February, 2009 Archives


Jack and Charlie take a much-needed siesta.

Jack and Charlie take a much-needed siesta.

So Valerie and I have managed to contract a wonderful cold. I went to the doctor on Thursday and he said I had bronchitis. Just that afternoon, Valerie started manifesting her own symptoms. Wonderful. So now we’re doing everything in our power to prevent Charlie from getting sick. Dr. Bigley is a strong proponent of breast feeding, and he assured us Charles had a good chance of staying well, just by noshing on breast milk. We’ll see. In the meantime, Val and I are seriously considering buying surgical masks so we can avoid spreading our cough to Charlie James.

Being sick is not without its amusements, however. The other day, Valerie was changing Charlie’s diaper at about 4 a.m. I wandered in to Charlie’s room make sure everything was going ok, and as soon as I got through the door, I let out a terrific sneeze. It startled our kid so much, he immediately peed over himself, Valerie, his clothes and the changing table. Nice.

Sickness kept me from school on Wednesday and today, but it didn’t stop us from taking a walk to Valley River Center yesterday (to you non-locals, that’s the shopping mall.) We parked on the far side of the river, and walked across. Now, 1/2 a mile may not seem impressive, but it is when it’s a) 40 degrees, b) you have a child with you, c) your wife is recovering from a C-section and d) you both are sick. The mall really isn’t any more interesting when you’re sick than when you’re well, but it was nice to get out of the house.

Sick as dogs


Valerie and Charlie ftw.

Valerie and Charlie, best buddies.

Well, Charlie is changing by the day. For the last three days now he’s been waking up every hour or so and screaming at us. It’s interesting, in a natives-are-getting-restless kind of way. The payoff, though, is he’s grown by leaps and bounds, and he is VERY interested in everything these days. Val had a lot of Charlie time today as I was at school, and she told me when I got home that Charlie apparently loves the soundtrack from Annie. Especially when the songs come on where little kids are singing. His eyes get really wide and he listens in rapt attention. He’ll even stop crying. 🙂

Baby before you

Whoever says babies learn to talk after the one-year mark is clearly overlooking baby-babble as a legitimate form of speech. Charlie LOVES to babble. Especially when Valerie and I are trying to sleep. He sputters, and invents new ways to string nonsense phrases together, then crescendos, and for a brief instant it sounds like he might be crying, but no, the sound peaks then drops off again to a murmur. This would have kept me awake last night, had Valerie not sensibly taken Charlie out of the basinette and let him sleep on her chest. Charlie loves sleeping on people, and apparently he loves it even more than babbling, because he fell asleep about 5 seconds later.



It’s been a whole week since little Charlie James made his debut, and what a week it has been! I’m glad that Brook has been able to keep everyone updated on this amazing week, and I’m also glad that I’m functional enough now to add my own thoughts to Charlie’s blog! 

Having Charlie at home has been a huge change, but one that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Since Brook and I were released from prision, er, the hospital on Monday, we’ve had a great time getting to know Charlie better, and getting in practice being new parents. While trying to heal up from the c-section is a major drag, there are enough distractions with Charlie to make the week quite interesting.

Among our distractions? The mystery of diaper engineering. Last night, as Brook has mentioned, we realized that Charlie had sprung a leak. We went through a lot of baby clothes, trying to figure out why on earth our baby just kept soaking through all of his diapers. This morning, I took it upon myself to try to figure out why the diapers weren’t water tight. So far, the only conclusion I’ve come up with is that we weren’t putting the diapers on tight enough. We were somewhat nervous about making them too tight, and in our caution, ended up making them too loose. So far the problem SEEMS to be mostly solved, but we’ll see what happens as we progress through more diapers.  🙂

In other news, Charlie is so incredibly adorable. I have never found any other little person or creature more captivating! Being a mom is more fun than I would have imagined, and while I am tired out and sore right now, there is still utter enjoyment to be found in changing tiny diapers and clothes, and talking to a tiny person with big, bright eyes and a sweet baby smell. I am entirely looking forward to this wonderful parenthood journey with Brook, and can’t wait to experience everything that is waiting for us.

And Baby Makes Three…


Brook wheels Valerie and Charlie out of the hospital. For good.

Brook wheels Valerie and Charlie out of the hospital. For good.



Well it turns out we didn’t have to tie bedsheets together. They let us out of the hospital on Monday, and Val and I are just having a great time sharing our home with Charlie. He actually sleeps in the crib here … which he never did at the hospital. Oh, and we don’t have random people in scrubs burst through our front door at all hours of the night. Being home is wonderful, and our dog is elated by our return, and a new member of the Reinhard pack. 

Charlie had this great episode today where he peed his outfit, blanket and crib pad, then we changed him, then he pooped, and we changed the diaper, then he peed his outfit, and we changed it, then he peed his outfit, and we changed it, then he peed again. All in the space of about an hour. No wonder people spend a fortune on diapers. I just wish the diapers we were using could retain the mighter waters of the River Charlie.

Home sweet home


Val and Charlie play together, day 5

Val and Charlie play together, day 5

Val is definitely on the upswing now. On Saturday, they moved us from the labor room where nurses came in every 10 minutes to the mother/baby room where nurses come in every three hours.  The room is smaller, but I don’t think they would have ever let us out of the hospital if we stayed in the labor and delivery unit.

Today they unplugged the IV from Val’s arm. The whole arm is bruised; having low platelet counts tends to produce pretty patterns on her arm in the form of giant bruises. She’s still at risk for her high blood pressure, which is why we’re still in the hospital. We were hoping they’d let us out of the hospital today; the doctor put the kabash on that idea.

So now we’re hoping for a Monday discharge. If they don’t let us out, I’ll be plotting our escape. Perhaps they won’t notice that a dozen bedsheets have gone missing.

Cooped up and ready to go!


Charles James Reinhard, 6 hours old and sound asleep.

Charles James Reinhard, 6 hours old and sound asleep.

If you had told us a week ago that Charlie would already be two days old by this Friday, I’m not sure if we would have believed you.

Everything was going great with the pregnancy. Val had no complications and no indication that Charlie would come before the due date. On Tuesday, she and I went in for a routine check-up with her doctor. The nurse took her blood pressure, frowned, and took her blood pressure again. The doctor came in and took her blood pressure a third time. She told us she was really worried … Val had something called pre-eclamsia. “Fortunately,” she told us, “there’s a cure.” We asked her what it was. “We deliver the baby.” Yes, we knew that. In 2 1/2 weeks, right? “No. Go home, back, and go straight to the hospital. You’re going to have him now.”

Well that was terrifying and exciting all at the same time. We were OK with the idea of becoming parents in 2 weeks. Within 24 hours? Wow. We went home, packed, and checked in at River Bend. They put Val in bed and stuck those tubes in her arm you see in the picture below. (The morphine came later.) They gave her drugs to help induce labor, and waited.

By the morning, it was apparent that her body was not ready to give birth. But the doctor was still worried about her blood pressure. Shortly after 10 a.m., the doctor ran a lab test on her blood and realized her platelet count was low (platelets are what makes blood clot.) She told us Val would need to have a C-section, and if we didn’t have it soon, her platelet count might be so low Val would have to be put under during the surgery. Val was shocked. She really, really did not want a C-section.

At 10:33, Charlie was born. Val told me right afterwards that it wasn’t that bad. “We could probably do that three more times,” she said hopefully. I think that was the pain drugs talking … we’ll see how she feels about that in a few years :-).

Charlie weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces when he was born, and was 19 inches long. His weight is low but within the acceptable range for a 37 1/2 week baby. Our pediatrician says Charlie is very healthy, and he definitely seems that way. He makes little cat-like cries when he is cold, or tired, or hungry, or needs changing. He is incredibly fun to hold.

Val is slowly improving. She was pretty sick there for a while. Her liver was starting to malfunction, and her platelet count had dropped by more than 75 percent.  Her blood pressure has finally started to stabilize after two days. The doctor thinks we might be able to move her out of the intensive care room today. The hospital won’t let us bring more than two or three people at a time, and if Val’s blood pressure rises at all, a nurse comes in and kicks everyone out (this has happened several times so far.) Val thinks she might be able to get out of bed today. We both love Charlie, and are very grateful that God has kept our family safe this week. Thank you for all your prayers, everyone.

How it came to pass …


Charlie and Valerie, resting after surgery.

Charlie and Valerie, resting after surgery.

More photos from day 1


Charles James Reinhard, 3 minutes old.

Charles James Reinhard, 3 minutes old.

Charlie’s first day