'In the beginning... Emma in Utero'

[ The Chart  |  The Special Weekend  |  The Ultrasound  |  The Nickname  |  Early Literature  |  Home Page  ]

I. The Chart
It all started with some lines on a chart.  Well, no, it started before that, but knowing that Emma was really there started with recording Barb's temperature every morning.  Every day.  Every morning of every day for 11 months.

II. The Special Weekend
With the help of the classic Taking Charge of Your Fertility, fortune, prayers, medical advice, and sheer darn persistence (Charles: "Do we have to?  Again?  Now?"), Emma got started somewhere between Christine Lavin's wonderful concert at the Ark, and our 1st wedding anniversary dinner-and-train-ride.

(Charles bets on the Christine Lavin concert.  A gal that decides to be born on New Year's Eve 1999 certainly suggests the influence of great timing and a sense of humor.  Postscript: later we learned that Christine's next concert at the Ark was -- you guessed it -- New Year's Eve!  Huh -- folk diva and fertility goddess.)

Christine's Home PageOrder the bookSee the train

III. The Ultrasound(s)
On June 14, we got our first look at Emma -- when she was all of an inch long.  (Look for the cross-hair markers on the zoomed & inverted image on the right; they're 2.6 centimeters apart.  You can distinctly make out her head, face, arms, and legs!)


Two and half months later, on August 31, Emma had grown 450%, to 11.5 centimeters.  Her muscles have formed enough to begin moving around and flexing her arms and legs, and she weighs 3 to 4 ounces.


Just to put this all in perspective, here are pictures of Emma, all in the same relative position and scale, at:

0 weeks 7 weeks 18 weeks 37 weeks

IV. The Nickname
We decided early on that we didn't want to know if Emma was a boy or a girl... both to keep some sense of mystery (Barb) and to remember that this child was going to be its own person (Charles). 

But that left us with a small dilemma.  What should we call him/her?  Oh, we tried alternating "he" and "she" on different days, or choosing whatever pronoun felt right at a given moment.  But it's amazing how clumsy that can feel.

Then, around September, with Emma-to-be already dancing and kicking inside Barb, the same question came up at a Caucus Systems party in Virginia.  Not for a moment content to leave the question up to Charles and Barb, this creative bunch let fly with a few dozen ideas, including "Java Bean" (inspired by the "java beans" package for the Java programming language).  And so our little jumping bean became a Java Bean... and the name stuck.  (Even now we call her "our little Emma-bean".) Caucus Systems

V. Early Literature
Good friends of ours, Andy and Anne Schickedanz, told us early on how Andy would read stories to their little Victoria, in-utero, starting around 7 months.  Andy swears that Victoria knew his voice at birth, and that there was all sorts of research to support the idea.

We were, of course, intrigued.  Charles, generally not concerned with seeming dignified, must have hesitated at least seven nanoseconds before picking out some things to read:

Oh, The Places
You'll Go
Homer Price The Pushcart War

It's impossible to think of reading to babies, even before they're born, without thinking of Dr. Suess.  And Homer Price is a wonderful collection of short tales about life in a simple Ohio town, and how it can get, well, complicated.  (Barb's favorite character is the Sheriff, who can't get through a paragraph without committing a Spoonerism, like sneezing and reaching for a "chaper handkepip".)

It's hard to tell who had the most fun with this: Barb, who felt warmed and relaxed to be read to (or at); Charles, who was gearing up for his debut as a Daddy; or Emma -- maybe in a few years we can ask her.

[ The Chart  |  The Special Weekend  |  The Ultrasound  |  The Nickname  |  Early Literature  |  Home Page  ]