(I've changed the name from "Rants" given that I can't really rant about many things that frustrate me here, at least not without getting into some sort of trouble. As such, you'll have to wait for the book.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Having gone through a birth before, we at least had a general idea as to how this might play out. Contractions. Pain. Lots of pain. Rush to the hospital. Delivery room. More pain. Baby’s arrival. Mess. First cuddle. Wonder. Thankfulness. Deep fatique. Off to a hospital room to recover. Attempting to rest with nurses bothering us every ten minutes.

In the end, all that happened. It just didn’t happen in the way it happened the first time. It began with a lonely contraction late at night (Priya is apparently incapable of forcing these things to happen during normal waking hours). Five minutes later there was a second contraction and, given the results of the doctor visit earlier in the day, we knew that we shouldn’t mess around. I carried Kiran downstairs and plopped her in bed with her semi-awake grandmother and off to the hospital we went. It’s a good thing we didn't drag our feet.

At night they funnel you through the emergency room. It was appropriate since this was a valid emergency. We were escorted straight to a delivery room since it was apparent to everyone who looked at her that Priya was well on her way to having a baby. The contractions kept right on coming as the nurses prepared the room for the big event. So close was this to her doctor’s visit that the same guy that she saw at her appointment that afternoon was still on duty. He would now be the delivery doctor.
Things were moving fast and Priya was almost immediately being told to start pushing. No time for an epidural even if Priya wanted one. Kinaya had had enough of the womb. She was racing for the exit. 

As fast as it was, you’d still like to get the whole thing over with sooner. The pain and stress is excruciating and it's horrible to see your loved one going though this. Finally we started to see the top of our little girl’s head. Soon the whole head. That’s when she got stuck. The doctor made a joke that she had her fathers’ shoulders before realizing that the umbilical cord was wrapped around Kinaya’s neck preventing her from coming any further. That was the first look of tenseness that I saw in either his eyes or those of the others in the room. He tried three times to pull the cord over the top of the head but to no avail. He then looked at Priya and me and said that he was going to cut the cord – a very tense time since that would cut the flow of oxygen to the child momentarily until she was out and could have her breathing induced. My knees were weak after all this and my mouth was dry. I just wanted this to be over. 

He cut the cord and quickly pulled Kinaya out. Unlike when Kiran was born, there was no big cry. The lack of oxygen in her blood had weakened her and she produced only a sort of a groan. Her normally red, tense, stressed body was instead floppy and pale. Things seemed quieter than they should have been as she was handed to the post-natal specialists who began evaluating and cleaning her. Within a few minutes we were told that we’d be heading to the intensive care unit for a couple of hours until her situation normalized. Father was to come along and mother would join later.
in the ICU
At once they began to hook her up to things and monitor her condition on a computer screen. The two nurses explained to me what they were doing as they went and it made me more nervous and less nervous at the same time. Though her numbers began to improve, it seemed terribly slow. They tried to inject her with an IV to assist her blood flow but the lack of blood flow
prevented the injection – a frustrating catch 22.

By now it was around 3:30am and I was alone in the ICU with Kinaya on my lap, still hooked up to all the wires. The nurses had done all that they needed to do and we were now monitoring the numbers. The important thing now, apparently, was the increase in the blood oxygen levels.

In the first calm since we'd left the house I realized I had developed quite a headache. I hadn't had anything to drink during this stressful night having been focused on Priya to now being focused on Kinaya and I'd let myself get dehydrated. The next time a nurse came in to check on Kinaya, I asked for something to drink. As I sipped on my straw, the cool water felt wonderful. It now all had a chance to sink in. She's finally here. Priya's ok. Kinaya now seems to be ok. I thought about Kiran back at my parents' house. She'll be waking soon and neither of us will be there. All the travel had been quite disorienting for her and now this - a sibling whether you like it or not. I thought about my parents. They'd been so supportive with all this disruption to their lives the past few weeks. Now we were coming with another (very cute) disruption.
Eventually some color began to appear in Kinaya's skin and before long Priya was wheeled in to finally see her and try nursing. Some babies have a hard time but, as was the case with Kiran, Kinaya took to her new source of food straight away. I was so happy to see them reunited. They had been in separate rooms for the first time in nine months. Priya had basically given birth and had Kinaya whisked away from the room without a chance to bond.

After a couple hours we were escorted to our room where Priya would stay for the next couple of days. I tried to sleep for a few hours but couldn’t due to the repeated entrance of nurses and various people doing their tasks. While I understand the need for everyone to do their jobs, a bit of coordination would be very helpful to allow periods without interruption where the mother (and father) can rest. This happened in Louisville a couple years earlier and now in Twin Falls so we are assuming this is considered a normal way to treat a mother who is recovering from a traumatic birth. It is unnecessary and could be improved by a bit more coordination. I suppose they recognize that rest is as vital as some of the other things but you can't be sued for providing no proper rest for patients.

In retrospect, it was all over quickly. Less than two hours from first contraction to birth. Kiran suddenly was now a big sister to our little K2. The question loomed as to how she would react. She does everything with such exuberance and we weren’t sure how it would play out with competition for mom and dad’s time.  We’re still not. So far so good though. She adores kissing her though sometimes she does so a bit too aggressively. I think Kinaya is filled with fear when she sees Kiran coming at her though for now she means well. For now. 
Grandma helping out

my girls

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Warm Welcome in Idaho

This was no normal trip for me to the western US. For the first time (in Idaho) I had a pregnant wife and a two-year-old. The mission was multifold: have a baby, buy a house, hang out with family, try to find some time to relax (never happened), keep a handle on work emails, etc. all without incident. Generally speaking, it went according to plan. 
downward dog

And plan we did. It is daunting how much planning is necessary for this sort of thing. Obviously you can plan less than we did but then you have to deal with the consequences of using napkins for diapers and giving birth in a veterinary hospital. From the travel itself, to the prenatal care, to studying the real estate market, to exploring play options for Kiran, we did the best we could to make sure things went as smoothly as possible given the range of potential mishaps. In retrospect I think we did a fairly decent job, particularly given the chaos that reined in the weeks and days prior to our departure.  
mountain biking at Tamarak

After about three days of travel, we arrived in Idaho ready for our adventures. The weather was hot – far hotter and longer than I remember as a kid. That plus the smoky forest fires made for less than ideal conditions. Nonetheless we were happy to be off and running.
Lake Cascade

We began by heading off to the mountains. The family had its annual camping trip in McCall and, given our situation, we opted against our normal tent accommodation. My sister Lisa’s condo in town would serve as our shelter which we would pay for by the hours of driving back and forth to the campground. It worked out well for us though and I suspect that having a noisy toddler away from the campground at night was also a plus. 
it was her idea...

We ate, water skied, ate, paddle boarded, ate, mountain biked, ate, etc. as we normally do albeit a bit less intense than in years’ past. Priya was more than 8 months pregnant, my brother was reasonably fresh from his horrible bike accident, my brother-in-law Pat was dealing with gout, etc. Most of us seemed to be a bit off our game. Anyway, it good to be together and good to be in the “woods” – even if I generally prefer less tame camping conditions. We would return a couple weeks later to squeeze in another quick camping trip since we apparently didn’t get enough the first time.
the 3 3/4 of us at Shoshone Falls

The rest of the time we were back to the flat lands to focus on having a baby, buying a house (for investment) and running after an energetic child. All that would eat up the bulk of our time until the end of July when, as we thought might happen, our new daughter Kinaya decided to make her rapid appearance into the world.
no longer the only child

Monday, September 2, 2013

Travel to the US

Finding a moment to update my blog, I realize the vast time period since my last posting. It is shameful but for those of you who have been in touch with me recently, it would be obvious why I haven’t had much time. 

So in order to catch up, I’ll start with late June. I had a travel-packed schedule in the weeks prior to my vacation/paternity leave. Among the various places I went, I returned to Uganda for a few days. There was nothing extremely eventful in the trip except for the fact that I crossed paths with the president of Kenya in the lobby of my hotel. I admit to being intrigued by the massive entourages of important people. For someone like President Kenyatta, he has many layers. He has people lingering out in the parking area, in the lobby, on the stairs, in hallway outside his room and of course more than a half dozen who walk with him, two or three of whom are well-decorated military. I’m assuming it costs a fortune to travel with all these folks. I suppose given the two countries’ close proximity they allowed a few more hangers on for this trip.

Two days after returning from Entebbe, we were off to the US. The combination of traveling with a toddler and having friends in the cities through which we were in transit, we broke up the trip by scheduling a day in Amsterdam and a day in Minneapolis. We’d done this before and it worked out well. 
Buj airport - before the looong trip
In Amsterdam we saw our friend Anne. She and her family were friends and neighbors of ours in Burundi and we’ve been in touch in the couple years since they moved back to Holland. We spent most of our time in playgrounds but I suppose that’s ok since I’ve already done most of the tourist things in the city. I suppose that’s one of the advantages of having a family a bit later is that I’ve done a considerable amount of traveling and I’m quite content to do the sort of travel that is kid friendly.
perfect weather in Amsterdam

Minneapolis/St. Paul
Kiran didn’t travel well from Nairobi to Amsterdam which resulted in us both being very tired during our visit. But she rebounded well and we had a much easier time with her between Amsterdam and our arrival in the US. In St. Paul we stayed with our friend Kathy. She was Priya’s English teacher in India but is more regarded as a family friend. It was so nice to see her and catch upon things. It was a short vsit but we’ll take what we can get. 
playing ball with Kathy
On to Boise
We’d spent many weeks debating where we’d have our new baby. We’d had Kiran in Louisville and it worked out well. This time it seemed to make sense to have number two in Idaho, particularly Twin Falls. In hindsight it was wise for a number of reasons, most importantly the fact that we were able to stay less than fifteen minutes from the hospital – something that became critical with such a short labor. The compromise, however, is that we’d route our return trip through southern Indiana to stay with Priya’s family for a couple weeks so that they could meet the new baby.
So from Minneapolis we flew to Idaho where we would spend the next month preparing for the new arrival, looking to buy some real estate and doing as much visiting of family and friends as was feasible. More on Idaho later.
arrival in Boise - much awaiting us