Saturday, September 30, 2006

Rub the Buddha

This morning R found a funny passage in Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul. (A friend loaned her this book back before she was pregnant because it also had some stories about miracle pregnancies. This friend has great foresight, obviously.) The writer points out some of her pet peeves during the later months of pregnancy:

When you're pregnant, you get accustomed to hearing the same comments over and over. 'When is the baby due?' My response now: 'This year.' 'What is it?' I answer, 'Well, it's either a boy or a girl.' 'You're very big.' (This can come in several forms. 'Are you carrying twins?' 'You look ready to pop,' and the 'You haven't had that baby yet?') In answer to these I find the best response is, 'Yes, you're right, I'm enormous. I hadn't realized that. Thank you for pointing it out.'
People have a real knack for asking obvious questions. I guess they just don't know what else to ask. If you encounter someone who's university age, you are inclined to ask, "Are you still in school?" If you see someone who's single you want to ask, "Are you married yet?" You don't realize you should ask about the person's recent trip to Toronto to watch Spamalot, because you don't have any idea that they've just been to see Spamalot. Instead, we all ask pregnant ladies senseless questions about the obvious -- their expanding tummies.

Being only in week 8, R has not had any of these questions; however, she's had to deal with her own type of of awkward questions for the last few years. Since she was out of university, already married, and not carrying a baby, people asked, "Are you having kids soon?" or "Do you have children yet?" or "When are you going to have kids?" For some reason no one asked, "How many mature follicles do you think you'll get during your next IUI treatment?" or "Do you still pray every night that you'll have a baby?" or even "How are you and your husband coping with your childless state?" Sadly, people just don't know enough about your life to ask the meaningful questions that will elicit a truly emotional outburst. But they seem to do pretty well with the questions they do ask.

At first, R would sidestep questions about having kids because she really thought it was no one's business what she did with her life or her family; however, she found this often left her upset and the other person oblivious. I took a completely different tact: when people asked me questions I told them the answers... or at least some kind of answer.

"When are you going to have kids?"
"Tomorrow. We're thinking we'll just drop by the maternity ward and see what's available."

"Have you thought about having kids?"
"Yes, but we're waiting for the planets to align."

Sometimes I would just launch into a detailed chronology of our fertility woes. That greatly suited some people and completely shocked the rest. The experience was memorable enough that people would only ask again if they really wanted to hear the details. R also adapted this approach, and it served her very well. People began to understand us better, and they could ask better questions. Now, back to the pregnant lady from the Chicken Soup book:
But the worst thing is when people I barely know touch my belly. I guess they figure that since it's out there, it's for public use. Would they touch my belly in I weren't pregnant? One of my friends commented 'Maybe they're making a wish, or hoping for good luck.' I think the next time people touch my belly, I'll touch theirs.
According to Wikipedia, "The Laughing Buddha" (called Hotei) is the figure frequently used in Chinese temples, who has a large smile, a large belly and a large sack filled with precious items. The tradition persists in popular folklore that rubbing Hotei's belly will bring a person luck.

If you have to rub somebody's belly, next time skip the pregnant lady -- Hotei is the one who might bring you luck.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Extra Value Diet

Pregnant women are known to have cravings. Some cravings can be quite specific. A mother-to-be might wake up in the middle of the night with a strange hankering for a piece of celery dipped in raspberry jam. That's to be expected.

Instead of these specific cravings, R just craves food. She came home late from work today (a bit after 6pm) with this manic look on her face. She hadn't eaten since lunchtime, and she needed something now. We started to rummage in the cupboards, but her need was too great, and the pickings too slim. In desperation, I tried to think of a quick solution. We'd already had Quizno's yesterday, so sandwiches were out (remember the buffers!). "What about Wendy's?"

Within seconds, we were out the door.

On our way there, R told me that greasy foods are generally not the sort of thing a pregnant woman should be eating. She must have read more of the book than I have. Of course, it makes sense that a pregnant woman shouldn't eat bacon-double-cheeseburgers, but, in reality, nobody should. She compromised by getting a burger and a salad. Once she had a bit of leafy and a jr-bacon-cheeseburger inside her, she was able to relax. Those jr bacon's always do the trick for me. In fact, I order them two at a time.

Has anyone else noticed that they've jacked up the price on the jr bacon? It used to be a screaming deal for only $1.39 (and only 99 cents at US restaurants). Now it's all the way up to $1.59! What's going on? The rest of the extra value menu is still holding steady at $1.39, why has the JrBaconCheese appreciated so dramatically?

The other thing -- what happened to the Biggie Fries and the Great Biggie? They're gone too! Now it's just Regular and Large. Is this happening in the States too, or just in Canada? What the heck is a pregnant couple supposed to do when major cravings set in?

I suppose they're supposed to eat something healthy.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Icky Nappies

The recent diapers post elicited a number of responses. Clearly, changing diapers is one the highlights of having babies. It's probably in everyone's Top Ten list. Diapers would likely come in at #2, right behind going through labour.

I liked to read a blog by a British guy living in Bermuda whose wife was pregnant (they had a baby boy on Monday). He noted in one of his posts that on average, you change 2,500 "nappies" by the time the baby reaches his/her first birthday. As Sheri noted in her recent comment, that's 6 times per day.

I've never changed a diaper before...ever.

I'm not looking forward to it at all. I don't even like to wash pots and pans, so I can't imagine what this will be like.

Since I've already mentioned the Bermuda blog, I'll point out something else I found there: the Baby Name Wizard. If you liked the SSA site that ranked baby names, you'll love this. It is based on the same data, but instead of giving the rank, it gives the frequency of the name (ie: number of babies out of 1 million with that name). Not only that, it displays it all in this dynamic graph reaching back to 1880. Words hardly do it justice. You just have to check it out.

You'll thank me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sore, sore, sore

R had a restless sleep last night.

A dull ache deep inside her chest kept waking her up all night. Actually, her whole ribcage was sore, and it was uncomfortable when she would breathe. Apparently, it was worst when she would lie on her side. The soreness has subsided some during the day, but it still lingers near her shoulder blades.

Although she hasn't experienced much nausea, she's felt progressively worse throughout month #2. At the beginning, she mainly just felt fatigued. Each day, by dinnertime she would crash. That's why I started washing more icky pots and pans. For most of the month, if R felt a bit off, she would have a snack and she would feel better. This ache that she had last night isn't the type to be warded off with a simple pickle or some soda crackers.

The stereotypical craving for pregnant women is ice cream and pickles. R doesn't like ice cream very much. She doesn't have a sweet tooth. She loves pickles, though, and every few months she has pickle cravings. Last week she bought a jar of pickles. It's hard to tell if this is a pregnancy thing or just another pickle craving. She bought a bigger jar than normal, so maybe it's the pregnancy talking.

Except for bigger pickles and some fatigue, months 1 & 2 have not been too different from normal... until last night. Hopefully, it is a passing symptom. We've heard that the first 12 weeks are the worst for these kinds of symptoms. Maybe week 8 is where it really takes off?

We may need another jar of pickles.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Layette?

R is out for the evening doing her VT duties, so I'm delving into the "Fathers Are Expectant, Too" chapter of What To Expect When You're Expecting. I was doing okay until the paragraph labeled "Shop For a Layette."

I said to myself, "What the heck is a layette?"

The paragraph itself wasn't any help because it just continued to list other things that I should help shop for (ie: crib, stroller) so that I could feel involved.

Still I wondered, "What the heck is a layette?"

Wikipedia came through for me. According to some nameless wiki-writers, a layette is "a collection of clothing for a newborn child." Apparently, the term has been expanded to cover the whole baby-shower genre. Several examples of items contained in a layette are:

  • burp cloths

  • hooded towels

  • kimonos

I kid you not -- kimonos. Burp cloths I could have predicted. Hooded towels I might have missed. But kimonos? I did not realize that we needed one. I am grateful that I have this book to point this stuff out. I guess I really am as clueless as I feared.

Wikipedia also says that "the amount of each item needed varies by source, and is mostly a matter of willingness to do laundry." I don't really like to do laundry, so we'll probably need several kimonos.

More About Name Poaching

As always, Kage comes through for me -- this time, with the data to further discuss a point made in Sunday's post. On the US Social Security Administration's website of popular baby names, you can track the popularity of name going back more than a hundred years.

I'd mentioned before a few examples of boy names which have been gradually effeminized (Alice, Cameron, Taylor). Using the SSA data I have tried to demonstrate this trend graphically. Let's start with the name "Taylor":

(Note that high popularity corresponds to the lower part of the y-axis)

The earliest data (from 1880), ranks "Taylor" as #279, but it diminishes in popularity until the mid 1960s. Taylor grows steadily more popular through the 1970s and 1980s, hitting #51 in 1993. By 2005 it has slumped back to #224.

Taylor did not even break into the top 1000 for girls until 1979, but when it did it came screaming. From 1993 to 2000, Taylor was one of the TOP TEN names for girls, sitting at #6 for three of those years. As of 2005 it had retreated back to #24.

Clearly, the name Taylor saw its popularity increase dramatically for both genders in the early 1990s. But in 1978 no one would have guessed that only 15 years later it would become the 6th most popular girl's name. Too bad for any boys named Taylor born around 1980. ;)

What about Henry?

The sturdy old name "Henry" certainly has not been abandoned, but the SSA data shows that its popularity has greatly diminished in the last 100 years.

It is interesting to note that during the 1880s, Henry was used for girls frequently enough to break the top 500, although it dropped off the map completely by 1942 and has not resurfaced. So, if my brother is worried about names that get effeminized, Henry is probably a safe bet.

Sorry about the tangent. We'll be back to measuring beans, fruit and office supplies tomorrow.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I saw this picture on a blog kept by one of my college roommates and his wife. She took it during a recent trip to Xining, China.

I love this kind of old-school practicality / adaptability. I remember going to the store with my brother one time to buy diapers for his baby. They were crazy expensive. Not only is the Xining Approach economical, but it's also good for the environment:
Try to imagine how many diapers a country of 1.3 billion would need, and how much landfill space that would require. That's something like 20 million babies.

SIZE UPDATE: In an earlier post, I noted the problematic nature of comparing the baby's Week 8 size to a grape. According to bean-loving, the fetus is the size of a kidney bean. I find this to be much more instructive. Thank you, babycenter.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sturdy Names

A mother of two with actual experience is bound to have much greater insight on pregnancy that I have. Cousin Kage comes through with a good point:
For us, [knowing the gender] helped us to get to know our baby better. We named them, called them her/she....I liked that better than IT. Anyway, I find it really helps to start our family even earlier and have a great connection that much sooner.

Clearly, the benefits of knowing the gender are greater than just knowing what colour wallpaper to buy, or whether to get little hair ribbons. Just think, it would be much easier to pick the name for a baby if you could eliminate half of the options in one fell swoop, just by knowing the gender. Choosing a name would still be terribly difficult, however, since there are probably thousands of names to choose from -- plus whatever original masterpieces you can dream up on your own.

When my younger brother T was here for the Labour Day weekend, we discussed baby names -- likely because that was the weekend we first learned of the pregancy. T said he had a preference for older, established names -- sturdy names. His particular favourite was Henry. If he had a son, he would name him Henry, because it is so loaded with character that the boy would be an upright citizen almost by default.

If names like Henry are so great, why is it that they have fallen into disuse? We figured it is because they sound old, and people want younger-sounding names for their little babies. Perhaps "Henry" would be overly-mature for his years and would struggle to fit in with his peers. Instead of running and jumping in the grass, he would prefer to read the Wall Street Journal. In place of SpongeBob he would want to watch reruns of old baseball games... or something like that.

While certain names may be gathering dust, others are secretly being poached. R's sister J recently pointed out that a number of male names have been coopted for use by girls. She had some source she'd found that listed a bunch of these names, but the only ones I could still come up with are Alice, Taylor and Cameron. Perhaps that's why my brother prefers these old sturdy names -- there's less of a chance that they'll be poached.

So Henry is a prime name for a boy. Unfortunately, my brother says he's got dibs.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Gender Debate

Cousin Kage asks, "Do you have plans to find out the gender of your sesame seed?"

Obviously, some people would prefer not to learn the baby's gender before birth. That is the way it was for thousands of years, and they would prefer to keep with the tradition. Other people might look at it from a practical point of view and might prefer to know ahead of time, in order to properly prepare for the new arrival (ie: buying blue items vs. pink).

I was talking to someone from Russia the other day, and she said it is bad luck to buy anything for the baby before its birth. She told me that when she was 10 her parents came home from the hospital, laid her baby sister in the middle of their bed, and left her to babysit while they went to buy diapers, clothes and everything else. She just sat there, terrified, until they came back. That seems a little extreme.

We are pretty old-fashioned in some respects. For example, we don't have cable. Until recently we only had dial-up internet access. Despite the overwhelming trend to buy white gold or platinum, our wedding rings are made from yellow gold. Neither of us has a mobile phone. I could probably find some better examples, but those will do for now.

If you asked us a few years ago whether we'd like to know the baby's gender before the birth, we probably would have said no. The topic came up the other day and it almost seemed laughable -- after all the interference/assistance from doctors and clinics -- to suddenly turn around and say, "No, we insist on doing everything the traditional way."

The short answer to your question, Kage, is that we would love to know the gender. We aren't Russian, so it shouldn't do any harm, right?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Spreading the Word

We've spent much of the day putting out the word to friends and relatives, and it's been great to hear back from so many people. We didn't exactly wait the customary 3 months, but we can hardly contain ourselves. There are still 30+ weeks to go, and I don't know how much more excited we can get. Thanks for your comments or for just coming to visit the site. I've been checking the stats for the website and I've seen the tracks left as several people have come and gone.

We're going to a career planning workshop at the church tomorrow and they gave us 25 pages of prep work that we're supposed to fill out before we go. We've been working on it all evening and now I'm kind of tired of writing "power statements" to demonstrate my manifold abilities and successes. Check this one out:

I understand how to motivate people and assemble them for action. As a volunteer youth leader, I gathered a group of 55 inexperienced teenagers and organized them into a youth choir that sang for 22 hours straight and broke a world record.

In case you were wondering, the baby still has a bit of a tail this week, but that is slowing morphing into a backbone. The elbow joints are appearing and even the eyelids are beginning to form. That is hard to imagine when you think that this baby is still less than an inch long.

Next week the baby will be the size of a grape. In my time, I have seen grapes of many different sizes, so I find this comparison problematic. I guess I should just picture a standard-sized grape. You should too.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Heart Beat

Today was the big day - the ultrasound appointment.

I was surprised how quick it was. The technician put the sensor down on R's stomach and almost instantly a grainy image appeared on the monitor of a tiny fetus within the womb (strangely, it looked nothing like a paperclip). It was an amazing feeling -- relief and joy. Although we had been fairly confident for the last few week, until today there was still the possibility that the baby had not begun to grow, or something wasn't quite right. You're not sure until you see the heartbeat, which is one of the main indicators of good health and development.

Once it was pointed out me, I could clearly see the tiny heart moving and pixellating on the screen. That was great news. Then the technician measured the heart rate and told us that it was 128 beats per minute -- well within the desired range. Then the baby must have realized we were watching and decided to show off, pushing the heartrate up to 150 beats per minute.

The baby measured 1.17 cm -- less than an inch. According to the charts, that corresponds to 5.4 weeks of gestation, or 7.4 weeks in the entire process. That is exactly what we would have guessed. Our doctor confirmed the due date as May 7th, which was the date predicted by the online calculator. Everything is looking great.

The near future will be filled with visits to various doctors as R is subjected to various tests to track her health and progress. Usually, such tests would fill her with dread, but today was fantastic.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Here is the big news: not only is the baby the size of a raspberry, it happens to weigh the same as a paperclip. This makes me wonder - does a paperclip weigh less than a raspberry? This like comparing apples and oranges... except worse, because we're comparing aggregate fruit to office supplies. How many raspberries does it take to make a paperclip or vice-versa? Who made paperclips a standard of measurement? What happened to the gram? What's so great about paperclips, anyway?

It's nice to see some comments coming through from some of our fans. Unfortunately, I think many of our fans are new to the world of blogging and don't realize a few important things:
1) blogs are reocurring posts that need to be checked again and again
2) you don't get a notice about new posts unless you subscribe to an RSS feed (like Google Reader or FeedBurner)
3) you can (and should) leave comments
4) babies like to bounce around like jumping beans

We've started reading the chapter called "Fathers Are Expectant, Too" in our book. It helpfully outlines some of the concerns that fathers-to-be (ie me) might have during pregnancy:

So much attention has been focused on my wife since she became pregnant that I hardly feel I have anything to do with the pregnancy -- beyond taking part in conception.

I really don't feel that left out or jealous or whatever. Sure, I've concocted this plan to take photos of my stomach every week and scrapbook them together, but that's just because I think it will be beautiful piece of art. Maybe I don't feel left out because I have this blog and it makes me feel important.

Here's a tip from the book to help expectant fathers feel involved: "Act Pregnant". The book provides more details about how to act pregnant, but I'll leave it your imagination.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Roughly the Size of a Raspberry

Another week and another new food comparison. Apparently, the baby has morphed from a chickpea into a raspberry. This is good news, because R is a huge raspberry fan. She doesn't really go for chocolate or other sweets, but she goes nuts over raspberries... and lettuce. She's pretty wild.

We have not left the bean family completely behind. says that "your baby is like a little jumping bean, moving in fits and starts around his watery home." A little jumping bean?

R has been feeling completely wiped out lately. Totally wiped out. I have found myself doing more of the chores around the house. I still do a terrible job of cleaning all the pots and pans. I don't mind doing the rest of the dishes, but there's something about the icky pots that I really don't like. I will often do all the dishes except for one pot... and maybe a glass. R points this out occasionally, but I don't have a good explanation for it. This weekend I left a lettuce spinner out one day, a saucepan the next, and a frying pan (actually two frying pans) on the last day. Finally R had to intercede. The laundry went off in similar fashion.

Interesting advice from -

This Week's Activity: Take a photo of your belly.
Have someone take a picture of you this week, before your pregnancy starts showing. Then keep taking photos once a month until your baby arrives. It's a great way to track your progress and you'll love having the keepsake. Tips for a great shot: Consider wearing the same outfit, standing in the same spot, and striking the same pose (profiles work best) for each photo. Black-and-white shots and nudes or semi-nudes can also be beautiful.

R says that she doesn't want to take shots of her belly -- nude or otherwise. She suggests that perhaps I would like to take shots of my belly. I think that would be a wonderful keepsake.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Question of Adoption

Yesterday (Saturday) we went to Montreal for a regional welfare training conference. We had to drive 2 hours there to make it for an 8am start, so it was a pretty early morning for us. By the time we went to bed last night, R was completely wiped out. For the last half of the trip we took the old highway 17 which runs along the Ottawa River and goes through a few little towns. The sun was low over the water some of the trees were already turning bright red. It was spectacular.

One of the speakers at the conference was the Social Services manager from Toronto, responsible for all of Eastern Ontario (us) and some of Western Quebec. Last year our bishop gave us the contact information for this man because we were going to make preliminary inquiries about adoption. We did not want to give up on pregnancy altogether, but we thought we should at least begin to explore some other avenues, so we weren't starting from zero the day we decided to go ahead with adoption. We probably still have the telephone number somewhere, but we never contacted Social Services.

One of R's friends at church who adopted two children loaned us a book called For the Love of a Child, all about the adoption process. Someone else loaned her Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul because it had a section about miracle pregnancies -- people who had no chance at having children and then it just happened. That was the only part I read. I don't think either of us had totally bought into the adoption plan yet, but it was in the back of our minds. R worried about adopting a child and then suddenly getting pregnant. She worried how the two children might view themselves differently if one was "biological" and the other was adopted.

Although we would be ecstatic to raise adopted children, there is something extra special about seeing your own genes passed down into another generation. Perhaps it's just vanity. At the same time, I hope certain of my traits and features do not get passed along, or at least get diluted. My baby pictures are not the sort of thing that makes it onto the front of a magazine. I had a really big head and some very large features to go along with that head. On top of that, I was a bit gangly and uncoordinated as a kid -- leading to numerous nosebleeds when I would try to play catch. R has a tiny little head and daintier features. Let's hope that we meet somewhere in the middle.

Week 7 starts tomorrow. The day of the chickpea is upon us.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Primary Concern

Amid the elation and the optimism a worry lingers: a miscarriage.
We have dealt with disappointment every month for nearly 4 years, but we have never been this close. We have never been this optimistic. After bracing ourselves for bad news so frequently, it was difficult to become completely convinced that this was a real pregnancy. R was particularly guarded. But each passing day rachets our hopes a little higher, and withholding the news from others is like putting a lid on a pot of water on the stove -- it boils over even faster. It will be a great relief to finally get some more information.

The lab technician told us that R is producing "pregnant" hormones. We have additional observable evidence to suggest she's pregnant. That's it. That's all we know. We don't know if there's just one baby growing in there, or if there's three, or if the baby is really growing at all. R felt a bit of a cramp earlier today and she couldn't help but wonder. The stats say 15-20 percent of pregnancies end in the first 20 weeks. What's that, 1 in 5? 1 in 6? I had no idea it was so high. Of course, we've been blessed to get this far, so we are very optimistic about our chances. In fact, we are pretty much certain about our chances, and that's why we're so elated. We certainly don't spend much of our time worrying. We spend most of our time walking around starry-eyed, dreaming about the future.

In general, R has been feeling pretty well. Still no morning sickness. She was telling me that only half of all women get morning sickness, but the ones who do get it, often get it really bad. Instead, she's had fatigue and some headaches. Food has continued to be the best remedy for her ills, but that could change. No crazy food cravings or dislikes yet, but R was already pretty iffy about foods. I can eat the same thing every day for long periods of time. University is a perfect example (I ate tuna for breakfast, pasta from the pot for lunch and something easy for dinner). She needs a time buffer between recurrences of all her foods. Some foods (like pizza bagels) have a short time buffer (a week), others (like spaghetti) have longer buffers (two months). Some buffers are so large that we still haven't lived long enough to measure them (sushi).

The buffers represent a minimum waiting period. If you don't wait this bare minimum, the buffer grows longer the next time, sometimes doubling or tripling. If you're not careful, you can easily push a food into the immeasurable category. The bottom line: pregancy is going to mess with the buffers, and nobody knows where they're going to end up.

One more week until the ultrasound.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

One in Four Means Two

Here's another tip from your overall odds of having twins in a pregnancy is 1 in 32. Triplets is 1 in 555.

Only 12 percent of twins are identical (aka monozygotic). That means there's a lot of fraternal twins out there. Apparently, 20-25 percent of women who do fertility treatments end up with a multiple pregnancy. That's like 1 in 4. Statistically, we are 8 times more likely to have twins than your average couple. I don't think we have to worry though. We didn't do IVF, and I bet most of the multiple births come from there. In those instances, they introduce 3 or 4 embryos into the uterus. Sounds like a surefire way to get fraternal twins, if you ask me.

Having twins has its disadvantages, but it can be good too. We have 4 years of "childlessness" to make up for, and two babies at once would go a long way towards catching us up to such prolific family planners as my brothers and sister. Not only that, it cost more than $2,000 for the treatments. Twins is pretty much 2 for 1. Despite these wonderful advantages, I still don't think R is cheering for twins. Heck, who can imagine where she's going to put one baby during pregnancy, let alone two? The ultrasound is a week from now, so we'll find out more then.

You're not supposed to count your chicks until they're hatched, but I think that saying came out before they invented ultrasound machines. Who can resist the urge to count babies when they have an ultrasound machine?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Not Sick, Just Tired

Week six is supposed to be the beginning of serious morning sickness; however, R hasn't been complaining of major nausea -- instead, she's felt abnormally tired. She came out to my football game tonight (which we lost) and when we got home she just collapsed on the couch.

R's mom sent her a book called "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and it arrived in the mail today. Stranded on the couch, she decided to dive into the book. There was a neat diagram of the baby's current shape and development. Pretty lumpy, but the heart's already beating and the organs are beginning to form.

Apparently, our little sesame seed started the week the size of a lentil bean and will threaten to overtake a chickpea by Sunday. I got that little tidbit from If you put in the date of conception (the accuracy of which was discussed at length yesterday), the site spits out a day-by-day calendar for every week of pregnancy. Today's tip was about the lentil/chickpea. Monday's was about cravings.

R hasn't had any specific cravings yet, she says. Instead, she eats to avoid nausea. If she starts to feel ill during the day, she has a snack and that usually helps. I eat snacks all the time, but it's usually because I'm hungry... or bored... or maybe both.

We got DSL hooked up today, so it's a bit of a treat to be on here blogging. I only had to wait on hold for 90 minutes for the technical service rep to come on and assign me a username and password. Now you can all call us on the phone while we're blogging... or at least while I'm blogging. I'm not sure when we'll get R to make a post.

Monday, September 11, 2006

History: From 2000 to Week 5

Start counting the weeks, because the due date should be May 7, 2007 -- if we can trust the online pregnancy calculator. We really have no reason NOT to trust the calculator, so we'll stick with May 7 for now. Even if the calculator were untrustworthy or incorrect, we could be certain about one date: August 14, the date of conception. That is because we have witnesses. A doctor and a nurse, in fact. Perhaps it would be helpful to provide a chronology that leads up to August 14, to account for the presence of the witnesses:

November 2000
- We are married. R has finished university but D still has 18 months left, so we decide to wait a bit before having kids. If only we knew.

May 2002
- Graduation and a new job out in Ottawa.

November 2002
- One afternoon, R asks D for his thoughts on beginning a family. D says something profound and memorable like, "Sounds great." D & R turn the dial from "no kids" to "kids" and begin to wait.

November 2003
- No luck so far. R finds it awkward when the subject comes up in conversation with friends. D remains optimistic, which is typical for him. Doctors say it can take 18 months to return to equilibrium after The Pill.

November 2004
- Disconcerting. Awkwardness/optimism continues as the 18-month mark comes and goes. Our doctor refers us to the Fertility Clinic.

May 2005
- The Clinic does some tests to find the problem. Both of us come through with a clean bill of health. In the past, couples like us were "unexplainable" cases.

July 2005
- After a closer look, The Clinic discovers that the problem is with D's manufacturing. Apparently, there are some inherent production flaws which greatly reduce the probability of success. Fortunately, there is a treatment option available with a 50 percent success rate. Unfortunately, this treatment (IVF) costs $10,000 and is explained using language like "superovulation" and "harvesting eggs." There's another, gentler option for only $750 (IUI), but its success rate is a modest 15 percent. We decide to give nature until Christmas to run its course.

January 2006
- After Christmas we give the green light for IUI, but are disappointed to hear that we'll have to wait another month, and then we may only get one chance at it before The Clinic moves into posh new premises, which will postpone all treatments by another month or two.

March 2006
- We have our first IUI treament, but the medications (needles!) that R must take do not have the desired effect and only one follicle develops to sufficient size to produce an egg. R does not allow herself to become too hopeful. D is prepared to buy a crib and teddy-bear wallpaper; however, the treatment is unsuccessful.

May 2006
- The Clinic is moving so we skip the IUI and just use Clomid pills. No dice. At least there were no needles or ultrasounds this time around.


August 2, 2006
- Another IUI treatment begins with greater dosages for R (more needles!).


August 11, 2006
- The ultrasound analysis shows only one large follicle developing, although there are two or three more small ones well back of the leader, jostling for second place. Since it doesn't look much better than the first IUI, we consider cancelling the procedure to save some of the $750 fee, but we decide to give it another day or two.

August 12, 2006
- The follicle runners-up are closing the gap on the leader. It's unclear if they will be big enough at ovulation, but the doctor is hopeful.

August 13, 2006
- A morning blood test shows R's LH levels are rising -- a sign of imminent ovulation. She takes a shot (another needle!) to trigger wholesale release from all developing follicles. R is cautiously optimistic. D has his head in the clouds.

August 14, 2006
- We go into The Clinic for the final procedure. Afterwards, the nurse and doctor depart, and tell us to call back in 17 days -- with good news or bad.


August 31, 2006
- The schedule suggests that R should call The Clinic today, but she is uncertain whether the treatment has been successful. She is feeling the usual symptoms that signal a failure to launch. She chooses to wait one more day, just in case. The thought has not occurred to either of us to try a home pregnancy test. We are idiots.

September 1, 2006
- R finally goes into The Clinic for a blood test. They promise to call by noon, but by 1pm she can't take it any longer and leaves to run errands. D (at work) gets impatient and calls her at 4pm. She replays the answering machine message from The Clinic: "Congratulations, you're pregnant." Both of us had become convinced that it hadn't worked. Both of us were completely overcome with emotion. A few hours later, we pick up D's younger brother at the airport, who is visiting from NY. It was wonderful to have family around to share in the news, although it is bittersweet for D's brother. He'll be the only sibling left without kids (which is understandable, because he is missing an essential spousal component).


September 4, 2006
- Week 5 is upon us and we realize that we are completely unprepared. We know everything about conception and nothing about pregnancy. Some online research reveals that the baby is approximately the size of a sesame seed during week 5 -- thus the name of the blog. Also, week 5 is typically accompanied by frequent trips to the washroom. This is comforting news.


September 11, 2006
- Blogging begins in earnest. Hopefully, this record will be interesting and informative for family and friends, and possibly even for complete strangers. Better yet, it will be reassuring for couples in our same situation who need to hear stories about beating the odds.