Thursday, July 31, 2008

Play Nice: A New Yorker article from Shouts and Murmurs

Play Nice

by Simon Rich August 4, 2008

If adults were subjected to the same indignities as children . . .


Zoe: Dad, I’m throwing a party tonight, so you’ll have to stay in your room. Don’t worry, though—one of my friends brought over his father for you to play with. His name is Comptroller Brooks and he’s roughly your age, so I’m sure you’ll have lots in common. I’ll come check on you in a couple of hours. (Leaves.)

Comptroller Brooks: Hello.

Mr. Higgins: Hello.

Comptroller Brooks: So . . . um . . . do you follow city politics?

Mr. Higgins: Not really.

Comptroller Brooks: Oh.

(Long pause.)

(Zoe returns.)

Zoe: I forgot to tell you—I told my friends you two would perform for them after dinner. I’ll come get you when it’s time. (Leaves.)

Comptroller Brooks: Oh, God, what are we going to do?

Mr. Higgins: I know a dance . . . but it’s pretty humiliating.

Comptroller Brooks: Just teach it to me.


Lobbyist: If you fail to pass this proposition, it will lead to the deaths of thousands. Any questions?

Senator: Why are you wearing a sailor suit?

Lobbyist: My children decided to dress me this way, on a whim. I told them it was an important day for me, but they wouldn’t listen.

Senator: It’s adorable.

Lobbyist: O.K. . . . but do you agree with the proposition? About the war?

Senator: Put on the cap.


Lou Rosenblatt: Can I drive your car? I’ll give it back when I’m done.

Mrs. Herson: I’m sorry, do I know you?

Lou Rosenblatt: No, but we’re the same age and we use the same garage.

Mrs. Herson: No offense, sir, but I really don’t feel comfortable lending you my car. I mean, it’s by far my most important possession.

Brian Herson: Mom, I’m surprised at you! What did we learn about sharing?

Mrs. Herson: You’re right . . . I’m sorry. Take my Mercedes.

Lou Rosenblatt: Thank you. Can I come over to your house later? I’m lonely and I don’t have any friends.

Mrs. Herson: Well . . . actually . . . I kind of had plans tonight.

Brian Herson: Are you excluding him?

Mrs. Herson: No, of course not! (Sighs.) Here’s my address, sir. The party starts at eight.

Lou Rosenblatt: I’ll show up a little early.

Mrs. Herson: What’s that on your face?

Lou Rosenblatt: Mucus. I haven’t learned how to blow my nose yet, so I just go around like this all the time.

Mrs. Herson: Oh.

Lou Rosenblatt: I’ll see you soon, inside your house.


The original article can be found at The New Yorker

Wombat's Biophysical Profile

Today we went to an ultrasound to determine how Wombat is doing and whether he has everything he needs. Apparently, he does have everything he needs and is quite happy with the amenities, which may be one reason why he has not yet come out.

The biophysical profile is intended to evaluate how the placenta and everything else is supporting the baby. It measures the following 5 things on a scale from 0 (sucks) to 2(spectacular):

1. Breathing Movements
2. Body Movement
3. Muscle Tone
4. Amniotic Fluid Volume
5. Placenta & Blood Flow through the umbilical cord.

Wombat would not stop squirming, had great muscle tone, sufficient amount of amniotic fluid and the placenta looked intact. The blood flow through the cord sounded like a waterfall, so good there as well. And we could see him practice breathing, which was really cool - the diaphragm goes up and down, preparing the baby to breathe in air when he is out. So he got high scores all around. His weight appears to be around 7 pounds, which also rules out concerns of him getting too heavy if we wait longer. All in all, this looks to support my theory that Wombat is simply mis-dated and is not due on the 20th but more like on the 30th or so.

Tomorrow, I am seeing the midwives again - for another Non-Stress Test, and further discussion of these results. Hopefully they will let us wait out another week! Go Wombat! For all interested, here are some pictures of the ultrasound:

Face, obscured by placenta on the right side (3D view)


We have no idea what the 2 above are.... we think they were supposed to be profile shots, but those are really hard to get with the baby being this big.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wombat and the No Stress Test

We went to see the midwives today - to put our Wombat through a No-Stress-Test and to avoid Friday's induction. Iggy devised an excellent plan for talking to the midwives, we laid out our argument for why we think the due date they had is wrong, and we went together to talk to them. And - we won, we won, we won! Well, for now. We won a deferrement.

During the NST, Wombat displayed excellent movement and heart rate, and the only stress he showed was in that he, apparently, hated the monitor and target-kicked the thing the entire 20 minutes. Other then that, he was doing fine and seemed perfectly happy. Possibly even entertained.

So it doesn't seem as urgent to induce labor at this point which is good. The induction on Friday is off (yeay!), and our sonogram/biophysical profile is now moved to this Thursday. At that appointment, techs will evaluate the placenta, amniotic fluid and other bits and pieces that are supposed to be supporting the baby. If all of those look good, Wombat will be allowed to stay a little longer (may be until Wednesday or Thursday of next week). If they show deterioration, then Wombat will have to come out Monday or so.

To determine this, we will go back to the midwives' office on Friday morning, to look over the ultrasound results and decide on the actual date of induction. Hopefully, we will be able to show that waiting until the 7th or so (Wednesday) is just fine.

Wombat is on the horizon! :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

A year of living biblically.... cool talk.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Midwives make an ultimatum to Wombat. Wombat has to respond within a week.

I had my 41-week appointment today. The end of this week marks the end of week 41, and apparently, no child will be left behind in anyone's womb beyond week 42. Therefore, there must be a plan for getting the child out if the child himself fails to display the necessary initiative. Today, I was introduced to "The PLAN".

So, basically, they could induce me any time now, except that I don't feel like it. Given that fact, they are going to wait until end of next week - end of week 42. If nothing happens by then, they would really really like to induce. Apparently, babies born past 42 weeks are more likely to end up in the NICU - although it's not clear why. Anyhow, 42 weeks is it. That brings us to August 4th - or so one would think.

Except not quite. Prior to August 4th, a gazillion tests must be conducted to ensure that the baby is doing ok. It's not clear why those tests are conducted, because regardless of their results, the labor would still be induced. I guess they are conducted to rule out emergency c-section? First, the baby would be monitored for 20 minutes, to see if when he moves his heart rate goes up. If that goes satisfactorily, they have an ultrasound test, which tests.... I don't know, whether the baby is still there?! Anyway, after that it's basically time to induce. I suspect the tests are to give the mother-to-be something to focus on, and to harrass the fetus so may be he decided "enough of this!" and will come out.

Well, the first of these tests is now scheduled for the 28th, the second one for the 30th, and the induction would occur on the 2nd - which is a Saturday. ("That would give Dad a weekend with the baby without having to take time off!" said the midwife cheerfully. Yes, convenience is a major factor in this. We schedule all our life milestones around convenient stopping points).

I'll see how the tests go. If they don't show any "fetal distress", then I think I'll push for induction to wait until the 4th or so.... In any case, I suspect we won't get much testing to do - Wombat is not one to take this ultimatum in, um, a fetal position. I bet he will come out just fine.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Baby never heard of the due date

Wombat was supposed to be due on the 20th, and as a true child of two procrastinators, he ignored the date completely. If he does not decide to make an appearance until this Wednesday, the midwife practice we go to will give us an instruction sheet entitled "What to do when your baby is LATE". Oooooh, scary. What oh what do we do?!!!! I say we just keep waiting.

Am I wrong, or isn't it the case that once the kid gets here, he will be here for some time? Or at least so we hope? Why the rush to get him here? If he is not ready, he needs to finish something up in there or whatever, I don't see any reason to rush him. I say he knows what he is doing, and will come out whenever he deems fit. In the meantime, Mommy plans to enjoy a latte and an issue of the New Yorker. Excuse me. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fireworks on the National Mall!

We went to see fireworks by the monument this year, braving the rain. Here is a video of the beautiful fireworks, in case you just couldn't make it to the nation's capital for 4th of July this year (how very un-patriotic of you). :)

Hamster with private elevator built of Lego

It's not a Wombat, but it is the same (sort of) rodent family.... :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Car Seat Installation

We had our Official Car Seat Check done today, by the esteemed Montgomery County personnel.  I expected them to just sort of shake the seat, check the belt and call that done. 

But no!  They were very serious, and very thorough, and very very impressive!  They undid everything we did.  And then they consulted each other and additional resources.  And then they hooked the seat in.  And checked the level.  And taught us how to do it.  And checked the vehicle for other objects that may be harmful to the baby.  And brought out a baby doll (!), showed us how to strap it in, made us try it ourselves, discussed what outfits would and would not be ok for the carseat..... I mean, it was really really impressive.  It made me want to have the baby in that parking lot; I felt these people were so much more qualified then me (or, frankly, some medical personnel I've met....). 

But - the seat is now in, officially approved, and all it's missing is a little Wombat in it.  While you are waiting for that last piece of the puzzle to arrive, here is an interesting car seat effectiveness video from Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Help defeat the FISA Amendments Act!

This is important if you have a Wombat of your own, or ever plan on having one.  Wombats of all ages should be allowed to speak freely, and the FISA Amendments Act threatens to change that, fundamentally going against our constitution.  This means that Wombat's actions and communications could be subject to surveillance, with no warning or warrant required for the federal government or the NSA to monitor, record, and use the information against him in court.  Um, I already lived in a country that did that and, really, one was enough.

The vote on the FISA Act is going to take place tomorrow, July 8.  Research this, watch the videos, read the proposed bill, and give your senator a call.  

"After the Fourth of July holiday, the Senate will vote on the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), a bill that would betray the spirit of 1776 by radically expanding the president’s spying powers and granting immunity to the companies that colluded in his illegal program. Now that the House has passed the FAA, the Senate is the last front left in the battle against immunity, and every vote -- from cloture, to the amendments, to final passage -- counts."

What Every American Needs to Know (and Do) About FISA Before Tuesday, July 8th from Tim Ferriss on Vimeo.

More information here: EFF Action Alert

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pediatricians and Hospital Tours

So, the last stage in this Baby Olympics Qualifying Rounds seems to be to pick a doctor, and to visit a hospital. We completed both last week with flying colors - we have a doctor, and we have a hospital, and we so totally have no idea what we are doing now.

The hospital looks great; the new tower is really well done, with very nice rooms and bathrooms. We are preregistered and so can go straight to the maternity ward, where everything is cool, calm and collected; we will not have to sit in the emergency room and be sneezed on while in labor. So good news there.

For pediatrics, we ended up going with the practice, recommended by many coworkers. The pediatrician there turned out to be a Cornell grad as well, so we fully expect to receive the "extra special" service, reserved for fellow alumni only. :) The practice seemed fine (pediatrician was actually able to quote some recent medical studies.... more that a lot of other doctors can do, amazingly). It seems that they are really bent on giving the child every vaccine that has ever been invented. They even vaccinize girls against HPV, which is great for Gardasil making more money, but probably is not the most critical vaccine to be giving just for the heck of it. With how much noise there is now around vaccinations, and especially with having a boy (boys seem to be more affected then girls), I would like to have a doctor who can intelligently pick out and discuss the minimum of vaccinations needed for the baby.

I think vaccines are necessary, and not vaccinating your child at all is, frankly, cheating. The rest of people in our society took the risk of vaccination complications for everyone's collective benefit: to stop a terrible disease. Measles, polio and chicken pox all came close to elimination that way. If you don't vaccinate your kid, you are taking advantage of other people's sacrifice and risk without taking on any risk yourself - you are cheating the system. And if everyone did what you do, the disease would come back in a second. It's not fair play. It's taking advantage of what others have done for you, in quite a selfish manner.

But, at the same time, some vaccines are more crucial then others. I would not dream of not vaccinating Wombat against measles or polio. I might ask for no-mercury vaccine, but he is getting a vaccine. The risk of disease is just so much worse then the risk of vaccine malfunction. But, vaccinating against non-fatal, non-critical sicknesses that seem to just make money for the pharmaceutical companies? I'm not sure if every kid must have every vaccine in the world. I mean, now there's even this:

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