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Helen Ip Yee

Life, — January 2013

I don't expect most of the planet to have any interest in this, but it's here for family and friends and the idly curious.

Day 0

"Sooner would I stand
Three times to face their battles, shield in hand,
Than bear one child." - Euripides, Medea (trans. Gilbert Murray)

Helen Ip Yee. In an incubator because she was a little bit premature (and had an Apgar score of 7), but she weighed a respectable 2.7kg at birth and should be transferred to a cot tonight. Camilla is in remarkably fine fettle.


canula for iv antibiotics, heart and breathing monitors, feeding tube, oxygen saturation monitor (on big toe)

Day 3

She had to spend a bit longer than expected in the high dependency unit because she needs phototherapy for jaundice.


hearing test

Day 4

I'm getting the hang of bottle-feeding and burping Helen, and can change her nappy. That's only the start of it, I know, but I figure I have at least a decade and a half before I have to explain the Central Limit Theorem to her.

Day 5

In cleaning mode, trying to get the house ready for Camilla and Helen. Must remember to drink coffee and eat breakfast at some point, though!

I understand the idea of K-selection, but humans really do carry it to extremes.

Day 6

If I'd cycled to the hospital this morning I would have got there nearly half an hour faster than I did driving. I had to walk to the car - a couple of minutes away, since I had trouble finding a parking spot last night - remove the snow from the windows, get through the traffic from people dropping kids off at the local primary school, get up Divinity Rd with regular stops to let traffic go the other way, spend nearly ten minutes trying all the car parks before finding a spot in the one furthest away from the Women's Centre - which meant an eight minute walk to get there.

Camilla has been discharged but is still in hospital so she can look after Helen, who still needs phototherapy for jaundice. This is not unusual for pre-term babies.

I've just done the 8pm nappy change and feed while Camilla catches up on some sleep. (Also did 11am and 2pm, so I'm getting reasonably good at this.) I'm not supposed to stay past 9, but the midwife has agreed to let me stay till the next feed at 11.


checking out

Day 8

Watching a little baby with adult-size hiccups is a bit disturbing, but it seems it's perfectly normal.

We registered Helen this morning, and have lots of copies of her birth certificate. Really supposed to be going home today, but it's 5pm and we still need to get a paediatrician to sign Helen out. So I may get one more hospital cafe dinner.

Home at last! The story continues.


  1. Thanks for sharing the good news with your readers. Congratulations on your new polymath.

    Comment by paul — January 2013
  2. Thanks Danny for keeping us informed and in touch.
    We may be about to totter, but do not want to twitter.
    We face books every day and enjoy it greatly, but do not want to facebook!
    Keep up the feeding and burping and take turns sleeping.

    Comment by Vera Yee — January 2013
  3. A few interesting questions ( to me anyway) raised with the arrival of Helen.

    1) I looked up CLT on line. Since Helen carries trais of both you and Camilla, I am sure she should be up to it at fifteen years of age. For me, next life time perhaps.

    2) Do you qualify for UK's maternity leave entitlement, if there was one? Is it as generous as the one Tony Abbott had on the table?

    3) Does Oxford offer one, if so did Camilla meet the minimum qualifying period? I guess if Camilla is on contract, she wouldn't get it.

    Comment by DL — January 2013
  4. I haven't been in my job long enough (26 weeks) to qualify for paternity leave, which would have been 2 weeks. But Camilla certainly qualifies, and with a mix of maternity leave and ordinary leave she has the rest of this year off work.

    Comment by danny — January 2013
  5. BTW can you have Day 0 zero? What is the mathematician in you say about zero, can you define zero day, nothing day? I also see day care centres offer childcare from age zero to whatever age. Age zero, would not that be an embryo at best? Should it not be new-born to whatever age ?

    Comment by DL — January 2013
  6. Isn't it simpler if she's one day old on day one? But maybe she's destined to be a C programmer.

    Comment by danny — February 2013

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