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Showing posts from February, 2011

First days

To pick up where we left off:
This is the world that Asa came into.
It was still and peaceful in the room, with the lights dimmed.After Asa was born we were given a minute or two to hold him.Anjli clamped off the umbilical cord, but gave me the honor of severing it, cutting Asa free from his mother.
(Cue ululation.)
Then the nurse, Sandra, whisked him over to a heat lamp, and tidied up his cord stump, and weighed him, and put a nametag on his wrist and an alarm sensor on his ankle.
Selam meanwhile had clambered out of the pool and had been helped onto a bed.She was having some stitches inserted when Asa was handed back to her a few minutes later, wrapped in a hospital blanket and wearing a handsome cap.
"All citizens of the republic shall be issued at birth with a Phrygian cap, to insure against monarchist proclivities," my dad remarked.
Kitted out with cap, anklet, and armband, Asa was well on the way to official personhood before he'd even had his first meal.

But the meal wa…


Asa was born on February 4, 2011.
Selam had been in labor for about 15 hours.  During the last 3 hours we sat in a birthing pool, and Selam alternated between drowsiness and alertness, good humor and exasperation as the contractions grew stronger.
Midwife Anjli encouraged Selam when she needed encouraging, and gave us all confidence that things would go well.
At 3:39 AM, Asa surfaced in the glow of a spotlight and was delivered to the arms of his astonished parents.  

Asa's maternal grandmother, Kuri Shibo, and paternal grandfather, Jan Stevenson, were present at his birth.
It was a rainy night in Georgia.  But a ray of sunlight burst through for us all.
He is a boy, and his name shall be called Isaac Dhaddacha Stevenson

A strange fish

When does personality emerge?  In the case of the hero of this blog, it was around 7 weeks gestation, when we chose the nickname, "fish" (asa in Amharic).

At 7 weeks gestation, we're all more or less like fish.

Back then, Asa was less than 2 cm (1 inch) tall and weighed about as much as a bean. The nickname gave us a way of thinking about this little thing as a real live individual.

Now, just a couple of days short of 9 months gestation, dozens of people are looking forward to meeting Asa.

And yet there is much that remains unknown:

Gender.  Is Asa male or female?  We don't know.  (For the meantime, we'll use 'he' for convenience.)Complexion.  Asa's mother and father happen to differ quite dramatically in skin color.  Grafted from the two of us, Asa may be light or dark, or somewhere in between. Amharic has five categories for skin-color: nech [white], qay [red], yeqay dama [dark red], tayim [burnt], and tiqur [black]. Perhaps he will be, as the Eth…