being pregnant....

Did any of you watch the TV show "The Facts of Life" in the 80's? Remember the theme song?

"You take the good,
You take the bad,
You take them both and there you have the facts of life.
The facts of life."

This is true for pregnant life as well.

I try not to get touchy when people say careless things to me while I've been pregnant. I give the benefit of the doubt that certain things are said with the best of intentions, but sometimes I think, "Come on people, use your brains!" These are just a few things people have actually said to me in the past month or so.
  • "You're still here!?" - at 32 weeks from a co-worker who doesn't even know me well
  • "Wow, you're still finding clothes that fit you!" - at 35 weeks from a dude at work
  • "Should you be eating that?" - in response to my eating many different things from dark chocolate to rum cake.
But there are also perks of being in your third trimester.
  • People acknowledge your existence. In the DC area people tend to keep to themselves. I'm not sure if it's because we're all wrapped up in our own lives/problems or if people were raised that way or if it's just peer pressure. In any case, when you're pregnant people look you in the eye, say hello, and even offer an unsolicited smile! It's a great way to feel connected to the human race.
  • I am almost always offered a seat on the Metro! You may remember an earlier post about my surprise when Metro riders didn't offer me, a pregnant lady, a seat. That no longer happens.
  • Random offers of help. Random strangers now offer to carry groceries for me, take packages out to my car, let me go in front of them in long shopping lines, etc.
Just like anything in life, I'm taking the good and the bad and that's a fact of life!