Friday, July 31


I regret to inform you all that Master Martyn cannot possibly appear on the blog today due to a slight case of baby acne. I just don't have time to photoshop out all those spots!

As a consolation here is some news:

The poor Roo has had a sore tummy or stingy poo because he's been out of sorts the last 48 hours. Lots of grizzle grumps and some unusual crying. Not really sure whether it was something Jo ate or he got too hot (Tuesday was a scorcher and the AC had trouble keeping up) but he's much better now so whatever it was is out of his system. Lets just say that he didn't learn his formidable farting ability from me!

Self soothing was our friend last night. We'd been patting and pacing to soothe the little screamer to sleep but it was pretty hit and miss success wise and often left Jo sleeping with him in the other room, not daring to move unless he started up again. Last night we opted for putting him down in the crib next to us and trying to ignore the piteous cries for 5 mins, and hallelujah! It worked! It may never work again but last night was sleep punctuated by feeding rather than vice versa.

I've been slow roasting a sticky soy and five spice marinated hunk of pork all day so that we can have pulled sticky pork over noodles tonight. The entire house now smells edible!

Oh ok so I wasn't serious about no photos! But this will have to tide you over until tomorrow's mega-cute post...


Wednesday, July 29

Bye Bye Bili!

We took Marty Roo to see our fabulous pediatrician today (he's a great guy, I'd recommend him to anyone!) Our instructions had been to keep him off the bili blanket from last Thursday (when we had the last blood draw) until today so that he could look for signs of worsening bili levels (colouring and lethargy mostly). The fabulous news is that he passed with flying colours (not yellow ones!) His nose still looks a little jaundiced but the rest of him is pink and delicious and there's hardly any sign on that sickening lethargy.

The other test he aced was the scales. Last time we visited (8 days ago) he was still 7 pounds 15 oz, 4oz off his birthweigh of 8 pounds 3 oz. Today he weighed in at a grand 8 pounds 12 ounces!! That's 9oz over his birthweight in 2 weeks!! Ladies and gents, we have a puddin... an alert, active and danged strong little puddin!

Someone to watch over him - The Roo with his friend Rubin the Bili-slaying dragon

We caught up on some much needed sleep today, well after Marty stopped screaming and the delivery guy returned the wallaby to its mother ship. It seems he has an innate sense to detect the moment his Mama sits down with a cup of tea and usually takes these opportunities to display his "I'm fussy you must comfort me" side. He has a similar sense for the second his Poggie's head hits the pillow.

Dude, this swing business in exhausting!

'Dis my squeaky monkey face

Sunday, July 26

Happy Birthday to Me

Chocolate mousse birthday cake and coffee - oh my!

Yup, today is Poggie's birthday. Somewhat overshadowed but a lovely day nonetheless and made even more so by being able to cuddle the Roo at will. At the moment he's on his sheepy basking in an evening sunbeam while his Mama naps in the other room - bliss!

Getting some natural light therapy and looking like a washed up deckhand...

Marty did his best to play nice for my birthday, sleeping really well last night and only waking up to feed (and not scream). He started to kick into the scream cycle early in the evening, but we decided to take a shot at swaddling him tight and laying him in the crib and it worked like a charm! Mind you, that doesn't mean it'll work tonight but one night of good sleep blocks was wonderful.

Ok, now for some more pics to keep y'all happy. Again, thanks for all the comments, we love hearing from you!!

Such trusting little hands

Mr big eyes!

Blissed out on a sunbeam

Saturday, July 25

A little breath of good news

Marty Roo and his Poggie

Today we took Marty Roo back to the baby sticker for his latest bilirubin test. Luckily we also manage to have it combined with his 2 week PKU screen which means one less trip out there and one less heel prick. He screamed to high heaven but calmed down the minute the poor nurse was done.

The "shark room" at our pediatrician's office is a tad scary!

Well the short of it is that his bili is down! Not a dramatic drop but at least a drop (from 9.8 to 8.3). The great news is that it is enough of a drop that our pediatrician has us off the light therapy until Tuesday. Then we'll take him back in and they'll have a look at him and see whether any of the jaundice is making it to the skin or if it looks like we're out of the water. Basically we just have to keep doing what we're doing, sans wallaby, and hope the antibodies have hit their peak and we're now on the downhill.

We've even been doing double light therapy in the evenings - and yes the window is open, I know UV doesn't make it through glass...

The best part of this news is that now he gets to be a real little baby! We can cuddle him whenever he needs it, we can dress him and we don't have to feel guilty whenever a feed takes a while and keeps him off that &%$@ wallaby. Last night he flat out refused to sleep anywhere but on one of our chests, and let me tell you this kid has a will of iron (his mama is just as stubborn).

He can finally wear clothes - Although now we need to work out the real sizing on all of them! Global clothes supply makes life confuzzling...

Almost forgot to mention the other good news. I found out yesterday that my abstract for the big genetics conference in Hawaii was accepted for a platform presentation! thought I had no chance this time since this meeting will be huge - there goes my stress free holiday but still, it's fab news. It will also be my third ASHG platform out of the four years I've gone!

Thursday, July 23

Stichin' (without the bitchin')

Just before the little Roo was born, when I still had insane amounts of time on my hands, I decided that I'd attempt to sew him some toys. I'm not the world's best sewer by far but I enjoy it, although I draw blood more often than Edward Cullen! Up until now the only toys I've made have been more adult...slightly mixed up rabbits etc. This time I wanted to make something more baby friendly, so soft, droolable fabrics, tight stitching and high contrast colours - plus something he could get his little mits around.

The first one was a bit of a flop in my opinion... ears too big, body a tad too round and the wrong fabric for his face, but he was a great learning curve and my beloved loves him so all good.

Clutch wabbit - the somewhat failed prototype

From there I decided to try something a little different. I'm getting the hand of this magical 'stitch something that looks sort of messy and turn it inside out to reveal something super cool' thing. I drew up a lot of parchment paper pattens for this one, but the &%$# fur was so slippery that it kept messing with my edges. The legs turned out to be way too large but the rest was ok, and he has such a soft underbelly!

The finished boodle bug

And since I have to keep the Roo fans happy here's a few more pics of sleeping beauty, who decided to sleep lots during the day so he is well rested to wreak havoc on his mummies ear drums later tonight... yay. I think that means he's feeling better though - he sure is strong when he wants to be!!

Out like a light...on his light

Fly catching

Wednesday, July 22

Baby Steps

Our little glow bug

Today the little Roo turned one week old! I just wanted to post quickly to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been reading the blog and leaving comments here. It makes our day when we log in to read what y'all have been posting. It is just wonderful to know what Marty has such a huge (and global) extended family.

I physically went back to work today (mentally I'm not sure where I was) AND I hit up the supermarket, all in one fell swoop. It was hard being away from Jo and Marty. I had to print a photo of him to put on my desk to remind me he was real!

All is well here. We're continuing with hard core feeding plus phototherapy. He's much more alert and for longer periods of time. He has great muscle control and at day 5 managed to completely roll himself over! Going to have to watch out for this one.

The little Roo on his wallaby

Tuesday, July 21

Making progress

A quick update on where we're at with Marty Roo and the villain-rubins.

We saw the pediatrician today and he was really pleased with his progress. He totally agreed with our decision to ditch the forumla and use a combination of breastfeeding and pumping. His poop output is now fabulous! Thanks for all the thoughts of plenty, they clearly worked! Marty is now only 4 ounces off his birthweight, so climbing from the drop he had in hospital (I think he dropped to 7 pounds 5 but now he's 7 pounds 15). Mind you, he did wait until they weighed him before releasing the mega wee (good boy). I think he thought we were seeing the pee-diatrician.

His temp was good and he was nice and alert, and he let loose with a fabulous seedy breast milk poop while our doc was checking him out. Again, good boy! I think our doc was slightly shocked by the detailed poop/pee/feed/temp logs I'd been taking but they helped to keep us on task and keep me sane!

We're going out? You mean I actually get to wear clothes??

He sent us off for another blood draw for a bilirubin check and the disappointing thing was that is was still too high. Around the same level as when we were in hospital, but at least not climbing. That means we need to keep up the light therapy until the next visit/blood draw Friday. The problem with the ABO stuff is that the antibodies that are doing the damage can stay in his serum for weeks, so he might not have hit his plateau yet. If he hasn't then it is a good sign that we are keeping him leveled out.

Back on the light pad

So now that we're home again we will just keep doing what we're doing (well, with less of the maniacal poop logging) and hope for a good bili number on Friday. Oh and I should just mention that I was the first of us to get pooped on because someone (who shall remain nameless) decided that it was a good idea to leave him wrapped in a towel with his bottom airing while I fed him! Set up much!!

Sunday, July 19

The suckyness that is ABO incompatability and the incredible resilience of Marty Roo

I realise that I tried to get the last post out too quickly and didn't really explain what the problem was with Marty or why we were stuck in hospital so long (and why we're having a hell of a time now that we're home).

ABO incompatibility is a problem that's restricted to mothers who have type O blood who give birth to children with A, B or AB. Marty is A+ (same as me, heh) and Jo is O+. The Rhesus factor isn't an issue here so the negatives or positives mean nothing. Basically, during pregnancy, Jo produced antibodies against Marty's blood. These antibodies produced by type O mothers are the only ones small enough to cross the placenta. So rather than just the usual jaundice you'd expect from your average baby breaking down their excess blood into bilirubin, he has the added bonus of a dose of these antibodies against his own blood in his system fervently attacking his blood and making even more bilirubin.

We're lucky they identified it early because the antibody response occurs in the serum, not the tissues, so the jaundice yellowing doesn't show until their levels are dangerously high. On his first test (24 hours I think) he was already in the red zone so from that point on we had to keep him under UV light and laying on a UV pad (called a wallaby for some reason that no one seems to know) 24 hour a day, only bringing him out for feeds. No cuddles, no clothes, just lot of screaming. The poor bugger had velcro taped to his head to hold a blindfold in place.

In the lightbox with his blindfold on

The problem with the high bilirubin levels, aside from the obvious risk of brain damage, is that they make him really sleepy. The problem with that is the way to clear the bilirubin is to break it down in the liver which is too young to cope with those levels, or with UV light. But to totally clear it from the system it binds to protein and is passed out with the poo. If there's no poo it get's reabsorbed. His levels are so high that it is almost impossible to wake him for a feed and if you do he's too tired to suck and loves the contact after being in the tank that he just snuggles in happily. We were so desperate for him to be well that we followed their advice and supplemented feeling with formula (from a syringe and only after a feed) which got his levels plateaued by day 3 and kept his weight up enough for us to be released.

Finally leaving our postpartum room

So they sent us home with a wallaby under strict instructions to keep him on it as often as possible, so still no cuddles and no clothes, but at least he wasn't stuck in the tank so we could interact with him more. It should have been a relief to be home, and at first it was wonderful, but last night was the worst night of all. Almost nothing we tried would wake him enough to feed. It was so awful to have to basically torture him awake, and horrible to see him lying limp like that. Even the formula, which he'd taken relatively easily in hospital, was a battle and he spat most of it back at me (kind of relieved he doesn't like formula to be honest). He was so hungry and so frustrated that he just screamed and fought and didn't poop!

Our light therapy setup at home

However, this morning we reassessed the whole situation. Clearly squirting formula down his throat wasn't working, neither was trying to force him onto the breast, especially when we needed output (yes, I mean poop, and lots of it). So now we've got Jo pumping (and doing really well) and mimicking the way we'd expect him to feed if he were healthy. Luckily she's a born dairy queen! Now we've ditched the formula entirely and have him drinking loads of breast milk about every 2-3 hours (slow-flo bottle, much kinder than the syringe and he at least learns to suck for food) and he's already much more alert and pooping!! I nearly cried with joy when we had an explosive non-meconium poo! I'm sure I'll start hating them but for now it was better than a Christmas present.

Now we just keep him feeding and when he's not feeding we keep him on his little glow worm pad and hope for the best. We see our pediatrician (who we love, luckily, because you can't meet them until you have a baby!) on Monday and he'll make then next call based on his weight (he went from 8-3 to 7-10 in the first 2 days but leveled out after that), his 'output' and a bilirubin test, which of course means more foot torture. I have no idea how soon we'll know the outcome but we'll keep you posted. For now, please bear with our slow response time and keep sending pooping thoughts!

Marty Roo feeling a bit better!

Saturday, July 18

The news you've all been waiting for

Marty Roo!

Sorry for the major delay on this one, it was out of my control.

First major piece of news, Tuesday has arrived! Martyn Andrew Richardson was born at 2.20pm on Tuesday (ha!) the 14th of July after roughly 6 hours of labor. He was 8 pounds, 3 ounces and 20 inches long (not taking into account the cone head - poor fellow). My beloved was just amazing, getting through the whole labor with no drugs, no swearing and hardly any complaint (she was heard to say 'it hurts a little' at one point!) More about labor et al. later, I will keep this post short and try to get more details up tomorrow.

The second major piece of news is that we are finally home from the hospital. There was no real way to let most of you know that there was a problem. We found out pretty soon after birth that he and Jo have different blood types so there was an ABO incompatibility issue, meaning he was at much higher risk of really dangerous bilirubin levels. I don't have the energy to really explain it but you can read about it here on wikipedia. Basically it meant a lot of stress, not much sleep and more than 48 hours for him under lamps with a blindfold on and no cuddles. Again, I'll post about it in more detail tomorrow. For now I'll leave you with some much demanded photos and the knowledge that he's home, he's ok and we're working hard to make sure he stays ok!

Minutes after birth and he was alert as anything

The first night after birth with a totally exhausted poggie

Tiny toes!

"Mama, take me away from this nasty hospital now ok?"

We will start getting onto answering emails and calling people but it is still going to be rough going for a few days so we might be a little on the slow side, sorry about that!

Tuesday, July 14

Very early on Tuesday's morning

Well, since our 'bundle of joy' chose not to come during the night Operation Waiting for Tuesday has been forced into plan b. It is currently some horrible hour of the day (4.30am... some call it morning, I call it hell) and we are off to the hospital! Our doctor has scheduled us for a medical induction. There's no need to go into the why and how come - both mother and baby are healthy - but we really don't have a whole lot of choice. The down sides are less freedom to move around due to regular monitoring and a higher risk of C section, but we'll deal with those as we come to them. It wasn't exactly what we planned but there are a lot of good things about it:
  1. Hopefully he'll be born on a Tuesday (we didn't get to pick the day so that's kind of freaky)
  2. We get our doctor, who we really like and trust
  3. We know roughly when it's all going to happen rather than waiting and waiting
  4. It gets our friend Matt off the 'emergency driver Jo's waters will most likely break in your car bring towels' hook
  5. A bunch of other stuff but it is too early to remember what that is right now...
So, I will post an update as soon as we get home, and I'll do my best to get messages out as soon as there's any major news, but please don't call us yet. We'll most likely have our phones off for most of the day and tomorrow. I will let you know as soon as we can. Keep us all in your thoughts and prayers but mostly pray that Jo doesn't get so hungry that she goes on a rampage and decimates a good chunk of the San Antonio healthcare system...

Captain cruisy kicking back with some relaxed beats

Monday, July 13

No news from mission 'waiting for Tuesday'

...but he isn't due until tomorrow (which will be today in about 9 minutes - I should really go to bed)


Jo has been sleeping for a few hours now but for some reason I've been bouncing around like a blue arsed fly in a pickle bottle doing last minute jobs like packing teabags and other supplies, and sewing toys (long story, will post on that later) We've had a lovely restful weekend. No sign on real labor but things are definitely moving along. Hopefully the next update is something more concrete! It's now 4 minutes off his due date and I'm done procrastinating, time for bed!

Wednesday, July 8

Yes, I am going to talk about food...

A quick update first. All is well here. Still no labor but we're a week off the due date so no panic. We tried almost everything in our arsenal to induce labor last night but it did nothing more than give me pineapple poisoning and Jo a tension headache! Oh well. Our boss is out of town this week, so it does mean that I can take Jose home a little early each day - just what we need right now.

The Fourth of July long weekend was a total blessing and mostly we just relaxed at home. I did a LOT of cooking, but to me that's the best kind of relaxation. We had our friend Lorena and her mum over for dinner on the night of the 4th (yep, some real Americans!) but since it was so hot and Lorena is a vegetarian I decided to go wildly sideways and cook some Vietnamese and Japanese food for dinner. Ironic perhaps but I could have gone with bangers and mash... or just mash in Lorena's case!

Clockwise from top: Mango, palm heart, avocado, cucumber and mint salad with a tangy lime dressing, inari with ginger and seaweed furikake and tuna tartare with fresh ginger and spring onion.

A selection of pickles (shiitake, turnip, daikon and beetroot), the salad, shiitake kushiyaki and tsukune (chicken meatballs)

That's no beer! It's fizzy apple juice for the pregatron

Of course, thanks to our American friends, we totally made up for it with dessert! Not only did they bring fab Independence Day themed petits fours like the ones we had at the baby shower, they also brought a cup cake sampler!

The deliciously moist petits fours... mmmm

Cupcake sampler clockwise from top left: Chocolate, hummingbird, almond, carrot, red velvet and coconut!

The other very cool thing was that from our new deck we could see 3 seperate fireworks displays, including the mega one from Six Flags Fiesta, a big theme park not too far from us!

Saturday, July 4

Kicking back 4th of July style

Ahh Independence day, what a well timed holiday you are. It is hot, the beloved needs to rest and then whoomp, we have a long weekend! Only downside is our OBGYN told us NOT to have the baby this weekend because she's away. But if we do, meh, it'll be fine.

Jo and I have realised that this is the 4th 4th for the both of us (she scored one in Hawaii when she was little). We are planning a very quiet weekend all round. I spent most of the day cooking (roasting tomatoes for pasta sauce, ham bones needed to be turned into stock, more pickles - sweet turnip and chili this time - and now for some crazy reason I am roasting lamb shanks and vegies even though it is 40C outside). Tomorrow we have a few friends coming over for a swim in the pool and a quiet dinner so I'm planning a light Asian influenced banquet of tsukemono, shiitake kushiyaki and tsukune (chicken meatballs), mango salad (lots of fresh mint, coriander, avocado, cucumber, palm heart and lime leaves with a Thai style dressing), inari and whatever else I happen to come up with on the day. Should be fun to put together!

I just wanted to share a few pics to celebrate the 4th and show off just how cool my workplace is. Firstly we had a huge BBQ even for everybody at work last week with lots of good food, drink and competitions - including the 'decorate your flip flops' contest!

I'm not sure if she won but she should have!

Another of the contests was the famous water balloon toss! Where you take a willing partner, stand out in the searing heat and toss a water balloon at each other across increasingly large distances. You are out when the balloon busts (but in the heat wet=happy so everyone wins) Hilarious to watch!

Top two pics show the final catch by the reigning champs (softball girls, they make it look so easy!) and the final splash (orange shirt)

Then this week one of the girls at work decorated her section of office hallspace and was offering apple pie and coke to celebrate the 4th!

Look at all that hard work! This was the same chick who had the decorated thongs.

And on the other side of that window? Apple pie and mini cokes!