Magazine Article


X's and Y's and 1's and O's

By Michael McEnaney

August 2001

Alright, what the heck does that headline mean? Well, ya see, my wife gave birth to my first child a few weeks ago - that would be the X's and Y's part, and I haven't put my digital camera down since the screaming started, thus the 1's and 0's.

And, other than to simply "proud pappa" you to death, I thought it made sense to chat about the experience with folks in an industry that absolutely loves babies.

I know this because they had barely wiped my little girl clean before we were greeted by a photographer at the hospital who had taken digital pictures of little Jamie Lynn (I guess we blinked at some point) and posted them to a Website. (Yes, we spent the $55 for the prints and the password to the site, and no, I didn't expense it.)

While the photo sharing experience worked out well (most of my family is online, as well as on my butt for photos) I have had a much better experience taking my own digital photos and e-mailing/printing them out myself. First off, I'm up all night anyway so why not and secondly, does it get any better than taking and sharing pictures of your first baby with family and friends?

The first picture of her that came flying out of the home printer was as exciting as watching her birth all over again. Only this time I didn't get queazy, there was no need for forceps and my wife wasn't screaming with pain. Baby and inkjet are still both doing fine.

Delivery Room Do's & Don'ts
Rather than go on about how wonderful I feel, I thought I'd relay to you a few delivery room "digital do's and don'ts" that you might want to pass along to your expectant customers.

First and foremost, don't plug your battery charger into an outlet in the delivery room...especially one that emits a sharp beeping sound when the batteries are charged. I did this, and after Jamie was born and they placed her in her little plastic bin, my charger went off and scared a doctor and two nurses into cardiac arrest. They immediately began searching the equipment the baby was hooked up to to see what the hell they must have missed. They weren't amused when I told them it was dopey dad's battery charger.

Next, (explaining the reason I had to charge batteries in the delivery room) don't expect batteries you charged months ago to retain the charge when the big day arrives. I had three sets of batteries that I had prepared back in March crap out on me shortly after putting them in the camera.

And lastly, give the new mom a break with the picture taking hysteria. My wife, despite the fact that I thought she looked great, wasn't up to all the pointing-and-clicking and still hasn't warmed up to the fact that a lot of the photos of her and the baby that she hated made the e-mail circuit. Dads are probably better off waiting a day or two for the mommy and baby pics - at least until mom reports back to the planet earth.

Speaking of Space Travel...
Alright, I can't resist. Let me close with a little bit about how terrific having a baby is.

In my futile attempts to actually describe the feelings you are full of after experiencing your first child being born, I keep harkening back to a press event that Konica held years ago. Forgive me for not recalling what product was being launched, but I remember it was a pretty snazzy event, held in Manhattan. I had the pleasure of sitting at a table with former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin who Konica had hired to help promote the event.

As we finished dinner, I just had to ask, "So Mr. Aldrin (I couldn't say, "Hey Buzz,"), I'm sure you've been asked this once or twice, what was walking on the moon like?"

His response has always stayed with me and hit me like a million pixels just after my little girl entered this world... "It was a truly incredible experience and one that is difficult to describe. The only other experience in my life that was comparable was the birth of my first child."

So then, I am left to surmise that on July 20, 1969 Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. On June 28th, 2001 I did.