eight months and eighteen days

eight months and eighteen days ago, Parker Jane entered our lives at 9:15am.

11am, Erin, myself and Parker Jane (at that time baby girl Corbal) were situated in our hospital room.

1pm and it seemed as if every doctor on staff had been in to have a look at Parker Jane (now named) – poking and prodding, hearing tests, blood samples, a blur of white coats and stethoscopes. each doctor, upon listening to Parker Jane’s heart, made note of a low “whooshing” sound. and in turn, each doctor made note that the sound was most likely a result of the small hole in the heart that every baby is born with, that closes within the first few months of life; for most babies.

by 3pm, more doctors had been by to see Parker Jane and the mention of a heart defect entered the realm of possibility in relation to the “whoosh”. an echocardiogram (high tech moving x-ray) was ordered for Parker Jane soon after.

4pm the echocardiogram video was viewed and shortly thereafter Dr. Morris Salem, head of the Pediatric Cardiology Department entered our room to inform us that our hours-old daughter had a congenital heart defect and would require surgery before the pass of her first birthday.

Parker Jane was diagnosed with Cardio-Pulmonary Stenosis. base explanation of said condition being: blood flow in and out of one of Parker Jane’s Pulmonary Valves was too slow, causing the other valve to work twice as hard. the leaflets controlling the blood flow through the valve were too thick, and therefore too slow to regulate blood flow properly.

the news of Parker Jane’s condition came as a dull shock to Erin and i who were still attempting to clear headspace as new parents. once explained in detail, given pamphlets on the heart condition and visited a second time by Dr. Salem, it was made clear that the condition was not deadly or requiring immediate treatment. Parker Jane would need to meet weight and overall growth requirements during monthly checks with Dr. Salem. based on Parker Jane’s progress, an Angioplasty-like heart surgery would be scheduled and performed anytime after the turn of six months.

with detail still too fresh to recount, life at home with Parker Jane began with a heightened urgency to gain and maintain weight. each check-up with Dr. Salem was coupled with a sense of anticipation: was Parker Jane meeting the benchmarks?

by the second month, Parker Jane had met her benchmarks so far and was slowly developing a personality. at the same time, Erin and i were beginning to feel a bit more confident in our parenting decisions. we returned the infant scale we rented. we stopped counting the exact number of ounces of breast milk Parker Jane drank per day. we stopped obsessing and began enjoying. Parker Jane was no longer a stranger, she became one of us, and we embraced that fact.

months went by and Parker Jane continued to grow and impress Dr. Salem with her progress. the surgery was rarely discussed at our visits even; the emphasis was placed on on how well Parker Jane was doing so far, and how it appeared as if she would continue to do so. looking back now, i see how this became a very important time for Erin and i in our coping with the impending surgery. pressure was removed from the equation and we found ourselves able to view the circumstance in a new and more optimistic light.

it was at Parker Jane’s six month visit that Erin and i informed Dr. Salem that we would like to schedule the surgery. while instantly making it more of a reality, scheduling the surgery actually relaxed Erin and i a bit more; there was an end in sight to our worry. at the conclusion of the check-up, Dr. Salem noted that Parker Jane was in great shape to go ahead with the surgery. and so it was scheduled: November 8.

time went by very quickly at this point. Parker Jane began developing much more rapidly. her spirit and spunk and overall awesomeness began to burst through. what a time. what a feeling. what a sense of pride and astonishment and thankfulness. what an awareness of life and love. we were hooked. we were believers.

this feeling, these feelings, they brought a new warmth to the household. Erin and i began working on our bond, discussing and slowly planning the life we wanted for us and our daughter. we saw progress and success and value and happiness in a new light, having stripped away unnecessary roadblocks and concerns and societal structures. we were good, very good, but very nervous.

November 8

12:30am: Parker Jane eats for the last time before her surgery.

8:30am: check-in at the hospital. we wait to be called. an hour passes. in classic Parker Jane form, not a peep came from her mouth as she waited, hungry, unaware of where she was and what was about to happen. Erin and i were so proud of her patience, we still are.

9:30am: we are escorted into a large hospital room where patients are prepped for surgery. we are given a mini hospital gown for Parker Jane. The Anesthesiologist explains the anesthetic process and risks involved.

10:45: Parker Jane is fully checked in and prepped for surgery. Erin, carrying Parker Jane, and i, are escorted across the hall into a large and cold operating room. Parker Jane is laid on her back on a table and she looks to us. Dr. Salem enters the room and says hello. the Anesthesiologist asks Erin and i if we are ready. we look at Parker Jane. she seems confused but still does not fuss. we say yes. a small mask is placed over Parker Jane’s nose. she fights it. Erin and i retreat to our happiest memories while our daughter is put to sleep. less than ten seconds later, Parker Jane is completely knocked out. we are escorted out of the room and told that we would be visited some time between 12:30 and 1pm. this becomes, by far, the hardest part of the entire day.

Erin and i slowly and quietly make our way back to the waiting room we began in. Erin sets to work on billing and invoices and busy duties her head can escape in to. i retreat to the iPod.

11:50am: i venture to the cafeteria for tuna salad sandwiches. Erin and i eat in the hallway and discuss possible holiday plans. we look ahead, we talk of the future; there is a quiet confidence in our voices.

12:30pm: Dr. Salem peeks into the waiting room from outside the door and motions to meet him outside. his face is calm and relieving. he holds a piece of paper in his left hand. Dr. Salem proceeds to explain that the surgery was as successful as planned. and then he shows us the piece of paper: two pictures. the first picture shows Parker Jane’s Pulmonary Valve before surgery. the second picture, after. a difference of 9mm in the valve opening separates the two pictures. unbelievable. truly, truly unbelievable.

it is another half hour before we can see Parker Jane. when we enter the hospital room she is crying; confused, groggy, very hungry. we kiss her and assured her. Erin rocks her in a chair. Parker Jane falls asleep. an hour later i take over. Parker Jane wakes. we play. she attempts to remove her ankle I.V.. still, she is not allowed food. and still, as had been the case earlier, not a peep, no fuss. finally, we are given the clearance to feed Parker Jane and oh how she eats. and then we play some more.

Dr. Salem arrives to check Parker Jane at 3:30pm. she checks out great and we are given the clearance to leave the hospital sometime around 6pm.

at 4:30pm Dr. Salem stops in to say goodbye for the day. a second check of Parker Jane brings him to say that we can leave at 5pm. we thank Dr. Salem, slowly gathered up our belongings and change Parker Jane from gown to clothes.

at 4:50pm we leave the hospital.

we arrive home exhausted from the day, all three of us. we play a bit, Parker Jane eats dinner and soon after goes down for the night. not long after, Erin and i retire to bed. we recount the day, and the miraculous nature of it, and our thanks. our daughter is safe.

Grandpa and Grandma Wright, Grammy Corbal, Great Grandma Zoccoli and Grandpa Tony came from north and south to visit. we all spent the weekend together, reveling in the wonder that is Parker Jane. we shared our thanks, discussed the baffling reality of out-patient heart surgery and found comfort in family. not missing a beat, Parker Jane wowed us with her strength and good nature. she appeared to almost have more energy than before. maybe our imagination, but maybe not.

it is now four days since the surgery. retrospect displays the life altering importance of the event for Erin and i, having been shown just how high we were lifted by the addition of Parker Jane, through just how low we would surely fall if she were to leave us. Erin and i have settled into a warm and peaceful head-space which has engulfed us. we have our daughter, we have each other, and therefore we have it all.

november 7 2007

november 9 2007

*our most sincere thanks to everyone for their support, positive thoughts and well wishes during this time. Corbalfamily is strong, very strong now, and you are a crucial part of this strength. and so, on-ward we go with the adventure.

About this post

Written by Rick on November 12, 2007.

Categories: Erin, Family, Friends, General, Parker Jane, Rick.

This post has 7 Comments.

an introduction to our nation’s pasttime

thursday, september 27 was a banner day in the short history of Parker Jane. yes, on this Indian summer night, Parker Jane, myself, mama and friends Burnie and Lisa, attended the Los Angeles Dodgers/Colorado Rockies 7:05pm baseball game.

a nice walk from the “free” parking by Elysian Park saw Parker Jane light-up and wriggle around in her front-carry Sunggli at the sounds, bright lights and crowds of people she was slowly approaching. we made our way into the stadium, collected our Fan Appreciation Fleece Dodger Blankets, and weaved our way to a section of seats directly behind homeplate, second deck. Parker Jane was released from her Snuggli confines to settle in my lap, facing the field.

for a good three innings, Parker Jane sat (trading off between mine and Erin’s laps) watching the game, not a peep from her mouth.

during the fourth inning Parker Jane ate, and entertained, and ate some more, and entertained a whole lot more.

in the fifth inning the Dodgers scored two runs; shouts and applause erupted from the home crowd. the sudden volume increase took Parker Jane by surprise and she began to cry. Erin, holding her at the time, rocked her a bit to calm her. however, the giant flashing light of the Jumbortron telling us all to “Make Some Noise” would see to it that a bit of rocking was not enough at this time. So, Erin got up and walked with Parker Jane to the concessions area.

in five to seven minutes time the two were back and Parker Jane was all smiles. the sixth inning went quick.

during the seventh inning stretch, Erin and i both held Parker Jane up and out in front of us as we sang “Take Me Out to The Ballgame.” Parker Jane smiled and laughed nearly the entire time. very soon after, Erin pulled out a fleece wrap and Parker Jane welcomed the prospect.

by the end of the seventh inning, Parker Jane was asleep.

and so she remained, through the eighth inning. and the ninth inning. and as we exited the stadium recounting the pathetic 10-2 Dodger loss we had just witnessed. and on the walk to the car. and all the way home.

at 11:30pm, Parker Jane was laid down into her crib, still wearing her pink and grey Dodgers t-shirt.

corbalfamily films presents: the wave

* to all family and friends who care so deeply, please allow me to ease your minds with the knowledge that while Parker Jane did sport a Dodgers t-shirt, she is not a Dodger fan. at the moment she has no team affiliation. except for the Oakland Athletics, which she will surely and eventually choose as her team, when she is old enough to understand choosing a team.

About this post

Written by Rick on October 3, 2007.

Categories: Erin, Family, Friends, General, Parker Jane, Rick, Video.

This post has 4 Comments.

the first of many

Father’s Day was awesome.

we woke up (if you don’t count the 4am feeding) at roughly 9am.

Erin and i enjoyed a bowl of cereal and coffee while PJ had a tall frosty mug of the usual.

10:45am and we’re off, food and supplies packed for a hike/picnic. we reach our destination, “The Arroyo,” (a trail five minutes drive away which we frequent) and set out on the trail. Parker Jane sits front face across my chest in a cotton wrap. Erin carries the food, supplies and misc. baby sundries.

the weather is beautiful-not too hot-with a nice breeze blowing. hikers and mountain bikers pass us. a horse trots by, then another.

at PJ’s request, we decide to pass Teddy’s Outpost and even the Official camp ground for a little more privacy at Nino Picnic Area (about 2 miles in).

diaper change, then food. PJ eats first. soon after Erin and i dig into egg salad sandwiches, fruit, and baby carrots. water, water, water; we are all satisfied.

a couple of pictures and then down to the stream. Erin puts PJ’s bare feet on the wet ground just in front of the water. we laugh and play and enjoy the wonders of nature all around us. then, wet feet. Erin and i laugh at PJ’s reaction, PJ does not join us in our glee.

we pack up and hit the trail again, back the way we came. soaking in the joys of the day so far, i remember that work looms in my near future. no good, not today, not with my girls as the alternative.

i call a friend to see if she would like to take my shift. yes. the rest of the day/night is ours.

we arrive home, feed and shower. PJ and i walk next door to invite our neighbor Michael to dinner. he accepts, we retreat to bed for a nap.

i begin to prepare food around 6pm. Michael warms up his grill and Erin preps PJ in a very cute purple flower footie and matching beanie. the food, dessert and two bottles of very nice wine are carted over to Michael’s patio. i grill, Michael and Erin set the table, PJ watches intently. The Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Ben Harper accompany us.

8pm and we eat, and eat, and drink, and eat, and drink some more. the wine is fantastic. we talk and talk and laugh and play with PJ and talk and laugh and play.

Shaeda, Michael’s daughter arrives, and we make her a plate. then, we talk and talk and laugh and play with PJ and talk and laugh and play.

homemade banana bread (from Erin to “daddy”) and chocolate ice cream. what a way finish.

11:30 approaches and we wind down. Shaeda says goodbye as Erin, PJ and i make the short walk home.

PJ eats, then a diaper change.

11:45 i make PJ laugh, for only the second time (Erin is an old pro at inciting a laugh session, but i am still working at it).

just after midnight i write this:

the job of a Father is certainly
no doubt
the very best job in the world.
especially when that job of Father
is for a little girl.
especially when the little girl’s name
is Parker Jane.
especially when her eyes are links
from her mother’s chain.
a first for me a first for her a first for such a feeling.
a feeling i’m counting and hoping and planning will keep me reeling and reeling.

the three of us lay together in bed, my arm around Parker Jane, Erin’s arm around mine. the light is clicked off.

Father’s day was awesome.

About this post

Written by Rick on June 19, 2007.

Categories: Erin, Friends, General, Parker Jane, Rick.

This post has 5 Comments.

The Last 22 Days

Much has happened since Parker Jane’s eleventh week. Well, duh.. she’s now a bonafied three month old!

My first mother’s day gifts from Parker Jane were two hearty belly laughs. She was actually laughing at her aunt Tamlyn, but I was there to hear it. She laughed for the first time officially the night before at her grandma Carrie. I’ve gotten a couple of chuckles since then, so I think she must save the big ones for special moments. She smiles up a storm, though, and is starting to make very clear “oooh” and “aaah” sounds, like she’s starting to figure out how her mouth works. While visiting her grandma and grandpa in Escondido, Parker Jane got to play in her “Mega Saucer”. The Mega Saucer is beyond description, so we have to include a photo here. I only know that the Mega Saucer warrants one to use a monster-truck rally voice when saying “MEGA SAUCER!”

MEGA SAUCER! + Parker Jane = Classic Photograph

A couple of weeks back, we made the first of many road trips up to the bay area. Parker Jane is a travelling champ. As long as she has a full belly and her toy keys, she’s good to go. Our five day visit was spent mostly with Grammy Kathy in San Jose. One particular day saw the gathering of five generations on Rick’s side of the family. From Great Great Grandma Josephine all the way down to Parker Jane, a very special (and rare) moment was shared by all.

Middle: Great Great Grandma Josephine (100) – Left to Right: Great Grandma Zoccoli (80), Grammy Kathy (59), Papa (30), Parker Jane (3 months)

While in the bay area, we threw a party in PJ’s honor and invited friends and family to meet her. Parker Jane met her thirteen month old second-cousin Mya, who demonstrated lighting fast crawling skills and has four teeth! Luckly, PJ’s too young to know jealousy… or is she? Also present was 6 month old Mather, daughter of my old college friends Emily and Daniel. I’m amazed that in only 3 more months, Parker Jane will be blowing raspberries and grabbing smaller babies’ pacifiers like Mattie does. All in good-natured innocence… or is it? Our friends Zack and Sara brought their 2 year old son Isaac, who, in the presence of three younger ladies, kept his cool and his distance. I’m convinced that there is currently an influx of baby girls, so the few baby boys will have good odds in about 16 years or so. Rick and I stopped short of proposing an arranged marriage between the two youngsters… or did we?

Left: Parker Jane and Mya – Right: Mather, caught in the act!

After the fantastic party, we escaped to Santa Cruz for a day. Parker Jane’s first trip to the beach was a success; complete with bathing suit, shades, and toes in the sand. What more could a baby ask for? She was a big girl and didn’t even cry when her daddy dipped her feet in the surf. Brrr!

Beach Bums!

On Tuesday, May 29th, Parker Jane completed her first solo roll-over, (belly to back) much to our delight. She has a roll-over limit however, as she got really cranky after the sixth or seventh one. We eagerly await her next trick. At least that’s our excuse for staring at her constantly.

Let’s see… what else? Parker Jane’s hair is really filling out and getting longer. We think she may be pre-teething since she drools constantly and tries to stick her entire fist in her mouth. Oh, and Rick and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary! I can’t believe how fast time has gone by, and with Parker Jane in the picture it seems like it’s going so much faster. We’ll try better to keep up on the blogging, even if it’s just a little blog every couple of days. We’ve got to teach this baby how to type.

Left: Peanut – Right: Five Years of Love…and Laundry

About this post

Written by Erin on June 3, 2007.

Categories: Erin, Family, Friends, General, Parker Jane, Rick, Video.

This post has 4 Comments.

PJ parties down (if sleeping and looking incredibly cute equals partying down)

Friends and family gathered at our house on Sunday to meet Parker Jane, and to celebrate Rick’s 30th birthday. A beautiful day set the stage for fantastic homemade food, laughs, picture taking, staring at PJ and a Hot Wheels PiƱata (which was awesome). Thanks to all who attended, love to those who weren’t able to.

Parker Jane is already a month old! Only 29 years, 11 months, and a day younger than her pops.

*not pictured: Auntie Kristen, soon to be Uncle Chris and Honorary Grandpa Tony

About this post

Written by Erin on March 27, 2007.

Categories: Family, Friends, General, Parker Jane, Rick.

This post has 1 Comment.

thus far

Parker Jane has been breathing, eating, peeing and looking oh so cute for exactly three weeks now. here are some highlights/tidbits from this magical (like a unicorn or David Copperfield) time:

. Parker Jane was born on her Great Grandmother Polly’s birthday. they are exactly 80 years apart.
. Parker Jane’s first friend Shara Fitzjarrold (daughter of friend Lara) was born four days after her.
. Parker Jane is super cute.
. Parker Jane attended her first party exactly one week ago at honorary auntie Susan’s house.
. Parker Jane has been on two nature walks, the first with auntie Susan and uncle Charlie.
. Parker Jane farts a lot. a lot. like her mother. a lot. seriously. i find myself thinking, is this normal? should she be farting this much, and with such force ?
. Parker Jane participated in her first professional photo shoot (naked PJ, four posts ago) with honorary auntie Brandi. so much fun was had that both parties drew up an exclusive model/photographer contract (details pending negotiation).
. Parker Jane has been to two restaurants (one being her daddy’s) and was a perfect little lady at both.
. Parker Jane’s favorite bands/performers thus far are:
1. The Beatles
2. Neil Young
3. Wilco
4. Elliott Smith/Modest Mouse
5. Baby Einstien
. Parker Jane’s hair color remains in limbo. blonde? red? blonde? red?
. Parker Jane looks best in purples and yellows. pink is not her color.
. Parker Jane cannot wait for November 2008.
. Parker Jane’s official Guide Parents are Rob and Kalin Knight-best, dear, wonderful, amazing, fart a lot friends.
. Parker Jane very much so enjoyed the movie “Mutual Appreciation” for its subversive honesty, but found “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” to be less than impressive and full of plot holes. and the kids were kind of annoying too.
. Parker Jane’s motto thus far is: “Parker Jane is my name, and baby girl is my game!” (this is actually a little rap that Erin does with PJ as she raises her hands in the air and waves them like she just doesn’t care).
. Parker Jane is three pounds lighter than Annie, and less than half the weight of Jude. Jude is 1/10th the weight of Rick. if Jude leaves Chicago at 5pm, traveling at a speed of 63 kilometers per hour and meets Annie in Pittsburgh on tuesday, how much does Parker Jane weigh?

Shara Fitzjarrold and Parker Jane Corbal

About this post

Written by Rick on March 19, 2007.

Categories: Annie, Erin, Family, Friends, Jude, Parker Jane, Rick.

This post has 5 Comments.