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blogging our children into being

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what is it?

BlogSprogs is homeplace of The Crucial Three: the babies Turner, Matrullo and O'Connor Clarke.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Another year older, another year more handsome, funnier, more charming. This little man is possessed of more charisma in his little finger than most of us will ever have in our entire bodies.

We cannot tell what Ruairi will do with his life. All we know is that he's sure to do great things. Great things.

Unless you've had the sheer joy of his company, you couldn't possibly know just how incredibly warm, witty, and kind-hearted Ruairi is. He's a genuinely amazing kid, and we love him more and more with each passing day.

The photo is a couple of months old - showing Ruairi doing one of the things he loves most: running like crazy. In this case, he was tearing down through one of the valleys at the Caledon Badlands, a little north of us, just outside Toronto. It just seems to capture a pure Ruairi moment. Couldn't resist it.

Happy birthday, beautiful boy.

My God, Ruairi - I love you so much. Thank you for being you.

michaelo blogged something into being 6:57 PM :: :: link

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Happy Birthday Ruairi.
Blogsprog #2 is a big three years old today.
Love you very, very much.

michaelo blogged something into being 9:30 AM :: :: link

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Sawyer at One - paz, luz, corazon ~


tom blogged something into being 5:02 PM :: :: link

Thursday, December 18, 2003

The Sweetest Thing...

Our lovely baby boy just turned one year old.

Here he is trying out one of his birthday presents. The shot's a little underexposed, but it's such a perfect Ruairi face I couldn't resist it.

This perfectly captures a very Ruairi look - he's just the smiliest, happiest kid. It's a pity the picture can't capture the constant stream of little chuckles and chatter he keeps up throughout most of his waking hours.

Happy birthday, Ruairi, we love you.

BTW: yes, I cheated - I changed the time stamp on this post to the exact date and time of Ruairi's birth, one year ago. But what the heck - I was far too busy celebrating to actually blog about this yesterday :-)

Entertaining to look back to some of the Blogsprogs posts from around this time last year, and remind myself of this extraordinary tale...

michaelo blogged something into being 6:35 PM :: :: link

Wednesday, April 16, 2003


Well Mr Turner, you say that she's prone to emotional outbursts, sensitive, fussy about her food, unable to move about on her own, slurring her speech badly, doubly incontinent, drooling a lot, funny with strangers, suffers from mood swings, can sometimes vomit after feeding due to a build up of wind?


Well I think I know what the problem is, it appears that your daughter is suffering from a classic case of Baby. Nothing to worry about, it's something that she'll grow out of in a few years. Seriously, nothing to be concerned about, you'd be surprised to discover that it's something we all go through at some point in our lives, typically in our early years.

I have heard that some people don't quite fully recover from Baby and present some years later as having sometimes baby-like behavioural traits, but again I must stress, this is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about.

Give her plenty love and affection and she'll soon recover.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 10:03 AM :: :: link

Monday, April 14, 2003

The First Supper

Cameron started on solids yesterday (sunday). I say solids as a means of differentiating from milk. However in my book, runny and ever so slightly gloopy baby rice stretches the 'solid' definition somewhat. But, all the same, she's now on solids and loving it.

Fiona, being an annoyingly natural born mother, has got the whole spoon/mouth thing covered but tonight I thought I'd give it a shot; spoonful number one was delivered without a hitch and raised my confidence to a foolishly high level and as a result, after spoon number two ended up being grabbed on its final approach by both of Cameron's paws, rendering them ricey in a very messy way, I was quickly bundled out of the way by the maternal one and told to get on with making our dinner instead. Fan-bloody-tastic.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 3:06 PM :: :: link

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Day Two: Down but Not Out

Today the gloves came off. I opened with a blistering barrage of Avent materiel. Sawyer countered with a left hook, a feint, three farts and a shonkey dollop of spittle. I returned to base camp, called Rumsfeld and was advised to go into Stealth Mode. In this, we followed the manual kindly sent us via Michael's Saucisse:

Latest advice from La Belle Saucisse:

She suggests Wendy should feed SJ with a receiving blanket or dry face cloth
against her skin. Doesn't matter if some milk accidentally spills onto the
blanket. The idea is - you're later going to lay the same blanket over the
top of the bottle as you're feeding Sawyer, so he gets the comforting scent
of Mum.

I followed the manual, chapter and verse. I also deployed a blanket that I put over his head, as Wendy often does in public places. So there I was, cloaked in scent of Mum, SJ on my lap, his head under the blanket, where all he could see was the blanket, the bottle, and my head peeking in. Scent of Mum KICKED ARSE - he went into full boob mode, rooting around madly looking for the Real Thing. I launched the Avent ''teat''; he took it, and began sucking...for about 20 seconds, then...fell sound asleep. What I forgot is, he does this all the time with Wendy - acts hungry, but the moment he gets on the boob, it's like he's mainlining H - out he goes. This is called, quaintly enough, Placid Baby Syndrome. It tends to lengthen the feeding process tremendously.

Later I unleashed a second barrage of uncloaked Avent. A poop blast registering on seismic equipment in Argentina was all Sawyer's retort. Three battalions are MIA. More when the smoke clears...

[edited for accuracy]

tom blogged something into being 3:37 PM :: :: link

Monday, March 31, 2003

Day One, Round One

I wrote my question last night, but I see it was recorded as Monday in Blogsprog time. Anyway, thanks - we are in Day One of Operation Discomboobululation. A field update:

We led with the Nuk system, using referigerated breastmilk, warmed before serving. Sawyer was hunkered in his swingchair, attention captured by decoy battalions from Baby Einstein DVD. Initial response to our deployment was encouragingly accommodating, but over time, resistance strengthened. Much playing with nipple, with little actual engagement.

I decided to fall back to Plan B: a 10 ml medicine dropper - a plunger-like device that, when applied to the inside cheek, delivers a steady stream of Ordinance - about a teaspoonful, of which SJ swallowed about half. Encouraged, I followed with repeated plungings, until 1.5 oz. was consumed. SJ showed an eagerness to capitulate and even seemed to savor the meal. Since the plunger does not seem ideal, I'll open Round Two with the Playtex system. Thanks for Avent advice Michael. I believe we might have that somewhere, and it will see action - trust me.

tom blogged something into being 8:32 AM :: :: link

This response has ended up longer than I expected, so I've pulled it out of Comments and into here...

I agree with Gary: persistence, and SJ's hunger, will probably be the key.

Both of our two oldest were exclusively breast fed (Sausage is a stay-at-home Mum).

Ruairi, though, for a combination of reasons was just not wild about the breast. He had difficulty 'latching' and just wasn't getting full up enough.

So we introduced formula early on - starting with a little medicine cup (messy - but helped get him used to the taste), then switching to bottles.

He's now a happy, hungry bottle beast - hoovering down 40+ ounces of formula per day.

A few general observations and things we've found that make a difference:

1. Waiting until the kid is really hungry for the first few times. It seems cruel, and you'll feel like a complete bastard at first; but it may be the only way to help SJ learn that the bottle is his only option until Mum comes home.

2. Having the formula just slightly warmer than the books suggest. This may be a matter of taste, but Ruairi likes his milk a good bit above room temperature. Not hot, of course, but certainly a little warmer than you'd think.

3. Avent bottles. Quite simply the only ones that worked - and they have the added bonus of dramatically reducing the burp factor.

4. Using canned concentrate as opposed to powder. We only twigged this one fairly recently - but the difference in Ruairi's appetite has been remarkable since switching. Think about it: would you drink powdered milk?

5. Using a non-iron formula at first. The iron stuff led to Ruairi suffering dreadful, painful week-long constipation. Apparently, kids don't actually need the extra iron until after the third month. We switched to unleaded and everyone was much happier. Going to reintroduce the added iron formula now.

Hope some of his helps. If you can get him comfortable with the bottle it becomes a genuinely wonderful thing for a Dad to be able to experience. Gives you much more of a feeling of participation and a certain extra bond you can't get from watching Mum do all the work.

michaelo blogged something into being 7:22 AM :: :: link

Sunday, March 30, 2003

If you good gentlemen have any energies left after your vigorous takeover tussel over Bag and Baggage, I'd appreciate any tips, clues, or other wisdom on a matter of some moment. Wendy, you see, returns to work tomorrow, and I am, for the next eight weeks or so, Strategic Daytime Coordinator charged with implementing the daily care and feeding of SJ. Now this is not entirely new to me - I'm perfectly used to diaper changing, calming, playing, etc.

The thing is, SJ sees no reason on earth to drink from bottles when God created breasts. We've been trying to get him to take a bottle, on and off, for several weeks. At times he'll play with it, appear to be sucking on it, laugh, etc., and I'm thinking, "at last!" only to find, after 90 minutes of this, that less than an ounce has actually been consumed, half of that by his shirt.

He will continue to be breastfed when possible. But for eight hours a day, it's the bottle, or a sippy cup, or a dropper, or whatever works. Only, we don't yet know what that is. We've even tried this. Suggestions?

tom blogged something into being 6:39 PM :: :: link

Monday, March 24, 2003

Hard to believe...

...but Ruairi now has chicken pox.

He's turning out to be simultaneously the sickest, and yet the most robust kid I've ever known.

Poor little mite. He doesn't really know what's wrong; doesn't yet get the whole itching/scratching thing (and hasn't developed the coordination to do anything about it even if he did), but he's still not happy. Just can't get comfortable.

We're consoling ourselves with the thought that he's building an immune system to rival Wolverine.

michaelo blogged something into being 7:31 PM :: :: link

Friday, March 21, 2003

"The highlands and the lowlands are the routes my father knows,
the holidays at Oban and the towns around Montrose,
but even as he sleeps, they're loading bombs into the hills,
and the waters in the lochs can run deep, but never still.

I've thought of having children, but I've gone and changed my mind.
It's hard enough to watch the news, let alone explain it to a child,
to cast your eye cross nature, over fields of rape and corn,
and tell him without flinching not to fear where he's been born.

Then someone sat me down last night, and I heard Caruso sing.
He's almost as good as Presley, and if I only do one thing,
I'll sing songs to my father, I'll sing songs to my child.
It's time to hold your loved ones while the chains are loose,
and the world runs wild.

But even as we speak, they're loading bombs onto a white train.
How can we afford to ever sleep, so sound again?"

"The Night I Heard Caruso Sing" -- Everything But The Girl.

michaelo blogged something into being 8:44 PM :: :: link

Friday, March 14, 2003

Baldness contest anyone?

tom blogged something into being 1:00 PM :: :: link

Baldness contest anyone?

tom blogged something into being 1:00 PM :: :: link

Baldness contest anyone?

tom blogged something into being 1:00 PM :: :: link

Baldness contest anyone?

tom blogged something into being 1:00 PM :: :: link

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Our three month old Cameron is going to see a specialist tomorrow afternoon to have a suspected heart murmur investigated. I'm more than a little perturbed, as you might imagine.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 12:51 PM :: :: link

Our three month old Cameron is going to see a specialist tomorrow afternoon to have a suspected heart murmur investigated. I'm more than a little perturbed, as you might imagine.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 12:51 PM :: :: link

Our three month old Cameron is going to see a specialist tomorrow afternoon to have a suspected heart murmur investigated. I'm more than a little perturbed, as you might imagine.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 12:51 PM :: :: link

Our three month old Cameron is going to see a specialist tomorrow afternoon to have a suspected heart murmur investigated. I'm more than a little perturbed, as you might imagine.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 12:51 PM :: :: link

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Thanks Michael - sounds very similar in outline and detail to what we have in the US. Actually, here I believe they will give a newborn a hepatitis shot first thing, unless the parents firmly decline it. My knowledge of all this is sketchy, but Wendy has been doing lots of homework. Lots of new vaccines, which we never had access to when we were kids. Entirely a good thing? Maybe, maybe not. I used to think drug companies were unstoppable, but after viewing the Prevnar site, with its area for "consumers," I consumed a bit of Glenmorangie and felt immune to their viral marketing.

[later]: Jeneane emailed wondering if they do chicken pox vaccine up there. That's one Wendy and I don't quite see the point of.

tom blogged something into being 7:48 PM :: :: link

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I think Canada is broadly similar to the U.S. in the generally accepted approach to vaccinations.

Ruairi actually had his first shots last week, including the standard mix of diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, and Hib. On the advice of our paediatrician we also opted to cough up extra for the Prevnar. Ruairi's earlier blood infection probably doesn't mean he's any more susceptible to pneumococcal bacteria than other kids, but we were still easily convinced it was a smart choice in his case.

Note: In prelicensure clinical trials, the most frequently reported adverse reactions to the cheesy marketing on the Prevnar site included fever, irritability, drowsiness, vomiting, nausea, and scepticism.

I guess we're lucky in that we were able to have pretty open, informative discussions with our family doctor and paediatrician about all of this stuff. I also found this site useful in addressing some of the myths.

Up here, you're not absolutely required to have your child immunized - no one is going to make you do something to your baby you don't want to do. But they will still strongly advocate vaccination in almost every case.

Our older kids were certainly expected to have all their shots before getting into playschool or kindergarten. Exceptions are made in cases of religious or cultural preference, of course, but you're required to produce an affidavit to cover the school's ass.

michaelo blogged something into being 8:07 PM :: :: link

A question for you when you have a spare minute: In the US, they begin vaccinating virtually at birth, and start a fairly uniform schedule of vaccinations at the 2-month mark. There seem to be some questions about the efficacity and the potential dangers of some vaccines. The question is, how soon do they start these things in your countries, and do pediatricians discuss the down side of all this with parents? Are you allowed to decline vaccinations? Will doing so potentially prevent a kid from day care or public schools? Thanks in advance for any thoughts, info.

tom blogged something into being 6:16 PM :: :: link

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Damn! That feels good.

michaelo blogged something into being 10:44 PM :: :: link

Sawyer gets it.

tom blogged something into being 9:16 PM :: :: link

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

1K words

michaelo blogged something into being 8:07 PM :: :: link

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Cameron shows us how.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 2:49 PM :: :: link

Friday, February 14, 2003

Walking: imagined vs. remembered

Here's hoping all continues well with Ruairi, Cam, and everybody else. Apart from some sort of cold, SJ has had a relatively uneventful time of it - after gaining weight in a big way, he has now gained length (24"), which seems to give him the idea that he ought to be walking. He straightens up, and seems to fully expect to be able to remain standing when all support is removed. He suffers genuine consternation to find he is not able to do something his head seems to tell him he can do. Head: "I can walk" Body: discombobulationis extremis. It doesn't seem sad, because we expect he is on his way to walking - it will happen, nature assures us, months from now. Unlike an old man who once could walk, and now only has the memory to torment him. One imagines, one remembers. Both are frustrated. To us, these provoke different feelings. But to a 2 month old, it might be much more frustrating than we think.

tom blogged something into being 5:32 PM :: :: link

Saturday, February 08, 2003

He's home.

michaelo blogged something into being 10:17 AM :: :: link

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Best Ruairi news yet

He's coming home!

After settling in to the strange cycle of the last couple of weeks, we're thrilled and relieved to know that Ruairi is now definitely well enough to be almost ready to come home. If everything goes as planned, he should get his last dose of the antibiotics tomorrow night around 8:00 and will be ready to come home about an hour after that.

He’s visibly, obviously better in so many ways. Active, comfortable, alert, smiley and eating like his Dad – weighed in at 11lb 1oz earlier today.

Life since last Tuesday has been extraordinarily strained and tiring; for him most of all, but also for all of the family. It really looks like we’ll be back to some semblance of normality by the weekend.

I don’t know how we would have coped without the loving support of so many friends – online and r/t. The messages of encouragement, the many meals cooked for us, the countless favours and offers of assistance – Sausage and I are just floored by it all. The typical daily schedule for this last week has been something like this:

– Up early with Charlie & Lily for breakfast.
– Lily either off to playschool or dropped with friends for a ‘play date’; Charlie either to the same or a different friend’s house (spreading the load).
– Me in to the hospital, bearing coffee and breakfast for Leona, to snatch some brief moments with our little man and give Sausage a chance to shower and relax for a while.
– Off to the office for a few hours of maintenance activity, trying to keep things rolling as well as possible.
– Back to hospital by around 2:30 to relieve Sausage for the afternoon shift. She – to school to collect Charlie (SK, so he’s only there in the afternoon), gathering in Lily from whichever friend’s house en route.
– Then (after their piano lessons or ballet or whatever) back to the hospital, complete with donated food from one of our wonderful friends for a family dinner in Ruairi’s drab, grey little room.
– C, L & I back home by 8:30; Leona settling down with Ruairi for a night on the thin hospital cot.
– C & L to bed; me back online – phone calls, email, writing, catching up on work till late at night.
– Repeat with small variations until no longer remotely funny.

The daft thing is – through all this enervating, weird time, I’ve still managed to keep the new baby sleep deprivation thing going at peak. Yet I’m the one who has been retiring to the big comfy bed every night, while poor Sausage worked the night shift in the hospital. No babies crying - no 3 o'clock feed to get up for, but do you think I could sleep? I've seen 04:00 tick past on the radio alarm just about every night in the last 2 weeks.

Tonight, I think, I’ll finally be able to get some balm for this hurt mind. Our little boy comes home tomorrow. Looks set to be a memorable weekend.

michaelo blogged something into being 8:38 PM :: :: link

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

tom blogged something into being 8:40 PM :: :: link

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Basically still OK. Nothing new of substance to report.

10lb 15oz. Happier, healthier, more awake, more appetite, more activity.

Good day all round - basking in the bloglove and gradually getting better.

Goodnight, sweet prince.

michaelo blogged something into being 9:05 PM :: :: link

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Getting better...

Not out of the woods yet, but Ruairi is definitely on the mend. He's still on antibiotics, but they've narrowed down the original cocktail to an e.coli specific drug now. He's definitely looking and acting happier every day, thank God.

More blood work, ultrasound, regular temperature, respiration and heart rate checks - so far everything's confirming the original diagnosis. As we caught it before it had a chance to really take hold, the doctors don't think there are likely to be any lasting complications. We have one extraordinarily tough, resilient little bruiser here.

His fever peaked again during the night, but it doesn't seem to have been a real issue - they took the latest round of blood just to try and confirm that the treatment really is working, and that they don't need to step up the dose or anything.

One moment of drama today, when his temperature flared up again and he started panting like crazy, his little heart hitting 180 bpm. I ran to fetch the nurse; by the time we came back his left arm had puffed up like a balloon around the IV site. Looks like the tube had either slipped out or his tiny vein had just collapsed.

Thankfully, it took a lot less time to get a new drip in this time around - he's not so dehydrated now, which makes it easier, I guess. Soon had a brand new IV in the other arm, and his temperature, pulse and respiration dropped back to normal. (Think my own pulse rate might be back down by some time next week).

Overall, though, today was a good day. He's awake a lot of the time, and feeding reasonably well - doesn't want to be put down, but that's just fine with me. Happy to hold him till my arms go numb - he just has to look up at me and I'll do anything he needs.

Settled in now for the next week of this. All our friends - online and realtime - have been simply astonishing. The support and care we're getting is terrific. Sausage's MomNet & book club mates have worked up a rota to cook hot meals for us every night. We've had prayers, emails, cards and kind words of encouragement from Toronto to Taiwan. I'm awed by the healing power of firm friends in hard times. Thank you, all of you.

Here he is, then, clearly relishing the extra attention and proudly displaying his IV:

And extra thanks to Saints Beuno and Clement for listening.

michaelo blogged something into being 7:39 PM :: :: link

Thursday, January 30, 2003


We got the results of more tests today. They've found an e. coli infection in his urine - so this is almost certainly what the culture they've grown from his blood is too.

There's a strange relief in knowing they know what it is. I mean - it's still not great, but it's oddly reassuring and re-stabilizing to put a name to the thing. Now we can name it we can research it, understand it, deal with it.

I got home from the hospital a couple of hours ago. Got to spend almost the whole day with Ruairi and I was able to mark his gradual improvement every hour of the day. I finished the book and newspaper I'd brought fairly early in the day, so spent the afternoon 'reading' my son - watching his face change colour, the clouds lift from his eyes, his mood shift and brighten.

When I left him and Leona for the night, he was probably the most alert and happy he has ever been. Makes me think he's had this thing brewing in his system for the whole short six weeks of his little life.

So it looks like we caught it in time. I don't want to think about what might have happened if we'd not listened to our wonderful family doctor. From what I've read so far, another 24 hours without treatment and he could have been much, much worse.

He has to stay in for another week or so, but he's definitely on the mend. The powerful antibiotics are working miracles. Still more tests, more drugs, more monitoring - but we're going to make it.

Thanks to everyone for the messages, thoughts and prayers.

Meanwhile, I'm struggling with a rather more mundane issue over here, if any of you have some time to help out a little...


michaelo blogged something into being 6:48 PM :: :: link

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Ruairi update

The blood work came back. He has a bacterial infection in his blood.

We still don't really know what that means, but I think it's going to be OK. We caught it early enough.

The spinal fluid was clear. Oh thank God.

michaelo blogged something into being 9:28 PM :: :: link

Things not so great.

Just back from the hospital. Ruairi and Sausage are spending their second night in while they continue to monitor him. General prognosis is that there's probably nothing badly wrong - but it's still very frightening to have your 6 week old baby lying there – surrounded by all that clinicalness with a huge IV jutting out of his tiny, perfect pink hand.

We've all had this bug for the last few weeks. Charlie came down first - high temperature, sniffles, nasty barking cough, feeling generally miserable. Took him about 10 days to get through it - by which stage Lily had it, of course. Leona and I have been feeling more than a little off - but you just keep going.

Inevitable that Ruairi would pick it up. He was running a low grade fever for the back end of last week. Got him into the doctor on Saturday morning for a once over. Everything fine. Over the weekend he just seemed to slow down - but still wasn't what you'd call desperately ill. Monday, the fever spiked up pretty high and he’d lost his appetite, so Tuesday saw him back at the doctor's office for another check.

Again: probably just the same virus, so sent home with instructions not to worry unless his temperature topped 39°.

A little after dinner, Tuesday night, pottering about the house and checking his forehead every time I passed his bassinet in the kitchen.

He was getting noticeably hotter.

Checked him: 39.5°

I bundled him into the car seat and off through fresh snow to the late night paediatric clinic up on the Danforth. Got there at 8:50 – it closes at 9:00. As I walked up to the glass double doors, the receptionist walked up from the inside, smiled, and bolted them.

Heated words through layers of glass. I’m embarrassed, still, but have to admit this is the closest I’ve come in a long time to physical violence. I guess she figured opening the door was a little quicker than calling the cops to drag me away, or something…

Inside. Last doctor in the place gladly agreed to see him, of course (despite the charming Ms. Jobsworth’s hopes of getting off early. No Hippocratic oath for admin staff).

The paediatrician started talking to me in that curious abstract-but-concerned doctorspeak you sometimes hear.
“Well, you know, what we like to do when they’re this young…is just be as cautious as we can be….you know…we’d typically refer the baby to the hospital and run a few routine tests, just to be on the safe side, of course…”

I snapped clear. She’s talking about MY baby. She’s on the phone to Toronto East General, referring him to the paediatrician on call. What? But he just has a nasty cold…

She’s back: “OK, so we’ll just keep him in for a couple of days – do a spinal tap, you know…”

I remember calling home on the way to the hospital – Sausage and I both holding back the tears, the fear. I couldn’t tell her the spinal tap bit. Too much cold terror in those two small words.

Leona made hasty arrangements with friends and was able to head in to meet me at the hospital. Thank God for Claudine & Doug, Thamason & Joshua - true friends in the best and worst of times.

She arrived just as they were getting him prepped for his tests: blood work, a catheter for the urine sample, and the spinal fluid. We had to leave the room for this stuff – probably just as well. But I’m not sure the pain of waiting is better than watching.

Long night. An hour just to get the IV in – lost count of the number of attempts to thread his teeny vein for the saline/dextrose/antibiotic drip. At least I got to hold him all through this, and whisper words that soothed me somewhat, even if he hardly knew.

Home at 3:00 this morning, up at 7:00 with C&L – hungry for Cheerios.

So now we wait. We spent most of today holding him or at his side. His temperature’s down, but we won’t know what it is until tomorrow at the earliest.

All we can do is hold him. Pray. Try not to freak out, or freak Charlie and Lily out. Put our trust in the wonderful doctors and nurses of TEGH, including his almost legendary paediatrician, Dr. Duke.

Updates as and when I can.

michaelo blogged something into being 6:10 PM :: :: link

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Gary Turner blogged something into being 10:12 AM :: :: link

Monday, January 20, 2003

"trying to decode the stream of little signals in his ever-changing expressions."

There is nothing quite like this, is there? If one were to attempt to capture the protean flicker of this "code" in words, one would quickly find there are not enough words, certainly none that fit the completely off-the-wall minglings of distinct expressions that we're used to keeping in separate, neat compartments - yawns over here, smiles over there, passionate representations of tearful suffering somewhere else. So what do we make of those moments when, from the serenity of an open gaze, there is a procession of half smiles, when the lips on one side curl into what we can only interpret as the signal of some inside joke to which we never will be privy, suddenly convulsing into the furrowed brow of pain, the reddened face tightly contorted into fretful anguish, propelling parental units to rush to see what is the matter, only to find the screwed-up little visage already dissolving into the slackest of yawns before relaxing into longeurs richly conveyed by a heavy-lidded air of seen-it-all ennui?

tom blogged something into being 6:19 PM :: :: link

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Fast Month

So Ruairi was a whole month old just yesterday. Sausage corrected me on this. I'd commented elsewhere that he was a month old on the 15th, when he was really only 4 weeks, if you see what I mean. Anyway.

Like Gary, I've been feeling a tad guilty about the lack of updates to this blog. Yet we've all been busy doing the right thing with the r/t version of these BlogSprogs, so I think it's understandable. Feels to me like we've got our priorities right.

I know when Charlie was born I was back at work way too fast. I still kick myself for not spending enough time at home in those first incredibly important few weeks. Think I was a very different person back then, and working for a completely different kind of company. Looking back, I guess one of my main reasons for moving out of insane software companies into PR was the desire to bring a little more balance to my life. Long story there...

This time around I was able to completely and utterly disconnect from just about anything even remotely resembling work (big thanks to the caring and wonderful Weber Shandwick organization, btw).

Tried it both ways now, and I think checking out of the everyday world, if you can swing it, is definitely the right thing to do (that's my Platitude of the Month Award sorted, right there).

Spent over three weeks at home, gazing into Ruairi's eyes, trying to decode the stream of little signals in his ever-changing expressions. As a reward, Ruairi, like Cameron, has just started treating us with his first hesitant smiles:

Doesn't look like much - but that really is the beginnings of a smile. Trust me on this. He's fighting fit now, as you can see (TG), but the little mite had a bit of a dodgy first few weeks of life. Nothing major, compared to some of the desperately sad stories you hear - but enough to scare the bejeezus out of us all the same.

From his birth weight of 9lb 9oz, he dropped more than a pound in week one. Sure, all newborns lose some weight – but that’s a big drop. That, plus a sniffly nose, infected navel and the laziest bowel in the Western hemisphere – kept Sausage and I on edge for a while. All seems a bit daft now, in perspective - but we were really, really worried. He just wasn't eating enough - neither of us was prepared for the incredible appetite this boy has. Man! he likes to eat.

Charlie & Lily were relatively straightforward, I guess. And while Ruairi really only had a few bog standard newborn baby complications, they still threw us for a loop. We'd somehow lulled ourselves with "been there, done that" over-confidence. I'm assigning at least part of the blame to the parents' favourite standby - that wonderful one-size-fits-all, million-and-one-uses excuse: sleep deprivation.

Lack of sleep helps heighten your emotional sensitivity to the point that you end up doing stupidly stupid things like waking your infant son at 3am because you want to check he's only asleep. The very intensity of the emotions is exhausting. So much so that you really need to sleep. Which you don't get to do much of. Which makes you more emotional. Which is really tiring.


michaelo blogged something into being 8:49 PM :: :: link

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Missing, Inaction

Well hello. Been busy, sorry for the absence. OK, almost 5 weeks uptime and Cameron smiled at me today for the first time whilst I was dressing her before we went out on a shopping trip. Cool, and about time too, she's been smiling at Fiona for ages, or so she says - Fiona, not Cameron - and I've been getting concerned that she might not like me. But she does. Phew.

We had an interesting first couple of weeks, Fiona had a bad infection thanks to some 'retained products' - in other words they never got all of the placenta out at the birth - which isn't good. At all. Two different types of elephant strength anti-biotics for a fortnight, equally not good. But she's fine now having returned to her former self about a week ago.

Cameron lost about four ounces in the first two weeks but she's back over her birthweight now and eating,well drinking, us out of house and home.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 11:58 AM :: :: link

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Ye merry gentlemen

Michael, your tale reminds me of something I kept thinking about in the days leading up to Sawyer's birth - the puzzling question of why a moment as singular and special and celebratory (and full of import for a mother, a father, and an about-to-be-born infant) as the moment of birth should take place in, of all things, a hospital.

We had an amusing moment in the midst of Wendy's labor, probably in about the 19th hour, when patience and bonhommie were wearing a tad thin: A group of carolers (this is the eve before Christmas Eve) had come through the corridor, warbling to the nursing staff. One of the singers, a tall thin man of about 80 wearing a Santa hat, wandered by himself down the hall and stood outside our room (the door was ajar) saying to no one in particular, since no one was around, "Where are the babies? Where are the babies?" Hearing him, a nurse came along and told him this was the labor and delivery ward - that the nursery was upstairs. This seemed a bit much for him to take in; he kept repeating, "Where are the babies? They told us we would see babies!"

At which point, Wendy, whose back labor was showing no signs of letting up, hearing his demand in the middle of a contraction, shouted into the corridor in a clear, if somewhat stressed voice, "You want a baby? Just wait a sec and let me squeeze one out for you."

Uncontrollable laughter. Wondrous relief.

tom blogged something into being 10:51 AM :: :: link

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Long time no blog.
[update: minor edits inline - feedback from LBS ;-) ]

Like Gary, Fiona, Tom, and Wendy – we’ve been kind of busy.

Some catching up to do here. At the risk of boring anyone still following this blogsaga (and the ancillary risk of frightening off prospective parents) I want to document some of Ruairi’s arrival and the first few weeks through the next couple of posts.

Short version: this has been a tough, worrying, occasionally stonecold scary 20 days. We’re all great now, thank God. But it’s been hard. Really hard.

First – the labour and delivery.

I have never in my life seen any two human beings work so damned hard.

Leona blows my mind. This was our third trip to the maternity ward, but in many ways the hardest. She has bottomless reserves of strength and determination that are impossible to capture in words; or any other form of communication, for that matter. You had to be there. (Well, no. Actually you didn’t – that would have been just weird. You’re all lovely people, and everything, but...)

We had our last OB appt. on the Tuesday, Dec 17. We were more than a little surprised to find out he’d already scheduled Sausage in to be induced at 7 am the next day, but we trust this guy and had discussed this enough to be ready for it. So off we go...

Charlie & Lily were packed off to our saint-like friends Claudine & Doug’s house for their first ever sleepover – high excitement all round.

Up early on the Wednesday – getting ready to go, catching the radio news we learn that Toronto East General Hospital has been closed to visitors as an outbreak of the nasty Norwalk Virus sweeps through the wards. Head off anyway, and we’re checked in to the birthing suite by 6:40am.

By around 9:00, Sausage is sitting up in one of the hospital’s terrific new delivery rooms; IV steadily dripping Oxytocin in through her hand.

When Charlie was being born Leona had opted for an epidural, which turned out to be a major nightmare – took them over an hour to get the damn thing in (an hour in which I had to wait outside at the end of the longest corridor I’ve ever walked - sometimes an active imagination is a tough thing to live with). Scared both of us shitless. Charlie arrived after 15 hours in the hospital and 3 ½ hours of solid pushing. Streuth.

For Lily: Sausage did the frontier woman thing. About an hour and ten minutes in total – seven minutes of pushing at the end to pop her out like a cork.

This time round – with nothing to prove, and the prospect of stronger than normal contractions brought on by the extra dose of IV hormones, Leona called the epidural in around 10am. This time, the anesthetist actually seemed to have a clue (imagine!) – all done in 15 mins.

Skating over most of the subsequent scary endurance test ... let’s just say we both think, in hindsight, Ruairi just wasn’t really ready to come out.

The last two hours before he finally emerged was the most harrowing, intense, emotionally dislocating (then relocating), and brutally painful experience Sausage and I have undergone together.

Mostly her, of course. Ever want to feel useless as a man? Watch the woman you love scream in anguish and be unable to help beyond words, looks and holds.

I should pause to note that the end product of all this still makes everything – EVERYTHING – Leona had to go through more than worthwhile. I’m sure she won’t mind me stating her part here; I know she shares this view. But the journey was a grim one, nonetheless.

A lot of stuff went down in that delivery room that I’ve neither space, time, nor will to get into here.

Our obstetrician, Dr. G, is terrific, but I’m not sure this was exactly his finest hour. I don’t want to paint him in an ill light: without his relentless aid and expertise we might well have ended up somewhere I don’t even want to think about. He’s a great, great man – but he let the Nurse-From-Hell into our delivery room, and that was a mistake.

Picture a five foot nuttin, Jamaican Rosie Perez-a-like drill instructor on speed. That’s the Nurse-From-Hell.

Barking, yelling commands to “Push harder!”, “No! Push down!”, “You’re NOT pushing!”, “YOU HAVE TO PUSH PROPERLY!”

At one point we had Nurse-From-Hell, Dr. G, and two other nurses in a small arc around my wife’s business end, screaming conflicting advice at my desperate, labouring Sausage – then NFH has the gall to lean back and roll her eyes in a “you ain’t gonna make it” look.

That’s the point at which I kind of lost it.

Things were a lot quieter after I did a little of my own order barking. I forget exactly what I said, but something in the vein of: “All of you, JUST SHUT UP and Leave. Us. Alone! for a minute.”
[N.B. in the previous cut of this post, I'd indicated the use of an expletive in my moment of rage. According to Sausage (and she would know) I managed not to colour my command with anything remotely Anglo Saxon. Remarkable, for me, as anyone who knows me would attest. Normally have the Profanisaurus close at hand at all times.]

Sausage and I held each other, locked eyes.

Something happened there – a bit flipped inside her to give her that extra Power Up she needed for the home stretch.

8 minutes later, Ruairi, beautiful, perfect, wonderbean, was “born screaming small into this world”.

He was a big kid, broad shoulders, and in at kind of an angle. That, plus the curious experience Sausage described of feeling the pressure in completely the wrong place - not where she'd expect to feel it in childbirth, but across her hips and front instead. Made it much more difficult to push back against the pressure, when that pressure wasn't were it's supposed to be.

Hard, hard graft. For both of them. I’m awed.

She won’t ever have to do it again. Ever. But somewhere at the core of my love for Sausage is the certain knowledge that if she did have to, she would. With a smile.

We got home the next evening, very much in love with our big baby boy. Things have been a little rough since then, but more on that later.

For now – one last vivid moment from those final harrowing minutes before he arrived. I’m holding fast to one of Sausage’s legs, acting as human stirrup on one side, while Nurse-From-Hell mirrors my position to the right, Leona’s leg bent right back, foot hard against NFH’s shoulder.

She gets right up in my darling’s face and snaps: “NO! DON’T PUSH WITH YOUR LEGS – PUSH DOWN!!”

Clearly the right advice, but Sausage was still justified in giving one last mighty “push” with her legs. And such a push.

She kicked the mat ward tyrant clear across the frigging room.

I could have cheered.

Love you Sausage. And again, it was all worth it, for this:

michaelo blogged something into being 8:09 PM :: :: link

Tuesday, December 31, 2002


Posted a bandwidth-hogging photo-essay on other blog. Thanks to all well wishers - best to yall in 2003!

tom blogged something into being 4:46 AM :: :: link

Monday, December 30, 2002

Reasonable Drought

BlogSprogs has been kind of quiet these last several days. Totally natural and reasonable - lots of seasonal reasons, and three particular sets of special circumstances, of course.

Up here, we're doing plenty of this:

Interspersed with occasional bursts of this:

More later...

michaelo blogged something into being 7:53 AM :: :: link

Sunday, December 29, 2002

First vs Next

We took our first walk outside today with SJ - lovely winter's day in Fla. I was thinking about how for parents, many of these "firsts" seem to require special note - his first view of the sun, her first ride in a car. Our recording devices capture the moment. Meanwhile, inside the little head, a voice is going, ''The parental units are really into firsts - but in point of fact, this business of seeing the world only gets exciting down the road a bit. At the moment, it is not my first, but my next burp, that registers with me like a 50% jump in the Dow. The next fart - satori.''

tom blogged something into being 2:32 PM :: :: link

Friday, December 27, 2002

A tired & dishevelled father feeds daughter.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 5:38 AM :: :: link

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

one last bit of proxy work--for the record. Sawyer James:

peace, out.

tom blogged something into being 8:45 AM :: :: link

Sawyer says hi - Posted a pic of Sprog 3 taking his ease on blog here -a very good holiday to Cam, Ruairi and to all. (thanks J -) - tom

tom blogged something into being 3:47 AM :: :: link

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Blogsprog Number 3 Has Arrived!

Tom and Wendy now have a beautiful baby boy named Sawyer James, who was born today at 12:17 by c-section. Mother, baby, and Dad are doing fine. Tom described Sawyer as "so cool." The little guy came out and observed, all eyes to the new world around him. I think Tom is in love. Sawyer weighed in at 8 pounds, 13 ounces and is 21 inches long.

George and I received the call from Tom about a half hour ago. We let Tom know that we--and everyone in this loosely joined family--are so very happy for them. Three healthy blogsprogs have been blogged into existence, and we've met them here. I'm astounded. Maybe that's just me. I don't think so though.

Wendy will be in the hospital for a few days; Tom says he'll be spending most of his time there, but will get pictures to us as soon as he can.

Blessings on the wind to Florida from all around the blogosphere.

Tom wishes everyone a Merry Christmas--I know his and Wendy's will be all the more merrier with Sawyer in their arms.

sigh. ain't life grand?

-Jeneane for Tom

tom blogged something into being 12:11 PM :: :: link

So. How's every one?

Wshew. This waiting game is tough. [stretch, yawn]. Think I'll get another cup of coffee. I dunno. I never knew what proxybloggers go through. Michael's "Paul" and Gary's "John C." know what I'm talking about. I'm here. Waiting. Hoping Tom calls today. Time for that coffee. As Ann Craig says, peace-out, smile back.

-jeneane for Tom

tom blogged something into being 7:08 AM :: :: link

Monday, December 23, 2002

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Car

Wendy and Tom arrived at the hospital yesterday. Wendy spent the night "with an excellent nurse and mom in attendance," on cervadil, according to Tomas, who did his dadly duties by going home and walking the mutts. Late this afternoon, the experts gave Wendy the news that she was still not dialating, so mom and dad packed up their hospital belongings to head home for a few days, aiming to come back on Thursday and try again.

A funny thing happened on the way to the car. Wendy's water broke! So they hightailed it back into the hospital, where they will likely remain for the duration. Tom promised to let us know as things progress.......


honored to proxyblog for my good friend Tom,

tom blogged something into being 6:22 PM :: :: link

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Home again, home again, jiggety jig...

Actually been home since Thursday night, but couldn't resist the nursery rhyme theme...

Sausage and Ruairi both doing well. Tired, tired, tired, but content.

Rediscovering the simple joy of spending 20 minutes at a time doing nothing but gazing at a little miracle like this:

Tom's right about the network multiplier effect here - the value of the network increases exponentially with each new baby added :-) Good luck guys!

One last pic before sleep. Here's Ruairi again, watched over by his two guardian angels - both very much in love with and in awe of their baby brother.

Life is sweet indeed.

michaelo blogged something into being 5:47 AM :: :: link

Friday, December 20, 2002

Sprogs = network multiplier?

Just wish to say the warmth and love and, yes, sappy daddery around here has been incredible. In blog theory, we might have to reflect on this, on this expansion of love and of the world, as Marek puts it, but that will come later. For now, as we look for a Monday debut of sprog # 3, I'm just grateful for the networked multiplier effect of Michael's genial idea which has amplified our experience, sharpened our anticipation, and allowed us to share your joy.

tom blogged something into being 10:41 AM :: :: link

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Opus == Ruairi

Sitting here like a soft lad, tears running down my face, listening to this.

My heart feels too big for my body today.

I’m so proud of my astonishing wife, and so much in love with our new little boy and our whole family.

Now we are five...

Sorry about all the name confusion. Paul is indeed a lovely name, but it’s the lovely name of one of my very best friends, Paul Reed, who proxy blogged for me over the phone last night.

The ‘Alexander’ confusion came from our indecision over the name. As I was calling family last night, Leona and I still hadn’t quite settled on Ruairi or Alexander.

Ruairi it is. His full name will be Ruairi Michael O’Connor Clarke – kind of after Ruairi O’Connor (Ruadrí Ua Conchobair]) the last High King of Ireland, but also just because we both love the name. And if he lives up to the promise of his 9lb 9oz, he’ll be a king amongst men, for sure.

Tired now, and very much in love.

Thanks for all the messages from around the world – you’re good people.

Question is – as the third of three O’Connor Clarkes, but the middle one of the BlogSprogs – should Ruairi opt for youngest sibling or middle child syndrome ;-)

Gary, Fiona, Cameron, Tom, Wendy (and ...?) – love to all of you. Hope you're well. Good luck Wendy & Tom. Being induced is not easy...but well worth it in the end.

More details (and photos) soon – off now to get back to basics.


'ó dhia gach aon cabhair'

michaelo blogged something into being 9:58 AM :: :: link

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Baby boy. 9lb 9oz - all's well


michaelo blogged something into being 7:13 PM :: :: link

Good Luck Michael and LBS!

- we're just back from the Ob's office, where all seemed in order - we have three new images - of head, butt, and balls. All appear to be properly situated, and, at least via the magic of ultrasound, of goodly size.

If this reluctance to sprout persists, Wendy has an appointment to begin induction Sunday evening. She's convinced he's coming Friday, however.

tom blogged something into being 9:04 AM :: :: link

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Here we go!

And so the second BlogSprogs countdown commences...

Leona and I were at the Obstetrician earlier today for our checkup.

We’ve discussed in the past various ways of helping things along a little, and we’re now actually scheduled to go into the hospital tomorrow morning at 7:00am to probably have Opus induced with a little intravenous Oxytocin.

We’ve been wrestling with this one for weeks, and have read everything we can find on the pluses and minuses of induced labor. I wrote about some of the complications Leona and I face in an earlier post, below.

As it turns out, we may not need to worry. At the examination today, turns out Sausage is already dilating, and she’s been having “cramps” on and off for days.

So, Charlie and Lily are heading off for a sleepover with friends tonight (great excitement all round – they’re probably more excited about their first sleepover than the intangible promise of a new baby in the house).

Our bag’s all packed and we’re ready for an early start. The doctor is confident that Opus is absolutely ready – and I know Sausage is ready.

She’s really suffering today after a rougher than usual night and an utterly rotten day yesterday. We were hustling through the normal off-to-school routine yesterday morning. As I got C & L into snow pants and coats, Sausage ducked out, despite my protestations, to scrape the ice & snow off the minivan.

Couple of minutes later I heard this sad little voice from the driveway – she’d slipped and crashed down hard on her bum in the packed snow, poor darling. She amazed me yet again, though – lying there in the snow, hurt and scared, unable to get her feet under her to stand back up. She smiles up at me and says: “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” :-)

As if that little trauma wasn’t bad enough for her, she called me later in the day from the car on the way to collect Charlie from school. She’d just been rear-ended by another car on the icy roads. No major damage or injuries, thank God. I love this woman so much - I can't imagine what I'd do if something happened to her...

Seems Friday 13th clearly came a little late to this household. Two such narrow escapes in one day. Yikes, indeed.

Tomorrow’s going to be a much, much better day. We know.

Come on, Opus! You can do it!

michaelo blogged something into being 3:14 PM :: :: link

Babies know

Do read Halley's comment about her first moments with Jackson, her son. The thing that bowled me over, when I first held my daughter nearly 11 years ago was the sensation that I was holding pure trust.

tom blogged something into being 1:00 PM :: :: link

Monday, December 16, 2002

Baby Translation Device - maybe we can become product testers.

WhyCry:The calculator-size device, which is marketed by the Spanish maternity-products company Rosmari, has a microprocessor that can decipher the broad meaning of a baby's cry with 87 percent accuracy. At least, in Spanish. More....

tom blogged something into being 4:49 PM :: :: link

Cameron Says "Hi"

Breathed her first breath at 03.24 GMT, weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds & 3 ounces. A beautiful baby girl. Mother is fine, father is off to bed. Awesome. Thanks to John for the proxy weblogging.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 12:25 AM :: :: link

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Movement over the water

According to a proxy post up at Gary's main blog, something's shaking over in the UK.

More here. Gooooooooo Fiona!

Meanwhile, all quiet on the Canadian front. I'm just back from a five hour Christmas shopping trip round a crowded downtown mall with Charlie & Lily (and we're having a third...!). Sausage is out for a long walk. I'm cooking the Eggplant Parmigiana tonight.

michaelo blogged something into being 1:21 PM :: :: link

Getting Blasted into Existence by Celery Farmers

Last night Wendy and I found a restaurant serving eggplant (did it help, Michael?), right next to a theater showing Frida, and thought both might be worthwhile. They may have been, but neither they nor other interventions have as yet hastened Labor's progress. While Fiona cleans the latrines, Wendy is looking for a bumpy road to drive down. Her mom thought some of these roads might include celery fields owned by Property Rights Advocates with guns. Wendy sees an upside: "Then we'll have the adrenaline rush."

tom blogged something into being 8:03 AM :: :: link

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Special Forces Maternity Squad

OK. The reinforcements have arrived. My mother and sister, who have had 5 kids between, them just flew in tonight for a couple of days. So, Fiona's up at 5am for a drill before cleaning out the latrines after breakfast and a 3 mile run. "I wanna be a loving mother, get me a loyalty card from Mothercare....."

Gary Turner blogged something into being 1:58 PM :: :: link


Sausage and I were puzzling over Tom's eggplant comment, below. So we Googled, and came across this.

Who knew?!

I'm off grocery shopping now, to buy ingredients for tomorrow's dinner. Hope I can find reggiano...

michaelo blogged something into being 7:11 AM :: :: link

Email received in the wee small hours from the Blogsprogs theological and spiritual counsel:

Dear Dads,

I just thought of something--a visual pun? an orthographic pun?--that
one of you probably already noticed. I'd post it on Blogsprogs, but
since I've given up paternity for Advent, I don't post; and I might
have put it in the comments on each of your sites, but I'm too worn out.

So the conceit in question was that, as David W. didn't say, we're
waiting ourselves into existence on the Web.

It's too small to bother with, but I couldn't go to sleep without doing
something with it. So there.

Grace and peace, gentlemen--


David's 'writing ourselves into existence' trope from SPLJ has been gnawed on at great length elsewhere.

Since Blogsprogs was born, a different passage in the book has been rattling round my lumber room:

"...we are rewriting ourselves on the Web, hearing voices we’re surprised to find coming from us, saying things we might not have expected. We're meeting people we would never have dreamed of encountering. More important, we’re meeting new aspects of ourselves. We’re finding out that we can be sappier..." [ah ha!] and "...We’re falling into email relationships that, stretching themselves over years, imperceptibly deepen, like furrows worn into a stone hallway by the traffic of slippers."

But I'm going to stop right there as I don't want this to become yet another blog chained in geostationary orbit around that book, or even that other book (deliberately not linking, for obvious reasons).

I can think of much better reference material for this particular project.

michaelo blogged something into being 6:52 AM :: :: link

Friday, December 13, 2002

Although her high school students want Wendy to return next week (in hopes of expanding their learning experience), she plans to make this her last day. Our dilemma is, if she gets too far past her due date (Dec. 11), and the baby is transverse (as he seems to be a fair amount of the time), the medical folks might begin to insist on a c-section. She's hoping he'll head for the exit/entrance this weekend - when things at the overcrowded hospital might be a little quieter. To enhance the possibility, she's upping her prostaglandin stimulators - eggplant, rose hips, and one more...

-- Wendy just emailed from work to make this correction: "it's evening primrose oil, not rose hips." I stand corrected.

tom blogged something into being 11:07 AM :: :: link

No news from Canada, yet.

We were out at my firm's management team Christmas nosh up last night and half-expected something to start rumbling in the wee small hours (large intakes of rich food preceded both previous births). Alas nothing.

Sausage justified in grumbling this am about suffering a hangover without actually having had any booze. More of a foodover, I guess.

Now we're both hoping the wee un stays put until at least Monday - Leona doesn't especially want to be going through labour on Friday 13th, plus our OB doesn't work weekends. Opus will, of course, follow his/her own schedule...

michaelo blogged something into being 10:47 AM :: :: link

This morning the consultant decided that Fiona would be better off at home waiting for something to happen than stuck in a dingy hospital ward. I'm being the attentive husband. She says that she's very grateful for all your words and messages of encouragement. As am I, of course. I'm going to try to convince her to watch Captain Corelli's Mandolin in front of a warm fire this afternoon.

Gary Turner blogged something into being 6:44 AM :: :: link

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Gary, I see fortitude in that lovely visage. Hang in. Your video might become a classic. I read somewhere that there are Mayan women who early in a pregnancy can tell if a baby is breech; they have special massages and other remedies probably stretching back to the beginning of civilization, which seem to work, since the Mayans have an unusually low rate of breech births, c-sections, etc.

Wendy knows a bunch about this stuff, being a latinamericanista. And right, Michael, she does have a birth plan, but many of her ideal wishes - water birth, etc., simply are not available at the hospital. She will at this point be delighted if the birth is "natural" in any sense of the word. An excellent doula will be there, and we'll try to make sure the hospital doesn't ignore our wish that the kid receive no bottles. Recently a friend of Wendy's had a c-section; despite her clear stated intent to breastfeed, the hospital (same one we're in) gave the kid a bottle. The mom has now completely given up on breastfeeding.

tom blogged something into being 11:06 AM :: :: link


  • 6pm yesterday, contractions begin.

  • 10pm, contractions 8 mins apart

  • 12am, 5 mins apart.

  • 1am, arrive at hospital, cannot locate baby's head, suspect not engaged. Again.

  • 3am, I get home.

  • 7am, back in to supposedly see a doctor.

  • 2pm, after complaining we finally see a doctor.

  • 3pm, Ultrasound scan, baby appears to be breech, conversation about c-section ensues. Again.

  • 4pm, Consultant OB says "Rubbish" when informed over the phone. Arrives and immeditately locates babys head much to the mortal embarassment of yet another doctor who called it wrong, not in breech, though not engaged. C-section cancelled. Again. They're keeping her in for observation, suspect baby may be too big to deliver naturally, waiting to see if the contractions start again and whether the head engages.

  • Fiona's holding up despite what seems like the entire medical profession's attempts to achieve otherwise. The photo was taken just after we were told (incorrectly) the baby had gone breech again and a c-section was on the cards. I've been making a video diary over the last couple of weeks, with short interviews with Fiona as things develop. Was intended to be a positive, joyfull video diary to look back at in years to come, so far in comprises interviews full of hope and expectation followed by despair, followed by hope followed by despair ad nauseam.

    On a positive note, the Consultant OB totally rocks, dead against a c-section unless absolutely no option as a last resort.

    Gary Turner blogged something into being 9:14 AM :: :: link

    That's rotten, Tom.

    Of course, there's no way on earth we can possibly know exactly what's best for our wives: no matter how much empathy, support and involvement we strive for - there are certain things about childbirth only the mother can really decide (this shall henceforth be known as BlogSprogs Standard Disclaimer #1).

    If it’s a case of a qualified OB-specialist acting in an emergency situation, or strongly recommending a certain course based on diagnosis – that’s different. But to mandate pitocin and c-sections as the preferred standard approach throughout the hospital is disgusting.

    In fact - to have any of the mother’s choices taken off the table through fear of malpractice suits is simply insane. Healthcare in the US is clearly in even more of a mess than it is in Canada

    I could get really outraged and twisty about a thing like this. The mother should have the absolute right to choose her birth experience as far as that is possible. In consultation with her partner, coach, doula, whoever, and a trusted healthcare pro, of course – and wrapping the usual caveats around things “in the event of an emergency”, &c.

    Do you guys have a birth plan? These things seem kind of like a wanky idea at first, but Sausage and I had one for both Charlie & Lily and they were tremendously important. The simple process of walking through the alternative approaches to pain relief and such like becomes in itself almost cathartic. You’re forced to think about, and attempt to plan for, all the worst case scenarios.

    And you have something to hand to the hospital and obstetrician that clearly states what you want and don’t want to happen. You have to tell them: clearly, simply, directly. This is incredibly important.

    I’ll write more about our experiences with C & L’s births a little later (briefly: first one was with an epidural, long and arduous – second Leona did the frontier-woman thing. Astonishing).

    michaelo blogged something into being 8:01 AM :: :: link

    A bit of incidental trend data we picked up at the Lemaze class: Here at our fairly typical Florida hospital, c-sections this year have been running about 30% of all births. A ''natural'' birth, involving squatting, movement, etc. seems relatively rare at this facility. Eight years ago the cesarian rate was 20%, according to the Lemaze teaching nurse who began working at the hospital back in '94. The vast majority of pregnant nurses who work at the hospital choose to schedule c-sections. About 70% of women here are put on Pitocin, which increases the chances of c-sections, the nurse said. Pitocin also tends to confine many women to bed during labor - underscoring the root meaning of "confinement." Another hospital in our area which would have been more open to natural processes, including a sort of modified water birth, recently closed its Ob wing. Couldn't afford the rising costs of malpractice insurance.

    Mini rant: Insurance is reshaping life itself, at least in the US. I wonder how it is where you guys are.

    tom blogged something into being 5:09 AM :: :: link

    Wednesday, December 11, 2002

    A photo of the present domicile of the rambunctious, not-yet-extracted fellow is over here. Unofficially, we're calling him SJ. This has nothing to do with Jesuits.

    tom blogged something into being 9:29 PM :: :: link

    For the record...but then, isn't all of this?

    It occurs to me that a lot of people (and getting to No.10 on the DayPop Top 40 presumably means it really is quite a lot) - a lot of people might be arriving at this blog and trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.

    So in case you're wondering, here's a cross post of the original blog that triggered the sequence of events leading to what you now see before you.

    There were a number of links and mentions on our respective blogs before we reached this stage, but the inflection point for me came a few hours after writing this:-

    "Blog Sprogs

    There’s something in the air...or in our wives, at any rate. I already knew Gary & Fiona Turner were expecting a baby any day now. Thanks to Gary, I just found out that Tom Matrullo’s missus is also expecting imminently.

    And tonight I arrived home to discover the lovely 39-week pregnant Sausage on her knees scrubbing out the kitchen cabinets. She’s evidently been cleaning, sorting and tidying all day. As this will be our third time around, I’m pretty sure I know what this means. Nesting behaviour. Tonight could well be the night...

    Wonder which blogger will sprog first?"

    Next morning, I woke up full of beans and bouncing off to the office. En route, Echo & the Bunnymen on the Discman, had a curious thought. Posted it:

    This might be the sappiest thought I've ever entertained ... or perhaps I'm onto something. As a follow up to the previous post, this thought occurred to me on the tube ride in to work this morning. Perhaps I can persuade Gary Turner and Tom Matrullo to join me in a Gangblog of sorts for our three respective babies. Call it 'BlogSprogs' or something of the sort.

    Over the next few years, the three Dads could use it to post notes, thoughts, moments of reflection, pure sleep-deprived insanity, progress reports, that kind of thing - writing our tiny charges into being, as Weinberger put it, over the months and years ahead. Like a collaborative online version of one of those cheesy Hallmark baby books, but just way more fun (at least for us). Comparing the first smile, first solid food, first baby steps, first sinking feeling as we sign up for those second mortgages...

    Of course, we'd really only be the temporary caretakers and guardians of this blog which we would, in due course, pass on to our growing children to continue the tradition. We'd be blog building a bridge between generations.

    My hope is that our kids would grow up to cherish their unique and curious online friendship - three kids in three different countries, sharing their growing pains and personal triumphs through what might be the best vehicle so far invented for such a dialogue..."

    And there you have it.

    This is yet another manifestation of the way fatherhood stretches your time sense. More than any other ‘coming of age’ thing, being a Dad really shifts your gaze in to the future. For me, at least. Things like pensions, education savings plans, mutual funds suddenly become important and even (yikes) attractive.

    Even your writing shifts. I type these words and imagine our unborn Opus one day reading them. Even, now that I’ve added a comments feature, responding to them.

    We’re inventing time travel here. I’ve just written something that I know my growing son or daughter will one day add to in his or her own words.

    Blogging’s a kind of acid like that – no longer in need of any mind expanding substance round here anyway; not with thoughts like this to boggle my neurons.

    michaelo blogged something into being 7:10 PM :: :: link

    First chance all day to even peep in. It seems a good deal is happening - Gary at least is suggesting as much over here, as I type. The commentary over at Jeneane's is running deep and wide. The expectations about this blog, which is, in a sense, about expectation, are going to be difficult to live up to. Living up to expectations is always a pain in the arse. Better I guess to overhype a mere blog than a kid.

    Michael, fwiw, I like "BlogSprogs," and it seems to mean something in Danish. What else... Wendy is sure the kid has turned sideways and back down at least twice since her last ultrasound on Monday. She described one moment that sounded truly surreal, where the kid appeared to be fully transverse and stretching to his full height, distending her sideways like Alice eating a bit of the wrong cookie. I can't think of any experience comparable for men to this distortion/transformation of the body, unless one happens to be the Incredible Hulk.

    So I get home, and find a message on the answering machine, a most excited voice. It's Marek, calling from Texas, sounding exactly like he just had a baby. It was like he was about to pop out of the phone and hand me a giant cigar.

    Over the past few weeks, Wendy has gone from lucid calm to a kind of dread to a quiet acceptance that seems to be shading into a bit of impatience. The kid seems ready, she seems ready. Nature seems somehow indifferent to their states of readiness.

    tom blogged something into being 6:12 PM :: :: link

    Wondering about the name.

    As a bit of a logophile, 'BlogSprogs' has obvious appeal. But it's a little rough, all the same. Don't want to get tooooooo meep and deaningful over this, but maybe this blog should be re-christened something with a little more presence and weight.

    The Long Promise, perhaps...

    Off to pick up Charlie at school now, then to Lily's ballet recital, then a long night working on a ginormous new biz pitch and catching up on all the pressing stuff in my r/t life. More later, if time allows.

    michaelo blogged something into being 12:05 PM :: :: link

    Back from the Quack.

    Prognosis: thank you for continuing to hold. Sausage and I both really thought this was it, but the (wonderful, hilarious) Dr. Giffen thinks she’s a ways to go yet. We’ve even scheduled next week’s appointment.

    Now the discussion about trying to schedule the arrival picks up again – both of us trying to decide if it would be better for this one to be induced.

    As it’s a third, and expected to come really fast – we might find ourselves in scramble mode when we least expect it. This could be a problem. With the other two still so young, and absolutely no family in Canada – we may find ourselves calling up neighbours or local friends in the dead of night to ask them to accept our two poor waifs as we high tail it to the hospital.

    Perhaps a drop or two of Pitocin is the safer way all round...?

    Meanwhile, I was cleaning out the little hard-to-reach cupboard set into the wall above our fridge the other night (more nesting behaviour). In amongst the dusty bottles and old Tupperware, I found the note given to us by Joy, the Doula who shared our ups and downs as we brought Lily Àine into the world.

    Startling, sharp intake of breath moment of serendipity. Here’s the note, in full. Good guide to the kind of thing we should expect some time in the next few days:

    JUNE 11, 1999 LILY’S BIRTH

    4:37 am Got the call
    5:10 am At house
    Leona progressing quickly, on top of it all (MOC: on top of her birthing ball, in fact)
    6:00 am Left for hosp.
    6:15 am at hosp.
    6:30 am in room
    1st VE
    8cm with bulging membranes! (MOC: ee-yuh)
    Dr. called
    6:40 am on EFM
    6:57 am monitor off
    “Do you want waters broken?”
    Leona decides to wait through a few more contractions
    7:25 am in Delivery room
    (picked sunny room)
    7:28 am Leona bites Michael
    7:30 am waters broken by Dr.
    7:32 am pushing in earnest
    7:42 am Lily born!! 8lb 3oz

    The rest, indeed, is history...

    michaelo blogged something into being 11:59 AM :: :: link

    I've just added Jeneane to the 'extended blogfamily' links. I love what she's writing about us and love her for writing it.

    Twice or thrice had I loved thee, before I knew thy face or name....or something like that. Isn't that just what the blogosphere is like all over? Brand new relationships reach operating temperature in a fraction of the time they would take in the normal world.

    No time to respond properly to Jeneane or the many other kind emails I've received - gotta go see a man about a blog ;-)

    After which, if this hippy-dippy love-in continues, I may have to spill some patchouli oil on my Afghan coat and set about preparing the nut roast for tonight's holistic dining experience...

    michaelo blogged something into being 9:51 AM :: :: link

    Cameron Turner (to be), 3 weeks ago.

    Gary Turner blogged something into being 8:04 AM :: :: link

    We have what will surely be our last Obstetrician's appt. this afternoon. Sausage suffering dreadful lower back pain. I'm booking out of the office at around noon to get to the quack and spend the rest of the day working at home. Plus Lily (3) has her ballet recital later today - can't miss that...

    I need to fit in some work on BlogSprogs too, if I get the chance. Template tweaking - maybe moving it into somewhere with image hosting so we can post ultrasound scans and then early baby shots, drool specimens, etc...

    Thoughts of Billy Connolly's 'birth video' sketch running through my head ; "Och, the wife looks very well there." "How the f*$%# would ye know?!"

    michaelo blogged something into being 7:21 AM :: :: link

    I've decided to work from home this afternoon, Fiona called and asked me to come home if I could. Hmmm.

    Gary Turner blogged something into being 6:25 AM :: :: link

    Tuesday, December 10, 2002

    I'm double bluffing. I have been very imminently expectant for the last couple of weeks but nothing happened. I'm now cool as a cucumber, gliding around the office saying, "Nah, it won't be here for weeks", in the hope that I'm upsetting some universal karmic law that will result in bringing labour on. Somehow.

    This is a cool idea Michael.

    Gary Turner blogged something into being 10:44 PM :: :: link

    And a lovely blog it is!

    I tre blogghini?

    Kicking, turning, mastering the rhumba. Wendy taught her classes today, sitting on a birthing ball. Her students are offering her money to hang in until the end of term, probably hoping they'll witness one of life's mysteries in real time.

    tom blogged something into being 9:53 PM :: :: link

    Activity - good
    Pulse - 110bpm
    Grimace - sneezing, coughing, pulling away
    Appearance - normal
    Respiration - Good, crying

    Congratulations!! It's a Blog!

    michaelo blogged something into being 6:51 PM :: :: link