Friday, July 13, 2012

party of five

Hey everyone.  I meant to update sooner, but you know, NEW BABY.  Always needing stuff, they are.

Nina's been doing really well.  I was afraid, after having two pretty easy babies with Cal and Mack, that we were going to strike out with Thing 3 and be granted some kind of hellion.  But Nina's much like her brothers were, in that she's a good, sweet baby who is easy to please and whose cuteness makes up for the rest.

I do think that some of it is due to her innate good nature, but I also think that our easy time of things is framed by expectation.  With a new baby, people mostly complain about the lack of sleep, and the constant neediness of the newborn--so much feeding! so much holding and rocking! where one diaper change ends, the next one begins!  And so forth.  The thing is--that's what babies are supposed to do.  And what I'm doing on my end--holding her basically all the time when she's awake, feeding her on demand, changing many many teeny little poo diapers and scanning her pee diapers with almost clinical intensity to assess her degree of urobilinogen excretion (though now, linking to Wikipedia, I am realizing for the first time that urobilinogen is colorless--all that wasted observation!)--that's what I'm supposed to do.  So I don't really think I'm having an appreciably easier or harder time than anyone else with a new baby, we're just all doing what we're supposed to be doing, and everybody's happy.

Anyway, I'm pretty firmly of the belief that if you want to sleep all night, you probably shouldn't have a baby, much the way that if you want to be well-rested, ever, you probably shouldn't go into medicine.  See, it's all about framing your expectations.

Hey, wanna see some pictures?  Most of these are on my Tumblr already, but I know not everyone is my buddy on the twitters et al.  It's fine, little technophobe, we'll just churn some butter and make some corn husk dolls right here by the flickering light of this here computer screen.

I knew that Cal would do well with a new baby (little old man that he is, I knew he would relish the expertise conferred by being not only seven years her senior but also a veteran older sibling) but I'll admit that I was a little concerned that Mack, who has spent the last three and a half years marinating in his baby-of-the-family status, would be jealous.  And I'm not saying that he's not ever going to be jealous or competitive (just wait until she starts getting mobile and his slavishly guarded collection of superhero action figures comes under siege) but so far, he is in love with his baby.

"Mom, I love baby Nina," he'll say unprompted.

"Baby Nina is so pretty."

"Can I kiss her?"

"Can I rub her and smell her?"  (He means rub her head.  We talked about the fontanelles and the importance of using his flat palm instead of poking her brain with his fingers, but then Cal was like, "She has a HOLE in her HEAD?" and then we had to kind of soft-pedal the anatomy lesson lest everyone freak out.  Mack also particularly likes smelling the baby.  I understand the appeal of smelling a new baby and much as the next weirdo, but the way Mack goes after her, you'd think she's one of those really fascinating second generation scratch 'n' sniff stickers that really really for real OMG smell like food.  Like the buttered popcorn one.  Or that one that smelled like pepperoni pizza that I was fascinated with as a child because wow, they made a sticker smell like pizza?  THE FUTURE IS HERE.)

Anyway, sibling rivalry averted for now.  Cal and Mack seem to have reserved all their petty animus for each other ("MOM! Cal looked at me!") but Nina, so far as they're concerned, is a princess.

I'd meant to post this up earlier today (because I'm pretty sure no one's going to read this now when I'm posting it, almost 11:00pm on a Friday night), but see above: baby, comma, care of.  There are a couple of other posts that I'm working on in my head to post hopefully in the next week or two when I have a free moment, including but not limited to:

  • Private practice anesthesiology: a day in the life
  • Breastfeeding and pumping after returning to work, my experience and strategies (warning: boobs will be alluded to though not depicted)
  • More sewing projects that I done did, culled of the more embarrassing mishaps (like the time I got confused while making a pair of leggings and sewed half the seams on the outside, half the seams on the inside)

Any other post topics you guys interested in hearing about while I'm on maternity leave and have some time for such extracurricular pursuits?  Aside from wanting to see more pictures of Cooper to prove that she didn't die a year ago and I just somehow never mentioned it here?  I'm working on that post too--I'll get her to hold a copy of today's Wall Street Journal in the pictures, you know, as a proof of life.  (Not to joke about our dog dying or anything--obviously we care deeply about our dog.  But we're just no longer in the phase of life where we treat her as a child by proxy.  Rest assured that she is well loved and taken care of and just got a new memory foam dog bed that she is very pleased with.)

Anyway.  Have a good weekend, everyone.


  1. Anonymous11:11 PM

    Congratulations on your little bundle of joy! I think it's adorable that your boys are treating her like a princess :)

    For me, I just think it's so cool when little Asian/white babies are born with light eyes - they are simply gorgeous! I never knew that they turned brown after! I'm excited to see Nina grow up - keep it up with the pictures!

  2. Glad Cooper is okay and that thing 1 and thing 2 are okay with thing 3. It is easier to accept a sibling of the opposite sex than to have more competition, even though she really is more competition. Enjoy the ignorance of the social order.

  3. Erin, PA-S11:19 PM

    Megabed. We need to see a picture of megabed. ;)

  4. medrecgal11:34 PM

    I think I just keeled over from the cuteness level of this post!! That first pic, especially, is lovely! (Also got a kick out of Cal kissing her on the head.) I usually check out the Tumblr stuff, too, but when I saw the first picture I figured there were probably more. Glad to know there's more posting coming, too...there's always something interesting and/or funny here it seems. It's like the post-millennial version of a photo album, which is cool!

  5. Anonymous11:35 PM

    SUCH a cutie! One question that had been in the back of my mind is, how do you handle being safely preggo in the OR? I work in veterinary medicine, and have always worried about if I did get preg, how would I prevent that stray whiff of waste anesthetic gas from sneaking into the uterus and giving my child a third arm or what not? Do you do anything special?

  6. Anonymous11:41 PM

    I love the pictures. She is beautiful. I also love that Cal and Mack treat her like a princess. LOL> I have a feeling mom and dad do too! And looking at that first picture it seems that you are also holding her when she is sound asleep as well as all the time when she is awake. The bigger that Mack gets, he seems to look so much like Cal, that at times I can't tell them apart. I had thought in this picture on this post that it was Mack kissing Nina's head but someone else mentioned they thought it was Cal.So,you may have to settle that for us.

    1. Actually that Mack kissing Nina, but you're right, they ;ook very much the same, especially since Mack wears a lot of Cal's old clothes. Mack's hair is usually longer, though, since he's less compliant about letting us trim regularly. :)

  7. Anonymous11:46 PM

    Also, it is great to know Cooper is well. Goodness if not for her how would we have ever known when Cal was born? If my memory is still active, and as it should be,it was Cooper who gave us the updates when you went to the hospital to have Cal...:)

  8. Anonymous12:07 AM

    when do you go back? what will you be doing for child care with the three kids?

  9. She is so absolutely cute! I love your sewing posts, so can't wait to read that one!

  10. Anonymous7:00 AM

    She's very very gorgeous. Makes me feel all hopeful and happy and good bc I have a 3 yr old and am expecting our second in about a month (my OB thinks sooner -gulp).

    Could you PLEASE michelle post:

    - what are the items of baby paraphernelia that you ended up sewing for real? I have 'tried' various projects (shirts, jumpers, weird 70s style jumper/ halters, etc) but now I'm thinking burp cloths, sleep onesies, diaper covers and pants (made out of soft knits) are the real stuff to try to make + a baby blanket (knitted) plus a really soft unique quilt (tbd).
    - ie what do you thik is a realistic list of things to try to sew vs buy for a beginner without a bunch of family sewing and sending things?

    - how do you organize your day during maternity leave?
    Not that that much of it is under your (or any newmom's) control, but I remember how much I was relieved when structure the form of a part time nanny for my 2 mo old son. This time we hope to have help from the beginning but at specific how do you structure your day around that esp given that in my case I'll be trying to stay involved w/ my pharma job wile at home at least in some very distant capacity.


  11. Bump for post on a day in the life of private practice anesthesia!

  12. Anonymous7:27 AM

    I'm pretty firmly of the belief that if you want to sleep all night, you probably shouldn't have a baby, much the way that if you want to be well-rested, ever, you probably shouldn't go into medicine.

    Wow. There is so much that is wrong with this statement I don't even know where to begin.

    Glad things are going well for you. It's also nice to know that you think there's something wrong with people who don't have it as easy as you do. Such a typical dr attitude, is all I have to say.

    1. Anonymous7:47 AM

      I am fully confused by this comment. If anything, Michelle is talking about how she DOESN'T have it easy but she expects that with being a mom and a doctor. As a woman in my last year of residency gearing up to have my first child, I couldn't agree with that statement more. We all signed up for this knowingly.

      Michelle, Nina is beautiful. Congrats and keep the pictures coming!!!!!

    2. What I meant by that statement (sorry if it was confusing, perhaps the double negative made it so) was that I am not getting much sleep with a new baby, and working as a doctor full-timeI am pretty regularly exhausted. However, I knew this would be the case going into it (both motherhood and physicianhood) so I'm not complaining.

    3. Anonymous8:10 AM

      I think you may have misunderstood her point...Michelle was trying to say that she has an easy baby but she also has no expectation of sleep. Because all babies (even "easy babies") don't sleep for very long stretches, it can be very difficult for new parents who aren't aware of just how little sleep they will get and who aren't "used to" operating on little sleep like a doctor gets trained to do in residency/fellowship. Her point is that you should probably know what you're getting into before you have babies or become a doctor, and if sleep is a priority for you then you'll have to adjust your priorities before you embark on either endeavor.

      Anyway, Michelle, the babe is adorable! Also, weren't you going to do a peripheral anesthesia fellowship (or something like that, I think basically nerve blocks?) at some point? Any thoughts to going back and doing that or are you happy with general anesthesia?

    4. Anonymous10:50 AM

      She is not suggesting anything is "wrong" with people who has it as easy as she does from that comment. It is a sarcastic comment on how difficult it is for people to undergo a dramatic change in sleep needs in order to take care of babies and practice medicine, let alone both. What about her life of being a mother to three kids, a full time anesthesiologist, and social media extraordinaire = easy to you?

      She is happy with her life and we enjoy reading about it. Would you prefer she post about how horrible her life is so you can complain how about how she isn't appreciative of what she has?

  13. Thanks for putting up updates Michelle, we all appreciate reading about how the family is doing. I do wonder why Cal and Mack are treating her so well it because she's a girl or because she's a new innocent little plaything? It's always so fascinating to learn why children are the way they are. Love all the pics of Nina!

  14. Anonymous10:11 AM

    As the youngest sister of two older brothers, that little girl is going to have her own extra set of cheerleaders/bodyguards/parents/playmates for the rest of her life. I'm 21 and my older brother still will grab the back of my shirt if he thinks I'm crossing the street with too little time in front of a car. Enjoy her!!

  15. Anonymous1:32 PM

    If it's not too personal, how you balance everything at home(not sure if you were going to include this in "day in the the life of..." Like what time your nanny goes on and off duty, if you guys periodically hire people to clean the toilet, what Joe's hours are like, do you guys ever go on a date night, who walks the dog, who takes care of the finances, who does most of the cooking, etc. etc.

    Probably the haters might come out of the woodwork, "nice that you can afford blah blah blah [dripping with sarcasm]" but what it comes down to is that from what I can tell your two older kids are well-adjusted and know they are loved, and I just want to know how you prioritize and how you believe you are able to "make it work" at this time, knowing that what works changes.

    I am an outpatient internist with a hubby that works weird hours at a museum, we have a 1.5 year old and two dogs, thinking about maybe expanding our family...just want to hear tips from two busy outside-the-home parents. Our apartment is a hot mess but our baby and dogs are fed - we want to do a little better than that!

    (Message to haters: be aware that your jealously is annoying for us and embarrassing for you. Michelle is just trying to pass on her knowledge to help others, and luckily she doesn't act like f'ing Gwyneth Paltrow, Gisele Bunchden, or Miranda Kerr...)

  16. I vote for day-in-the-life private practice. My field is a totally different structure (i.e. mostly clinic) but I am interested to know how the other half (inpt) side lives.

  17. Congratulations on Nina's arrival, she looks precious. By the way, I love reading your blog! Somehow you seem to be juggling what like throws at you and keeping a sense of humour in the process, and that's something I greatly admire.

  18. Anonymous4:57 PM

    i vote for more youtube videos! we haven't seen one in a while. maybe one of Nina when she gets a bit more interactive. i'm sure it'll be cuteness overload!

  19. Michelle, your baby is beautiful, and I'm so glad to hear everyone is doing well!

  20. The part about Cal and Mack loving their little sister is sooooo cute

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Anonymous3:02 AM

    I love this blog, very entertaining. I'm about to start osteopathic medical school and wondering if you think there's any bias with DO's and MD's in the anesthesia world? Also, looking forward to your day to day post as an anesthesiologist:)

  24. New mom starting her fourth year of med school here! I've always enjoyed your blog but definitely feel like it resonates more with me now as the mom of a 9 week old returning to school and trying to figure out pumping, studying, residency applying, and motherhood. ahhh!! haha, it's quite a ride already. I feel like maybe as an attending you have more flexability as far as being able to pump when you need to at work ... maybe? Although, I do wonder about what happens when you get stuck in the OR for a longer surgery or what not. I guess you probably have nurse anesthetists so that may not be a problem for you. I have a couple days of the week were I'm going to be stuck in lecture for like four hours straight which puts me up to five hours between pumping sessions when my commute is factored in. I hate leaving during lecture but I may have to in order to keep my supply up. Being type A this stresses me out just thinking about it. =/ I guess what I'm saying (sorry I'm sleep deprived! haha) is I look forward to your post about pumping at work! =O)

  25. Anonymous12:25 PM

    do you have CRNAs where you work?

  26. What a beautiful baby.

  27. Anonymous10:13 PM

    How about a post of how your marriage is impacted by an additional child? I know that the first three months following the birth of our children (I have four) was usually the most stressful time in our marriage. There were frequent arguments around who does more, who is busier, who is more tired, etc. What is supposed to be a magical time in one's marriage and life can be the complete opposite.

    How do you see the birth of baby number three impacting your financial goals and objectives?

    Career wise, as the children get older and more involved in school/activities, do you see yourself cutting back your work schedule? From my experience, it is easier to work when they are younger/babies - once they are in elementary school the parental obligations appear greater...bigger kids, bigger problems.

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