Thursday, September 30, 2010

International Support for Ecuador's Commitment to Democrary

Today there have been protests in Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca by the police and some of the military against the national assembly who have voted to change the way bonuses work.

Prior to Correa's presidency the police earned a basic salary (around $240 per month). They now earn around $800 per month. They were given new equipment such as cars, motorcycles, guns, and bulletproof vests (they were not given vests prior to Correa's time in office).

Prior to the new law passed by the assembly, the police would get annual bonuses without any requirements or responsibility on their part. This new law does not take these bonuses away from them, it simply requires that they complete certain requirements (such as classes) to receive their bonuses. Then when they receive their bonuses it will be half in cash (as part of a paycheck) and half in government bonds with high interest rates. The issue with the bonds is that they cannot take the bonds out for a certain period of time (much like our bonds in the United States).

Most of the issues have been in Quito and Guayaquil (Cuenca has been very calm), but all national and international flights have been canceled (which means more time with my mom!), and banks and many stores are closed.

Support for President Correa has been declared by almost all Central and South American countries, demonstrating region-wide support for democracy.

The individuals who are striking are the minority and are doing so without understanding the new law in its entirety. It is important for those of you reading this to understand that a lack of understanding leads to ignorance, which leads to problems such as those we have seen today throughout Ecuador.

I personally hope that these types of outbursts by the uneducated population of Ecuador do not negatively influence the way many of you see Ecuador or feel about coming to this country (here are some photos to remind you of what an amazing country this is!)

Viva Ecuador! Viva la democracia!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Adventure to Paute

Sunday found us adventuring with Arturo's Godmother's family to their country home in Paute.

I LOVE this house. When we finally build a house this is what I dream it will look like. It has acreage (we think about 18 acres). It has cows, geese, and all types of fruit trees (tomate de arbol, fig, avocado, etc.) and the property comes all the way up to the Rio Paute. The house has two amazing balconies (more like big porches) with barbecues (the real kind where you use charcoal instead of gas).

Kesh getting ready for our big day out.

A view of the house's porch

Another view from the house's porch

Rami, Alex, and Aida on the porch enjoying the sun.

My mom enjoying the sun and the garden in the front of the house.

We arrived around noon, hung out in the wonderful Paute sunshine (Paute is warmer than Cuenca... the temperature is truly perfect). We broke open Toctes (like a walnut) with stones, ate amazing barbecued chicken with a naranjilla marinade, and took a nice stroll down to the river and back.

Mom and Aida (Arturo's Godmother) with a bag of Toctes.

Mom showing off the Toctes (they are still inside the shell).

All of us down by the river.

The view from the riverbank.

After spending time at the house we went to see the family's caballos Peruanos de paso (Peruvian step horses) at another property they own. (for those of you who remember my entry about Macara, these are the same horses I talked about in this entry) This property is also in Paute and currently houses 15 caballos de paso with another 4 on the way. These horses are only for show and range can cost up to $50,000 each (depending on how good they are, how well trained, and their age). It was so amazing to see these beautiful animals! The son-in-law even offered to have Arturo come and help him with the horses on Saturdays, which would be great! Arturo LOVES horses and we can't wait to get our own (these will come with the dream house!).

The property with the horses (I didn't take any horse pictures with my camera, I'll have to steal some from Arturo and post them).

Kesha with her daddy after seeing the horses (she was tired after a long day out).

We made it back to the house around sunset. It was a WONDERFUL day! I can't wait to take the cooking class group in a couple of weeks!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Normalcy (or what it now consists of)

The human body is an amazing thing.
It knows what it can do, and what it can't do.
But boy the things it can do are pretty amazing.

I am about 16 days postpartum right now and had major abdominal surgery. I braved what every pregnant woman fears and took a series of postpartum photos.

First, my 38 week pregnancy picture. This was taken the day Kesha was born (Sunday, September 5th)

This first postpartum picture is a day after my c-section. I most certainly went home wearing maternity clothes! (yes, I felt as horrible as I look)

One week later...

Two weeks postpartum...

Thanks in part to a horrible stomach bug that had me sick as a dog for 4 days, incapable of eating anything and drinking very limited liquids, I am already back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I still have the infamous "dough stomach" (nice mental picture, right?), but won't be able to do much about that until I get clearance from my OB to workout which he won't give me until my appointment next month. A couple of pairs of my normal pants fit me again (hooray!) but are still uncomfortable to wear due to the incision site's continued sensitivity, so I am currently wearing super baggy pregnancy pants (which are the most comfortable thing in the world by the way).

I can't wait to start yoga, join a gym, take Kesh for long walks, just be plain active again! Once I get the green light to work out I am hoping to walk a lot (with Kesh), take yoga classes, and I would love to start spinning! I told myself I would run a full marathon before I was 30. Well, I'm almost 28 and have yet to do it, so my training will start very slowly in 3 weeks with walks around the block, to downtown, and the like. I am so amazed at how much it still bothers me to walk (but as my mother would say "you are recovering from major abdominal surgery, Becca, slow down!").

On another matter, we have discovered that leaving the house has become a bit more time consuming than it used to be. Kesha has to be fed which always seems to take longer than usual when we're trying to get ready to go, thus pushing our departure times back significantly. I can't shower until she is fed so she doesn't get hungry while "mom" is in the shower (although I have stuck to my "leave me alone when I'm in the shower this is my time" thing and it is great to have those 10 or so minutes all to myself most days). I have also found that going places with a baby is much harder than without. You have to think about where you're going, how you're going to be carrying her, will there be locations to change her, how will breastfeeding be, etc. But I am determined to keep my super active, leaving the house all the time life I had prior to her arrival. In fact, today we bought a Kunga (the Ecuadorian version of a Moby Wrap). I can't WAIT to use it! I think it will make my life so much easier when we leave the house! I am thrilled! I'll let you know how it works out for us.

Well, nap time... I'm beat!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Being a New Mom and Trying to Keep up With Life

It's amazing how a new little baby can consume 100% of your time.
They are so small and helpless. They need someone for everything. (plus they are so cute!)

I am trying to keep up with work, keep myself healthy and rested, and take care of Kesha all at once. But as my grandma says, kids, no matter how many you have, can only take up 100% of your time (or if there are other things as well, the combination of the two can only take up 100% of your time).

I finally got back to answering emails this week after taking an entire week off work. It is so hard for me to sleep when I know there are emails to respond to and other work to be done. I know I will eventually find a balance, but as for now I am still figuring out how to manage my time.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Road to Recovery Seems so Long

This is the first surgery I have had in my life and after this I can't say I'd even opt to have one again. It's rough!

However, Arturo is an amazing support (seriously, he is a saint!) and day by day I'm moving more and getting better.

Day 1 - Monday, September 6th (Hospital)
Managed to get out of bed, almost passed out after walking to the bathroom, made it back to bed and was discharged from the hospital later that evening. Survived the car ride home and getting up the stairs in to bed.

Day 2- Tuesday, September 7th (Home)
Today's big successes were getting in and out of bed with lots of help, walking around a bit semi doubled over in pain, and successfully breastfeeding Kesha bout 14 times. I also successfully avoided taking the shower I was supposed to take (muahaha)

Day 3 - Wednesday, September 8th (Home)
My successes today were plentiful (go me!) and included lots of walking on one floor (no stairs yet), making it to the bathroom on my own, taking the shower I was supposed to take yesterday (it was the most amazing shower of my life!), and getting out of bed with only the help of a chair instead of the help of another person

Day 4 - Thursday, September 9th (Home... do you notice I haven't left the house yet?)
Today was a big baby breakthrough day! Today I continued all of the previously listed successes plus added a few stairs to the mix. In addition I breast fed in a front holding position, picked up Kesha from her Moises bed by myself, got in and out of bed holding her, and changed her diaper! (Arturo has changed all the diapers up to this point, as I said, SAINT!)

I am pretty tired today after 4 times up and down the stairs (about 80 stairs in total) and eating two meals downstairs instead of having all my meals in bed. But I am SO smitten with Kesha! I could watch her sleep for hours, she really is amazing and SO CUTE!

My mom gets to Quito on Saturday and Cuenca on Sunday! I can't WAIT to see her and am excited for her to meet her first grandchild! I am so lucky to have such a wonderful mother who would fly down to Ecuador for three weeks to hang out with me and Kesha (and Arturo and his family, of course). I love you mom and I hope I will be just as wonderful of a mother as you were to me!

Oh, and here are some more pictures of Kesha, just because she's so cute!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Birth Story of Kesha Lee Garate Adams

Mom with a newly born Kesha Lee!

I went to see my OBGYN on Friday and he said that things were looking "ready" down there and the baby was in a head down position and that he was pretty sure I would be having my baby over the weekend. (whenever a pregnant woman hears this we all smile and nod because we know that person is jinxing in to being pregnant past our due date) When we left his office we had instructions to call him if I was having contractions every 5 minutes.

Although slighty skeptical, we returned home and kicked our prep in toy high gear (we hadn't finished prep yet since we still had two weeks... makes sense, right?)

Well I had been having contractions more frequently over the last couple of weeks and my doctor's internal exam upped the frequency of my contractions. On Friday they were coming every 8 minutes until around midnight, when they stopped. Saturday brought more contractions at 8 and 6 minutes apart. By Sunday at 6:30 am my contractions were fairly regular at 5 and 6 minutes and stronger. By mid morning I was averaging contractions every 5 minutes and mid afternoon 4.5 minutes. We called our OBGYN and he asked us to meet him at the clinic.

Upon arrival (around 3:30) he checked me and I was only at 3cm! He said I was 80% effaced but that the neck of my uterus was still completely back (which means no baby anytime soon). He let me labor for 4 more hours then came back to check me again. I was still exactly the same except I was up to 3 contractions in 10 minutes instead of 2. He left me for another 2 hours and did a third internal exam around 9. I was exactly the same as 2 hours before (and 6 hours before) except now I was having a contraction every 2 minutes for 75 to 80 seconds each.

This entire time Kesha had been in a -2 station for the entire time and was not descending in to my pelvis which was keeping my labor from progressing (he said if the baby is not pressing on the cervix it would never open). Right before the doctor left he told me that I could keep labor up as long as I wanted but she wasn't going anywhere. Basically I was just having contractions and they weren't doing anything. My body was working for nothing and the strong contractions I was having would have eventually stressed her out, threatening her health. He said I could opt for a c-section and they could get a team together with time, or I could stay having contractions and when the baby started stressing they would take me in for an emergency c-section. He gave us 2 hours to think about it.

I was really upset because we had planned for a drug-free, natural birth. I called the doula who was going to help us (we hadn't brought her in yet because my labor wasn't progressing), she is almost an OBGYN herself and has helped deliver hundreds of babies, and she swung by the clinic to talk and calm me down. We talked about how the most important outcome is a healthy baby and how she felt the doctor's recommendation was a good one, etc. After that chat Arturo and I talked and decided this was no longer about how we wanted the birth to go, but was about getting Kesha out safe and healthy. So we had them set up the c-section.

I couldn't have asked for a better team if doctors! Our anesthesiologist was wonderful and worked with my OBGYN to get me calmed down and of course drugged up before the operation (I was really nervous and still in shock about having to make the c-section decision), my OBGYN operated on me and is just a wonderful overall professional, and the pediatrician filmed and took pictures during the entire procedure. All three had wonderful senses of humor and did all they could to make me feel comfortable (including throwing out the sentences they knew in English). They dressed Arturo up in full operation gear and let him come in with me for the entire procedure. It was wonderful to have him there holding my hand!

Kehsa was born at 11:50 PM on September 5th. They showed her to me and let me touch her then whisked her off to have all of the basic procedures done. Arturo went with the pediatrician and was able to watch everything. Kesha came out healthy and with lots of hearty crying. She even got a 9 on her 1 min Apgar, and 10s on her 5 and 10 minute Apgars! Go Kesha!

When it was all over the doctor told us that she was even higher up than he originally thought and I could have labored until the cows came home and it wouldn't have done anything. She never would have come out.

Kesha came out at 11:50pm on Sun, Sept 5th at 38 weeks gestation. She weighed 6.9lbs, and measured 49cm (about 19 inches). We have been home since Monday evening and are all doing really well!

We are so glad to have her in our lives! Kesha we love you very much!

Kesha Lee Garate Adams, 1/2 day old

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Clinc, clinic, clinic, clinic...

We hit contractions at approximately 4.5 minutes apart around 3:30, called the doctor, then headed to the clinic. When he checked me I was only 3cm dilated and my contractions had returned to being irregular. We figured he would send us back home, but he decided to keep us at the clinic.

My room is nice and there is almost no one here, so it is really quiet! It's wonderful! We have cable TV, a wireless Internet card (hence my postings), and I even snuck some food even though they told me I couldn't eat (just a few saltine crackers).

My bed

The view from my room (with Arturo)

The doctor came back to check me around 6:30 and I had made NO progress as far as dilation was concerned. My contractions are now 4 every 10 minutes, so at least that's moving forward! He said that some people move really slowly through this phase and then more quickly through the second phase. We'll see how it goes.

Time to walk the halls some more and then get some rest!

Early Labor

Our doctor predicted this weekend would be the weekend for our little one to be born. She's not here yet, but we have been in early labor since around 11:00 yesterday morning. Things seem to be progressing slowly, but we were both able to get some sleep last night which will help if we move in to active labor today.

At first I was very overwhelmed when I went in to my 37 1/2 week appointment on Friday and was told I would more than likely be giving birth this weekend. Now I'm feeling better about it (less in shock) and am ready for her to come.

We are still at 6+ minute intervals for contractions, but they are definitely getting longer and stronger. All we need is for them to be closer together for an hour, then we call the doctor...

I'm sad my mom couldn't be here for the birth, but I think it will be nice that we will have adjusted to baby life before she gets here and she can spend some quality time getting to know her granddaughter. Either way she'll be here next week! I'm VERY excited to see her!

Back to timing contractions. Updates will come as we have them!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

18 Days and Counting...

ultrasound at 13.5 weeks

I can't believe our little one is due in 18 days.
18 days is nothing.
My mom will be here in 11 days.
I am SO excited to see her!

We have been slowing making a shift from the mentality of couple, to pregnant, to parents... an adjustment I know will take a lifetime to make.

Figuring out how to maintain our individual identities, our identity as a couple, and develop our new identities will be a challenge, but it is one that we are excited about and are ready to face! (I suppose ready or not though, the change is coming!)

At times it feels surreal, as if it will never happen and she will never be here.
I wake up a night (a lot!) and see the Moises bed at my side and feel like I'm looking in at someone else's life. I realize that soon I'm going to have to learn things like napping, sanitizing bottles, bathing a baby, the best way to wash cloth diapers, how to juggle a job and a child, how to juggle visitors, napping, baby, a job, and my sanity.

I can't explain how excited I am about our new upcoming journey. We will try to take it one day at a time, not have too many expectations about what being a parent will be like, and, as every parent does, do the best we can with our little girl.

We are SO excited to have you in our lives little one. 18 more days. So hard to believe.
We love you!