I'm a daddy!

At 10:36pm on November 19, 2007, my wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy. We named him "Henry Hiroshi Shiro" after his great-grandfathers on both sides of the family: "Henry" (Germanic, means "home ruler") was my dad's dad name, and "Hiroshi" (Japanese, means tolerant, generous, or prosperous) is Holli's mother's dad's middle name. Little Henry was born with a weight of 7 pounds 11 ounces (3489 g) and was 21.75 inches (55.25 cm) long. He's a week old now and in perfect health.

You can view Henry's hospital announcements here. There are two versions with slightly different pictures. Email me if you don't have the password:

http://www.kapiolani.org/baby-online.asp?aID=10&bID=69&cID=86&pID=562&URLID=0G6J6C2Y3T
http://www.kapiolani.org/baby-online.asp?aID=10&bID=69&cID=86&pID=562&URLID=8Y1O2Q0X2Y

I've started posting photos and videos to facebook as well as my new site on phanfare. We have an Amazon registry too.

The whole pregnancy, birth, and parenting experience has been new and exciting for all of us. My wife and I took prepared childbirth and infant care classes at a local hospital, and we read lots of books on natural childbirth. These books were particularly helpful: "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" and "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth". We decided not to know the baby's gender, so having a boy was a surprise for us! That meant choosing two sets of names and not buying any gender-specific baby items, which was a challenge. We're glad we did this, as it seems more natural than the modern trend of determining the baby's sex from ultrasound, which is often wrong.

My wife started going into labor around midnight on Nov 19. She let me sleep until about 5:00am and then woke me up to tell me what was going on. I spent the next hour finalizing some house chores and packing for the hospital before settling down with her to coach her through contractions. At about 8:30am, the contractions were consistently 60 seconds long and 4 minutes apart, so we went to the hospital. Luckily, the traffic wasn't bad, and we made it there in half an hour. They kept us in the triage room for 2-3 hours before moving us to the much more comfortable family birthing center. At time time, my wife was dialated 3.5 cm. By 6:00pm or so, she had progressed to 6 cm and was in extreme pain with every contraction. I did my best to sooth her and help her relax, but she increasingly became more exhausted (hadn't slept at all the previous night) and unable to deal with the pain. Despite coming to the hospital with a very clear natural, unmedicated Birth Plan, she ended up opting for some pain medication in an IV. It only helped for 1-2 contractions, so by about 7:00pm, she asked for an epidural. Once she got the epidural, the pain went away, but the pressure didn't, so she was completely aware of each contraction. It helped her relax, and consequently, she progressed very quickly to 10 cm. With less than an hour of pushing, Henry was born at 10:36pm, about 22.5 hours after the labor had begun.

Although we're still very new parents, my wife has learned how to feed Henry (exclusive breast feeding), and we're managing the lack of sleep associated with any newborn okay. Other decisions we made include not circumcising him, using cloth diapers rather than disposable, and starting elimination communication potty training as a baby to shorten the time he's in diapers. Henry's crib is in our room, and he'll sleep in there with us for about the first year of his life. For the time being, the nursery is serving more as a guest room than a baby room, although that is where his changing table and mommy's rocking chair reside.

We're excited to have lots of family visiting over the next several weeks.
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