New Mama Musings

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How to Boost a New Mama's Ego

Today I met a hip-looking mama of about twenty-five or twenty-six who thought I was also about twenty-five.

I'm thirty-five.

That is all.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Funny Like I'm a Clown?

Henry has been cracking us up lately. Here are a few of his more memorable funny moments:

  • As I've mentioned previously, Henry likes throwing things over the edge of the railing in the play area onto the stairs below. Usually I can tell when he's about to drop something because he's has not yet become subtle in his devilishness. The other day, though, he was standing near the railing, ran (well, toddled really really fast) over to the bin of duplos, grabbed a duplo structure, ran back to the railing and dropped it over, all before I could barely register what he was doing.
  • Although I've asked Henry repeatedly not to hit the metal base of the table lamp in the living room, it's irresistible to him. He's taken to banging on it while maintaining eye contact with me, grinning broadly, and shaking his head "no."
  • Henry's "isth" (the sound he uses to indicate pretty much everything) has become "es" now. He says it to point out trucks, flags, ceiling fans and lights or to request that I open the shade or give him his toothbrush. And if he gets really excited about something the sound gets louder and higher in pitch until I acknowledge it: "es! ES! ES! ES!"
  • Usually when Henry is nursing my husband has to be extremely quiet and stay out of the room or Henry will pull off, lift his head, and point at him. A few weeks ago Henry and I were sitting on the couch nursing and my husband very quietly sat down on the chair across from us, out of Henry's view. This time Henry didn't seem to notice my husband at all until he silently, and without looking his way, raised one arm and pointed directly at him.
  • On the weekends when Henry wakes up we encourage him to play in our room for a bit before opening the door and getting up with him. Yesterday morning when my husband finally opened the door Henry darted down the hallway, but instead of following him my husband returned to our room and climbed back into bed. Henry followed him, stood in the doorway, shook his head and let out a shriek of frustration and distress and ran out of the room as though his heart were broken.
  • Finally, today, in the middle of his nap, Henry lifted his head off the bed, said, "DA-da!" quite cheerfully, put his head back down, and continued sleeping.
Yep, funny like a clown.

Friday, August 25, 2006

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

I feel the need to clarify something, lest I give Future Henry a complex: we are very, very, very glad he is a boy.

It's true that when I first became pregnant, we were leaning more toward wanting a girl. I'm not sure why, exactly. Something about my husband already having two boys and his only daughter being cognitively disabled (not that she's any less of a girl because of it, but she may not do some of the things a "normal" girl might do). And for me, more specifically, there was something about wanting to pass on my "womanly wisdom."

Now I see how silly this was. I've always rankled at the notion of sisterhood some women embrace, the "us against them" mentality that says women must stick together simply because they share a gender.

But any wisdom I've acquired during my 35 years of life is not applicable to females alone. Sure, that's my perspective, but I can teach a son about vulnerability, empowerment, sensitivity, self-respect, and consideration of others. We need smart, funny, giving, strong, loving men in this world, just as we do women.

I was reminded of this the other day as I sat in the bean bag chair in our play area and Henry asked to nurse by tugging on my shirt. I pulled him onto my lap and while he nursed I stroked his hair and smoothed my hand over his sweet little body. His eyes rolled back in his head with contentment, and I thought, "I hope he carries this feeling of comfort and security around with him the rest of his life." Boys need to be nurtured, too, and in return they give us just as much joy and love.

So here's to raising little boys -- snips, snails, puppy dog tails and all.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mouse in the House

Tonight my husband found a mouse in our basement, ran to Walgreens for a mousetrap, then came home and set it up.

I love a man who takes charge. And also? One who kills mice in the basement.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Journey to Henry

I've been wanting to write about our journey to having Henry since becoming pregnant, but to be honest the timeline and events are a bit fuzzy in my mind. However, after writing the previous post I realized that the frugality board I belong to has all the posts I wrote updating everyone on what I was going through at the time. This is what I wrote, with my additions in italics:

At some point late in 2003 my husband and I decided to try to get pregnant in January of 2004, so I went off the pill a few months before in preparation.

01-21-2003 Does anyone else not get a period? (I'm TTC)
My husband and I are TTC (Trying To Conceive), and I'm a little concerned about my body... Here's my story: I only got one or two periods in my adolescence. When I was about twenty-one (I'm now 31) I went to a gynecologist, who put me on birth control pills. The pills regulated my cycle and I got a short, light period for a few days every month. I went off the pill about nine weeks ago and I haven't had a period since. I know sometimes it takes a while for a woman's cycle to get regular after going off the pill, but with my prior history I'm wondering if I'll ever get a period.

I talked to my doctor about this at my last exam last August, and she didn't seem that concerned. Can anyone relate? Could it be that I've NEVER ovulated, or can't ovulate...should I be taking something to make me ovulate?

I went in to see my ob/gyn that February, and she had me do a hysterosalpingogram -- a fun name for a very un-fun procedure that involves shooting dye through the Fallopian tubes to rule out a blockage. She also performed a few postcoital tests, which is pretty much what it sounds like. And then she decided to have me try Clomid.

05-22-2003 Took my first Clomid (fertility drug) pill tonight!
My husband and I are TTC, and I have, well, issues with my cycle. Basically since I went off the pill I don't have one. I did two rounds of progesterone, which were supposed to make me menstruate but didn't, then a round of estrogen and progesterone, which finally worked. Now I start five days of Clomid, which is supposed to help me ovulate.

Please keep your fingers crossed for me. I'm a little nervous because I've heard all kinds of horror stories about the side effects of Clomid (nausea, insomnia, hot flashes, mood swings, headaches). Plus if after six cycles the Clomid doesn't result in a pregnancy we'll have to go to a reproductive specialist.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers! Even if I don't get pregnant this month my doctor should be able to tell if the Clomid is helping me ovulate, and that would give me hope.

The Clomid seemed to do nothing for me -- I didn't even have any of the side effects I was expecting -- so my ob/gyn recommended I see an infertility doctor. When we finally got an appointment my new doctor continued with the Clomid, but monitored me with ultrasounds to see if my follicles were getting any bigger or if the drug was, indeed, having no effect.

10-16-2003 Another request...ultrasound tomorrow
I know I already asked for your prayers and good vibes, but I'm going to be greedy and ask again.

Tomorrow I go in for an ultrasound to see if I'm ovulating and how big the follicles are. If there's a good sized follicle my doctor will do an insemination, and there's a possibility I could be pregnant by next week. If not...then we have to start doing injectables and that would really bum me out.

You guys are all so wonderful and I'm just trying to get all the help I can.

10-17-2003 Ultrasound update
I suppose I should be posting this in the TTC forum, but I wanted to let all of you who sent me prayers and good wishes what happened this morning.

In order for a follicle to be deemed viable, it needs to be about 20mm. My largest one was about 6mm. The nurse practitioner is going to talk to my doctor on Monday (she was out today) and find out if she wants to do another ultrasound next week to see if the follicle is getting any bigger, or if she wants to try something else. It sounds like they don't hold out much hope for the follicle increasing in size.

I think the next step is injectables, though I have to wait to hear from the doctor to know for sure. I was a little depressed about that for a bit, but it sounds like injectables have a much higher success rate. (They are also more expensive and difficult to administer -- I have to give myself shots -- which is why they don't try this route first.)

From what I understand, the Clomid I was taking basically tricks the brain into releasing FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). The injections bypass that step and are actually the FSH itself. So it seems like a more promising option for my particular problem.

Onward and upward...

11-13-2003 Learned how to give injections tonight to TTC
Well, actually, my DH learned.

We went to the reproductive clinic and along with two other couples learned how to give injections. And not only do you have to inject yourself or your partner, you have to go through this whole big thing of mixing up the medicine, switching needles, checking for air bubbles, etc.

I went into it thinking, "Okay, I can do this. We'll both learn how and then if DH isn't around I can give myself a shot." Well, I felt myself freaking out more and more as the class went on, to the point that I wasn't even hearing what the nurse was saying. I was seriously freaked. I felt like I was going to cry.

We practiced on this squishy pad, and then the nurse took each couple to a private room so we could do it for real with a syringe of water. My DH volunteered for us to go first.

I said I was too freaked out to do it, and my DH said he was totally fine with it, understood what to do and felt confident about it. God I love that man. He put everything together and gave me the shot (with the nurse overseeing it) and did just fine. It didn't even hurt.

I really don't know what I'd do if my DH weren't fine with doing this.

12-03-2003 Anyone believe in signs?
As some of you may know, my husband and I are undergoing infertility treatment in our quest to have a baby. Taking the oral medication didn't work at all, so DH's been giving me injections for the past four nights.

Today I went in for my first ultrasound since starting the injections and it looks like it's working like it's supposed to! I'm just so shocked that my body is cooperating, lol.

The doctor said to continue the injections for three more nights and then come in for another ultrasound on Saturday. He seemed confident that we'll be able to administer the egg-releasing shot Saturday night, and they'll do an intrauterine insemination on Sunday. So please keep your fingers crossed for us!

Now for the signs part: I got an issue of American Baby in the mail today, and when I went to watch Dr. Phil, which I haven't seen in months because I've been too busy, it was his first of a series on parenthood talking to a newly pregnant couple!

Hey, I'll take any encouragement I can get at this point.

12-17-2003 Update to my infertility treatment
I just wanted to let you all know where I am with the infertility treatment. I finished up my first cycle using injectable medication and had an intrauterine insemination last week Wednesday. I have to wait until Christmas morning to take a home pregnancy test, and if it's positive, I will make an appointment for a blood test the next day.

I'm experiencing some side effects of the medication, including painful nipples (TMI?), bloating, some nausea, and some tenderness in my abdomen. If I'm pregnant, though, I will consider it a very small price to pay.

Thanks for your support during all of this. I would really appreciate any continued well wishes and prayers at this time.

12-24-2003 No pregnancy this time...
I'd planned on doing a home pregnancy test Christmas day, but I got my period Tuesday night.

My doctor actually had me come in today (the morning of Christmas Eve) to do an ultrasound and see if I had any residual follicles.

Sure enough, I do have some cysts on my ovaries, so we have to wait another month before trying again. I have to take birth control pills to try to shrink the cysts and then we'll start all over with the injections next month.

I'm a little sad but we still have options. My doctor said she usually tries three cycles of injections total before trying something else, and we've only done one.

Thank you for all your prayers and continued good thoughts. I know things will work out the way they're supposed to.

01-08-2004 Just an update!
DH and I start with the second round of infertility treatments in a few weeks. Hopefully next month will be the month!

01-23-2004 Update to my infertility journey
DH and I are starting our second round of injectable medicine tonight. He'll probably be giving me a shot every night for the next week or week-and-a-half, and then I'll have another intrauterine insemination. We had to take a break after the last attempt to let the residual follicles on my ovaries shrink down. we go again. You've all been so wonderful and supportive that I thought I'd let you know where I am in this process. I'm sure I'll be asking for some major prayers after the IUI that DH's guys find their way and this one sticks.

01-30-2004 Asking for support with my infertility...AGAIN
I had another doctor's appointment this morning to monitor how my follicles are developing. Apparently, they are responding TOO well to the medication, because I have more big follicles than I should have for doing an intrauterine insemination. (This is what leads to people having septuplets.)

We're going to try skipping the injections for the next two nights and have me come in for another ultrasound on Sunday. The hope is that only the few biggest follicles will remain and the others will shrink back down.

This could go one of three ways -- either ALL the follicles will shrink down and we won't be able to continue, only a few follicles will remain, or all the follicles will remain and maybe grow a little more. If the last thing happens I can have a procedure done to aspirate some of the follicles so only a few are left. That costs several (more) thousand dollars and involves minor surgery.

I cried on the way home from the doctor. I know lots of people have much worse problems, but I'm feeling pretty down right now. I shouldn't do this to myself, but I hear about women who put their babies in a dumpster or leave them alone all day and I just think that life can be so unfair sometimes. I feel like as a nanny and a stepmom I'll just never have a baby I can call my own.

I could really use your prayers and hugs right now. Thank you for all the support you've already given me. It really does mean a lot.

02-01-2004 Fertility Update
I just wanted to quickly let you all know that I still have too many big follicles to proceed with this cycle like we planned. Instead of losing what we've done so far we have decided to convert the cycle to an In Vitro Fertilization cycle. This involves doing an egg retrieval, fertilizing the eggs with DH's sperm sample, then implanting a few of the embryos with the hopes that one of them "sticks."

We'll most likely be doing the retrieval on Thursday or Friday and doing the implantation on Sunday or Monday.

It's a LOT more money, but this way we'll have extra embryos frozen and waiting even if this cycle doesn't work, and I won't have to go through all the injections and ultrasounds all over again. Plus this way they can see if I actually have viable eggs. It's possible to develop follicles but not actually have any eggs that actually release.

I feel much better that we're taking positive action in all of this. I so appreciate all your kind words and warm thoughts. I'll continue to keep you posted. If I get pregnant I need to name this baby after ALL of you!

I can't remember why -- see what I mean about things being fuzzy? -- but we weren't able to convert this cycle to IVF. I think the follicles stopped growing. I was pretty bummed, as that meant the whole cycle was a waste.

03-04-2004 Too much going on!
We're starting another round of fertility treatments on Saturday. We could take a break but I'm just so eager! So that means doctor's appointments every three days or so and injections every night.

03-27-2004 Just wanted to say hi!
The timing of my cycle means we're doing two intrauterine inseminations this weekend -- Saturday and Sunday. So both days both DH and I have to get up early and head to the clinic. Keep your fingers crossed, please -- I have two big follicles this time that looked promising. We actually weren't sure until a few days ago if we'd even be able to continue with this cycle or if we'd have to cancel it. So this is wonderful news!

I didn't get pregnant with this cycle, either, and we decided to take a break and have me try a drug called Glucophage, an insulin-regulating medication, that some women with certain types of infertility have had luck with.

07-27-2004 Feeling a little sad about the infertility thing
I'm feeling a little down. DH and I have friends who married a few years ago and who recently decided to TTC. They're good people, but heavy, heavy drinkers and smokers. She is also several years older than I am. We just found out that she's two months pregnant.

I am happy for them, but it's a little depressing that DH and I have been TTC for over a year-and-a-half and I've been trying to live as healthy as possible and they get pregnant right away. We haven't yet tried in vitro fertilization, so there's still hope, but part of me is worried that if we try it and it fails then our only other option is adoption.

Don't get me wrong, adoption is a wonderful thing (two of my sister's kids are adopted), but I really want to experience pregnancy and creating a child with my DH. It's tough to be a stepmom and nanny and never have a claim to a child that's really, really all mine.

I guess that sounds selfish. And I know an adopted child would be all mine. I'm just a little sensitive to this issue because I've had my stepkids' mom tell me that I'm nothing to them, and I've been abruptly let go from nanny jobs where I was more attached to the kids than the mom was.

Also, the in vitro will cost about $10,00 just for one round, and adoption would probably be about $20,000.

Thank you for letting me vent. I am happy for our friends. But we also have other friends who started trying when we did, and their baby will be one in November. I just want it to be our turn.

09-06-2004 Going ahead with IVF
I've been on a medication called Glucophage or metformin (I think the former is the name brand) for about four or five months. Since the doctors don't really know WHY I don't ovulate on my own, they figured I could try taking an insulin-regulating medication that sometimes helps women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome ovulate. They think I may have a PCOS-variant -- which in my mind means they don't really know. But I was willing to try it, since it's low tech and inexpensive.

However, nothing has happened, and although the plan was for me to be on this medication for a while and then try another drug in conjunction with it to try to jump-start a cycle, I'm beginning to think we should just move on to an IVF cycle. This would involve nightly injections for about 10 days to two weeks (which we've done before), many vaginal ultrasounds (which I've also done before), and egg retrieval followed by fertilizing the eggs in their lab and then injecting a few of them back in and hoping one sticks (which would be the new and very expensive part).

After almost two years DH and I just feel like we need to move on to the procedure that offers the best chance. I now know two people who said they got pregnant on the first try with IVF. I'm just feeling like if ANYTHING is going to work, it's this. It will cost close to $10,000, so we've been hesitant to try it, but I think we're at that point now.

It will still take almost two months before we can do the egg retrieval, since I'll need to take a round of birth control pills first to prepare my uterus, and then we'll need to do the injections. But maybe, just maybe, I'll be pregnant by Christmas.

10-25-2004 Starting a new infertility treatment cycle!
OK guys, you've been with me through so much that I wanted to let you know where DH and I are at with all of this.

After trying Clomid (oral medication) and then IUI (injections and intrauterine insemination of DH's sperm) for almost two years with no success, DH and I decided to go for it and try a cycle of IVF (in vitro fertilization -- the egg and the sperm in the petri dish thing).

We started one of the injections last week. Lupron is supposed to suppress the hormone that makes your body release the egg every month. On Wednesday we add a second nightly injection. Follistim is supposed to stimulate my ovaries to produce follicles, which hopefully have viable eggs inside.

We do Follistim for about 7-10 days (during which time I go in for an ultrasound about every two days), and then I go in and get put under, and the doctors do an egg retrieval (vaginal ultrasound probe with a needle attached that is used to remove the eggs from the follicles). Hopefully there will be many eggs to work with. Then they inject each egg with one sperm and let them incubate for five days.

After five days they take the embryos that have progressed well and remove one cell from each of them and do some genetic testing on them. This part is optional and an additional expense -- although our family histories are clean, DH is very concerned about having another child with a disability. We love Maddy, but if we can prevent having another child with problems, we would like to.

After the genetic testing is done, I go back in, and the doctors place 2-3 embryos in my uterus, I do a shot of progesterone every night for two weeks, and then I take a pregnancy test. we go. I'm hoping that since my problem is that I don't ovulate on my own, once we HAVE the eggs things will go well from there. This morning when I went in for a baseline ultrasound (to make sure my system is ready to go) the nurse said that they confirmed a total of TEN BABIES in five patients just that morning -- one set of triplets, three sets of twins, and one single baby. I'm taking that as a good sign.

11-08-2004 Need your prayers and good thoughts!
Tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at 8:30 I'm going in for my egg retrieval. I have about 13 follicles, so hopefully they will get a good number of viable eggs. Right after that they will fertilize them and on Wednesday we'll find out how many are progressing. Next Sunday or so they will put a few of the embryos in my uterus, and hopefully one of them will stick.

I'll probably be asking for prayers again right before the embryo transfer, just to cover my bases.

11-13-2004 Update on the embryos
Just to re-cap, and give you an update:

Out of the 13 or so follicles, 10 contained eggs.

Out of those, 7 were mature eggs.

Out of those, 6 were able to be fertilized.

Out of those, 5 looked good enough to do pre-implantation genetic testing on.

Out of those, 3 passed both rounds of testing. (The other two had monosomies -- only one chromosome instead of the normal two.)

Also, they have changed my embryo transfer to Monday at 11am. They will most likely put in two embryos and freeze the third. Since embryos don't always survive the freezing process, this could be our only shot.

Please pray, keep your fingers crossed, send out good vibes, or whatever it is you do, that these three continue to look good into Monday, and that at least one of them is sticky.

Thank you all so much for all your continuing support. You guys rock!

11-15-2004 Just got back from the embryo transfer!
DH came to the appointment with me, and I'm so glad he did.

Before they did the transfer we were able to see the embryos. They had them under the microscope in the adjoining room and their images were transmitted onto a monitor in the room we were in. It was pretty incredible.

Of the three embryos that made it past everything, two were further along than the other. So they are going to freeze the third one.

The doctor and embryologist said that we couldn't have asked for better-looking embryos -- lots of cells, already hatched out of their shells, just perfect.

The doctor did a "test run" putting the catheter up through my cervix to make sure it went okay, and then they used the catheter with the embryos in it to place them in my uterus.

I go in for a blood test to see if they stuck on the day before Thanksgiving.

DH actually had tears in his eyes after the procedure. It was more moving than I thought it would be. When the doctor was done she said something to the effect of, "Congratulations -- you're pregnant." I guess she's kind of right.

I've already been talking to the little guys, telling them how much we want them and love them, and what wonderful lives they would have with us, and asking them to hang on, stick, and grow healthy. I plan on doing this a LOT in the next week-and-a-half. If the test is negative I will be even more depressed, but how can I not try to encourage them?

Thank you all, AGAIN, for your continued interest and support. I'm happy to be sharing this experience with you all.

11-18-2004 Help me be strong!
I have a little more than five days to go before my blood test next Wednesday. They told me not to take a home pregnancy test because the results most likely won't be accurate, and I'll either get my hopes up too high or get discouraged. Basically it won't do anything but toy with my emotions.

However, I feel like I have to do SOMETHING, even if it's taking a test I know might be inaccurate. What makes things worse is that I even have TWO home pregnancy tests in the house left over from previous cycles. DH is urging me not to do it, and I know he's right.

But the suspense is KILLING ME!

11-19-2004 Help me be strong!
Close to cracking, but haven't yet. I got home from work early (good thing, because I got up at 4:45am) and am about to lay down with a hot water bottle on my behind (sore from nightly injections of progesterone) and take a nap.

Thank you for your words of support everyone. I'm trying to keep my mind off it!

11-20-2004 Help me be strong!
I had to ask DH to talk me out of it this morning. He's going to record with his band today, so I will be alone for several hours. He basically said that we KNOW the home pregnancy test would be unreliable, so it's not telling us anything for sure anyway.

If it's positive it could be just that there are still traces of HcG left over from the injection eleven days ago. If it's negative it could be that my body just hasn't starting producing HcG in recordable amounts yet.

On the infertility boards I frequent they call these tests "the evil pee sticks."

Waiting stinks!

11-23-2004 Help me be strong!
Tomorrow is the big day. I'm dyin' here. DH is off at band practice and won't be home until about 10pm. I'm sitting home alone trying to ignore the evil pee sticks in the next room. Oh, why did DH have to leave me alone tonight!

At some point between this post and my blood test the next day I did cave and take a home pregnancy test. I got a very, very faint line, which gave me hope but also made me a nervous wreck.

11-24-2004 Well, the clinic called today...

I can't believe it. We've been trying for about two years, and somehow I always thought that it just wouldn't happen for us.

I go back on Friday for a second blood test. The first one basically confirms that I'm pregnant, and the second one checks to make sure the pregnancy is progressing normally. So I'm not out of the woods yet, but this is good news!

Thank you all for your support, prayers, well wishes and concern!

That Friday was my oldest sister's wedding. I went in the morning before the ceremony for the blood draw, and after the ceremony at the Polish Community Center my husband and I borrowed my mother's cell phone and snuck away from everyone else to call the clinic. This is the news we got:

11-26-2004 Update on the update: blood test #2
The idea is that the first blood test determines if you are pregnant or not, by the presence or absence of HcG in the blood. The second one is done 48 hours later to see if the pregnancy is progressing normally. The benchmark (and what they hope for) is to see that first number double.

My number didn't quite double -- it went from 85 to 149 -- but it's still good that it went up that much. If it had gone down or stayed the same that would be very, very bad.

Sooooooooo, I'm going in for ANOTHER blood test Sunday morning. If you guys aren't too sick of me, would you please say a little prayer or cross your fingers that this time the number goes way, way up?

11-28-2004 THIRD bloodtest...
This time it doubled! Woo hoo!

It went from 85 to 149 to 301!

I bought a tiny black Ramones t-shirt a long time ago to surprise DH with if/when I got pregnant. He's driving back from a band road trip right now, so I think I'll hand him the t-shirt before I tell him the results of the blood test.

11-28-2004 THIRD bloodtest...
My doctor wasn't in today, but the nurse thought she wouldn't need me to take any more blood tests. The next step would be to go in for an ultrasound around December 15th. I *think* that's when they'll check to see if it's just one bambino or two!

12-15-2004 THIRD bloodtest...
I don't really have any symptoms, besides getting a bit tired in the afternoon. Luckily, I have a job where the person I supervise takes a nap from 1pm to 3pm!

I have my first ultrasound on Friday...maybe it will seem more real then!

12-17-2004 Just got back from my ultrasound...
...and it's a baby! lol

It's right on schedule -- we saw the baby, the yolk sac, and the heartbeat. Everything looks really good. The nurse practitioner said that at this point the pregnancy has an 87% chance of being successful. Those are odds I can live with!

I'm a little sad that it's not twins (where did the other guy go?) but DH isn't, lol. I guess I shouldn't be greedy. One healthy fetus is more than enough!

DH and I got two pictures to take with us. I just can't believe there's a baby in me!

01-01-2005 Told everyone we're pregnant!
I don't think I've posted about this yet -- on Christmas DH and I told everyone that we're going to have a baby.

First DH picked the kids up at about 11am Christmas Day (they do Christmas with their mom and her family on Christmas Eve). They opened all their gifts and then DH told them to look for one more surprise in the tree. We had blown up a copy of the ultrasound, rolled in up in a cardboard tube, and wrapped it. (This is how we told them we were buying a house in their part of town last year.)

They seemed to know right away what it was, and they didn't say too much at first. I don't think it ever occurred to them that we would have a baby together, since they're 16, 14, and 11, and even though I'm seven years younger than their mom I'm sure they consider me the same age. But then they started to make comments, like, "I hope it's a girl. I love Maddy but I always wondered what it would be like to have a sister who didn't have Down syndrome." Or, "I can't wait to see if it's tall or short, because [New Mama], your family is short (it's true) and Dad is so tall." And then, "I'm really excited, because I like seeing little kids grow up, and when Maddy was little I was little too, so I didn't pay attention." Later that night they asked to see the ultrasound again.

Then DH called their mom, to let her know that we told the kids and they may be talking about it. He was really dreading this call, since when he told her we were getting married over three years ago she flipped out. But this time she just said "congratulations" and asked how the kids were adjusting to the news. And she still hasn't said anything, so while we're not letting down our guard, we'll take what we can get.

Then we went to DH's sister's house. We announced it there by having my FIL open a Christmas card from us signed "DH, [New Mama], Harrison, Simon, Maddy, and baby (due August 3, 2005)." His face lit up, and he looked at us and said, "Is this for real?" He seemed really happy. Then he passed the card around the room, and DH's sisters each got up and hugged both of us. It was nice, because we've had our issues with his sisters, but it really seemed like they were happy for us.

After that we went to MY family's get-together at my mom and dad's house. We had Maddy make the announcement right before we opened gifts. Since half my family already knew (I'm close to one of my sisters and my mom) it wasn't such a huge surprise, but everyone seemed happy for us. everyone knows, and it all seemed to go pretty well!

03-08-2005 Just returned from an ultrasound...
and it's a...

As soon as the technician told us it was a boy I said, "I KNEW it." It's not that I had a mommy instinctive feeling or anything -- it's just that all of us wanted a girl. Maddy is constantly asking what it is: "Maybe girl? Maybe boy? Maybe GIRL?"

Even though I would have chosen a girl, I'm happy to have a boy too. Mostly I'm just a little sad that we won't get to use the cool girl name we picked out!

But it was just so exciting to see the baby's features and its heart pumping and its arm moving around! It made it seem more real. Hopefully in the next week or two I'll start feeling the movement.

And the rest is history...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hells Yeah, I'm Judgmental

Last spring I had a run-in with some women on a frugal living website I've been a member of for years. Although the members there are predominantly mainstream (and conservative Christian), everyone works hard to maintain a neutral, inoffensive atmosphere. The women there cheered me on during my infertility treatments, rejoiced with me during my pregnancy, and celebrated the birth of Henry, and I'll always appreciate their support.

But having Henry has changed me in ways I could never have predicted.

I think I began offending some of the women on that site when I shared an anecdote about my sisters-in-law, who bragged that they never nursed their babies "because if you breastfeed, no on else can take care of the baby" and that they sent their newborn daughters to the nursery for the night "because you have the rest of your life to bond with your child."

One of the members responded defensively, saying that she never had any desire to breastfeed her (now) teenage daughter and if she had to do it over again she wouldn't change a thing. Another woman said she had sent her baby to the nursery so she could get a good night's sleep.

I backed down and said, well, you'd have to know my sisters-in-law and this was just the tip of the iceberg for them.

I tried to make nice, even though I was thinking, "But breastfeeding is the best thing for babies!" and "How can you send your baby away when she's spent the last nine months inside you?"

I stopped doing a lot of posting there after that, partly because I was so busy with Henry, partly because had become more pertinent to my life, and partly because I started to feel a disconnect with the women there.

But during one of my infrequent lurkings I noticed a discussion about vaccinations. Somehow it had come up that a few of the women there did not vaccinate their children, and someone started a thread asking why.

Naively, I thought I might be able to educate the original poster and maybe a few others. After all, two years ago I hadn't known that not vaccinating was an option either.

I wrote that many of the diseases now vaccinated against used to be common childhood illnesses; that pharmaceutical companies are very closely tied to the federal government; that the government has a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program -- they admit that vaccines cause injuries! -- which indirectly protects big pharma from lawsuits; that the ingredients in vaccines include cells from aborted fetuses and livestock, heavy metals including aluminum, chemicals such as formaldehyde, and much more; that most of those affected by the recent mumps outbreak were vaccinated; and that other outbreaks have been caused by the vaccines themselves. Also, there is a question of what the long-term effects of messing with one's immune system might be: asthma, eczema, and shingles are a few conditions in question.

And then I said that before allowing something to be injected straight into your child's bloodstream, bypassing his/her immune system, you should do your research and weigh the pros and cons.


One woman responded that there was lots of assuming in my post, and that I was rude and usual.

Another woman, the original poster, accused me of attacking her decisions and asked that the thread be closed. She then followed me over to (where I had started a thread asking if my post really had been condescending), registered in order to leave a comment for me, and then returned to the frugality website to report me to the owner.

If they were so confident in their decision to vaccinate their children, why were they so defensive? Why wouldn't they just say, well, we've done our research, and the risks of our children contracting these diseases and having serious complications outweigh any risks from damage by the vaccines themselves?

Because honestly, not vaccinating is a tough choice to make, one I'm still researching and mulling over.

I knew at that moment that I could no longer make nice -- with the members of that site or with anyone else.

I have opinions, sometimes impassioned ones. I would hope that when I express my beliefs I come across as thoughtful and educated, and not arrogant, but I'm not going to sugarcoat them so as not to offend someone who feels differently.

Do I believe breastfed is best? Or that women and their newborns should stay together as much as possible? Or that you should research your child's medical care and weigh the pros and cons of all treatment? You bet.

Are you a terrible parent and human being if you think otherwise? No, because it's not about you. My opinions are about what I believe is best. You may not agree, and that's your prerogative.

What I'm trying to say is, yeah, I guess I am judgmental when it comes to certain issues, if being judgmental means I have strong opinions. I've done too much reading, discussing, and thinking about those topics not to have strong feelings about them.

But if this makes you defensive, it's really not my problem. And I'm going to stop acting like it is.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Probably Henry

I often give Henry random things to play with in the kitchen in order to buy me an extra minute or two to get some work done. One of those items is a box full of Tupperware lids.

So the other day, when my husband came home with his three older kids in tow, they stumbled upon this scene:

"Wow, what a mess!" my husband said.

"Prob'ly Henry," said Maddy.

Yeah, probably.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Henry at One Year

This post is for Future Henry, so he can read about what he was like at one year old.

You really, really love books. Sometimes you flip through the pages so quickly that I can't even read the words, or you go backwards, or you take a book that I'm reading to you out of my hands and hand it back to me, or you try to get two books going at once.

You like to bite. Seriously, what's up with that? You take clothes or blankets in your teeth and pull hard, or you put your mouth on my skin and gently nip. I've tried saying, "Ouch! That hurts Mama. NO BITING," and you just do it again.

You're beginning to build and put toys together instead of merely knocking down and destroying. It's fun to see you try to put one block on top of another or unlink and try to re-link a train makes me think ahead to the little boy who will no doubt spend hours setting up trains and building with legos.

You now only nurse maybe twice in the daytime, though you still nurse to sleep at night and nurse every few hours all night long. Seeing the nursing drop-off like this makes the idea of your eventually weaning hit home for me. I don't think either of us are ready, but the thought saddens me.

Although I'm trying to teach you the sign for milk, you're starting to indicate a desire to nurse by lifting up my shirt. I suppose that gets the point across, too, though I was hoping for a bit more discretion.

Your favorite noise to make sounds like a cross between "this" and "yes" -- "isth" is pretty close. You say it a lot, but especially when asked a question or when pointing at something (another thing you do a lot of). It seems to have replaced the bleating, which I guess is a step in the right direction..

You like to drop toys into other things -- the stairwell, the sink, out of your crib. It's not unusual for me to find a toy shaker or board book in the hamper when I'm sorting out laundry.

You've started furrowing your brow at certain things. The other day I was holding you and Daddy walked into the room naked. You looked at him, looked down...and furrowed your brow.

It's fun to see how your relationship with your (half-) siblings is developing. As you get older and more interactive, your brothers are really getting a kick out of you. (Your sister has always tried to smother you with her love...and now you're beginning to compete with her for toys.) As Harrison (almost eighteen) says, you're his "brutha from anotha mutha."

You make this funny "mahhhhhhhhhhhhh" noise while forming spit bubbles with your open mouth. The first time you did it I thought you were in pain; now I realize you think you need to do it to make the bubbles appear.

You're starting to do your "cute" face -- you turn your face toward someone, smile a big smile and scrunch up your eyes. "Look at me...I'm adorable!"

You've also developed a devious side. For instance, we have a mini-shower hooked up to the side of our toilet next to the wall for washing off dirty diapers. You know you're supposed to leave it alone (when you reach for it and I ask you not to touch it, you surprisingly back away from it). However, you have a habit of deliberately dropping a toy between the toilet and the wall so you have to retrieve it, putting you right next to the sprayer. Then you watch me while you position yourself closer and closer...

You love trucks. I swear I'm not encouraging this just because you're a little boy. Heck, I want to buy you a baby doll for Christmas. But when we're out driving around you always point to every truck and say "Isth! Isth! Isth!" until I acknowledge you and tell you what kind of truck it is. It's funny that you're developing such a big boy interest already.

Finally, the stats: You have eight teeth (with one on the way, I think) and weigh about twenty-six pounds. I don't know how tall you are, but I do know you dwarf every other one-year old you meet. You're still snuggly and baby-like, though, so it's all good.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

First Birthday Party

Today was Henry's first birthday party, otherwise known as the "New Mama and Mr. New Mama Made a Baby and Kept Him Alive One Year" blow-out.

There were lots of people and lots of really great presents (savings bonds, cash, a wooden puzzle, board books, a wooden train, stuffed animals, and a wooden turtle).

I made way too much food (wanna stop by for some pasta salad, fruit salad, or oatmeal raisin cake?) and bought way too much beer (though my husband would beg to differ, I'm sure) and spent hours putting up decorations that no one commented on. All in all, though, it was a success.

One of the highlights of the party was the DVD my husband and I put together of photos of Henry's first year, month by month, set to tear-jerking music by Clem Snide.

I'm sure subsequent parties will be much more low-key (ironic because this is probably the last party Henry won't have expectations about), but I was happy to have so many people who care about our son here, and for him to get so many nice but simple gifts.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

First Birthday

My baby turns one today.

Last year at this time the midwife and her apprentice had left, calls had been made, and my husband, Henry and I were taking a nap together while a thunderstorm raged outside.

And now that formerly tiny baby is walking around banging pie tins together and tossing books in my face to read to him.

What a wild ride it's been.