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Newest Addition to the Fox Family!!!

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Andrew Fox
Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 08:55 pm:   

Baby Judah Samuel Fox arrived one month and one day early, making his appearance at 8:18 P.M. on Thanksgiving evening! Despite being over a month premature, he came out at a fairly good size -- 6 lbs 5 oz and 19.5" long, which is bigger than my second son, Asher Zane, who "cooked" about four days longer than Judah did. The only somewhat disappointing part of our big day was that Dara had been hoping really strongly to be able to deliver VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarian). She came really, really, heartbreakingly close -- fully dialated, and pushed like a champ for an hour and a half -- but ultimately, the docs were forced to section her. So she ended up with the worst of two worlds: all the aches of vaginal delivery, plus the pain of a major surgical procedure. At least she's doing much, much better today (Sunday) than she was a couple of nights ago.

Baby Judah is looking great. He came out with eyelashes, eyebrows, and a good head of hair. Best of all, he's a strong breast-feeder, much more talented at it than either Levi or Asher were. Right now, he's resting under the UV ray lamps to get a nice tan and get rid of his jaundice. He and Dara will come home tomorrow. I'm home for only a bit, just long enough to feed Levi and Asher, play with them, give them a bath, and put them to bed. Now I'm heading back to the hospital to keep Dara company through the night.

So between the new son and the new job, things are really looking up in the Fox household! The only other thing I'd need to complete our run of good luck would be another book contract. . .
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, November 27, 2006 - 02:49 pm:   

Congratulations!! Excellent. Love to you and Dara. ANd the new addition, of course.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 06:19 am:   

Andy, congrats to you and Dara. Your den must be bustling now that you've got three little Fox cubs.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 01:08 pm:   

Beyond bustling, Gordon; way, way beyond. . .

Thanks for the good wishes! I'll pass them along to Dara.

By the way, Judah just received his official first stuffed toy: a Baby Minya (Son of Godzilla). Am I a geek, or am I a geek?
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Lori Smith
Posted on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 11:09 am:   

Wow! What a difference a month makes, huh?

Congratulations on the new job, the new baby, and your excellent taste in stuffed toys!!

Congratulations also to New Orleans for getting to keep you and your family for a bit longer.

Now that you'll be a FEMA employee, allow me to introduce you to two of your co-workers--Julia and Robbie: The Disaster Twins http://www.fema.gov/kids/twins/. Order a free copy of their book and you can read the kids to sleep while simultaneously training yourself. :-)

(I don't think they've run into Godzilla yet, but maybe you can get yourself assigned to write a new chapter in their adventures.)

Best of luck with all your new challenges and opportunities.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 10:20 am:   

Unfortunately, I've got some bad news to report regarding the new baby. Judah's two older brothers have been sick with colds or ear infections, on and off, since Judah was born on Thanksgiving. Dara and I tried mightily to keep any germs away from the new baby, but this past Sunday, Judah started wheezing, coughing, and sneezing. Then he started having scary periods of difficult breathing. Early this morning, Dara drove him over to the Children's Hospital Emergency Room to get him checked out. They tested him for RSV, a respiratory virus that can be extremely serious in children younger than one year, and he tested positive. They admitted him, and he is now in the PICU.

He may have to stay for a week or longer. Although the doctors say his ultimate prognosis is good, right now his condition is worsening, and they may soon have to intubate him. There is no treatment for RSV, so all the doctors and nurses can do is give him breathing treatments as needed. Dara is staying at the hospital with him, so I'm on my own at home with Levi and Asher, apart from Stephanie's help during the day (Stephanie is the boys' nanny).

So send some prayers our way. Possibilities we'd sure like to avoid would be pneumonia and/or damage to Judah's lungs. For a disease I'd never heard of prior to a couple of days ago, this RSV seems to affect an awful lot of newborns, particularly those born prematurely. Apparently 90% or so of all kids come down with it, but it is a whole lot less serious in kids older than twelve months. Virtually every parent I've talked to over the past two days has had a run-in with it.

The person I feel really, really badly for is Dara. She hasn't been able to catch a break since Judah's birth on Thanksgiving. I don't think she's had more than 90 minutes of consecutive sleep since then.

Your good wishes will be enormously appreciated.
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Lori Smith
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 12:11 pm:   

I'll definitely be praying for the poor little guy. (And for the rest of his family.)

But, just to help you find the bright side of all this, here are some things to be thankful for:

1. Children's Hospital was there and open when you needed them to be.

2. Judah's problem was easily diagnosed, so they know exactly what they're dealing with.

3. Dara might be able to find a comfy chair at the hospital and catch up on some sleep while she's there.

4. 99.996% of the children hospitalized with RSV survive. (Those are some pretty good odds.)

If you haven't already seen it, you can find lots of info about RSV here:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/respiratorysyncytialvirusinfections.html

Hang in there.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 01:08 pm:   

Andy,
My best wishes to the whole family. I hope Judah comes home really soon.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 01:35 pm:   

Lori, thanks so much for all the great info and perspective. Ellen, thank you for your good wishes and kindnesses. The docs thought they might have to intubate Judah a little earlier, but he did better on a test than they anticipated, so they're holding off until now. Certainly, Children's Hospital is a rare example of civic excellence in our area, especially given the current state of much of the rest of New Orleans and its medical support system. We are fortunate to have them here.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 06:21 am:   

All good wishes, Andy.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Sunday, December 17, 2006 - 11:11 am:   

When you get a moment to breathe, Andy, we'd love a progress report (especially with good news).
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Monday, December 18, 2006 - 12:34 pm:   

Two steps forward, one step back. . . As of Friday night, Judah was doing much better, so much so that the docs released him from the PICU and put him up on the regular care floor, with plans to discharge him on Sunday. Levi, Asher and I went over to the hospital on Sunday to pick them up. Unfortunately, four hours later, we were back in the van, driving them back again to the Children's Hospital Emergency Room. He'd gone back into respiratory distress. They suctioned him out really well in the ER, then readmitted him to the sixth floor for overnight observation. He's supposed to be coming home for the second time this afternoon. The troubling aspect of this is that we're unable to rent any kind of a suction unit that could handle Judah's distress at home; any time he retreats into labored breathing, Dara has no choice but to schlep him back to the ER.

Plus, Levi and I got to spend almost six hours in the Children's ER Saturday night. He and his brother Asher had been sick with RSV, too, but I'd thought Levi was over it, as he hadn't shown any symptoms for a couple of days. Saturday night, which I figured would be our last night on our own, I took the boys out for a celebratory "Boys' Night Out" of pizza at the Olive Branch. Levi usually adores pizza, but he wouldn't touch a bite. Then he started crying, and a few minutes later, he went into convulsions. I had no idea what was happening, so I told the waitress to call 911. His seizure lasted less than two minutes, with me cradling him on the floor. The paramedics came within five minutes and immediately took his temperature, which had spiked to 103.5 degrees. I recalled that I'd suffered from febrile seizures as a little boy, and they confirmed for me that this was what had happened to Levi. I took him home, stuffed him full of Tylenol and Motrin, and put him in a tepid bath for ten minutes. After I changed him into his PJs, he fell asleep. After talking with Dara (still at the hospital) and Levi's pediatrician, I took Levi over to the ER. He must've had some hallucinations while we were in the waiting room, because he was shrieking some words that didn't make any sense, not even for a toddler with a speech delay. He had blood work done and other samples taken. An older doc visited with us at about 1 A.M. and told me that Levi's fever convulsion was benign, and the fever had probably been a leftover symptom of his RSV infection. I shared with him my childhood memories, and he told me that the treatment of febrile seizures has gotten a lot less drastic since the mid-1960s. He explained that about one in twenty kids experience immature, incompletely insulated nerve networks until the age of five or six; very quick spikes in temperature can "short out" such kids' nervous systems, resulting in brief seizures that look just like an electric shock. Visual hallucinations often follow as the nervous system resets itself. Kids who experience this grow out of it (as I did). The seizures result in no lasting ill effects, but they are very scary, for both kids and parents, while they are going on.

So a relaxing weekend this was not. I can't wait until things settle down again in my house. I'm relieved to learn that at least once a person gets RSV, they are innoculated against further infections for the remainder of the season. . . until the next year, when, like the flu virus, RSV mutates into a slightly different form and the whole cycle starts anew.
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Lori Smith
Posted on Monday, December 18, 2006 - 02:10 pm:   

Good gracious. You are definitely having a stretch of less than stellar luck.

Still, there's almost always a bright side. As an author, you may well find all this horrible life experience and medical knowledge useful some day. Plus, going through this sort of ordeal will make you a wise old grandfather who, when Levi's kids go through this, will be able to say "You had exactly the same thing when you were his age and you survived. Don't worry so much."

I do hope that in the very near future you'll be back to complaining about New Orleans politics and your messages will no longer contain words like "suction," and "convulsions," and "paramedics."
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Monday, December 18, 2006 - 02:33 pm:   

Hi, Lori. Yeah, I couldn't agree more. It's that old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." Both 2005 and 2006 have been pretty darn high on the "interesting" scale. I wouldn't mind a semi-boring year for 2007; or at least "interesting" in a different way (like landing a book contract or two).
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, December 18, 2006 - 03:53 pm:   

Oh sheesh! Andrew--how scary for you and for Levi. I'm sorry that the whole family is going through such tsuris right now. Here's hoping for peaceful times in you and your family's lives.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 07:20 am:   

Thanks so much, Ellen. I had to stick Levi in a tepid bath in the middle of the night, which he didn't appreciate one bit, but which helped. His fever is certainly persistent; as soon as the Tylenol or Motrin starts wearing off, his temp jumps up like it's on a thermostat. I guess I must've been the same as a little boy. The wonders of family genetics. Everybody has been telling me that Levi looks like my "Mini-Me;" I suppose there's more truth in that than they could've known.

But, hey, better times are ahead, I'm sure. We certainly have a wealth of wonderful friends. I can't wait until we can start attending SF cons as a family again. Everybody is always so kind to the boys; cons are great places for the kids to have some good fun in the middle of bunch of really sweet people.
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Lori Smith
Posted on Monday, January 22, 2007 - 02:28 pm:   

Uh, is everybody doing okay these days?

(I always hesitate to ask that kind of question, just in case the answer is "no.")
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - 05:31 am:   

Hi, Lori! Good to hear from you again. Things have kind of "normalized" in our household. We've had two or three rounds of more minor colds and illnesses since the really bad round, but the key aspects to make things more tolerable are that Judah is now much bigger and more robust, and Dara now has a breathing treatment machine on hand for when the baby gets congested. Even so, these continual rounds of illnesses (seemingly, no more than three days can pass with everyone in the house being healthy at the same time) have been wearing.

On the good side, we're learning how to deal with three little ones at once, my new job with FEMA is going well (and I'm bringing home a much better income than before), and yesterday I was able to return, after an eight week hiatus, to writing The Bad Luck Spirits' Social Aid and Pleasure Club.

Thanks for checking on us! I hope that 2007 has gotten off to a good start for you and your family.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - 01:43 pm:   

Andy,
Good news! I, too, am glad to hear how well everyone in your family is doing.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2007 - 05:19 am:   

Thanks so much, Ellen. I need to get in touch with you to see how everything is going. Don't know when I'll be able to make another trip to NYC, but when I do, I'll certainly give you a heads-up. Hey, maybe FEMA will send me for some disaster response training up there.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2007 - 12:48 pm:   

Things are ok with me. Please do, I'd love to see you again.
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Lori Smith
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007 - 12:07 pm:   

Excellent! I'm glad to hear that things are looking up on the health front and I'm thrilled to hear that you're finding a bit of time to write again. (After all, how can I buy and enjoy your next book if you don't actually get it written.)

And yes, thanks, me and mine are doing just dandy so far in 2007. Well, my 1972 Electrolux vacuum cleaner did die on me recently, but really, getting 35 years of service from any appliance is something to be celebrated rather than mourned. Therefore, I stand by my original evaluation of 2007 as dandy thus far.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007 - 12:50 pm:   

Is Electrolux still in business? If you wanted to, could you still buy parts?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007 - 02:10 pm:   

My mom gave me a reconditioned one about 20 years ago and it lasted about 10 years.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 - 05:32 am:   

The old IBM AT computers used to last forever, too. You simply couldn't kill the things. I'm sure there are still offices somewhere (maybe in Latin America) running critical applications on ATs from 1986. I think the ultimate downfall of the computer industry, at least from a hardware durability standpoint, was its surrender to the race for ever-faster microprocessors. Programmers stopped trying to write tight code, no longer being cramped by the restrictions of 128Kb memory and 7 Mhz processors, and started churning out monster-sized pieces of code that, in turn, required more and more memory and faster and faster microprocessors just to run as efficiently as the last set of programs. Every piece of the PC, from the microprocessor to the drives, was required to run faster and hotter. But the ability of the engineers to cool the components didn't progress at nearly the same rate as the increase in component temperatures. So today's machines, and most machines produced since at least the beginning of the Pentium era, burn themselves out within three years, if used continuously. By way of contrast, the old AT, lugging along at comparatively imperceptible speeds, will run until the end of time (or the end of electricity generation, whichever comes first).
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Lori Smith
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 - 12:41 pm:   

Electrolux is still in business and I probably could buy parts, but the thing is mostly metal and it weighs a ton. My poor aching back is looking forward to using one of the newer, lighter, mostly plastic models. The new one will likely burn itself out in three years, but hey, that's progress for you. :-7

And you're completely right about today's PCs running hot. We have a classroom/sauna here in the library that routinely clocks in at about 86 degrees because of the all PCs we have packed into it.

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