The Rants, Raves, Gripes, and Prophecies of Paul R. Potts

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Tue, 26 Oct 2004 Head for the Exit, Baby!

Well, like many deadlines do, our baby's due date sailed right by. The baby is now ten days late. Grace's readiness for delivery is rated a "9" now, as determined in our last doctor visit yesterday, but she's so far had only "warmup" contractions. The baby still seems to be doing fine, wiggling and kicking but sleeping most of the time.

If she doesn't go into labor tomorrow, the plan is to go into the hospital Thursday morning early, at which time they will induce labor.

We're nervous because we gave up a scheduled C-section on the 16th in order to try to do it the usual way and avoid a C-section, which is harder and slower to recover from. Now we're concerned that we've set ourselves up for a repeat of her first pregnancy, where after 12 hours of labor Isaac's heart rate slowed, and an emergency C-section was performed.

It's a long story, but we had pretty much assumed that after that, a scheduled C-section might be the best option. Even when we asked about whether this was in fact the best idea, our first doctor just took this plan as a given, and never told us that it wasn't medically necessary, or in fact gave us any useful information at all from Grace's old medical records, even though she had received them.

After a visit with a second doctor in which he gave Grace more information and answers in ten minutes that our previous doctor had given her in ten visits, we changed doctors. He told us that there wasn't anything that ruled out the usual method of delivery, and recommended trying it, so we gradually came around to the idea.

We still might be able to achieve that, but the other thing we gave up by not scheduling the delivery was the chance to have our available friends and relatives, who have to work around their own work schedules, here shortly after the delivery. My father and stepmother came for a week-long visit, and we had a good time and they gave us a lot of help getting the apartment ready, but now we'll probably need, and be short on, help in the first few days following delivery, as Grace recovers from a regular delivery or C-section.

I don't have much in the way of paid time off from work; I'll actually be running a deficit in days off, which is an unfortunate thing to do right before the holidays. If I had understood how the PTO plan would actually work in practice, I might have had second thoughts about taking this job.

It really is a bind; I need to take care of my wife and kids (plural now!), but my project at work is on a tight deadline, I have little or no PTO available, and I certainly can't afford to take unpaid time off. I will try doing some work at home, but I'm not sure how well I'll be able to achieve that with Grace recovering, a newborn, and my son all here. Lots going on! Please wish us luck.

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Sun, 10 Oct 2004 Deploy Baby Unit!

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned... it has been well over a month since my last weblog entry.

Life has become busier. To begin with, I'm now working again, finally. My employer is a company in Canton, MI, called MicroMax. My title is Senior Software Engineer. It is a relatively short commute: only about 30 minutes, on relatively uncrowded streets. The work is challenging, and different. I'm doing primarily documentation at the moment. The project is a little more tense than I'd like, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and wondering how our team is going to get everything done that needs to be done, but I'm maintaing some degree of optimism. A regular paycheck certainly helps with that.

Our bank account is still kind of stunned from months of unemployment, and it is taking a while for things to normalize, but in a month or two, if things go well, we will have built up some reserves. We're very fortunate in that we did not have to either declare bankruptcy or stop paying our consolidated monthly debt payment, thanks in part to help from family and friends. The unemployment system kept us housed (it was enough to pay rent), but it didn't keep us fed or keep us from going into bankruptcy; it took selling off a lot of posessions, as well as a support system, to do that. It drove home how badly we need to have savings, and how badly we need to be out of debt. It made me even more resolved that if our creditors do not honor the agreements we have set up with them, they will not get paid. I can't pay Citibank whatever they want, when they've failed to honor the payment agreement that we made with our debt consolidation organization. We can't allow them to keep pushing our debt-free horizon further back; we need to be in the black. Especially since I doubt this is the last time I will find myself without a job.

The bigger life change on the horizon is that Grace is due to have a baby in six days; her due date is the 16th. Of course, babies don't necessarily pay attention to due dates, but it seems likely that something will happen pretty close to that date. The baby's dropped into a good position for delivery. It all looks pretty much ready to go. Grace has left her job, in preparation for at least a few months as a stay-at-home mom, and has been focusing on getting our apartment fixed up and ready. She's made a lot of progress; a little something every day. So I'm encouraged. We are tackling messes we haven't dealt with since moving in over three years ago. It is also enabling me to do more deep cleaning, when the clutter is taken care of.

It is a scary prospect, becoming the father of a newborn at the age of 37. I'm very sensitive to noise; my concentraton is easily broken, I tend to need time to myself every day to keep from becoming very irritable, even if it is only a short time. My work requires great concentration, and I am quite critical to the project. If I'm dozing at my desk I won't be much use.

Everyone tells me how difficult a new baby's sleep patterns can be for the parents. Grace tells me, though, that Isaac was very easy... not fussy, not a big crier, and slept well quite early on. But I can't count on that. We might get lucky, and we might not. I'll have to count on Grace's help, family and outside help, and my basically patient nature. It will have to do!

I expect that the next weblog entry will tell the world whether our baby is a boy, Samuel Ambrose Potts, or a girl, Veronica Ruth Potts. Wish us a speedy and safe delivery!

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