December 2003 | Main | February 2004

January 29, 2004

And for those that can take yet more...


There's a little gallery of 15 or so pics I've put live.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:12 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Expecially for Clare

We'll be keeping an eye on how this nose develops...


Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

And the jury return their verdict.

Please say hello to Daisy Aisling Helena Dolan


Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What a tossing waste

Greg Dyke was the best thing to happen to the BBC in ages. And now he's gone.

a) I hope the government are proud of themselves.
b) Handy timing for taking over as chairman of ITV eh?

Posted by Tom Dolan at 03:59 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 28, 2004

Is it just me, or...

Okay, so the Hutton report's parameters were strictly set to cover purely the death of David Kelly. It wasn't to be about why we went to war.

So, I find it slightly worrying that Blair and Co now seem to be spinning the results of Hutton to justify the country going to war, and confine criticism of it.

Slippery, as the saying goes, shits.

(Baby stuff will resume shortly. Sleep deprivation etc need to stabilise.)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 05:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 26, 2004

And they are home.

Vicky and the-child-who-we-have-to-think-of-a-name-for-but-really-ought-to-stop-calling-spadger-now-she's-out-or-it-will-stick are now in our living room.

Mum is happy.
Child is fed and slightly grizzly.
Dad is proud of them both.

It's been a big old 48 hours for us all.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 05:49 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

The eye of the storm.

So that's all that hassle over with.

I had ten hours sleep last night. I normally have around five, so this is big-league stuff for me.

I am enjoying it while it lasts. This afternoon, hopefully, this house will have a baby in it, and things will never be the same again.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 09:18 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 25, 2004

So I've got you to thank for this nose.

Pardon me while I get a bit teary...


What, as the saying goes, a relief. And I'm sure the ability to flare ones nostrils will be as useful in later life for her as it was for me.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:17 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Hello mummy.

By this point she had a much better idea of what was going on around her.


Thinks: 'lunch'

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Say hello.

At 3:41am today, Vicky gave birth to an 8lb 2oz baby girl.


This picture above was taken when she was about 15 minutes old.

No name yet - we're trying to work out what she ought to be now we've met her. Until then, 'spadger' is still sticking.

Labour, when it finally came was extremely fast and hard - Vicky was in a lot of pain, but there wasn't time to get her on the scale of medication she needed. And as Gas-and-Air didn't agree with her the poor thing ended up doing the whole thing clean. The final push lasted about 40 minutes. Ow.

But none of that matters now. We've got a beautiful tall (52cm) baby girl, who has already had two feeds, and Vicky will be home tomorrow afternoon at last.

More pics in a second.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:09 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack



(to be deleted when Tom gets to a computer)

Posted by SimonT at 07:05 AM | TrackBack

L'enfant de Nuit

Just had a call from the hospital - Vicky's gone into labour.

Gotta dash!


Posted by Tom Dolan at 01:13 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 24, 2004

Well that was plain awful

Okay, still no real news.

The doctors spent most of today trying to get Vicky revved back up again. Her body, being Not Ill, wanted quite rightly to do it in its own time.

Unfortunately she was down in the labour ward by the time this started, and so after an hour she was transferred into the assessment area - a shared room full of women in various stages of labour waiting for a proper delivery room to become available. One of them was very vocal, and more so whenever anyone did anything to her. Mind you, some of the midwives were just plain brutal. The accompanying phrase 'no pain no baby' - delivered in a clipped chinese accent - will stick with me for a long time. It was like that horribly memorable bit in Dennis Potter's "Raizing Lazarus" where they have a prisoner they want to talk, so they just play 'the scream tape' outside his cell.

We had, in the space of two hours, gone from an airy light room with space to walk talk and chat, into a boiling daylightless hopeless hell.

I could find nothing cheering to say. We spent most of the day in silence while they used up two more of their 'goes' on the gel, and caesareans loomed ever closer.

I left to come home and do a bit of work with a heavy heart - I had something that *had* to be done by 7pm tomorrow - expecting to use up our last go late tonight. After that things would get grim.


I've just had a call to say that things have moved on a bit, so we might be off again tomorrow morning. And we've both been told to get some rest for what's to come.

I feel very blessed to be in my surroundings tonight. My thoughts, however, are all focussed elsewhere.

Tomorrow is going to be grim again, but hopefully we can avoid using the side exit. The last thing Vicky needs is an extended post-natal stay!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 09:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Long Haul

Think the effects of yesterday's hanging around may have taken us back a step or two - things that were ready seem less so now. So depressing, not least for Vicky.

We're hoping that this won't mean it's back up to the hanging-around ward, or worse that a train of events is set in place that inevitably leads to a caesarean - when there was never anybloodything actually wrong in the first place. This induction was supposed to be helping things along - but it's acquiring momentum of its own. And there seems to be a diffuseness to the decision-making process that means it's impossible to get someone to take a wider view on anything and still have the power to act on it.

More updates later, but I only popped home to pick up extra supplies...

Hang on in there.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 03:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Do not move from your seat!


Vicky has now been admitted to the labour ward for the induction to start in earnest. All happened very suddently, just as we were starting to think it was all going to be like yesterday all over again...

More news in 90 mins.


Posted by SimonT at 11:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ah yes, sleep

Gosh, hard to get moving this morning. It's been a long haul this week, and the alarm went off to the non-strident Farming Today so hardly things to make me cross enough to get up and out of bed.

Anyway, no emergencies overnight. Let's see what their plans are this morning. And I think the key is to not get too excited about them when we hear. Expectations and Management are the two key words to remember from yesterday.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 07:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2004

Wise words from Simon.

Go to Bed Tom

So I shall.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


They have postoned till tomorrow. I am, as they say, gutted Brian.

A day taken off work. Another day Vicky was in hospital for no good reason.

I've come home to change over some clothing and stuff, feed the three squabbling hungry cats, update the rellies without hospital staff looking over my shoulder, and pick up some food - given that we didn't order any for Vix as - hey - we weren't going to need it. Thanks to Simon for the posts. And thanks to you all for reading it. Knowing we're not alone makes a lot of difference.

(By the way, the staff in the prenatal ward were great, and obviously distressed about us too. But there seems to be something a bit awry resource-wise somewhere.)

Hopefully things will happen tomorrow after all. But we are losing heart. Anyway, you know where to find out...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 06:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

This might go on some time...

Still absolutely no news. We have now been first in the queue for the labour ward since 1110am. We are going spare. That we can understand their priorities only helps so far....

As far as we can tell the entire ward has been waiting all day. I almost want to go and stop ambulances as they arrive and say "are you really an emergency?" [having spoken to Tom on the phone shortly after the texting and posting of that sentence, I should point out he was well aware that he didn't mean it quite as aggressively as it might have seemed but wanted to show the level of frustration they are both, quite understandably, feeling right now - simon]

The only way we out we can see at the moment is for it all to kick in naturally. Mind you, we might then have to just do it in the corridor....


Posted by SimonT at 05:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

News From The Frontline

(Please bear with me on this, Tom sent a very abbreviated text to me, before a more unstandable one, so I've had to guess some of what he was trying to say!)


Vix has done well overnight. Dilating nicely so it's safe to break waters now. Waiting to go down to labour ward for them to actually do it.

Odd that the midwife has felt a real baby head!


Still waiting to be done. Got caught out by the lunch break. Number 1 in the queue now. Had a bit of a go on the bed for half an hour [i'm guessing we're talking having a good ol' push here? I'm confused - simon]. Too easy to be brave and flag later.


(a Simon post)

Posted by SimonT at 02:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Note to self: Calm down, Calm down!

John's comment below gave me a much-needed impetus to step back for a moment. It's incredibly easy to get seduced by the drama of all this - even to create drama - but one of the things to remember is that under other circumstances Vicky would be sitting safely at home and the baby probably wouldn't be coming out for a good few days - perhaps even weeks.

She feels fine, and all these interventions are doctors trying to bring things on earlier than her system naturally wants to, in order to keep the doctors comfortable and minimise risk. And yet - despite my post about do vs do to - I'd kind of got swept along with their conveyor belt and am starting to talk about things 'not working' as though Vicky is ill. (Saves essay on innate combative nature of medical viewpoint for later - and John Diamond's stuff on not 'fighting' cancer did it better anyway)

Anyway, things are moving along very nicely thank you, and I found out last night that's why there were no more gels. Vicky's getting lots of backache, and the occasional contraction, and needs to do lots of hip-wiggling when she's standing. These are all good signs.

There was a bit of me that thought I might get a phonecall during the night, but I know in my heart of hearts that's a mixture of selfish reasons - the need for a good story in the film of your life, wanting all this hassle to be over, and wanting her home again.

It'll come when it's good and ready. And now I must get dressed and go to hospital. Further reports as and when I get them.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 07:39 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 22, 2004

To the next level

So, it looked like the gel didn't work.

Tomorrow it's water-breaking time. Oooer.

Mind you, we still may find that doesn't start it all off, and eventually I'll find myself back in MTV's offices again...sigh.

Thanks for all the kind messages in the comments btw. I print the entries out at the end of the day and take them in to Vicky. It makes her very smiley to have your support.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 06:12 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Ah, the frustration!!!!!!!

Huge thanks to Simon for posting this morning. And the news is that currently there is no news.


Just before lunch, Vicky had various unpleasant chemicals stuck up her after a near-interminable monitoring session. She then had to sit very still for an hour. (At which point everyone in the world phoned her, obviously)

She's now up and moving about again, but sadly the contractions have completely failed to kick in. We need bigger jump leads or something.

Anyway, they're going to have up to three more goes with this stuff. Technically it's supposed to be at six-hourly intervals, but I don't know if they'd kick her off again to have the baby overnight. More news - possibly via Simon - as I get it.

The rather unpleasant bit is that if the gels don't work they're going to have to go in via another, rather more severe, route.

In the meantime, I am doing a great job of pretending to be interested in whats going here at work. Possibly.

PS: Simon, why do your posts on my blog get more comments than mine? :-)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 03:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Here we go....

The induction process is being started this morning. Like now. A baby will be along presently....

(posted by Simon, just here helping out)

Posted by SimonT at 10:44 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 21, 2004

I Suspect She May Be Making This 'Baby' Thing Up.

Well, there's still no news. A logjam in the delivery suites. And with the skeleton night-time staff about to come onto shift, it's looking highly likely that we're ("we"? I flatter myself) not going to be getting things moving/moved until tomorrow morning.

At this rate I'm going to have to work out how to work the washing machine...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 05:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Swanwick of the Baby World

(Yes, it's more maternity posts. There may be others this is boring the tits off, and I have been feeling a bit guilty that there have been no politics/tech/link posts recently, but I recently decided to relax and get used to the idea that at the moment Nothing Else Matters To Me. It actually doesn't. So tough. Anyway, onward and upward...)

The latest from the wonderful world of Whipps Cross is that Mrs Tom is going to be induced at some stage soon. Whereas this was rather brutal when we were thinking about it a while ago, Vicky's already 1cm dilated, and having some small contractions, so whopping a pile of hormone-filled gel up her is actually helping something along that was happening anyway.

This could have happened as early as 9am this morning, but the delivery ward is kind of busy, so they've got her in a holding pattern.

So, at some stage between now and the end of tomorrow the regular gels start going in.
At some stage between 4 and 48 hours after that, labour kicks in. Probably.
At some stage after that, we have a baby.
How exciting!

[One little footnote. I spent most of our NCT classes absorbing everything I could about ways to massage vicky, or keep her hips moving so everything is all opened up and pain is minimised. And now it's entirely likely she'll be lying down, with an epidural. I haven't got a clue what I'm supposed to do now. Go to the pub and drink brandy while wearing tweed?]

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:10 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 20, 2004

And on the maternity front

In hospital another night.

We had viewed a lot of the process as being a challenge between our will to do, and their will to do to.

After today's little display, we realise there is a third orthogonal vector - the will to have anyone do anything at all.

I have a healthy wife, stressed about the continual judgements about her blood pressure, and being made worse and worse when people tell her they're going to make a decision about whether to induce her - and then completely forget about her. For 12 hours. Which is obviously going to help.

You do have to wonder why someone is in for monitoring if they're not actually going to be monitored, and when the 'treatment' is going to drain them and make them less able to deal with the effort ahead.

Rant over. Temporarily.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pandering to Tim Ireland

I'm an Aston Martin Vanquish - Which James Bond Vehicle Are You?
Take the James Bond Car Quiz!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 19, 2004

Elastic Ward

Well, it's back to hospital time for the missus (and contents). We shall see how things progress.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 17, 2004

Ad Break

Everything on the baby and vix front has gone quiet. She's no longer a concern health-wise, and the contractions seem to have gone all irregular and sparse again. Um, think we could have a good few days, nay weeks, to go.

Biology, eh?

Posted by Tom Dolan at 03:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 16, 2004

On Architecture and Usability

I'll leave you all to imagine the rest, but I wouldn't have had this insight were it not for major building work going on in the office at the moment.

Dear Architects

When designing a building, please do not swap over the gender of the toilets between floors. We, the mere users of your creation, will assume they will be on the same side of corridors as we are used to.

Thank you.


(A metaphor?)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 04:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Take Your Marks

Well that was jolly exciting.

During today, Vicky was getting more and more aware of her Braxton-Hicks contractions. To the point where she was wondering if they were still the practice, warming-up, version any more. All very exciting.

But it then got a bit scary. She came to pick me up from the station (driving a car != operating heavy machinery, honest guv) and had to pull over because she was getting flashing in her eyesight, and pins and needles in her face and hands.

This is, as they say, not a good sign.

After a brief bit of sitting and waiting to see if it would pass - after all, she'd gone suddenly from asleep to driving - we cracked and went to hospital. She was immediately hooked up to the monitoring machines (Hewlett Packard really do have a very wide product range) to keep an eye on the baby's heart rate and her own internal movements.

And there they were on the scrolling printout of the machine. Regular as clockwork. Contractions. Every 5m30s. To the point where I could visually tell Vicky when one was about to kick in.

At this point someone nearly got access to this blog to start posting what was going on.

They decided they'd have a bit of a look inside Vicky and see how she was doing, but sadly she's not dilating yet. And the contractions aren't quite big enough to be the full-on thing.

But how exciting - it's all really happening! And the contractions are definitely getting more and more powerful.

Saturday, we reckon.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:40 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 14, 2004


She's home. No baby, but a clean(ish) bill of health. And when I've finished writing this I'm going to bed. As it should be. Proper. Complete.

(Sorry, for some of my readers - or probably ex-readers by now - this phase of my blog must be as dull as anything. I'll get back onto project management and futurology soon. Possibly.)

PS Thanks for all the nice messages. They were passed on secretly by text message or in visits.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 13, 2004

Grievous Omission

What, no Last Of The Summer Wine clip of someone going down a hill in a bath?

Oh, the shame of it...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Creeping across into nothingness.

So, tonight my lovely wife has been kept in hospital 'for observation'. This probably stamps on our hopes for a home birth. Not that the process is as important as the end result, but still.

This means it's the first time I've slept without her since Banff in July '02. And the first time I've slept without her in *our* bed since just after we were married and she went to a hen night. Four years or so?

Being able to sprawl out diagonally is no consolation.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:02 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 11, 2004

Get it while you can...possibly

Just thought I'd flag up that Sainsbury's are for some reason doing a clearance price on 1996 Vintage Lanson Gold Label Champagne. Down from 27 quid to 22. Oddbins still have it at 28 quid.

1996 was one of the best champagne vintages of recent times, beaten only by 1990, so this should be well worth getting hold of while you can. From my researches it seems it's still got a good bit of cellaring life left in it should you want to keep it for later, but if ageing don't forget to keep it in the dark - champagne is very sensitive to that.

Lanson are generally described in the wine books as 'rapidly improving' so I hope that it's well on the upward curve, rather than at its beginning. Anyway, we've bought a bottle for when spadger is born so will be able to report back on the taste then. If it's good, lets hope there's still some left on the shelves!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 09, 2004

And on the subject of disposable income

Amazon's top recommendation to me in their electronics section is a 1.5m Scart-to-Scart cable.

I'm not sure if I, or they, should be trying harder.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 04:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Talking of Which

I have been suprised by my reaction to the whole re-employment and financial security thing.

I'd always imagined a whole set of feelings I'd have when I got back into a position where I wasn't losing money, or moving from short-term gig to short-term gig - elation, potency, vindication - stuff like that.

But there hasn't really been any of that - even over a longer period. In fact there aren't really any new feelings at all.

What's making the difference is all the feelings I no longer have. As if the white noise generator in my head has been turned off, and my mind is left standing - confused and shaking slightly - in the remaining silence, realising it must have got used to the deafening din and wondering how.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 04:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Advance Warning

The rumbles of my new social life have started.

I got my regular brochure from the South Bank Centre this morning in the post. And I had to realise that there was absolutely *no* chance that I would be going to see Plaid play at the Ether 2004 festival. Instead I shall be being at home with a small person.

It's not a bad thing, but the moment was worth noting.

(Glad they've got rid of the stupid pharoah beards though...)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 04:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 08, 2004

Apple Share?

Ah, hurrah. I've started having little boxes appearing telling me my copy of iChat AV is about to expire. And I can't find the plain old version on apple's site any more.

I feel like I'm being blackmailed into buying Panther.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Speedy Adaptibility of the Human Mind

Human nature being what it is, I have already spent the forthcoming 'financial stability' about 8 times over.

Fixing the piano, upgrading my studio software, wine, a binge at Amazon, a PC to run Linux and M$, saving for childcare, saving for starting my own production company, getting the porch rebuilt with properly seasoned wood, putting more disks in the TiVo, getting my mixing desk repaired, new clothes, a holiday, a party, a vinyl splurge, new central heating, a huge cake... the list is endless.

It's still a wonderful wonderful relief though.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 09:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 07, 2004

And Relax...

So, with two weeks to go before the firstborn is due, I'm back in employment again. MTV phase 2 starts up from Monday.

This has caused a massive rethinking of my future plans - one that's so massive I now realise just how much my ambitions and worldview had needed to shrink in order to cope: I can now drink the emergency-only champagne in the fridge; I can buy some new champagne for when the firstborn arrives; I can go to restaurants again; I can start buying CDs once more; I can put money into my pension; I can get new shoes...

Gosh, there's nothing quite like having the rug pulled back under you.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 05:44 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 04, 2004

Why Postponement Can Be Good.

[Beware - post of interest to about one person. And possibly not even that.]

Well, the holiday season has been good for a great many things - I've made a huge dent in my 'home' to-do list. The bath has been re-sealed, loads of baby things bought, dvd-authoring was learnt. And I decided that Illustrator just wasn't worth worrying about - another weight off my mind.

But sadly, I finally got round to cracking open my Yamaha SY-77 synth to see if I could fix the MIDI on it. This has always been one of my favourite synths, even though the keyboard on it is truly horrible. Clattery is not the word. However, the sound engines in it can produce some truly blistering bass sounds, and shimmering evolving bell-like textures that nothing else seems to be able to muster.

It went off to have something else on it fixed a little over a year ago, and when I got it to the new house I realised that it wasn't sending data to anything else when I played the keyboard. I knew this would involve taking out *loads* of circuit boards I didn't understand, but I was fairly sure I'd find a little connector that hadn't been plugged in when I got there.

So I did, very very carefully, because I didn't.

And there wasn't. Everything I could see was plugged in. Bugger.

So I painstakingly put it all back together again and condemned it to being a mere ornament. Albeit a relatively unattractive one that cost nearly two grand back in 1991.

Mysteriously, the synth now appears to be able to *hear* stuff sent to it, which means I can now start using it for music again, but the midi-out port is dead dead dead.

I know when I am beaten. My baby and I will have to hobble on somehow till there is more cash.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 03, 2004

A great injustice

In the final stages of pregnancy, a new set of hormones kick in and a lot of goo and mucus starts being generated all over the body. (too much information already?) As a result, the missus is now able to accidentally snore without even being asleep.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 09:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One Down...

I've had a lot of big projects on the go at the moment - largely personal-development things. But one of them just got completed.

I've been investigating ways of archiving TiVo content - VHS just doesn't really cut it these days. So big piles of vaguely-known technology have had to be stitched together in an end-to-end chain based around whatever I have at home.

So, I now know how to use my DV camera as a dv-bridge to get video into the laptop. To clean up and edit video once captured. To export as MPEG2. To convert the audio into AC3. TV-friendly design. Building menu systems using photoshop. And then stringing this all together with DVD authoring software.

And the upshots?

1) DVD Authoring takes bloody *ages*.
2) If I wasn't the king of overengineering solutions to problems I could have had this finished about a month ago. (Not a full-time month, obviously)
3) Perhaps VHS isn't so bad after all...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 09:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack