It’s happened. Team Hokama is now five strong. When Maia was born I coined the term Quadripod because there were four of us and we were a pod, like a heard of sea mammals, or tripod but with, um, four legs (plus I just thought it sounded cool). Now of course we’ve graduated to Pentapod status. Aliya Nakine Hokama was born June 18 at 7:41 a.m. via emergency c-section at Fresno Community Regional Hospital. Unfortunately there were some complications with a prolapsed cord, and just four hours after birth she had to be flown to UCSF Children’s Hospital to undergo a 72 hour cooling therapy to prevent damage to her brain. I drove over right behind her and was met and supported by family until Sarah could get there on the following Monday (June 21). That Monday, at 4:30 p.m., they began warming her up slowly, half-a-degree an hour. She was very sleepy at first, which was expected, and her MRI on Tuesday showed a perfect, healthy, little brain. Of course we have to do some follow-ups down the road and keep an eye on her, but so far she is the perfect, fifth member of our team.
Sarah’s family primarily took care of Maia and Keana while we were at UCSF, until we returned home on Thursday, June 24, just less than one week after Aliya was born. My mom Linda and brother Peter had driven down the day before to help out as well, so it was quite a reunion.
We are slowly getting used to being home and being altogether, but Keana and Maia are overjoyed to have their new sister present and healthy. I’m in the process of writing the full birth story and will hopefully have that up here soon as well. And of course, with my time off, I hope to catch up on all the other amazing things Keana and Maia have been up to as well. In the mean time, be sure to check out Aliya’s gallery, and we’ll get her photos and video up on this site soon too.
We want to once again send out our greatest appreciation to our family and friends that have shown so much support and love during this, how should I say, exciting time.
Last Friday (June 11) was Keana’s last day of preschool and as it is with all big events (you’ll see), I think she was sad to see it come to end, but excited about the possibilities of kindergarten. There wasn’t a ceremony or anything, which was fine with us, but we went out to sushi as it is your sisters’ favorite meal out. Unfortunately, the next day, she got a cold and is still getting over it, and of course, Maia has it now too.
We continue to prepare for your great entrance into the world though. On Saturday Grandma Jennie came over and helped out with the not-so-fun chores. She cleaned the kitchen, organized Keana’s room, and swept/cleaned our bedroom floor. It was really a big help and I actually got to sleep in for the first time in recent (and not-so-recent) memory. I took your sisters to the park when I woke up and we had a lot of fun swinging, sliding (they had to ride on my lap because the slide was already too hot), playing soccer (sort of), hacking sacking (sort of), and playing in the little river there. The water kind of freaks me out because of parasites and what not, but I think it’s chlorinated. Keana and Maia are so well behaved that it seems like they are often dumbfounded by the other children running around and behaving like wild animals. They just watch and observe as if they’ve never seen it before. Don’t get me wrong, I think kids should have fun, but if you’re three or four I think it’s okay to use words in your interactions, rather than just grunting, hitting, and splashing. Anyway, it was fun and by the time it hit 90, we were definitely tuckered out.
Sunday your Mama and I got some good time together (thanks again Grandma Jennie), and we talked about how we’re feeling, waiting for your arrival, and things we were trying to be aware of and enjoy as our time as a Quadripod draws to a close. I’ve been continuing to work as well, trying to wrap up all my duties so I can take those six weeks off without worrying about my work falling apart in my absence (of course it never would, just saying). We’ve been emptying and filling the birth tub, using it for an indoor hot tub, and working out its kinks. We have to drain the air out of the pump pretty frequently or the heater stops working, but don’t worry, I think I got it all figured out. Of course, you’re floating warm and peaceful in there, and when the time comes, I’m sure the temperature of the tub will the be last thing on your mind.
We also met with Jacque today and your heart sounds nice and strong and your head is in a good position. You really responded to her checking you out today, moving quite vigorously and I can already tell you got that Hokama fire. How could you not though, right? Mama’s going to try and do some hands and knees several times a day to encourage you to rotate a little, but we trust you’ll be in a good position when the time comes. Everything happens for a reason, no matter the difficulty, and we’ll just keep breathing, nice and easy, until you’re ready for the outside world.
Hey Little Baby, it’s me again, Papa. I thought you’d like to know what’s been going on out here since I last wrote. Your sisters were sick last week so that was exciting as usual. Fevers, copious amounts of snot, more tissue than you can believe- you’ll see. Not fun but not all that bad. Just another one of the things you get used to on the outside. I had another work trip to Berkeley also, and I couldn’t believe that it was probably my last trip to the bay until after you’re born! You’ll be within your dates to pop out in three weeks now, but there’s no rush. You just stay in there and bake as long as you need. Make sure you’re really ready for this Team Hokama craziness.
Last week was filled with the usual antics around the house. Mama helped Keana and Maia build a castle out of cardboard which is still around, being used for all kinds of make-believe goodness. And Thursday morning before Keana went to school, she and Maia got into Mama’s makeup and painted on their faces and arms. I think they were pretending they were kitties. I definitely got a glimpse of the future that morning.
Keana and I continued the piano lessons, and started to learn Three Blind Mice which then turned into a chasing game around the house where we each took turns chopping off each other’s tails. Maybe you heard your sisters squealing with delight while they held onto their butts as I was chasing them down the hall? Good times ahead for you Little One! We also finished up planting the zucchini, carrots, bush beans, chard, tomatoes, mint, basil, rosemary, and parsley so you’ll have a nice little garden here when you arrive.
On Friday we had another prenatal appointment with Dr. Kopascz. Everything looked good, you’re “measuring perfectly”, and just after the doctor checked your heartbeat with the doppler, you moved so fast that it surprised even her. It was really funny to see a doctor be so astonished, especially when you imagine that she’s probably seen thousands of babies. It was a very defined movement, so maybe it was your knee or elbow? Anyway, you continue to amaze us with all your action.
Keana’s really been working hard writing the letters in her name and figuring out how to spell words. You can bet she’ll be a great teacher for you. A lot of parents stress out or brag about how much their kids read or write, even before kindergarten, but you’ll be happy to know we have complete confidence in your abilities already, and all will be learned in good time. We think we’ll be sending Keana to Dailey Elementary Charter School, which is a new charter that uses the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. Basically its a focus is on global standards, so the kids learn another language starting in kindergarten (Spanish), and continue on through 5th grade. They also hire specialty teachers in physical education, art, and music, so it seems there’s a good emphasis on the whole student, not just reading, writing, and math. The idea is to teach kids to be a part of a global community and help each kid grow so they can compete on an international stage. At least that’s what I gather from my research. They do have longer days though, 90 minutes longer for kindergarten and 180 for the other grades I think. Hopefully that’s just so there’s plenty of time for the extra language and arts without neglecting the basics. We’ll see though. It is a new school, so Keana will have to test it out for you. Aren’t you lucky to have two older sisters to test the waters before you have to jump in?
On Saturday we headed to Sacramento for your Great Uncle Vic’s 50th birthday celebration. Keana and Maia had a blast playing with cousins McKenna, Cassidy, and Riley, and I’m sure you’ll love them too. They’ll be pretty old by the time you’re able to run around with them, but they’re so sweet I’m sure they’ll slow down for you (at least they do for Keana and Maia). Your sisters really enjoyed swimming and jumping on the giant trampoline too. I also realized that we probably won’t see most of that family until after you’re born as well. They’re all quite excited to meet you and see what kind of scruffer you’ll turn out to be.
Man, it was crazy though. The party was great, but Maia was really getting tired, so we headed to our hotel. And we all crashed after getting settled, but Maia woke up at 2 a.m. Maybe you heard her? Anyway, she would not settle down and as you know, Mama needed rest to keep up with you, so we told Maia if she didn’t quiet down and go to sleep, we’d have to drive her around in the car until she was ready to sleep. She called our bluff and said, “I want to go in the car.” So she and I got dressed and I took her out. It was windy and cold and I figured she’d be asleep in 20 or 30 minutes. Oh no. She was ready to go. She was pretending bad guys were chasing us and I’d look back and she’d have this mischievous smile and she’d say, “Papa, I’m scared!” I drove and drove and it was quite clear she wasn’t settling down. Eventually we got hungry so I found a Safeway and I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was either kidnapping her or that we were crazy. It was almost 4 a.m. at this point and you’ll see that that is not the time for kids to be out and about. We got some flowers for Mama for Mother’s Day, then some bread, cheese, salami, and water and had a little picnic in the car with the motor running to keep the heat on. You should have seen your sister. She was having a blast, and I must admit, so was I. When I was younger I used to do stuff like that all time, so it was great to be on a night adventure with your sister. Every once in a while Maia would say, “More cheese Papa!” followed by a high-pitched, “Thank youuuu!” It was really a lot of fun. But as 5 a.m. approached I realized how horrible the day was going to be without some sleep. We finished up and I put Maia back in her seat and asked if she was ready to sleep now. She said, “Let’s keep driving!” I realized my mistake was fueling her up, so we drove a little longer, then headed back to the hotel. It was a little after five before she crawled into bed with Keana and I. Hilarious. Three people in a double bed. Around 7 a.m. I think I crawled into bed with you and Mama and I thought for a brief moment, “What the hell are we going to do with THREE kids! Where are we all going to sleep?” Don’t worry. We’ll figure something out. Or we won’t ever leave our house. Just kidding. Maybe.
We woke up kind of late (surprise surprise) and headed over to Great Aunt Krisite’s Mom’s house for Mother’s Day brunch. It was an elaborate spread and great to see all the Petersons one last time before heading home. You all slept for a while in the car heading back to Fresno, but then Little Miss Maia woke up and was pissed. She always has a hard time the last part of any trip, so hopefully she’ll be over that by the time you start rolling side-by-side with that crazy girl. Keana’s pretty easy going in the car though, so at least you’ll have her to balance things out. This is, of course, assuming you’re not going to be as crazy as Maia, but I know you’ll have your own flavor of crazy however it turns out. Otherwise you wouldn’t have made the team.
Anyway, we got our appointment with Jacque tomorrow, so rest up and we’ll just keep getting things ready out here for your arrival! I think this weekend I’ll be cleaning out the garage and getting all the baby gear out. Oh, and maybe we’ll see if Tia’s birth tub will work for us.