As told by Ande Estrella Burns
Whoever remembers any other part of their life as "the best of times", obviously doesn't remember the womb. I subscribe to the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought, so I was all for keeping my warm and comfortable habitat intact, just as I had come to know it over the past nine months. However, my mom is of small, Asian-Pacific, Filipina stature, and my dad is of Anglo Scottish stock, and given the fact that little moms don't comfortably give birth to big babies, I didn't have much chance at picking my own birthday. Lola Cookie (mom's obstetrician and good friend of Lola Evelyn, mom's aunt) decided that full term was enough, despite the fact that I know that neither of my parents are any good at being on time for anything.
When the day came, I decided I would give it a try on my own, having realized that they were serious about going ahead with this date. When they hooked Mom up with the monitor, she showed she was having regular contractions. As I was being gently coaxed from above, I began to see exactly how difficult this was going to be. Lola Cookie had talked about an alternative method (C-section) of making it to the outside, and the choice between that and the normal way sounded like the difference between a limousine ride and walking to the event over broken glass. I decided I'd hold out for the limo ride, but it took a good 24 hours to convince my parents of this. Silly parents.
It was Lola Cookie's hands I first felt when I finally made my way to the outside. The lights were bright, the air was cold, and I'm supposed to do something... uh, Oh yes, a bit of a cry just to let them know I figured breathing out. Breathing is really simple, as I'd been practicing for a few weeks now, so it was not too much of a stretch to get it all started up. In fact, air seemed to move in and out of my lungs a lot easier than amneotic fluid. It was just a bit cold, though.
Now, I'm not one to brag, but I got double nines on the Apgar scale. Dad expects me to be an A student in everything else I do now. I guess I'll reserve this issue for my teenage years when some independence exercises will be in order. Anyway, as soon as my I've-been-born tests were done, they put this diaper thing on me, plopped a hat on my head, wrapped me up in a blanket (the pediatrician called me a baby burrito) and Dad brought me back to mom where I saw her face for the very first time. Now that was pretty cool!
Then, it was into the recovery room where I got prodded and weighed and poked and shot and goop was stuck in my eyes. Dad held my hand through some of it. I weighed 7 lbs, 6 oz, which is pretty average for a Scot, but a bit large for a Filipina. They measured me at 19 3/4 inches ... or 50 cm. Dad says I'm metric.
I then started meeting some of my family... people I had only heard in muffled voices on the outside until now. There was Grandma and Grandpa, Lolo and Lola, Lola Evelynne and Auntie Linda. At this point my Dad announced my full name. No one had heard my middle name before this, since we were trying to keep at least one surprise. Ande Estrella Burns. Ande for the Andes Mountains where my dad grew up and I spent a few weeks when I was forming up on the inside. Estrella means "Star" in spanish and is the beautiful name of my lola lola, Mom's lola, who lives in New York. Mom and Dad were first going to introduce me as : Maria Andrea Estrella Jimenez Horrilleno Burns Tauzer as a little joke, but then chickened out.
Someone suggested I try eating. Ok, until now, getting nutrients has been a pretty automatic feature of my original habitat. Now they were gonna make me work for it. Ok.... let's take inventory : mouth, lungs, tummy, tounge, arms. Yeah, I think I can do this. Of course, being naturally inclined to perform for an audience, I waited until I had everyone in suspense, wondering what I would do, then latched on and went for it. Piece of cake.... easy stuff. Hey! where's my standing ovation?
That evening we settled in to our room in the maternity ward. The nurse came and gave me my first bath, showed Daddy and Mommy how to change my diapies, wrapped me up in clean blankies, then settled me in under the tanning lamp. I got the only bed with the tanning lamp.
The next day I discovered that I had a lot of people who loved me. They started streaming in from noon until 8 o'clock that night. Mom 'n Dad complained a bit about being tired, the whimps, but I was havin' a ball. Let's see, I got to see Lola and Lolo, Grandma and Grandpa, Lola Evelynne, Lola Cookie, Auntie Linda and my cousin Daniel, Tito Paolo and Tita Christina, Uncle Rick and Auntie Denise and my good buds Nathan and Deana (who did a great job holding me... they're gonna make some great baby-sitters), Uncle Mark and Auntie Lydia, Uncle George and Auntie Winnie and buddy Don Robert, Lolo Jimmy and Lola Judith, Tita Linda Lui, Auntie Carrie, Auntie Mrs. Junghaene, Tita Marjorie. Tita Yuri, who really loves babies, called on the phone, but couldn't visit cause she had an owie.
There were lots of big people to ride, which, of course, is my favorite sport. Ya gotta break them in a bit so they hold you just right, but once you've got them in position, they'll walk you around and rock you and say silly things to your face. I've got Dad trained the best. He has gotten so silly and comes up with the funniest faces and talks in baby talk. Its all very entertaining.
Mommy, the trooper, decides we should head home on the third day. While we really liked all the nurses and staff at Good Samaritan hospital (thank you so much, you guys are great!), the constant interruptions were getting a bit tiresome. I was doing everything by the book, as evidenced by the whoops and hollers of my daddy everytime he looked at one of my dirty diapers, so Lola Cookie released us. Mommy said that daddy drove the safest in his whole life on the drive home.
I'm home now. Today I'm a week old (my birthday is April 6, 2001, 4:19 PM). I have three needs: feed me, change me, burp me. I clearly communicate this to mommy and daddy, but they seem to be really lacking in their communication skills. Maybe they'll get the hang of it with some time. There's lots of great stuff at home that was given to me by lots of people that love me. Thank you, everybody, it makes life very comfortable and cozy. I should be able to retire on the value of my booties alone.
Dad's goin' nuts with the camera. Enjoy some of the pictures!
* Lolo, Lola =
Grandpa Grandma in Tagalog
* Tito, Tita = Uncle, Aunt in Tagalog