Thursday, May 27, 2010

its the simple, little things she does...


... that keep me in awe...
her arms flailing up when she is even slightly startled out of sleep (she looks like an animated reverend giving a sermon)
her mouth making an O shape so delicate
her eyes opening and closing when she wakes up
her feet. period. they are just too cute, especially how her big toe separates from the others
her breath - the soft smell of milk
watching her chest rise and fall as she sleeps
how she stretches and moves her legs around when she is first waking - especially in the morning
oh, and then when she makes these big yawns so expressive
how she screams and cries when we change her clothes like it's bloody murder
how she makes adorable little squeals as she comes down from crying and is reaching just a whimper.
her farts, her poops, her burps. she does them like an old man!!!
her slight bursts of laughter or more frequently, small smiles, while she sleeps, and dreams, of who knows what
that grip when she wraps her small fingers around one of yours. she's so strong!
when she makes eye contact and just fixates on you with her big big gray/brown eyes
and her hick-ups! all the time, so cute
how she likes when we pour water over her face in the bath - but hates all the rest
how she sucks ferociously when she nurses, and sometimes places one or even both hands on my breast to make sure it doesn't go anywhere
how her lips so luscious, make a sucking motion even when there's no breast in sight
how she gets so quiet and soothed when we put a good song on
how she just passes out on your chest laying down and sleeps divine in that position for hours
how her eyes go cross-eyed and her face wrinkles when she is working up a fart or poop
that cute button of a nose
how her tongue sticks out of her mouth - awake or asleep

today she is one month old. she is our glory.

Monday, May 17, 2010

By popular demand - more Zaya photos and some graffiti



3 days in a row blogging!!! things are looking good!

Today we took Zaya to the Public Health post in the neighborhood to get her vaccinations - Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B. We walked into an incredibly crowded clinic... the whole first floor was a line that wrapped around the room with people waiting to get vaccines (I think there's a big emphasis to vaccinate everyone here for H1N1 - hmmm). The security guard told us we could go to the head of the line, before anyone, since she is so young and it's her first vaccine, so we were in and out. All the nurses and admin oowed and awed at her and then the doctor stuck in the vaccines - one in her arm, the other in her thigh. I think me, mom and eder suffered more than sweet Zaya, who did scream out, but then was asleep before we even left the room. I really hope we did the right thing - it seems so young to put vaccines in her, but the doctor confirmed, yes, 20 days old is the right time, here you have to do it early.

Other news/stories... I was able to pull off a presentation for the Fulbright regional Enhancement Seminar which took place here in Salvador last week. There were scholars from 5 southern cone countries who came together to present their research projects in the works. I was terribly nervous and anxiety-filled in the days leading up to it - as I've been away from the "research" for some time with the birth, and would I be able to make it (physically), would Zaya handle going so far (an hour drive into the center of the city), and then get through without nursing. All week I was feeling so guilty too that I wasn't there participating in all the activities and watching others' presentations. It was my first experience of having to make a sacrifice - losing a bit of freedom, to be a good mama. I felt I was missing out on a great opportunity. So, all week I worked on my thoughts for what I'd say, put together a power point photo slide show the night before, and picked out some of Eder's videos to show clips of (that never worked out - media issues).

We left the house at 7 am, stocked with back-up everything, and crept, in rush hour traffic, towards the city. I'll spare you the details, but in the end, it all went great. The Fulbrighters were a bit more interested in Zaya than they were the graffiti ; ) very cute. They were so enthusiastic about the whole thing though - the birth story, the research, the art, breastfeeding. The Fulbright coordinators were also terrific, so supportive of my participation - however limited. As I watched the others present, I realized that I am no more "lost" in my research than anyone else, in fact, I have more focus than others I watched. There were some really interesting comments about my presentation - one that stood out in particular: I had discussed how politicians cover up graffiti artists' murals and pieces around election season for their campaign advertisement. They don't give a second thought to painting over beautiful pieces of art. One student asked about the irony of that, that these art pieces are a message and dialogue with the public - and elected officials - about the needs, desires, and wants of a community - and here the politicians just paint over it. I thought that was a great point.

After presenting that day, I also realized that I am living the best days of my life along side a glorious 1, 2 and now 3-week year old, and it's so not worth lamenting about what I could be doing... this is where I've wanted to be my whole life, I'm living it! doing it!!

thanks for listening, reading,
-carly

Photo Journal:
above:
1) Zaya's feet; 2) Zaya cute; 3) visit from friends; 4) Zaya in a onesie her cousins made her; 5) Eder's art 6) Eder's art; 7) nonna with Zaya so happy 8) nonna and papai give Zaya a bath;
Below:
1) four generations - Eder's g'ma, father, Zaya; 2) Zaya sleeping on my chest - heaven; 3) the Madrinas!!; 4) mom sewing the mosses crib bumper; 5) the colorful team of support - nonna, bipa, the madrinas take a break and hit the beach; 6) Eder's parents checking her out





Saturday, May 15, 2010

Zaya Naps, I Blog

Hey everyone!

I am able to actually blog 2 days in a row!!! A sign that things are calming down a bit.

Just now, as I sat down to write this, a lizard appeared at my side. He is a little thrown off, as I don’t think he wants to have entered the kitchen. This house has a lot of access to the outdoors, so we co-habitat with lots of animals. But usually these little lizards stay on the outside. He’s trying to make it across the slippery ceramic floor. There are beautiful birds, hummingbirds, red caterpillars, and of course all kinds of mosquitoes, flies, ants. You are one with nature. Pete and Eder love it, my mom, well…

Yesterday was my first full day alone with Zaya. I was exhausted by the end of it, when everyone came home, started grilling and the party started. We made grilled chicken and shrimp and pasta and potato salad, and some yummy Phyllis drinks – lime, mint, pineapple, cachaca. The occasion? Eder’s family came over – mom, dad, brother, his girlfriend, aunt, cousin, her boyfriend. We had a great time, and pulled it off, despite shrimp that went bad, a chicken that turns out was not-grillable, mom et el getting stuck in traffic jams and getting home an hour late, Zaya suffering from horrible stomach gas pains and crying out in pain for the first hour of her party then falling asleep the rest of it. But the biggest event of the day wasn’t the party. It was when I was writing the blog yesterday and I get a call from Eder.

He was at the local police precinct. He had been arrested while doing an incredible piece (attached here - the one below, not on the right) at an abandoned and run down small police post on the boardwalk along the ocean. The piece was almost finished when not one, but four police cars pulled up and called him over, saying someone had called them about him painting. He tried to say that he was doing the piece as part of the Salvador Graffiti Project, the Mayor’s initiative to hire graffiti artists, but he didn’t have proof and the police didn’t buy it. They put him in the back of the car (no seat, more like a trunk that you have to lay down in) and brought him to the precinct. He tried to plead his case, but ended up offering to paint over it if they would let him go. They threatened to fine him, or put him in jail, but then took his offer. He had to go buy the paint and paint over it, the whole time the police there to watch . He said that they had a conversation in the front seat of the car driving him to the precinct about “what is art?” one of them said that if any graffiti artist painted on HIS house, he’d kill them, cut their hands off. Another disgruntled officer said criticized the Mayor’s stupid plan of hiring graffiti artists, preferring to have them all shot. Eder said that the most high-ranking of them actually was in support of Eder’s art, and assuaged the situation the most he could, to no avail. Eder’s painting of that building symbolized the power of the people to take back public space abandoned by corrupt city government. The police use to use those posts, but now, for whatever reason – budget cuts, threats to their safety, the posts are no longer functioning. They are eye sores for the public. And the whole experience was humiliating, frustrating. Eder lost a whole day’s work, materials. The police won back their same old decrepit abandoned building. The people of Salvador lost a beautiful mural.

… and she’s awake...


photo journal:

1) Eder playing with Zaya in her little mosses basket

2) Zaya strikes a pose with a Mohawk

3) me with my madrinas and Zaya asleep on my chest (behind mosquito net)

4) Nonna (my mom) and Zaya

5) me, Zaya, coconut on Stella Maris beach - Mother's day!

6) (random) - the impact of the landslide/wall falling on Eder's neighbor's house last month

7) cute pic of Zaya cross-eyed






Friday, May 14, 2010

Wow. Wow. Wow. I am mommy


">> Zaya Sol Fox Muniz has arrived!!!!

How things change once you’ve had a baby!!!! I have a very short window of time in between baby baths, breastfeeding, etc. to write a quick update on the blog while she’s taking her nap. I have been wanting to write here for so long!!! I also want to get pictures up so you can see how much she’s growing!!

So, Zaya Sol was born on the early morning of April 27th, 2010. She’s a miracle. We cried, rejoiced, celebrated. I

had had 32 hours of labor (I’m pasting a version of my birth story at the end of this). The sunrise was gorgeous over the ocean, a block from where she was born, and a rainbow appeared. I was high on adrenaline and despite 2 nights of no sleep, didn’t feel tired, and couldn’t wait to have her in my arms. When they brought her to me she latched immediately, and as the early morning sun shone in our room illuminating us, we connected to each other once again mommy and daughter in a near perfect breastfeeding moment. Ever since, it’s been one long feed!!! She can’t get enough. She needs it to calm and sooth herself, to replenish much needed water as she sweats quite a bit with that full head of hair and hot weather here. And she’s so big! 8 pounds 6 ounces at birth, regained in the first week! I can’t imagine what she is by now. We see her growing every day (I keep asking her to hold out a bit til August when she’ll be back to the states to meet you all). She never was a tiny delicate fragile little thing. She’s long (51 centimeters) and strong!!! No wonder I had convulsions going on in my uterus during gestation, she was getting quite a workout and was strengthening her arms and legs. She’s quite the little Italian with all her arm gestures flailing them all the time. She makes this cute oval mouth “ohhhh” thing too that is to die for. I kiss kiss kiss her all the time, it’s intoxicating.

We took her for her first pediatrician visit when she was 7 days old, all good there. She had to have a blood test (they do these things early here) and that was horrible, watching them put a needle into her arm, oh did she cry! High-pitched scream, this time, WITH tears. It broke my heart and I only hope it’s worth it. On Monday we’ll take her to the “Posto de Saude”, the local public health clinic, to get her vaccinations started – I think we start with Hepatitis B. Anyone have strong opinions for or against getting any vaccines? Let me know, I’m open to ideas. I feel like going with what they do here is the smartest thing, since it’s such a different context than the U.S., but if there’s a good reason to hold off on one of the vaccinations, let me know your opinion.

Que mas!? What else? My 2 wonderful madrinas arrived on May 6th – Paula and Phyllis. They came 2 days after me, eder, mom and pete had a serious family meeting about how we are getting – or not – getting along… it was a particularly stressful time. Zaya was born on a Tuesday, came home from hospital on a Thursday and I was really weak and needy. This house is so big and hard to get around – no railing on stairs and steep stairs. Then Eder’s family started coming to visit, I moved around probably too much, hate having to have everyone do everything for me (I know, I know you say I should live it up but it gets really hard), so by Sunday, I was feeling horrible and the doctor came Tuesday morning and determined that my incision was infected. At this point I couldn’t move, I was bedridden and in really terrible pain just getting up to go to the bathroom. Around this time my milk came in (I think it was on Friday?) and boy oh boy what they say about crying is true!!! I cried because Zaya was growing up so fast. I cried when I read people’s emails to us in response to the birth announcement, and wished you could be here to see her. I cried because I was so dependent on people for help. Because I couldn’t walk and rock her. I cried because she was so beautiful. I cried when I tried to walk to the bathroom from the pain, and when Eder and I couldn’t agree on little things. I cried and cried. What a week. But things calmed down, the anti-biotics kicked in and the incision started to heal. I got my strength back and things got so much better. I’m finally on the up and up!!!

I have so much more to write, but I hear my little peanut, pumpkin, xoxo, papai, mamacita, burper and farter, bodacious butter starting to stir in her little mosses basket (nonna – my mom - is amazing – hooked her up with the cutest amenities… changing table, crib (she is still sleeping in our bed though, can’t quite get her to the crib yet), and non-stop support, big big up to super-none, can’t say what I’d do without her, I cried about that too!! The thought of June 10th and her leaving!!!).

Anyway, will post tons of photos here to make up for the lack of writing. Excuse the non-polished text, will try and write again soon, and fill you in on lots of fun stories of spit up, diarrhea in the bath (that was today – first time I tried to bath her on my own and she pooped all over the bathwater!!! Not fun!!! Especially since we have to BOIL all the water she baths in and wait for it to cool down).

Ok, really got to go. She’s a-getting-feisty.

Ps: after naming Zaya, we learned that there is a song by Chico Cesar, a terrific Brazilian musician, and he sings about Zaya!!! You can hear it on you-tube, link below, and lyrics in Portuguese too… beautiful song.



A primeira vista –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnFnUUxN7lM

Composição: Chico César

Quando não tinha nada, eu quis
Quando tudo era ausência, esperei
Quando tive frio, tremi
Quando tive coragem, liguei...

Quando chegou carta, abri
Quando ouvi prince, dancei
Quando o olho brilhou, entendi
Quando criei asas, voei...

Quando me chamou, eu vim
Quando dei por mim, tava aqui
Quando lhe achei, me perdi
Quando vi você, me apaixonei...

Amarazáia zoê, záia, záia
A hin hingá do hanhan.....
Ohhh!
Amarazáia zoê, záia, záia
A hin hingá do hanhan.....

Quando não tinha nada, eu quis
Quando tudo era ausência, esperei
Quando tive frio, tremi
Quando tive coragem, liguei...

Quando chegou carta, abri
Quando ouvi Salif Keita, dancei
Quando o olho brilhou, entendi
Quando criei asas, voei...

Quando me chamou, eu vim
Quando dei por mim, tava aqui
Quando lhe achei, me perdi
Quando vi você, me apaixonei...

Amarazáia zoê, záia, záia
A hin hingá do hanhan...
Ohhhhh!
Amarazáia zoê, záia, záia
A hin hingá do hanhan.....

Quando me chamou, eu vim
Quando dei por mim, tava aqui
Quando lhe achei, me perdi
Quando vi você, me apaixonei...

Amarazáia zoê, záia, záia
A hin hingá do hanhan....

Ohhhhh!
Amarazáia zoê, záia, záia
A hin hingá do hanhan...(2x)

Ohhhhh!
Amarazáia zoê, záia, záia...

Zaya’s Birth Story


Zaya Sol Fox Muniz was born at 4:05am on April 27th in Salvador, Brazil. She is wonderful, marvelous, heavenly, irresistible, and incredible!!!! Here’s her story of how she came into this world.

Month 9 was getting tough, after having quite an easy pregnancy overall. I was experiencing pain as she descended and positioned, headfirst. On Sunday, April 25th, I had slept very different and was experiencing back pain and weird things unlike before. In the grocery store I said to eder (around 5pm) I better start timing these strange pains just to be sure they aren’t contractions, though I didn’t think they were. I was really agitated, couldn’t keep my concentration on anything. Later, while skyping with my stepmom and dad, my stepmom described her labor contractions as very similar to mine – not quite painful, a bit deceiving, but indeed, it was the beginning. We went to bed, I was pretty anxious and excited. My mom and my stepdad Pete were heading back to the city after 3 nights away on an island. They were waiting for a delayed Ferry to get back. I didn’t want to tell them I thought I was in labor, not worth the anxiety… so Eder and I headed to bed. I had a little notebook and pen and tried to record contractions throughout the night. They felt like they were really short, and I could deal with the pain. By morning, they grew in intensity, in the middle of the night my mom and pete came home and so I woke them in the morning with the news. We all started getting ready, and I started having the contractions quite regularly. What felt like 10-sec contractions were actually going for about 30-45 seconds, good news!! I also felt like – wow, this is hard, painful, but I can do it, I can get through these! But I definitely needed Eder’s help pressing on my back – and for good reason, it turns out that Zaya was posterior, which puts incredible pressure on the back. So he had to be around me all the time. I was doing the whole lay down in between contractions and rest, get up and lean over the bed, swaying back and forth, side to side during contractions, with someone applying pressure on my back. Mom was keeping me hydrated with electrolytes, coconut water, even a glass of wine to help me rest. I was able to eat a big breakfast and lunch, was hungry!! At some point I decided to go downstairs, I even went for a swim! (we’re living at my mom’s rental house during these 2 months). Then we played some Pinnacle, taking time to massage me through contractions. I remember the contractions being painful for sure, but thinking – I can handle this, it’s gotta get harder than this! Bring it on! While playing cards my mom had dropped the wine bottle in the kitchen but never cleaned up the glass… what were we thinking!? At this point we were waiting for the doctor (Marilena) to arrive, and when she did (around 6pm?) we went upstairs. I was 6 centimeters dilated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I rejoiced! Wow, not bad, I was so proud I had come so far. Pete and Eder went to take a photo of the sunset (urgh, not good timing) mom attending to my worsening pains (I think the vaginal exam made them get more intense). Mom’s arthritic hands were no match for the type of pressure I needed. In the meantime Marilena went to the kitchen to prepare food she brought and we realized there was glass all over and her bare feet!!! Mom went running down to help her… ahh, it’s those little things during labor. Eder and Pete got back and I asked Eder please never leave me again!!! This is when things do start to get blurry for me and really much harder. Eder and Pete set up the pool in the room, taking turns applying back pressure. Contractions were longer and closer together. Marilena was very relaxed hanging out on the bed, reading some of my birthing books, she was a beautiful, peaceful and calming energy to have around the whole time. She re-read my 4-page birth plan, and was really non-intrusive. The back pain was getting harder and harder, with my need for someone to apply pressure more and more urgent and harder. My stepdad sort of became a birth partner out of the inevitability of needing his strong hands and muscles to put on pressure either with Eder or when Eder needed a break (he vary rarely actually did). My water still hadn’t broken, and at some point later, I was at 8cm, progress, but wow, slow progress! I got in the pool and labored there for awhile. I couldn’t eat at all at this point and actually ended up throwing up quite a bit, so my energy started to decrease I think. This is the part that becomes a total blur. I know I wasn’t comfortable anywhere – the bed, the birth ball, the water… I couldn’t live without the pressure on my back, and rest in between contractions become very short, if not at all. I remember sometimes Marilena didn’t even have time to check the baby’s heartbeat, contractions were coming so fast, hard, and long. My water hadn’t broken yet and we were waiting for it to happen naturally but finally I asked Marilena just to do it to speed things up hopefully. She did and then checked, I was 9 ½ centimeters. I wanted to want to push so bad, to get things over, but I just had no desire. I wasn’t fully dilated. Marilena tried twice to do something – she reached up in and was trying to speed things up (I think by helping turn the baby around), but just couldn’t do it. This was the worse pain I had experienced yet. Wow. Now it’s like 2am and I’m starting to panic, I was in transition but it never ended!! No rest in between because there was no in between! Marilena said lets wait one more hour, and then consider going to the hospital, I was all for it. I kept looking at Eder, my mom, Marilena, wondering if I could do it. They were trying to be so positive, but it was horrible. Horrible. After trying one more time to reach in and do that maneuver, without success, we decided to go. I had no bag packed for the hospital, my mom was running around gathering stuff for me, baby, her, eder… the hospital we had pre-registered at in case of a transfer was full, which meant going to one even farther. Eder and I got in the back of Marilena’s car and mom and pete drove behind us. The 30 minute drive felt like eternity, with the pelvic push in the backseat not quite as satisfying… ; ) at least it was the middle of the night and we didn’t have to respect any traffic signals. In the car I asked Marilena if we could still try and epidural first before having to do a cesarean. She agreed. We got to the hospital and it got so bad. Separating me from Eder meant separating me from my pelvic pusher! I was screaming out in Portuguese to the nurses pushing my gurney to push on my back push on my back push on my back!!!!!!!!! They didn’t really get it, probably my Portuguese was all wrong. It took the anesthesiologist 4 looooong attempts to get that epidural in, and in the meantime, the constant contractions with no pelvic push combined with being poked in the back was the worse moment of labor by far. I was screaming something crazy, my mom and pete could hear me from wherever they were. Marilena checked the baby’s heartbeat and it had slowed down significantly, probably a side effect of the epidural? They told me I had to do a cesarean, I didn’t resist. They moved me to OR and started anesthesia. I was scared. I was relieved. I was relieved to not have the pain. I felt so sad though, I had been laboring 32 hours. I had taken the class. I had read more than 5 books to prepare. I knew how high the cesarean rate was here, the risk of being whisked into an OR. The private hospitals have an 80% cesarean rate, which is why I was trying to do the birth at home. But at the same time, I completely trusted my doctor who I know was really invested in me having a natural birth, and at no moment pushed for anything different. So there I was, going numb, all the sudden Eder appeared in all the scrubs, my mom and pete appeared in a window to my left. And here she came! Eder said – it’s a boy! Mistaking the umbilical cord. My doctor said, it’s a girl! It wasn’t the natural birth I had wanted, but it was what it was, and everyone keeps reminding me we’re healthy. I’ve been talking to so many people – they wonder if it was the combination of her posterior position, her big size, and my exhaustion after so many hours, not able to get her through to start pushing. Who knows. But, she is here, alive, wonderful, and we are crazy in love.

- carly, eder and zaya