My wife and I were blessed with a healthy Internet baby on Christmas
Eve around 9 p.m. PST. That’s why you didn’t see a column during
Christmas and almost didn’t see one this weekend. The baby isn’t even a
week old. As many of you may know from experience, I haven’t been
getting much sleep.

But, as I reflect upon the events that lead up to the baby, I would
say the Internet had much more influence than I had ever expected or
imagined. The amount of education material, contacts and leads has been

There is this fantastic Internet site called Baby Center. This is our
first child. We learned so much using Baby Center. Best of all, it was
all free. We were able to scout for names using their name-search
feature. The results provided include the origin and meaning of the
names. We found it more helpful than any of the three baby-name books we

Probably the most influential role the Internet played was one which
lead us to firing our first doctor. Imagine, where can one go to get
references on doctors? Doctors are not like regular businesses that have
a list of references you can call. Their resumes are for hospital and
clinic administrators, and rarely do you hear anything from their
patients, happy or otherwise.

So where does one go?

My wife cleverly posted a message on a Baby Center bulletin board
asking for experiences of doctors that worked at the clinic the
insurance company pointed us at. The response back was surprising,
amazing and convincing. I mean we had our doubts after the first few
visits. But, to get direct e-mail back from previous patients now
located throughout the country in effect stating, “Stay away from …”
(I am withholding the name). Glowing off the computer screen monitor
was our doctor’s name with the methods used and details of what we could
expect. That did it; we now knew we should find a new doctor.

Surfing the Internet we found a local birth center, learned all about
the center and decided to enroll and attend classes. Here we were able
to network and find a fantastic doctor. His name is Dr. Creevy. This
mellow, informative, communicative, attention-to-detail doctor has
delivered about 6,000 babies. We also landed ourselves a great midwife
— full of knowledge, who gets along with “both” parents and doctors.
Ronnie is her name and she has a website at Gentle Birth.

On the Internet we landed local birth classes that taught us what to
expect. We landed information that would leave us in control of the
events that would take place on that special day. We then landed a
great doctor as a result, even though the doctor had no Web page. We
landed a great midwife. We found a name we could agree upon via the
Internet. At this point, much of this baby’s life was planned as a
direct result of information acquired via the Internet.

But it doesn’t stop there. We live in Silicon Valley, Calif. My
mother lives on the East Coast. We were out of the hospital in under 24
hours. Baby was home and in front of my computer camera for grandma to
see. Two of my brothers, local to her, had helped install and configure
the software for her. This was accomplished months ago knowing that day
would come. For the relatives without video conferencing abilities I
grabbed my Sony digital camera, the one with the floppy film that also
takes short MPEG movies; those things are great. Snapped some
high-resolution images and a couple of short MPEG movies. Three floppy
disks later, I slapped together a website for our Internet baby in less
than 15 minutes.

I find myself laughing when I catch myself wondering what people must
have had to put up with when having babies before the Internet came

Y2K babies are coming to a hospital near you. From our doctor
and during our recent hospital visit, we learned that there’s this HUGE
race going on to the have the Y2K baby. In fact we know of
doctors that have scheduled cesarean births at midnight Dec. 31. I
would guess that a great number of hospitals will have cesarean birth
rooms with an occupancy rate higher than we will ever see again in our

In the U.S., Y2K problems you can expect to read about will really
boil down to events like, hacking, planted Y2K virus effects and
deliberately huge pranks. However, I plan on visiting the ATM machine
just in case they need another day to rest the ATM networks.

Next week, I plan to get some more sleep and get technical.

I would love to hear about your Y2K experiences as they relate to the
Internet. Drop me an e-mail.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.