Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fat and Tired

We're just arrived back from Rockford, IL to celebrate Dave's parent's 50th wedding anniversary.  It was a lot of fun and Conor nearly levitated with happiness to spend time with his 11 cousins (one cousin, his godmother, could not make it as she is currently deployed chasing pirates off the coast of Africa).  Honestly, Conor *loves* being around his cousins.  He always shows off their pictures to all our guests including  repairmen and, actually, my mother-in-law. They all kindly remark on how wonderful his cousins are.  

In other news, things are going well pregnancy-wise.  I am about 1/2 lb behind schedule on the weight gain, but considering that next week, we're going on a cruise to celebrate *my* parent's 50th wedding anniversary, I have no doubt that I'll be able to make up that 1/2 lb and the 2 additional ones I'm supposed to gain.  

The good news is that the nausea is almost completely gone.  The bad news is that the fatigue has increased exponentially.  Being the wonderful daughter/sister-in-law that I am, I spent pretty much all of the time on this trip either eating or napping.  BP (before pregnancy), a 2 1/2 hour nap meant a late bedtime.  Now it means I can stay up until 9:30.  I am so glad I am not teaching at this exact moment because I'm pretty sure I could slip into a coma during a pause in the class discussion.  

And my belly.  Folks, this is a picture of me at 11 weeks pregnant.  

Eleven weeks pregnant!  I'm huge!  And it's not my uterus.  That's still pretty low.  It's my guts getting moved all around from my growing belly at the bottom.  Besides the fact that this is my 5th pregnancy, so things have moved around before, the twins and the surgery have made things change a lot quicker.  Plus, I guess, those 10 lbs didn't just go straight to my massive, flabby upper arms.  

Ok, enough about me.  The next post is going to be about Conor and Christmas.  I have a picture of Conor just before he jumped up and down seeing presents from Santa Claus.  

Now I have to decide if I can take a nap, whether to work my syllabus for next semester, or take a shower.  All 3 have to happen today, but I'm not sure in which order.  

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Remodel

We've known since we moved into this house that we were going to need to remodel it at some point.  And although we've put a bathroom here, a home office there, we had decided to put off a full remodel.  Until now.  

We've been meeting with an architect for the last 5 months or so.  We had actually decided on a nice plan until the architect asked us where Conor was going to sleep once the twins were born.  (One  might note this was in the last 5 minutes of our 1 1/2 hour conversation)  We looked at each other and couldn't really figure out how three children would fit into our house.  We could see how we could cobble together a nursery for the twins, but actual bedrooms?  Not so obvious.  

So our architect went back to the drawing board and made a few more adjustments that 1) add another bedroom and bath and 2) will let us phase in the construction.  What that means is that they will frame it out and officially call it storage space and then Dave will take the next year to add the drywall and flooring and tile/toilet/shower to finish it up.  This will save us a boatload of money but allow us to actually have a big enough house.  

What is pretty funny is that it's not really going to be a BIG house.  But for us, it will seem enormous.  We think this is a good thing because it will still capture the spirit of our 1940's working class house but will let us feel a bit more spacious and modern.

So what are we doing?  We're taking over the back deck and making it a "real" room.  It will extend our family room and also give us a (grown up!) laundry and mud room!  The stairs to the second floor will also be there.  

On the second floor, we'll have a loft/landing area which we think could serve as an upstairs family room or make shift guest accommodations.  We'll also have a smallish bedroom (all of our bedrooms are small to smallish) with a closet and a bath.  Then we'll have the master suite, which will be huge to us and moderate to most suburban houses, with a gas fireplace and a sun room.  We'll also have a walk-in closet (quite unlike any other closet in the house...of which there are only two very small closets in our house), and the master bath.  Because of our old neighborhood, we're going to have several dormer windows and bay windows and most exciting of all, the 7 foot bathtub will be housed in a bay window off the bathroom.  (((sigh)))  I will be sure to wave to the neighbors when I take my baths.  (Window treatments are going to be important there!)

Of course, what that also means is that we're going to have to move out of the house for a few months while they "pop the top."  Perhaps we could stay in our home, but with all the lead paint and asbestos likely to be floating around, we think the best option for Conor and me would to be out.  Perhaps Dave can stay and breathe all the bad air while Conor and I are in a hotel.  :-)

Best of all, we currently believe that because of the economy, the remodel will cost about 20-30% less this year than if we had done it last year.  And with the current mortgage rates (and that we absolutely cannot and will not go near the amount for  a jumbo loan), when we refinance everything at the end, we may not actually be paying any more per month than we are paying now.  

So there.  We're doing quite a bit over the next couple of months.  I'll be growing a few new babies and we'll be growing a new house.  It should make for very interesting blogging times.  

And, of course, speaking of the babies, I am now 10 weeks along, and I am totally showing.  I honestly feel like I am getting bigger by the hour.  I can't believe that I'm already showing this early along.  

Time to finish grading my finals.  Yippee!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Waist Not, Rock Not

The pebble in Conor's ear was not too big of a deal.  He was very upset that he had done something wrong.  And quite scared when the doctor had to pull it out.  He said it hurt coming out, but I'm sure it was more of the loud sound of it moving around in his ear that was more frightening.  

There was a moment when the doc was having problems that she intimated that we might have to take it up a notch with a more specialized doctor if she couldn't get it out.  (Do pediatric ENTs specialize in rock removal?!)  Fortunately, she got it out, we put it in a specimen bottle, and she marked to visit with the code "Foreign Object Removal Ear."  I find that amusing.  It's obviously not even close to being a rare event in the pediatrician's office.  

As far as what once was my waist, at 9 1/2 weeks pregnant I am fully in maternity clothes.  I had lost about 10 lbs over the summer and so I was thinking that I could wear my fat clothes in the early pregnancy.  However, they are falling right off of me when I put them on.  (Even colleagues note that "Dude, those pants are way too big.") And I can't wear my regular clothes because I cannot button the tops of my pants.  

And I know that even though there are two in there, my uterus is still not big enough for me to be "showing."  What's up?

Apparently, my uterus, although still small and not visible, is pushing my internal organs around.  Thus, my waist is much bigger than it normally is at this weight.  Even worse, I think it's obvious that, because of this spring's surgery, my belly button is the weak part of my stomach.  Indeed, my belly button has almost already popped.  9 1/2 weeks!  And my belly button has almost popped!  Ugh.  I'm just not envisioning my belly to be the prettiest thing ever seen, what with the enormous scars from the surgery making a smiley face around my belly button and the black and blue track marks from the Lovenox. It causes my dear loving husband to shudder sometimes.  Anyone want to venture a guess on what the heck my scars are going to do as my belly expands with two babies?  I'm voting Not Pretty, whatever it turns out to be.  

Oddly, I look much thinner in the maternity clothes than I do in my regular clothes, so I'm psyched about that.  (Buttons not straining to reach and all that, I suppose)  So I guess there is a silver lining here anyway.  And Conor's rock is out of his ear. That could have ended up being a much worse story than it did.  Thank goodness.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Things I'm Surprised to Say

"Son, don't touch with your penis at the breakfast table."

"But it's itchy."

"Hmmmmm, it might be time to wash those pajamas."

And today....

"No, I'm not going to be able to grade this afternoon because I have to take my son to the doctor to get a pebble out of his ear."

Food and Fatigue

I've been trying to strictly follow the Dr. Luke Diet, but after gaining over 4 lbs in one week, I figured I could probably cut back a little bit.  It occurs to me that she may have written that diet for twenty-somethings and not for women, ahem, over 35.  My metabolism is not the same as it was in my 20's and since I'm still not allowed to exercise, I'm not really burning off that many calories.  So I'm going to try to keep the protein and dairy consumption up a high level, but I am not going to make myself sick trying to get to 3500 calories a day.

What's become more of a problem is the fatigue.  I am absolutely pooped a great deal of the time.  I took a 10 minute nap yesterday when I got home so I could cook dinner.  And then I was in bed by 9:00.  Ironically, Conor was still up by 9:00.  He's been going to sleep later (not to bed later, but to sleep later) and I've been going to bed earlier.  There has been overlap in our bedtimes and I'm just too tired to argue when he asks to come in bed with me.  Also, it's fun to read our magazines together and then go to sleep.  If Dave comes to bed late enough, he can take Conor in for his late night pee-pee and then put him back in his own bed.  It's a win-win for everyone.  

I'm hoping that I'm at the peak of both the fatigue and nausea part of my pregnancy.  I've forgotten what it's like to not feel gross around food.  Or what it's like to not want to take a nap every few hours of the day.  

A few more weeks.  I'll be glad to be back to normal.  Well, normal while pregnant with twins.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Still Looking Good

The ultrasound went really well yesterday. The subchorionic hemorrhage is gone (hooray!) and the babies had a bit of a growth spurt since Monday. I was 8w1d yesterday and Baby A measured at 8w0d and Baby B (the bruiser) measured at 8w3d. Heartrates were at 178 and 180 respectively.

I am *not* doing any cardio exercise though. I may do some walking and yoga, and I'd like to swim, but I'm going to wait until we've gotten past the 10 week Level I screen before I do any cardio. That's when we found out that Colleen (miscarrage #3) had too high of a heartbeat and I didn't stop exercising---which I should have.

In other eating news, I am switching from my regular diet of eating as much food with as few of calories to eating as little food with as much calories as possible. My first day following Dr. Luke was painful because I was just eating more of my "regular" food. I thought my stomach was going to explode. Then I got 2% milk, full fat yogurt, cheese, ice cream and some meat and was not in nearly as much pain the second day. By the way, cheese is my friend: 2 oz of cheese, which is not that much, has more calories than a chicken breast. That certainly explains why I don't lose weight when I'm eating cheese, but that counts for two servings of dairy and 240 very good, non bloating calories on this diet.

Oddly, I'm also finding that although I'm eating a substantial amount of food at each meal and snack---I am STILL getting hungry! I even had a double 1/4 lb cheeseburger for lunch at school on Thursday, and I was still quite hungry afterwards. Yikes!!

It is cognitively Very Weird to try to get fat. It's why Dave has to listen to me repetively cite the benefits of this early weight gain. He doesn't care, but I am still convincing myself.

It's 9 am on a Saturday. It might be time for another nap.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I Am Full

Everything is going well with the spotting, which means there is none.  I am taking it easy, although I'm no longer trying for full bed rest.  I'm just trying to not stand on my feet all that long at any one time.  

We go back Friday for another ultrasound and I'm really looking forward to it!  I am also imagining two little beans in my belly with two strong heartbeats as they start to grow their arm and leg buds.  

What is more on my mind, or more literally in my belly, is what I'm eating and going to be eating during this healthy pregnancy.  In the infertile world where more people than you would imagine end up with twins, I have constantly heard women sing the praises of Dr. Barbara Luke, a professor/researcher/epidemiologist/MPH/registered dietitian who runs a program to help women with their nutrition during twin pregnancies.  She is also a full professor at the University of Miami Medical school, which in my world means she's done significant research and is recognized by a prestigious university as an internationally known scholar.  

So, yeah, she has a few academic credentials.  

But because I am a critical scholar, I also checked out her academic publications through our school.  (We don't have a medical school, but we have a big school of nursing and have a ton of medical journals available to us)  The most impressive peer reviewed, academic study I found by her and her research team involves comparing 190 mothers of twins who've followed her nutritional program to  331 "regular" mothers of twins, all of whom gave birth over 6 years at the University of Michigan hospital.  These women were not randomly assigned to the program, it's one main drawback, but they are all using a university hospital, so they are not completely different populations.  

In any case, the mothers who followed her nutritional program reduced by *more* than half their chances of having preterm labor, preeclampsia and babies' time in the NICU.  They also increased their chances by more than half of giving birth after 36 weeks and increased by 2.5 times their chances of having a baby who was not low birth weight.  Those are impressive results.

I know from some of my criticisms of non-randomized research that you can often explain health outcomes by the "healthy" third variable.  For example, people who very strictly follow their doctor's advice on taking medications are more likely to have healthy outcomes.  And this doesn't matter if the medicine is real or a placebo!  So people who follow her nutritional plan may simply be part of this healthy third variable group--they are just naturally and conscientiously healthier people.  

Nonetheless, when one sees changes as big as these changes--reducing problems by one half and increasing positives by more than a half---one is more likely to believe that the results of the study are due to real program effects and not population differences.  

So yay--a way to improve the odds of us "going all the way" and taking the babies home with me when I leave the hospital.  Which just so happen to be my two main goals with this pregnancy.

What's the nutritional program?  Gaining a boatload of weight the first 20 weeks.  How much weight?  (((Gulp))) 25 pounds by 20 weeks.  She wants a total weight gain for someone my size (which I would like to point out is exactly in the middle of normal for my height.  Ha!  I keep thinking I'm really fat.  But after living in LA, maybe normal/average is fat) of between 40 and 55  lbs for the whole pregnancy.  Yes.  That *is* a lot of weight?  And how do I do it? By eating around 3500 calories a day.  

Holy. Shit.  Do you know how much food 3500 calories represents?  It is a LOT of food.  I thought that it was supposed to be just a lot of protein, but in all honesty, it's the same proportion of proteins to carbs to fats as the FDA food pyramid; it's just a boatload of food.  

Oh. My. God(dess).  I feel like Rene Zellweger gaining weight for Bridget Jones' Diary.  It is not fun at all.  It's one thing to go overboard and eat 2800 calories in one day.  It is quite another to eat 3500 calories every day and not be training for an ultra-marathon.  I am telling you right now that this is worse than any "diet" I've ever been on in my life.  

And yes, I can see why one would think this was bullshit and just eat a little bit more than normal.  But when I see that I have at least some control that is clearly within my own power to go to term with these babies, to not have them be in the NICU, and to take them home with me as fat and healthy as Conor was, I look at the clock and plan when I'm going to have that piece of whole wheat fiber toast with cashew butter and a banana for a "snack."  (That would have been a hardy breakfast a few weeks ago) 

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Pelvic Rest

I have been spotting about once a day for the last week or so.  It's been brown, so I really haven't been that worried.  Also, I found this site which argues that spotting is quite common with IVF treatments because the estrogen and progesterone have made one's lining quite fluffy. It's, therefore, more likely to spot a bit.

Then yesterday morning, we went from spotting to bleeding.  It was a qualitatively different event.  I freaked out a lot and called my doctor, who then scheduled an ultrasound for yesterday afternoon. 

There is no bad news.  The good news is that the babies have grown (though not as much as I'd like) and their heartrates are perfect.  They also found a subchorionic bleed next to baby B. It was very small, but could explain why there was bleeding.  I wish it wasn't there and I can't understand why I have a clot when I'm on lovenox and baby aspirin.  It makes me more cautious than ever about going off the lovenox any time soon.

So now I'm on "pelvic rest."  I'm not supposed to lift anything heavy or to stand while I'm at work.  I contacted the CA clinic who said that 70% of their IVF patients have some bleeding in early pg (very much like the link above suggests).  In addition, the "vast majority" go on to deliver healthy babies.  They, however, hinted that they would have recommended full bedrest.

I do  think everything is going to be ok.  The babies look great.  I really think it's going to turn out ok. It just wasn't a lot of fun yesterday.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


So, ummm, yeah!

We are adjusting to having twins.  And yes, I do know it's still  early and all that stuff, but things are looking great and there's no reason to think otherwise, so I'm thinking that come July 1, we'll be the proud and sleep deprived parents of twins.  

Oh. My. God(dess).

As my mom and dad said, it's one thing to think you're having twins and quite another to know it.  So Dave and I decided also when we were both wide awake on Monday night around 2 am.  

We are obviously really excited, but there are issues.  Like, neither of our current cars can hold two rear facing infant car seats, much less two rear facing infant car seats, a 5 year old in a booster seat and a dog.  That problem was actually resolved fairly quickly by at least identifying that the 2004 Honda Odyssey (ahem, minivan) is holding up very well for a used car and is very reasonably priced on Car Max.  

We also need to get moving on this remodel.  The timing and the financial situation are actually really good right now if 1) we can figure out the best financing option and 2) find a contractor willing to let us buy some of our own material at a cheaper price and do some of the work ourselves.  And we also have to find a place to live for a couple of months since they will be adding a second story and our house won't have a roof.  Yikes.  

And then, what is most concerning to me, is making sure I do not go into preterm labor.  I've had friends who have had months of preterm labor and bedrest and premature twins and friends who kicked booty and, although were majorly uncomfortable, had very healthy babies.  I'm wanting to be like option #2.  I've already ordered a few books and am surfing the web and the med journals for info.  Basically, my preliminary conclusions are that 1) I need to gain a substantial amount of protein based weight to help my uterus grow and 2) I need to take some serious calcium supplements.  I know that freaking out about pretern labor may seem a wee bit early, but what I'm seeing is that the recommendations are a 20 lb weight gain by 22 weeks.  And at 7 weeks, considering I've lost a few pounds, it seems like I ought to be paying attention to what I'm eating.  

In any case, HOLY COW, I'm still   a bit freaked out!  We're excited!  Yes, we are!!  But there are  a few things to do before we give birth.  And this doesn't even include the two research papers, book chapter, and the NSF grant I want to get out before I give birth.

But as my new guru Oprah says, you can only do one thing at a time.  So don't freak yourself out about how many things you need to do.  You can only take one step at a time.  While you're running, screaming down the street.    

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tranes, Mushrooms and Guacamole

Our new heating system, a Trane, was installed on Friday,  and there was much rejoicing.  It's amazing how used one can get to being cold all the time.  Actually, no.  I never got used to it.  I just got used to moving the space heaters around the house according to what we were doing. What's even better is that with this new system, it's also obvious how bad the old system was.  Now, we're warm in *every* room.  Not just the ones right where the heater came into the house.  They still need to hook up the electrical part of it; a sensor is missing.  Still, it's warm.  And we are happy.

On other fronts, we are quite surprised that Conor has a mushroom on his knee.  Wha????  He actually has ringworm on his knee, but despite its name, it's actually a fungus.  So really, he has a mushroom growing on the skin around his knee.  He most likely got it playing in the mulch around the rain garden, according to the vet when we took Patches in to see if he was the culprit.  We're treating him with antifungal cream which takes about two weeks to a month to heal, for Pete's sake.  We're trying not to call it ringWORM around Conor too much because I think it could freak him out.  We're also not calling it a mushroom on his knee much either.  Mainly, we're just putting medicine on his "thing" twice a day.  (Which sounds totally inappropriate when I say it like that).  Still, it's a thing and he's not freaking out about it.  That's the good part.  

Finally, Holy Guacamole, folks.  We've got some news and if I was a better writer I could tie together the heater, the ringworm and this final bit of info.  Nonetheless, after battling off a migraine this morning (from the extra hormones) and trying to keep the cheese I just ate down, I have something big to tell you.  We went in for our ultrasound this morning.  I was worried because I haven't been having as bad of pg symptoms for the last couple of days, i.e., I could eat.  A lot.  And I wanted to eat a lot.  

Also, I was supposed to have the OB's appointment first and then the ultrasound, but they switched it.  Dave was going to skip the OB and just be there for the u/s.  But they were very kind and by the time I'd peed and gotten undressed (with my socks still on because it was COLD), Dave arrived.  

We held hands, while they started the ultrasound.  We haven't always had good luck with these things, so I'm sure I was squeezing his hand pretty tightly.  She kept the screen facing her so I couldn't see what was happening.  "Well," she said, "I can definitely see a heartbeat."  

Oh, thank goodness, I thought.  Everything is going to be ok.

"Actually," she continued, "heartbeats. There are two.  I didn't want to say anything until I could see both heartbeats."  

Oh. My. God(dess).  

I had totally convinced myself that there was only one in there.  Dave has been sure all along that there were two (as were my parents).  But I was convinced there was only one.  I mean, I've been queasy, but I haven't been dying of morning sickness.  Although I have thrown up twice, which hasn't happened before.  

In any case,  back to my uterus.  Baby A measures 6 weeks 4 days and has a heartbeat of 125.  Baby B measures 6 weeks 4 days and has a  heartbeat of 124.  Since I am 6 weeks 4 days, I take this to be a good sign.  Also, 124 is a perfect heartrate at this point.  (I would link to the research, but I cannot find it)

So, Yay!  It's a little overwhelming right now, and I have a ton of work to do today.  But we are pretty psyched that things look fantastic at this point.  And looking fantastic at this point is a very, very good place to be.  

Monday, November 17, 2008

Still Here, Shivering

Hello! Hello!

Things are going just dandy, which means my boobs are killing me, I'm often nauseous and I will likely fall dead asleep by 9:00 tonight.  I will also wake up several times throughout the night and have to pee.  In. The. Cold.  

We are still without our furnace here in the frosty Mother Thing household.  And it's getting down to 25 degrees tomorrow night.  The good news is that is now blatantly obvious that the insulation we had blown into the walls last winter really works.  We have two space heaters and are able to keep the house livable.  That's saying something considering the first winter we lived here, I could easily feel a breeze in the middle any given room.  It's still cool around the walls and windows, but for the most part, our house is comfortable.  Truly, without a furnace.  That is nice.

Nonetheless.  Friday we get a new dual fuel pack hybrid thingy installed.  And supposedly, the whole house will now be the same temperature.  And that temperature will not be frosty.  We are very excited.

As for the belly, we have our ultrasound next Monday.  Otherwise, my goal is to just keep growing this little one inside of me and helping him/her be healthy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Boobs

My boobs really, really hurt.  In all my gazillion pregnancies, my boobs have never been this sore.  And that includes when I was breastfeeding, which for those of you who have tandem nursed, you know hurts.

If I could walk around hunched back with nothing touching my chest, it might not be so bad.  

But as that would be an awkward way to teach class (and frightening to the students, indeend), I am just going to have to continually complain and complain about how bad this things hurt.  

I know it's a "good sign", but nonetheless, it hurts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Number In!

I swear, I wasn't trying to play coy.  One of the problems with being on the east coast with a west coast clinic is that they are fully unaware of one's freaked-out-ed-ness about how late it is getting for the results.

Today's number at 19 dpo (14dp5dt) was 2962.  It more than doubled twice from the last beta at 15 dpo.  I have to be honest with you:  I know that's a fine number, but I'm a little disappointed.  I'm not worried, but I'm not longer convinced that it's twins.  It may be that there were twins and now there isn't.  

The doubling rate was 43 hours, which is a little bit longer than the average of what they see on Betabase.info for either singletons or twins.  I know the doctors are happy to see any doubling rate less than 48 hours.  But that is sort of like saying that seeing a heartbeat (any heartbeat) reduces the miscarriage rate to 5%.  It doesn't.

And maybe it's with my miscarriage rate that it's just not likely I'm going to be thrilled with anything until I have a baby in my arms.  It's a fine number.  I would have liked something closer to 3200.  I can't have everything, eh?!

While We're Waiting....

for today's follow up test results, go check out Looky Daddy's recent post.  It truly moved me.  

Friday, November 07, 2008

Good News!

Well, we just got the call from the doctor's office.  I am "officially" pregnant.  My HcG was 631 on 10dp5dt, 15 dpo.  (By the way, I think I'm doing the numbers right.  If I'm off, would someone let me know?  We had a 5 day )

That's definitely the highest HcG we've gotten this early in the game.  It could still be indicative of twins and it could also be just a high number for a singleton.  The good news is that I've already passed the threshold for not having a miscarriage based on an academic study.  

Honestly, I thought the number would be  higher. But really, we are happy. We go back on Tuesday the 11th for our follow-up blood work.    

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dadgum it!

I hate when I realize that I totally didn't blog about what I meant to blog about.

I was dashing off that last entry before class and what I had actually been thinking about all morning, was WOW!  Thank you for all your support on our "We're Pregnant" post yesterday.  I was so excited to hear from a few folks that I haven't heard from in a while!  I'm so glad to see you're still here!!

I'm actually looking forward to posting more often in the near future, perhaps as we deal with the possibility that I've got two buns in this oven.  But in any case, I wanted to say that your comments made me feel really good yesterday.  Thanks!!

14 dpo

I guess officially, this is 9dp5dt.  But I've already converted it in my head from retrieval and transfer to ovulation.  If yesterday's HPT was dark with the line saying, "You're pregnant", today's line was all "I saiiid you were pregnant."  It is so much darker than control line is amazing.  I only had this happen once and it was 3 days further along.  Since HCG is doubling at a rate less than 48 hours right now, I can only imagine what tomorrow's blood test is going to be.

Even if I hadn't tested, I would suspect something was up.  I nearly yakked last night when I hopped out of  bed to go to the bathroom.  There will be no more hopping out of bed in the near future.  Food is also an odd thing:  I'm hungry but can be easily repulsed by the most innocent of foods.  

And then we have the boobs.  I used to have very small boobs.  But 3 1/2 years of breastfeeding (and a couple of extra pounds) truly changed that.  Now, however, they are both sore and enornmous.  It hurts to lie on my stomach and it's frightening to see me in some regular shirts. When I told my students that I was going to California for a medical leave, I assured them I wasn't dying.  Then I added, I'm also not going to California for cosmetic surgery.  I'm not sure they would believe me right now.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We're So Excited!!!

We are so psyched over here in the Mother Thing household.  After waiting for years and years, we've finally got what we want!!  It's pretty much all we've been talking about and I think we're still pinching ourselves to believe it's true.

What?  Do you think I'm talking about the election?  Well, although we are pretty psyched about Obama's win and Dave has called me" obsessed," no, this is much better and more Mother Thing specific news:


And honestly, according to the progressively dark line on the four tests I've taken in the last four days, we're apparently Very Pregnant.  I'm 8dp5dpt (13 dpo) and the test line this morning on the FRER is darker than the control line.  The last time that happened, my HCG/Beta count at 16 or 17 dpo was over 800.  (I'm voting that the control line is closer to 600 units).  In any case, that's a really dark line for 13 dpo.  

I don't go in for the bloodwork for 2 more days, but we thought we'd go ahead and share our excitement about the good news:  both the pregnancy and the election!!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Election

I don't when I've ever been this excited about an election.  It probably has to do with voting in state that is actually going to make a difference this year.  I've voted in every election and primary since I've turned 18, but this one feels like the first one where the eyes of the nation are on us and what we're going to do.  Probably because that is true (there's not a lot of suspense in how NY and CA are going to vote).

Yesterday, Obama had one of his last rally's at UNC Charlotte.  Did you know that?  It was AMAZING.  No, I did not attend, although I just missed him at campaign headquarters.  But our campus was pretty much vibrating with energy and excitement yesterday.  And when I left at 4:00 and saw a mile long line of people lined up to get into the stadium, I thought my heart was going to explode.  In all, over 20,000 people stood in the cold wet rain to hear him speak.  

I am sure that there are quite a few folks in this typically red state that are concerned that we might turn blue this year.  But from my vantage point, it's all good.  If North Carolina becomes a swing state, we will be the recipient of so much attention and goodwill (money!) for each election, that we can actually have a say in how this country works.  That is an amazing outcome for our state for the 2008 election.

Now let's just go out and vote.  For Obama!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008


How weird to finally be "in the game" with this process and being able to write that bizarre word.  It stands for 3 days past a 5 day transfer--essentially 8 days past ovulation in a regular cycle.

Yes, I completely understand that it's too early to feel anything "real", nonetheless, this is the first cycle for sure that I know somebody (some bodies) are in there.  Yesterday morning, I was totally reeling in indigestion after breakfast.  Again, I know it's too early, but I had that exact same feeling at about the same time for Miscarriage #2.  I didn't have any heartburn last night after dinner, but I did wake up this morning feeling like I had a "sour stomach."

This morning I woke up feeling nauseous. Not anything horrible, just not liking food.  And then I coughed and immediately dry heaved.  That's not typical.   

In any case, it's way too early to test and alll of these "symptoms" may just be side effects of the PIO.  However, I didn't have any symptoms before the transfer and have only started them a few days later.  Annnnd, feeling the rise of acid in my stomach now.  Hopefeully, this is good news.

What is not good news is that our furnace is out!  Brrrrrrrrr.  Hopefully that will be fixed today because it's freakin' cold around here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


The transfer went really, really well.  They transferred two high quality blastocysts that looked like they were starting to "hatch".  The embryologist said that it meant that they were likely to keep growing---a good thing.

We also have already frozen quite a few other blastocysts and it's possible that we'll have some more tomorrow.  

We are pretty psyched.  I'm thinking sticky peanut butter thoughts---my uterus is like peanut butter and the embyros are stuck in it and digging in.  

I'm to take it easy for the next three days---not the crazy bedrest they prescribed before, just off my feet and taking it easy.  So, that's what I'm going to do.  

I'm already starting to feel a little crampy.  It could be from the catheter that they stuck up my coochie, but I'm hoping that it's a couple of buggers digging in there.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Surprisingly Good News

When we last checked in, one day after retrieval, we had found out that 15 of our 22 eggs had fertilizied.

Two days after retrieval, we found out some astonishingly good news:  in those 24 hours, an additional 6 eggs fertilized.  We now have 21 out of 22 embryos that are trying their darndest to become babies.

Today, we found out that things are still going very, very well.  According the the chart they gave us, today they would like to see 4-8 cells.  The good news is that one embryo is now an 10-12 cell morula.  The embryologist assures us that although this is unusual, it's actually a good thing.  We have three 10-cell embyros with two graded good  and one graded fair.  In addition, we have five 8-cell embryos rated good, six 8-cells rated fair, three 7-cells rated fair and three 6-cells rated fair.

As far as I can tell, everybody is looking pretty good.  The more cells the better, so we actually have 4 really dang good looking embryos and an additional 5 pretty dang good embryos.  The remaining 12 are, I guess, just dang good looking embryos.  I read somewhere that less than 4 cells today are a bad sign and everybody has more than that.  

Although the embyrologist says the morula is fine, it worries me that it may be past its prime for transfer by Tuesday.  I really hope not.  

We'll see how things go.  I'm thinking things look good.  I just hope Mr. Morula doesn't peak too soon.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


We have 15 fertilized embryos!!

Today they are going to let us know how they are developing (2 vs. 4 cells) and whether we will be doing a 3-day transfer tomorrow (bad) or a 5 day on Tuesday (much, much better).

I am beginning to feel like a pin cushion.  My belly is quite bruised.  Yesterday's heparin shot went very, very wrong and there is a huge bruise the color of a midnight thunderstorm on my belly.  Also, I am beginning to notice that when I lift my shirt to get sympathy for my bruises, my friends' first scream of horror involves the giant millipede scar from my stomach surgery, and it's only after they take a breath and scream again do they notice the bruises. Let's just say the bikini modeling days are well behind me.

Speaking of my behind, the PIO shots started 2 days ago.  The first one felt fine and I wondered what all the belly-aching was about.  Then I went to sleep and rolled over.  Ah.  That's why.  Yesterday's shot hurt almost immediately, but I found that walking around like an ostrich in a parade seemed to help work out that pain.  Today, it just feels like I've been exercising hard and my booty is sore.  If only that were the case.

Hopefully, we'll hear soon about the cells' progress.

Friday, October 24, 2008

So Far, So Good

Well, this is a bit different. Of course, now that I've said it, I've jinxed everything. And I'm not being facetious, that's how I feel.

They retrieved 26 eggs. 22 were mature. They did ICSI on them and we'll find out later today how many fertilized. They all think this is good news, but my stomach gets in knots just thinking about it.

We're traveling today, so I hope to have Internet access later on to update.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Well, things are still looking good.

The retrieval is set for Thursday.  We may be looking at double digits as far as the number of follicles goes.  

I'll post again on Friday to update about the fertility rate.  I say that feeling like I am being way too bold to even think that might happen.  

It's truly surreal to travel around the country to try to get pregnant.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's a Go!

Holy Cow.  It appears we are actually doing this, or at least, we're actually heading out to California.  Everything is a go and I am still surprised.  

Of course, not to sound like Eeyore, but I'll believe it when we're there and they are actually doing the procedure.  I have to admit that it feels like we're carrying our own pharmacy out on the plane.  We got a letter from the docs just in case TSA stops us and wants to know what the bazillion syringes are for.  They look deadly, but the worst they could do is cause the pilot to ovulate and improve his or her uterine lining.  While some might find that weird, it's not technically a "threat."  

It looks like Thursday will be the retrieval date.  We're looking decent with the number of eggs and I don't want to jinx anything by saying the exact number, but we are actually optimistic. If Thursday is retrieval and everything else goes well, transfer will be on Tuesday.  

I've obviously had a hard time focusing on getting everything done here.  But somehow, I'm actually Getting Things Done.  I have to be honest, two weeks off in the middle of the semester is no professor's idea of a good time.  Thank God(dess), I have tenure now.  It makes this whole procedure a lot less stressful.

We'll have internet at the hotel, so I'll be sure and update when we can!!!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Mother Things

The trip to the dentist continues to be important in the Mother Thing household.  Conor is checking the morning and evening circleson  his Brushing Board.  We've always brushed morning and night, but now there's somethign to check and so he likes it very much.  He's also very concerned that we finish brushing his teeth with little circles.  They repeated that several times, so he's very concerned that we do it correctly.  We oblige.

Our architect came by on Weds with the drawings for the remodel.  He's recommending a second story master suite with a loft and taking over the back deck for the family room.  We actually LOVE the drawings.  It will really make our house more Arts & Crafts-y and add on space without just plopping big rooms around the floor plan.  It will always be a smallish house with smallish rooms.  But it will feel bigger and actually have more space.  In any case, we have to figure out if and how we can afford the remodel.  And there's an issue with the kitchen window we need to figure out, but other than that, we're loving this plan.  

So far, the trip out to the clinic in CA is still on.  Things look good right now, but I've thought that before.  We'll see what happens in the next few critical days.  I did finally figure out that icing BEFORE I give myself shots decreases both the pain and bruising.  I was doing it afterwards, but now I no longer shout out curse words if I hit some painful spot.  It still looks like Dave has beaten me with a stick on my belly.  But, you know, whatever.  

I had to tell my classes that I am leaving for nearly two weeks for a medical leave.  I'm keeping the real reasons private (for once!), but I didn't want my class to think I was in danger of dying or anything.  Then again, if I told you I was going to a clinic in California for nearly two weeks, what would you think?  Well, if you could see me, you might think I was going out for cosmetic surgery!  So I did tell them that 1) I'm not dying and 2) I'm not getting cosmetic surgery.  They thought that was very funny. (Cuz I could probably use more than a little at this point!)

Nonetheless, we have a boatload to do to get ready.  And I haven't even told you about She and Ne (they rhyme).  I promise I will tell you about She and Ne soon.  This is one thing we have to get on record before they go away.  

Monday, October 13, 2008

Conor's First Dentist Visit

We're a little behind taking Conor to the dentist for the first time.  But we decided to go ahead and start him, even without insurance.  (We are changing my plan this week!)

It went really well and he was such a big boy.  We found out that Dave and I are supposed to help him with his brushing until his about 9 years old.  (I had no idea about that)  Nonetheless, he had very little tartar on his teeth as evidence by the purple dye.  

He had his first x-rays showing that yes, indeedy, he does have his permanent teeth in and they are ginormous.  Like me, he's going to have to have 4 bicuspids (?) pulled when he's young so that all his chiclet teeth will fit inside his mouth.  However, to help them come in straight, they are going to pull 4 top and 4 bottom so there will be room.  The dentist assures me it won't hurt Conor, but I will wait and see on that one.

Conor did really, really well.  He had a little conversation with the hygienist answering her questions and commenting on the equipment.  And when she started scraping his teeth, I could see his clenched little fist up on his chest.  Then he slowly relaxed it and put it on his chest.  I was so proud of him, calming himself down and trying not to be afraid.  

On the next trip, they want to get x-rays of the sides of his teeth to look for cavities.  I'm hoping we can start flossing tonight and prevent him from ever getting cavities.  (Dave and I have exceptionally few cavaties)

It was really a big day for Conor!

UPDATED:  I keep getting teary eyed thinking about today's dentist visit.  He was such his own little man sitting in the chair and interacting with the hygenist.  He's really growing up.   And it just about breaks my heart.  

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ramping Up

Well, the medications are starting to ramp up for our next cycle.  We're heading out in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping things work out this time.  It's incredibly weird to be leaving for so long in the middle of the semester.  A good friend is lecturing for a week in my undergraduate class, and we're meeting over the weekend for my graduate class.  All in all, that will work out well.

I'm still recovering from Bunny Stomp 2008.  I did not get the reaction online that I received from my FtF friends--the screaming, the hold of one's face in one's hand and the general disgust at having someone who could step on a bunny in one's presence.

Perhaps I did a better job at describing the pitch black road between the two streetlights, the hard pillow/soft book feeling of that particular step, and the (not being flippant here) the horrible screams that ensued, both the bunny's and mine.  I have apologized to everyone I can think of:  God, the universere, the bunny, every one.  And I am still having a hard time dealing with that experience.  

People ask how I couldn't see it:  it is so dark here right now in the morning.  The sky doesn't even think of getting lighter until 7 am, and I was out there about 6 am.  

People ask how it is physically possible that I stepped on a bunny:  my call is that the bunny was already injured, a thought that comforts neither me nor the bunny.  

I don't know if I have shared my experiences of running and jumping over a bird that flew up between my legs or scaring a mouse once or getting into a fight with a squirrel.   But I'm starting to get a wee bit paranoid with the wild animals and my runs.  And wondering what it is about me and my running that I am a hazard to mostly innocent animals while I'm out and about. 

Monday, September 29, 2008

In Case You're Wondering

Citigroup buying Wachovia could be really, really bad for Charlotte. 

And Charlotte is still out of gas.  Thank goodness for the Jetta diesel.

Still Here

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  It just feels like I have, at least to me.

I never believed folks when they told me that life after tenure isn't really that much different than life before tenure.  And in some ways, folks who told me that were really wrong.  I am much less stressed about my future here.  And I am sometimes highly cognizant that I am an associate professor with all the rights and privileges that come with it (essentially, I can be cranky and it won't bite me in the butt).  I am very happy to be on this side of that employment decision.  And that makes me very happy.

Nonetheless, things are not easier.  I didn't work two Sundays ago and thought I would die trying to catch up the rest of the week.  I still have a lot of manuscripts to work on, including one I'm turning in today (a revise and resubmit that I think is going to make a big splash in my research area).  I've got more students who are working with me and who want to work with me--all bright, hardworking students who I am thrilled to have on my team. But it's a lot of work.  I'm also upping my service work and am having to deal with a transition in one group that is, quite bluntly, been one of the biggest pains in my booty in my academic career.  And I'm going to have to do something pretty big.  It's the right thing to do, but it's going to be tough.  

And things are moving along in the IVF department.  Since the last two times, I've felt burnt by having to come back and report bad news, I'm not saying squat here until we know absolutely for sure one way or another.  

And I'm still trying to exercise.  I gave up running, but with my new orthotics, I think it's a possibility again.  However, it will not be a possibility again on my normal running route.  Besides stepping on a dying bunny in the dark (I think it was a bunny.  I stepped on something and it squeaked.  Gross to the extreme, even if I do hate bunnies now), I literally ran past two men stealing a car!  This was definitely in the shadier side of my 'hood and they were definitely up to no good.  They were fiddling around under the front of the car and in the glove compartment when I ran by and waved (I always wave).  And then I heard the trunk pop and I thought, it that was their car, they wouldn't need to finagle it to open the trunk.  I then sprinted as fast as my fat flabby legs could take me to a local gas station and called 911.  I would normally have waited to call 911 until I got home, but they saw me see them and the look they gave me was not "Good morning, jogger!!!" Of course, maybe they had a flat tire. I don't know.  In any case, the cops could help sort that out.  

So there you go.  Running over bunnies and into potential car thieves and not getting to eat bon-bons all day at work.

That is how this academic year has started.  Thank God(dess) that fall break is in two weeks.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Those Kind of Peoples

Conor:  Mommy!  Mommy!  What are we?  

Mommy:  What, honey?

Conor:  What kind of peoples are we?  We're what kind of peoples?

Mommy (recalling a conversation they had earlier running out the front door to the big tree swing):  Oh, yes.  We're Southern.  We're Southern people, Conor.

Conor:  That's right.   Daddy!  Daddy!! Mommy and I are Southern people!  And we don't wear shoes!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

(Almost) Victory Garden

Well, we did it.  We took the plunge.  

No, we didn't finally buy a gun and shoot the bunnies.  Instead, we put a fence around the garden.  And for the first time in a really long time, I now have lettuce, chard, beets, fennel, and broccoli growing in my garden.  It has been so very long since I've had the positive reinforcement of planting something and have it grow that I keep staring at these very small and common seedlings and feeling quite proud of myself.  

It took two days of hot, sweaty work but I think I might actually have my garden back.

Of course, there were some nibbles off of two of the broccoli plants and we suspect a rat.  Indeed, Dave set several traps and this morning, the leaves were all still on the broccoli, but there was one less rat.  

We are also quite pleased now that should we choose, we could put rat poison in one secure corner of the garden and Patches would be safe.  We could also electrify the fence (with a very, very low voltage--static to us, big zap to bunny/rat).  But at this point, we're sticking with the regular fence and the rat traps.

And we are greenly happy.  

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed the Twitter on the side of my blog.  I am finding that it is a lot easier to post a quick tweet than a full on post.  Feel free to check back in to the blog or even follow me, if you'd like.  I am fully aware that my life is not *that* interesting, but the mother thing does have more to say than she has time to in the blog.  

And for those other academics out there who may be reading, let me share that this first semester after tenure is crazy busy.  I thought I'd be all sunshine and butterflies, but lord, stuff is going on and it feels crazier now than it ever did.  The good news is that it's just a boat load less stressful.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

G*ddamned Bunnies

I am not going to garden any more until we can fix the bunnies.  And by "fix the bunnies", I do fully recognize that I have the capacity to make organic bunny stew. I bought some broccoli the other day to plant in the garden and before I could even get it in the ground, the bunnies ate it to the nub.  Then I bought some more and was able to actually get in in the ground and cover it with a "bunny repellant" cloth before the bunnies ate them.  

That's when I figuratively threw in my garden hoe and said that's it.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  I am tired of spending 5 to 10 hours a week in my garden just to provide some effing bunnies a free, all-you-can-eat buffet. So I'm done until we can get a bunny-proof fence around the garden.  I'm just not going to do it.

So there.

In other news, we're moving forward on both our house remodel and our rain garden.  In my cranky state after our return from California, I whined that I wanted to see progress at least on one of our major life goals this fall.  

But perhaps my main life goal right now really is the irradication of all bunnies near our house.  I truly hate me some damn bunnies.   I'm telling you that fantasies of bunny beatings are somewhat appealing right now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Holy Flood, Batman

Those 8 inches of rain we've had in the last 36 hours have lead to some real flooding here in Charlotte. The Observer has some pretty amazing pictures of our situation. (Here are more pictures) And I have to be honest that some of the worst flooding occurred 4 blocks away from us. I can hear the news helicopters circling our neighborhood checking out the flooding and the traffic. My understanding is that a bridge not too far from us on main avenue was underwater this morning. Well, they're circling because of the flooding or someone robbed the McDonald's again. It's a toss up on that.

We're expecting more rain tonight. Who knew Fay was going to be such a pain in the butt?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Dadgum, it's raining now here. The university is actually flooded and they had closed off roads around the campus this afternoon. Six years and a boatload of storms and I've never seen that before.

After my first class today, I was wading through a river that is usually a sidewalk and, along with the students, decided to walk in the landscaping mulch as it appeared drier. And then my high heel shoe sunk into the mulch up to my ankle. I thought I was going to fall over into the water and spend the rest of my day in soaked, muddy clothing. Fortunately, I just screamed and grabbed a student! Then he screamed and grabbed another student. And then she screamed and grabbed other student who screamed and grabbed another student and so on and so on.

So here's a confession. If my semester is anything like these last two days (the first two days of the semester) my head is going to pop off of my body!! Good lord, I have been busy. I thought that tenure would mean a little breathing room. Certainly, the pressure is off. But oh my goodness, I do not have a second of free time. It's good, but it's also crazazy!!

We'll just have to see how this year all works.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thank God the Olympics Are Over

Although I am dealing with a bout of pre-semester insomnia, I am so glad the Olympics are over. Maybe now, I'll stop worrying about who is going to medal in synchronized top tapping and finally get to bed at a reasonable hour and with a reasonable adrenaline level.

Seriously, this has been the best Olympics I can ever recall, but I am SO TIRED.

School starts tomorrow and I'm in a bit of denial about it. The good news is that I'm past the tenure decision, so this year is starting with a much different stress level. (And that's very nice!) And in the odd world that is academia, although the tenure decisions were made last spring, we are just now starting to celebrate them on campus with lots of receptions and public recognition. I like it.

And the whole atmosphere in my department is just so much better than it was last year, and I'm not the only one who feels that way. We're all smiling and happy and life is just so much better now than it was.

Now if I can just get to sleep, I'd be much happier and able to concentrate than I am right now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back on Track

Well, we're back from the CA trip. We were supposed to stay until Thursday, but since, uhhh, THAT PART FELL THROUGH, we came back early. We still went to attend my conference and see some friends.

We also went to Disneyland on my birthday. I cannot explain to you how wonderful it was to be at Disneyland for Conor's first trip on my birthday. (BTW, did you know you get a button for your birthday at Disney and you can adjust your age so that "all your dreams come true?" Very nice) Conor rode his first roller coaster (fun!), saw Minnie and Micky(fun! fun!) and saw his first parade in which a trombone player played specifically to Conor while Conor grinned and squirmed and died of embarrassed excitement. I know that the band members know that it's fun for the crowd to see that, but I guarantee they have no idea just how much it makes the parents' hearts swell to see this.

We also went to the beach in San Clemente, and I spent more time in the (frigid-oh-my-god-did-I-just-run-into-an-iceberg-go-on-without-me-and-save-yourself, Rose) water that day than I ever spent in the 10 years I lived in Los Angeles. Conor rode a boogie board and even fell over a few times without freaking out too much.

And on the day we were traveling back, we got a call from our cat/dogsitter that Patches wasn't eating or playing and Scarlett was peeing outside the box--a sign from our last trip that she was very sick. They very, very kindly took Scarlett to the animal hospital and we just prayed that both of them would make it by the time we came back. Early. Without a baby. No wonder why I was so weepy on the flight back, eh?

Patches is doing much better and is playing and happily eating again. I picked up Scarlett from the vet and I learned how to give her Sub-Cutaneous shots of fluids to keep her kidneys clean (for $80 a month! yikes!!) We've also decided that we can't leave the animals alone for this long again. So, Mom and Dad....stay free in October! The grandcat and the granddog and the grandkid are going to need you to babysit them while we make our I-hope-to-God, gods, and goddesses-last-trip-for-a-while to get pregnant.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Well, That Wasn't Our Best Day

Dave, at 10:00 last night, opening the second bottle of wine (thanks, Dad!), "So let us recap today."

"First, you are meditating and using incense to set the mood. And instead, you set off the fire alarm.

Then, after ADT calls, you decide to move the smoke out of the house by turning on the attic fan and while sucking up the smoke into the attic, it also sucks the 110 degree, 100% humidity air into the house.

And then you realize that the fan is still broken and you can't turn it off and, potentially, you will be sucking air into the house all day long on one of the hottest day of the year.

And then you call me and I can't come home and fix the fan and we realize that your arms are not as long as my monkey arms* and I cannot effectively describe my trick of turning off the fan and you are too lame** to actually do it yourself.

So then you stand outside in the 110 degree, 100% humidity weather turning the fuse switches off and on, off and on, off and on, multiple times around the box until you finally figure out which one turns the fan off.

And then you go out in the Subaru to run some errands. And the check engine light starts flashing while the power nearly cuts off in the car. You coast into the post office parking lot and call me. I call AAA and find out that they will not be able to tow the car for two hours. You have a choice of sitting by the car in the 110 degree, 100% humidity weather or walking back 15 minutes back to the house in the 110 degree, 100% humidity weather and then walking 15 minutes back to the car in the 110 degree, 100% humidity weather when the tow truck arrives and then walking 15 minutes back to the house in the (by then) 115 degree, 100% humidity weather after the tow truck leaves. You opt to walk and have some time in the a/c vs. sit by the car like a roasted idiot.

And then you get a call from our daycare at 4:30 in the afternoon to decide which pre-K class Conor is going enroll in: the going-to-kindergarten next year pre-K class or the going-to-wait-another-year-before-going-to-kindergarten pre-K class. This bring to a massive head the discussions we've been having for the last week about whether it would be better for Conor to be the oldest or the youngest student in his class. He will always be the tallest, but should we honor his introversion or his curiousity in when he starts kindergarten? We continue to note that everyone we know who has been the youngest in their class has hated it while those who have been the oldest or in the middle have not noticed it. The benefits for holding Conor back are numerous and could include more self-confidence now and college scholarships later. The benefits of letting him go forward include keeping him apace with some of his friends and keeping him from being bored for his first few years at school. Daycare gives us a week to decide while we try to make one of the biggest decisions in Conor's life thus far and we cannot get his reasoned input on it.

And then we get a call at 8:15 at night from the Fancy California IVF Clinic to 'discuss test results.' And while everything looks great on the fertility side (blood levels and egg counts), there is a problem with another test and they have decided to cancel our IVF cycle this month, resolve the test issues, and reschedule the IVF for October. You point out your lack of vacation days or sick days as a professor, but agree to the delay. They point out that nothing is inherently 'wrong' or 'bad' but we're delayed. Again.

So does that kind of sum up how the day has gone?"

Ummm, yes. Not the best day we've ever had.

*Maybe I was being cranky. **Maybe Dave was too.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Update on Me

I've gotten a lot of grief from blog readers, friends and family that I haven't provided any updates on my hair since my dramatic post a month ago about my hair. The good news is that you were right: the toner did fade after a few vigorous washings and some time in the sun. I no longer lood like Loretta Lynn. And I still don't and never will look like Pamela Anderson...my lips are too thin. Still, I'd be happy for a bit more lightness around my face, more like Sarah Jessica Parker, which I have been told I resemble, especially in her curly days. (it's the hair and her face; we both have that long, horsey face)

In any case, I'm going to wait and go to a bargain option at a local upscale salon and chose their "mantra" option, basically newbie stylists who will die my hair purple, I mean, highlight it the way I want, once I'm past the first trimester.

Ok. So just even writing that makes me start to hyperventiliate. No, there is no miraculous, money saving news I have to post here about being pregnant. I'm on too much medication for any slip up to occur. Instead, I'm freaking out because everything is going to go down next week. They've had me on drugs to stop everything for a month and now they are starting to ramp things up again.


It does freak me out.

Things are looking better this cycle. The antral follicle (resting egg count) count is higher. They have me on my auto-immune drugs now, which the other clinic waited until after retrieval to start. Stims are starting.

It's been a little weird to see how different the protocols are for each clinic. They are not massively different; that is, one clinic isn't calling for new meds while the other sacrifices goats. Still, it's clear that ART is more of an art than a science. I'm hoping we're heading to the "Monet" clinic, which we're hoping is just a little bit more successful than Cassat.

Oh, speaking of art and how my feet are not pretty, I went back to my podiatrist last week because my feet are about to fall off. Despite having my new orthotics, my poor left foot is miserable. I cannot wear much beyond my sneakers (I look so pretty in a dress now! Sassy!!! ) and I have not been able to run because my foot hurts so much.

He is designing new orthotics for me, even dressy ones that might let me wear less hideous shoes. But the goal is for me to have the surgery as soon as I can, after (hopefully) this next pregnancy. It's obvious that it's getting worse and we need to correct it. Otherwise, I'm not sure I'll even be able to walk in a few years time.

OK. Now you're up to date on me from head to toe, which a nice detour around the middle sections. Fingers crossed that everything turns out the way it's supposed to over these next few weeks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hotness Alert

We told Conor's teachers yesterday about his Strong Body and flirting with the girl behind us at the restaurant. They told us it was perfectly normal and an amazing outward sign that his self-confidence has really grown this year. They also pointed out that Conor has a keen awareness of attractiveness (actually, the teacher said "hotness") in the classroom. One of the class mothers is apparently quite beautiful and Conor asks her frequently if he can go home with her. And then when she says no, he asks why not!?

That little stinker!!!

We tried to get him to tell us which mother was so pretty today during bath time. (We all get ready together in the morning. It's lovely. And spacious, in our tiny bathroom. But when Patches stuck his head in to see what was going on, it was just a little too much). Anyhoo, we asked him who the prettiest mommy was in his classroom and he responded his teacher. "No," Dave said, "who is the prettiest mommy of the kids in your classroom?"

Conor smiled and said "Anita."

Suck up! The kid is brilliant, don't you think!?

Speaking of too smart for his own good, the first thing Conor asked when he got to school yesterday was if he could practice writing his letters again. He was very, very serious and didn't want to play any games, but wanted to trace letters because, as he told the teacher, "I didn't do it over vacation and I'm afraid I will forget how to do it."

I, too, have been accused of doing work during our vacation.

The teacher asked if we have been putting pressure on Conor on his writing? We haven't, that I know of. We are certainly proud of him being able to write at this age, but we don't try to get him to do it at home. Then I told the teacher about when I was a sophomore in college and realized that if I didn't a 96 or above on the test, that did not mean I failed. "The sun will still rise tomorrow and less than a 96 does not mean I fail the test. " (I remember those exact phrases) It's a good thing I realized that before the test because I crapped on that exam. Nonetheless, it was only as a sophomore in college that getting a B didn't mean I failed.

I don't really want Conor to live life with that sort of pressure. But certainly, it comes from me. As opposed to Dave, whose second grade teacher had to tell his parents about Dave's frustrating habit of working incredibly hard and doing a fantastic job on his assignments, until he knew he'd done "enough" to get a passing grade on his assignments and then basically doing nothing more.

On the like me/like him score, Conor is more like me in that. On the answering "Anita" whenever quizzed about the prettiest woman in the room? Well, Conor may take after his daddy on that characteristic.

What a relief.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Can Tell, Dolly

We're back in cool, comfortable July in North Carolina which if you know how hot it actually is in North Carolina, you'll understand why I now think South Texas is a steamy version of hell.

Dolly's eye passed about 5-7 miles north of us, which makes the hurricane sound vaguely like an out of control country singer, and if that's the image you want to take with you, so be it. I've been in tropical depressions before, but never a "real" hurricane. It rained horizontally and we saw bits and pieces of roofs, trees and hotel signs flying by us. We lost power Weds afternoon and water Wednesday night. As an aside, it's really odd to spend the entire day watching the storm approach you on TV and then, when it does hit, losing all connection to what the heck is going on outside your own window.

Wednesday was a pretty rough day, what with no power or water in Satan's sauna. Also, since we were in a hotel, we didn't have all that much food. We did make it to Wal-Mart (speaking of Satan!) on Tuesday and PB&J for dinner Wednesday night and breakfast Thursday morning. But woman cannot live on PB&J alone, so Thursday lunch we headed out into the aftermath to look for food.

One might note that not a lot of people will open their restaurants without power and water. We did find 3 places open: Church's chicken, Pizzaria Uno and a taqueria. Dave and I are one on this one: I don't care how desperate we were, we didn't travel to the south of Texas to eat Church's chicken. So we opted for the taqueria, which was honestly, REALLY GOOD. I have absolutely no idea what we ordered or how, but we ended up with about 12 beef tacos with some yummy, soup-y beans (which we were later told were charro beans). Despite the fact we were sweating profusely, it was one of our more memorable meals.

Sweating. Yeah. That is one thing I will remember about this trip. That and also being told by the hotel manager not to yell at him because he didn't turn off the electricity. Dave took over at that point, although I was shocked he said that: if he thought *that* was yelling, he better step back should anything ever happen to my son. Dave then pointed out that yes, we knew he didn't turn off the electricity, but we happened to notice that while our room had lights but no a/c, the unoccupied room across the hall from us had a/c and but no lights and this room had been cool if not actually snowing for the last 3 or 4 hours. We wanted that one. Dave got that room for us and the manager and I avoided eye contact for the next couple of days.

Until breakfast one morning, when a woman approached me asking where we were from. (People can be very friendly in a natural disaster) It was obvious we were tourist as we stood apart from the folks fleeing South Padre Island (very tanned), the rescue workers, the national guard and the insurance adjusters. She told us that she was from Harligen where they weren't expecting electricity for another week and her kids thought it was just mean to be staying in their hot, un-air-conditioned house, when. . . .she turned and smiled at her husband, the hotel manager, who agreed to let his wife and kids come stay in the air conditioned hotel until their power was turned back on.

That, my friends, is irony. Who's the crazy, hot mother yelling at you now, huh?

Ah, yes. The rest of the trip was fine. The wedding was beautiful and I got to meet my friend's friends and her husband's family, all of whom make me realize that friends pick our similar friends and so it's easy to like friends of your friends. They are obviously similar for a reason.

And Conor had a good time despite (or because of?) all the adventures. One thing is for sure, we do NOT need to worry that Conor is too shy and doesn't initiate interactions. Conor basically spent this entire trip engaging people about all the things that we were doing and trying to share with them the special parts of this world as he knows it. "Mr. Chris, did you know you can get your bathing suit on and get in the swimming pool?" "Mr. Chris, did you know my mommy can give foot massages?" "Mr. Chris, did you know I like sausage pizza?" To a girl at Burger King, "Did you know that I thought the playground would be a bus, but it's a train. You can climb and play on that train."

One might note that Conor was especially taken with Mr. Chris, a friend from Charlotte at the wedding also. Hugging him and holding his hand whenever we were out and about with Chris. And Sunday, in San Antonio at the River Walk (LOVE THAT PLACE!), Conor got all excited when we saw a pretty girl and her date behind us as we left a restaurant. He got all excited and jumped up and down and pointed them out to me. "Look, Mommy! Look!" I turned and looked at these strangers and said "Yes, I see the people behind us." Then Conor made a big production waved a big wave at the pretty girl. She smiled at Conor and us, while I just stuttered, "I think he really wants to say Hi to you."

Of course, the interaction I will never forget came on Friday when I was having lunch with the other bridesmaid and the bride. Conor and Dave stopped by to say hi and Conor told me about a girl he met on the playground: "She's a little bigger, and her name is Jennifer, too. And she is nice and she likes my strong body."


I am pretty sure that the 6 year old girl did not tell my 4 year old son that she liked his strong body, but What The F*ck? What is going on that curly little head of his that would ever prompt that thought? What is going to happen when he hits puberty.

Well, if he ends up having some strange attraction to women named Dolly, we'll have an idea of who or what to blame.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You're Looking Swell, Dolly

We figured a minimal Level 1 Hurricane wouldn't be that big of a deal. No one seemed that worried about it when we told them on Monday and the pilots and flight attendants certainly weren't mentioning it on our flights into San Antonio.

Then we got on the shuttle to pick up our rental car. A woman got on with 3 way over-stuffed backpacks and duffle bags. I could also see from the corner of her eye that she had a polo shirt on with her company's logo and some motivational phrase on it. Bless her heart, I thought. There's liking where you work and then there's being overly involved in your work. Wearing your shirt at the company picnic is one thing; wearing it on a trip is quite another.

Then I saw her FEMA identification tag. And then I read the insignia which was for the US Urban Search and Rescue Response Team. I looked at Dave. He looked at me.


Then we got on the road for the incredibly long drive from San Antonio to the path of Hurricane Dolly, between Brownsville and McAllen, TX. And we saw all the traffic signs that said "Hurricane Warning for Brownsville.....(blink, blink, blink)....Avoid travel to that area."

Party on!

Then we passed all the Verizon Emergency Team trucks on the highway heading the same way we were.

At least we're going to where all the fun is.

When we got to the hotel, the manager was responding to call after call from people looking for a safe place to stay. This hotel is full. And the people we've seen arriving are coming in with more than just traditional tourist luggage. People look like they have left just their homes with everything they could put in there.

Still it didn't turn into a Level 1 Hurricane until we were driving to the hotel. How could it be that bad? Now, it's one mph from becoming a Level 2 and 1 and 1/2 hours from hitting shore. Our county, Hidalgo, wasn't worried about Hurricane Dolly because it wasn't expected to become a Level 2. Whoops!

This morning, Dave met a man who had been kicked out his original hotel because the National Guard took over. We looked in our parking lot and saw 6 ambulances from all over southern Texas on stand by for an emergency. We also saw more company insignias from more emergency response teams from around Texas.

So we came down early to the wedding to go to South Padre Island, a very famous and very nice resort town on the southen coast of Texas. That's pretty much where Dolly is making landfall first, so we have opted not to go there. Instead, we're going to be staying in our hotel room pretty much all day today.

Some families take their children to Disney Land for vacation. We take our child to the eye of a Level 2 hurricane.

Check us out.

UPDATE: Dolly is now Level 2 and all the ambulances have left the parking lot, we assume to be closer to landfall.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hello Dolly!

We' re heading down to Texas for about a week for my good friend's wedding. Everyone keeps asking us "Where exactly in Texas are you going?"

We respond "To the southern-most point. Pretty much on the boarder with Mexico."

Now, you will know exactly where we're going: simply follow Hurricane Dolly's path and you will know where we're going to be.

We have decided, what with the 100% chance of heavy rain and wind, to skip going to South Padre Island on Wednesday. Nonetheless, we're going to run like bunnies from San Antonio to our hotel on Tuesday to get in before the hurricane hits. Otherwise, we're not how easily it will be to make it there.

Hopefully, it will be a wimpy hurricane and not do any real damage. If it isn't, Dave and I will be able to share our own experiences with our Frontier House Honeymoon and reassure them that something funky always happens in a wedding, and if yours is a hurricane, well, the grandkids are going to love that story.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Owl Be Darned

Apparently, we are not the only creatures in our neighborhood noting the extensive number of rats, rabbits and mice around our house.

We have three adult screech owls hanging around our house every night now looking for prey. On the one hand, Hooray!! Kill the bunnies!! On the other, ummm, is there a downside? We can't think of one! Both we and our neighbors are enjoying the nightly owl show in our back yard.

First, the owls are frickin' big. They fly low and they think we are not worthy, so they have no fear flying over our heads or watching us from low branches. Second, they love playing on our outdoor furniture and our car. We suspected owl activity from the massive bird poop we were finding on our deck and cars, but this week they've decided to truly make themselves known.

Dave came to get me one night to show me the owl on our car. We were standing at our back window watching the owl on the car while the owl was watching us, too. Then we decided to turn out the light so we could see the owl better. The owl thought that was bizarre behavior. He could still see us through the glass (those big owly eyes and such) and he was still quite curious at our behavior. So he started bobbing and weaving his head at us, I'm guessing just to make sure he could still see us. Then he apparently got bored of that and started looking around at different things around the car. Once his gaze was directly opposite of us, he all of a sudden whipped his head around and stared directly at us! He was trying to catch us doing! It was so obvious what he was doing, we laughed out loud.

By that time I think he trusted us enough to fly back and forth between the cars and walking around.

I just love having our owls in our backyard even if it makes me a little nervous to go outside and do something once the sun has gone down. They are REALLY big. And we can now recognize their screeches which lull us to sleep when we sleep with the windows open. However, now that we are all owly friends, I feel like I ought to inform that it's probably not the best hunting strategy to keep screeching every 3 minutes when you're on the hunt. Even the dumbest mouse and bunny is going to figure out that a screech could lead to a murder and to keep their heads low. Since our goal is for the prey to walk around waving their tiny rodent arms to attract attention to themselves, we might need to bring this up at our next owl meeting.

And on a more exciting note, I'm done with the Quantum Cleanse. I had my first cup of coffee this morning and it was delicious!!! And oddly, I could only drink one cup. More than that made me feel a little sick. Our new RE allows 2-3 cups of coffee, but I'm thinking I might stick to 1-2 cups. And tonight, I am so excited about the pinot grigio I'm going to put in the fridge!! WOOHOO!!

And I did lose about 6 lbs. I'm very happy about that. But I really want to lose about 4-6 more lbs before the IVF in August. So I'm still sticking with what I've been eating with a few modifications: no sugar, minimal wine, mostly vegetarian and less wheat than before. Truly, it would be great to be back down to my weight at Conor's pg when we go in for our IVF.

But now, it's time to focus on today and today's work and relish the coffee I had this morning!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


This week a friend of mine, 40 years old with three young children, died from breast cancer that came back as lung cancer. Last weekend, we found out that the mother of a friend of ours has lung cancer. And just this week, we found out that the doctors of a good friend who has been free from breast cancer for 7 years just found a spot on her lungs. She starts chemo very soon.

I don't talk about God a lot on this blog. I fully believe that many of the readers of this blog, even if they believe in God, may have different views about broad or specific details than I do.

But it has been bothering me that a friend is angry at God because (s)he let my friend with the young children die. So this is sort of in response to that comment and also to this horrible outbreak of cancer among my friends.

I don't believe God does that. I know some people do believe that God chooses some people to die from cancer and others to recover. I know that some people believe that God gives some people cancer (or some other tragedy) to "wake them up" and get their attention. I don't believe that's true at all.

People die. That is the only thing we know is this life: everyone will die. We don't know if we'll get married, have children, become homeless, or even find the cure for cancer. All we know is that we will die. Some will die old and others young. Some with young children and some with adult children. Some will die tragically and for some, death will come as a happy relief. But everyone is going to die.

And I'm not saying that some deaths really don't seem fair. I fully agree that for our neighbor, who lost her child at birth, that death was not fair. But I don't think God did that to her or her husband or to that baby.

God doesn't have anything to do with that. That is life. Death is life.

Where God comes in, to me, is in what the people do around the person and his/her family when they die. The comfort, the care, the reassurances, the family, the love they feel from others and the chicken casseroles, that is where God comes in. Or doesn't.

We are very, very sad for our friends. And we want God to show through us and to our friends. And hopefully, some comfort will be given.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Firetruck Birthday

This weekend was Conor's 4th birthday party. It was absolutely fantastic: for the first time we invited over school friends along with the neighborhood friends. We filled up the kiddie pool, turned on the slip and slide, threw out a giraffe tunnel, and sat back and watched them go crazy.

This picture does not do justice to the craziness that was involved. We invited 9 children over. We were crazy. At one point, I came out of the house and saw 5 children lined up on the slip and slide with 3 children in the shark pool filling and emptying water buckets, one child throwing the giraffe's head around the yard and one standing up inside the giraffe tunnel and walking around the yard. I'm telling you, it was a scene. And when the giraffe started walking around, I thought the adults were going to fall out of their seats laughing.

Of course, we had no idea that the real fun was going to be the tree house, which upon discovery, led to a herd of boys climbing up in it at once.

And thank god(dess) that it didn't rain until the end. I just assumed all along we'd be able to be outside to play. When we finally moved in to open presents (and the rain started) I got a glimpse of just how absolutely crazy it would have been had we had the children in the house the whole time. I swear when the last present was opened, there was a near riot from excitement and sugar in our house.

Sugar. Yes, sugar. THAT I DID NOT TASTE! I made a firetruck cake (birthday theme) and 24 additional cupcakes for all the guests and I did not once lick the spoon, the beaters or my fingers during the entire time, staying true to the cleanse. I'm proud of myself for that. The cake? Not so much. Dave thinks I put the bar too high last year with Curious George.

Oh and a final word to anyone who wants to have the local fire department stop by during your child's birthday party. The firefighters are incredibly kind and considerate. But give them a really wide range of time to come (like the whole party) instead of the most convenient time for you, because otherwise, you're tempting fate to have not one but both trucks be called out for an emergency. The fire captain called 2 hours after the party to apologize, which was awfully sweet. But I really wish I'd given him a much bigger range of time so that Conor could have had a real firetruck at his party. Fortunately, it was a surprise and he had no idea what he was missing.

I will say in my Southern understated way that I think he had a good time anyway.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Hair

This week, I went to have my hair highlighted again. I decided early on in the Make Anita Pretty process that I would shop around and try to find the best person to color my hair. I'll still the the Ouidad process done at a local salon, but I'd like to find a cheap colorist to color my hair. When I was in grad school, I had a woman who rented a booth at a local salon who charged me between $40 and $60 to cut and color my hair. I'm paying twice as much now (at least!) and the results have just never been as good as her.

So in February, I went to someone who owned her own shop to have some highlights put in. She just added some in and it looked nice. However, she just used straigh bleach (not clorox, but certainly not a color) and I thought it was too light for my hair.

So I went to someone else this week. I told him I thought the straight bleach look was too much for my dark hair. I pointed to a curl and said that's the color I want throughout my hair. He either 1) only heard that I thought the highlights were too light or 2) uses one particular procedure (a toner) which colors over the highlights and decided that's what he had to do.

In any case, he removed every and all highlights out of my hair and my hair is back to dark brown. AND I HATED IT. I called him up when I got home and said, I really don't like this can you fix it. So I went back to him yesterday and supposedly added a few more highlights and the toner again. AND I HATE IT. Now instead of dark brown, my hair is medium dark brown. I cannot see any highlights anywhere in my hair. I've cried three times already about how ugly I look. And I can't afford to go somewhere else so soon to have it fixed again. (He didn't charge me the second time for anything except the product, but I felt so guilty I gave him two tips for both colorings).

I cannot stress to you enough about how much I hate the color of my hair right now. I look old. A lot older with this color hair than I did with the bleach I didn't even like. And I don't understand why when I went to him the second time he didn't use the absolute lightest highlights he could to add some light back into my hair?


And I'm going to be in a wedding in two weeks. And I'm going to Los Angeles two weeks after that. And everyone is going to think I look bad. And in LA, they are going to feel sorry for me.

I honestly don't know if I can take looking in the mirror for three more months and hating what I see. I feel like I'm too old to get this upset about my hair. Nonetheless, I am. And I hate the color of my hair right now.