Brand New Baby

Brand New Baby

About a week ago, Laura and I packed some bags and took a taxi to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The baby’s original due date had been 4 August, so when we checked into the hospital, we were already fifteen days late and Laura had agreed with her midwifery practice that it was time to induce labor. Roughly thirty hours later, Laura gave birth to our beautiful, gorgeous baby girl: Thuy Esme Holder-Vinh at 4:21a on Friday, 21 August. Find out more about her, and see more pictures, at

For all of this, I’m incredibly, abundantly thankful, but perhaps most of all in two particular regards: first, that Thuy, at seven pounds and thirteen ounces, was delivered as a ridiculously, unequivocally healthy child, the seventeen extra days she dawdled inside the womb having no root in serious complications of any kind. We visited the pediatrician on Monday, and she confirms her hearty spirit.

And second, I’m eternally grateful for how Laura delivered Thuy. Her labor, as you can imagine, was agonizing, trying and, at each juncture, seemed to promise that it would never end. After thirteen or so hours of heavy, torturous contractions that humbled my own capacity for pain tolerance, Laura finally began to push the baby out in the very early hours of Friday morning. Each hour until then, I had been futilely hoping against hope that she would find some relief, that the baby would just come; now finally we were entering the home stretch and I thought to myself then, “At last. This should be over any minute.” Four hours later, Laura was still painfully pushing, having somehow found an inner strength, an heroic level of perseverance that I’m now not sure that men are even capable of achieving, and Thuy was born. What I mean to say is that I’m thankful for Laura being such a good mother from the very beginning.

We came home from the hospital on Saturday afternoon, finding out that much of the advanced billing for parenthood turns out to be true, including the idea that the first week is a bit of a whirlwind, and a new parent’s ability to fulfill routine responsibilities is quickly put to the test. It took me forever to announce Thuy’s arrival even to my closest friends. Part of it was a more or less temporary aversion to social media; I made a few half-hearted attempts at updating Twitter, resisted posting to Flickr too soon, and frankly wanted Facebook to play no role in the birth of my child if I could help it.

Part of it was that I wanted to put together an announcement in the form of an honest-to-goodness, one-of-a-kind Web site at, which took some time. Mostly though, I felt it was a very unique time, a magical and fleeting interlude that I didn’t necessarily want to broadcast. Those were literally the first few hours when Laura, Thuy, Mister President and I were all a family. We’ll never get those first few days back, as close to our hearts as we might try to hold our memories of them. I guess I was guarding it all a bit jealously, and I certainly couldn’t imagine why I would want to waste even one of those moments telling Facebook how to market to me more effectively.

The thing of it is, Thuy was — is — literally changing by the hour; when I left Laura and Thuy sleeping right after the delivery and returned several hours later, Thuy’s upper lip had popped out. Amazing! Even today, she looks so much different from yesterday. She’s a wonderful phenomenon, like a box of infant fireworks setting off randomly. I don’t want to miss any of this.



  1. Khoi,
    Congratulations to you, Laura, Thuy, and of course Mister President. Being a father of two young children, I can feel every emotion as I read each character of each letter of black arial on your page. You’re 100% right, the time goes so quickly and you will never ever get it back. Priorities change, schedules adjust, and the time gets made to spend more of it with those that make the daily grind so worth it all of a sudden.
    Enjoy the sweetness of fatherhood and mazel tov to you and your gorgeous family.

  2. I could never write that eloquently with a newborn in the house! Come to think of, I can’t write that eloquently at any time.

    Congrats to you and Laura – may she bring you the joy that ours have. Those fireworks keep going and going and going.

  3. What a lovely testament to the power of new parenthood. And you were SO right to guard your first hours and days to yourself. It’s one of the few pieces of advice I give friends who are about to embark on the big adventure. You never get those first few hours and days back, and there is all the time in the world to share your new child with others. So in this case, selfish = love. Best wishes to you all!

  4. Congratulations to the family! My goodness but I want her hair! *jealous* BTW, I’m pretty sure I bumped into you (with your mom?) at Dessert Club, Chikalicious the week you were expecting. You seemed understandably preoccupied 🙂

  5. Congratulations, Khoi, Laura, and Mister President. Thuy is a beautiful addition to your family. Being able to follow the months leading up to her birth has been very inspiring.

    Warmest regards,

  6. Congrats Khoi and family! I’m setting up a Facebook group right now to commemorate this joyous occasion!

    Damn I was just going to ask you if you wanted to have a drink in NYC this week too (flying in tomorrow). I’m sure you have your hands full though.

    Congrats again!

  7. Huge congratulations to you and yours!

    This really is the start of the craziest, magical journey for you and Thuy. Children never stop changing and each moment is fleeting (if you ever needed to buy a new camera or camcorder then do it now!)

    I am currently laying in bed (at 7am), typing this, sat next to my 4 year old, who is playing with her iPod touch and having my 1 year old clamber all over me, with the smell of something truly disgusting emanating from his nappy.


  8. guess you couldn’t help the facebook part entirely….re: my updates, sorry about that. just the first (or continuing) lesson in this: you got the whole fam damily with that prize of gal of yours. welcome to your world, khoi, laura and baby thuy. love you all. xx

  9. Being a parent is truly a life changing experience. She’s beautiful, congrats.

    I expect to see you blogging more, since there’s no point of trying to sleep at night anymore 🙂

  10. Simply and beautifully put. Laura’s a trooper! Just reading that bit about her labour made me have great respect and pain is something that’s not been a stranger to me in the past. Hours of it? Hats off!

    I also agree with the thought that not every single thing in life, especially the truly special intimate moments need be broadcast to the world.

    Congrats again!

  11. Khoi,
    Thanks for setting down your thoughts on the early days of fatherhood. Lovely to read. Wish I could come visit Thuy and Laura and you and Mr Prez right now. But I can’t, so it’ll have to wait. Next: Get over you aversion to FB. It’s not the devil and actually offers a lot of utility if you’re willing to explore its personal uses. My new motto: Know me by my facebook updates.

  12. Wonderful. Truly wonderful. A beautiful baby with a beautiful name. Sincere and Hearty congratulations to you and your newly expanded family.

  13. A lovely name and daughter, and a truly lovely modern way of announcing Thuy’s entrance into the world. When she is a bit older bring her over and we will have little mixed Viet-Amer playdates.
    (Yen, Phi’s sister)

  14. I had the thoughtful idea when Sylas was newborn to set up an email account with the intention of sending him quick email when i was thinking of him. That’s the way I deal with most of the world so it made sense and I thought I could fit it in that way. I have written a few emails in the past two years or so, but not anywhere near as many as I intended to. Yes, it’s a whirlwind. And the first two weeks are deceptively easy.

  15. Congrats!

    I had a similar experience with both of my children the latter just happening 3 weeks ago, where it seems to have no end in site, and then before you know it they are here.

    The moment when a parents eyes first meet a new born babies is inexplicable and what I consider to be the epitome of true happiness, love, & joy.

    Plus just to let you know the changing NEVER stops, and time passes too fast. So do your best to soak in each and every moment. Keep a journal of memories at least weekly.

    I’m so happy for your new family!

  16. That is so lovely. I’ve been following this story ever since you first posted about it here; congratulations and good luck with everything. 🙂

  17. YEAH!!! Congratulations! I am so happy for all of you. I is odd how you never thought you could love something so completely. It’s a different kind of love than what you have for your partner. You can really describe it, you can only experience it.

    Take lots of pictures – everyday if you can. I never knew they grew that fast but each day brings something new and wonderful.

    Get some rest when you can and have friends bring you meals – it takes one task off your plate.

    I am so excited for you and look forward to watching her grow!

  18. CONGRATULATIONS!!! She is such a beautiful baby. I am so happy for you both. Sending you much love and wishes for sleep when you can get it.

  19. Congratulations! I am the father of two. Remember you have friends at Fieldston, when you start looking for a private school.

  20. wonderful news, Khoi — our first daughter was born in August, nearly three weeks after the due date (she’s now a circus performer) so I can empathise a little with your experience Ё warmest congratulations to you all — JohnLW

  21. Congratulation Khoi, Laura, Thuy and Mr. Pres. I really proud of you All. Thuy becomes the center of your family happiness now. She’s so powerful to you, right? And Laura’s perseverant labor really surprizes me. I never know how delicate your love is for Thuy and Laura, Khoi! You are such a father, partner and writer. Wishing you health and happiness all the way your life together.
    Bac Diem

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