Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Birth of Liberty

Today was Liberty's 1-week birthday. We were definitely ready for Liberty to be born. Her due date was December 24th. I was looking forward to two weeks vacation, and Brandie was feeling big. After trying all the 'old wives tales' (spicy food, sex, walking, etc.) to no avail... who knows what triggered it? Maybe it was the doctors appointment earlier that day with a cervix check, or probably it was just that time... (To toot my own horn, I predicted to Brandie that she'd be born on Festivus, Dec. 23rd about a week or two prior).

I wanted to capture the important memory here. Maybe Libby will enjoy reading about it one day, or maybe we can remind her of the ordeal if she ever misbehaves. :-D

Labor
  • Tuesday 12/22/2009, around 6pm: Brandie starts feeling contractions. They are irregular and about 45min. apart. We thought they are probably Braxton-Hicks (aka "false labor") contractions.
  • 8pm-Midnight: Contractions start becoming more intense and regular, coming closer to 5min. apart. Brandie is needing to bend over to bear through the pain. After calling a nurse at the hospital, we are told she's is in labor and can come in when we're ready.
  • Wednesday 12/23/2009, Midnight-1am: We spent some time packing up and trying to relax, but we dreaded the car ride to Roseville with worse contractions so drove to the hospital. They put us in a small room and Brandie in an uncomfortable bed strapped to monitors. After she starts screaming "I NEED OUT OF THIS $*&%$-ing BED!", they decide to admit her even though she was only 3cm dilated... figuring she was ramping up quickly.
  • 3-6am: Brandie battled contractions like a warrior. They took a lot out of her, but we did lots of positions and massage which helped. Sometime around 4am she wanted to take the birth ball into the shower. I sat down on the sofa and passed out. She somehow had the birth ball over the shower drain, and when Brandie woke me up I had no idea where I was and the room had slightly flooded. The nurses called in janitors to mop it up.
  • 6-8am: At this point Brandie was around 6cm. She was so exhausted, that we both layed down to rest for a bit and the contractions eased slightly.
  • 8-11am: After the rest, Brandie had gained a second wind. We started moving around to get contractions progressing again. The midwives at Kaiser were absolutely awesome (especially one named Gina) in supporting us. At some point, Brandie vowed "This is the last kid!". The midwives were amused and said they'd like to ask her after it's all over.
  • 11am-2pm: - Brandie was about 8cm dilated. After talking with midwives, we decided to break her amniotic sac to increase the contractions. She went through intense contractions and eventually reached 8-9cm around noon, and 10cm around 2pm.
  • 2pm: - The pushing starts. The nurses tell her "push like you gotta poop", and Brandie says she's afraid she's going to.
  • 3pm: - We can see the top of the head. At this point, Brandie is really tired and says things like "I think I'm going to die" and "Pull her out of me!". At a few points she loses her vision because she was pushing so hard. They give her an oxygen mask to help.
  • 3:53pm: - Liberty is born. The moment she's given to us is filled with relief and tears of joy. Holding Liberty for the first time, I knew my life had changed forever and had been given a new purpose (sounds cliché I know, but it's true). I went out to share the news with her happy grandparents in the waiting room.
If I learned anything about the birth process, it's that nature rules. Almost every mother we talked to advocated epidurals/pitosin/etc, and you have to wonder about the benefits of these drugs when humans have been giving natural births for a million years. The midwives and nurses all expressed utmost respect for Brandie's strength and commitment to bear the pain. One nurse said afterwards "You've done such a beautiful thing for this baby, not bringing her into the world with poison". When we were moved to the recovery room, the nurse was surprised "Wow, this is like a real baby.... not drugged up or anything". The evolved natural process can't be beat. That goes for breastfeeding as well (vs. formula). I'm so happy my wife feels the same.

Recovery & Coming Home

After giving birth, they move you into a recovery room. It's a little smaller, but you have your baby in there so nothing matters too much. Nurses and doctors come in every so often poking and prodding the baby. That first night, I was constantly amazed watching her and holding her. You almost feel afraid to handle a new baby. They seem so fragile, but my father reminded me that after the ordeal of labor... they can't be that fragile.

We were looking forward to leave on Christmas Eve, but a nurse told us during that day "they hadn't observed enough feedings". We replied "WHAT?!" and were pretty upset, since NO ONE told us we needed to call in a nurse to observe the breast feedings. Brandie and I said we would be leaving if that was their only concern. The nurse said they'd have to call Child Protective Services if we decided to leave against recommendation and that "we wouldn't want that on our record". I snapped back "Well this is ironic... her name IS Liberty after all." Anyways, we came home on Christmas. I suppose that is Liberty's first experience with a little bit of tyranny. If only we could get free market health care reform like tort reform instead of communist ObamaCare... then hospitals wouldn't need to operate with under such ridiculous policy in fear of litigation.

We were so happy to come home on Christmas. It was the best Christmas ever. No more doctors poking and prodding. A new family and new life to start, with a new decade around the corner. Welcome home Liberty!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Comrade Santa

Why do parents lie to their kids, telling them there is a magic man who gives gifts to all the good children in the world? Is Santa just religion for kids? (religion being a set of supernatural beliefs designed to encourage specific attitudes and behavior) Perhaps topics like the soul, creation, and afterlife are too serious for children - so Jesus was reinvented as grandpa in a fuzzy red suit rewarding with toys instead of eternal life in heaven. As a parent, I'll have to decide whether I will participate in the Santa lie. I suppose it's part of our culture, it engages children's' imagination, and Christmas can be fun. I guess those are all good things.

We may outgrow believing in Santa, but we don't outgrow vulnerability to other myths, fallacies, and biases. We are basically talking primates after all, so "to err is human". Karl Marx called religion the "opium of the people". Ironically, Marx called on people to give up "religious illusions", while he perpetuated economic illusions like the labor theory of value. Both religion and Marxism deny truths.... whether it be evolution or economics. Religion has heaven. Marxism has a stateless, classless society. Americans commonly fall for their own set of political myths and fallacies. The "appeal to tradition" fallacy: accepting that government must provide schools/freeways/health care/post/etc, because that's how it's been done. People want to have faith in a powerful protector: be it Santa, Jesus, or Government. People want to imagine that government provides things for "free", by magic the same way Santa and his elves provide presents.

If you support socialism for altruistic reasons... so be it. Just don't try to convince me it's practical or justifiable if your cognitive dissonance has convinced you so. Deadweight loss is an unavoidable truth with any government intervention. Public services crowd out private services, destroying jobs and competition. Subsidies create overconsumption, driving up prices. All of these also limit choice and quality... not to mention the tax burden. Keynes and Marx were the witch doctors of economics.... building a political-economic religion advocating looting. If you choose to be cognitively lazy, considering benefits of "free" public services without fully examining the costs and consequences... go right ahead. You might as well believe in Santa too.