Jake Weilong Gilbert was born

Much to the surprise of Cheryl and me, Jake decided to show up a couple of weeks earlier than expected on May 28th, 2017, at 22:57. He weighed 2800g, or 6lb 2.8oz as the hospital recorded it.

Thankfully it wasn’t a long and protracted labour, and it began on Saturday morning after Cheryl woke up. Cheryl’s water broke without experiencing any contractions, so we made our way to the hospital in a much less panicked manner than either of us expected.

Labour was induced so that contractions would start. Cheryl held out for quite a while before going with an epidural for the pain. The actual push phase of the birth took about 90 minutes, and that seemed to go by extremely quickly to me!

Jake having some skin to skin time with his mum just after being born.

Jake having some skin to skin time with his mum just after being born.

Driving Jake home from the hospital was one of the more nerve-wracking journeys I’ve ever been on. I kept checking my mirrors to make sure cars were far enough behind, and not going to ram me. I kept looking at everything to try to anticipate any issues. We only live a few minutes from the hospital, so it went over pretty quickly, for which I am very glad.

Unfortunately we had a few problems. Jake was seemingly very sleepy, he didn’t even eat properly because he would fall asleep. We had a home appointment with a nurse, and she said Jake’s jaundice was worse. She took a blood sample and his weight and said that he had dropped 10% of his birth weight in 4 days.

A few hours after she left she called back and told us to get Jake to the hospital because his bilirubin levels were so high that he needed UV photo therapy to reduce them.

Jake under the UV lights

Jake under the UV lights

We spent another 24 hours in hospital, worried sick. Jake’s bilirubin levels dropped to an acceptable level, and we got given a meal plan to try to get Jake’s weight back up. He also had the frenulum under his tongue cut to give him more motion when eating, as he was a little tongue-tied.

Over the last couple of days he has started to eat a bit better, and seems to be less jaundiced in general. We have an appointment with a nurse in the next couple of hours and we should get some idea of how he’s progressing.

It has been a stressful week, but I’m so glad Jake’s doing as well as he is, even if he is keeping his parents up all night.

Saw Jake move

A couple of hours ago I could actually see the force Jake is exerting on Cheryl when he kicks. It’s quite an unusual sight to see something push outwards from within a person!

It’s actually quite reassuring to know that Jake is developing his muscles and getting ready for life on the outside in just 3 months and a few days.

We’re really looking forward to his arrival. 🙂

Jake, my son

Cheryl and I went to hospital for the 20-week scan today. We were told there was a good chance of finding out the gender of our child.

Within a minute if the scan starting we were told we were having a son! 🙂

We had already picked out names for both a boy and a girl, and so we didn’t have a difficult time putting a name to a face, or, really, more of a concept.

We’re having a son, and his name is Jake.

Ultrasound scan of Jake

The first ultrasound scan of Jake after finding out his gender.

Jake is a name I have liked since I began reading The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, and so I really wanted to call my son that. Luckily, Cheryl agreed.

We’ll meet in 20 weeks, and I cannot wait.

Heading to New York

Cheryl and I are on a plane about half way between Chicago and Detroit right now.

In just over an hour we’ll be landing in New York City.

We’re going to be there over New Year, which should be exciting. We’ve been advised not to bother going to Times Square at midnight, however. You have to stand around for several hours, unable to leave, unable to find a restroom, food, drinks, etc.

Cheryl already has a few meals booked, and we have a list as long as our arm for sights we’d like to see.

Looking forward to landing!

Heard the heartbeat

I went to hospital with Cheryl on the 6th to have our 12-week scan. We got to listen to the heartbeat for the first time, which was a moment I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It’s beating fast and strong at 150bpm, which is perfectly normal at this stage.

I wish I had a recording of the heartbeat.

Healthy baby


We had the nuchal translucency ultrasound scan this morning this morning and everything is looking good. We’ve found the baby has a 1 in 4000 chance of having Down syndrome, which is nice and low. It has grown from less than 1CM to over 6CM in the 5 weeks since the last scan.

We could see it move its arms and head, and we saw its heart and brain. These scans are incredible. We don’t know the gender yet, but should be able to find out in a month or so.

We’re both so pleased to be able to tell people now. 🙂

Nuchal Translucency

Tomorrow morning I will be accompanying Cheryl to UCSF hospital to have a nuchal translucency ultrasound scan.

This scan determines the thickness of a pocket of fluid currently at the base of the back of the baby’s neck, and provides enough information to determine whether the baby is likely to suffer from various different genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.

It is kind of horrible to think about that sort of thing, and I’m sure all expectant parents just want to hear good news, and to know they’re having a healthy baby.

I hope we’ll hear that news tomorrow.


We’ve been to the hospital and had a quick ultrasound done, as well as an additional check. Current measurements are between 1.00 and 1.09cm. That size is indicative of Cheryl being around 7 weeks pregnant.

We could see the baby’s heart beating!

We are currently back in the hospital to have another ultrasound done by a certified operator who should be able to give us more information.
Just before heading back to hospital we got news that Phil and Jacqui are 14 weeks pregnant. So difficult not to mention our news.

We’re considering how and when we should tell our immediate families. Hopefully we can tell them soon.

Baby on the brain

We’ve spent the last week thinking and talking about how life is going to be when we have a baby. Cheryl’s job is going to be an interesting thing to find out about. She’s a contractor right now, and employment law in the US is pretty shit for the employees. The best case scenario if she’d worked at the same company for a year would be 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Not exactly great.

We’re trying to figure out all the permutations that could work for us, but there are so many, and they all rely on what Cheryl’s employer will do. Thankfully we’re in a position where my salary is enough to cover all of our rent and bills. I can’t imagine how couples who live in this area can afford kids on lower salaries.

Anyway, we’ve been getting ahead of ourselves and thinking of possible names. We seem to have settled on names for both a boy and a girl, so that was easy.

We’ve both been discussing how to break the news to our families, and then to other people. It’s so difficult to have this sort of life-changing news and not be able to tell anyone about it. There seem to be 2 or 3 occasions in a day where it would make complete sense for me to bring up the fact that we’re expecting a baby, and I have to stop myself each time.

Cheryl has started taking a bunch of vitamins. We’re constantly checking the ingredients of food and second-guessing ourselves over whether it’s ok to eat certain things or not. I’ve made a lot of searches in incognito mode in my browser to avoid getting things auto-completed in front of colleagues or something like that. I’m so worried about the news accidentally leaking to someone before I’ve told anyone.

We have an appointment at the hospital on Monday, and I just want the weekend to be over so we can go there and get some concrete information and form a solid plan.

Nice Drive

Last week I was working a 17:00-23:00 shift at work to support the launch of Amazon Music Unlimited. I decided that I would spend the day driving to somewhere instead of sitting on the sofa playing on the Playstation.

I looked for places on Google Maps that were within 2 or 3 hours, so I’d have time to get there, eat, and come back for work. I ended up settling on a little town called Nice. I don’t know if they pronounce it the same as the city in France, or the adjective nice.

I got there without any issues, took some pictures, and then had some lunch from a supermarket on the edge of town. As soon as lunch was over I set Waze to head for home. It said I’d arrive just after 15:00.

Clear Lake, CA

I got about 10 miles along state route 175, a twisty mountain road with a large drop on one side, when I noticed I could smell brake dust. I slowed down, testing my brakes, and the smell got stronger. I rounded a corner and saw cones in the middle of the road. I slowed down more and when I rounded the next corner I saw a line of traffic with an ambulance and police cars ahead. A police officer was in the road, stopping traffic.

SR175 Closed

After about 10 minutes he came over and said the road would be closed for quite a while, and that we should turn around to find a different route.

I turned the car around and started driving back the way I’d come. About a quarter of the way back to where I started I turned one of the twisty turns and was faced with an oncoming truck straddling both sides of the road. I slammed on the brakes, sending everything in the car flying forwards. I saw the guy quickly snap his head back to the front and swerve onto his own side of the road just in time to avoid a collision.

My heart was racing after that. I started thinking how stupid it was that I just hit the brakes, but then I started thinking about how things would have turned out if I’d tried to swerve around him. Moving a couple of feet to the right would mean sending the car off a cliff, just like you see in action films, although hopefully without an explosion.

I’m pretty sure that’s the closest I have ever been to dying.

The detour added an extra couple of hours to the drive, and I ended up heading directly to the office, where I stayed from 17:15 until 07:00 the next day.

Quite an eventful day.