When toddlers attack

Friday, May 25, 2012


F*ck it!  That's what I finally decided.
Dr. Singh says Olivia's ready to leave the safe confines of Delhi Newborn Center, and that Clara's not far behind.  And at 6:00 this evening, I was ignored by Singapore Airlines.  Okay, they're a big company, I get it, but DON'T THEY KNOW WHO I AM??  The idea was that they were going to text me when our waitlisted status wonderously turned to confirmed.  Every flight between now and Wednesday is overbooked.

No text ever came.  But our names were still waitlisted online when last I checked, even though the reservations agents all  infored me that we'd fall off just after six if we didn't make the flight.  I got them to waitlist us on a flight on Monday as well, but we finally decided that, thank you, we really weren't enjoying the suspense very much. At around 10:00 pm, with both of us climbing the walls, we decided to pull the cord on Singapore Airlines and rebook with Lufthansa.  Too bad; I was looking forward to flying Singapore, and we end up paying 300 dollars in cancellation fees and a few hundred more for the Lufthansa tickets, but it's worth it to get to our daughters.  The flight leaves tomorrow night, so we'll have all day to finish packing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Little Voice

It's always the same voice that picks up the phone at Delhi Newborn Centre, faint and distant, which has nothing to do with the sometimes scratchy international connection.  I get the feeling he's a faint and distant person.  I think of him as Little Voice.

The first time I called the main hospital number, realizing with chagrin that I had been calling Dr. Gupta's private cell (annoying for him and expensive for me), I thought I had dialed a wrong number.

"Hello," says Little Voice.  No "hello, Delhi Newborn Centre."  Nothing.

"Yes, may I please speak to Dr. Gupta?"

Pause.  "Hello?"

"Dr. Gupta?"  I repeat.

Pause.  "Hello?"

"I'm sorry, I must have a wrong number."  He was showing no sign of understanding English or even of working at DNC.  I hang up and redial.


"Yes, Dr. Gupta please."

"One moment."  Ah.  So he does speak English and I didn't dial a wrong number.

Hold music, an electronic version of "Für Elise" that sounded like something from the loudspeaker of an ice cream truck.  Finally, Dr. Gupta came on the line. 

Another night.  "Hello."

"Yes, Dr. Singh, please."

"Hold please."  I don't hold.  Instead, I'm disconnected.  I call back.


"Yes, Dr. Singh, please."

"Hold please."  This time, Für Elise comes on the line.  Someone picks up.  I hear the noises of the hospital, shuffling, people talking.  Then, a dial tone.  I call back, repeat.  The same exact thing happens.

I call back.  Finally Dr. Singh comes on the line.

This, or something like it, is our nightly ritual.  We find out tomorrow if we´re confirmed on that flight on Friday, so our nightly "Lost in Translation" phone call can be eliminated and we'll always know how our daughters are doing because we'll have them in our arms.  We've both had chest colds this week; Adrián has shaken his, mine is clinging on like toilet paper to a tennis shoe.  It WILL be gone tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Planes and boats and trains

Actually, just planes.  I love airports.

I have ever since I was a little kid and we'd drop my dad off as he headed to glamourous places like Tokyo or Hong Kong or Jonesboro, Arkansas for his business trips.  Back in that less environmentally friendly era, the jetliners were noisy enough to rattle the windows of your house when they passed overhead, and belched out fumes that to me smelled better than orange blossom.  I loved the kerosene-scented breath of the big jets and hearing the whine of the engines all the way from the passenger drop-off area.

I'm still that way:  if I can't take a trip myself, I'll do it vicariously.  So besides dodging deadly and blinding eclipse rays, the other big event of the weekend was heading to LAX to see off Dan and Todd of San Diego, another pair of IPs.  Their son Colton was born in Delhi the same night as Bill and Doug's Cristina was born on the East Coast. 

The drive up from SD took them less time then expected, and we got mired in a surprise traffic jam on the 405, so we ended up only being able to spend about 20 minutes with them before they had to head through security.  They flew China Eastern airlines through Shanghai.  So strange to be there and not get on a plane ourselves, though we did take advantage of the situation to try to change our tickets at the Singapore Airlines ticket counter.

On arrival at Delhi Newborn Centre, it turns out Colton was already sharing bed space with Olivia and Clara -- I'll have to take that up with his dads.  He's already out -- congrats, guys!  -- and they managed to charm the nurses into letting them take the photos below, which they sent me thanks to the magic of Viber. If you don't already have it, it's a free app that lets you make free calls and send free texts anywhere in the world from your mobile, as long as there's a WiFi connection.

Is that... is that ME?  Is my deodorant not working?

Olivia turns her head and clenches her fists in frustration - AGAIN with the paparazzi??

Signs and portents

Does it augur ill or well if the sun is eclipsed while you're in Babies R Us?

I didn't hear anything about the annular eclipse that swept across much of the US and Asia until Saturday.  It was only 85 percent coverage in Los Angeles, but in California's far north, up around Mount Shasta, it was spot-on in the center of the sun.  I've never seen a near-total eclipse, and we would have gone up for the weekend if we'd known, but the news media here were too busy reporting about Kim Kardashian's latest case of crabs... or whatever it is that has everyone abuzzabuzzabuzz... to let me know I was about to miss my only chance at seeing an eclipse of that magnitude in my lifetime.  You know, without flying to Kiribati or Ouagadougou or something.
Can't see sh*t.  Maybe it's because I'm looking at the sun
In fact, I had forgotten completely about the eclipse until a woman asked me in an ethereal tone, just before our spinning class, if I knew there was going to be an annular eclipse that evening.  "You're not supposed to go outside," she said, as if anyone touched by dreaded eclipse rays suddenly would sprout compound eyes like the mad scientist in "The Fly."  "It's bad for your eyes."

"I think what's bad for your eyes is just... looking at the sun," I told her. 

"No, no... it's the eclipse, you can't look at it."  I gave up.
Fun with rubbish
So the eclipse caught us coming out of Babies R Us, where we'd gone searching in vain for microwave sterilizer bags for baby bottles. The sun looked normal if you looked towards it, but the sky was oddly dark considering how high it was in the sky.  We found a cardboard box in the parking lot, dumped a half-eaten hamburger out of it, punched a pinhole in a discarded fruit label, and voila!  Instant observatory!
A demon is eating the sun!
People walked by and around us as we crouched on the pavement, which offended me for two reasons:  one, that the phillistines couldn't take a moment to appreciate the celestial wonders overhead, and two... well, do we look like people who wouldn't rate a second glance crouched near a half-eaten hamburger in a Babies R Us parking lot? 

Meanwhile, over at Marina del Rey on the other side of town, my friend Myles was watching under leaden skies.  Normally at this time of year, anything near the ocean is blanketed under a thick coating of fog.  Sunday was no exception.  I gloated at our good fortune to live on the sunny side of town when Myles sent me a photo of a grey, woolen sky (since he lives overlooking the Marina and I live next to a freeway I have to gloat where I can).  Then the fog thinned just enough for him to snap a direct shot of the eclipse, something we could only see indirectly through the magic of garbage.
Who needs a summer when you have 30 seconds of eclipse?

The last time L.A. witnessed a sorta-kinda-almost-total eclipse was 1992.  No, I don't remember much about that one, either.  The human mind tries to find external signposts that mark major shifts in our lives; I'd like to say that that event ushered me out of my post-college years and into my transcontinental era as a TV reporter.  But I didn't get my first reporting job for another two years after that eclipse, and this one was a pretty flacid fanfare for what's just happened: nothing less than the most significant and welcome change of my life, the birth of my daughters.

So no, I don't know what witnessing an eclipse in the parking lot of a tacky big-box store portends, but I do know where I want to be the next time the moon's shadow cuts a swathe across North America:  traveling to see it with my husband and my girls.  They'll be five, old enough to remember it and that we saw it together.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I could swim faster than this!

They're there.  We're here.  We want to be there and we want them here. 

The girls are doing swimmingly.  Still no oxygen, no apnea, no medications of any kind other than caffeine, which will be discontinued in a few days.  Both are taking about 30 ml of formula every three hours and Dr. Singh tells me that yesterday, Clara gained a whopping 70 g.  She tipped  the scales at 1410 g, well over her birth weight.  Olivia gained 30 g yesterday and weighed in at 1685 g.  The past few days the nurses have been encouraging them to take a bottle, and if they do and continue gaining weight as they have been, Olivia at least will be released soon.


Hence our problem: remember my fiendishly clever plan to book changeable tickets and ensure that Adrián had his aisle, I had my window and no one sat between us?  Not only is someone already sitting between us on the outbound trip, but a  changeable fare is only worth something if there's space available on a flight somewhere.  And it turns out that every Singapore Airlines flight from L.A. to Singapore for the next two weeks is booked solid.  We're on the standby list to leave this coming Friday, the 25th, but we're not holding our breath (and the thought of a middle seat all the way across the Pacific and halfway across Asia makes me want to hide under my bed in a fetal position).  We may try to cancel our flights and book with another airline -- Lufthansa wasn't looking too bad. 

As always, a big thanks to Bernadette for the photos -- think good thoughts about Hayden, who's still fighting to get stronger in the NICU. And a big congrats to Doug and Bill of Looking for Baby (now, Looking for Cristina Lei) on the birth of their daughter, um, Cristina Lei!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Return of the Tigress

"You were eight before your mother was finally convinced I wasn't going to eat you," my dad used to tell me.

It must not have helped when -- what must be one of my earliest memories -- my dad took me along to get a pizza one night when I was 2 1/2 or so and we were living in San Francisco.  He sat me on the passenger seat next to him and at some point had to slam on the brakes.  Predictably, I went flying into the big, wide dashboard of the big, wide Lincoln he was driving at the time.  I came home with a fat lip but otherwise intact.  My mother must have had a meltdown.

"She's a tigress, that woman... anyone messes with you, they'll lose an arm," he said.  Evidently, he was speaking from experience. 

But I noticed that her maternal instincts were apparently waning around the age of 14, when I nearly lost an arm trying to eat some morsel off her plate.  She'd always encouraged me to when I was smaller, trying to get me to try new foods and spices.  It worked too well, as my continual battle not to go up a waist-size will attest. 

And now that I'm an adult, her tiger-mom protectiveness sometimes is AWOL, as in one time a few years ago when she, Adrián and I were navigating crowded aisles at Costco.  She was pushing the cart, I was steering with my hand on the front, and at one point we had to head through the narrows near the meat section.  As carts bumped and scraped against each other, suddenly we heard a yelp of pain as a man got his hand caught between his cart and ours.  "Oh... oh, I'm so sorry," stammered my mother.  "It was HIM."  She pointed at me.  My jaw hit the floor.  Then I started to guffaw.  "Joanne, that was very maternal," said Adrián. 

Tigress?  Υeah, not so much.

And when we announced we were expecting, it seemed most of the time that her apprehension outweighed her excitement at being a first-time grandma.  Understandable to a point -- she is 80 and had long ago gotten used to the idea that I was the end of the line.  That's been changing in the past few months, and happily, she's been ecstatic since Clara and Olivia were born.  But that's put her in direct conflict with my aunt.

She doesn't understand why the Dowager Countess doesn't share her joy.  In fact, she's been insisting that she share her joy, as always upset and perplexed when someone doesn't conform with her rosy view of the world and how it should be. 

Dumplings?  Rawrrrr...!

Worse, she hasn't heard from my aunt's daughter, my sour cousin who lives in Santa Fe. The only comment I've heard from her (relayed through my mom) was "India?   That's like Walmart for babies!"  My mother showered her with gifts when her daughter was born and is deeply offended that she hasn't even received a phone call.  No surprise to me; she and I have barely spoken in 20 years.   

Last Sunday, Mothers Day here in the States, after weeks of handwringing and trying to cajol a positive, enthusiastic reaction out of her sister and spawn, my mom finally made a pronouncement:  "My grandchildren are not second class.  If I can't talk to you about them, then I really don't have much to say to you." 

According to her, my aunt is now starting to come around.

We took her out for dim sum to celebrate her finally finding her missing claws (not that I put it like that to her).  And I left her plate alone, just in case.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Alegría de larga distancia/Long Distance Joy

Even if you don't speak Spanish or Catalan, this video of Adrián telling his dad and stepmother that they're grandparents again doesn't need a translation.  Keep listening through the screaming.  Sorry I can't figure out how to get Adrián vertical.

El fin de semana consistió en una rueda de llamadas a amigos y familia repartidos por Estados Unidos y España.  La guinda fue cuanda Adrián llamó a su padre y madrastra.  Después de una breve conversación en valenciano con su padre, coge el teléfono Cati, y empiezan los gritos de alegría.  Lamento que no sé como poner vertical a Adrián.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 5 - What's left to worry about?

President Obama is visiting our neighborhood today, heading to a fundraiser at George Clooney's house that's supposed to rake in $15 million for his reelection campaign.  Actually, he's not in our immediate neighborhood anyway, but in the nicer part with hills and woods and movie stars, which is good, because every time the president visits, traffic grinds to a halt.

I'm sure my invitation was inadvertently tossed out with a pile of old newspapers or something.  Come to think of it, I wasn't invited to George's last soiree, either...

We're focused on other things in our household, anyway, and on day five of our daughters' lives, we're settling into a rhythm:

Wake up.  Turn on laptop.  Look at pictures of Olivia and Clara.  Get out of bed.  Put on sweats.  Quick look at pictures before letting dog out to pee and feeding said dog.  Make coffee, then back to the bedroom to stare at the photos some more.  Eat breakfast.  Photos.  Shower.  Photos.  Work.  Photos at work.  Call husband to gush over photos.  He gushes too.  Head home.  Avoid temptation to look at photos on cellphone on freeway, 'cause that's, like, illegal.  And dangerous.  Okay, maybe one quick peek.  Home.  Photos.  Call Dr Gupta.  Photos.  Dinnerphotoswatchmoviewhilelookingatphotosphotosphotosbed.

Tanorexic?  Me?
Each evening we hold our breath, stare at each other and the phone for a minute or two, and call Dr. Gupta.  The first night, I had no idea what to ask, but now I've established a pattern:  weight, breathing, feeding, thank you, bye.  He's very patient.  His goodbyes are abrupt.
Neither baby is on oxygen.  Clara's occasional episodes of apnea have stopped and she's taking formula through her gastric tube.  She's down to less than 1200 g, but Dr. Gupta says she's doing well.  Olivia isn't taking food yet because they're still aspirating pretty colors from her stomach, but he expects her to start within two or three days.
The highlight of our evenings is when Bernadette (who finally got to take her daughter Scarlett out into the big world - yay!) manages to charm the nurses into letting her take additional photos.  These shots of our daughters' salon session, combating a touch of jaundice and that 'I've been indoors or in the womb all winter' pallor, are her latest dispatch, along with this progress report:
"I tried to teach today's nurses Clara and Olivia's names. I think we made progress with Clara. I felt like a Sesame Street episode. Point to Clara. Very slowly say C-l-a-ra. Then faster Cla-ra. Then all together- Clara! Clara! Yay, Clara! Pointing and Claraing!!! Pretty funny, actually! We'll tackle Olivia tomorrow."
I don't know about the nurses, but Dr. Gupta as of last night was using their names.  It's a powerful, solemn, magical feeling to know that they officially have identities recognized by other people now and that their lives have begun.  It makes me want to be with them all that much more.

Since I can't, I Google.  I've been doing that from the start of the pregnancy, of course, but now that I'm running out of things to worry, obsess and stress about, my focus is becoming laser-sharp. 

Thirty-three weeks.  That means I can eliminate serious brain damage, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy.  They're breathing on their own.  What's left to worry about?  Asthma, motor delays, learning disabilities.  And more.  I found this oh-so-helpful study on the Moms of Twins Club website.  It's a veritable neurotic's garden of worries:

Ninety-two parents of multiples returned completed surveys to NOMOTC. There were 80 sets of twins, 11 sets of triplets, and one set of quadruplets represented in the study. The total number of multiple-birth children was 197. About a third of the multiples were identical. The ages of the children ranged from 5 to 33, but most of them were 5-10 years old. The majority of the multiples were born at a gestational age between 32-36 weeks (with 40 weeks representing the normal pregnancy length), but the range was 25-37 weeks. The birth weight of the multiples ranged from 1 lb. 6 oz. to 7 lbs. 6 oz. However, most of the pre-term multiples in this study weighed between 3 lbs. 3 oz. and 5 lbs. 14 oz. Three of the families had a death of one of the multiples- all three were in a higher-order multiple pregnancy.

Developmental delays and learning disabilities are also a common result of a premature birth. By the age of five, these are the areas they had deficits in and the number of children affected by developmental delays:

Motor Coordination (15 children); Self-help Skills (10 children); Social Interaction (12 children); Language (24 children); and Cognition (6 children).

The pre-term multiples in our study also had the following learning disabilities:

Attention-Deficit Disorder (2 children); Dyslexia (2 children); Speech and language delay (5 children); Auditory Processing Delay (1 child) and Visual Problems (1 child).

And it goes on and on.  Seriously, you could do a version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" to this list of woes: 

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a pulmonary hem-mho-rage...

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... two torticollis, and a pulmonary hem-mho-raaaaage....

By my reckoning, 20 percent of the 197 kids in the study had learning disabilities or cognitive problems.  That gives Clara and Olivia an 80 percent chance of not having anything wrong at all -- depending how you look at it, those are either really good odds... or a whole lot of uncertainty.

So I consulted the undisputable expert on the subject... internet tarot.

Will Clara have learning disabilities and do other bad things like fling her own poo at strangers?
Click for DetailsThe card represents the critical factor for the issue at hand. Queen of Swords: The essence of air behaving as water, such as a refreshing mist: A person gifted with both keen logic and natural intuition, giving them uncanny powers of perception and insight. One who easily sees past deception and confusion to the heart of a matter, and understands both sides of any argument. The embodiment of calm, forthrightness, and wit, in the face of even the most trying circumstances.
Will Olivia have learning disabilities and spend her days living in a decaying trailer in someone's driveway?
Click for DetailsThe card represents the critical factor for the issue at hand. The Chariot: Victory through might. Advancement through bold action. Change through force. Order established through vigilance. A trying situation mastered by balancing opposing forces against each other. Discipline, individual effort and endurance will turn the tide.

Whew.  Glad that's settled.  Okay, I'll stop worrying.

Yeah, right.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day Three Update

By now, on the other side of the world, our girls are entering their fourth day of life, surrounded by beeping, hissing, pulsing machines that help them and other struggling preemies survive another day.  Each has a tube down her throat, and, as of this morning, up her nose, too, after incidents of apnea that worried their doctors.  But they're still breathing on their own.  The doctors aspirated technicolor goo from their stomachs, so for now, they're not eating, hooked up instead to IVs.  Each has lost about 150 grams so far, and Clara has some blood in her stool, though Dr. Gupta says it appears to be diminishing.  I'm told the liquid in their stomachs means that their digestive tracts aren't processing food yet; i.e., moving it from stomach to intestines.

Clara looks like she fell asleep with the remote in her hand
And what do I hear right now, myself?  Clacking keyboards.  Birds outside my office window.  Clattering plates in the office kitchen.  A constant low background murmur of other people's conversations.  I'm a dad.  Another Monday at work.  Truth is, I'm neither here nor there.  Surreal.  I'm definitely off somewhere else (though some would say that's not all that unusual for me). 
The amazing Bernadette, patron saint of the NICU, snapped these shots of Clara and Olivia while visiting their bunkmates at Camp Pitampura, Hayden and Scarlett.  We're incredibly grateful for the visual progress reports.
Olivia: Be a doll and refresh my mimosa.  And send that cute pool boy my way.

Both of us are trying to decide how soon we can leave work.  I'm in the middle of putting together our spring newsletter, and Adrián is giving final exams through the end of next week.  There's not much we can do there, but "here" doesn't feel right, either.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Boys Day Surprise

For all my male classmates when I was in kindergarten, first and second grade in Hilo, May 5 was Boys Day.  Every year, colorful koi-shaped kites adorned their front porches, eaves or flagpoles above their house.  I always wanted some of my own, but my mom was too embarrassed because we weren't Japanese.  Finally, when I was 10 years old and we'd long since moved back to the mainland, she bought me a set.  I flew them outside our front porch, but, outside of Little Tokyo, no one in L.A. knew what they were anyway, so the kites didn't make me feel special.

What all this is getting around to is that I'm burying the lead...

And Boys Day won't be special in our house anyway, because...


Please welcome Olivia Grace and Clara Joanna.


We awoke at 5:30 a.m. to a call from Dr. S -- I hastily grabbed a stray envelope and jotted down notes that don't make any sense to me now that I'm more coherent.

Then we received this email from her staff:

Dear Jason,

Item Thumbnail
We would love to greet you as God has blessed you with two very beautiful and lovely baby girls.

Your little princesses are so cute and We all are so happy for you as you have got the most precious present.

We wish that your beautiful angels will make all your dreams come true one day and they will add pride and honor to your name.

Please note their details as below:

Twin I

Sex - Female

Date - 5th May, 2012


Twin II

Sex - Female

Date - 5th May, 2012

They were born at 33 weeks, 1300 and 1700 grams each.  Both were breathing on their own, had good oxygen levels and no respiratory distress.  We'll call Delhi Newborn Centre this evening to speak with Dr. Gupta, and I'll write more about our happy day later.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Cue the jacarandas

The jacarandas are blooming.  How did they sneak up on me?

Southern California isn't big on seasonal displays -- no fall foliage, no exuberant springs, just a few scattered wildflowers on the hillsides if it's been a rainy winter.  But for a week or two every May, streets are lined with lacy, billowy clouds of blue flowers and sidewalks below become slippery with purple goo as people tread them into the pavement.

For the six (yes, six) years I was in college, my classes in Spanish and Hebrew looked out on a courtyard filled with them.  As I watched them bud and bloom each year, April turned to May and it meant that finals and summer were approaching fast. 

This year, though, what's approaching fast is the arrival of our twins -- for something that dragged on so in the beginning, it seems like it's accelerating a little more every day.  In a little more than three weeks -- if the babies don't decide to upstage us -- we'll board an Airbus 380 for a marathon 48-hour trip across the Pacific.  When we come back, our lives will bear no resemblance to what we left.

Baby clothes?  Check, three boxes of slightly used onsies, jammies and t-shirts, thanks to some very thoughtful friends.  Stroller?  Check.  Carseats?  Check.  Minivan?  Working on it.  A place to live?  Errrr....

Construction on the house is now scheduled to start mid-June, and plans now include a family room, a half-bath, a master suite, and so much demolition to the existing structure they don't leave much room for sleeping newborns.  We're putting the word out to friends to look for kind-hearted owners of guest houses and empty duplexes who would be willing to rent their unit out at a negligible cost.  Or maybe someone has a spare stable and manger somewhere... it seems strangely fitting:  the two of us, neither of whom had to lose our virginity to give birth to these miraculous infants; a star overhead (Hugh Jackman, please); three wise queens bringing gifts of duck liver crostini, homemade cassoulet and a nice Central Coast pinot... "Ooh, gurl," they'd say, snapping their sassy fingers, "where DID you get those FAAAAbulous swaddling clothes?"

Okay, maybe not.

My mother, ever the font of helpful ideas, has decided the answer is a trailer.  She dragged me last week to a trailer and RV rental facility and decided that in spite of the cost, a trailer was just the thing.

"Yes, we'll rent a trailer and park it in the driveway."

"The trailer is longer than the driveway," I protested.

"Then we'll park it on the side street," she said. 

"It's too expensive."

"I'm sure," she insisted, without proof, "that they'll take 800 a month."

"Okay, you handle it," I told her.  It's not entirely a bad idea; it would sleep all of us, we could keep an eye on the house,  and it would enable us to escape whenever things got too messy or noisy.  But when I got home from work a few nights later, Adrián told me that she had come up with a new idea:  two trailers; one for us, the newborns and the nanny (who will only be there during the day); the other for her and the dog.  I'm trying to let her know gently that, while she can stay with us (wherever we end up) if she likes, she has three options:  being in close nocturnal proximity with screaming babies, sleeping in a construction zone, or staying with my aunt, the Dowager Countess, in Palm Springs.  She doesn't get to live in luxury in her very own trailer, like a redneck princess.  And the dog sleeps with us.

Meanwhile, I'm passing my days obsessing over fetal weight and what would happen if our babies were born today... or the next day... or a week from now.  I've made a chart of what their weight and number of weeks was at the last scan, what the average weight of a fetus at this stage is, and a week by week estimate of what their weight should be so I can REALLY freak out when they don't hit that mark at their next scan.  I love it when I can put my neuroses to good use.

If they're not born first.  Did I mention that that prospect also make my stomach do a little flip-flop?