Day 5

No photo today. Why? Jack woke me up at 6am this morning with the sound of him puking into his bed. Poor little boy had picked up a bug going around at school and was really poorly this morning. The bug is clearly very contagious, so no visits to Annabel or to Kim for Jack for 48 hours, and none for me for 24 hours assuming that I don’t become sick. Bummer.
Fortunately Kim’s mum and dad came down to visit today and are staying overnight, and Kim had been really looking forward to seeing them both all week. They spent time with them both today.
Jack was feeling and looking much better this afternoon, but has been on a diet of toast and water today. I hope he has dried out by the morning. The weekend’s plans are back in flux. Kim was likely to come home this weekend, but that has been put back until Monday at least.
The news from intensive care is that Annabel is hooked up to fewer and fewer tubes, as she has been taking well to mum’s milk through her gastric tube. Her glucose drip has been removed, she is on and off extra oxygen, and her cannula was taken out this afternoon. So far she has progressed pretty well, I reckon.

Jack’s sister

DSC00371.JPG, originally uploaded by samwebster.

It goes without saying that Jack is loving having a tiny, little baby sister. He has had much advice from his classmates who already have sisters, and I would love to have transcripts of those conversations!

Annabel on the sunbed

DSC00370.JPG, originally uploaded by samwebster.

Day 4. Annabel continues to progress well. She has a little jaundice, but you may notice from this photo that she has had her oxygen tubes removed from her nose. She’s been coping ok with this, but was puffing a bit when I went to visit. She will get the extra oxygen back for a little while this evening to give her chest a rest.

Kim has been expressing breast milk, and Annabel has been drinking it through a tube. Annabel has taken very well to it, and she is being fed more and more each hour.

Day 3

2007-11-28--Kim And Annabel
Yesterday (day 3) mummy had her first cuddle with Annabel. This cheered Kim up a lot, and made all the recent events seem less dream-like. She says Annabel seems real now that she has been able to hold her.


After giving Annabel a clean and changing her nappy, I took a little bit of video of her and Jack. That’s Jack’s hand in the incubator, not mine. She is pretty small.
She really doesn’t like being handled much, and would rather stay asleep. She has a tiny, squeaky cry, but was very good for me when cleaning her up.
I think she’s getting the sleep that I’m losing.

Annabel Beatrice Webster

Annabel Beatrice Webster, originally uploaded by samwebster.

(aka Baby No. 2)

So much for making plans. Kim had some bleeding yesterday night (morning of 25th) so we went to the labour ward to get Kim and baby checked out. The bleeding stopped, restarted, stopped, and baby seemed settled. As the day went on Kim started to have contractions, which got closer and closer together late on the 25th. By early morning the decision was made to deliver Annabel by C-section and the surgery went well.

Annabel was born 7 weeks prematurely, and started breathing pretty much on her own. She was pink, wriggly and grunting at birth, and was well cared for by the staff.

Annabel weighs 1.53kg. She’s now in the special care baby unit, and Kim is recovering. Both are doing OK. Jack is very excited to have a tiny baby sister.

Stem cells from human, adult skin

Students have asked me about the ethical difficulties of embryonic stem cell research a number of times in the past, and it’s a great question to pose at candidates’ interviews. That topic may now have become mute though, as work published by two groups in Science and Cell suggests that you can dedifferentiate your own skin fibroblasts back into a pluripotent stem cell.
Now that’s very handy. If you can get your own cells to become stem cells that you can then encourage to become whichever cell type you need to fix an organ or a tissue, then who needs cloning? Or embryonic stem cells? Which rather buggers up science fiction writers and cheers up pro-lifers (although not for long, I’m sure).
The lab work so far has shown that it’s technically feasible and more work needs to be done to find a safe method of dedifferentiating human fibroblasts for use in humans. Of course we’re all still working in our own areas to find the best ways of getting pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into our favourite cell types, and how then to get them to grow an implant or rebuild damaged tissue. Knowing we could potentially use a patient’s own skin cells as a source for future therapies is a great help though.
Science Mag article
BBC article


I’m so tired. Jack’s been poorly with a dry, painful chesty cough and a temperature since we got back to Swansea on Sunday night. He hasn’t been very well or very happy, but he’s feeling a little better this morning. When he eventually sleeps any coughing wakes him up and upsets him, so we wake up.
Is this what it will be like when the baby is born? I forget. It doesn’t matter; I’m still looking forward to the sleepless nights of January, February, March….
I’ve got the car today, so maybe I can pick up a copy of the new Lego Star Wars game for the Wii for Jack on the way home.

Fog driving

2007-11-06--Fog Driving
Holy cow, this must be what it’s like to drive with cataracts. We drove back to Wales at night in thick fog the other week, and really couldn’t see to drive any faster than 35mph. It’s actually quite nice to drive slowly, and the whole trip only took us an extra 15 minutes. The fog lifted as we crossed the Severn.