August 20, 2005

Got Lumber?

As I've mentioned before, the developers who own the house we're in are clearing out most of the trees around us in order to build 21 new houses. Well, they started this week. In fact, all week long we've had a new alarm clock. No, it wasn't the sound of workmen singing "I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK." It's been the sound of chainsaws starting just after 7am.

The visual change around the house is drastic. For comparison's sake, here is what the backyard area used to look like:

There were two posts for a volleyball net, and a rotting picnic table in the back section:

From roughly the same vantage point as the last picture, but looking 90 degrees to your left, you can see the back of the house.

And from inside that part of the house (the master bathroom), you could see into some of the backyard.

Those were the "before" pictures. Now for the "after."

First off, I was surprised at how quickly they were able to take down so many trees. As far as I could tell, there were usually only 3 guys here - two running chainsaws (one of whom sometimes was just a spotter), and one running an excavator (backhoe). They made tremendous progress every day, and in fact had most of the trees around here cut down within three days.

Day 1: Looking back from the bathroom area, you can see that things are already looking much thinner.

Day 2: Here's a comparison shot looking towards the house. The stuff in the way is really just small branches and stuff - the big trees have already been moved elsewhere in the field.

And here's another comparison shot looking out from the bathroom. You can't see to the right quite as much, but it's already thinner than it was the previous day.

Day 3: Looking towards where the picnic table is, you can see some of the fallen trees, and how open the area to the right is.

And looking to the side of the house, you can see that what used to be a wall of trees is now very wide open.

Separately, I'll probably post pictures of the flattened area, and more of the construction as it progresses. For now, anyone who's been to our house won't recognize the back yard if they see it again.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2005

Home Almost Alone

Elizabeth is heading to Boston on a business trip Thursday morning, and won't be back until Saturday night. That means it's just me and Dorothy for three whole days! Well, she'll be in daycare during the day on Friday. I've survived similar situations before, such as when Elizabeth was in the hospital last summer, but then I at least got to see Elizabeth once a day. And I've given Dorothy a bath by myself when Elizabeth has been working late. But I don't think I've yet been totally on my own for multiple days. On the plus side, Dorothy isn't nursing any more (she was weaned a few weeks ago), so I don't have to worry about all of that. Wish me/us luck!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)

June 20, 2005

Happy Fathers' Day

I was reading Cynical Mom's post for Fathers' Day, and it reminded me again of how much I appreciate everything that Tom does for me and for Dorothy.

The part of her entry that really got me thinking was this one:

Fifth, he usually takes Jared in the morning and lets me sleep in. Nearly every day of the week. On the weekends he'll take Jared down and make him waffles or pancakes and sometimes I even wake up to breakfast in bed for no special reason at all. On the weekdays I get that precious extra 30-45 minutes while he plays with Jared downstairs. To someone who is a parent and not a morning person (i.e. me), this is one of the greatest gifts you can receive. He is actually a morning person (I just don't get how someone grows up to become a morning person, when exactly do you stop sleeping in until 11AM? Outside of having kids and a job of course), but I still give him full credit for this one.

I'm not sure I would have thought it was possible before I met him, but Tom is even less of a morning person than I am. And he still gets up with Dorothy in the morning to let me sleep at least 90% of the time.

He not only does his own laundry, he does mine. He keeps the house pretty neat (well, neater than I would, anyway), manages our finances, takes care of Dorothy on Thursdays and whenever she's sick (including doing all the doctor visits), and washes all the dishes (my least-favorite chore), all while trying to help start a company - more than a full-time job all by itself.

I don't think he even realizes how much he does - I've heard him fretting about how it isn't enough, and he wishes he could do more for us. But I really can't imagine a better partner or a better father.

Happy Fathers' Day, sweetie. We love you.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2005

Losing Our Backyard

When we decided to rent the house we're currently in, we were told that we might not be able to stay here for more than a year, because the owner is a property development company, and they might have wanted to tear the house down and build a bunch of houses on this property. There's good news and bad news. The good news is that they're not tearing down this house. The bad news (at least from our perspective) is that they're going to demolish the back yard, get rid of all the trees, and put in 21 new houses very close to us.

There is so much development going on around here, and so many of the houses are so close together, that we're not too surprised to see how dense the houses are going to be. But we are surprised that they're going to be tearing up our yard starting later this month. We'd been told that we had the entire yard as part of our lease, and in fact were responsible for maintaining it. Apparently there was some miscommunication between the rental management company and the property development company who own the house, because they'd been planning on taking down the back yard. We're negotiating with them on how to handle these changes. The problems include the fact that the clearing of land is going to come within 10-15 feet of the house on two sides, which will not only be noisy (is Dorothy going to be able to take a nap with chainsaws outside her room?), but also totally eliminates the privacy we have in the master bathroom (which currently has two tall, wide windows looking out onto the yard). We also need to be reimbursed for having had a landscaper come out and clean up the back yard which is now going to be razed.

If you remember, back in January we posted what the area looks like. In contrast, here's what the plans for development look like (roughly speaking):
Pretty much all of the trees in the back yard (such as those seen here and here and probably here) are going to be removed. The front yard is being left alone, thankfully.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)

June 05, 2005

The Name "Dorothy"

Elizabeth, Dorothy and I went to the funeral for Elizabeth's grandma, Dorothy Meamber, this past Wednesday. We flew down to Medford, OR early Wednesday morning and then drove to Yreka, CA for the service.

A few days earlier, while planning the service, Elizabeth's aunt commented to her mom about Dorothy, their mom, that "one thing you can say about her, she was determined." Caroline burst out laughing, because Elizabeth and I have often said that the "D" in our Dorothy's name stands for determination. And my parents confirm that my grandma Dorothy Nugent was also a very determined lady. So it seems that baby Dorothy has inherited more than just a name. At the reception after the funeral, we all got to see this trait. Dorothy was having fun playing with her cousins (aged 5 and 9), and at one point found some stairs going up. She tried crawling up them, which was fine since we were watching. But when we tried to take her away from the stairs, she headed back towards them. When we took her to the opposite side of the room and tried distracting her with toys and her cousins, she still headed back towards those stairs. She wanted to go up them, and nothing was going to stop her!

During the church service, I was tasked with keeping baby Dorothy quiet, and she was a champ. I had to be a bit nimble, since she wanted to explore the pews to see the people and grab the pencils, but we managed to stay about as unobtrusive as a 15-month old baby can get. As mentioned above, she had lots of fun playing with her cousins at the reception afterwards.

Dorothy's sleep schedule got thrown off, because we woke her up early Wednesday to catch our flight out of Seattle, and she napped at various times when we were driving around. We stayed at a hotel back in Medford on Wednesday evening, and Dorothy didn't want to go to sleep, since she'd slept on the way to the hotel. She eventually did sleep, but then woke up three hours later. I'd had a cough that made sleeping difficult for a few days, so I got up and played with her for a couple of hours. Eventually we all fell asleep again, but only for an hour, since we had to get up at 4am to catch our 6am flight back to Seattle.

Oh, and to anyone who was in the security line at the Medford airport and were horrified at the couple who were feeding breakfast food from McDonalds to their baby: you try and find anything open at 5am!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

Obituary Link

Here is the link to the obituary for Grandma Dorothy Meamber.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2005

RIP Dorothy Meamber

Dorothy Meamber, Elizabeth's grandmother and the last of Dorothy Maia Nugent's three great-grandmothers named Dorothy, passed away Friday May 27 at the age of 89. She had been in declining health for a while. Great-grandma Dorothy got to meet baby Dorothy a year ago.

I will post a link to any news article as soon as one appears.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2005


Tom mentioned that we haven't reviewed Dream Dinners yet, so I'll take the hint. I found a reference to it on A Little Pregnant, and later discovered that the company was founded right here in the Seattle area, so there are tons of branches around here.

It's held in a commercial kitchen, about ten minutes from our house. Basically, they put together the ingredients and do all the prep work (chopping, etc.) for entrees to serve 4-6 people. You assemble the dishes (making any adjustments or omissions to the ingredients that you want - for example, I can leave out the mushrooms since Tom is a fungophobe) and take them home to freeze. It took me just over an hour to make 6 entrees (total of about 30 servings) last month, and they all have been delicious. We just bought a new freezer so I can make a batch of 12 entrees this week and have room to freeze them.

Here's what I'll be making tomorrow night:

    Six tender chicken breasts encrusted with a crisp almond & crumb crust. Oven-bake at home to a golden brown and serve with our sweet & sour sauce.

    “A Dream Dinners Signature Dinner!” This hearty all-in-one meal is made with six tender chicken breasts on a bed of savory rice, black beans and corn. Finished with a mild Mexican salsa.

    This generous cut of beef sirloin can be grilled on the BBQ or oven-broiled. Caramelized red onions, a hint of rosemary and melted gorgonzola cheese make this a great dinner for entertaining guests!

    This 2-pound boneless pork roast is marinated in an Asian barbecue sauce and flavored with ginger, garlic and sweet hoisin sauce. Oven-roast at home and serve with steamed white rice that we provide.

    Southwest-style chili made with shredded pork, black beans, tomatoes & spices. Serve with large flour tortillas (provided) and cheddar cheese for an easy work-night dinner.

    Six salmon filets that can be grilled on the BBQ or oven-baked. Serve with our delicious lemon-garlic butter with dill and capers. Great for Mother’s Day dinner!

    This pan-style pizza is baked with a flaky biscuit crust and layered with white sauce, chicken, black olives, peppers, broccoli and cheese. A fun twist to the traditional “pie”

    As American as apple pie! Elbow macaroni in a smooth, creamy cheese sauce with an optional crumb topping. No twist on this tradition! Add diced ham if you choose.

    Aloha! This delicious turkey meatloaf with hints of garlic, soy and ginger bakes with a Hawaiian-style teriyaki glaze. A great alternative to beef!

    Six kid-friendly burgers that can be grilled on the BBQ or pan-seared. Serve with our “special burger sauce,” Swiss cheese, and Kaiser rolls (provided) for a fun picnic dinner.

    I will probably split most of these into two or three smaller containers so that we can cook them separately - we can eat these almost every night for a month or more! I love being able to have good food every night without having to spend much time cooking (instead of playing with Dorothy!) in the evenings. Plus it doesn't cost much more than it would to get all this stuff and cook it from scratch (maybe less) - and a lot less than the takeout we'd probably be eating if we didn't have it. I'm really glad to have found out about this place!

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:29 PM | Comments (1)
  • April 09, 2005

    Rampaging Rhinoceros!

    Those damn rhinoceroses stomping through Dorothy's nose and messing up all the... what? Oh, no, not big huge herbivorous ungulates. I'm talking about those things that cause colds. You know, whachamacallums. Right. Rhinoviruses. Same thing.

    Dorothy's got a cold again. Her nose started running on Wednesday, and it was a fountain of snot by Thursday (my day to keep her at home), and it got a nice cough for company. Elizabeth dropped her off at daycare Friday morning, but I got a call at 11am saying that D had a temperature of 101.8, so I had to go get her. Later that afternoon I measured a temp of 102.9. Dorothy's mood would swing quite widely. At times she'd be happy and chipper, playing and trucking around. In a heartbeat she'd suddenly start crying and fussing and take a while to be calmed down. We suspect it's a combination of the ugly cold and the molars coming in (the second one is 3/4 visible, and looks about as big as, well, a rhinoceros).

    Of course, Elizabeth got it too, and had to take an extra nap this afternoon. I love Dorothy dearly, and want to spend lots of time with her. But I get frustrated when sick-watch duty suddenly crops up and keeps me from getting much, if any, work done for days on end. Any suggestions?

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:02 PM | Comments (1)

    April 08, 2005


    As already noted by Jay over at the Zero Boss, we had the Allen family, all seven of them, stay at our house last night (because their house had suddenly been infested with rats). It was quite the experience.

    The kids ranged in age from 20 months to 11 years, and they were all pretty well-behaved, which in its own way is the scary part. I say "scary" because it was still chaos! Five kids running around, all doing their own thing seemed quite overwhelming to us, even though their parents had pretty good control over them at all times. I shudder to think what five poorly behaved kids would be like.

    In the morning, I took three of them outside to play with the basketball and run around. We had fun, even if I was the only one who seemed to notice how cold out it was.

    Despite what Jay said, I don't think I'll be heading out for a vasectomy tomorrow. The offices are closed on Saturdays, after all. :-)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:43 PM | Comments (2)

    March 26, 2005

    Big Cats

    Apparently we were mistaken about there not being cougars on Cougar Mountain any more. The people at the Cougar Mountain Zoo say that there are regular sightings in the area. And now a story in the local newspaper reports on the first cougar sighting of the year very close to where we live.

    As Tom E. suggested, we'll be teaching Dorothy not to pet the big kitties. :-O More likely, she won't be allowed outside without supervision, even when she gets old enough to do so (in a few years?!?).

    To put things perspective, there were only 12 sightings total last year in this area, and the story didn't mention anything about attacks. Of course, the 2nd link in a search on Google Images for "cougar" is a Washington state page titled "Living with Wildlife".

    The Pacific Northwest lifestyle seems to be a bit different from that in Boston...

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:35 PM | Comments (2)

    March 09, 2005

    Dorothy's 1st Birthday

    This past Sunday afternoon, it was one year since Dorothy entered the world and changed our lives more than we could have guessed. We celebrated her first year of life (and combined it with a bit of housewarming in our "new" house) on Sunday with family (both sets of Dorothy's grandparents had flown in) and friends.



    As you can see above, we hung out on the deck for a while to enjoy the sun, even after finding out that parts of the deck were rotten (discovered by the holes we put in the decking), until it started getting cool out. Then we headed inside for cake and presents.

    There are, of course, lots of pictures of the party, especially the cake-eating and present-opening. To be honest, it took a long time for Dorothy to get truly messy with the cake. At the beginning she wasn't sure what to make of this round thing in front of her, or all the people focusing on her. She enjoyed having some plasticware to play with, but it took Mommy putting a bit of frosting in Dorothy's mouth for her to really get interested in eating it. Once she realized it was good stuff, then she had more fun, and particularly enjoyed swatting a spoon (or two) onto the cake and then sucking on the frosting-encrusted spoon. At one point we took the spoons away, to encourage her to get her hands more directly involved. Dorothy really liked squishing frosting in her hand, and seeing it ooze out between her fingers.

    Once she seemed to be done with eating, we tried to wash her in the laundry tub, but she screamed as soon as I set her in there. So we headed to the bathroom to put her into the bathtub. But her pant legs were covered in frosting, so I didn't want to undress her outside the tub. After a real quick bath, we re-dressed her and let her start attacking the presents. Her new friend Cassi had just turned 1 a few weeks earlier, and was happy to show Dorothy how this whole birthday party thing was supposed to work. :-)

    The entire day was fun for everyone. Looking back on the previous year, though, is quite something. Elizabeth feels like it was just yesterday that she gave birth. While I do feel like time is flying, I also feel like the pre-Dorothy days occurred eons ago. It truly is a bit hard to remember the at-that-time-"normal" feeling of being free to do what we wanted, instead of having to always take Dorothy into consideration before doing anything. But she is just such a joy (on average) that I certainly don't regret the change at all. Dorothy is really starting to communicate and become mobile, and I look forward to the time when I can more easily talk with her and try understand her world.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

    February 27, 2005

    Cobalt is a Goof, Reason #43

    Cobalt (our male cat) is a goofball. Sometimes he seems like a dog stuck in a cat's body. The latest reason for our calling him a goof has to do with water.

    Cobalt, like all cats, hates getting wet. If we drop a couple drops of water on him, he'll shake it off and go lick himself dry. And yet, water fascinates him. This evening while running the water for Dorothy's bath, he came in and peered over the edge of the tub at the running water. Then, when Dorothy was in the tub, he was sitting up on the edge, leaning over and peering down at the water. Elizabeth and I were (as always) sorely tempted to give him a nudge over the edge. But we refrained. At one time I did use one of Dorothy's bath toys to pour a small stream over his head, but he didn't even run away - he just moved further along the edge of the tub.

    Some day, Cobalt's fascination with water will get him pushed into a bathtub, and then we'll see how he likes it.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:58 PM | Comments (4)

    February 22, 2005

    Bug Update

    I don't want to jinx our chances by saying that we're actually getting better, but the indications seem to lean that way. Dorothy's been eating relatively well since Thursday or Friday. I was feeling like crap again over the weekend, but seem to be a bit better today. I'm hoping to attain a reasonable amount of energy and a lack of coughing within a couple of days, barring any further illnesses.

    Elizabeth's mom came out to give us a break (thank you!). She helped watched Dorothy while we got some extra sleep over the weekend, and she's been helping us finish unpacking, since that task went by the wayside when Dorothy got sick three weeks ago.

    In any case, thanks to all for well-wishings and suggestions. Now it's time to start preparing for a little girl's one-year birthday party, which is less than two weeks away! :-O

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

    February 18, 2005

    Upgraded to 'Lousy'

    Today I'm feeling only "lousy" which is a big improvement over the last two days, when I was going through the states of "miserable" and "death warmed over." The funny thing is, despite feeling nauseous and diarrheal, nothing really happened. I'd make my way to the porcelain altar, and eventually leave without having left any sacrifices (as it were).

    Whatever got me, it sure took all my energy and stuffed my head full of cotton. I owe a big debt to Elizabeth for staying home yesterday to help take care of Dorothy (who's finally getting better), because I couldn't have done it myself. I was able to keep Dorothy alive, and even entertained, for most of today, since I was feeling so much better ("better" being a relative term).

    Thanks for the suggestions in the comments on previous posts! Dorothy didn't poop at all yesterday, and today she had her first non-diarrhea poops in a long damn time, so I'm thinking that she either doesn't have C. difficile or else she's over it [knock on wood]. She's been eating pretty darn well for the last day or two, as well, so hopefully her weight will be returning to normal as well.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

    February 15, 2005

    A Promising Sign?

    Today, Dorothy ate three full servings of yogurt (two of which were "active culture" to help re-introduce digestive system bacteria, i.e., acidophilus, back into her gut)! One day isn't enough to indicate that we've turned the corner, but tonight she took her last dose of antibiotic, and we can only keep our fingers crossed and hope her appetite keeps heading back towards normal.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:01 PM | Comments (2)

    Misery Loves Company

    They say that misery loves company. Since Elizabeth and Dorothy have been so miserably sick, my body must have decided to cheer them up by getting sick as well. :-P

    Last night I woke up at 3am feeling like I'd been hit by a Mack truck. I had a very sore throat/roof of my mouth, was congested, and my neck & shoulder muscles were amazingly achy and stiff. I have no idea what caused the muscle problems, but luckily those were gone this morning. The sore throat etc., however, decided to stick around.

    I tried taking Dorothy back to daycare today, since she hadn't been there since last Wednesday and she didn't seem to have any active problems. She was tired and inactive, but not constantly crying or anything. I got a call from daycare around noon telling me to come get her because she was 'uncomfortable' and was being clingy and fussing even when being held. Argh. There went my hopes for getting something halfway useful done today.

    I have this crazy dream that, one day, we'll all be healthy and be able to finish unpacking our house and start to enjoy this new state we've moved to.

    In the meantime, I can at least take solace in the fact that we have company in our misery (MetroDad and Trixie's family among others)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

    February 13, 2005

    New Car

    We went and bought (well, leased) a new car today. The weather forecast had been for rain, which you'd think would mean cloudy all day. Although it did rain around 5pm, at noon the drive to the car dealership looked like this:

    We got a 2005 Toyota Camry. Apparently, saying that you're just doing test drives now, and having a sick, tired baby as an excuse for wanting to leave the dealership helps motivate them to give you their best offer without mucking around. Based on all the research we'd done in advance (thanks to Edmund's and for guidance), we knew that it was a good deal they were offering us.

    Anyway, Dorothy is still not eating much, and still has diarrhea. But she was amazingly well-behaved all day long, and actually ate an entire thing of yogurt (which she hasn't done in maybe a week or more) at the car dealership. Here she is with Elizabeth, waiting for some paperwork from the car salesman:

    We now have a car for Elizabeth to commute in and which can carry Dorothy in her car seat. Yay.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

    February 10, 2005

    Smallpox to the Indians

    We stopped giving Dorothy the Albuterol on Tuesday because her cough was getting much better, and she wasn't wheezing anymore. But she's still been very lethargic and hasn't been eating much at all. Today she felt hot and I measured her temperature at 101.6 (the thermometer hadn't quite finished rising, but she chose that moment to pee on the thermometer, so I took it out to deal with more urgent matters). Conveniently, she had a follow-up appointment for last week's illness. The pediatrician determined that Dorothy has a double ear infection, even though D's been able to avoid that particular bane of childhood before. So we got an antibiotic, and I'll be staying home with her again tomorrow.

    Michael (who I work with on LiftPort) said that we were in a similar situation to the Native Americans hundreds of years ago: When the Europeans arrived, smallpox decimated the Native American population. Now that we've arrived in Washington state, the local bugs are hitting us hard. Unfortunately, we can't blame anyone but ourselves.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

    February 09, 2005

    BIDS strikes again!

    BIDS has struck our home again. Last week, Dorothy got a mega-cold that the doctor thought was RSV, although we don't have tests to confirm it. Well, over the weekend Elizabeth and I both got sore throats, runny noses, and a cough. Today, I'm finally starting to feel better. Elizabeth is in the unfortunate position of not being able to take Sudafed because it would dry up her milk production. Lack of symptom relief along with less sleep (due to night-time nursing) has probably kept Elizabeth from recovering as quickly.

    Being sick has, of course, slowed down progress on unpacking, and just about everything else. Hopefully we'll all be healthy by the weekend, because we need to start shopping for a second car (oh, joy).

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)

    February 01, 2005

    Washington, The Unhealthy State?

    First we all got the flu shortly after arriving in Seattle. Now, Dorothy's sick again. Is Washington just a festering hole of diseases?!?

    Dorothy woke up this past Saturday with a hoarse, raspy voice and a cough (oh, and some nasty diaper rash, too). Her nose started running profusely on Sunday, but her temperature stayed under 100 degrees over the weekend. She was a bit cranky, and had some trouble sleeping, but it didn't worry us too much.

    Monday morning, when I took her in to daycare, I discovered she wasn't alone -- it seemed that every other kid in her room was coughing and had a runny nose. Apparently one of the kids had the cough the previous week, and allegedly got bronchitis afterwards. Well, Monday night we measured Dorothy's temp at 101.7, which is starting to get high. Sunday and Monday night she was extremely difficult to get to sleep, unless she was cradled in our arms. And she would wake up if we tried putting her into the crib before she'd been out for a while.

    Tuesday morning, she seemed to be better, with a temperature down at 98.6 and the rash looking better. But throughout the day, daycare reported that her temp was creeping up into the 99 range, and she wasn't very active or hungry. She eventually got bad enough that we had to take her home a bit early. Today (Tuesday) was the day that Elizabeth got information on her medical coverage in the new job (that she just started yesterday), but we didn't have insurance cards yet. But we called the pediatrician's office that we were planning on signing her up with, and they told us to bring her in. So, we headed off at 6pm to the doctor's office.

    After checking out Dorothy and listening to the recent medicial history, the pediatrician decided that Dorothy probably had RSV (a common, but potentially dangerous infection in children under 3), and decided to check if Albuterol (a broncho-dilator often used by asthmatics) would help reduce the wheezing. It did, but it was a pain to find that out. The Albuterol was administered by inhalation, which meant we put the solution into a cup, which was connected at one to a ventilation mask (the kind that covers your mouth and nose), and at the other end to a little machine that aerosolized the solution. Dorothy screamed and struggled for almost the entire time, requiring both Elizabeth and I to wrestle her, and even then we weren't able to keep the mask on her face the entire time. But afterwards, the wheezing was gone, the coughing was much reduced and even sounded better. The doctor said that this will let her devote her energy to fighting the infection, instead of having to expend extra energy just trying to breathe.

    If we're lucky, the Albuterol will last long enough that we only have to give it to her twice a day. If we're not lucky, then we can give it to her up to every four hours, which should be a ton of fun if I'm doing it by myself at home. Wish me luck!

    To be fair, I don't think it's anything particular about Washington. I think Dorothy being sick twice in two weeks is more due to the change in time zone, the "stress" associated with moving our house and changing her schedule every other day, and being introduced to a new set of germs at a new daycare center. Hopefully she'll acclimate soon to our new house and new routine, and get and stay healthy.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:25 PM | Comments (1)

    January 26, 2005

    Moving from Boston to Seattle, Part 3

    The final installation of the Saga of the Cross-Country Move...

    Saturday, January 15

    We threw out Rhodium's travel carrier, since it was so nasty. We went and saw the house in the morning, then went for lunch at the Old Country Buffet, which may (or may not) have been a bad decision.

    We were going to return our rental van for two smaller cars, but on the way back to the airport, when stopping to feed Dorothy, Tom started feeling ill, and Dorothy threw up at the end of her meal. So we went back to the hotel. That night, Tom felt worse and worse, and wound up with vomiting and diarrhea through the night. Tom "stabilized" by early morning (3am?), and when it got closer to 7am, we called over to Jon & Caroline's room to ask for help with the baby, only to find out that Caroline had been sick all night too (starting 5 or so hours after Tom did). Given what everyone had eaten, we started to wonder if we'd gotten food poisoning at the Old Country Buffet....

    Sunday, January 16

    We were low key for most of the day, with Caroline and Tom not eating much of anything. Jon came over to Tom & Elizabeth's room to help with Dorothy, while Elizabeth went over to Jon & Caroline's room to get some sleep and watch her mom. Dorothy vomited three or four hours after we'd given her some breakfast (which she'd not wanted to eat much of), and was having diarrhea instead of normal poops. We were wondering how Dorothy would have managed to get food poisoning at the restaurant, given that she'd only eaten a tiny bit of rice and part of a green bean. Tom wondered if perhaps we'd gotten sick from the house water, which was from a well. But he'd been the only one to drink it earlier on Saturday.

    We went over to the house again in the afternoon because we needed to do laundry and start planning furniture layout before the movers arrived, which was supposed to be perhaps as early as Monday.

    Monday, January 17

    The moving company told us in the morning that the 18-wheeler with our stuff was in Washington state, and would probably arrive the next day. We were supposed to hear from the driver, but he never called. Then we saw on TV that the highway just over the mountains east of Seattle was closed due to freezing rain and flooding, so we hoped the driver (and our truck) was OK and just sitting somewhere safe.

    In the afternoon, we got a new rental car (a full size vehicle instead of a giant van), which was for Elizabeth and me while we waited for our car to arrive (we only rented the van for the few days while Jon & Caroline were in town).

    We also went and bought an air mattress, which we'll use in the future as a guest bed. But we decided to get it now so that we could sleep at the house until our bed arrived (and got set up).

    Monday night, our first night staying in the new house, Elizabeth felt ill and wound up with the same vomiting and diarrhea at night that Tom had had. In the morning, when we called her parents over at the hotel for help, we learned that this tiime Jon had also been sick all night long. Their getting sick 48 hours after Tom, Dorothy & Caroline got sick made us think that it was flu instead of food poisoning that we'd gotten. So maybe the Old Country Buffet was safe after all. But we were still all miserable with the illnesses.

    Tuesday, January 18

    We all did a bit of planning in anticipation of our stuff arriving, then Tom took Jon & Caroline to the airport and returned the first rental car. Jon wasn't feeling well, but he was OK on the airplane ride home.

    Tom spoke with our contact at the moving company, and was told (again) that our stuff might arrive the next day.

    Wednesday, January 19

    Our stuff arrived! Tom spoke with our moving company contact around 6am local time, and was told that the mover would be here in a few hours. So much for 24 hours advance notice...

    The labor guys and truck driver managed to unload everything in 6 hours, leaving us buried in boxes. But at least we had our stuff!

    Thursday & Friday, January 20-21

    We began to unpack. We didn't yet have bedding for our bed or for Dorothy's crib, so we were still sleeping on the airbed, with Dorothy in the port-a-crib, but at least we could start using things like Dorothy's high chair.

    On Friday afternoon, we took a break from unpacking to visit Dorothy's new daycare center, which she was slated to start at on the following Monday.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

    Moving from Boston to Seattle - Part 2

    Here is Part 2 of the Saga of the Cross-Country Move...

    Tuesday, January 11, aka Loading Day

    Bright and early (just after dropping Dorothy off at daycare), we met the truck driver and loaders at the shipping company to witness the truck weighing, then we led them to our house. They spent all day loading up the truck. The poor labor guys had to lug all our boxes of books down multiple flights of stairs.

    Wednesday, January 12

    Wednesday involved some clean-up and post-loading work. In the evening, we went over to Brian & Susan's house to see them, Aaron, and their new baby Tara (who was less than a week old!). Tara was around 6 pounds, and looked sooooo tiny compared to Dorothy. It was hard to remember how small Dorothy was just so (relatively) recently...

    Thursday, January 13

    In the late morning, we went to see our accountant to discuss taxes, which is always a fun thing to do in your last full day before moving across country.

    Thursday was Dorothy's last day at daycare, and it was sad for everyone. We're going to miss her wonderful teachers, and they're going to miss having such a happy baby. We're also going to miss Dorothy's buddy Ian and his parents Susan and Scott.

    Thursday evening we picked up Elizabeth's parents from the airport (they were helping us to fly two cats, a baby, and lots of luggage across country) and then met Toby & Krystyn for dinner at Mary Chung's. Everyone from the restaurant commented on the photo we'd given to Mary, and one of the staff even gave Dorothy a nice little zebra, which is currently a carseat toy.

    Friday, January 14, aka Last Day in Boston / A Day of High Entertainment

    We were a little slow getting going in the morning, but finally made it over to the house. There we did last minute prep for our flight, and threw out a bunch of garbage at the house. We were too busy and rushed to say a long "goodbye" to the house; we were just hoping we'd gotten it cleaned up enough for our agent, Paul, to be able to finish cleaning and prepping it to be sold.

    We left a bit late for the airport, but still arrived at 4pm for our 6pm flight. We checked in, then Tom headed out to return the rental car, getting stuck in Friday afternoon traffic and being delayed enough that he only made it to the airplane's gate 15 minutes before our flight was scheduled to leave.

    Elizabeth, Jon & Caroline had lots of fun going through security with the cats and the baby. None of us were quite sure how the cats (in carriers) were supposed to go through the metal detectors. It turns out that they have to be taken out and carried through the detector, while their carriers are X-rayed with the other carryon items. We had the cats' harnesses on them, so Elizabeth took them both out and put them on their leashes, giving Dorothy (in her stroller) to Caroline. The cats were pretty freaked out by all the people and commotion, and Cobalt laid down and refused to move (Rhodium was in Elizabeth's arms, but she couldn't carry both cats at once). Security was telling Elizabeth to "walk the cats through the detector now!" and she was exclaiming "I'm trying!" while pulling on Cobalt's leash. Eventually, she walked backward through the detector while dragging Cobalt on his back (much to the amusement of the poor people stuck in line behind them). Unfortunately, they set off the metal detector, so she had to go through again. Security thought it might be the leashes that were setting off the detector, so she took them off and put them in the X-ray machine, gave Rhodium to Jon, and walked through with Cobalt. Bzzzt - the machine went off again, so she and Cobalt were escorted to the holding area where they could be searched. Jon walked through with Rhodium without setting anything off, and got her back in her carrier successfully. Cobalt was patted down for bombs, and then put back in his carrier while Elizabeth and her carryon luggage were searched. It turned out that in all the excitement, she'd forgotten to take her cell phone out of her pocket.

    Meanwhile, Caroline was attempting to get Dorothy out of her stroller and figure out how to fold it up to put through the X-ray machine. A security guard eventually showed her how to fold it, and also took the car seat off its luggage carrier for Jon while he was occupied with Rhodium. Dorothy was completely calm and relaxed through all the commotion - the only one in the family not frazzled by the experience! As they were collecting everything to leave the area, one of the security guards told Caroline, "Whatever you do, don't go out and come back in."

    Once they all got to the gate, Elizabeth gave the cats their kitty Valium, and they stayed pretty calm for the first few hours of the flight, at least. Unfortunately, Rhodium had diarrhea sometime on the flight, so when we got off, her carrier stank to high heaven. Tom tried doing an emergency cleaning in the baggage area with limited success (while the cats skulked around the luggage on their leashes and got some water). We spent a while getting the rental car (we asked for "the biggest thing they had to rent," and got a pretty good-sized minivan that actually held all of us and our luggage without having to carry stuff in our laps, unlike the minivan we'd gotten in Boston), and then headed to the hotel, where we checked in, cleaned up, and crashed.

    Continue with Part 3

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

    Moving from Boston to Seattle - Part 1

    The past couple of weeks have been crazy, to say the least. Moving across country when you have a 10-month old baby, two cats, and way too much "stuff" is not for the faint of heart. Rather than writing individual entries for each day, we'll just put the entire story in a couple of successive posts, and label each day.

    Saturday, January 8
    Our "Farewell to Boston" party was great fun, only marred by the driving snow. Tom went to Cambridge to pick up food from Mary Chung's, and to give Jen a ride to our place. At Mary Chung's, Tom gave Mary a photo of Dorothy reading the menu, which we'd taken back in December. Mary really enjoyed the photo, and wouldn't let Tom pay full price for the food.

    The party was scheduled to start around noon, and we got back around 12:30pm. Dan was there already. Then, with only two guests there at 1pm, we received a call from some friends saying that the streets were too icy for driving, and so they couldn't make the party. We'd bought food for 30 people, and were suddenly worried about having tons left over. Over the course of the afternoon, a majority of the people who said they could come did, in fact, make it, no thanks to the weather. We got to chat with lots of old friends, but unfortunately there was never going to be enough time to spend lots of time with everyone. Various people enjoyed playing with Dorothy, and we played various fun gamesl later in the day. As a bonus, we were able to sell and give away various items that we didn't want to bring with us to Seattle. By the end of the evening (the last people left shortly after 10pm), practically all of the party food had been consumed (thankfully) and were were exhausted.

    Sunday, January 9
    We were shipping our car to Seattle, and needed to drop it off on Monday. So on the prior Sunday, we headed up to Logan airport at 9am to pick up a rental car from the airport to last us through the week. That went well, and then we picked up Krissy, the babysitter (who was also one of Dorothy's daycare teachers), and her baby so that she could babysit Dorothy for us while we tried to get lots of work done. We were doing last minute sorting, throwing out, and general prepping for the movers, who were due early on Monday. We got a ton finished, but could have used another few days to really sort through the stuff we thought might be trash.

    Monday, January 10, aka Moving Day / Invasion of the Packers
    Tom dropped Dorothy off at daycare just after 7am, then picked up a waterbed pump for emptying the waterbed later in the day. Elizabeth tried to drop our car off at the auto shipping place, but they weren't open that early, so she had to go back later in the morning (after the madness began).

    Five men showed up at our door just before 8am. They packed up our entire house in just over four hours. It was total madness. We were overwhelmed.

    In the afternoon, we needed to empty the waterbed, but had problems with maintaining suction. Eventually we got it to work, but not until late evening. Dorothy got to take an evening nap on a pad on the floor inside a crib made of boxes (packed fresh that day!). Finally, around 10pm, we went to the (pet-friendly Red Roof Inn) hotel, and crashed.

    Continue with Part 2

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

    January 17, 2005

    Update on The Move

    We've arrived in Washington, and I just wanted to post this brief note to let everyone know we're still alive. The entire story of The Move will have to wait until later, but just to give you a feel for what's been happening this past week, here's a few of the highlights:

    • Invasion of the Packers!
    • Cat pat-down by airport security
    • Tom almost misses the flight
    • Cat diarrhea on the plane
    • Food poisoning or maybe a 24-hour flu

    The 18-wheel truck with our stuff is due to arrive tomorrow (Tuesday), and then we can enjoy the fun of unpacking!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 02:25 PM | Comments (1)

    January 06, 2005

    Losing Weight

    We're in the final days before the movers arrive to pack all our stuff and then tote it out to Washington state. Today we attacked the boxes in the attic, trying to throw out as much as possible, and consolidate non-trash into fewer boxes. We're also trying to sell or somehow get rid of a bunch of decent stuff which we no longer need, especially the heavier items. We're doing this because a large fraction of our shipping costs are based on the total weight of what we move, so we're motivated to sort through years worth of crap and eliminate as much as possible. If only we had another week or two, we'd be able to do a much better job. As it is, we'll likely be shipping at least a couple boxes worth of garbage all the way across country.

    Oh, if you know any good places to help you get rid of unwanted household items (besides and, which we've already investigated), please let me know!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:32 PM | Comments (1)

    January 02, 2005

    T Minus 8 Days and Counting

    The movers arrive on Monday, January 10th, to pack up our belongings.


    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

    December 24, 2004

    The House Out West

    My trip last week was successful, if hectic. We're excited about the house we decided to rent. The problem with the house is that we may not want to move out, because it's so big and I doubt we could actually buy a house like it. :-) I'm not sure of exact size, but it's probably 2,700-3,000 square feet, and is on a couple acres of land (by my estimate) that back onto "Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park." It's within 15-20 minutes of Elizabeth's office, which is about as far as we want to get for now.

    The house is some distance away from the road, though, as you can see from the gravel driveway:

    Here's the view of the dining room and living room from the front porch:

    And here's a view of part of the back yard:

    Our moving dates are settled: The movers come on January 10th to pack, the 11th to load, and we fly out on Friday the 14th. Our stuff should arrive sometime the following week. We now have just over two weeks :-O to finish sorting through our stuff and getting everything ready to move. It's going to be a crazy couple of weeks.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:58 AM | Comments (1)

    December 19, 2004

    Back Home

    I arrived home from Seattle late Friday night. I really missed Dorothy and Elizabeth. I got updates every day from my Mom and Elizabeth about how Dorothy was doing. It turns out that, while I was gone for 5 days, she now crawls on both knees pretty regularly (before it was one knee, one foot). And she started drinking from a sippy cup! Well, she's chewing on the sippy cup spout, and she seems to occasionally get water from it, so we'll count that as drinking. :-)

    The trip was good, if hectic. I arrived in Seattle late on Monday, then spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday driving all over Bellevue looking at housing and daycare. I visited four daycare centers, and roughly 10-12 houses (and drove by another 3-6 houses). I was on the phone a lot, trying to set up appointments to see houses. It was very crazy, and tiring. But we found some excellent prospects, and hopefully should have housing decided and confirmed on Monday (12/22).

    I flew back to Boston on Friday, and got to see my baby girl asleep that night and then played with her lots on Saturday. Now it's down to the business of getting ready to get out of Boston!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

    December 13, 2004

    Searching for a home, travelling sans baby

    I'm heading out to Seattle (well, Bellevue to be exact) this week to look for housing and daycare. I'm flying out on Monday, and returning on Friday. That gives me Tuesday through Thursday to check out four daycare centers and 10-20 houses. We'll be renting a house for a while, as we get a feel for the Bellevue area, the neighborhoods, length of the commute, etc. Maybe we'll rent for 6 months, and maybe for 12 months or more. It all depends on what leases are available, and how we're feeling about moving yet again once we know the area. I want to spend more than a month getting a feel for the area, but that means we'll do a decent amount of unpacking once we arrive. Re-packing and moving again will be enough of a hassle that me may stay at whatever house we rent for a year or more.

    The entire time I was packing for the trip, I felt like I was missing a bunch of stuff. I've gotten so used to bringing all the baby stuff on flights that I feel naked when I'm not lugging around a carseat, toys, diapers, stroller, baby clothes, and of course the baby herself. But for this trip, I just have two small bags that I can easily carry on. Weird.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

    December 06, 2004

    That'll Teach Me To Open My Big Mouth

    I spoke too soon. No sooner did I proclaim that we haven't been getting sick, when BAM! Dorothy gets sick. Then Elizabeth. And I'm getting worried about me.

    Late Sunday afternoon, Dorothy started sounding a bit congested, and hoarse at times. We read the baby health books, and decided that the symptoms weren't too bad, so we didn't worry about it - we figured she just had a tiny cold. Monday morning, she was sounding worse, but I took her to daycare since she didn't have a temperature. They called back mid-day, saying that she was getting worse, couldn't sleep well, and had a temperature. :-P

    So I made an appointment with the pediatrician, picked Dorothy up from daycare, and then took her in to the doctor's office a couple of hours later. By this time she was sounding very congested, and whenever she'd try to cry, it wouldn't come out very loud (a side benefit, I'll admit). She really sounded pathetic and sad. :-( The quick strep test came back negative, but the back of her throat is red and looks pretty raw. We'll find out in the morning how the full strep culture turned out, but in either case it looks like we'll have at least a few days of an unhappy baby, even after drugging her with baby Tylenol etc.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

    November 18, 2004

    Go West

    Earlier today we emailed the following to practically everyone we know. Yes, we spammed our friends. :-) I'm posting it here just in case we missed someone.

    After many years in the Boston area (17 for Elizabeth and 8 for Tom), we are moving on. Elizabeth has accepted a new job in the Seattle area, and we will be moving there in January. We'll be sad to leave our many friends in Boston, but this opportunity was too exciting to pass up. We're also happy to be moving much closer to Elizabeth's family in California.

    Elizabeth will be working as a patent attorney for Intellectual Ventures in Bellevue. Tom will continue to work part-time for LiftPort in Bremerton, and will probably continue to run his technical illustration business for at least a while, as well. We expect to live in rental housing as we're getting our bearings and selling our Boston house, but we expect to settle into someplace relatively permanent in or near Bellevue sometime in 2005.

    We'll be having a "farewell to Boston" party before we go, for those of you who are in the area. We're trying to pick the date that is best for everyone who's interested in attending. The party would start in the early afternoon on a weekend day. These are the days we're looking at:
    Sunday, 12/12
    Sunday, 12/19
    Saturday 1/8
    Sunday, 1/9
    Please let us know which dates you can not attend (if you're hoping to attend at all). You can also feel free to express a preference for a particular date.

    We will definitely still be keeping the blog up-to-date with all our Seattle happenings, and we'll do our
    best to stay in touch with everyone. Please be sure to let us know if you're heading into our area, as we'd love to see you.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:55 PM | Comments (4)

    November 08, 2004

    Harden My Heart

    From Quarterflash's debut album "Quarterflash" (1981):

    I'm gonna harden my heart
    I'm gonna swallow my tears
    I'm gonna turn and leave you here.....

    Tonight we began something very close to what many call the "Ferberization" of Dorothy. After putting her down to bed, we're letting her cry until she goes (back) to sleep. Here's the action so far:

    7:10pm - I put Dorothy in crib, pat her, talk to her, give her a kiss, then walk out to the sounds of her starting to cry.
    ~7:40pm - Crying finally stops.

    7:50pm - I go in to check on her. She's asleep, although she's managed to twist around most of the blankets etc. and move all over.

    8:30pm - Crying begins again.
    8:35pm - Crying stops.

    ~9:10pm - Elizabeth arrives home from work.

    10:30pm - Crying (well, more of a low-level creaking & fussing to start with) begins again.
    10:55pm - Still crying. I finish up work on the computer and head downstairs to a sleepless night. :-(

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

    November 06, 2004

    T + 8 Months

    Today is Dorothy's 8 month birthday. She's now been outside her mommy just about as long as she was inside (remember that she arrived a month early). She looks nothing like she did when she was born, and she has developed so much in so many ways.

    I feel a vast number of emotions about being a father and about what a wonderful girl Dorothy is, yet I feel utterly unable to put those feelings into words. (Of course, I had the same problem right after she was born.)

    There have been many small occurrences over the months that I've felt I should mention in the blog, but I forget about them too quickly, or they pile up too fast, and as a result many of these cute stories aren't recorded. I'm not too stressed about the loss, since most babies' lives weren't even documented this much before the advent of blogs. But still, I wish I could record the tidbits at the speed of thought, immediately after they happen, so as to have a more complete documentary of Dorothy's first years.

    I don't know that I was "expecting" anything in particular of being a father, or of what Dorothy would be like at eight months old. But she has accomplished so much - who could have expected it all? She's eating solids (often acting like a little baby bird with her mouth wide open for the next bite), including Cheerios and (for the first time today) bits of grapes. Her sleep schedule still isn't great, but it is regular and predictable. She's starting to roll, and will willingly get onto her tummy and grasp for things - she's close to crawling, I suspect. She laughs the most heart-warming, infectious laugh in the world. I think she's inherited the volume of her laugh from her parents, because at daycare they commented on being able to hear her hysterical laughter down the staircase!

    My brain is starting to fade this evening, due to lack of sleep, so I'm going to end my rambling here. Happy Eight Month Birthday, Dorothy. I love you, and I can't wait to see what the next eight months bring!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:16 PM | Comments (2)

    October 06, 2004

    Goodbye, Pardner

    Dear Dorothy,

    You are seven months old today, and today we got the news that your great-grandpa Meamber had passed away. I’m sorry that you’ll never get to know him, although I’m very grateful that he was able to meet you and hold you before he died.

    Grandpa was a doctor. He wasn’t the kind of doctor where that was just his job and he went home every night and left it behind him – he was the kind of doctor where being a doctor wasn’t what he did, it was who he was. He was a very smart young man, who went to medical school intending to do research in an MD/Ph.D. program. Before he could finish his Ph.D., he joined the Navy and went to World War II. When he came back, he decided to be a practicing country doctor instead of a researcher. He delivered babies, set broken bones, and was on hand at every high school football game to treat any injuries as soon as they happened.

    When your uncle Jeff and I were little, we used to go to Yreka every summer to go backpacking with Meemom and Poopop and Grandma and Grandpa. Meemom and Poopop and Jeff were all fast hikers, and I used to get left behind with Grandma and Grandpa, who were a little slower. Grandpa told me I was his “pardner,” and we could always hike together. I used to sign his birthday cards “Love, Pardner.” We would fish together, too, and I learned to play bridge on those trips, with Grandma and Grandpa and Poopop.

    Grandpa knew all the tricks to feeling better and getting better when you were sick. He taught me how to stop hiccups with a spoonful of sugar, and that you could avert an ear infection by taking a decongestant as soon as your ears started to ache – two tricks that I know I’ll use on you when you get older.

    Grandpa was a jogger long before it was popular to jog, and was careful about his health. I remember when he went on a macrobiotic diet for a while, and used to drink miso soup all the time – we all hated it. He was also careful about how much salt he ate. One day at the dinner table, he asked someone to pass him the salt, and everyone stopped eating to stare at him in disbelief. It turned out that his doctor had told him that he was getting too little salt, and that he had to eat more.

    When I was in high school, Grandpa got sick – he had developed a tumor on his pituitary gland. He had surgery in San Francisco, and stayed with us for six weeks of follow-up radiation treatment. Every day, he used to jog three miles to the BART station, then take a train into San Francisco, and a bus to the hospital. He would be irradiated for a couple of minutes, and then would turn around and take the bus back to the train, and the train back to Orinda, and then jog the three miles home again. On the very last day of his treatment, the bus driver made him show ID to prove that he was entitled to the senior citizen fare.

    Grandpa loved genealogy, and he researched all about his ancestors and Grandma’s. He wrote a book about them all, and about himself and Grandma – I have a signed copy for you for when you are old enough. He had typed all the stories on a computer that we gave him when we got a new one, and Meemom and Aunt Barbara and Uncle Jeff all worked to put them together and to have the book printed, as a surprise for his 60th wedding anniversary.

    Grandpa loved your Grandma Meamber, one of the Grandma Dorothys that you are named after, very much. They were in a terrible car accident five years ago, and were both in the hospital for a long time. At first, they had to be in separate rooms. When they could finally be in the same room, they were so happy. They had the beds moved together so they could hold hands.

    When you were two months old, we traveled to Chicago and to California so all your relatives could meet you. We drove up to Yreka to see Meemom’s family on Mother’s Day weekend. Grandma and Grandpa both got to meet you, and hold you in their arms for a while. Grandpa had delivered so many babies in his career, it seemed that his hands knew just what to do as soon as he took you. He settled you in on his lap, and you just beamed and snuggled him. That was the last day I ever saw him.

    I wish you’d been able to know Grandpa, but I hope that I’ll be able to keep him a little bit alive for you with the stories about him, and with all the stories he preserved of the whole family. Even though he didn’t know you for long, he loved you.


    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

    September 30, 2004

    And a Time To Be Sick

    Dorothy, Elizabeth and I all have colds this week. Apparently it must be a rule that it happens around week 29, because the same thing happened to Trixie and her parents when Trixie was the same age as Dorothy is now.

    We're all coughing and have scratchy throats, as well as runny noses. I don't know how Dorothy's feeling mentally (she sure seems to be very happy and unconcerned about the cold), but I'm feeling all cotton-headed.

    There are, however, a couple of positives to our having colds:

    • My voice drops in pitch, meaning I can sing those bass lines in songs
    • Dorothy sleeps longer. She's been going 7-8 hours from her bedtime feeding until a middle-of-the-night feeding, barely waking up throughout that time and going right back to sleep if we give her a pacifier.
    It's almost enough for me to wish she had a permanent cold. :-O

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

    September 28, 2004


    Elizabeth came down with a cold late last week (about the same time she banged her knee), then passed it on to Dorothy. Which was OK, because all the other kids at daycare have a cold too. But then they passed it on to me. Today I've been getting a bit of a scratchy throat and runny nose.

    So this afternoon, when I was trying desperately to get Dorothy to go to sleep, I tried not making any noise when it looked like she'd closed her eyes while in the crib. But of course, my throat started to get scratchy. Itch... Itch... "Mustn't clear throat" I thought, trying to stay quiet.

    Dorothy refused to sleep and promtply opened her eyes and cried, which freed me to let the dam burst and cough up a storm.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

    September 24, 2004

    Caesareans Must Be Easy

    Today Elizabeth tripped at work and landed hard on her knee. She went to the doctor and got an X-ray. They said nothing was broken, but she was getting a very large bump and bruise on her knee, so they gave her a prescription for a heavy dose of Ibuprofen and told her to go home and rest the leg.

    The crazy thing is that the dose of Ibuprofen they wrote for her today was 800mg/pill. After her Caesarean section where Dorothy was born, they gave Elizabeth a 600mg/pill Ibuprofen prescription.

    Yes, that's right. Falling and hitting your knee qualifies for more pain medication than major abdominal surgery. Makes you wonder if all these women have been exaggerating the whole birth pain thing, huh?

    KIDDING!! I'm kidding! Please don't hurt me!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:19 PM | Comments (2)

    September 13, 2004

    Married Minds Think Alike

    Elizabeth and I did not intend to create identical posts about Dorothy eating green beans. But our minds, separated by untold distance (well, OK, it's probably 10 or 15 miles), must have been connected by that psychic marital network, because we both posted about the same event at practically the same time. Or maybe it's just the laws of probability doing their thing. In any case, you get a lot more detail when we independently post about the same event.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

    September 11, 2004

    Bath Day!

    We had an exciting morning today. Every creature who was not able to physically soap and wash themselves had it done to them! It had been quite some time since the cats' last bath - nearly 6 weeks. Normally we try to give them a bath every 2-3 weeks, to keep them in the habit. The noises they make when we're taking them to the sink are so pathetic. Rhodium in particular is like a slippery snake in her attempts to escape. But I'm a pretty good cat wrangler/wrestler, and she has never escaped. Doesn't stop her from trying.

    Dorothy usually falls asleep so early in the evening on weekdays, that we haven't been giving her a mid-week bath, even though we'd like to. Which means she was scheduled for one this weekend. She had an explosive poop (after nothing yesterday) while we were having breakfast, so we accelerated her bathing schedule, putting her on the "immediate" list. I do have to say that, although she does kick and squirm in the bath, she's much easier to bathe than the cats.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

    September 10, 2004

    Catching Up On Events

    The last couple of weeks have been horribly busy and tiring, and I haven't been able to post blog updates nearly as often or in as much detail as I would prefer. I'm throwing a bunch of items into this update, and then hopefully get back onto a reasonable schedule from here on out.

    Last week was pretty difficult for us, because Dorothy was often waking up at 3am, all ready to play for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, Mommy and Daddy weren't in the same mood. I think I just convinced Elizabeth to write an entry about the whole sleep thing, though, so I'm going to skip those details for now. Look for details from Elizabeth tomorrow.

    Monday, September 6th was Dorothy's six-month birthday! She's been around for six whole months. Time has flown by and dragged by, all at the same time. It's amazing to think of how big she is, compared to when she was born. At birth, she was just under 8 pounds. Now, she's probably 18 pounds (we'll find out next Tuesday at her six-month check-up), so she's easily doubled her birth weight, and then some.

    What else has she been doing? She can now sit up for extended periods of time, at least 10 or 15 minutes before some random wobble will go a bit too far and she'll topple over. She strongly prefers sitting up, most of the time, to laying down. If you lay her down, she'll often fuss until you sit her back up. And she likes standing even more. She's been able to pull herself up to a standing position for over a month now, probably more, if she can grab your fingers. Recently she's learned where your fingers need to be for standing (versus for sitting), and if you're not letting her stand up, she'll push your fingers away to where they should be for helping her stand.

    Dorothy can get stuff to, and often in, her mouth (more on that below). Drooling has also become a major pastime. The little goofball will smile and flirt with everyone who gives her half a smile. And literally the first thing just about anyone comments on when they meet her for the first time is her big, beautiful blue eyes. She's also been expanding her repertoire of sounds, most recently to include the Death Rattle (an inhalation noise that sounds as if you're gasping for air). And of course she's been teething. The two bottom teeth that appeared a while back have slowly been working their way up. To be fair, for the most part Dorothy hasn't seemed too upset by the whole thing. But occasionally, she'll get extremely fussy, practically inconsolable. Then we need to break out the Tylenol or Orajel. The first real big fussing time took us a couple of hours to realize it was probably teething. The episode was frustrating because she would calm down and appear to fall asleep in my arms if I held her a certain way, but if I moved towards the crib to lie her down, or even shifted her position much, she'd erupt into screams. Luckily, that situation hasn't occurred often.

    On the topic of grabbing things is the matter of object translation. Once she could grasp objects, Dorothy was able to take them and bring them to her mouth, if they were directly in her hand. She couldn't quite understand that if objects have any great length to them, instead of bringing her fist to her mouth, she'd have to bring her fist nearby her mouth, offset (translated, in geometry-speak) by the length of the object, in order to get the interesting end of the object into her mouth. She now seems to have the translation concept mostly figured out, but rotation is the part that still needs to get worked on. She doesn't yet seem to understand the orientation of objects and how to fit them into her mouth properly. I was watching her try to get a figure-eight shaped teether into her mouth sideways, instead of end on. Her mouth is pretty big, but it wasn't quite big enough to fit the teether in. And she'll pick up cardboard baby books or similar objects, and bring the wide, flat part to her open mouth, and try to fit it in, but it never does...

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

    August 21, 2004

    Maybe It's a Cold

    I'm thinking that perhaps Dorothy's sleep habits are due to her having a cold. Her nose has been really runny for the last day or two, and she's been sounding really congested at night. Teething babies are supposedly more prone to colds, because of sticking more stuff in their mouths. I don't know that she's been putting much more than normal in her mouth (that is, it's hard to get "more" than "anything she can maneuver into her mouth"), but maybe the eruption of the tooth (by the way, it's her lower left front tooth) has opened the skin to allow the germs in.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

    July 19, 2004

    She's Baaaaack!

    Sexy Lawyer Chick is back home! Yaaay! Now I don't have to deal with heating bottles for a screaming baby at 3am! Hip-hip-hooray!


    So, yes, Elizabeth was released from the hospital today. The doctors never did figure out what was wrong with her. Was it the fluid above the uterus? Perhaps it was the rare fungal infection? Or maybe it was space aliens? We'll probably never know. But the doctors finally gave up on trying to pin it down, in the face of her fluctuating temperature peaking at lower and lower temps (100.3 last night).

    She's still not feeling at 100% healthy, but she doesn't feel bad enough to be in the hospital. She's going to rest tomorrow, and then probably (assuming she feels good enough) go back to work on Wednesday (despite her discharge papers saying she should stay off work until a follow-up exam which won't be for 10 days).

    Thanks to everyone for all the support and well wishings!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

    July 18, 2004

    Desperately Seeking Symptoms

    Elizabeth is still in the hospital. The ultrasound they did on Friday indicated that there was some fluid "above" her uterus, and while it didn't appear to be a problem, it was the only abnormal thing the doctors could find to potentially explain Elizabeth's "illness." Her temperature has still been cycling up and down, although the peaks have been lower -- they haven't broken 101 in two nights.

    The doctors have said that if Elizabeth simply had a runny nose, or cough, or some sort of symptom that could be connected to the fever, then they'd release her because they'd know what was going on. But since they can't find other symptoms on her, they're concerned about what's happening and don't want to release her from the hospital. I mentioned to Elizabeth that I had what appeared to be a few spider bites that have been really annoying the last few days. She said she wished she had some spider bites, because then maybe the doctors would use that as the explanation and let her out of the hospital!

    Some cramping returned yesterday; that, combined with the temperatures, made the doctors decide to do a CT scan today of the fluids above the uterus. They didn't see anything unusual about the fluid area, so I'm guessing they won't aspirate it. Oh, and I almost forgot: In order to do the CT scan, they had to give her a contrast agent which is incompatible with breastfeeding, so she has to pump and dump milk for the next 24 hours, which means we'll be burning through the frozen stash of milk.

    As I have for the last few days, I'm hoping that Elizabeth will be able to come home tomorrow. Luckily, my Mom offered to come out to help us out, and she arrived this morning. So now I'll have help with Dorothy, and keeping on top of all the crap that needs to get done around the house (not to mention maybe getting a bit of my own work done).

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

    July 17, 2004

    Sleepyhead Update

    Dorothy's asleep and I should be too, but I wanted to post a brief update on Elizabeth's status.

    First off, she's not home yet. We'd thought she might come home today, but her temp went over 101 last night, so they wanted to keep her one more night to monitor her. For whatever reason, they decided not to do the CT scan today, but wait instead to see if her temp went over 101 again. It didn't (highest was about 100.5), but she did get some of the cramping that had been gone for a few days.

    Basically, if she were a bit sicker, they'd let her come home. That's because if she had a cough or runny nose or something, they could easily chalk the temperature up to the flu or some common illness and let her go. But because her temp hit 104 the other day, and keeps fluctuating up and down, but she's not really showing any other symptoms (except the neck and shoulder aches when her temperature is elevated), they're perplexed.

    We're all hoping that her temperature will come down and stay down in the 98-99 range, and that the aches will go away, and they'll let her come home Sunday. But if it goes up again tonight (the temperature spiking has mostly occurred at night) over 101, then she'll go in for a CT scan Sunday, and probably stay in the hospital until Monday, at least. Here's to hoping she gets better ASAP...

    BTW, we were all at the hospital from around 10 this morning until 7:30 or so this evening, so Elizabeth got lots of Dorothy snuggles in. But now it's just me and Dorothy at home, for the 3rd night in a row!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

    July 16, 2004

    Elizabeth Update

    I'm getting ready to go pick up Dorothy from daycare and go back to the hospital to see Elizabeth, and just wanted to post an update for those one or two people I haven't already spoken with on the phone. :-P

    Elizabeth is feeling somewhat better. The doctors (she's not only seen her gynecologist, but also the entire Infectious Diseases Team) don't think that the last couple of days were a gynecological problem, and they don't think she has meningitis. They suspect that the fever of 104 might have been caused by one of the antibiotics she'd been prescribed on Wednesday. Since being in the hospital, they've had her on intravenous antibiotics, but different from the ones she'd been taking. And her fever hasn't seemed to spike again so far.

    Right now, it looks like they'll keep her overnight to keep an eye on her and see if her fever goes up again. If it doesn't, then they'll probably send her home tomorrow.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

    July 15, 2004

    To the Hospital AGAIN?!?

    None of us thought we'd be headed back to the Brigham & Women's Hospital again any time soon. But Elizabeth's fever spiked up to 103.8 earlier today, so the doctor wants her to go in for some IVs and observation. They say that the antibiotics they gave her should have already made her feel much better by now, so if she's still cycling in temperature and how she feels, it might be something else. So we're packing everyone up, and heading up to the Brigham (because that's the hospital where her doctors are admitted).

    Last time we checked, her temperature was down to 102.5, but this morning it was down at 99. But then it went back up to the high 103s, and she seems to be going up and down roughly every four hours, so we'll go in just to be safe.

    Unless they "admit" Dorothy to stay with Elizabeth at the hospital (assuming they do keep Eliz for 24 hours), I'll be bringing her back home this evening and watching her myself overnight. Yikes! My first time for handling all the night-time feedings. Wish us all luck!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

    July 14, 2004

    Sick Bay

    Today I had to take my sweetie to the doctor because she had a fever near 103, and body aches. Except the sweetie I had to shuttle around was not the one I'd thought I'd have to skip work to take to the doctor. Dorothy is fine and healthy, so far, but Elizabeth is miserably sick. She's had some cramping for the last couple of days and went to the doctor the other day. But last night she started running a fever, and this morning it was as high as 102.9! She was feeling light-headed, but got an appointment to go back in and see someone.

    Luckily, Dorothy was in daycare, so we didn't have to deal with her at the same time. I packed Elizabeth into the car in mid-morning, and drove downtown (her doctor's office is right near Elizabeth's workplace). She also had an ultrasound appointment, so they could look for anything amiss (the doctor commented that she had an "unremarkable uterus," which we think would make a good band name!). Basically, all the various tests showed that she had some sort of infection, but there were no signs of it anywhere, except for the cramping and muscle aches. So they prescribed some antibiotics and sent her home.

    All day, Elizabeth's condition has been fluctuating. Sometimes she can barely stand up and feels terribly chilly, other times she feels almost normal. At one point this evening her temperature reached 103.3 (!) but then a couple of hours later was down around 101. Hopefully the antibiotics will do the trick and she'll get better soon...

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:59 PM | Comments (1)

    July 12, 2004

    Get Ready for a Bad Day

    Tomorrow (Tuesday), Dorothy has her 4-month check-up. Which means another batch of 4 shots. And this time, Elizabeth won't be along to stick a boob in Dorothy's mouth, so we'll see how things go. I'm not sure if I'll try to have a bottle ready, or just try to use the pacifier, and bouncing her.

    I'm also looking forward to finding out how big she's getting. Her head circumference is up, as is her weight. I'm guessing she's between 14 and 15 pounds; we'll see if I've underestimated again.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

    July 01, 2004

    I'm back

    I'm back from the conference I went to. I'm even more sleep-deprived than "normal," so I'm not going to post much right now. Suffice it to say, I got a lot out of going to the conference, but I missed Dorothy dearly. Thank goodness for screen-savers and a laptop backdrop that both featured all Dorothy all the time!

    Oh, and it looks like she's starting to reach out for stuff. More on that when I get a chance to breathe (and observe it more than once).

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

    June 26, 2004

    A Special Gift

    For Elizabeth's birthday, my parents gave her a "night of sleep" wherein they would take Dorothy for an entire night, letting Elizabeth sleep without being interrupted by a little baby girl. Last night was when she claimed the gift, and I of course also benefited from it.

    We had dinner at a new Asian restaurant in town, then went to see the latest Harry Potter movie. It didn't end until midnight, so we both wound up going to sleep much later than normal ("normal" being 9 or 10pm these days), almost like we were young grad students again. ;-)

    We got up just after 9am this morning, and then took our time getting ready to go pick up Dorothy. It was nice not having to rush around. Dorothy had a very good night, sleeping very well (which means she woke up at midnight, and 3am, and 6am) and not being fussy much at all, according to Mom and Dad.

    It was a bit hard last night to send her off with Mom and Dad. We'd never spent the night without Dorothy! And we wondered a few times through the evening how she was doing, but we were strong and didn't call to check on how she was doing. :-) (Of course, since we didn't know when they were asleep and when they were awake, there was a disincentive to calling them and potentially waking up our benefactors.) We were definitely relieved this morning, though, to find out how well she'd done.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 06:08 PM | Comments (0)

    June 24, 2004

    Maybe It's Just a Cold?

    A few days ago we mentioned giving Dorothy the dairy challenge to see if she was, in fact, allergic to cow's milk proteins. She got all congested a couple of days later, so we thought dairy was the culprit. It turns out we may have been wrong.

    Elizabeth had a runny nose a few days ago. I developed a scratchy throat, and woke up this morning with a very runny nose myself. So we're wondering if maybe Dorothy had a cold (again) and passed it along to us. Maybe we'll do another dairy challenge near the end of next week, and hope that we don't have colds messing up our test results again.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

    June 22, 2004

    Sleep Patterns

    Last night, when Dorothy slept six and a half hours straight, I got nearly 7.5 hours of sleep, only getting up once in the night. That should be a decent enough amount of sleep to tide me over. So why was I yawning like mad at 10am?! Are the stories about "sleep deficits" true? I'd thought sleep deficits were a myth, and you didn't have to "make up" for "lost" sleep. If the stories are true, then in a few years Elizabeth and I are going to have a deeper debt than the U.S. government...

    Thanks to my mom, I was able to take a 25 minute nap around 5:30pm today. I'm hoping that Dorothy will be napping for longer, more predictable periods as soon as possible so that, on days when I'm watching her, I can get in a nap when I don't have the grandparents around for support.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:23 PM | Comments (2)

    Extra long sleep!

    Last night Dorothy managed to give us a belated Father's Day gift along the lines of her earlier Mother's Day gift -- she slept for six and a half hours straight! That might be the longest she's ever slept. Elizabeth put her to bed around 7:30pm or so. Normally Dorothy wakes up around midnight, plus or minus an hour. Last night she didn't get up until 2am. And then she went back to sleep for 3 straight hours, and then, instead of being fussy for the next couple of hours, she went back to sleep again! We were both very happy this morning. Let's hope she continues with this kind of night-sleeping!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

    June 21, 2004

    Something About Dorothy

    Caroline would probably give me a hard time for making three posts about space today and none about my beautiful daughter or her gorgeous smiles. ;-) So here's a little Something About Dorothy (and no, I'm not referring to the similarly-titled movie).

    This morning, right after I'd strapped Dorothy into her car seat to take her to daycare, she decided to spit up on her outfit. Of course, we didn't have time to go change her, since we needed to get Elizabeth to the train. So I took a spare outfit with us and changed her (Dorothy, not Elizabeth) at daycare. She really does seem to have a habit of making some sort of mess just when we don't have time to deal with it...

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

    June 20, 2004

    From my MIL

    Elizabeth's parents arrived in town last night. They're staying here for a few days before they head over to France for the wedding of Elizabeth's "other" brother, Michael. So now, on the strict orders of Caroline (my mother-in-law), here is an entry about Dorothy's smiles (apparently she thinks I haven't been posting enough about how pretty and frequent Dorothy's smiles are).

    Dorothy smiles quite a lot lately. It's very hard to capture with the camera, because they usually don't last very long. She'll maybe have a low level grin for a longer period of time, but the full-blown, ear-to-ear, isn't-life-just-amazing smiles she lets loose from time to time are short-lived. They are the most enchanting thing, though. Her eyes get so bright, and she'll grin really big with her mouth wide open, and then the mouth will close and she'll get this sort of coy, head-turned-down smile. It's so cute, and hard to describe. I think the next batch of pictures that I'll be posting might have one or two smiles in them.

    Oh, and I need to tattle on Caroline a bit. Tonight during dinner, we were mentioning that we'd forgotten to bathe Dorothy the last couple of nights until it was too late and that it was already getting late tonight but it had been a week so we really needed to give her a bath. Caroline suggested we just wait another week before bathing Dorothy. Can you imagine, suggesting that her own grand-daughter be left dirty for a whole week!? ;-)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:38 PM | Comments (2)

    June 15, 2004

    Going to the movies

    Today, Dorothy and I went to Baby Pictures at the Showcase Cinemas movie theatre in Randolph. It's a neat idea -- every other Tuesday, they show a recent movie but change the environment so that parents can bring their babies. The lights are not dimmed completely, and they have some diaper changing pads in the front, plus refreshments for sale down front throughout the movie, the volume is turned down a bit, etc. Plus, if your baby makes noise, you don't feel too guilty, because there's others doing the same thing. :-)

    We had fun. I fed Dorothy some expressed breast milk before we left for the theatre. I had to change her partway through the movie, but that wasn't a problem. And afterwards, I went to the concession stand, and they were kind enough to give me a bucket of very hot water so that I could heat another bottle. I fed Dorothy in the theatre lobby, then we went off to Costco to do a bit of shopping. She was very well-behaved throughout the trip, and even slept through the second half of the movie. To any other new parents in the Boston area, I can definitely recommend going to the Randolph Showcase Cinemas for their parent movies (Baby Pictures?).

    Today's movie was "The Stepford Wives." Overall it was a decent movie, especially as long as you suspend all sense of disbelief and overlook some minor inconsistencies. I'd seen some bad reviews, so my expectations weren't too high, but there were definitely some funny moments, and though the movie certainly wasn't very deep, it did at least raise some issues about gender roles.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

    June 11, 2004

    Just something quick

    I really want to post items in this blog more frequently, but even with lame stream-of-consciousness writing (instead of the more regular and well-written postings I've wanted to write) I've been doing lately, I just don't get around to posting as much as I'd like. Perhaps this is because it feels too lame to post something less than two paragraphs long.

    Anyway, Dorothy has been doing much better since Tuesday. She's been mostly happy, and I took care of her almost all by myself on Thursday. My Mom came over to help with paperwork, but except when I had her watch Dorothy for a couple of 10 minute periods while I did stuff, it was just her and me. And it's great playing face games with her, making smiles, and seeing her smile back. We're even getting an occasional picture of her big, beautiful smiles; I'll be posting the photos this weekend, probably.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

    June 08, 2004

    Magic Elixir

    Baby Tylenol liquid drops are the magic elixir to cure baby's problems! Well, that's how I feel after getting my happy Dorothy back after 2+ days of screaming and sleeplessness.

    We saw the doctor (who I really like, BTW - she's great with Dorothy) this morning. There's nothing wrong with Dorothy's ears, throat, chest, etc. The doctor agreed that the mouth must be the problem. She discovered another sore that we hadn't caught, and said it looks like it might be caused by some virus. She wasn't sure what the bumps we thought looked like teeth were; she agreed they sort of look like teeth, but it would be extremely unusual for a baby to get her molars in before the incisors, and to do it at 3 months of age. But she thinks that teething might be starting (because of the increase in drool), which would also cause discomfort for a baby.

    In any case, the best we can do is help relieve the pain on her gums and keep an eye on her. So when I got home, I gave Dorothy a shot of Tylenol around 11am and some expressed milk. Bam! Within a half hour, I had a happy, smiling, cooing little girl. It's amazing how much the change in her demeanor made me feel so much better. (Of course, she'd been screaming for long periods in the car on the way to the doctor's office, so any let-up was bound to take a weight off my shoulders.)

    The funny thing is, we didn't give her anything else the rest of the afternoon. Tylenol supposedly wears off after about 4 hours. I'd been planning on putting some Orajel on her gums around 3pm, once the Tylenol wore off. But she was happy to sleep in Grandma's arms until a little after 4pm. Then we gave her some milk, and she was pretty good for the next few hours! We finally did give her another dose of Tylenol before bedtime, so help her sleep better. But it looks like we've turned the corner (for now), and it looks like I didn't even lose too much of my sanity...

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:59 PM | Comments (2)

    Don't Stop Moving

    Imagine you're female (if you aren't already). Furthermore, imagine you're only 3 months old. Now imagine you've gone to the doctor's office, and they've taken a special medical bag with adhesive around its mouth, then glued the thing around your crotch (after first performing the necessary cleansing indignations) in order to collect a urine sample. Once you've finally peed, then they rip the bag off your crotch and send it to the lab.

    Now you have an idea what Dorothy's day was like yesterday. :-(

    Starting sometime early Sunday night, Dorothy got extremely fussy. Elizabeth didn't get great sleep that night, and woke me around 4:15am to take Dorothy, so that Eliz could get a bit of sleep before work. Around 7:30am, we decided to call the doctor's office, because we measured Dorothy's temperature at 100.4 and 100.6 (at different times). Plus she was screaming and fussing in a very uncharacteristic manner.

    We got in to see the nurse-practitioner around 10am (BTW, her weight was 13 pounds, 2.6 ounces). They measured Dorothy's temperature at 100.8, but otherwise couldn't find anything wrong with her. I'd been concerned about poop getting where it shouldn't, so they decided to check on the possibility of a UTI by taking the urine sample described above. Between waiting for her to urinate, and for the results to come back from the lab (the urine was clean -- no UTI!), we didn't wind up leaving until almost noon. Oh, and the screaming she did during all of the poking and prodding was a lot worse than what she did when she got her 2-month innoculations, mostly because she didn't stop after 30 seconds. Heck, one time she tried yelling so much (after she didn't have enough breath left) that her chin turned purple for a minute.

    In the afternoon, I was looking in Dorothy's mouth more closely, and saw some slightly disturbing bumps. At first I thought it might be teeth, but the front incisors are supposed to be the first teeth to come in, not the back molars. Plus, molars aren't supposed to come in until age 10-14 months. We're going back to the doctor's office today to see Dorothy's doctor herself, since the inside of her mouth is looking like she might have thrush.

    For most of yesterday morning and last night, the only way to calm Dorothy was to dance with her. And not just anything, mind you; we had to keep our motion nearly random. No repeating of dance steps allowed! This can get tiring fast. Luckily, after a good enough amount of dancing, she would often drift off to sleep, allowing us to make our movement smaller and more repetitive (i.e., easier to do). She might wake up again in 10 minutes, but at least we got a bit of respite. Last night she again was fussy and awake a lot. I got put on baby duty around 4am, and went half-insane trying to dance around unpredictably for 45 minutes (until she started falling asleep).

    Anyway, Dorothy's been extremely unhappy the last couple of days, and if it weren't for some relief provided by my Mom (and Dad) taking Dorothy for a while and calming her, I'd probably have lost my mind by now. Hopefully we can find out ASAP what the problem is so that we can do something about it. To be fair, she has had an hour last night and a half hour this morning where she was actually happy. In the meantime, though, whenever she's awake she's mostly been very fussy, and moving around has been just about the only way to calm (distract?) her. So we'll keep on moving as long as it takes for her to get better.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

    May 31, 2004

    Dorothy Tour '04 - the Final Chapter

    Sorry it's taken so long for me to finish our trip diary! We did an awful lot of stuff when we were in California.

    The first thing we did when we got to Mom and Dad's house was to take a nap! All three of us were pretty tired. We woke to the sounds of little girls talking in the living room - our nieces, Katie and Emma, had arrived (oh, yeah, and their parents - my brother, Jeff, and his wife, Christina). Katie and Emma were very excited to meet Dorothy for the first time. They both hung over her, watching every facial expression and action. They both also got to have turns holding her. Emma, at 4 and three-quarters, still needed a little help to hold the baby securely, but Katie (8) cuddled her like she'd been doing it for years. They both really enjoyed helping to change her diapers. (Katie's job was to hold her hands so she didn't try to roll off the table, while Emma opened and held the new diaper so it would be ready when the old one was off). They were also very interested in her bed.

    The next day was Thursday, which meant that the girls were visiting again for most of the day. In the mid-morning, Mom and I set off with Dorothy to the retirement community where my grandmother and great-aunt live, while Tom helped the girls with their computer game. Mom took Grandma to a doctor's appointment, while Dorothy and I got to spend some time with Great-Aunt Ellen. At lunchtime, Dad and Tom arrived with the girls and Christina, and we all had lunch together in the community lunchroom. Grandma's vision is mostly gone, so she wasn't really able to see Dorothy, but she still enjoyed holding her and talking to her a lot.

    On Friday, we relaxed in the morning (at last!), and then headed out in the afternoon to my aunt's place in Nicklaus (about 2 hours away from my parents' house). There we saw my cousin Tyson with his wife Teena and new baby Kent (a couple of weeks younger than Dorothy), as well as several other relatives from that branch of the family. Jeff joined us with the girls for a big family dinner (quite late, since he got lost getting there!), and then we all got back on the road, heading towards my other grandparents' house. We stopped for the night after a couple more hours on the road. Dorothy did quite well on these car trips, especially if whoever was sitting next to her would keep a finger in her mouth for her to suck on.

    On Saturday, we arrived in Yreka to see Dorothy's great-aunt Barbara and great-uncle Don, and her other great-grandparents. We especially wanted her to meet this great-grandmother, the only one of the Dorothys that she is named after who is still alive. (The other two are Tom's paternal grandmother, and my "other grandmother" - my "other mother" Cynthia's mother). Because of my grandparents' health, we couldn't stay terribly long at any one time with them. But we visited for a while on Saturday afternoon, and then went to dinner with Barbara, Don, and their son Darren. Unfortunately, it was getting past Dorothy's bedtime, and she had had about enough of this driving around and staying up stuff! She fussed and cried, and I ended up spending most of dinner walking around the parking lot with her in the sling to calm her, and doing some crying myself.

    Since Dorothy had been getting a bit overtired, we decided to take it easy in the early morning on Sunday (Mother's Day). She had a wonderful Mother's Day present for me, though - she slept for six hours on Saturday night! So I was much better in the morning, and the three of us had a very nice Mother's Day breakfast together. Afterwards, we met up again with Mom and Jeff and the girls, to take Grandma to the wildflower show in Yreka, while Dad stayed with Grandpa. (For some reason, neither of them was interested in looking at the wildflowers).

    Grandma wasn't at her best during the show, but she did look at the flowers for a while and recognized us all. The girls had a great time, though, and Emma learned to read some new words, including "Scarlet Fritillary." The girls' favorite plant was the "Skunk Bush," though!

    When we went back to Grandma and Grandpa's house, they were doing much better, and both of them got a chance to hold Dorothy. Grandpa especially just settled her into his arms like she was about the thousandth baby that he had held (which she probably was - he delivered many many babies in town during his years of practice as a country doctor).

    After the visit, we got back on the road to go home (convoying with Jeff and the girls). Normally a five or six hour drive, it took us almost nine hours. We had to stop regularly to feed Dorothy, eat ourselves, have bathroom breaks and/or diaper breaks for the kids, etc. Dorothy was getting pretty fussy after the first four or five hours - we joked that she was getting "saddle sores" from her car seat. As it got towards evening, we had more and more nursing stops. We started just pulling off the road in the middle of the orchards and parking under a tree while I nursed her. But at one of these stops, she had to have her diaper changed, and it was quite an accomplishment. It was really too cold to take her out of the car, so I managed to balance her on a pillow on my lap in the front seat (with a changing pad draped up my front and tucked under my chin like a napkin). Tom handed the diaper and wipes in through the window as I changed her, but I forbade any picture taking. :-) Fortunately for me, she didn't decide to do one of her projectile poops right then. ;-)

    Monday was another lazy day, thank goodness. Christina came over with the girls in the morning, and they all got in some more Dorothy-holding time. Christina also helped us learn some new positions for Dorothy in the sling, one of which was comfortable enough that she and Tom both fell asleep. We also got packed up for the long flight home.

    We got on the road in plenty of time to get to the airport on Tuesday, and it turned out to be a good thing. As we pulled in and got out of the car, I realized that I had left my purse, with all my ID, at Mom and Dad's house. Since there was stil an hour before boarding, they decided to rush home and try to get it back to me before we took off. In the mean time, Tom and I took Dorothy to the gate (I had to go through extra security screening because I didn't have any ID), and we kept in touch by cell phone. When they got back to the airport with my purse, Tom went out to get it (since my ticket was marked for extra security procedures), but we realized that we had forgotten even to say goodbye or let my parents give Dorothy a last goodbye kiss! Poor Mom and Dad - but they got lots of Dorothy time during the trip, and they'll be visiting us in June.

    Dorothy had a rougher time on the long flight direct from San Francisco to Boston. She was really tired of the car seat, and spent a lot of time in our laps. At one point, we had to change her on the tray tables, since the bathrooms didn't all have changing tables. (We later learned which one did, but only after the first diaper change). We were mostly able to comfort her quickly when she started to cry, up until the descent. The descent into Boston is really long - about 45 minutes. We had brought a bottle of my milk to feed her during the descent, so the swallowing would help pop her ears, but she got full before the descent was finished, and cried incessantly for the last half hour or so. Poor little girl - it was also past her bedtime again, and she was terribly uncomfortable. But she finally fell asleep in the car on the way home. We had a great trip, but we were all very glad to be back home!

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 10:43 PM | Comments (0)

    May 30, 2004

    Week 12 photos

    You'll never guess what we've posted to the photo gallery.

    Yes, that's right! More photos of Dorothy! How did you guess?

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

    May 29, 2004

    Sickos All

    The last couple of weeks, since we returned from Dorothy Tour '04, have seen all three of us sick. First Elizabeth got a cold near the end of the California trip. Then I came down with the same thing a few days after we returned. The cold at first wasn't so bad -- mostly just a tickle in the back of the throat and some attendant coughing. But it was keeping me from sleeping well. My sleep schedule got completely out of whack; at times, I'd simply not feel sleepy, despite having been up for a while. I started feeling better about a week ago, but then got a serious case of the sniffles. I think I've been taking longer to recover because I haven't been sleeping as much as I should be.

    Well, eventually Dorothy came down with the cold too. Or at least, we're assuming she got our cold. Her symptoms have been a little different. She's mostly gotten extremely congested. It's sounded like the nasal passage behind her nose (the nasal pharynx?) gets completely full of fluids. The noises she makes when trying to breathe are horrible, although Dorothy herself doesn't seem too upset. It's mostly just meant that she doesn't sleep for as long as she was sleeping before. It's probably been upsetting us more than her.

    In the last couple of days, her congestion has been limited to the night time. So she's all fine for daycare, then comes home to us and gets congested and has difficulty sleeping. :-) But even that's been getting better, so hopefully she'll be over the cold soon. (Hopefully I will be, too.)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

    May 22, 2004

    Week 11 photos

    The latest batch of photos, going from May 14th to the 22nd, are now up online. Dorothy has discovered how to get her hand to her mouth, and the cats enjoy snuggling with us plus Dorothy.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

    May 18, 2004

    1st day of Daycare!

    Yesterday (Monday 5/17) was Dorothy's first full day of day care. She's going 3 days per week to the Rama Kidstop. We've been very impressed with Rama ever since we first went to see it back in late March, and decided that Dorothy would go there. 3 days per week in daycare will give me time to work uninterrupted from home. The other 2 days, I'll be in charge of Dorothy, all by myself. The thought is currently a bit scary, but we'll see how I do once Elizabeth goes back to work (which will happen soon!).

    We took Dorothy in around 8am on Monday. A few of the (up to 6) other babies were there already. Elizabeth had a hard time letting go of her baby. She was a bit emotional when we got back home, but then she napped for over an hour since Dorothy had been fussy all day Sunday and hadn't given us much sleep Sunday night. After about 2 or 3 hours, Elizabeth couldn't stand it any more and had to call to see how Dorothy was doing. Everything, of course, was fine. She'd slept through their morning walk (the kids go out twice per day, weather permitting). We stopped by to see her around 1pm, on our way out to shop for a crib. She was still doing fine. I was glad to see her, but was also happy to be able to get stuff done without having to deal with a baby that might fuss at any moment. Elizabeth was a bit emotional from time to time throughout the day, but overall handled her first day without her baby quite well.

    We picked her up around 5:45, after having an early dinner at Conrad's (they have the best steak tips we've ever tasted!). By the end of the meal, I was getting antsy to go see Dorothy and pick her up, so I probably rushed Elizabeth out of the restuarant a bit. When we got there, she was doing just fine. She'd enjoyed some time in the bouncy chair. The ladies who work in her room told us all about how she'd done during the day (mostly fine). All in all, things turned out fine, and Dorothy seemed to enjoy her first big day at daycare. We'll see how things go tomorrow, her second day!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

    May 16, 2004

    Dorothy Tour, Part 2

    The day after we got to Tom's parents' house, they had an open house (open baby?) for all the relatives and friends who wanted to see Dorothy (plus anyone who might have been interested in seeing Tom and me, but we were clearly a second-rate attraction).

    Tons of people came over: Dorothy's great-grandma Flo and her twin sister Evelyn, Tom's brother Keith, several of his aunts, uncles, and cousins, four of his friends from Urbana-Champaign, two babies, and a dog. So many people got to hold Dorothy that I didn't always even know where she was. She did very well, though, with only minor fussiness.

    The rest of the visit with Tom's parents was relatively relaxed. We spent a day hanging around the house, and an afternoon visiting another of Tom's aunts and going out to dinner with Tom E. and Uncle Keith. Dorothy had a little trouble with the noisy restaurant and the late hour, so I ended up taking her outside in the sling for a walk while the others waited for the check and finished up. We had dessert at Krispy Kreme, and headed home to repack for the next leg, from Chicago to San Francisco. (I'd learned my lesson after the first trip - the essential baby stuff like burp cloths and her bed goes on top, especially anything you might have to find in the dark). (During the trip, she slept in a little "Snuggle Nest" designed to go between the pillows in a regular bed, so she doesn't sink into the mattress or get covered up by blankets. It's nice for travelling, since her bed always feels familiar to her).

    Dorothy did about as well on her second flight as she had on her first. She fussed a bit more during the descent, but was basically good-natured - just a few isolated complaints. We didn't even have to change her diaper. This time we knew to look for the stroller as we got off the plane, so getting through the airport and picking up the baggage went much more smoothly. My parents met us at the airport. They had planned a quick stop at Babies 'R' Us to pick up a present for my cousin's new baby (2 weeks younger than Dorothy), which turned into driving in circles for quite a while trying to find the store, then spending quite a while looking at stuff before picking out some outfits and a toy. A long stop at the drive-thru, and we were finally home and more or less ready for the next stage of the trip.

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

    May 15, 2004

    Waking up hard

    Dorothy and I are home alone for an extended period today while Elizabeth goes to dance practice and a lesson. Dorothy's been very calm, and has actually slept most of the time, allowing me to get some work done on the computer.

    Just before 4:30pm, though, she woke up, and started crying almost immediately. Elizabeth has commented numerous times that Dorothy wakes up "hard" -- i.e., she goes from asleep to awake and fussing very quickly. Elizabeth accuses Dorothy of picking this trait up from her father, an assertion I won't comment upon. :-)

    I took Dorothy down to check her diaper. A quick peek suggested it didn't need to be changed right away. She was really crying, so I let her suck on a finger to help calm her down before I went to heat up the bottle of expressed milk. Within 30 seconds, she'd made a major addition to the contents of her diaper. So I avoided a big mess by waiting just a tiny bit before changing her. I started to change her, but she was making a huge fuss.

    I went and started a bottle warming up, but Dorothy was inconsolable. She even had tears running down her cheek, which really tore up Daddy. :-( I was trying to calm her while also warming the bottle up enough for her to take. As soon as it was close to ready, I gave it her to and BOOM -- instant quiet, happy baby. After this experience, I certainly can appreciate the advantage of having the milk "always on" in one's breasts. Thankfully we don't have to heat up a bottle in the middle of the night...

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 06:38 PM | Comments (1)

    May 13, 2004

    Picture update

    I've put pictures of the Chicago part of Dorothy's Tour 2004 online. Enjoy!

    And in related news, today (5/13) was the second day in her life where Dorothy did not get photographed at all. :-O Perhaps she's now getting old and we'll never take a picture of her again. Or maybe the camera battery was re-charging and we were just too busy recuperating from the trip....

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

    May 12, 2004

    Dorothy on tour, Part 1

    We're back from Dorothy's first cross-country tour! (Sorry, no commemorative T-shirts yet). Pictures should be up soon....

    On Saturday, May 1, Dorothy made her first plane flight, from Boston to Chicago. She did very well, sleeping for much of the flight. I fed her during the ascent and descent so that the swallowing would pop her ears, and she pretty much didn't cry during the flight. Tom and I each had an opportunity to change a diaper in a tiny airplane lavatory, an experience we both probably could have done without (unfortunately, it was not to be our last such experience, or even the most cramped diaper change of the trip).

    We were astonished at how much our luggage volume increased with the addition of one tiny person. We checked two big suitcases, one of which was completely filled with Dorothy's things, and one of which had clothes for the three of us. We then carried on a small backpack with our stuff, our big backpack-style diaper bag, a camera/camcorder bag, and Dorothy in her car seat. In addition, we gate-checked the stroller that goes with the car seat.

    When we got to Chicago, we headed for baggage claim to get our stuff. Halfway there, we were paged back to the gate - they had brought the stroller to us there. (In Boston, they had told us that we would pick it up at baggage claim). Since I had Dorothy comfortably in her Maya Wrap for walking through the airport, we ended up using the stroller as a luggage cart for all the other carryon items.

    Tom's good friend Tom Egan (the best man from our wedding, and my stand-in when I couldn't go to our baby shower) picked us up in Chicago, and we had lunch together. After seeing how much time Dorothy spends sucking on our fingers, he gave her a new nickname: "Small-Mouth Bass." This rapidly mutated into "Guppy," and we used both throughout the trip.

    Tom E. took us to visit with his parents for a while, and then we headed out to Beecher, IL, to stay with Grandma Chris and Grandpa Tom. By the time we got there, poor Dorothy was exhausted, but with so many new places, people, and experiences, she couldn't bring herself to go to sleep. She finally settled down when I put her in the sling again, and was able to sleep by pressing her face into my chest so she couldn't see anything unfamiliar. I ate dinner that night one-handed, holding her in the sling and bouncing on an exercise ball.

    To be continued...

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

    April 29, 2004

    Week 8 photos

    The photos from week 8 are going up early, because we're heading out of town soon. We're taking Dorothy on a cross-country tour to see the relatives and friends in Illinois and California. Wish us luck on for Dorothy's first few plane rides!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

    April 27, 2004

    2-month check-up

    Wow. Today has been quite a day so far, and it looks like it might be a long night, too.

    Today was Dorothy's 2-month check-up exam, at which she was scheduled to get 4 vaccinations. That's right -- 4 shots, 2 in each leg. We got to the office, and the nurse-practitioner examined Dorothy, adoring her along the way and proclaiming her to be looking very well. (BTW, for those of you keeping score at home, her weight was 10lbs. 15.2oz, and her height was about 21.5inches, both of which put her around in the 50th to 75th percentile range.) Then came the time for the shots, which were done by a separate nurse.

    The nurse was very professional. She got everything lined up, and did the 4 shots right in a row, as quickly as possible. Dorothy first made two cries like she might normally make when really hungry or upset. Then she seemed to calm down, but it was obvious she wasn't calm. She was building steam, turning bright red from her head down, until she let out an astounding scream, the likes of which I don't think I've heard except when she was born.

    As soon as the shots were done, Elizabeth started to nurse Dorothy, and within 30 seconds she seemed to have forgotten the whole ordeal. As Elizabeth said, "It must be nice to be so young that a boob in your mouth can solve all problems." Of course, many adult men might not ever lose that belief. ;-)

    In any case, Dorothy seemed to recover from the shots pretty well. Until about 4 hours later, that is. Out of nowhere, she started crying inconsolably. She would even scream so hard and long that she'd run out of breath, but keep trying to scream (with no sound coming out). Eventually she'd pause, inhale, then scream again. The screaming-until-there's-no-more-air thing was a bit scary. We gave her some baby Tylenol, and eventually she calmed down. The nurse we spoke with in the afternoon said she recommends giving baby Tylenol every 4-6 hours for 24 hours after they get the big shots.

    I've been doing bits and pieces of this blog entry for the last couple of hours (getting distracted frequently, oddly enough), and we just gave Dorothy a bath and her second dose of Tylenol. Elizabeth is trying to put Dorothy to sleep; we'll see how tonight goes.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:10 PM | Comments (1)

    April 26, 2004

    Week 7 photos

    Photos! Git yur photos here! Yes, the week 7 photos are now online. Enjoy!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 12:52 AM | Comments (0)

    April 17, 2004

    Pictures Posted

    Pictures from week 6 are now online.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Historical Day

    Wednesday, April 14th, was an important milestone. It was the first day in her entire life that Dorothy was NOT photographed.

    We're not sure how we managed to make such an egregious error. We just hope Dorothy won't hate us for not documenting via camera her 39th day alive. :-)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:37 PM | Comments (1)

    April 16, 2004

    The Power of a Cry

    It truly is amazing what power your baby's cry can have over you. It can turn you from a calm, doting parent into a crazed, frightened, and/or frenzied person hanging onto control by your fingertips.

    Over the last week or so, Dorothy has been becoming more fussy. She would go, within a matter of seconds, from calm and placid to full-bore screaming her head off. Pacifiers have been becoming less popular, and pinky fingers more popular. On Wednesday, we experienced the full power of The Cry. There was a period which felt like forever but which really was only a bit longer than two hours during which Dorothy was inconsolable. Anything we tried would help for about a minute, then she'd cry again. We kept handing her back and forth to each other to get a break. It was unbelievably frazzling.

    We eventually discovered that she had a diaper rash. Apparently we hadn't been getting proper coverage with the vaseline. So I made a late-night run to CVS to pick up some diarper rash cream. Zinc oxide is the recommended ingredient, and all the brands had at least some. Zinc oxide is what's in the white sunblock you see on some lifeguards' noses. Well, diaper rash cream looks very similar. The 10% zinc oxide stuff("A+D" brand, also w/ dimethicone and aloe) stuff has a consistency a little thinner than toothpaste, and went on easily. It seemed to help immediately. We were expecting a sleepless night, but she wound up sleeping for over 4 hours straight (which is as long as it's possible for her to sleep these days)! In the morning we tried the 40% zinc oxide stuff (Desitin-equivalent generic, no other special ingredients). That stuff has a consistency like thick tar. White tar, but tar nonetheless. It also seemed to work well.

    On Thursday, Dorothy seemed to be doing better, although still somewhat fussy. Sometime in the afternoon her poop seemed to get more liquid, looking like what we'd guess is baby diarrhea. While out and about, we stopped at Babies R Us to pick up a few things. At Babies R Us, they have three types of restrooms: "Men's Room" and "Women's Room" and "Mother's Room." It certainly makes sense, and the Mother's Room has changing tables and an area to nurse. Well, after nursing, Elizabeth tried to change Dorothy. I won't go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that Dorothy had multiple poop explosions, and wound up needing to have all of her clothes changed. And Elizabeth said it was a good thing that the person who cleans the room showed up, because the room needed it after Dorothy was done.

    We got Dorothy home, and called the after-hours nurse. They said we could wait until Friday morning, but diarrhea is a serious thing in a baby, so we brought her in to see her pediatrician today. The doctor said that it's probably not a bug, and may just be a reaction to something Elizabeth has been eating, so we're going to try a bit of a diet change and see if that helps. The pediatrician also thought Dorothy was gassy, so we're going to work on positions to help gas escape better, and to burp her more. (On a side note: Dorothy was up to 10lbs 5.7oz at today's visit.) Most of the day today since we got home, though, Dorothy has been extra fussy, and has required either a nipple (fake or real, as long as milk comes out) or a pinky finger to suck on for much of the day. She now seems to hate pacifiers. We tried multiple times to give her a pacifier instead of a finger, but she always refused it. I even tried to trick her by putting a dab of milk (after I was nursing her from a bottle) on the pacifier and then giving her the pacifier. That trick worked once, and then she caught on to me. :-(

    We're hoping that the diarrhea will go away soon, and that the gas will get better. She seems to be sleeping OK for much of the night, but if she stays this demanding for long, it's going to get hard on us. I'm staying up tonight to get some work done, since it's been hard when I'm either watching her or catching up on sleep. Wish us luck!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:17 PM | Comments (1)

    April 13, 2004

    Big vs. Small

    Perspective (as in "point of view") is everything. Many people, upon seeing Dorothy for the first time, comment on how small she is. We, on the other hand, keep commenting to each other on how big she is. Within a week after birth, she was down under 7 pounds, and now she's over 10 pounds -- nearly a 50% change! Plus she's getting longer (no exact number now since we haven't measured lately). When you see her all the time, it's easier to notice how much more "heft" she has to her. BTW, it's safe to use "heft" to talk about her now -- I just have to stop before she becomes a teenager. :)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

    April 12, 2004

    Dorothy's Adventures

    Yesterday (Easter Sunday), Dorothy went out to her first restaurant! Elizabeth and her Dad (who was visiting for a couple of days), Dorothy, and I all went to IHOP for breakfast. Dorothy was very well-behaved for most of the meal. I did have to offer a pinky finger for her to suck on to calm down near the end, but she was the 'star' of all the waitresses. It was certainly nice to be able to go out to eat instead of bringing food back home.

    At the moment (Monday afternoon), I'm home alone with Dorothy for the first time! :-O Elizabeth had to go into the office briefly and then to her 6-week check-up, so I've got a bunch of milk in the fridge. Dorothy has already had 4 ounces; she probably could have taken a bit more, but that seemed to keep her happy. She's actually doing real well -- she ate at 10am, Elizabeth left at noon, and then Dorothy didn't need to eat again until almost 2pm. Once she decided she wanted to eat, it was a bit stressful as I warmed the expressed milk while she was crying, but once we got the bottle to her, she was happy. I've got her in the sling now, and she even 'helped' me do some laundry.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

    This week's pictures

    Who woulda thunk it? We put up more pictures of baby Dorothy. Enjoy!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)

    April 07, 2004

    Yet more photos

    I just put even more photos of Dorothy online. Do people still want me to post notices of photo updates to this blog, or will you just check the gallery anyway?

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 01:01 AM | Comments (2)

    April 06, 2004

    Big Changes

    Dorothy had her 1-month check-up and vaccination today. She surprised us all with her weight gain: she weighed in at 9lbs 8oz, which is 2lbs higher than she was two and a half weeks ago (3/19) at her 2-week check-up!

    The weight gain is the biggest change I refer to in the title of this entry, and we probably shouldn't have been surprised by it. Dorothy has certainly been feeling bigger and heavier over the last week or so. But there are other changes afoot as well, especially in her sleeping habits. She makes all sorts of noises, especially when she's asleep, including grunts and "ahh"s. Yesterday she added a shriek to her repertoire of sleep noises. Needless to say, even when Dorothy is asleep at night (and she's been deciding instead to sleep in the late afternoon/early evening and then wake up around 11pm), it's hard for us to sleep if she's making her noises. But we're doing OK. I think Elizabeth and I are trading nights. Elizabeth is still doing all the feedings at night, but one night I may take Dorothy for a while to let Eliz get a good night's sleep, and then the next night she'll be up all the time while I zonk out.

    I feel like there was another change I was going to mention, but new-parent-brain has struck again, and I've forgotten what it was. :-) Hopefully new-parent-brain gets better once we get back onto a more 'normal' sleep schedule...

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

    April 03, 2004

    Funny image

    Thanks to my brother Keith for this modified photo. Maybe Dorothy is taking after her parents! :-)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

    March 30, 2004

    Waking Up?

    For her first few weeks, Dorothy mostly just Ate, Slept, and Pooped. Within the last couple of days, though, things have been changing. Well, she's always been changing (it is surprising to see how things change almost every day), but this was a larger-scale change. In the last day or two, she's been spending hours awake, looking around, and making her noises, but not really fussing.

    Oh, about those noises: she's making cute little noises almost constantly, even when asleep. There are some "ahhh"s and some grunts and some pseudo-cries and all sorts of sounds, and new ones appear every couple of days. It's really sort of funny, especially when she's asleep, to watch her squirm and make these silly noises. When she's awake, at first glance it might seem like she's upset, because her limbs are all moving and she's making noises. But she truly doesn't seem to be stressed. She's just looking out at the world, making her noises, and thrashing around a bit, but not crying. We've heard a bit of crying, and that's a very different state. :-)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

    March 29, 2004

    Change in photo album

    I've unprotected the baby photo albums, so you no longer need to login in order to see them. I'd put the login protection up when I first set up the photo gallery, because we hadn't talked about our concerns over search engines etc. We've talked about it, and can't think of any good reasons to keep the search engines at bay. So now you can browse the photos without dealing with the (sometimes erratic) login system. Oh, and I re-organized the old photos into a tighter hierarchy, to make searching a bit easier.

    In related news, I just uploaded a fresh batch of photos! Many of them were taken by Elizabeth's Mom, who's now out here helping us out and enjoying her newest granddaughter, so you can't blame the large number of pictures solely on me. :-)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:50 PM | Comments (2)

    March 25, 2004

    Space to walk on

    The advice that's given in new baby books is completely true -- you should accept all offers of help from friends and family. :-) Having friends come over to help clean and bring over meals has been great. Also, my parents left yesterday after visiting for 4+ days, and while here they helped us organize a few rooms. All this help means there's now space on the floor to easily walk around the rooms without tripping. It's amazing!

    The latest batch of photos has been posted, including a number containing Dorothy's paternal grandparents (i.e., my parents). (As always, login with username "guests" and password "dottie".)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

    March 21, 2004

    Weight history

    We have been meaning to write down the history to date of Dorothy's weight progress, and this is as good a place as any.

    Date Weight Comment
    3/6/04 7 lbs 15.4 oz birth
    3/9/04 7 lbs 4.6 oz leave hospital
    3/11/04 6 lbs 14 oz home visit by nurse
    3/15/04 7 lbs 4.5 oz 1-week weight check
    3/19/04 7lbs 7.9 oz 2-week check-up
    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:50 PM | Comments (1)

    Bumping the Wall?

    At Dorothy's two-week check-up on Friday, the doctor asked if we had hit the wall yet. She was referring to lack of sleep, stress of a new baby, etc. While we don't feel that we've hit it, I'm starting to feel like we're bumping up against the wall.

    The first week with Dorothy went pretty well. This last week (yesterday was her 2-week 'birthday' already!) has been a bit tougher, especially for Elizabeth, because Dorothy has been eating a lot more frequently, and hence waking up more often. Friends have been helping out, and my parents just arrived, so things aren't as bad as they could be. And I couldn't imagine how we'd be doing if only one of us were able to stay home. But still, we're starting to feel a bit frayed. Of course, it's all worth it for this beautiful baby girl.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 05:28 AM | Comments (0)

    March 19, 2004

    Even more photos!

    More photos. In general, you can go to the main gallery page and click login (use the username of "guests" and the password of "dottie") to see the various albums. This is one well-photographed baby!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:06 PM | Comments (2)

    March 17, 2004

    Center of Attention

    Want to be very near the center of attention anywhere you go? Just have a baby! It's really amusing (at least when you're as easily entertained as I am) to see how people react to babies, when you're the one with the baby.

    First, as we were leaving the hospital last week, the wheelchair trip from Elizabeth's room down to the front door was like being around a celebrity that people weren't expecting to see. Heads turned, and people generally focused on that beautiful baby girl in Elizabeth's arms. And that's not even counting the time Dorothy got stopped by security and we had to wait in one place for things to get straightened out.

    Then, today, before Elizabeth's two week check-up, we stopped by her office (her OB's office is downtown, by her office) to let people meet Dorothy. (Hi everyone at Elizabeth's office!) Once the baby had arrived, word spread like wildfire! :-) We just had to sit in one spot, and people came from all over to see the baby.

    Later, when we were commenting to each other on being near (but not directly in) the center of attention, Elizabeth pointed out that Dorothy, the real center of attention, was focused on her mommy. So Eliz gets to feel extra special (which she is!).

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

    March 16, 2004

    Solution to photo gallery problem

    I just figured out why many people are having trouble with logging in to the photo gallery. For some stupid reason, whether or not the login 'catches' depends on whether or not the URL has "www" at the beginning. So you should go to (note that there is no "www" at the beginning) and click on 'login' and then it should work fine.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)

    March 14, 2004

    More pictures

    I put another dozen pictures of our cutie online just now. Enjoy!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

    1 down, 938 to go

    Yesterday was Dorothy's one week birthday. They even announced it (and wished her a happy new life!) on WERS' The Playground radio show. So, the way I figure it, that's one week down, and 938 to go until Dorothy is 18 years old and of legal age. Of course, we'll still be worrying about her probably forever, but if we look at the physical child-care aspect only, we have a reasonable guess as to how many more sleepless nights we can expect. ;-) (We might get a break from sleepless nights starting around week ~200 or so, but then they might reappear occasionally sometime around week ~700.)

    And for those of you who may be thinking of having children soon: Make sure you have a washer & dryer in the house before you do so! I can't believe the number of loads of laundry I've done in just the last few days. Some of it has been catching up from the laundry I didn't do while Elizabeth was in the hospital, but there's been a good amount of baby laundry too.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 06:11 PM | Comments (2)

    March 12, 2004

    Eat, Sleep, Poop

    "Eat, Sleep, Poop" pretty much describes the life of a newborn, or at least of our newborn. Although there are sometimes when Dorothy will be in a state described as "quiet alertness" where she's very calmly laying there, with her big eyes wide open, just looking around and trying to figure out this whole world thing. She's particularly enchanting to look at when she's in such a state. I even got some good long direct eye-contact time yesterday, too.

    I think we must be doing something wrong. The reason I say that is because not only have both of us managed to take showers on two consecutive days, but we also managed to get almost 8 hours of sleep last night. Although admittedly, it was broken up into 2-hour segments. :-) But today, 6 days after she was born, I'm not feeling as completely overwhelmed as at the start of this week. And doesn't everyone say that you're supposed to be sleep-deprived for months? Of course, I shouldn't extrapolate good times ahead just because of one good night...

    Oh, and one more tidbit: Elizabeth's milk came in yesterday. Holy milk production, Batman!! The monsters we're referring to as "Boobzilla" have switched from colostrum to regular milk; Elizabeth is feeling a bit uncomfortable. And it's probably a good thing that Dorothy can't see too well yet -- I'd be terrified if I had to eat from something bigger than my head! :-)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:35 PM | Comments (4)

    March 10, 2004

    Photo Update

    At the prodding of some pushy grandparents ;-) I've uploaded some more photos from Dorothy's first few days.

    Some people have been having trouble logging into the photos. I'm not sure why the Gallery software isn't quite working properly, but here's how to deal with it: Click on 'login' using the username "guests" and the password "dottie". If the main page doesn't reload with the 'protected' albums, and instead the login window stays open and looks as if it wants you to try again (but it does not say there's an error), then simply close the login window, click on the single visible photo album, then click on "Gallery" near the top right corner, which should now bring you back to the main page where you'll be able to see all the albums.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 04:07 PM | Comments (3)

    March 09, 2004

    We're home!

    Just a quick note to let everyone know that we're home! Elizabeth and Dorothy were discharged this afternoon. The hospital let us take home this tiny, fragile human being without giving us an owner's manual! And there's no 'call' button to bring a nurse to our room in 15 seconds. It's a bit scary, but things are going OK so far (i.e., for the first 3 or so hours). The cats think we're crazy to have brought home this weird thing, but they're also very interested in how she smells. :-) The cats will be kept out of the bedroom for a while, just to be safe.

    We're going to be settling in for a few days at least, but I should be able to get more pictures up soon. She's so cute, we can't stop taking pictures. :)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:29 PM | Comments (1)

    Words Are Not Enough

    I'm sitting here in the hospital room, with Dorothy swaddled on a pillow in my lap as I type this entry (and Elizabeth is getting some much needed sleep). Sometimes (like this sentence) I have to type with one hand because Dorothy is sucking on a finger of mine. She certainly has some good suction for breastfeeding -- I've been telling people that she's going to give me a hickey on my finger-tip.

    This blog entry is mostly just to put down some thoughts I've had over the last two days.

    First off, all the eloquence in the world can't properly describe the feelings I have for Dorothy. When I had some time to speak with my parents after the birth, nearly the first thing my Dad said to me was "Now you know how I felt when you were born." And he's probably right. And we just can't describe it. As good a description as any is that it's amazingly cool.

    Speaking of cool, have you ever just stared at something for a long, long time (at least when you're not on drugs)? Since she was born, both Elizabeth and I have at times sat, holding Dorothy, and just stared and stared at her, without getting bored.

    Time has become ridiculously warped. During labor, Elizabeth thought that 2 hours' worth of labor felt like it was only maybe 25 minutes. Since the birth, our estimates of the length of each feeding have disagreed with each other. And I suspect that time is now generally going to fly even faster than usual.

    I went home again earlier today (sorry, I didn't take time to upload new pictures) to take care of the cats, get a couple things to bring back to the hospital, etc. I was gone for roughly 7 hours. When I got back, it felt like it had been forever since I'd seen her. To be fair, it was 15% of her time so far since the birth. But I'm so glad I'm back. I didn't really notice how I missed her until I saw her again upon my return.

    Well, like I said above, words just can't express all the feelings I'm having since we got on this roller coaster ride. But I do know that I'm enjoying the ride immensely!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 01:16 AM | Comments (4)

    March 07, 2004

    Baby photos!

    We know you've all been waiting for baby photos, and we now have some online! Go to and click "login" in the upper right corner. Use the username "guests" and the password "dottie" to see the 'hidden' photo album (called "Dorothy's Birthday"). I'm protecting these new photos behind a login for now, just because we haven't thought at all yet about web search engines automatically archiving personal photos.

    As Elizabeth posted last night, Dorothy is doing great. (BTW, I prefer the nickname "Dottie" and Elizabeth prefers to use "Dorrie" or maybe it's "Dory" - the same as the no-short-term-memory fish in "Finding Nemo.") She needs some supplements at the moment, because of the concerns with her initially low glucose levels, but Elizabeth is working on breastfeeding, and once her milk comes in we hope to be able to wean her from the formula supplements.

    I could probably write a book about everything that's happened in the last few days, and especially about how wonderful Dorothy is. But instead, I'm going to go back to the hospital to get even more time with both my beauties. Thanks again to everyone for your great support, and we'll post more updates as we get the time.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:57 AM | Comments (6)

    March 06, 2004

    Dorothy Maia Nugent

    She's here! I'll probably write up and post a more detailed birth story in the next few days, but here's the (longish) summary:

    On Thursday, my platelet count went down, and the doctors decided that I needed to be induced. In the afternoon, I got two doses (spaced four and a half hours apart) of prostaglandin gel, trying to ripen my cervix. They helped a little bit, but not much. The doctors decide to let me get a good night's sleep, and then to induce me with Pitocin early Friday morning.

    We ran the Pitocin pretty much all day Friday, and I had a lot of contractions, but I could scarcely feel them, even when they got the Pitocin up to 80% of the maximum they are allowed to use. My cervix softened a tiny bit during this, but not all that much. We decided to continue until 10:00 PM, and then to turn off the Pitocin and let me sleep before trying again the next day.

    That plan went awry when my water broke at about 8:30 Friday evening. At that point, I was committed to staying in labor and delivery until I had a baby. They had to turn the Pitocin way down, as the contractions suddenly hurt a lot once the baby was not cushioned in amniotic fluid. I labored for several hours without pain medication, but eventually the contractions (which tend to be much stronger with Pitocin) got to be too much for me, and I asked for an epidural. That made me comfortable enough that Tom and I were able to nap for a few hours, even with the Pitocin on. When we woke up, they cranked up the Pitocin further, so I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes.

    By late morning today (Saturday), I was dilated enough to start pushing. I pushed for about four and a half hours, but the baby was still getting stuck. The doctors decided that she was not coming out, and that I needed a Caesarian section. At 4:02 PM, Dorothy Maia Nugent was born. They showed her to me briefly, but the neonatal doctors had to take her to the warming table right away to check her, since she was premature. Tom followed the pediatricians and told me what was going on, in between cooing at her and telling her what a good baby she was. Once the pediatricians were done with her for a bit, he was able to bring her over to me so I could see her and give her a kiss. Then she had to go to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for antibiotics and to have her blood sugar tested. Tom went with her there, and my doula stayed with me. The baby is out of NICU now, and is staying in my postpartum room. Normally we'll probably keep her in here with us all the time, but she's going to stay in the nursery tonight, because we're both too tired to care for her properly, after 30+ hours of labor.

    None of the pediatricians could believe that she was only 35 weeks old. The consensus was that she looks about 37 weeks. She was 7 pounds, 15 1/2 ounces, and about 19.5 inches long. She has black hair, about half an inch long, and a very cute round face. Tom has already taken about 50 pictures of her, but we don't have the equipment here to transfer them to my computer, so we'll have to post pictures later.

    Both Dorothy and I are seeming very healthy. My blood pressure never got out of control during labor, so they didn't give me anticonvulsive medication. My incision is a bit sore, but not too bad yet. Dorothy was a bit blue right as they lifted her out, but she turned pink right away, and cried and moved immediately. (Her Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes were 8 and 9 out of 10, respectively). She's not fussy at all so far. Tom was completely smitten in the first five minutes, and is wonderful with her. All of us are very happy.

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 11:04 PM | Comments (10)

    March 05, 2004

    March 5, 6pm update

    The induction is going along, though slowly. They put Elizabeth on Pitocin starting around 11:30 this morning. They started her at 2 milliunits/minute (that's what the pump says, I think it's equivalent to 2 mL/hr), and brought it up in increments of 2 milliunits/minute. Right now (around 5:45pm), she's at 30, and the maximum they can raise it to is 40. The monitors say that she's been having contractions pretty regularly; the average seems to be 30-45 seconds every 2-3 minutes. The monitor isn't so good at judging intensity, but when she's having one, her entire front feels pretty tight. Everyone seems surprised, though, that she barely feels the contractions. Until recently, she didn't feel them at all, except by feeling the tummy tautness with her hand. Lately she's been feeling a little bit.

    They'll probably keep increasing the dosage for a while. Depending on how she's doing later tonight, they might take her off the Pitocin and give her another application of prostaglandin gel, to help her progress more overnight. We'll probably find out around 7pm how her cervix is progressing.

    Elizabeth has spent most of the afternoon reading (Vernor Vinge's "Deepness in the Sky"), laying in bed. I've spent the time hanging out, helping re-adjust her when necessary, getting water, etc., and I took a nap.

    I'm almost certain that I'm not going home tonight, even if they do take her off the Pitocin. But if things are still slow in the morning tomorrow, I'll try to post an update.

    Have a good weekend everyone!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 05:54 PM | Comments (4)

    March 5 morning update

    It turns out I don't have to rush out the door this morning to get to the hospital. Elizabeth called me around 6:30am to tell me that apparently Labor & Delivery is pretty busy right now, and therefore they're delaying induction patients. So she won't be started on the Pitocin at 7:30am, but we don't know when she will be started.

    In any case, I'm going to head to the hospital there pretty soon, but I don't have to rush out the door. Elizabeth says she got a good night's sleep last night, which is good -- it means she'll have more energy for the work she'll have to do today (unless they actually postpone until tomorrow!).

    One thing I forgot to mention yesterday -- her platelet count went up to 146,000 in the afternoon, and her blood pressure went back down to a reasonable level. So the 'signs' of pre-eclampsia are turning around, which is encouraging.

    Not much else to report other than that. If I come home again without a baby, I think I might just flip. :-)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:03 AM | Comments (4)

    March 04, 2004

    Just push 'Pause'

    Guess what? I'm at home tonight. "What?!" you may be wondering. "How can you go home when your wife is in labor?!?"

    Answer: She's not in labor (well, she wasn't when I left around 10:15pm).

    They gave her a dose of prostaglandin gel at 1pm Thursday. Not much had happened by 5pm, so they gave her a second dose at 6pm. Around 8:30pm, the doctor examined her and said her cervix was still only around 1cm or so, and it was long, so it hadn't effaced much yet. While it had softened a bit, there's still a lot of work to do. Given that she didn't get much good sleep last night, they decided that, rather than start her on the Pitocin tonight, they'd let her get a good night's sleep and then start her on the Pitocin early in the morning. Basically, because she hasn't entered active labor yet, they're just going to pause in the progression of events, and give her the night off.

    Since the fold-out chair in her overnight room is not very easy to sleep in, we decided I should go home, get some good sleep myself, and re-supply the cats. And in the morning, I'll remember to bring some toiletries with me to the hospital (that's the one thing I didn't think to bring when I ran out the door this morning).

    So I'm home, but I'll probably be heading back to the hospital by 7am. I'd like to say that the next time I post to this blog, we'll have our baby girl, but given how frequently this whole process has been on-again/off-again, I'm not making any promises! :-)

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

    This Time, It's for Real

    We have a few quiet moments here in the hospital during Elizabeth's induction, so I'm writing this update while Elizabeth rests and reads. (BTW, having a net connection while in the hospital, even if it is dial-up, seriously rocks.)

    This morning was a bit stressful for Elizabeth. First she was woken up around 5:30am to have some blood drawn. Then she was woken up around 6:30am to get weighed and have her blood pressure taken. Finally she was woken up at 8:45am for her non-stress test. She was wheeled down for the NST, then left waiting for an hour. They then took her in for an ultrasound, which hadn't been ordered. She found out it hadn't been ordered when the doctor on call found her, and took her for the NST. The blood results had come back, and her platelet level had dropped from a normal-ish level, (anything above 150,000) down to 127,000, which is of concern. Since she was already borderline with the blood pressure and proteinuria, they decided that the platelet level was enough of an additional 'signal' that it was time to induce. They left her in the NST room while finding a room for her. She got wheeled down to Labor & Delivery, although the lady bringing her there got lost on the way. Once they made it to L&D, they started monitoring her again. She didn't have her cell phone with her through all of this, and it wasn't until she was finally put into a room in L&D that she was able to call me. I went "yikes!" and sprang into action. Then, despite running around frantically, I actually was able to remember to feed the cats, clean their litterbox, grab the newly-printed birth preferences she'd written, plus a few other items, and posted a brief notice on the blog, before I ran out the door. On the way to the hospital, I phoned our doula, Kelly, and both our moms to update them all on the situation.

    I arrived at the hospital around 12:15pm. They hadn't yet started the induction, thankfully. After the stress of the morning, Elizabeth was glad to see a familiar face (it was probably even better that it was her husband's). The doctor inserted the prostaglandin gel around 1pm, and she was continuously monitored for 2 hours. Things seemed to be going OK, and she's been allowed to sit up and move about a tiny bit since then. The doctor should be back around 5pm to check on her (they usually give the prostaglandins 4 hours to work) and decide whether to progress with Pitocin to start labor or to give her another application of prostaglandin gel.

    We can't promise any more updates until after the baby arrives, but if we get a chance, we'll post another update.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 04:53 PM | Comments (1)

    Inducing now!?!

    I just got a call from Elizabeth. Her platelet count was way down, so they said they want to induce her. I'm running out the door now, and will try to post something when I learn more. But it might be a day or two. Wish us luck!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:18 AM | Comments (6)

    March 02, 2004

    The Pregnant Lady

    As requested by Elizabeth's mom, here is a picture of the pregnant lady from earlier today:


    Given that the baby is in the 100th percentile of weight (8lbs 5oz at only 34 weeks and 5 days) and they say that there's more fluid in the amniotic sac than usual, it's not surprising that Elizabeth looks about ready to pop!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:36 PM | Comments (3)

    Progress (or lack thereof)

    Every doctor and nurse seems to have a different opinion on how "sick" I am and what we ought to do next, but I think a consensus is developing. Fortunately or unfortunately, the consensus is "we're not going to do anything until something changes." So far, my blood pressures and proteinuria are pretty stable at values just below the critical values that tend to make them spring into action, and I don't have any of the side effects like blurred vision or headaches that suggest that my nervous system is being strongly affected. The baby is moving a lot and seems to be in very good shape, so the main concern at this point is my health, not hers.

    I'm not showing any particular signs of going into labor on my own, although no one has checked my cervix for a couple of days to confirm that (they try to minimize internal exams to avoid the possibility of infection). I was having lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions when I was being monitored last night, which may change the induction strategy if they do decide to induce me. If I were not having contractions, they would probably use a prostaglandin gel to try to soften my cervix before starting me on Pitocin (which is a synthetic form of oxytocin, the hormone that triggers labor) by IV. However, if I'm already having contractions, they worry that the gel may cause hyperstimulation. If I get hyperstimulated from Pitocin, they can turn it off, but there's no way to "undo" the gel. The downside of going straight to Pitocin is that it may make the labor longer and harder.

    Everyone seems to agree that after I reach 36 weeks (March 10), there won't be any point in waiting longer, so if my condition hasn't deteriorated before then, I can expect to be induced right around then. Depending on induction method and how the baby and I are doing, I could be in labor for a couple of days after they induce me, or it could be much faster. (If it's the longer period, it shouldn't be "active" labor the whole time).

    In the mean time, I'm just lying on my side and hanging out in bed. I'm allowed to get up to go to the bathroom or to take a quick shower, but other than that, I'm here for the duration. The hospital food is actually not bad at all, and now that Tom has brought me books and my computer and set up a dialup connection for me, I'm doing pretty well here.

    A couple of people have asked about visiting. Visiting hours are 1-8, and I'd be happy to have visitors to break up my day. Drop me an email or call my cell phone beforehand, though, in case I'm off having an ultrasound or suddenly end up going into labor.

    Thank you all very much for all the support and well wishes. It really helps to know that you all are thinking of us.

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:01 PM | Comments (1)

    March 01, 2004

    Here We Go!...or not

    Well, today's been an exciting day. We went to Elizabeth's normal twice-weekly exam this morning (and I even got on-street, non-metered parking in Post Office Square!), after a weekend of reasonable blood pressures, rest, etc. They said that her spot-urine protein test was high, and a related test they'd done on Friday came back as not good, and her blood pressure was high (150/90, I think), so they wanted her to go to the hospital to be induced! We certainly weren't expecting that to happen this morning, by a long shot. In fact, we were not expecting it to such a degree that Elizabeth hadn't brought a book to read, and we hadn't packed the suitcase, or anything. Silly us.

    Our hearts were racing a bit, and we were feeling dumb for having not packed the suitcase etc. We went straight to Brigham & Women's hospital and got set up in maternity triage. They put her on the non-stress test (NST) and collected some urine. Soon after they drew some blood for more tests. The NST looked good, the spot-urine looked better than the earlier one, and when the lab (blood) tests came back, they also looked not bad. So the doctors on duty decided to not induce Elizabeth. Instead, they wanted to admit her to the hospital. We relaxed at that point; it sounds like baby Dorothy will not be delivered 24 hours from now, but things could change.

    So then we waited around for hours so that the ultrasound department to have an opening so that they could get Elizabeth in (oddly enough, a woman who's not even in labor yet is lower priority than people who might be dying). The ultrasound went great -- the baby is really kicking around and has good blood flow through the placenta. But boy is she HUGE! They said that her weight is 8 pounds 5 ounces, which is literally off the scales for a baby who's not quite 35 weeks yet. She's in the 100th percentile of weight. Now, the silly thing about reporting a weight that accurately is that we were told by one of the doctors last week that ultrasounds are only accurate to about 20%, so all these weight measurements they've been telling us are, in reality, only rough ballparks. But in any case, this is one big baby!

    Finally, after the 9:30am medical office visit, the 11am trip to the hospital, and the ~5pm ultrasound, Elizabeth got checked in to a regular antenatal room around 7pm, so this has been a much longer day than expected. The doctors said that Elizabeth is probably not going home until she has a baby, but that might be in a couple of days, or it might be a couple of weeks. We'll see. But for now, I have to go pack a suitcase and get some sleep so I can go back to the hospital in the morning. We'll try to keep the details flowing to this blog as often as we can!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:25 PM | Comments (6)

    February 27, 2004

    Friday Update

    My doctor's appointment went pretty well this morning. My blood pressure was OK, although I had a few high numbers at home, especially last night. But the NST went well, and the baby is moving around and generally seeming quite happy. She checked my cervix, and it's starting to soften up a little, but it's still not really ready for labor. The baby has not "dropped" yet, either (engaged the head in my pelvis). Hopefully that will happen soon, as it will make it a lot easier to induce labor if we need to.

    My protein levels were up a bit, but given the good blood pressure and lack of edema, we're still in "wait and see" mode. She said if we can make it to 35 or 36 weeks (March 3 and March 10, respectively), then the baby will almost certainly be OK to come home with me (that is, she won't have an extended stay in NICU).

    We "splurged" and stopped at IHOP on the way home, so I got to eat my breakfast sitting up with my feet on the floor. But now I'm back on the couch, and expect to stay here for the rest of today. I'll let you all know if there's anything new to report.

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

    February 25, 2004

    Tom's parents are here

    Tom's parents have been on vacation in Florida in their RV, and decided to go back to Chicago via Boston so they can help us out for a couple of days. After all, it was only 1400 miles out of the way.... Thank you, Mom & Dad!

    They got here last night, and today the house is transformed. They have finished all the furniture rearranging in the living room and the bedroom that we wanted to do before the baby arrives, and also helped set up a little better bed rest area for me by the couch (more table space that I can reach, etc.) Tonight, Mom will attempt to teach Tom how to cook meatloaf! I'm sure it will be an adventure for both of them. She's also going to make me some soup and/or casseroles tonight or tomorrow so we have some stuff that can just be reheated. (We have a tendency to eat a lot of frozen food normally, but it's all too high-sodium for me now). Then they need to head back to Chicago first thing Friday morning.

    I've been pretty good about lying down today. Yesterday I was sitting up for a while, and my blood pressure got up to 157/98, which is definitely way too high. It's been around 130/80 most of the times I've checked it today, though. I see my doctor early Friday morning, so I should find out the results of the last round of blood tests then, and probably schedule another ultrasound. I'll post again when we get back from that appointment.

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

    February 23, 2004

    Things are looking up

    My appointment with the nurse-midwife this morning went very well. My blood pressure is down, and my water retention is also down. Not only did my weight go way down, my ankles have started looking like a normal person's again. The overall message was basically, "keep doing whatever you're doing, because everything looks good." They ordered blood tests again, and they'll call if anything on those doesn't look right, but otherwise, I'm just sitting tight here until I see the OB on Friday.

    I'm also feeling better, and getting a little better at breaking up my day so I don't get too bored.

    I'll post again if there's anything to report, but for now, no news is definitely good news!

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 12:10 PM | Comments (6)

    February 21, 2004

    Bed rest is a pain

    Watch out folks - this is going to be a very whiny post. It's all worth it if it keeps my little girl healthy, but that doesn't make it fun! In some ways, it was easier when I was in the hospital.

    Tom is being wonderfully supportive, but he can't really afford to wait on me hand and foot, and I would feel bad about asking him, anyway. He has gone out and gotten me some very nice tables and a lap desk, so I can at least use the computer and eat fairly comfortably lying down. But it's a big pain for him to have to come downstairs from his office all the time during the day to refill my water and serve me all my meals/snacks/etc. Plus, I'm now sufficiently hemmed in by tables at the couch that it's getting a little tricky to slide in and out to go to the bathroom. It's not as if it was easy to get up from lying down with this big belly before!

    I've had a bad cold for several days (slowly getting better, finally), so lying all the way down is uncomfortable because my nose clogs up quickly. I can sort of prop my head up, but then my neck gets stiff. Lying all the way down also makes my normal pregancy heartburn worse. I'm supposed to be lying on my side, rather than my back, as much as possible, but of course that makes it difficult to type or to knit, and exacerbates the neck problem. I'm getting better at arranging pillows to prop me up appropriately, but the hospital bed was definitely easier for moving from one position to another.

    I guess the biggest problem is just that I'm bored. I'm not much of a TV watcher, and you can only read for so many hours a day (or at least I can). A fast net connection is a help (having a wireless connection at home is great!), and I'm playing computer games and shopping online, but I can see an awful lot of empty hours between me and the end of this process.

    I can tell that all this lying down seems to be helping, at least. My blood pressures have stayed fairly low (although not quite as low as yesterday or as in the hospital). On the other hand, I checked it right before and right after walking to the bathroom this afternoon, and my systolic pressure went up 10 points and my diastolic went up 20! They came back down again after I laid back down for a while, but clearly walking more than absolutely required is not a good idea.

    We did get a cool toy in the mail today - Mom's good friend Cliff had a very nice fetal Doppler (that he got to listen to underwater sounds in his backyard pond). He shipped it off for us to borrow, so we can hear the baby's heartbeat at home now. It's pretty fun, although I don't want to use it too often. The baby always seems to get agitated about ultrasounds and NSTs, so I don't want to be sending sound waves in there all the time. But it's neat to be able to hear her.

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 07:13 PM | Comments (6)

    February 19, 2004

    I'm home!

    As Tom mentioned, I'm home from the hospital, at least for now. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, where we will get the results of the 24-hour urine test that I finished there, and they'll also do another blood pressure check. So far, our home measurements since I got back from the hospital look about the same as they did there, so if I can manage to keep my duff in bed, hopefully I can stay home. Of course, that means Tom is going to have to get a crash course in cooking, since I'm supposed to be keeping an eye on my salt intake, so he can't just feed me frozen corn dogs any more. :-)

    I had another ultrasound at the hospital this afternoon, which estimated the baby's weight at 6lb 13oz, which is huge for 33 weeks (99th percentile). The ultrasound estimates can be off by 20% or more in either direction, though. (The measurement by a different ultrasound place a week ago said 5lb 5oz, which would be 84th percentile - still pretty big, but not enormous. But we don't think she could really gain a pound and a half in a week). The weights are based on measuring the head diameter, the abdomen diameter, and the length of the femur. I also have a little more amniotic fluid than average (it measures "high normal"). The doctor who took the ultrasound said that the only potentially negative effect of this is that it can cause you to go into labor early, but that in my case, the preeclampsia would probably outrace the fluid as a determining factor for when labor starts, anyway.

    Generally speaking, the perinatologist says there's not a whole lot that can be done for preeclampsia other than to try to slow it down like this. She says that it starts very early (maybe at conception), and that the only "cure" is to deliver the baby. So right now, it's mostly a balancing act between my health and hers. I'm in pretty good shape, and she seems fine on the ultrasounds, so they're not looking at inducing me yet. If there are signs that the placenta is becoming compromised (she starts moving less, her heart rate drops or doesn't accelerate appropriately on the NSTs, or they see reduced blood flow in the cord on an ultrasound), then they'll almost certainly induce me. If the blood pressure or other symptoms get serious enough to endanger my health, then they'll evaluate based on how well she would be expected to do out versus how well I would be expected to do with her in.

    Other than that, there's not a whole lot to report. I'll post another update after my doctor's appointment, assuming I don't get sent back to the hospital. I don't have a web connection there, which is probably why I got a lot of work done today. :-) Thanks to everyone for the supportive emails and phone calls - I really appreciate it!

    Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 10:53 PM | Comments (1)

    Quick Eliz update, 2/19 night

    Elizabeth is home! Yay!

    Since she's home, I'm going to let her update her own damn status since she's just laying on her duff all day now. ;-) Just kidding. But I am asking her to post a detailed update on her status tonight, to give me time to catch up with other work.

    But I wanted to post a couple notes in response to the various comments and emails from people.

    In no particular order:

    • I don't know if she was allowed visitors besides me in the hospital. Probably; we can check for next time.
    • I don't know if there's any way for people to be automagically notified by email when this site gets updated. If anyone out there is familiar with MovableType and can help me, drop me a line!
    • She did not need books or stuff to keep her entertained. She brought with her some books, her computer (which had both music AND games on it, plus a screen-saver of our kitties to help create a nice atmosphere), some knitting, some patent work, etc. So she definitely had plenty to do!
    • Sleep?!? I'm supposed to get sleep?!?
    • Since she's home, I will be enforcing bed rest. I don't think she'll be too bad about it, now that she's gotten a bit of a scare from going to the hospital, but I'll definitely be keeping a close eye on her.
    • Thanks Adora for the medical info. :-) I'm glad you remember it all. We've certainly read tons and tons about just about every aspect of pregnancy, but after a while it starts to blur together.

    I think that's all for now. If people have more questions and stuff, email them along. I'll certainly be available while she's at home, and if she has to go to the hospital again, I'll probably check email at least once per day.

    Oh, and a big thank you to everyone for reading and sending such supportive messages!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

    Eliz update, 2/19 morning

    I spoke with Elizabeth this morning. The perinatologist (sp?) has been in already today, and thinks that she may discharge Elizabeth tomorrow morning. We'll have to wait and see the results of the tests they're running, but Eliz may be able to come home for bed rest for a while.

    Her blood pressure seems to depend very strongly on whether or not she's lying down. One measurement they did this morning while lying down (and having been there for a few hours) was something like 130 over 70, whereas it's frequently been 145 over 85 while sitting up, and they got a couple of 150+ over 90 readings yesterday. So it sounds like she's going to have to stay horizontal. But if she does get to come home, at least the bun in the oven will get to cook for a while longer!

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:19 AM | Comments (3)

    February 18, 2004

    Elizabeth Update, 2/18 night

    I'm going to try to use my blog (which I haven't used much at all to date) to post updates on the status of Elizabeth and the baby. This way, I don't need to remember to email a billion people. I'll just email you all the blog URL, and you can keep checking back in for details.

    OK, for those of you just joining the game: The baby is at 33 weeks as of today. Full term is nominally 40 weeks (based on the way they count). Starting a few weeks ago (maybe right before 30 weeks?), they noticed that Elizabeth's blood pressure had jumped up, as had her weight (which means she's retaining water). Those are signs of pre-eclampsia/toxemia/PIH (same thing, different names), which can be a major concern. They put her on more frequent exams, to keep an eye on her. The blood pressure seemed to be fluctuating up and down, but staying mostly reasonable. She'd never had more than traces of protein in her urine; if there are more than traces, then that's another, more serious, sign of toxemia. Some of her tests had been slightly trending in the wrong direction, and so her doctor started talking about needing to induce her early (but how early wasn't clear).

    Given that things seemed to be stabilizing, we'd been hoping she could make it most of the way through the pregnancy, perhaps to 38 weeks. Well, on Tuesday (2/17), she went in for her twice-weekly exam, and they said that she'd gained 9 pounds in 4 days -- ie. she was retaining more water. The urine test also seemed to indicate some protein. They gave her an injection of steroids which help the baby's lungs to finish developing, and to give a surfactant effect (?) in the lungs so that if they do need to induce her real soon, then the baby would be better able to breathe on her own.

    They told her she needed to get a second injection of the steroid in 24 hours, i.e. at 4pm today (2/18). They also were waiting on the results of some blood tests. Today, they decided that they wanted her to go into the hospital, probably to be admitted, because her platelet count was down to 135 (maybe 135,000?), plus all the other stuff. So we took her to Brigham & Women's hospital. They checked her in, gave her the 2nd steroid shot, drew blood for more tests, did a non-stress test (NST - where they monitor the baby's heart), etc. They then decided to admit her.

    The baby looks to be doing great according to the NST, and according to an ultrasound from a week ago. Elizabeth also feels fine. She says the whole thing is annoying because she feels OK, it's just some machines that are telling her there's a problem. But they're doing a 24-hour urine test, which gives them a better profile of the proteins her kidneys might be spilling out, and to enforce bed rest on her.

    So I left her at the hospital around 9:30pm tonight. I'll be heading back sometime on Thursday. We probably won't hear anything back on the 24-hour test until Friday morning. So we don't know what's going to happen. Maybe they'll send her home for strict bed rest. Maybe they'll induce her right away. Maybe they'll leave her in the hospital for a few weeks. Keep checking back every day or two to this spot for more details.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:35 PM | Comments (2)

    December 29, 2003

    Breast is best

    There's an interesting article highlighting a recent controversy with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Large amounts of scientific research (see, for example the footnotes in this article) have indicated that breastfeeding is much healthier for babies than feeding them formula. The infant formula industry has crafted the public message as "breastfeeding makes you less prone to these problems..." whereas a research Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) campaign ad was going to switch the message to "infant formula makes you more prone to these problems...." The infant formula industry lobbied the new president of the AAP very heavily, and got him to help prevent the DHHS from running the ads.

    One point I found particularly interesting is that the World Health Organization (WHO) has an advertising code which prohibits any advertisements of infant formula. The WHO code has supposedly been adopted by most of the rest of the world, and so infant formula ads are banned in a manner similar to bans on ads for smoking in the US.

    I haven't read the literature and so I don't know how strong the differences are in breastfeeding versus infant formula. But this incident does seem to be just yet another example of the sometimes unfortunately heavy influence of private interests on public policy. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that private interests shouldn't have an influence on public policy. I'm just saying that their influence is often unduly heavy because their "power" is concentrated in an organization, whereas the general public is more diffuse, and thus has less influence.

    Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)