Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Zane Rogers Ackermann - February 22, 2010

Last June Becky told us that she and Kurt were expecting a baby. It came as a shock – we had come to grips with their plan to have no children. They had been deeply affected by Lisa’s death and the discovery that Becky has the same genetic factor leading to blood clots, as do both Betsy and I. So when she told us, we were quite conflicted and kept it quiet for some time in hope and fear.

Time passed, and we returned to Cape Town in December to find a lot of preparations underway. Kurt’s office was turned into Zane’s nursery – Zane Rogers Ackermann by the way. Stroller, pram, furniture, in place - plans for car seat, clothing, bottles, etc., waiting for completion. Becky was still working, busy finishing up papers for submission and completing book reviews - Kurt working madly against deadlines for television scripts – all the while the inevitable deadline of February 22nd approaching.

In case you were wondering, the medical care in Cape Town is every bit as good as anywhere in the States. Yes, it is Africa, and yes, this is a first-world city with all of the good and bad bits that come along with that designation. Becky had weekly doctor visits where they took ultrasound pictures. It’s quite – I’m at a loss for the right word – an emotional experience to see the face of your unborn grandson while he’s still in the womb. It makes me rethink the whole abortion issue.

Betsy and I have forgotten how our lives changed with our first child, or at least I’ve forgotten. We were so young. This grandparent thing is an entirely different perspective on the event. We’re able to view events from a distance; not needing to worry about diapers, bottles, formula, car seats, and the like; focusing on the wonder, the fear, the future, the past – you know, the scary stuff. Wow!

 February 20

February 21 

The weekend before surgery was spent walking on the beach and clowning around. Becky was blessed with no morning sickness throughout, but some lower back discomfort. She feels quite fortunate.

With surgery scheduled for noon on the 22nd, they left the house at ten to check into the Cape Town Medi-Clinic. Kurt was with her throughout the entire process – we waited in the lounge. Kurt kept us posted via text messages and Zane made his appearance at 12:45pm – kicking and screaming into the world. Weighed in at 2.83kg (6lb, 3.6oz) and measured 47cm (18 ½ inches).

The initial challenges with new babies are simple in concept: get enough food into them to avoid weight loss; and learn their communication signals (hunger, discomfort, etc.). Deceptively simple.

In practice, new parents can become quite stressed with these challenges. I don’t know how much help we are but I’m glad we are here.

The new family formation arrived home on Thursday, three days after the preceding picture.

The entire family turned out to see the new arrival. The dogs were clueless at first, not knowing if it was a new puppy, a squeaky toy, or just something to smell and lick.

Several days later, the dogs are adjusting well – the parents,…? Zindzi (the older, black village dog) tells the parents when Zane needs changing – so funny. Again, I have forgotten, perhaps blocked, those difficult times.

We had one of those high/low moments as Becky opened a bottle of wine that Lisa had given them in 2001. It was saved for a special occasion – not too many more special than this.

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Floyd & Betsy, aka
Oupa & Gogo

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