Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Isn't this a cool picture?

I don't know how long Yahoo! will keep it on their website, but their official description is: "A human embryo is pictured in the eighth week of pregnancy in this undated photo by Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson. Now 81, Nilsson shot to world fame in 1965 when the American magazine Life ran 16 pages of pictures from his book 'A Child is Born' showing the development of a human fetus in the womb. NO ARCHIVE. NO SALES. ONE TIME USE ONLY. MANDATORY CREDIT. REUTERS/Lennart Nilsson/FEATURE SWEDEN-PHOTOGRAPHER"

This is the same stage we're at, although the ultrasound we got today didn't actually look like this one. We were supposed to get better pictures but their printer was broken. They said we could come back at any time they'd do another ultrasound for free and if we brought a VHS tape, they'd record it, too. But, The Baby is at 1.47 cm and their heartbeat is 176. We needed 120 to get sign-off to be referred to a normal baby doctor. The doctor at the clinic said that this baby has a 95% chance, so there's no reason not to start telling people. He also OK'd The Wife's hair color product (she found a more natural kind on the internet) and told her of a few pretty standard cold medicines that it's ok for her to take so she'll be able to finally kick this cold. He's predicting June 12.

The Wife is telling some of her bosses tomorrow. I'm telling one or two of mine today. I guess that makes them tier-one-and-a-half or we need to renumber our telling-tiers. :) The rest of the co-workers will have to wait until mid-November.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Hey Bartender, Cottage Cheese Me!

The Wife has noticed lately that she seems to have a penchant for cottage cheese. There is an increased need for dairy in her diet, according to the books, so this is probably a good thing.

Super-smell has also arrived, she can drive down restaurant row and tell you what's cooking at each place.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Sleep, the elusive friend

Playing a game recently, the question was asked "What is your favorite time of day?" The Wife's answer? "When I'm asleep." I mocked sadness and suggested that there must be something about her waking life that she enjoyed.

But seriously, sleep is her best friend and there isn't enough of it. It doesn't help any that in addition to The Puppy (who we've now trained to sleep outside in his kennel!!!! hooray!!!!) The Wife had to go and rescue a Tiny Kitten. The mews are so quiet that it doesn't keep us up, but it's another thing to take care of. Temporarily -- I've put my foot down. We rescued a Stray two years ago and we do not need a fourth cat. This Kitten will be an easy sell, though. Tiny with no apparently health problems. Just needs some love. We may have found a new home for it already.

Time, we need more. Sleep, we definitely need more.

The book says one will start to feel more and more tired now. This is definitely the case.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Like, gag me with a toothbrush!

The Wife hasn't been experiencing morning sickness, but reports that throwing up is not something that seems like it could be a possibility. Brushing her teeth seems to be a big trigger for the gag reflex. Breakfast wasn't breakfast a few days ago, but otherwise, she's been able to sit quietly for a few minutes and the moment passes.

The Puppy has become Man's Best Friend and Woman's Nightmare. He bites and we're trying to train him not to. He's mostly pretty good with me. All of The Wife's attempts just result in The Puppy getting more keyed up and hyper and wanting to bite more. We're hoping that He grows out of it. The Wife, trying her hardest, goes from "Look at me! I'm learning to be more patient." to "I really hope this baby is less trying." to "Where's The Dog's Leash? I need to strangle him." She really does love The Puppy. Just wishes she could have all of his teeth removed so the biting wouldn't hurt so much.

Editorial side-note: There are way too many ways to count this pregnancy. It's no wonder no one has a clue until you're racing through town scaring people and hitting bicyclists. By the end-of-last-period method, we're at week 7. By the conception date, we're at week 5. takes our projected due date and works backwards splitting the difference to come up with week 6. We're now on day 32. That's one completed month by normal calendars. But it's already a few days into "lunar month 2." This lunar month stuff is a bunch of hooey. Lunar months are like February, with only 28 days. It breaks the pregnancy down more evenly, but The Wife and I theorize that this is only so women can whine "It's really ten months. You're really pregnant for ten months!" and try to solicit more sympathy.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Grandpa, Five Times

We told The Wife's father last night. He's pretty excited. This will be his fifth time being a grandfather, but this will be his only daughter's first child.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

So that's why many parents call their babies bean...

The embryo is the size of a small bean, about a half an inch long, this week. If you could see inside yourself, you'd find the fetus has an oversized head in proportion to its body. The embryo's facial features are forming with dark spots where the eyes are, openings where the nostrils will be, and pits to mark the ears.

Protruding buds that will become the arms and legs are even more noticeable now. The embryo's hands and feet look like paddles. Other developments include the growth of the pituitary gland and muscle fibers. You can't hear it yet, but the heart (which has divided into the right and left chambers) is now beating between 100 and 130 beats per minute.

Halfway through this week, the embryo makes its first movements. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until sometime in the second trimester before you get to enjoy feeling your baby's calisthenics. --

Thursday, October 16, 2003

First glimpse

As I write this, I'm watching a grave-side memorial for a 15-year-old girl killed on last Monday's CSI:Miami. I know it's just a TV show, but it sucks. It's tough enough getting pregnant, getting through the first trimester, having the child and then the real work begins, worrying about what kind of world you've brought them into and will you be able to protect them. And when you can't be there, how will they react with the situations they're presented with? I guess it's the same as with anything else, you thank God each day you make it home in traffic safely. There's so many things that can go wrong and it's only be the grace of God that so many things don't.

Are you in there little fetus?
In nine months will you come greet us?
I will buy you some Adidas.
-- Friends
Little one, I saw you today for the first time. You're about the size of a grain of rice and your whole body shakes each time your heart beats, which is about 90 times a minute. I could not see you very clearly, but the doctor zoomed in and showed us where you were. You're perfectly positioned, right in the center of your mom where you belong and are coming along nicely. We were even able to hear a few of your heartbeats but you would move with your mom's breathing making it difficult for the doctor to keep the equipment aimed directly at you. We were given a black and white print-out showing you and in 10 days we're going to go back and have been promised better pictures. You're about 3 mm in length right now but in 10 days you should be closer to 10 or 11 mm and your heartbeat should be at about 120 beats per minute. I know from the minute you arrive the scene you're going to take over our lives. Since we know you'll want to get up at all hours of the night and go to bed early, we're trying to get in the habit now of getting enough sleep, going to bed early. Your friend the Puppy is also helping us practice the up-in-the-middle of the night for a bathroom break. By the time you get here maybe he'll have learned how to sleep through the night, but for now, he's helping us train for your arrival. You'll be here in 239 days. I guess I should start saving for your college tuition. But you just keep growing, we look forward to meeting you, little one.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Life-Changing: It's Not Just a Catchphrase...

I've really appreciated reading other parent's blogs. It seems like daily I find a new one. The common thread among them all is just how much a baby changes everything. Everything. Forever. And Always. I've heard this all before. But it's kinda scary, like you've seen the roller-coaster and now the gates have opened, you've stepped into the car, sat down and pulled the restraint into place. Click, click, click, click. It's too late, you're committed. The ride operators have already walked the line pulling on everyone's restraint to make sure it's secure and they're now walking away from the track waving their hand in a circular motion above their head signalling to the guy in the booth that the train is ready to leave the station. You've seen the tracks, you've heard the screams, but until you've taken the ride, there's no way you can fully appreciate what everyone who's gone before you has said.

And that's scary. Because that means as much as I psych myself up for the ride, I'm already falling short. I will survive the ride, but as thrilling/rough/terrifying as the roller-coaster will be, I cannot adequately prepare myself. I cannot be ready, mentally prepared and accepting of the role.

I'm really appreciating other blogs. While it's always been said that women are more verbal while men are more visual, blogs are allowing us guys to share as well. With the exception of Monkey's Wonder Mom, all of my blogs are written by men. I think it's because I was searching for blogs from new fathers or dads-to-be, but it's really great to see other guys futher along this journey than I. You just can't get this from spending time or talking to other dads. Who has the time?

The New Puppy is helping me to see what a challenge this will be. I've never had a dog before and as a new Dog Owner, my life is not the same as it was Before Dog. As it poops on the carpet once again, pees on the concrete pad just feet from the nice unlandscaped dirt yard once again, or is found in the office again hoping to make a meal out of the goodies in the Cat box, I can see that being a Dad is going to be lots and lots of work. Granted, I think the Child will probably not have a penchant for the Cat's version of Almond Roca, but there will be plenty of other things for the Child to put in their mouth that they shouldn't.

A blog I just found today, "The Dad Chronicles" is an amazing piece of writing. Especially the "Great Blackout Adventure." I highly recommend it. Link on the right.

I welcome the upcoming uncertainty because I know it's a beautiful thing. I'm excited. I just wish I could prepare.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Can't Do It Without You, Babe

We have some friends who have a very adorable child, not sure of the age, but relatively new. Not talking much yet, but now walking. Whenever we see them, you just tend to say hi to their child first, and them second. To the point where we've joked about it and they've dismissed it with a wave saying it happens all the time.

A really huge fear for me is that as we celebrate The Baby, pray for The Baby, wait for The Baby, learn more about The Baby, that the The Wife would feel that I'm less into her. Which is so not the case. She's doing all the work and The Baby is a unique creation of just the two of us. I'm trying to make sure that I'm always telling her how important she is to me separate from The Baby, and how much I love her without reference to The Baby. But as I read more and more about all the stuff one goes through, I wonder if sometimes that it won't seem like I'm being genuine, or that even if she's still #1, if The Baby is a really, really close second, with the potential of taking the #1 spot.

Nope, that's yours for life, Babe.

Don't be still, my beating heart

"Your embryo's heart, no bigger than a poppyseed, has already begun to beat and pump blood. The heart is dividing into chambers, and will find a more regular rhythm soon. The embryo itself is about a quarter inch long and looks more like a tadpole than a human. It undergoes a growth spurt this week.

Major organs, including the kidneys and liver, begin to grow. The neural tube, which connects the brain and spinal cord, will close this week. The embryo's upper and lower limb buds begin to sprout — these will form your baby's arms and legs. The intestines are developing and the appendix is in place.

Below the opening that will later form the mouth, small folds exist where the neck and the lower jaw eventually develop. As early as this week, facial features are already forming. Nostrils are becoming distinct, and the earliest version of the eyes' retinas are forming." --

Monday, October 13, 2003

Second Time's the Charm

The Wife had to have a second blood test this morning, so they could compare the results against the first, to make sure that all the levels (HCG, estrogen, progesterone) have all risen as they should. And they have. Each new confirmation makes it all the more real. I'm fine until I go to and read about stuff I should know or learn or feel, or stuff I might experience. Or singing a song in church proclaiming God's faithfulness. Or typing in this blog about singing a song in church. Then I start tearing up. This is turning me into a royal wus.

First ultrasound is Thursday. We should be able to see the heartbeat.

I might know what I'm doing...

Got 12 out of 15 right on's quiz. I'll study the other three questions.
(1) How long should you let your newborn cry at night before picking him up? I said "10-15 minutes." But, not with a newborn. You give them attention right away. I guess it's not like The Puppy.

(3) What's the standard advice on how long after childbirth you should wait until you and your wife can have sex again? I said "Until Her doctor gives the green light." Correct answer was "Six Weeks." However, I think my answer was a little correct, so I should get some credit for considering a professional's opinion.

(8) Which one of these should you use to clean your baby's umbilical cord? I said "Hydrogen peroxide" because The Wife swears by it. Well, the correct answer is "Rubbing Alcohol." Fair enough, I can remember that. It goes on to say that the cord will fall off within 7 to 10 days and until then, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean it. Good to know.

It's very cool that there are so many resources out there. Of course, I probably won't be able to just surf the web any day I feel like it on a normal work day until after we've announced. But I'd like to read as much professional advice as possible before The Co-Workers Who Are Parents start trying to give me advice.

Getting in touch with baby

Babies who get a daily rubdown sleep better, grow faster and are less fussy, research shows. And their parents are often less stressed and better rested, too.

Sunday, October 12, 2003


Today we were talking to our friends and said "Hey, fun fact. Did you know that the baby's heart begins to beat on day 21 or 22?" I didn't even get to say that our baby's heart had been beating for a day or two. They had already figured it out. He looked pretty happy and she was thrilled. She had been just telling us she was tired and not feeling well. All of the sudden she was jumping up and down. Then we got in our car a few minutes later and instantly my cell phone rang. It was the other couple we had planned to tell calling. We were both going to be at the same place later today and they were going to follow us back to our house to see the new puppy but they were calling to say that they weren't going to be able to come with us afterwards; their baby had kept them up a long time last night, they'd see us at the thing, but not come over with us. So we called them back and said we were coming over. As soon as The Wife began to say "Well, we decided to come overe here since we had something to tell you and didn't want a lot of people around but you screwed that up." and they figured it out. They weren't as extremely overjoyed as we thought they'd be, but we attribute that to their own sleepiness from having a new baby of their own. When we saw them later, the wife and The Wife and the other couple's wife went upstairs so that they could talk while the new mom nursed. We all get the impression that the other couple's wife also would like to start a family.

There's another couple who we'll tell a little early; they're expecting April 4th. But not just yet.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Start spreadin' the news (a little)

Well, last night we told my mother-in-law and my parents. All were excited. With The Wife's Mom, we were talking about the new puppy and she made a comment about how they're like a child and we were thinking "Speaking of which..." Good fun. With my parents, we talked for a good 10 minutes (we talk each week at the same time) and then I asked when they were planning on coming down for a visit. They said October. I, thinking they meant next October, said "How about mid-June?" And they asked "Why mid-June," probably thinking of the heat. I said "Because [The Wife's] due date is early June," though I'm not sure how much they heard because I started choking up. They were really excited, mostly for my grandma who works part-time in an office with a bunch of 20-somethings and volunteers in her church office with a bunch of women younger than her. She doesn't need the money, she's just bored. But she sometimes feels left out because they have pictures of babies and ultrasounds and all that good stuff. She doesn't have any of those. I'm not sure if they did ultrasounds, or if they just didn't give out pictures. But now we'll have some. The Wife has an ultrasound on Monday and apparently they'll already be able to see a heartbeat and we're hoping we can get a printout to put in a card. "Grandma - We've always known you're a great grandmother. But now you're going to be a great-grandmother!" We'll tell the two couples closest to us, one of the couples is the one who just had a baby and they and the other couple have been our confidants through the infertility process. We'll also tell siblings, but then it's mum for about 2 to 2-1/2 more months.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

It's official!

Got word back. All the numbers look great. I'm going to be a dad! We tell her mom and my parents tonight.

Waiting Game

The Wife went to the clinic this morning for a blood test. Amazing that one's body changes so much in this process. We should hear back later today.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Keep the faith.

There was to be a book. When I received the book, a gift, I would realize that our prayers had been answered, that we were pregnant.

But things didn't quite go according to plan. When we began trying, we had just learned that our friends were three months along. "Dang them," we thought. But no matter, we were only a few months behind, right? Their announcement pushed up our time-table by about a month, but, there was that plan thing.

After several months without any success whatsoever, we were referred to a reproductive center. It was a scary thing. It felt like failure. We began to ask "What if..." You go to the worst-case scenario pretty quickly. You pray every night and every morning and many, many times throughout the day, but between the prayers in the harsh light of day, you go to the worst-case. And you keep going back to the worst case. Why would God do this? He doesn't punish, so we couldn't look for something we were doing wrong in our lives to try to correct. But why would God allow me to grow up thinking even from a very small child about how special and unique a child was, a creation of just you and one other person, something no one else could duplicate. Why would I be wired to dream of this only to see that door shut in my face? I mean, I was pretty sure that over the years I had given more thought to that than most guys. I knew it wasn't normal, but it was just always there. On my checklist, if you will. Get married. Buy a house. Own a new car. Have a baby, or babies, with my wife.

But now, the fear was setting in. What if this wasn't possible? Why? Why? Why?

The doctor at the clinic was very thorough and very confident. Our age and how quickly we had been referred after experiencing nothing counted in our favor, he said. He outlined three things they would try. First fertility drugs in three rounds of increasing dosage. Second three attempts at intrauterine insemination (IUI) -- each attempt consisting of two IUI's 24-hours apart and finally three attempts at in vitro fertilization (IVF).

It's really tough, having to go to an infertility clinic. You ask "Why us?" We've been relatively healthy. Maybe we're a little overweight, but The Wife's never smoked or even had alcohol. It's been years since I've had alcohol or even partaken in a cigar. People all around us having babies. Some by accident. All to loving homes, to be sure, but we're ready to provide a loving home. It should be our turn. Why do we have go to see a doctor? Are we some kind of failure? Will they be able to help us? What will they say is wrong? What if we can never have children on our own?

But the tests kept coming back negative. The fertility drugs had no effect. The first two IUI's were several weeks ago. I had to provide samples in a cup two days in a row. A technician would select the best swimmers from each sample. Then they were delivered directly to the close proximity of the waiting egg via a syringe and a flexible tube in a very invasive procedure. The success rate for IUI was listed at anywhere from 10-25% depending on which website and which pamphlet we read. The doctor reminded us that 'it only took one.' She let me depress the plunger and dispatch the troops. For good measure, we had sex that night, too. The next day, the doctor depressed the plunger. For good measure, we made an old-fashioned attempt that evening as well.

Our best friends' baby was born a few weeks ago. Beautiful, healthy, two weeks early. A pure bundle of life-changing joy. You have moments where it's tough to be happy for them. But you want to be. You don't want to be selfish. I think in the end, our own confidence that our prayers would be answered allowed us to truly celebrate with them.

A dinner the other night, other friends announced they had completed the first trimester. We smiled and I thought to myself "It's our turn." and believed it. Not because I wanted to believe it, but because I did believe that we were next.

This morning my wife showed me a white stick and said "Does this look like a blue line?" It did. This evening, a stick with two pink lines. It said that one of the lines could be faint and it would still read positive. Well, let me tell you, that second pink line couldn't have been any pinker.

I have not really come to term with the whole concept yet and I know that it's still really early on -- a more comprehensive and foolproof blood test tomorrow at the clinic. The baby is about half the size of the dot in the letter i. But I've teared up several times this evening. Mostly because I've felt like a real failure tonight for doubting God. I suspect that anyone who's gone through, will go through, or is still going through what we've gone through -- or much more -- will have many moments of doubt.

So, now there's a new House, a Puppy, and the book is lost somewhere in one of the still packed boxes.

Keep the faith.