Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

Cassidy has a big night of drinking and carousing planned. He'll knock back a few bottles of formula, have himself a celebratory yawp (and burp) at midnight, among other times, and maybe even a 3 am nightcap. Hopefully he won't barf all over himself.

We hope you all have a great 2009 - here's a few pictures, including a very nice card sent by his aunt Jill!

Monday, December 29, 2008

life = [((poop, eat, sleep) * 8) for day in allDays]

(sorry for the geeky title - non-programmers, just know that it's a really nerdy joke about the repetitive cycle of taking care of Cassidy)

Hi all -

Not a whole lot to report, but I figured everyone would want more pictures. Cassidy is now 23 days old (an auspicious number!) and continuing to do the things that babies do - namely eat, sleep, gain weight, and expel lots of noxious substances. He got another visit from Kim & Sean yesterday (pictured below) and they brought us a delicious tamale pie. Yum! He seems to be at his cutest when visitors come by, so local folks should let us know when they want to request an audience with His Majesty.

Flannery has also been trying to re-assert her dominance - we have a photo here of her trying to share the much-coveted mommy lap with Cassidy.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Hi all -

A few people have asked how to add comments to Cassidy's blog. The easiest way to do it is to sign up for a gmail account (they're free; let me know if you need instructions) and use that to log in.

Sadly, lots of spammers use the comment sections of blogs to advertise some unseemly web sites, so we had to make it a little bit challenging. With a new baby, we don't have the bandwidth to go through comments and delete viagra ads.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!

We had a quiet Christmas here in San Francisco. With all the drama lately, it was nice just to spend a quiet day at home with Cassidy. At 19 days old, he doesn't know from Christmas, so we took it easy on all the presents and celebration. Plus, he has been our major expenditure of late. (OK, we also bought a new TV ...)

We did take a walk down the block to the newly-opened park (Cassidy's first excursion in his stroller) and gave him his first bath since getting home. He actually seemed OK with it, which was a surprise.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

on names

Names are important things. They help us to understand what something or someone is or is not. In the case of a baby, does the name define the person, or is it the other way around? Cassidy is still in the early stages of discovering who he is and creating a meaning to go with his name.

He has four names, so I thought I'd briefly explain why we chose each of them, from simplest to most complicated.

Brooks: My last name. There was a little discussion about whether he should have my last name or Holly's, but this seemed simplest.

Pierce: His first middle name. We just liked the sound of it. No big symbolism.

Barrett: His second middle name. This was Holly's dad's last name at birth. He was later adopted, and became Severson. We thought it was good to keep it around - Severson and Schultz (his grandma Rachel's last name) are already being carried on by cousins Sara and Kali. Plus it's Irish-sounding.

Cassidy: his first name. We wanted something a little unusual - no John or Jim or Steve or Thomas. Nothing wrong with those, it just didn't fit for us. Cassidy's also got the Irish sound, which is nice.
The proximal inspiration is the Grateful Dead song quoted on the right - it's a really beautiful song about birth, death, and rebirth, and finding your own way through and joy in life. I highly recommend Suzanne Vega's version, which can be found on the Deadicated compilation. The Grateful Dead version on Without a Net is also very good.

The song is primarily about a baby, Cassidy Law, but also makes allusions to Neal Cassady, who served as an inspiration to two generations of artists (the Beats and the Pranksters). Howl is dedicated to him, and he's the basis for most of Jack Kerouac's work. Neal the person was a complicated and flawed man, but Neal the Icon is something else - he represented breaking down barriers, stepping outside the boundaries of conformity and the rules of society, of seeking joy and adventure in life, and ultimately valuing love, passion, friendship and experience. There are worse inspirations for a little guy these days.

Monday, December 22, 2008

come let us adore him

Cassidy got lots of visitors this weekend, many bearing presents. (No frankincense or myrrh, though.) Kim and Sean came to see him on Friday and brought us burritos, which were much appreciated. Then, he got to meet his cousin Kali and uncle Tracy over the weekend - they brought him a sheep puppet and a book. (He likes books.) And then Nancy and Rudd came to visit and brought an apple pie, which we ate on his behalf. All in all, a busy weekend for the little guy.

Another big milestone - his umbilical cord came off today. I hear that in some cultures that means you're officially a man. We considered saving it for him as a memento, but decided against it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

fashion plate

One of the fun things about little babies is that you can dress them up in cute clothes and they can't complain, or aren't yet aware of things like embarrassment and looking silly. In many ways babies have this figured out better than adults.

Cassidy here is modeling his Santa hat, along with jammies sent by Grandma Rachel. Soon after his photo shoot, he barfed up his dinner all over them. Luckily, baby formula comes out easily, and since he doesn't know about embarrassment, he was just happy that his tummy felt better.

We also have an appearance here by Flannery, aka the Squirrel, aka the Formerly Cutest Creature In The House. She's having a hard time adjusting to not being the unquestioned number one any more. In addition to not having her mom's undivided attention anymore, she's quite annoyed that she hasn't been able to drink any of Cassidy's formula (even when it spills on the floor) despite her best efforts. Little does she know that in a few short months he'll go from being a sedentary and mysterious new addition to the family to a crawling, grabbing, squealing tormentor.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

how are we not extinct?

Holly raised that excellent question Tuesday after a four-hour crying fest. I found myself asking the same question last night after he woke up at 2am to eat (expected) and stayed up until 4:30 fussing and crying (less expected).

We're learning some tricks to deal with Cassidy's less charming moments, including the football carry (shown below) which helps when he's got gas, and the swing he inherited from cousin Freya, which he's quite impressed with. There's also the fact that he's got his moments of incredible cuteness and charm.

We're now to the point where two full-grown, college-educated adults can (barely) keep up with taking care of him :-)

He's awake! I'd better go fill his ravenous maw!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

these babies sure do poop a lot

So here's the latest on the Cassidy front:

We're home, and trying to get settled into a routine, which seems to involve a fairly rapid eat/poop/cry/sleep cycle. Holly and I are doing OK so far; it's been a little overwhelming, but we're starting to figure things out.

Cassidy got some very nice presents from his Aunt Barb, Cousin Sara, and Aunt DD, Uncle Mike, and Cousin Freya. He's admiring the panda book that DD, Mike and Freya gave him.

We had our first trip to the pediatrician today. Everything seems good, and Holly and I got some parenting questions crossed off of our seemingly endless list.

He's also discovered the joys of the swing, and spent a couple of hours blissing out in that this evening. Here, he's demonstrating his new "evil genius" face.

One unexpected result of his arrival: our cats, Flannery and Muffy, who'd previously been in a cold war state, have forged a truce against the new common enemy who's displaced them from the top of the cuddle pyramid. They've pretty much kept their distance from him, but have been oddly friendly to each other.

And now, the pictures.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Hi all -

We made it home safely. Cassidy was discharged this morning, and we made the journey back to San Francisco without too much drama. We're all well, he's doing fine, and we're starting to settle into the day-to-day of baby care.

We probably won't update this quite as frequently (although we'll keep adding pictures) and hopefully the news will be more about cute accomplishments and less about medical results.

Thanks again to everyone for all your words of love and support. It's really meant a lot to us to know that so many people are on our side.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

12/13/08 - Saturday!

Hi all of Cassidy's adoring fans!

So it looks like Cassidy is going to get to go home tomorrow. Yay! The doctors still need to make a final discharge in the morning, but the neonatalogist we spoke to today said that he's looking good and should be ready to go home.

He got his last dose of antibiotics this morning. When we came in to see him this morning, we found out that the IV in his leg had gone bad and they had to move it to his scalp, which looked gruesome but didn't hurt him. That's out now and he's as handsome as ever. He's been a really tough little guy with all the stuff that's happened to him in his first week of life.

We also got to give him his first bath today. He was OK with the water on his face and head, but got a little freaked out when we actually put him in the tub. He got another visit from the physical therapist, who showed us some exercises to help him strengthen the muscles in the front of his body and improve the range of motion in his legs. I can't wait to get him home to start doing baby yoga.

Everyone here at Sutter Memorial has been really great to us. All of the nurses have been incredibly supportive and helpful, and are always willing to answer all our questions and talk us through these basic parenting skills.

So hopefully the next post you see will be from the comfy confines of home. We're not too excited about the 2-hour drive back to San Francisco, though. We're going to have to time the feeding and pooping schedule pretty carefully.

And now, baby pictures!

Friday, December 12, 2008

12/12/08 welcome to sleep deprivation

Hi all -
(sorry. No cute pictures this time)

So we just got done with the overnight stay in the self-care room. We did all the feeding and diaper-changing and burping and soothing and so on, which went pretty smoothly. Cassidy did manage to barf up a bunch of formula in his crib at one point, but we got it cleaned up. We're both pretty tired at this point - we decided it's even harder than having him at home, since we're in one tiny room, so we can't have one person sleep in the other room while he's feeding, plus the nurses are also coming in every few hours to check his vitals and administer his IV, and the pullout couch in there was not exactly comfortable.

Despite that, it was a good experience. We both feel pretty solid about the basics and ready to take him home, where we can get a more sensible sleep schedule figured out. (Plus, our huge king-size bed is much more luxurious and comfortable.)

We're going to go run some errands, take a walk, and probably a nap, so it's unlikely that we'll post any more until late tonight or tomorrow.

OK, since you asked so nicely, here's a picture from a couple of days ago.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

12/11/08 - overnight in self-care

Hi all -

tonight we're staying overnight in self-care with Cassidy. It's a regular room next to the NICU with a pull-out bed and recliners. We do all the feeding, diaper changing, etc, and the nurses just to the nursey stuff, which is mostly weighing, checking vitals, and administering antibiotics.

Health-wise, he's still doing really well. Eating, pooping, gaining weight. Yay! We had a class with a PT today who showed us some "tummy time" exercises to help him build up the muscles in the front of his body - since babies sleep on their backs, they need time to strengthen their fronts as well. We had a couple of rounds of tummy time, which really wiped him out. After all, he's only five days old. He also had his first sneeze (that we saw, anyway) - he looked a little perplexed by the whole thing.

Not much else to report, which I think is good. We won't know a going-home date for a couple of days yet. Here's a couple of pictures for you!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Updates - 12/10/08

Hi everyone -

Another good day for Cassidy - yay! Things have been going really well; pretty much everything we could hope for.

Cassidy was taken off of phenobarbitol yesterday, and they're monitoring him to make sure there's no further seizure activity. So far everything has been totally clear. He's still on antibiotics until Saturday, but if he continues to do well, we can take him home Sunday or Monday.

He's also eating (and pooping) quite well. He's completely off IV fluids, and eating almost 2oz of formula and/or breast milk every three hours. Holly and I have both been feeding him; the first couple of times were tricky, as he's still figuring out what to do with his tongue, but this evening he sucked down his meal in about 10 minutes.

We got to spend 4 hours with him in the self-care room this evening. Basically, it's a separate room next to the NICU where we do all the feeding and care. The nurse comes in every 3 hours to take vitals and is on call to answer questions or help out, but basically it's all us. Tomorrow we're doing it from noon until 9am Friday, which should be a good test drive for once we get him home.

We read him another book (Is A Camel A Mammal) and listened to music and sang with him. (He was mostly doing background vocals.)

We still don't know if he'll have any long-term problems from all of this, and we may not for years, but that seems to be the way it is with kids anyway. We're getting a crash course in both the scary and joyful parts of being parents, all at once.

Any now for the reason you're really here - the pictures!