10 weeks 3 days

We’re a quarter of the way through this roller coastery adventure I can’t tell you if it’s going fast or if it’s going slow. And quite frankly, I can’t keep track of things in weeks yet. I’m not in denial, but I can’t really process the idea that come Thanksgiving, I’ll probably be wrapping up a two week vacation with my wife and our baby. And come Christmas, our eight hour drive will become an 8ish week old baby’s first road trip. It’s a good thing a child is never too young to introduce them to Kum & Go.

What has changed? idk. I really don’t know. Our trips to the mall include stops at The Children’s Palace and Carter’s, both of which I have very many opinions on. Amelia can no longer do the household heavy lifting, which is a big change for my brickhouse of a wife because she could probably dead lift a small car if it was in the way of rearranging furniture. I’ve gained more weigh than she has since he whole thing started and let me just reiterate that she’s the pregnant one.

What’s scary? A lot. Naming another human being is much more daunting than naming my Cabbage Patch Kids ever was. I guess none of it’s scary. It’s just… HUGE.

What’s up with the baby? The internets say the baby is as big as a prune or date, neither of which I’ve ever eaten. I’m hoping it’s something more exciting and delicious in week 11. The baby has bending elbows, has lost all of the webbing between the hands and feet, and is starting to hear things. I’m scared for Amelia because once I’m able to start feeling things move, she’s going to have to beat me off with a stick.

In closing, look at our baby’s heartbeat from two weeks ago. It’s that little line towards the bottom. IT’S SO CUTE.

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the balance of emotion and reality with this little creature

The phrases “Hey, honey, we’re having a baby” and “HOLY SHIT, BABY” are pretty regularly said at our house right now. Of course my wife says the former and I yell (hence the caps) the latter.

I can count three times I’ve teared up… I mean, three times that something’s gotten into my eye.

Once was at Babies ‘R Us when I saw the book I Love You, Stinky Face. I think the combination of me actually being fully responsible for a child finally hit me like a ton of bricks, but it was a ton of really great bricks. And then I was completely annoyed by the number of baby bathtub options. My brother and I got baths in the sink! What’s with the duck-shaped Moses baskets that you set in a regular bathtub? Babies float, don’t they?

The second time was at the reproductive center when we saw our tiny little alien baby and heard its water-muffled heartbeat. There’s an actual forming baby in there. That’s ours to keep! I’ve never felt that level of emotion in my entire life in any capacity. 164 beats per minute pounding through a two sacs and a uterus is the best sound in the world. I’d make it my ring tone if I could.

The third time was yesterday. At Costco. We have a tentative girl’s name picked out, one that’s different than the one that was part of the universe’s sign. We both love it. I’ve been trying to find ways to make fun of it and can’t really think of a way that would be detrimental to a kid’s life. I mean, there’s obvious ways, but if a mean kid can’t come up with something more creative than that, they’re an idiot. We were looking at the baby clothes at Costco and I got all weepy when I saw one of those little baby outfit things that was adorable, because I was like, “Oh! This could totally be (insert baby’s name here)”.

And I’m not even the pregnant one with five billion hormone things happening.

However, I can balance all that emotion and mushy stuff with this, a picture of our fetus at 9 weeks:

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You’re creepy looking, little baby!

I love seeing the progress as this kid grows, but I’ll be much less creeped out when there’s no webbed toes and it no longer resembles a dinosaur.

tomorrow’s gonna be a big one

So, short story: we didn’t see the baby or its heartbeat when we went in a couple of weeks ago. There was a sac where the baby should be growing but we couldn’t see anything in it. We have another ultrasound tomorrow and we are really hoping to see something besides just an empty sac.

And now the long story with lots of science and details, since I realized I never posted anything since then here since shortly after we’d confirmed with the first blood test that we were expecting. I’m a terrible mommyblogger already.

We had our first ultrasound on March 13th. Based on the date of our insemination, the we were looking for a tiny, tiny embryo that was just a whopping 4 mm long and we had very high hopes of seeing at heartbeat. Based on all of Amelia’s standard symptoms and lack of any bad things going on, we had no reason not to believe we’d see that. We were pretty disappointed.

The Nurse Practitioner (NP) who’d done the insemination (in other words: knocked my wife up!) came in to do the ultrasound. She saw a few fibroids that had gotten a tad bigger since our first couple of ultrasounds before the process and took pictures and measurements of those. She dug around for a while with that gigantic wand and I know it couldn’t have possibly felt good to be on the receiving end of it. I saw when she found the gestational sac the first time, but couldn’t find anything else in it. She verified that she had the right insemination date down and then let us know she was going to go get a doctor since she was having some trouble with the fibroids.

Of course there’s no way that was comforting. Our doctor wasn’t available, which was a let down because we are extremely used to his bedside manner and we really like him. It was a newer Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) and I’m sure she knew the ropes, but it was just different. She kept digging around like she may be clearing out a spot for a fence post. She took a few measurements, both of the fibroids and of what we found out was an empty gestational sac. At this point, we’re obviously 100% sure of the date of conception, no wiggle room there. Our friend math added things up to being 6w3d along. It’s not completely uncommon to not see a heartbeat that early on, because it is still pretty early.

I was almost sure I saw some weird blip on the screen and Amelia said she noticed the NP kind of doing the same thing when the RE was digging around. I mean, I guess it could have just been a bad pixel on their kabillion dollar coochie scanning thing, too.

What the doctor did see was an empty gestational sac, but what she didn’t see were things like a yolk sac, a fetal pole and a heartbeat. (Here’s a link to some fun stuff about those things if you’re curious.) The gestational sac measured exactly where it’s supposed to be, which is a good thing. The sac was sitting high in Amelia’s uterus and there was no question that it had implanted nice and hard.

The bedside manner of the NP and the substitute RE were really just kind of weird. We were obviously so excited to come in and see how this thing was progressing. I’m sure they’re used to seeing this kind of thing all the time, but we obviously weren’t. We essentially have a 50/50 shot of this being the real deal. Not great odds, but they could obviously be worse.

The ultrasound (transvaginal in case you’re curious or wound up here via Google) results were inconclusive. They couldn’t see anything, but they were very forward in saying it could either be because the embryo never developed or because the fibroids were in the way/casting a shadow on what we needed to see. And then they automatically jumped to a “it’s not your fault” speech that included mentioning things like, “just because you might have had a glass of wine doesn’t mean that’s what caused this”. Well, slow it down, Backup Doctor. I mean, shit. Nobody had any wine and that’s just a weird thing to say. It’s not like we accidentally got pregnant here, you know? We planned this down to the exact minute of the NP shooting millions of nice, clean sperm into my wife’s cervix. It’s not like we went out and got drunk the night before. I’m sure she was just trying to be nice and calming, but that totally backfired.

They drew blood before we left to measure Amelia’s HCG and it was around 19,000, which is exactly in the range of where it should be for how far along the embryo is (if it’s in there). And over the course of the last week and a half, Amelia’s pregnancy symptoms have continued – every last one of them. She hasn’t had any of the scary miscarriage signs – no bleeding, no cramping, no red flags at all. She’s been having some light pinching, but the more we started talking about them, she’s thinking it might be the fibroids, since those haven’t been there before.

I have 1.5 semesters left of my AA in Liberal Arts, so I feel very qualified in saying that if there’s not a heartbeat tomorrow, we’ll get a diagnosis of a blighted ovum. There’s absolutely nothing anybody did wrong or nothing anybody could have done to prevent it from happening.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not giving up hope. There have still been signs out in the atmosphere that have hit me pretty hard that there’s either a wad of webbed hands and feet in there. There’s a name that’s been on our list for a while and it’s not a very common name. Twice in two days, we’ve ran into people with that name.

Tomorrow at 11:30 a.m., we learn what’s next. We’ll be exactly at 8 weeks, so everything should be where it’s supposed to be. If you have a few moments between now and then and can say a prayer or send some vibes or just have some overall really positive thoughts, our family would really, really appreciate them. We’ll get our answer and we’ll know where to go from here.

One thing is for sure. This experience has just proven once again how much love we have in our lives from friends, family, co-workers, you name. We’re so, so fortunate.

(HASHTAG BLESSED.)

a 16 year old and his basketball bracket

I finished two classes worth of homework tonight and mentioned to the family that I was going to finish my brackets and go to bed. The 16 year old perks up with, “Oooh, I need to do one so I can win the Quicken Loans’ Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge!” Yes, we know, he probably watches too much TV. Whatever.

So, he’s sitting on the love seat with a bracket and an orange highlighter, working some magic based on the following questions he’s asked me and comments he’s made:

  • Where’s Albany? (Geography isn’t a focus in high school anymore and you can thank No Child Left Behind for that bullshit.)
  • I want Harvard to win something.
  • Yes, Memphis!
  • Oooooh. I couldn’t decide between Creighton and LA-Lafayette.
  • American, even though they suck. I really wish it was National American University.
  • They have zero losses. I’ll pick that team.
  • Him: “Mom, left or right?” His mom: “Right.”
  • I hate Michigan. Secretly. (Explaining why he picked Wofford.)

He’s got some good upsets in there, although I think he might be up all night just getting past the first round. Or he may lose interest.

But just for posterity’s sake, here’s a picture of him with Maya Moore. You know, to prove his sportiness!

Pretty sure I was more excited than he was.

Pretty sure I was more excited than he was.

36 years down

Today’s my birthday and I’m 36. I don’t even care that I’m 36. I haven’t cared how old I was since I turned 25 and got cheaper car insurance. You know what’s awesome about being 36? You can do any damn thing you want, you’re a full grown adult and you can get excited about your 401K. So, who cares, right?

Tonight, much like I’ve done every year, I’m going to spend time with my family, both by marriage and by choice, and just be. You can do that at 36, too.

You can do this at 3:

Opening presents between my grandpa and my cousin, all while sporting a fancy pink dress.

Opening presents between my grandpa and my cousin, all while sporting a fancy pink dress. You can see my other grandpa’s cowboy boots and the way hot console TV in the back, too. 

I’m very thankful for a lot of things at 36 years old.

  • I have a wife that I’m pretty sure hung the moon. She did, however, refuse to lick my face the other night, which was annoying because I was pretty sure my face tasted like sugar and I didn’t want to think I was crazy and now I’ll never know!
  • I have a 16 year old that’s growing into this amazing, compassionate and hilarious man and it’s nuts to be able to see how much he’s grown since I met him about six years ago.
  • I have a wonderful set of parents. I know they question my decisions and might not even fully understand things, but I feel like I always have their support, even if we don’t always talk about or acknowledge things. I know they’re always there for me.
  • I have incredible grandparents, both alive and not, that have taught me about service, unconditional love, warmth and all of the other qualities I hold so close.
  • I have balls to the walls friends, both near and far, from teenagers to grandparents, all of whom I love like family.
  • I have a stellar job that allows me so much growth and exploration of what I want to do and how I want to do it. It also comes with super co-workers and excellent health insurance, not to mention 100% 401K match!
  • Lots of other stuff, too, you know?

Happy birthday to me. Thank you, dear reader, for being here for this one, all the one before (which were probably hot messes from time to time!) and all the ones to come.

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