February 01, 2005

February 03, 2005

Club feet, Week 5

This morning was Nathan’s fifth appointment with Dr. Lincoln. Melissa (who flew home this afternoon) came along because she wanted to see what happened at the doctor. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t really get to see what the appointments have typically been like.

Fortunately, that’s because Nathan wasn’t bothered at all by the adjustment. I’ve never seen him like this – he smiled, waved his arms around, and made cooing noises. He looked around happily while the nurse took the casts off, and then cheerfully let the doctor and nurse put the new casts back on.

The doctor said that this happens a lot the week after the tenotomy. The theory is that when the babies get so mad at the adjustment, it’s the tightness of the Achilles tendon that makes the stretch so painful. So after the tendon is “lengthened” (i.e., cut), the stretch doesn’t hurt nearly as much.

The doctor also gave us the prescription for Nathan’s braces, and said that we should bring them in next week. On that appointment, he’ll set the braces and change the casts one last time. A week later, we’ll take the casts off ourselves and put him into the braces, then take Nathan back in to have them checked one week after that.

Just two more weeks of casts :)

Posted by Mike at 11:11 PM

February 07, 2005

Weekend update

Nathan, who I forgot to mention weighed in at 11 lb, 13 oz at his doctor’s visit last Thursday, is demonstrating his increased size by needing to eat more and more, and out of bigger bottles. We’ve started to give him 6 oz at a time at feedings, and while he doesn’t always want that much, he's starting to much more often. He’s also already grown out of some of his clothes. Soon we’ll have to put two full drawers of baby clothes away, and he’ll need his ‘3–6 month’ about a month early. This kid sure does grow fast.

We tried to get his special shoes and braces over the weekend, but the store wasn’t able to quite get them to fit. Quick lesson in braces for cast feet: the braces are essentially just shoes (very, very small shoes) that support the ankle and are attached on the bottom to a metal bar. You can, with the metal bar, set the angle for the shoes. The foot being corrected for club foot sits at a 70° angle, rotated to the outside, while the uncorrected foot sits at a much smaller angle.

Only, of course, Nathan has club feet, not club foot, so both shoes need to be at a 70° angle, which makes the fit between the shoes very tight. And by tight, I mean less than zero room. I suggested a bigger bar between the shoes, but evidently the next size up is much bigger. After trying for a while, the clerk suggested coming back later after his casts are off, when they can measure his feet better to make sure they’ve got the right size, and having the owner (who wasn’t in that day) do the setting, since he’s much more practiced at it.

All of this means, though, that we won’t have the shoes at the doctor’s visit on Wednesday. And since the doctor is, understandably, quite keen to check the braces before we put it on Nathan, we’ll have to go back again next week.

Sunday I went to church with Nathan while Meredith went to her job at the church in Half Moon Bay. Nathan demonstrated to me just how much harder it can be to get out of the house with only one parent when I got out of the shower at 9:30 to find that he had spit up all over himself and so needed a new outfit. When I noticed that his diaper was awfully wet and needed to be changed too. All that activity reminded him that he was hungry; time to be fed. And hey, after all that feeding, why not really dirty a diaper? At 10:20, we finally made it out the door, making it to church about ten minutes late, where he promptly fell asleep on my chest and didn’t wake up until after church ended.

Isobel Anderson’s memorial service was after church yesterday, so all kinds of people had come to church, including Bob & Carol Olmstead who got to meet Nathan for the first time. :)

Posted by Mike at 08:05 AM | Comments (1)

February 11, 2005

Not a good tech week

Earlier this week, my desktop PC at home died when one of the boot files got corrupted on my hard drive. I was going to try to burn a recovery disk at work so I could fix it, but between meetings, had a total of something like 20 minutes in my office over the last two days, so didn't get to it.

Then this morning, my DSL modem wasn't connecting. And still wasn't when I got home tonight. After half an hour on the phone with customer service ("are you using a firewall?"), someone decided that they would need to come out and look at my line, which probably won't happen until Monday. So I'm posting this via a (*ahem*) borrowed wireless connection.


Posted by Mike at 11:42 PM | Comments (1)

February 15, 2005

Slideshow of new pictures


I’ve uploaded a slideshow of the last two weeks of pictures of Nathan. Click here to play it (right-click and choose ‘Save Target As…’ to save it to your hard drive).

You’ll need Windows Media 10 or Photo Story 3 for Windows (which is what I used to create this) to play the slideshow. (I haven’t figured out how to do this in QuickTime; sorry.)

Posted by Mike at 09:53 PM

February 17, 2005

No more casts!

We took Nathan’s casts (for his club feet) off last night! His feet look great :)

He doesn’t really mind the braces. He does, however, mind having the braces put on. But once both shoes are on, he’s fine. It could just be from not being used to having anyone touch his feet / legs at all.

We’ll put pictures up soon.

Posted by Mike at 09:57 AM | Comments (2)

February 18, 2005

So sick of comment / trackback spam

I am just about to ban any comment / trackback where the word 'poker' appears anywhere in the entry.

Someone really needs to come up with the spam-sender seeking missile.

Posted by Mike at 01:10 PM | Comments (2)

February 19, 2005

Getting used to no casts

Taking Nathan's casts off Nathan with his braces
Nathan with his casts off

I still need to upload all the new pictures, but here are a couple from the night we took Nathan’s casts off. The top left one is with his casts unrolled and draped all over him (we hadn’t pulled the gauze off yet). As you can see, he was pretty excited about having them come off. The bottom is with the casts completely off, and the top right is with his braces one. The bar connecting the two shoes is called a Denis Brown splint. With club feet, the shoes are set at a 70° angle. 

He’s still getting used to them, and not entirely happily. Mostly it seems like he’s just having a hard time finding new positions to get comfortable in. He wakes up in the middle of night, or from naps in the day, pretty fussy. He usually calms down fast, but he’s clearly not enthralled with them just yet.

Putting the shoes on, especially with both of them at an angle, is HARD. Thursday morning, it took me over ten minutes to get his shoes off and back on so I could get his clothes off. It’s also harder because Nathan really doesn’t like it. The nurse pointed out to us a while back that when the casts came off that he wouldn’t be used to being touched on his legs at all, so that might be part of what makes him so mad.

Fortunately, the shoes come off the split easily (they’re held on with a big thumbscrew on the bottom), and we’ve found it’s easier to put his feet into the shoes, then attach them back to the bar. On Thursday, the first full day in the braces, we discovered in the evening that one of his feet was completely out, and another one was mostly out. And we had been worried that we might have had them too tight. Clearly not.

I had been a little worried about changing his diaper, but it’s actually pretty easy – we just lift his legs up by the bar and slide the diaper between his legs. Meredith had originally thought that it might be nice to take his shoes off for diaper changes anyway, just to give him a small break, but given what a pain it is to get his shoes on, we’ll clearly not be doing that. We’ll also be trying to pick clothes that can be put on and taken off without needing to go over his feet.

Posted by Mike at 09:10 PM | Comments (8)

February 20, 2005

My gay church?

I’m on the webmaster email alias for our church. The other day, someone sent an email to that address that was addressed “To: Homosexual Churches.’

Who knew that churches could be gay? (And is it a choice, or were gay churches born that way? Such questions…)

The writer of this email included two Bible verses, presumably to remind us of our sinful ways. Helpfully, the author highlighted the (presumably) relevant portions. Interestingly, though, these portions of the included scripture passages were not highlighted:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1)


For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” (Titus 2:11)

Perhaps the author of this email should try thinking about what the scripture means, instead of trying to find a few words in it here and there to bash those that s/he disagrees with.

Posted by Mike at 06:52 PM | Comments (2)

February 21, 2005

The happiest five minutes of Nathan's day

The happiest five minutes Nathan has each day now come in the morning, when we take his shoes off to change his socks. The bar comes off, the shoes come off, and he SMILES. He kicks his feet, he moves his legs all around, he smiles, he laughs, he coos.

Then the shoes have to go back on. It’s become a surprisingly hard thing to do for us, because he is so sad and so frustrated when it happens. You take this smiling, almost deliriously happy baby – and then apply the torture restraints. He hates it.

At least he calms down after a minute or so. He’s still the worlds most mellow baby. But it’s pretty sad to have to ruin his mood like that, even if only for a couple of minutes. At least the daytime use of the braces will only be for a few months.

Posted by Mike at 09:19 PM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2005

Random Nathan update


Meredith has amazing luck. I am pretty sure that I have changed every single one of Nathan’s dirty diapers in the last week. This is not to suggest that Meredith has not been changing his diapers; on the contrary, she’s probably changed more than I have in the last week because of our schedules. But somehow I get all the dirty ones. Hmmph.

I think I’m going to have to start calling him Houdini. He has an astonishing ability to wiggle his way out of his shoes. This is even more astonishing when you consider that he doesn’t have any ability to use his hands to help him yet – this is just from moving his feet around. I woke up yesterday morning to find one foot completely out, only to later discover that Meredith had already put that same foot back in his shoe when she got up with him at 5 AM. This, perhaps, is his solution to not liking the shoes: simply get out of them. Meredith suggested that my plan to super-glue his feet to the inside of his shoes was not, perhaps, my best one. Maybe this becomes easier as his feet get bigger and the shoes aren’t as loose. In theory, these are the smallest shoes of this type available. Ugh.

Beca asked how long Nathan has to wear the funny braces for his club feet. The plan is that he wears these 24/7 for three or four months, then only at night until he’s three or four years old. So he should be out of them in the day before he even starts crawling. The doctor said that occasionally, babies will need another round of casting for a short time if they start to regress, but usually not. Of course, babies probably don’t usually manage to keep pulling their feet out of the damned shoes.

We went out last night to Los Altos Grill with friends to celebrate anne’s new job. He was awake when we first got there, then slept all the way through dinner. Loud noises always do this – he goes to sleep. All things considered, I’d much rather him fall asleep to loud noises than to silence. It is, after all, far easier to make noise than to make silence.

I’ve decided that baby monitors suck. There are three basic classes of baby monitors available – those at 49 MHz, 900 MHz, and the fancy new ones at 2.4 GHz. I decided to skip the latter, since 2.4 GHz is part of the unregulated frequency band that is used by anything and everything. Most cordless phones, WiFi network connections, even microwave ovens. In this area, I’m pretty sure the last thing we need is one more device trying to use that frequency space. So first we tried a 900 MHz monitor, which worked great so long as the transmitter and receiver were in the same room. Much further away then that, though, and there was way too much interference. So then we tried the oldest frequency, and got a 49 MHz model. Evidently part of the benefit of living in such a high-tech area is that no one actually has crappy old 49 MHz cordless phones, so this one mostly works. I say mostly, because it’s still prone to interference, and doesn’t sound all that great, but at least we can hear the sound of a pissed-off Nathan over the occasional static.

What I really want is something that uses the existing wireless network in my house – my WiFi network. I should be able to buy transmitters and receivers that can plug into Ethernet (hey, I want everything to use Ethernet) or connect to WiFi. That way, there wouldn’t be additional interference, and it would also be secure (well, as secure as WiFi is), so random people couldn’t listen in on our house. They do make wireless webcams now that interface to 802.11 that presumably also serve audio, but I don’t really need the video. The bigger problem is that I don’t know of anything that acts as a stand-alone receiver. Sure, we could run a laptop in the bedroom at night, but that seems like overkill.

Meredith thought that I was the only one in the world geeky enough to think about wiring a baby monitor into the computer network, until at dinner last night when I was complaining about interference with baby monitors and Sam said, “You need one that plugs into Ethernet.” ;)

Posted by Mike at 09:05 AM | Comments (9)

February 24, 2005

Two month check-up

Nathan had his two month check-up yesterday. He’s doing great, and is perfectly healthy in every way (except that there seems to be something strange about his feet … oh, wait, never mind). The two month check-up is notable for requiring no less than four immunization shots. Nathan shared his feelings with us on the undesirability of this from his perspective, but did OK.

He weighs 13 lb, 4 oz. Soon, he will have doubled his birth weight.

Next regular doctor’s appointment will be at four months

Posted by Mike at 09:12 AM | Comments (2)

February 28, 2005

It's good to have priorities

MSNBC reports:

"New attorney general says he'll pursue obscenity cases
"Gonzales also lists violent crime, human trafficking as priorities”

It’s good to hear that violent crime and slavery will be worked on, but let’s not let that overshadow the critical importance of shutting down smut!

Posted by Mike at 04:27 PM