A little over a year ago my daughter, Iris Jane, was born. Due to complications at birth, she spent the first month of her life in the NICU. Time moves so quickly and it seems like the struggle was so long ago and at the same time just yesterday. She is our little fighter and I’m so lucky to be her dad.
I love building things and for her first birthday I wanted to make something meaningful for her.
When she was in the NICU I can remember staring all day at her vitals monitor. The doctors and nurses played a delicate dance of balancing various medications to keep her vitals in a target range. Each medication fought and pushed those simple numbers on the monitor. Her life and our lives simplify down to a handful of numbers. Being able to monitor those numbers kept Iris alive.
When we came home, I started working again for Owlet Baby Care. We started using an Owlet monitor right away. I got so attached to the numbers that being able to continue to keep an eye on them gave me comfort. Over the first year, we continually used the baby monitor and that data was safely saved to the Owlet service.
I decided that I would use the data from her smart sock in a picture. It could give a little more depth to a beautiful picture.
I used Iris’s data for daily high heart rate, low heart rate, low oxygen, monitored rest, and hours monitored. For each piece of data on each day, I cut a block of wood with its value. I included 900 data points so that it would make a 30 x 30 map.
Once I had all of the wood cut and glued together, it was a strange sensation to run my hand across the wood. I could feel life over time. It is odd to connect the sense of touch to time.
I was tempted to just leave the plain raw wood. It was more abstract and fit with the raw trend in current decor. But I felt like I needed to finish it otherwise I would always wonder how it would have turned out.
We went to a lavender field and took a portrait of Iris. I cut the picture into 4×6 images and had them printed. I cut 900 one inch squares and glued them onto the wood.
A picture tells a thousand words, but this one tells more. There is more in this picture than just a day. A day where my wife jumped up and down to distract and entertain Iris for a picture. I can point out a recessed square where Iris’s oxygen level dropped below 80 and set off an alarm. This picture holds a year. This picture holds life.
I want to thank my wife for helping with my crazy ideas, I also want to thank the doctors and nurses that cared for Iris, and I want to thank Owlet for making it possible to create this. Thank you.