A Shakespearean Glance at the People and Issues of the Day.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Look to the Eastern Sky...


Just kidding, but my and my wife's first child, our son, Isaiah Yuuki Abrams, was born three weeks ago, on August 25, explaining my recent silence. If the birth was not Shakespearean, it was of Shakespearean scope for me, and I cannot resist sharing the contents of my full heart.

I assume that for the hospital staff, the delivery was unremarkable. A busy morning, with literally no room at the Inn (a portent!), every delivery room full, and a surgical delivery room eventually made available for us; a very welcome epidural, some additional tweaking to the epidural when my wife's sensitive spinal column required more drugs to be subjugated, two and a half hours of pushing that was exhausting even if relatively painless, and then a slight amount of assistance, a minute or less, from the friendly suction machine attached to Isaiah's head to help him slide home, or leave home.

Isaiah truly is a uniquely beautiful child. When we first visited the pediatrician's office the other parents were visibly dejected by the contrast. Some went as far as to pretend the children they were accompanying were not theirs - that they were "just bringing him in for a friend." Others, shamefully, approached me quietly in the hallways and offered to trade.

But separate from his beauty was his initial launching. My wife and I stayed at the hospital for two nights, with various well-meaning specialists arriving whenever we might otherwise have slept. The experience of pregnancy, even at second-hand, made me feel that Mrs. B. and I had left the planet, and then returned, with something. With, that is, this gift from beyond the curtain of eternity.

And quite accordingly, Isaiah himself seemed at first reluctant to descend to this mortal coil. He was a little dehydrated and too weak to nurse properly. The first two days at home were thus like combat. We supplemented with formula. And while newborns are supposed to lose 7-10% of their body weight before beginning to gain, the pediatrician's verdict - 10%, the far margin - indicated that we must redouble our efforts.

A lactation specialist visited our home. Contraptions were employed - a plastic nipple shield, under which a tube, feeding additional milk pumped by the mother when not nursing, was used to, again, supplement. The pediatrician smiled - a two-ounce gain! Izzy started feeding less at night and more during the day, with there remained a certain inefficiency in his sucking, leaving us with 90-minutes feeding sessions and precious little time between them.

I had lobbied for the name Isaiah having in mind the second Isaiah, who comforted the people of Israel while in exiled captivity in Babylonia, and who persuaded them that there was a purpose to their suffering, which was to soften the hearts of their oppressors. It was not intended that any such suffering attend my Isaiah, but rather that he comfort and look with a softened heart upon those (others! others!) whom I had appointed to do the suffering.

At last a pediatrician offered the opinion that Izzy was working too hard for his nourishment, burning calories in the very effort to imbibe them. It was suggested that my wife express her breast milk and then delivery it by bottle, This adjustment accomplished, the results were dramatic - an eleven-ounce gain in six days! Mrs. Bardseye began singing Japanese children's songs to Isaiah at the pediatrician's office. Tan Tan Tanuki no Kinktama wa / Kaze mo nai noni bura bura! (roughly translated - the testicles of the wild racoon dog flap in the wind whether or not the wind is blowing. Honest.)

Moreover, the 1-2 hours a night of sleep for us both over the first two weeks was replaced by a luxurious 4-5, allowing me to return to my work. And today, not only can I again prepare 1000 words of publishable text per day for various legal publishers, Japanese companies' English websites, and other outlets, but can spare a few minutes for blogging. But no TV, limited web surfing, no restaurants, no outings.

My son has Mrs. Bardseye's wide lips, a split-the-difference nose, very Buddha-esque earlobes, and almond-shaped eyes. He likes to be awake. He is crafty in avoiding the replacement of his diaper. He has a pianist's hands, and specifically those of a specialist in Rachmaninoff. And I say that even though I favor Mozart and Brahms. Further characteristics must await further development. There is a certain spooky Bardseyeness and Mrs. Bardseyeness to him at times, unprovable and possibly imagined. He pouts and rolls his eyes when sleepy liker her, he stays awake too much like me.

I know other men have done this, but it feels unique.

Oh, wait. Come to think of it, Shakespeare does speak to this, as to all things:

"What a piece of work is Isaiah Abrams! How noble in reason; how infinite in faculties. In form and moving how express and admirable. In action how like an angel. In apprehension how like a god. The beauty of the world...."

The beauty of the world.

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