• english
  • french
Kiddos’ weights in grams
Kiddos’ weights in grams

String of good news today.

Manu hasn’t showed any “bradys” in several days (a brady, as the nurses say, is an episode of bradycardia, a drop in the heart rate).

Max got his breathing tubes removed from his nose and he likes it much better like that. His bradys come back from time to time but he had his first full day without. And the best: he’s been allowed to have some breast milk once a day (which is a good thing for Merritt too: she produces so much milk with her milking machine that the nurse told her to stop bringing some because their freezer is full!).

We go to the hospital once a day (twice for Merritt) for a Kangaroo session and we keep the kiddos on us for longer periods of time, up to an hour and a half. Both gain weight, are stronger and really start looking and behaving like good babies. They are more interested in what’s going around; they let us know what position they want to be, pushing and rolling.

They even had their first kiss today. At the end of the Kangaroo, we put them together on Merritt for her first ever armful of babies. “Come on! Kiss your brother!” the nurse said to Manu, pushing her onto Max. Cute like hell.

 

Manu
Manu the girl

 

Max
Max the boy
Tags:
  • english
  • french

The tests are in. They don’t say much that we didn’t already know - that the kiddos have nothing serious - but it’s always good to have it confirmed.

Manu still has a tiny Grade 1 (the lowest) IVH (intraventricular hemorrhage) - small blood vessels in the brain that are broken. It should resolve itself in the coming weeks. Apparently it’s part of the normal growth of the brain and in most cases it disappears before birth; that’s why it can be seen more frequently in premature kids.

Max is still in limbo. Merritt’s genetic test came back inconclusive, mine show that I am carrier of the galactosemia gene, so we still don’t know if Max will be a galactosemia carrier like me (not a problem except if he decides to have kids with another carrier) or if he has the benign form of galactosemia, called Duarte Galactosemia, in which case he will probably have to go on a low-milk or no-milk diet for the first 6-12 months. We’ll have definitive results in 90 days but at least, the really nasty Classic Galactosemia has been ruled out.

Tags:
  • english
  • french
Two weeks in bed: $75,000
Two weeks in bed: $75,000

Million Dollar Babies. Nope, it has nothing to do with Clint Eastwood’s movie. It’s just the tale of a normal middle-class American family with a pair of kids who were born a bit too early.

We received Merritt’s bill for her first two weeks of bed rest at the hospital: $75,000. That’s more than $5,300 per day — $5,100 for the bed and $200 for miscellaneous stuff (like the $15 vitamin pill or the cheerful Nursing Consultant who stops by the room, introduces herself as “Hi, my name is Sally and I’ll explain you how to nurse your baby”, then stays 10 minutes and bills $85 for the service).

But Merritt stayed 3 1/2 weeks, so the total for the bed rest should be $130,000.
Add the costs of a C-section, $30,000, and her total is $160,000.

Now if the room where Merritt was vaguely monitored already costs 5 grands a day, how much can it be for the kiddos? We took a bet, then asked a nurse and, lo and behold, the result came in at $10,000 a day. Each, of course.

Max & Manu were born at 29 1/2 weeks and a good guess is that they’ll stay 6 weeks in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Total: 6 weeks * 7 days per week * $10,000 per day * 2 babies = $840,000.

So the Grand Total to bring our two precious little people on an already crowded planet is $160,000 + $840,000. And that’s….

BINGO! ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
Merritt and I got the Million Dollar Babies!!!
 
and we can assure you that we already love them so much more than that…
- - - - - - - -

 

Fortunately, all that will be taken care of by Merritt’s insurance (fair deal, these babies are her idea anyhow - you know, women…), a public insurance which comes from the State of California and allows her to choose her doctor.

Now imagine if a programmer like me, covered by Kaiser (a private insurance that’s rated as average in terms of actual care but the best in California in terms of coverage), decided to extend his coverage to his wife and his kids… How much would that cost him? Between $800 and $1,000 per month of premiums, plus $7,000 dollars a year of out-of-pocket expenses. Total: up to $19,000 dollars a year. And he would not even be free to go see the best doctors in town, he’d be stuck with the doctors who are employed by the same company that insures his health (a bit as if your car insurance company was employing an army of auto-mechanics to maximize their profits). Yuck!

And what does happen if the programmer can’t fork out 20 grands annually for health care? Easy: he gets the bill for one million. Why Americans don’t want a health system that’s organized by physicians and ran by the public rather than exploited by the corporate boards of private companies, it’s beyond me…

Tags:
  • english
  • french

The loud bangs on the walls and the animal screams you can occasionally hear at any time of the day and the night are not Merritt and I’s celebrations at the end of weeks of abstinence. It’s Merritt’s difficult convalescence of her C-section in the midst of postpartum uterine contractions and post-surgical constipation. A perfect storm, as you can imagine.

Yes, it’s not always easy to be a mom. Ask yours.

Tags: |
  • english
  • french
Kiddos’ weights in grams
Kiddos’ weights in grams

On the minus side, Max still needs some oxygen. He’s got two little tubes in his nostrils and he doesn’t like it much. We are also waiting for the result of a genetic test that Merritt and I had to take to see if he’s not suffering from a rare disease that would prevent him from assimilating milk. He tested positive at a screening but no big concern yet: it’s a test that has a lot of false-positives. Only 1 or 2% of those who test positive have the dangerous form of the disease (galactosemia) and less than 10% have just an mildly annoying form of it (Duarte galactosemia). All the other ones are false-positives. As for Manu, the only thing she’s got is a tiny little bleeding in the brain. Yes, I know, it sounds bad when said like that but it’s common in preemies and in the vast majority of cases, it resolves by itself without consequences.

On the plus side, they are both doing fine (or great, say the doctors) by all the other tests they went through: genetic, x-rays, ultrasounds, blood exams, etc… They are being fed more and more - a big syringe of milk every 3 hours with a volume that’s increased of 1cc more every 6 hours - and they are gaining weight. It’s impressive to see the size of the syringe next to the kids. It’s looks as if an adult had to swallow a bottle the size of a big fire-extinguisher in less than 2 minutes. Burp!

Manu sleeping after gulping down 20cc of milk
Manu sleeping after gulping down 20cc of milk

 

Tags: | |
  • english
  • french

Today my mom told me not to smoke near the kiddos. I inquired why and she told me that it’s bad for them. I promised her we would not burn incense in the incubators nor light up a barbecue in the Intensive Care Unit (yes, it’s all true). I also transmitted her request to the nurses. “No problem with tobacco”, they said, “but for pot, it’s more annoying, it really calms them down”.

So here is our new poll…

Can we, or should we, smoke anything near the kiddos?
  • Add an Answer
View Results

 
 And now, here is a little video for my mommy (I’m not sure anybody else will be interested)… Look, mom, I’m doing something that you have probably never done in your life: changing the diapers on a little girl. It’s very cute.


 
 
[video by Eeno]

Tags:
  • english
  • french

Sometimes, living in New-Agey California has some unexpected benefits. Remember how everywhere else doctors used to keep the parents’ hands out of the incubators? Not here! As soon as the preemies are strong enough, the nurse hands you over your precious little things and places them on your bare chest an hour everyday. It’s called the “Kangaroo Care” and it feels very good. Really. You should make babies just to try it.

Kangaroo Merritt
Kangaroo Merritt
Kangaroo Pierre
Kangaroo Pierre
 

 Click on the pictures above to see a larger version, and on the picture below to play the movie.


[ Javascript required to view QuickTime movie, please turn it on and refresh this page ]


 
 

 

[video by Eeno]

Tags:
  • english
  • french

chirac.jpgJacques Chirac has never been very technologically inclined. In 1996, 12 years after the Mac, he did not know what a computer mouse was. In 2008, 12 more years later and still mulling the benefits of the invention, he proposes to “tax the clicks on the internet”.

Well, I think the government should tax toilet paper. It would allow us to take advantage of our daily isolations to meditate over those who are a pain in the ass. That’s what we do here in San Francisco

[link, pointed by Daniel]

Tags:
  • english
  • french

Merritt is back home! But here is what happens when you forget at the hospital the most important part of the milking machine…


 
 And it works! Look…

 

Breastmilk
Mother’s Milk

 

Tags: |
  • english
  • french

Another day of rest for our two heroes. Tonight, they don’t have any hose left planted in the umbilical cord.

We like their level of activity even when deeply asleep. We’re starting to understand what was taking place inside Merritt’s belly. Here is a movie of Max taking a nap…

Tags:

Next Page →