Good nights, Bad nights

There’s just no telling what kind of night Alice will have.

Thursday night she just wouldn’t settle down. Corinna and I took turns all night long, trying to get her to sleep. A typical sequence was:

  • Alice begins to stir, sounds like she may begin crying, one of us gets up;
  • Alice is making feeding cues; heat a bottle of formula, begin feeding/burping;
  • after Alice has had half a bottle, change her diaper;
  • diaper change goes poorly – once the dirty diaper is off, and a clean one beneath her, she starts peeing; once a second clean diaper is beneath her, she starts pooping; by the third diaper, she’s finished going to the bathroom;
  • resume feeding;
  • Alice begins to lose interest in her bottle, becomes sleepy;
  • attempt to settle Alice for bed – once she’s asleep, put her in her crib;
  • sneak back to bed, niavely thinking Alice will sleep;
  • three minutes later, Alice begins to stir again; one of us gets up;
  • her diaper is still clean, burping her produces no belching, she just wants to be held; thankfully, no actual crying;
  • give Alice a little more formula – this seems to help;
  • Alice begins making diaper-filling sounds; after she sounds like she’s finished, change her diaper;
  • resume attempts at settling Alice down;
  • Alice appears sleepy again; attempt to put her in her crib again;
  • total elapsed time – 1.5 to 2 hours;

Alice would repeat this cycle approximately every three hours.

Needless to say, we were pretty tired Friday.

Last night was a totally different story. Alice was very relaxed all night – it would take less than an hour to feed/burp/change/settle her. She slept for over three hours between feedings.

I even encountered a clean diaper at 2AM – that’s pretty unusual for Alice. She’s one of those babies that dirties her diaper at every feeding. I’m getting pretty good at diaper changes.

Scripted workflow for preparing images

I’ve finally written a very small shell script to prepare my Digital Rebel photos for web posting. I used to do this manually, but that’s just silly.

I shoot in fine-resolution JPEG, which results in images 3072×2048 (landscape) – pretty huge for a web gallery. I’ve found that shrinking them down to 2048×1365 results in a decent sized file. In addition, Coppermine Gallery can create good looking thumbnails from these images – if I shrink the images too much, the thumbnails turn to crap.

Because I’m too busy, I don’t spend much time editing in The Gimp. If I screw it up badly when I click the shutter, I probably won’t bother fixing it after the fact. I could shoot in Canon Raw, but the files are too huge. I’ve already bought a tape drive for backups – I’d rather not buy a tape loader.

The process involves two steps:

  1. resize for the web
  2. rotate if not already in landscape orientation

The images are resized using convert from the ImageMagick package. Using the following syntax, I am able to resize to no side longer than 2048 pixels:

convert -resize ‘2048×2048>’ origfile.jpg newfile.jpg

In the second step, I use jhead to rotate based on the EXIF Orientation tag. If the image is not already set to normal orientation (orientation = 1), the image is rotated by jpegtran. The syntax is:

jhead -autorot newfile.jpg

The end result is an image no longer than 2048 pixels on a side, and properly oriented.

Alice Catherine Isabella Murray

Corinna and I are the proud parents of a baby girl! Her name is Alice Catherine Isabella Murray. She was born September 18, 2004, and she’s pretty big for a Murray:

  • 3.44 kg (7 lbs, 9 oz)
  • 47 cm long (18.5″)
  • 33 cm head circumference (13″)

She has black hair. At first we thought it was curly, but after the nurses gave her a bath, it looks pretty straight.

Labour started Friday, September 17 at 4:30AM. After a couple hours, Corinna thought it was another bought of false labour. She stayed in bed resting, until she was hungry at 7:30AM. While she was downstairs getting some Cheerios, her water broke. No more false labour – this was the real deal.

We stayed at home and Corinna did a great job managing her contractions. She was comfortable, but by 11AM we decided to call the Women’s Specialty Unit at Rockyview General Hospital (RGH). They asked us to pack up and head in for an assessment, and said that Corinna would probably be admitted. We arrived at RGH at noon, were assessed by 12:30PM, and transferred to room 6235 in Labour and Delivery by 1:00PM. The initial assesment was 3-4cm and 80% effaced. This was better progress than we hoped, but it slowed considerably once we were at the hospital.

Once in the hospital, Corinna coped very well with labour. Unfortunately, she made very little progress. At 4:30 on Friday, she was in the 4-5cm range. Four hours for one centimetre is very slow indeed – doctors prefer to see about a centimetre per hour. Corinna made the brave decision to get an epidural. I thank God for that – little did we know how much longer it would take.

Alice was born at 12:42 on September 18th. I was witness to an incredible display of strength: Corinna was in labour for just over 32 hours; she pushed for the last 4 and a half hours. I am so proud of both my girls, and very grateful they are both healthy.

Alice didn’t rush her birth – we think she got that from her father. At the same time, Alice proved to be a really tough girl – we think she got that from her mother.

We had a few scares along the way. Friday evening there was some concern that Alice was not coming straight out the birth canal – kind of ear first. That would explain the slow progress. Alice’s heart rate was also elevated for a while, and her mom had a slight fever – this was pretty scary for Corinna and I. For a while it looked like there might be a caesarean section. Corinna was examined by Dr. Chang (RGH obstetrician) – she thought Alice was in a good head down position, and that we could continue with labour. After two kinds of antibiotics, as well as gravol and tylenol, Corinna’s fever went away and Alice dropped back to her usual 150 beats-per-minute. Alice never again displayed any signs of distress.

More to come….

Coppermine Gallery Installed

Installed Coppermine gallery yesterday. It was really easy – more so than WordPress, since I had already beaten MySQL and php-mysql into submission.

My only regret: I’m not entirely sure where the disk footprint will reside. I use LVM, so I can resize things a bit as necessary, but I’d rather plan the installation accordingly up front.

I probably shouldn’t worry about this — I’ve plenty of disk space, as long as I don’t post every photo I’ve taken with my Digital Rebel.

Two More Weeks!

Our first child is due in exactly two weeks! Corinna is hoping she goes into labour early — she’s reached that uncomfortable stage. Her back is sore, she’s not sleeping very well, and the baby is very active.

We’re about as ready as we can be at this point. We have most of the stuff that we’ll need. The car seat is in the CRV, the baby room is all set with crib, diapers, sleepers, onesies, socksies, and other cute baby things.

And let’s not forget the diaper genie.

Web Gallery

Now that I’ve got WordPress installed in the DMZ, it’s time to add a web gallery.

I’m leaning towards Coppermine. It’s requirements are similar to those of WP (at least the Web Server + PHP + MySQL part), so it should not be a big deal.

The real reason I want a gallery? Our first child is due September 21st. I expect I’ll have a few photos to share in the next little while.

First Post

Got WordPress installed in the DMZ. Took a little effort. Since I use CentOS 3.1 with a minimal install, I had to download the following RPMs: