05-15-13 - Baby

I suppose this is the easiest way to announce to various friends and semi-friends rather than trying to mass-email. I have a new baby, yay! No pictures, you paparazzos. She's adorable and healthy. I love how simple and direct her communication is. Suckling lips = needs to nurse. Squirming = needs a diaper change. Fussing = cold or gassy. Everything else = needs to sleep. I wish all humans communicated so clearly.

I want to write about the wonderful experience of having a home birth (see *2), but don't want to intrude on Tasha's privacy. Suffice it to say it was really good, so good to be home and have everything at hand to make Tasha comfortable, and then be able to take baby in our arms and settle into bed right away. We spent the first 36 hours after birth all in bed together and I think that time was really important.

I've always wanted to have kids, but I'm (mostly) glad that I waited this long. For one thing Tasha is a wonderful mom and I'm glad I found her. But also, I realize now that I wasn't ready in my twenties. I've changed a lot in the last five years and I'm a much better person now. I've learned important lessons that are helping me a lot in this challenging time, like to do hard work correctly you have to not only complete the task but also keep a good attitude and be nice to the people around you while you do it. And that when you are tired and hungry is when you can really show your character; anyone can have a good attitude when they're fresh, but if you get nasty when the going gets tough then you are nasty. etc. standard cbloom slowly figures out things that most people learned in their teens.

Now for some old-style ranting.

1. "We had a baby". No you fucking did not. Your wife had a baby. If you were a really good husband, you held her hand and got her snacks. She squeezed a watermelon out of her vagina. You do not get to take any credit for that act, it was all her. It's a bit like Steve Jobs saying "we invented" anything; no you did not you fucking credit-stealing douchebag, your company didn't even invent it, much less you.

(tangent : I can't stand the political correctness in sport post-game interviews these days; they're all so sanitized and formulaic. They must go to interview coaching classes or something because everyone says exactly the same things. Of course it's not the athlete's fault, they would love to have emotional honest outbursts, it's the god damn stupid public who throw a coniption if anybody says anything remotely true. In particular this post reminds me of how athletes always immediately go "it wasn't just me, it was the team"; no it was not, Kobe, you just had an 80 point game, it was all fucking you, don't give me this bullshit credit to the team stuff. Be a man and say "*I* won this game".)

2. People are busy-body dicks. When we would tell acquaintances about our plans to have a home birth, a good 25% would feel like they had to tell us what a bad idea that was and nag us about the dangers of childbirth. Shut the fuck up you stupid asshole. First of all, don't you think that maybe we've researched that more than you before making our decision, so you don't know WTF you're talking about? Second of all, we're not going to change our mind because of your nagging, so all you're doing is being nasty about something you're not going to change. We didn't ask for your opinion, you can just stay the hell out of it. (The doctors that we would occasionally see for tests were often negative and naggy as well, which only made us more confident in our choice).

It's a bit like if a friend tells you they're marrying someone and you go "her?". Even if the marriage is a questionable choice, they're not going to stop it due to your misgivings, so all you're doing is adding some unpleasantness to their experience.

You always run into these idiots when you do software reviews or brainstorming sessions. You'll call a meeting to discuss revisions to the boss fight sequence, and some asshole will always chime in with "I really think the whole idea of boss fights sucks and we should start over". Umm, great, thanks, very helpful. We're not going to tear up the whole design of the game a few months from shipping, so maybe you could stick to the topic at hand and get some kind of clue about what things are reasonable to change and which need to be taken as a given and worked within as constraints.

Like when I'd ask for reviews of Oodle, a few of the respondents would give me something awesomely unhelpful like "I don't like the entire style of the API, and I'd throw it out and do a new one" , or "actually I think a paging + data compression library is a bad idea and I'd just start over on something else". Great, thanks; I might agree with you but obviously you must know that that is not going to happen and it's not what I was asking for, so if you don't want to say anything helpful then just say "no".

ADDENDUM : a few notes on home birth and midwives.

Even if you are planning to do home birth (without a doctor present), you should get an OB and do a prenatal visit with them to "establish care". That way you are officially their patient, even if you don't see them again. In the US health care system, if you do wind up having a problem, or even just a question, and you have not "established care" with a certain practice, you are just fucked. You would wind up at the ER and that's never good.

While the midwives seemed reasonably competent at popping out a healthy baby from a healthy mother with no complications, I certainly would not do it if there were any major risk factors. They also are less than thorough at the prenatal and postnatal exams, so it's probably worth seeing a regular doc for those at least once (probably only once).


Wes said...

Only cbloom could make a baby announcement into a rant simultaneously. :D (And a much more enjoyable read than the usual announcement.)

Congrats to you and your family!

Aaron said...

Heheh good good. I'm not sure if people who've never had a home birth can quite picture how incredibly chill it can be compared to a hospital birth. It's night and day. Not like a hospital birth is the end of the world or something, but yeah, that instant slip into relaxing in the comfort of home... rather than the baby in a plastic bin in an antiseptic-smelling hospital room, mom in an uncomfortable bed with nurses interrupting every couple hours, you get to 'sleep' on a bench, and you don't get to leave till the doc says you can and the baby goes through the hearing test. Yeah. Home ftw.

The busy body thing is tricky. It takes a fair bit of care and skill to know when you *really* need to speak up about a real risk. Skill and tact aren't really in high demand so most people should probably just not speak. But... we all like to hear the sound of their own voices too much. Baby related stuff brings out the worst in the busy-body thing. Probably best to assume it's all people's best intentions... it's just the village (of idiots mostly, sure, but still), trying to help you raise your kid, which is actually kinda cool.

Aaron said...

Supply, not demand.

cbloom said...

@Aaron - yeah I know, and the good intentions kind of make it okay. But it's always expressed with such negativity that it still leaves a sour taste.

It's weird that humans are so incredibly uncomfortable with being kind to each other that even when they are trying to show caring for your well being, they do it with negativity. Awful.

won3d said...

First, congratulations!

Also, I love how your new child and Oodle are both in this entry titled "Baby."

cbloom said...

Ugh, dude, Oodle is *so* not my baby. It's like my incest-impregnated miscarriage which is being somehow kept alive by being sewn onto a pig, and I have to raise it despite my loathing for it because it's the heir to my father's ancestral title. Or something.

I guess they are both always on my mind.

Blaine Allen Brown said...

It would be great if there was a common social signal to say "I'm doing this, but I'm open to criticism" versus "I'm doing this and no one can stop me."

Sebastian said...

I think you misunderstand the source of people's negativity. They're probably not concerned for *your* well-being, they're concerned for your infant's well-being.

Think about it. Imagine that you thought someone was endangering the life of an infant. There pretty much has to be something wrong with you if you *don't* emphasize with the infant in that situation. It's normal to get a bit emotional.

Note: I'm not even getting into the debate about home-birth here (though I do find it ironic that you pulled the I-have-researched-this-more-than-you-card in the same paragraph that you dismissed the opinions of your own doctors). I'm just saying that you probably don't want to be friends with people who would stand quietly by while (in their view) an infant's life is being endangered.

Jim said...

Congrats, Charles! +EV.

MaciejS said...


cbloom said...

@Seb -

"I think you misunderstand the source of people's negativity. They're probably not concerned for *your* well-being, they're concerned for your infant's well-being."

Yeah, duh. Why would I think that *my* well being had anything to do with it? I'm not being born, nor giving birth. I suspect some concern for the mother was involved, since historically she is at risk if complications arise as well.

But on your larger point - bullshit, you're way off.

Do you chew out your friends who feed their kids McDonalds and get them fat? Do you chew out friends who buy their kids motorbikes? Do you chew out friends that smoke around their kids? Do you chew out friends that drive their kids in the car any more than absolutely necessary? Do you chew out friends that have kids and own guns? Do you chew out people who have kids and large dogs? Do you chew out women that get epidurals, or voluntary C-sections?

Of course not. People rarely speak up for the benefit of other people's kids.

(the only exception is when a nutter picks one particular cause to chew out everyone about, such as people who smoke around their kids, and even then it's just because it's a trendy meme that Michael Pollan has just turned a one sentence idea into a book about)

But in the case of home birth they do speak up, because they have the weight of conformity on their side.

As long as the way that you are killing your baby is socially acceptable, nobody says anything. But if you decide that home schooling is better for your kid you're going to get an earful all the time because ooh it's not standard so it must be horrible for them.


"though I do find it ironic that you pulled the I-have-researched-this-more-than-you-card in the same paragraph that you dismissed the opinions of your own doctors"

Well that's a tacky cheap shot. Obviously the parenthetical remark about the doctors is a last-minute addition to the paragraph and the prior note about "shut up about what you don't know about" wasn't meant to apply to that.

However, since you brought it up, I suspect it probably is a valid point for most doctors too. In my experience doctors (like everyone) are extremely lazy about researching the viability of approaches that they consider non-standard or weird. Or hell, that are even very slightly outside the way that they normally do things.

When I was seeing lots of doctors about my shoulders, I would often ask one about a type of therapy that a previous doctor had recommended, and they would say they're not familiar with that, they can't comment. WTF you are a shoulder specialist and I'm asking you about a shoulder therapy.

Young OB's seem to know what's up. It'd old doctors and people who are in the industry but not actually OB's that were asses.

In general I now try to avoid seeing any doctor that's over 40 or so. In my experience the laziness of doctors means that their knowledge becomes archaic very quickly and they don't keep up with modern changes; they also tend to be less open minded, they have some standard practices they've followed since 1920 and it's worked for them so it ain't changing. Older doctors can be quite hazardous to your health.

(and your baby's)

Mark Lee said...

Congratulation Charles. I look forward to your take on parenthood.

old rants