Archives for October 2005


In the past few days Hannah has started scooting forward a few inches at a time. She prefers hard surfaces over carpet, and she seems to find the whole process tiring and difficult. However, she will throw her arms forward, press her palms to the floor, and pull herself in the direction of interesting objects. So far she only moves within a one-foot radius, but she’s getting better all the time.

So, it seems like Jon and I need to get off our butts and babyproof. 😉

Poor Dorothy

When Hannah was born, Dorothy was demoted from baby to cat. As we all know, cats are all too convinced of their superior status, which makes the blow that much more severe. In Dorothy’s life, events will forevermore be demarcated as BH (before Hannah), or AH (After Hannah).

In the BH time, I would take 30 minutes or more every day just to play with Dorothy. In the BH time, Dorothy would spend hours sleeping on Jon’s lap and kneading his bathrobe to tatters. In the BH time, Dorothy got new toys on a monthly basis.

In the AH time, Dorothy is still fed, and her kitty litter is still cleaned. Every day, Dorothy gets some affection from both Jon and I. However, in the AH time, there are not hours in our day to devote to the cat. Also, in the AH time, the baby sometimes gets a handful of fur.

I console myself by knowing that Dorothy is still loved and well cared-for, that she is healthy, and that she doesn’t really remember the BH time. Still, I think it is a tragic thing in her life to be demoted from baby to cat. But I don’t regret having the baby for a second. 😉


One Sunday this summer Jon bought a copy of the New York Times, this big thick paper that takes days to read. I didn’t look at it, but Jon did point this article out to me (you have to register to view it). The article discusses premature babies, and how they’re treated in the hospital. In particular, it is the story of one woman who feels that a lot could be done to improve the way that preemies are cared for.

A brief excerpt from the article is:

Thus far, parents…have not been demanding better care for their premature infants. Few realize that N.I.C.U.’s are not what they could be… Muraskas, whose success with tiny babies has excited the public, worries that ”miracle newborns,” as he calls them, ”raise false expectations for families, caregivers and the medical-legal community.” He cites one study in which researchers followed a single infant for three months in an intensive-care unit and found that it received help from 483 different people. ”With so many people communicating with families, it is not surprising the families are confused,” he says.

This quote really hit home. Hannah’s time in the hospital was very confusing. When Hannah was admitted, we received no real introduction to the NICU. When we would ask about the course of her care, each person that we spoke with told us something different. Our questions were often evaded, and we were frequently cautioned that things looked good now, but could go downhill quickly. We understood, certainly, that things can change, and we weren’t looking for guarantees about what would happen. We were looking for basic information like:
– what are the criteria for sending a baby home?
– what do you do with the breast pump kits when you’re done with them?
– when can we speak with a doctor about our baby?

In retrospect, I feel resentful. I feel like there are much better ways to handle this sort of thing than separating babies and parents, and then giving parents dire warnings and partial information. But I also feel that I can’t really say this, because the people who work with premature babies save their lives. They are highly dedicated staff who are all working as hard as they can to do the best they can for these fragile babies. I don’t doubt that at all. I do think that we concentrate on only the technical side of saving lives, though, and not the emotional and social side, which is so critical for new infants and their parents. Yes, we can catch up later when these babies come home, but the early days will be lost forever, and that will always haunt any parent who’s had their baby taken away to a NICU at birth.

The thing is, that I only feel this way months later. When Hannah was actually in the hospital, I was too sick and shell-shocked myself to really assess the situation. I decided to keep my head down and do what I could to get her home quickly. I saw all of the staff as the arbiters of my fate, and advocating for Hannah was difficult when I just wanted to get along with them all.

Those are my thoughts right now. They will most likely change, as they have already. I am very thankful that Hannah was strong and came home so quickly, and I pray that I will never have another premature baby. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the after-effects, and that I don’t believe more needs to be done to treat premature babies, and their families, more gently.

8 Months Old

Hannah is 8 months old today. The past month held a lot of changes. We found a daycare, and started making plans for my return to work. Hannah cut her first two teeth, started swimming lessons, and exhibited some early separation anxiety :-(. Hannah also developed much better muscle control. She can lunge, pivot, hold herself up on all fours, and walk (when well-supported by an adult). Jon and I both predict that she will be crawling within a couple of weeks. Anyone else care to place a bet? 😉

Hannah also grew a lot in height, tried a lot of new foods, and really got the hang of eating solids. She still only eats a few tablespoons every day, but she seems to understand the process much better, and will gobble up her favourite foods pretty quickly. She also loves to gnaw on apple cores, and happily grunts and flaps her arms when she sees me eating an apple. Apparently, mom’s food is for sharing. 🙂

Hannah’s temperament is also maturing. She is much better at communicating her needs and wants to us through sounds, gestures, and facial expressions. Overall she’s also a much happier baby than she used to be (which was not at all, I’m afraid). She smiles and laughs at lots of things. Hannah has her own sense of humour now, and it sadly lacks refinement. Oh well, she’s just a baby, right?

Here is a picture of our girl, taken today:

I’m not Amish!

The company that hosts our website provides us with a bunch of cool statistics about the people who access it. For example, we can see how many people accessed it, who their internet service providers are, which days were the busiest, and so forth. We can also see what internet searches lead people to our website. This is when random strangers type in a search term and our website comes up, so they click on it. The top three searches that lead people to are:
1. Amish
2. Pregnancy photos
3. Amish photos

It seems that a Halloween costume I wore two years ago has generated the most interest in the outside world. Here it is:

Amber had a very plain Halloween

I find the search terms funny, because I’m not Amish. I’ve never actually met an Amish person, or been to Amish country. I have no particular affinity for the Amish or their lifestyle, and I definitely do not want to eschew technology on religious grounds. But thousands of strangers may never know this. Or, maybe they will, because I’m sure that this post alone will generate a bunch more hits on search terms 1 and 3. 🙂


Today Hannah had her first swimming lesson–or, more appropriately, I had my first baby-related swimming lesson. The instructor was quick to point out that she wasn’t teaching the babies, she was teaching the parents. So, it was something like obedience classes for puppies, I think. 😉

There were about 8 babies, and the class was pretty low-key. Today we got used to being in the water, and we practiced floating on our front and on our back. No putting our faces in the water yet, although Hannah did sip some pool water whenever she got the chance. She didn’t show any signs of tummyache, though, which is good. Next week we’re trying dunking, so we’ll see how that goes.

Spawning Salmon

Yesterday we went on a walk, and we saw salmon swimming upstream in our little creek. The water is very shallow and quick-moving right now, and these are full-grown fish who are returning to spawn. Their top fins were sticking out of the water, and it was very slow-going for them. I have lived in this province my whole life, and I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve seen (and smelled) plenty of dead fish after spawning, but I’ve never seen them starting their migration to their spawning grounds, and certainly never in a creek so small that the water barely covered them.

While we were watching this, we ran into some kids from Hannah’s daycare out on a walk, who were also very interested in the salmon. It’s nice to see that they’re out and about and learning things.

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