Thursday, April 5, 2007

The First, And Only, Ultrasound

We made it to the appointment with time to spare, and got right in. They dropped us off in a room. Proud Mommy got the little gown they give you, took a seat on the table, and we waited.

Let's take a break for the guys. Ok fellas, we've gone into orbit, we've seen the bottom of the ocean, the frontiers have pretty much been explored. Except for this one. The women's ob-gyn offices. That's right, I got to go in with her.

Normally, when I'm in the room waiting for my doctor, I get to look at posters of the ear, or diagrams of what the various stages of arthritis looks like in the knees. Random stuff. In this office, they give you the goods: the female reproductive system.

And the pictures! Right there on the ceiling. Two pictures of pretty flowers. Later, in another room, there was a picture of a waterfall, or something. by that time, I wasn't paying much attention.

So. We're in the room, and we look around, and we aren't really seeing anything that looks like an ultrasound machine, even though I don't have a really firm idea of what an ultrasound machine looks like. The doctor comes in and asks some questions. She takes a sort of history, most of which was done at that intake appointment. Then she does a physical exam. I sat up at the end of the table by Proud Mommy's head. There was really no view of that part of the exam. I'm pretty much grateful.

Doctor gets done with that, blabs some more, and asks us if we have any questions. Just the way she said it, and the way the appointment had gone, it almost felt like she was about to thank us for coming in and send us on our way. Well, we wanted that ultrasound! We asked, and that turned out to be the next thing she was going to do.

It only took a moment for her to go out and wheel the machine into the room. At this stage, it's the magic wand ultrasound, and doctor preps it to start sounding the ultra, I guess. Then, in it goes. It looks just like on TV, with the little radar scope image coming up, and she works and probes it around.

It's a black and white image, sort of a gray static. The we see this sort of dark hole that looks sort of like a squat triangle with rounded corners. We see some round thing that looks kind of like a ring. And we see what might be a little speck next to it. I don't really know what we're looking at, so we're given a guided tour.

The squat triangle? That's the uterus, home of futurebaby. The sort of ring looking thing? That's the yolk of the egg as it turns out. The little speck next to it? That's futurebaby at six week size. We're at week eleven. Turns out futurebaby is no baby after all. So why is it still in there? Well, they call it a missed miscarriage. Should have been a miscarriage around week six, but it didn't happen.

You think of all sorts of funny things. Like within a week of all those pregnancy tests, the baby had died. Like they tell you that it doesn't feel like there's anything going on in there, and that's normal; except Proud mommy didn't feel like anything was going on in there, and there wasn't anything going on in there. Like when Proud Mommy took another test and the lines were all weak, barely showing up. They say that's normal, and any line is a positive result, and the time of day can affect it or if you've been drinking a lot it can dilute the hormones; except the lines were very weak and it turns out the baby was dead by then. Like going to the intake appointment with a baby that was already dead (but the appointment wasn't a total waste: we got a nice letter informing us that the baby is very unlikely to have cystic fibrosis).

Like how the whole time, I was cheering and comforting and constantly encouraging and telling her how the baby was definitely in there and everyone has these fears and every other mother out there has probably done and said and felt the same sorts of things and it's all going to be fine and our futurebaby is going to be the cutest futurebaby ever. Except it isn't. And it won't.

Instead of picking out toys and cribs and diapers and little tiny baby clothes, the only thing we get to decide is whether or not we want to try again.

Monday, April 2, 2007

The First Ultrasound

So today is a day of nerves. We're having our first real appointment today.

We had the intake appointment a while back. That's where they got us into the system, did a few blood tests, a urine sample, all that good stuff. Which is great, but it doesn't let you see the baby. It doesn't let you hear the baby. Proud Mommy still isn't feeling the baby inside her. Time has slowed to a crawl as we wait for this appointment. Is the baby still there? Can we just get a little information here?

The appointment is in a couple of hours. Wish us luck.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Week Eleven, or, Whoa! Somebody Step On A Duck?

Hee hee hee.

Week eleven must be just about the very best week of them all. First the good news.

All women show in different ways. You may not even be showing right now. And if you are showing? Don't worry, because those women who do seem to be keeping their figures will be showing soon enough.

The bad news: your jeans are getting tighter, and buttoning them can be more work than usual.

The good news: You're off the hook! You can lay it all at the feet of your favorite hormone, progesterone.

The side effect:
...some of the less than flattering by-products of all the good [progesterone] does are bloating… and burping… and passing gas.

Come on now. I'm about to be a dad. Give me a few last gasps at juvenile giggles here. It's all part of this system of slowing down the digestion so that baby can get as many nutrients as possible. That builds up the assorted bubbles and bloating that give you some discomfort and embarrassment. But really, look me in the eyes and tell me that you don't get a laugh out of this line:
...your baby is oblivious to all your intestinal distress, and may even be soothed by the gurgling of your gastric symphony.

Seriously. You have to admit that "gastric symphony" is a spectacular line, right up there with "all the world's a stage."

What does the kid look like anyway? What to Expect, perhaps humiliated by losing to American Baby for the last two weeks in the head to head food comparison, has no comparison this week. It's just straight up hard facts. Length: two inches. Weight: 1/3 of an ounce. Head: still mutantishly large.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

And This Is Better Than A Prune

Once again, American Baby saves the day!

In the competition for most appetizing baby descriptors, American Baby takes the prize two weeks in a row. Last week, grape beat out olive.

This week, What to Expect put up prune as it's champion. Is it even a competition? They can't even make it interesting. American Baby comes out with strawberry, and boom, it's no contest.

I'll take a strawberry over a prune any day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What If Your Future Isn't Poopy?

That's right. Constipation is something to expect when you're expecting. Remember all that miracle of life stuff? Yeah, one of the miracles is the miracle of the missing poo:
Here's how: During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone causes the smooth muscles of the large bowel to relax, making them sluggish — and allowing food to hang around longer in the digestive tract. The upside: There's added time for
nutrients to be absorbed into your bloodstream, allowing more of them to reach
your baby. The downside: what amounts to a traffic jam for waste products, with
nothing going anywhere anytime soon.

You're not constipated, the food is just hanging out longer. There's a party in your large bowel, and the last three days' worth of food you've eaten is invited!

How do you end this party and get rid of those annoying guests who don't know how to take the hint and leave? You can take more fiber by eating high fiber foods or taking a supplement. Always make sure you're getting plenty of liquids, at least eight glasses a day of water and/or fruit juices. You've heard it your whole life: prune juice works; it has a laxative effect. Something you might not have heard of? Warm liquids also can help you go. Finally, it's not a sin to check with your doctor. Some vitamins or supplements that help your pregnancy can also contribute to constipation.

Look at it this way, at least you're getting plenty of practice pushing!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Reverse Calculate Your Due Date

New to me, but perhaps not new to you, is the website Your register over there, for free, and they send you the occasional update, with all sorts of clever info. One such bit of info, I am now going to share with you.

When you figure your due date, one common method is to take the first day of your last period, count forward 40 weeks, and there you have it, your estimated due date.

As the babycenter email indicated, there is a tricky math alternative. Here's what you do:
-take the first day of your last period
-subtract three months
-then add seven days

It sounds counterintuitive, I know, but Proud Mommy and I both ran the numbers, and sure enough, we both got October 27.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Week Ten, Or, You're So Vein

We've noticed this already, but I guess week ten makes it official:

As your pregnancy progresses, you'll also notice that the veins in your hands and feet seem larger and more prominent, too. During pregnancy, the average woman's blood volume increases by 20 to 40 percent, and the veins have to keep up so they can go with the flow. So consider those blue lines on your body to be a pregnancy badge of honor: wear them with pride, and with the comforting knowledge that they'll disappear for good once your baby's born and you're no longer breastfeeding (if you choose to).

I did not know that about the blood volume. That's pretty impressive. Aside from all the miracle of life whoop de doo, the plain old mechanics of the whole thing is pretty incredible too. And that's not even the half of it. The baby is still getting bigger too. Fortunately, the kid's not an olive anymore. Unfortunately, the kid has become a prune. An inch and a half long prune:

Your baby is nearly an inch and a half long and the size of a prune, but not nearly as shriveled. In fact, your baby is really taking a human shape now. Bones and cartilage are forming, and small indentations on the legs are developing into knees and ankles. Though your baby's arms are taking shape and getting stronger, each one is only about the size of this number 1.

All right baby! We're number one, we're number one!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Well This Is Better Than An Olive!

If you're curious about the size of your baby, here's another site that can clue you in, week by week.

As discussed last Sunday, according to What To Expect, my week nine baby is about the size of a medium green olive. Medium green olives are, as you might know, my least favorite of the green vegetables and/or fruits.

Fortunately, I've got American Baby on my side. And they've got their own system of baby size classification. They start around week four, with the poppy seed, and rapidly progress through sesame seed, sunflower seed, blueberry, and raspberry until arriving at week 9: grape. The green grape is one of my favorite green vegetables and/or fruits.

This system works pretty well, but eventually, they run out of fruit, and suddenly you discover that you're carrying an i-pod shuffle, or an iron in there!

I just hope the baby's not premature, because if it comes in week 36, according to these guys, Proud Mommy will be giving birth to a tennis racket:

Awwww! Isn't it the cutest baby ever?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fun Ultrasound Facts

You knew that they do an ultrasound by taking that sensor device and rubbing it over Mom's tummy. You've seen it in a million sitcoms and movies in which someone is pregnant. What you didn't know is that there is another way.

Your very first ultrasound, when the baby is still a wee little thing, may require a little extra. If it's early enough, and the baby is small enough, and the kid is hiding off in some corner of the uterus, the regular abdominal ultrasound might not detect it.

If this is the case, you may very well get a vaginal ultrasound. The sensor is inserted, aimed the right way, and presto! You've got lub-dub heartbeats and a little smudge of a baby, right there onscreen. And you just know it's going to be the cutest smudge ever!

Seen Any Good Movies Lately?

Well, I never would have imagined it and it never would have occurred to me to ask, but it turns out that when you go for the ultrasound, you may be able to get more than just a printout of that hazy radar looking sort of picture.

Depending on your facility, you may be able to get a recording that you can play on your own computer. Be sure to check ahead of time, because some places use VHS, while others can make you a copy onto a DVD-R disc. In a couple more weeks, you might see a white blobby smudge right here on this very website.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Have You Caressed Your Groin Baby Today?

The other day, Proud Mommy talked me into doing this prenatal yoga video (aka watching wrestling) with her. She's done it a few times already, and I had no idea what was going on.

There are all sorts of poses and positions. You bend this way or that way. You stretch your leg or your arm. You squat or lean. All these poses have names you might expect originated from very elaborate origami figures.

I'll admit, I was struggling to keep up at times. Proud Mommy outstretched me left and right. Apparently, Proud Mommy outlistened me as well. Especially when it came to the groin baby.

Yoga instructor Shiva would occasionally mention that we should be caressing our groin babies. And I thought I was! But Proud Mommy kept wondering what I was doing.

Well, I was caressing my groin baby, of course! What do I know? Sure, I never called it my groin baby, but with all this yoga zen chakra wheelbarrow inverted crane technique lingo being tossed around left and right, I was just thankful that I at least recognized two words in a row. Granted, Shiva and the other yoga women were more focused on rubbing their bellies, but I thought they were just doing that to keep the video family friendly. I knew where my groin was, and if Shiva tells me to caress it, who am I to tell her different? There was a definite sense of pride in my one small area of yogic success. Who knew I had been doing yoga all these years?

Unfortunately, my pride in my groin baby technique was short lived. Once the video was over, further discussion with Proud Mommy revealed that what Shiva had been saying all that time was to caress my growing baby. Like the quirk of dialect that has some people pronounce ringer so it rhymes with finger, Shiva's growing rhymes with groin. Not carrying a baby inside me, I think I can be forgiven for the mistake.

I should have known it wasn't really yoga. I mean, who ever heard of yoga making you go blind?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Week Nine, Or, Good-bye Embryo, Hello Fetus

Here's an update from one of our favorite sites, What To Expect When You're Expecting. That's right, the people who brought you the book have a website too.

We've passed the embryo stage now, and the future baby is officially a fetus! The kid is cute too. No longer a lizard/alien hybrid, it's now about the size of a medium green olive. I'm not sure that's an improvement. I mean, why does it have to be the yucky olive? What, at week fourteen, is it going to resemble a road apple or something?

I guess the baby must have stopped off at Will Smith's house at some point, because it turns out it's ears are "much more prominent." On the organ side of things, the gallbladder, liver, and spleen are all beginning to grow.

The arm and leg buds are doing some sort of jerky movements. The baby probably picked up on the hand jive from when we watched Grease: You're the One That I Want. Unlike Proud Daddy, Proud Mommy is not quite old enough to remember the movie.

Here's an artist conception (snicker!) of what the baby might look like:

Page the OB-GYN, stat! My baby's growing inside a kidney!

No, no. It's just the uterus. I kid.

Hey moms: if you're feeling tired, it's just pregnancy fatigue. Be strong, and remember, you'll have plenty of time to rest once the baby is born. You've only got thirty-one weeks to go!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Madame Zaritska's Reading

I was surfing the web the other day, and I came across a psychic prediction of my baby's gender, size, and hairiness, among other things:

Madame Zaritska's reading
Madame Zaritska, our resident clairvoyant, wants to help you prepare for the arrival of your child. Here she does her best to predict certain aspects of your labor and birth experience.

What she senses for you
The day you deliver, outside will be windy. Your baby will arrive in the evening. After a labor lasting approximately 7 hours, your child, a boy, will be born. Your baby will weigh about 10 pounds, 2 ounces, and will be 19 inches long. This child will have hazel eyes and be almost bald.

Get a reading for your baby here.

Drink Up, Shamrock Lovers!

Of course, moms-to-be aren't allowed to drink, and dads-to-be could at least show a little moral support. Here's a nice little pick me up. It's tasty and refreshing, especially as we get into these warmer months of spring. It's rich in calcium and potassium, so it helps with leg cramps and healthy bones. Best of all, it's super easy to make: just tell Daddy to do it!

Here's what you need dad:
1 cup lowfat milk
1 large ripe banana
1 cup lime sherbert
1 lime, sliced for garnish

Put it all in a blender, and blend until smooth. Makes two servings. Looks like this:

This thing tasted so good, even Marty had to check it out:

This great drink is modified from one found at this link from the Kansas State University Family Nutrition Program. It's in the kid's recipes section, so you can do it Dad. Mom will thank you.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The First Appointment

We're in week eight, and we had out first doctor visit.

By which I mean that we sat in a room and filled out a bunch of paperwork. With a bunch of other people who are also filling out their paperwork (it made me wonder if we'll keep running into these people over and over, kind of like when you run with the same pack of cars for hours at a time on a long road trip). They pretty much just want to get you loaded into the system so they're ready to go when you have your first real appointment, in another two weeks or so.

It is useful stuff, though; don't get me wrong. I'm happy to say that we laughed at all the right places (said one nurse, "You just got to the part about being cousins, right?"), and managed to get through it ok.

Proud Mommy had some family history of diabetes, and so we also got to go downstairs so she could pee in a cup. We couldn't find the right bathroom at first. You know, the one where, when you come out, there's that little pee safety deposit box that you put the little cup in when you're done. As luck would have it, we ran into one of our fellow paper-filler-outers, and she was able to direct us to the right place.

Proud Mommy is also feeling a little more confident about the reality of the baby, but another pregnancy test has helped, and we get to have the ultrasound on April 2. The she'll have bird's eye proof that there really is a baby in there; although what kind of bird looks into prengant women's tummies, I have no idea.

Still to come: psychic baby predictions, groin babies, and tasting the rainbow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Here's A Fear, One Of Many

A fortunate couple will discover that one's weaknesses are covered by the other's strengths. Case in point:

Proud Mommy is worried about the baby. Is it growing properly? Is it healthy? Is there even a baby really in there?

This isn't a problem for me, possibly because I'm rather detached from this part of it. My body isn't going through changes. The test is just fine for me, because I have no other frame of reference. In these first several weeks, when everything looks the same on the outside, all I've got is the second line on the little strip to go on.

I'm also not worried, because I'm just fully comfortable and confident that Proud Mommy is providing a nice, warm, healthy environment for the little raspberry (did I mention the baby looks like a lizard/alien about the size of a raspberry?). Proud Mommy isn't as confident.

Until that ultrasound, she's never going to be really sure that the baby is ok. What is she sure of? That I'm going to be the best daddy ever.

Naturally, that's the one I'm not really sure of. I mean, kids are just so, so childish! I wasn't childish, even when I was a child. So tell me, does some magic transformation happen when it's your own child?

Or am I just putting up a manly front, like that time I said I was watching wrestling, but I was really doing prenatal yoga with Proud Mommy? Shhh. Don't tell anyone.

Born To Be Mommy

You never stop learning about people. Last night, I learned something about Proud Mommy.

I may have known this already, but last night was the first time it all came together in my conscious mind. I suddenly realized that having this baby may very well be the best thing ever to happen to Proud Mommy.

Of course, everyone says that the best day of their life was when their baby was born. I'm not talking about that. I'm saying that for Proud Mommy, this may very well be a calling.

Some people are born to be doctors. Some are born to be architects. Some are born to be waiters. I think Proud Mommy was born to be a mommy.

Everything came clear last night, and this quality, and that characteristic, and the other belief, and the way she thinks, all of them gelled in my mind. It was quite a moment, and it felt really good. At least the kid will have one good parent.

How will I do? I have no idea.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Can It Be True?

There comes a time when you think you might be pregnant. You wonder about it. You may even be hoping for it to be true.

Then you take the pregnancy test. The little line says, "You're pregnant."

Even if you've been hoping, especially if you've been hoping, you're suddenly consumed by the next question: "What if the test wasn't accurate?"

So you grab a bottle of water, guzzle it down, and head for the restroom again. (Thank goodness they give you more than one test strip in the box!)

The little line says, "You're pregnant."

Still. Can it really be true? This is a human life for which you'll be responsible the next twenty years or so. That's a big deal. That's scary. Did we really want this? Are we going to be good parents? How on earth did this happen? No thought is too crazy to skitter across your brain in that moment.

So you read the fine print on the box. After all, everyone's heard the phrase "false positive," right? What if this is a false positive?

Sure enough, there it is, in black and white. Turns out you can get a false negative, "Frequent urination - or a diluted sample - can decrease the amount of hCG in your urine, interfering with early-detection," but almost never a false positive. Even the hospital, after a quick call said, "If you got a positive on a home pregnancy test, that's good enough for us. You're pregnant."

But maybe another brand would be more accurate. A quick trip to the store, guzzle some more water, and it's back to the restroom. Remember that diluted sample deal? Yeah, still pregnant.

And still pregnant.

And still pregnant.

We're pregnant.
And the odyssey of the baby begins.