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Avery Elizabeth Hartman
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"A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities."

--Eda Leshan

Avery was born at 7:57am on Friday, October 17, 2008 at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She came to us by c-section. She weighed in at six pounds, one ounce and was 20 inches tall.

We have all been staying in a hospital room at Cedars and we were very happy to finally get home earlier today.

Mom and baby are doing well. Here are some pictures.

All the cliches about parenthood and newborns are true, from "bundle of joy" through "most memorable moment of my life," so there is no need to review all of them here.

The doctors, nurses, and staff at Cedars were truly remarkable; we could not have asked or hoped for better people.

We did have some excitement yesterday; in the afternoon, an alarm went off and the loudspeakers blared "Code Pink! Code Pink!"

Code Pink, I had learned not too long ago, means the same thing in every hospital in the US: "possible infant abduction," and it was not a drill. A "Baby Lojack" (strapped on to every baby's ankle right after birth) had just passed through the electronic gate at the end of the maternity ward, setting off the alarm.

Fortunately, Avery was in our room with us the whole time, so we weren't beside ourselves with fear and worry. But it's moments like these when your heart leaps in your throat as you think about the parents and put yourself in their shoes, and you wonder, "where have all the heroes gone?"

I didn't have to look very far for heroes, as the Cedars staff leapt into action. It was pandemonium in the hallways, as the every person on staff, from janitors to nurses to surgeons to administrators, goes into action and the entire hospital goes into immediate lock-down. Given the enormous size of Cedars, a full lock-down is no easy feat.

I saw senior staff people on the run, yelling into their radios. I saw nurses sprint for the stairwells. I saw security guards materialize out of nowhere and block doors.

Fear and panic was ratcheted up a notch when it was reported that a man had been seen with a large duffel bag and a brown paper bag, exit the maternity ward and inexplicably take the stairs (basically everyone takes the elevators there).

Within a few minutes, a guard had stopped the man at a ground-level exit. It turned out he was the baby's father and the lojack had accidentally slipped off in the laundry that he was taking home. The baby, sans lojack, had been in the nursery the whole time. I saw the father right after they brought him back up to the maternity ward and he was extremely upset (not at anyone, just at the situation he had caused). There was some talk that it was a test run--for a real planned abduction--but I doubt it. And in any event, I was very pleased to see the system work.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a diaper to change.

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