Ooops….so sorry for the lapse, folks. I’ve been rather busy, and I feel quite guilty for not updating my journal in so long. Of course, the problem with putting off updates is that the news keeps piling up, which only makes the task harder and makes me feel more guilty.

I have a lot of medical school news to share. In fact, I got an email the other day from a previously unknown reader who was curious to know where I was in the whole process. On the off chance that there are several of you anonymous readers out there, I promise to update you all very soon. First, however, there’s something a little more important that must be made known:

4-D ultrasound pic, 25-aug-2005

Our first indication was in early March, the way many couples find out — the home pregnancy test. “Wait a minute, there are two lines here!” Kim exclaimed, and there was much jubilation. She’d been ready and willing to start a family for some time, but I had been hesitant for a number of reasons. For one, I had felt supremely unprepared for fatherhood. I barely felt comfortable with taking care of myself; how was I ever supposed to take care of a vulnerable, impressionable little baby? Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, I had no idea what I actually wanted to do with my life. The frustrations of my previous career and the lack of direction for the future convinced me that I was not in a position to have any children of my own.

I promised Kim that I’d be willing to start our family once I knew what I wanted to do — once we had stabilized our finances, started our nest eggs, and all of the other things that people are supposed to do. All it really took, though, was for me to focus on medicine. Once I actually jumped ship and dove into my schoolwork, I started to notice little changes within myself. It was still a very scary experience to see and hold a newborn baby, but suddenly I felt a bit of excitement and longing at the same time. Cheesy commercials — the kind that depict children growing into adults, going to college, getting married — started to pull at my emotions when they’d never so much as grabbed my attention before. The thought that Kim and I could bring new life into this world, experience the miracles of development, birth, and growth, began to look less intimidating and more exciting. I finally realized that, while still absolutely terrified, having children might not be such a bad idea any more.

Of course, financially speaking, this is not the best time to be expanding our family. We cut our family income in half 18 months ago, we’re about to take on massive debt, and the first years of medical school are well known for their intensity. With less money, time, and energy than before, it may not be the “best” time to do this…but there is no “best” time. Part of my delay in coming around was based on the belief that I was not prepared enough for fatherhood. The truth is that I’ll never be prepared for fatherhood until I’m a father, we’ll never have enough money for parenthood until we’re parents, and we’ll never have enough time for our baby until we have one ourselves. What’s more, I don’t see how our financial or time situations will change appreciably for several years. I don’t want to chase after toddlers as a middle aged man, and I don’t want to be wheelchair-bound before they get out of the house. The time to start, therefore, is now.

I’m still terrified. But you know what? I’m also excited, very excited. I can’t wait to meet our baby, can’t wait to watch h__ grow and learn more about the world around h__. I fully expect there to be problems along the way, and I’m sure I’ll wonder why I ever wanted to do this. In the end, however, I know we’re making the right choice by starting now.

Oh, what’s that? Did I leave out something in that last paragraph?

We’re having a girl. She was rather coy about giving up her gender at the 20-week ultrasound exam. Our technician wasn’t able to figure it out; every time we tried, our baby kept her secret to herself — legs crossed, umblical cord in the way, whatever it took to hide her identity. The doctor was eventually brought in, but he didn’t have much luck, either, until the very last minute of the exam. Our baby did a little cartwheel with her legs, and in a split second, he saw what he needed to see. We confirmed it during the 28-week ultrasound and “4-D” ultrasound scan; the picture above is from that visit. She’s due 11/10, with a scheduled induction date of 11/17. Kim’s doing very well; she’s getting tired more easily, and going up stairs is no longer easy, but that’s all to be expected.

So there you have it. More news later; for now, I need to geet ready for the last F1 race of the season. Nothing like staying up to watch a live race being held in China.

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