Friday, March 31, 2006

Benjamin's room

[posted by bkmarcus]
I've been away from benmaman and her beautiful benbelly for too long.
At least we had storytime.

About to return.

Here's one of the many things I've been up to the past 2 weeks: painting Benjamin's room.

Here you see the colors we picked out almost a month ago, and here you see where I am in the process.

And look!

Magnetic walls:

(It's cool that my new phone has a built-in camera, but man is it a crappy camera. Terrible resolution. Terrible color. Still, I can document my progress and keep Nathalie up-to-date across the miles.)

- papa

Saturday, March 25, 2006

images should be back

[posted by bkmarcus]
Powered By Mac OS X

Our websites have been up and down all week. A couple of people have asked if we're alright and the answer is Yes, we're fine, but in transition, some of it quite unplanned, and some of it quite unpleasant.

I'm in Charlottesville, preparing the old house for the new baby, and everything started going wrong at once, from the minor to the major. I'll spare you the details.

I host several personal sites on my own equipment -- most of which has been sitting practically unattended for the past 3 years. It was well past time for replacement, but replacement wasn't in our immediate plans or budget.

The result is that I've said goodbye to Linux and Linksys and am now running on all new (if somewhat low-end) Apple hardware. It's all smaller, faster, easier. I hope this means the sites are back up for a while, but I'm not making any promises. Thanks for your patience.

- papa

Monday, March 20, 2006

Blog images down?

[posted by Nat]

Blog images may be down this week, but should be back up this weekend.

Stories across the miles

[posted by Nat]
We just had our first storytime across many many miles -- papa being in VA and maman being in PA. Benjamin and I sported headphones while papa read to us through the computer (a feature of iChat). I don't know what Benjamin thought of the experience, but he was certainly more active than usual, kicking and turning. When papa first started talking to him I even saw the headphones jump! Then he settled in to "listen" to Peter Pan.

Papa adds: just so you can picture it, we have a "Y-jack" audio splitter that allows Nathalie to plug 2 sets of headphones into her computer. (This is how we usually watch DVDs together at night without disturbing the neighbors.) She wears one headset on her head and the other pair -- the ones that would usually go on my head -- go instead on her belly. On my end, I'm reading from my computer screen while talking into my new bluetooth headset. I know that at least one person who knows that we're doing this got a little teary at the idea. I'm sure others would find the whole thing rather creepy ...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Baby prep in Cville

[posted by Nat]
At 24 weeks Benjamin is about a foot long and weighs 1 1/4 pounds. He's about the size of a pound of sugar, according to the iVillage pregnancy calendar. BabyCenter says that my uterus is about the size of a soccer ball (and to think I dreamt last night that I had a flat stomach and was wondering where the baby was...).

Last week was spring break and I was sure I would have time to make several posts. Wrong! We were incredibly busy during our week in Cville.

So what ate up all our break?
1) Meeting the OB we'll have for the delivery.

We were ushered into his office while he was with another patient, which gave us some time to look around and get a feel for the man. (As I write this, I'm getting little pops to left of my tummy, maybe Benjamin has the hiccups? or he's punching?)

Hanging in a corner near his desk there is a stuffed animal stork with a bag in its mouth (can't remember if we could see the baby in it) and on the shelves behind the desk were many books, but also lots of little OB-related figurines... like one of saint with a crucifix hanging off it (not sure which saint, but he was either holding a baby or holding a child's hand or both, I can't recall that detail either!). On the wall near the door are diplomas (all from southern schools) and certificates and a display case. On the display case more knick-knacks and... two Harley books! And in the case... old birthing tools. If you've ever seen Cronenberg's "Dead Ringers" this might give you a chill. I thought: either this guy is a bit of a sadist or he has a dark sense of humor. I can appreciate the latter, but I wonder what his other patients make of it. I guess it's good that he keeps his collection in his office (but what could he have at home?) so that his patients know he has it. And I suppose it's not unusual for doctors to collect antique tools of their trade -- helps to show how much things have evolved (or not).

I had no idea what to expect of the man -- after all, a saint on one shelf and Harley books on another. I think Brian was picturing a big guy because of the Harley stuff. Dr. W comes in and he is a small, slight man with longish hair. He reminds me a little of my pediatrician growing-up. He's soft spoken and listens well to my questions (though not so well to Brian's). One of the first things he says that somehow reassures me is that the day before he had delivered a baby in the office (that is, in the practice, in one of the examination rooms, I imagine!). A woman had come in fully dilated and he had decided there wasn't time to make to the hospital across the street. Perhaps this reassured me because this probably means the woman had no medical interventions -- no drugs and no c-section.

I asked him the usual questions, like what his c-section rate is: 13%. The national average is apparently now 39%!! He only performs 2 or 3 episiotomies a year, which surprised me because I know a lot of women who have had them.

Then I had to have a physical because I'm a new patient. I hate physicals (most people probably do), but at least it was very quick. He also measured my fundal height -- right on target at 22 cm (it should be 1 cm for each week of pregnancy). And we listened to Benjamin's heart beat, which the doctor said was 150 beats a minute (I think the average fetus ranges between 140 and 160 -- can't find the info on BabyCenter). The doppler he used was much cleared than the one in our doctor's office in PA.

So, what do I think? I think this doctor will be ok. I still wish I had a female doctor or a midwife, but the women OBs who deliver at our hospital are in rotating practices, so you don't know which doctor you will get when you deliver. This doctor is the one who will deliver Benjamin. And he works with a midwife. And once we are in Cville I will be seeing him every other week during May and then every week during June, so I'll get the opportunity to get more comfortable with him.

I guess I will have to continue the Cville spring break story in another post -- this one is already too long. Coming up soon(ish): (2) the doulas; (3) making modern art on the walls; (4) thumps and squirms.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Peter Pan

[posted by bkmarcus]
Last night we finished Through the Looking Glass.

I can't believe I'd never read it before. I knew some of the passages inside-out, they've been quoted so often.

(You get a lot of Alice quotes in both philosophy and computer science departments, so I've had a bunch of both. And the third-most-frequent quoter of Lewis Carroll is probably psychology departments, so I've had a triple-whammy dose of a book I'd never read before this month.)

Tonight we begin Peter Pan.

Benmaman has pointed out that the protagonists of what we've read so far have been girls. The alternative title for Peter Pan is "Peter and Wendy" so we'll see.

I gave myself a sneak preview while searching for the next thing to read and the opening paragraph blew me away:
All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, 'Oh, why can't you remain like this for ever!' This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end."
- papa

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

15 kilobytes of fame

[posted by bkmarcus]

March 11, 2006

Onesy Logo

Posted by Lew Rockwell at March 11, 2006 10:15 PM


B.K. Marcus and his wife are expecting their first baby in July, and B.K. has already designed his child's clothing logo.

Monday, March 13, 2006

une chanson pour le potiron

[posted by bkmarcus]

Update: Listen to the song here.

color us decided

[posted by bkmarcus]

Saturday, March 11, 2006

23 skidoo!

[posted by bkmarcus]

The first image is at 19 weeks.

The second is today, 4 weeks later.

The third image is an overlay of the 19- and 23-week profiles.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

un coup de pied

[posted by bkmarcus]
This morning, like every morning, my iTunes Alarm went off at 7am, which means that "standard jazz" from ShoutCast's Storyville (internet "radio") station brought me to semi-consciousness. Like every morning, I stumbled around until I could find the Baby Plus (pronounced Baybay Plooce in our home), strap maman into the rig, and start prenatal Benjamin's prenatal "lesson" ... samples of which you can listen to here.

Not quite like every morning (but like several recent mornings), Nathalie reported Benjamin's kicking. Like every such morning, I place my hand on her belly to see if I can feel -- and then she repositions my hand to where she thinks my chances are best.

Unlike any other morning, this time I felt a kick!

I was half asleep, so the whole thing feels very dream-like.

I felt ... something ... a few times, but it could have been Nathalie's pulse in her belly, my own pulse in my hand, Nathalie's muscles tensing, wishful thinking, etc.

A couple times, she'd say, "Feel that?"

"No," I'd say. (Like so many other mornings.)

Then she said, "Feel that?!" And she seemed surprised when I said No.

Then I felt a definite something. And I said, "Was that one?"


Very much like the first time I heard his heartbeat, it was brief and then hard to believe. Too brief to remember any details. The whole thing dances at the edge between perception and projection, like images in your peripheral vision which aren't there when you turn your head to see. Also like hearing his heartbeat, I now want more. I'm greedy for experiences of this boy. I've got images, sounds, and now feel. That's just smell and taste away from all 5 senses.

I can't wait to meet him.

- papa

Saturday, March 04, 2006


[posted by Nat]
Someone at work stopped in the hall the other day and said: "Wow, week by week you just..." and made a growing gesture with her hands. Yes indeed. I feel like I've doubled in size in the last two weeks. When I stand up straight and look down I can no longer see my feet!! Of course, I can still lean forward and see them -- that might change though. And my "innie" is getting smaller and smaller. Benjamin now weighs about 1 pound and is the size of a ... package of coffee, according to Or a box of sugar. And that is just with his first layer of fat. In the next month he'll be packing on the fat and building muscles and his weight will double.

Speaking of feet, I felt a real thud a couple of days ago. I even felt it with my hand. (And as I wrote that last sentence I felt a couple tiny pops.) So, he's moving in there, though I can't really tell if there is a time pattern yet -- it seems to be more about how I am sitting or lying down. Yesterday I didn't feel anything all day, which, of course, worried me some because I was getting used to the occasional swish, but then once I was lying down and paying attention I felt a couple of pops. I imagine that what I feel depends on how he is positioned and that sometimes he has plenty of room to move around without kicking or punching me. A friend told me that the food she ate affected her daughters' in utero movement -- one apparently did dances to cauliflower.

Ok, off to pack! This is house prep week in Cville! More on that, I'm sure, when we start choosing colors for the nursery, etc.