Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's Sunday morning; Maia has just joined us in bed right after waking up. Mama and papa tell each other the weird dreams they had last night. Then the following exchange occurs:

Papa: such a weird dream! and I have no idea where it came from
Maia: it's from your brain; it's all made up.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The amazing, extraordinary tale of Luna's birth

It was 1:45 AM on the 18 of September when Gabi woke up after hearing what she thought it was the slight cracking sound of her water breaking. (She was right; I had no idea that one could actually hear waters breaking.) She immediately grabbed the phone and called the doctor's office. Gabi told the doctor on call (who was not her primary OB-Gyn, but someone from the same practice we've actually seen a couple of times) that her water just broke and asked what she should do next. The doctor asked how strong and frequent her contractions were; Gabi said something like "I feel fine, nothing too different from earlier today". So the doctor just told her "OK, it seems you're not ready just yet. Go back to bed and call me in the morning". So Gabi just came back to bed, but unsurprisingly, she started having frequent, strong contractions very soon after she hung up the phone.

We stayed in bed for a while until about 3:00 AM, when we decided to just run to the hospital without calling the doctor. But it seems that the business of taking showers, getting dressed, putting some stuff together, and calling our friend Diane downstairs took much longer than expected (we had asked Diane to come upstairs to our apartment and babysit Maia when the time came.) When Diane came in (dragging a pillow, virtually sleepwalking), Gabi was already in opera singer mode in the bathroom, which not only woke Maia up, but probably the whole neighborhood. Maia was actually not freaking out, but was clearly impressed to see her normally composed mother hitting high soprano notes like that. From that moment on, I did everything I had to do (the phone calls, the stuff-gathering, etc.) with Maia hanging from my side, running around like a cartoon character.

When Diane saw Gabi, who was simply holding on to the bathroom sink trying to deal with the pain, she immediately realized that it was too late to take her to the hospital. Although Diane is formally trained as a nurse, she has not actually dealt with highly gory stuff for a long time, let alone deliver a baby. "Call 911", she told me, "we need an ambulance, now". When I was dialing 911 from the kitchen I actually heard Gabi screaming: "I can feel her head, it's right here!"; that was the very first time that I came to realize that the baby would be born here at home. Holy crap. It was in that very moment that Diane's job description changed radically from "babysitter" to "midwife", just like that. So I ran downstairs to drop Maia off with Rob (Diane's husband, awake in the middle of the night like everybody else), so our little daughter would not have to sit through the whole show. I rushed back upstairs, and I saw Gabi down on her knees on the bathroom's rug, one arm on the bathtub, the other on the towel's rod, being embraced by Diane, also down on her knees. It's only been a couple of minutes, but it seemed as if the ambulance was taking ages. Then, I heard the rumble of a large truck's engine downstairs on the street. I ran the three floors downstairs in a wink, but when I got to the street I realized it was the curb-sweeping truck, not the ambulance, that was there. I ran back upstairs (again, like a maniac) and when I peeked into the bathroom, I saw Diane holding our little baby in her arms, right next to Gabi, just like that. Our daughter Luna was born, literally, in what it took me to go down three flights of stairs and back up running like a madman, which is less than a minute. It was 4:20 AM on September 18, 2008. Our baby Luna looked nice and pink, with her little eyes wide open, looking around. She barely made a sound, which kind of baffled everybody, as used as we are seeing screaming newborns in the movies. But she was fine, she was happy, she was great.

I grabbed the phone to call the doctor again. Obviously, I woke her up once more, and told her that the baby was already here, that she looked fine, that Gabi seemed to be alive too, and what the hell was I supposed to do next. "Oh, you're at the hospital?", she asked me. "No, we're at home, we never made it to the hospital." "What?!" "Yes, we're at home! What do I need to do now?" "OK, you need to cut the cord", she said. "Get a couple of shoelaces, tie them an inch apart, and cut." "OK, I'll call you back!", and hung up. Then I heard someone knocking on our door, and ran down to open it. Once again, it wasn't the ambulance, it was the cops, a guy and a woman that did nothing but look around and try to inspire authority; utterly useless. I let them in and ran looking for the shoelaces. It's funny, but the only shoelaces that came to my mind were those in one of Maia's toys, a box containing a series of cardboard shoes with holes that help kids learning to tie their shoes. Those shoelaces, naturally came in wild, crazy colors, which were somewhat inadequate for such a serious task. I'm not sure why, but I picked the red and the orange (maybe because they would go well with the blood?). When I came back to the bathroom Gabi was sitting on the toilet, grabbing Luna against her chest, with the cord hanging right there. I was about to do it when the ambulance finally came. The paramedics rushed it with all their tools and gadgets, and I was glad to put away my colorful shoelaces discreetly into my pocket. The EMS guys were very young but they did their thing in no time and did not mess up. Somebody asked aloud: "what time was the baby born?", and I replied "at 4:25!", very eloquently, like I was totally in control. But I was really a shaky, sweaty mess.

I'm not sure how many people came into our apartment, but it ended up being quite a crowd, at least 8 of them, EMS, paramedics, cops, etc., just like in the movies. If you haven't been in our apartment, then you may not know that we have quite a small, narrow bathroom that barely contains me and Gabi on a normal, loving day. This time there was a permanent rotation of 4 to 5 people at a time, which was kind of impressive. Diane brought us Maia from downstairs and I shoved my way through the uniforms in the bathroom so she could see her mom and brand new baby sister. She said to me: "she has very black hair", which was true. Then someone asked me for a large ziploc bag to put the placenta in; I looked in the kitchen and handed them a sandwich size bag, which prompted some jokes I don't remember (I looked again and found a larger one that did the trick.) They strapped my courageous Gabi onto a bulky stretcher, and I could hold my baby daughter for the first time, at age 20-or-so minutes. They took the stretcher down the stairs (we live in a 100 year-old building with no elevator) and the stupid police woman would not let me bring Luna down the stairs myself ("it's against the procedures.") When we finally got into the ambulance they gave me the baby back and I rode in with Gabi and two EMS dudes. It was about 5:00 AM in a beautiful, fresh and spectacular night.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

La increible, fantastica historia del nacimiento de Luna

A la 1:45 AM del Jueves 18 de Septiembre, la Gabi se (me) despertó habiendo escuchado un leve "crack" que ella atribuyó al ruido de la rotura de las membranas del liquido amniótico (yo no tenia idea que tal cosa se pudiera "escuchar", lo que es cool). Lo primero que la Gabi hace es tomar el telefono y llamar al numero de emergencia con el que se puede hablar directamente con un doctor a cualquier hora (el doctor puede ser el de uno, o puede que sea otro de la misma oficina, que fue lo que terminó pasando.) La Gabi, que estaba muy en buena, cero stress, le contó a esta doctora lo que habia pasado. La doctora le preguntó si ya le habian comenzado las contracciones fuertes, y la Gabi le dijo que no, que no sentia nada muy distinto a lo que habia sentido ese dia, a lo que la doctora replicó: "OK, usted al parecer no esta por dar a luz, asi que vuelvase a la cama y me llama tempranito en la mañana". La Gabi le hizo caso, aunque por supuesto, las contracciones feroces le comenzaron muy poco despues de que colgo el telefono.

A eso de las 3:00 de la mañana, con las contracciones cada vez mas frecuentes, decidimos no esperar mas e ir al hospital. Pero al parecer, el asunto de las duchas, vestirse, juntar un par de bolsos, llamar a Diane (la vecina de abajo para que viniera a cuidar a Maia en nuestra ausencia), se tomó mas tiempo de lo esperado. Para cuando Diane llego con cara de sueño arrastrando su saco de dormir, la Gabi parecia cantante de ópera, lo cual por supuesto habia despertado a la Maia -y al barrio entero, yo creo. La Maia no estaba asustada, aunque si bastante impresionada de ver a su madre vociferando de esa manera. En todo momento yo la tuve en mis brazos, p'alla y p'aca, corriendo como un mono animado.

Cuando Diane vio a la Gabi, quien simplemente estaba apoyada en el lavamanos del baño aguantando como podia el dolor de las contracciones, cachó de inmediato que no habria tiempo para llevarla al hospital. Nuestra amiga Diane es enfermera, pero su pega es mas administrativa que de quirófano, por lo cual nunca habia asistido a nadie en un parto. "Call 911", me dijo, "we need an ambulance, now". Cuando estaba llamando desde la cocina, escuche a la Gabi gritar: "I can feel her head, it's right here!". Creo que esa fue la primera vez que realmente caché que la guagua iba a nacer en la casa. En ese mismo minuto, la labor de Diane paso de ser "babysitter" a "matrona", de una. Asi que corri al piso de abajo a dejar a la Maia con Rob (el marido de Diane), para que la pobre no tuviera que tragarse todo el show. Cuando subi corriendo de vuelta la Gabi estaba de rodillas en la alfombra del baño apoyada en Diane, tambien de rodillas frente a ella. Deben haber pasado solo un par de minutos, pero a mi me pareció que la ambulancia se estaba demorando demasiado. Es ese momento, fue que escuche el ruido de un motor abajo en la calle. Bajé como un loco los tres pisos y cuando llegue a la calle, me di cuenta con horror que no era la ambulancia, sino el camión de la basura (lo cual no me pareció gracioso). Volvi a subir (si, como un loco, de nuevo), y cuando llegue al baño, vi a Diane con nuestra guagua en sus brazos, asi de simple. La Luna nacio, literalmente, en lo que yo me demore en subir y bajar las escaleras del tercer piso, o sea en un minuto, maximo. Eran las 4:20 AM del 18 de Septiembre del 2008. La Luna se veia rosadita y feliz, con sus ojitos abiertos y sin decir ni pio (lo que fue lo unico que nos preocupó un poco a todos, acostumbrados como estamos por ver a los recien nacidos llorar como locos cuando nacen en las peliculas). Tome el teléfono y llame de nuevo a la doctora, quien habia quedado en llamar de vuelta, pero no lo hizo. Le dije que la guagua ya habia nacido, que parecia estar bien, que la Gabi parece que estaba viva y que qué diablos tenia yo que hacer a continuación. "Ah, estan en el hospital?", me preguntó. "No, señora, estamos en la casa todavia!" "Cómo?" "Si, en la casa, que hago ahora? Digame!". "OK, hay que cortar el cordon umbilical", me dijo. "Busque dos cordones de zapatos, atelos a una pulgada el uno del otro y corte, rapido". "OK, la llamo de vuelta", y colgué. En eso escucho que golpean la puerta. Corro hacia abajo. De nuevo, no era la ambulancia, era la policia (un tipo y una tipa, que por supuesto no hicieron nada mas que husmear y pretender autoridad.) Los deje entrar y fui a buscar los cordones. Es como chistoso, pero los unicos cordones que se me pasaron por la mente fueron los de un juguete de la Maia, una caja con una serie de zapatos colorinches de cartón con agujeros que sirven pa' que los cabros chicos aprendan a amarrarse los zapatos. Los cordones, naturalmente, venian en una gran variedad de colores chillones muy inadecuados para una tarea tan seria. No se por que, elegi el naranja y el rojo, tal vez para que vinieran bien con la sangre. Cuando volvi al baño, la Gabi estaba sentada en el water con la Luna en su pecho, con el cordón colgando y todo. Cuando voy a atinar con el corte es que finalmente llegó la ambulancia. Los locos llegaron con todas sus herramientas, oxigeno y toda la parafernalia asociada, asi que discretamente me guarde los cordones de colores en el bolsillo y los deje pasar. Alguien preguntó en voz alta "when was the baby born?" y yo dije en voz alta "a las 4:25!", como para sentirme util. Pero debe haber sido un par de minutos antes.

De ahi en adelante, todo ya más bajo control, aunque todavia muy intenso. No se cuánta gente más llego a la casa, pero habia una aglomeracion escandalosa. Minimo 8 tipos, entre paramédicos, respondedores de emergencias y pacos. Cabe señalar que nuestro baño es tan angosto, que apenas cabemos los dos con la Gabi en un dia normal. Esta vez, eramos 4 o 5 a la vez. Fui a buscar a la Maia al piso de abajo para que viniera a conocer a su hermanita. Como pude me colé entre los uniformes en el baño y la Maia pudo ver a su mama y a la guaguita, lo que fue bueno. Despues me pidieron una bolsa Ziploc para poner la placenta, lo cual me parecio muy sensato (la placenta la tuvieron que rescatar del fondo del water, ja!). Al final, ataron a la Gabi en una camilla y se la llevaron abajo por las escaleras (nuesto edificio tiene mas de 100 años y no tiene ascensor, obviamente). La imbécil de la mujer policia no me dejo llevar a la Luna escaleras abajo porque el "procedure" lo impedia, tipicas reglas yankis. Nos subimos a la ambulancia, me devolvieron a la Luna y nos llevaron al hospital. Eran las 5:00AM y era todavia de noche, una noche espectacular.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Opazos proudly announce the birth of their lovely daughter LUNA

Click to play Luna is here!!!
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

happy 3rd birthday, SISSI

Click to play sissi's 3. geburtstag
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

my cousin marie's first birthday - look at the cool card i made for her

Click to play marie 1. geburtstag
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Saturday, September 08, 2007

So much to do, so little (summer) time

We have just browsed through the never ending bunch of pictures we took this summer and realized that, wow, we were pretty busy. (It sounds like a lame excuse, but this is why you have not seen new stuff here for quite some time.) And now, we're back... with a vengeance! Consider yourself warned: here's the longest-ever gallery of pictures to date. If you get through it, it means that you like us very, very much.

Carousels are the coolest thing on Earth. I think, actually, that carousels make the world go 'round. This summer, I dragged mama and papa to FOUR different ones across the state.

Their heads are still spinnin'... such amateurs!

By the way, we got this incredibly cool set of matching "Team Opazo" shirts from our good friend Bibsi. Lookin' gooood!

My friends Annais...

... and Juju came to see me!

Here's my school crew representin' at Muscoot Farm.

Swinging is also one of My Favorite Things

Diggin' for gold in Silver Lake. Found a couple of nice bottle caps that were shiny and cool. I kept them and told no-bo-dy. Hush -hush, la, la la.

Madison Avenue is just hilarious

Here's Maia singing "Tongui-tongui", a classic tooth-brushing anthem (en español.)