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05 Dec 08 Sleepy Gwen

People have been asking for more photos, so we did one better. Here’s a video taken this morning in the NICU. Isn’t she cute?

Sleepy Gwen

Originally uploaded by thebradfields

P.S. The music on this is a song called Araby by David’s old band blueScreen. He wrote the music when he first met Karyn and the band turned it into this great song.

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04 Dec 08 ICU – but you can’t see me

So, we had a bit of a set back getting Gwen home from the hospital. The morning after she was born she was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Her white blood cell count was high and rising; the sign of a potential infection. A preliminary test today came back negative so we’re hopeful that all is well, but wont know until Friday evening. She also had an episode of apnea early this afternoon which was a bit scary. We weren’t there, but she turned blue and had stopped breathing. Apparently this is somewhat common with kids that are premature, and she was on the cusp of being premature, born at 36 weeks gestation.

Karyn came home this evening but Gwen remains in the hospital until she is in the clear. The doctors don’t seem overly concerned so we’re hopeful that she will come home this weekend. If complications emerge, she will be in the hospital for an extended stay, depending on her condition.

It’s been a bit hard on Marley as she really wants to meet her baby sister.

We’ll keep you posted via the blog. Feel free to email or comment with questions and we’ll reply as time permits.

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03 Dec 08 Welcome Gwen Elena Bradfield

Happy birthday Gwen! Our third daughter arrived on December 2, 2008 at 7:13 p.m., weighing 6 pounds 15 ounces. Thanks to the staff at New York Methodist Hospital, and our friend Jess, the midwife we wish we’d hired.

Everyone is doing very well. If you want to reach Gwen, she can be reached via email.

A Gwen close up

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23 Nov 08 Planning our return to Canada

Baby Coming Soon

We’ve really been neglecting our updates of late. Life is busy as Karyn continues to slow down in the late stages of her pregnancy and we gear up for the arrival of our third daughter. Stay tuned for updates.

Karyn, Marley and Mara on Halloween

Karyn, Marley and her friend Mara on Halloween

Recognition for Dave

Work for Dave is as exciting as ever. He has built an incredibly talented and profitable team at Fleishman-Hillard in New York that is set to triple its revenue over last year. Dave was also recently nominated for Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 for his work in digital PR over the last 15 years. We’re in the process of finalizing his submission which is due at the end of November. The competition is overwhelming but it’s been an honour for him to be nominated.

Coming Home

Several people know that we made a family decision to move back to Toronto in the summer of 2009. There are several factors that influenced this move.

  • We miss our family and old friends and want to be in closer proximity.
  • Marley will be eligible to start French immersion in senior kindergarten in September 2009.
  • Nicole’s early intervention services through New York State end when she turns three in July 2009.
  • Our visas expire at the end of June 2009.

When David informed Fleishman-Hillard of the decision, they said, “Don’t go anywhere.” The company has been so supportive of the decision and asked him to write a new job description that will see him retain some of his responsibilities in New York and bring his expertise to those in the company across Canada. He will also support colleagues around the world. Next year, he may visit Asia again and continues to connect with his peers across Europe. We feel really fortunate that he is employed by such an accommodating company and will continue to have global opportunities while we’re based back in Toronto.

Preparing for the Move

There is a fair bit we have on the books before making the move. We have hired the incredibly talented William Hudson at Post Architects to come up with some very exciting plans to put an extension on our house in Bloor West Village and optimize the living space to accommodate our growing family.

We will also need to buy a car that will hold three car seats. After much research on our family car blog, we have narrowed the decision down to the Honda Odyssey and estimate that is is cheaper to buy the car in Canada than the U.S. It’s been quite the adventure. Minivan denial was a major early theme. We felt like the automotive manufacturers didn’t have a car that met the demands of our environmental conscience. They really don’t. It’s no wonder they’re teetering on the brink of collapse here in the U.S. They’ve been too slow to change and innovate. We also got severely turned off Volkswagen, our brand of preference since Dave bought “Emily Kar”, his 1972 VW Super Beetle, after college.

Sad to leave New York

Our decision does not come without regret. The move to New York has been phenomenal on so many levels. We love Park Slope, our Brooklyn niehgbourhood. Manhattan is magical. The entire city has so much to offer. We look forward to many return visits to stay connected with the great friends we’ve made and see the things we missed this time around. We still have a little more than seven months here, so we plan on making the most of it and hope for a last wave of visitors. Then we’ll start welcoming visitors in Canada!

Life is exciting.

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12 Aug 08 Is it only a word?

A boycott of Ben Stiller’s latest movie “Tropic Thunder” is afoot here in the US. At the centre of the storm is the movie’s use of the term “full retard” to describe the character “Simple Jack”, an actor who is famous for playing mindless characters.

I’m not going to use this blog to lecture anyone on what words they should use or how they should use them. However, I do have a few thoughts I’d like to share.

On the one hand, “retard” is really only a word, defined in the Oxford dictionary as “make slow or late, delay progress or development or arrival or accomplishment or happening of; backward in mental or physical development”. This is a fair assessment. When used in practical terms, Nicole is mentally retarded. Her disability does slow down her development.

For me, the issue isn’t the use of the word retard, it’s the connotation that being mentally retarded or developmentally disabled automatically makes you ignorant, mindless or an idiot. Having a mental disability doesn’t make you any of these things. I’ve known a lot of “normal” people for whom the word retarded, if I used it that way, would be completely appropriate. Nicole is certainly less ignorant and less of an idiot than all of them.

The mother in me knows that Nicole’s road ahead will be a tough one and the last thing she needs is Hollywood affirming that using a word with this connotation to describe people like her is ok. Nicole is a complex package of many parts, just like the rest of us, and deserves to not be defined solely by her disability. I have many parts of my package that I wouldn’t want used to define me.

What surprises me is that no one at DreamWorks predicted that there would be an adverse reaction the use of this word. The communicator in me says that either they obviously didn’t consult their marketing department or I’m a better communicator than those making tons of cash in the film world.

In support of all those with development disabilities, I won’t see the movie. What I hope is that the proposed boycott will make us all a little more sensitive about the words we use.