Archive for December 2012

December 18th, 2012

It Just Got Surreal

This past Sunday morning Steph pulled me out of my pre-fully-awake daze with a sharp “Bob!”

She them urgently grabbed my hand, placed it on her abdomen just below her bellybutton, and then clued me in. “You might be able to feel the baby move.”

We laid there quietly, and in a few seconds there was a wave of unmistakable motion that I guess I will call “squirmy fluttering.” I left my hand there for about a minute and there were several more instances of it, each one lasting a few seconds with a pause of a few seconds in between them. So I have now felt the movements of a living thing that I created for the first time.

Also we are now on a waiting list for a daycare, and I have signed up for a life insurance policy.

I have no idea who I am anymore.

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December 12th, 2012

Gender’s Role

I got really busy at work and with Thanksgiving events, so mid-October to mid-November were a blur. I had little time to think about our pregnancy (which was probably for the best, ’cause as I said in the previous post there was really nothing to do during this period but think about our pregnancy, and too much thinking can be a problem for me). This subsequently meant not writing much about our pregnancy.

This is from just a few weeks ago, 11/28. Very soon I’ll be posting things in “real time”:

If you would like to sit in a dark room and look at alternating images that resemble the face from a pirate flag, then an elderly person’s emaciated limbs, then the H.R. Giger-designed monster from Alien, you should really think about attending an 18-week ultrasound.

What I mean here is the sonic-imaging makes its subject’s bones show up bright white while the nose and the chin and the fingernails — any parts of the baby belonging to the “adorb-alicious” family, as I believe it is referred to technically — are merely dull grey halos.

Also viewable at this point: the baby’s (here’s some additional scientific jargon coming at you) “junk.” I’m assuming this also came through in an indecipherable mid-tone, but I would not know. We’re opting out of discovering the baby’s gender while we’re pregnant.

I know a few other couples our age who have not found out, but not many. Considering almost everyone uses the line about “not caring as long as it has ten finger and ten toes,” it’s strange to me that most parents I’ve talked to said they had to know as soon as possible. Then there’s a comment about how they cannot believe we are waiting until our baby is born to know its sex.

It’s happened enough now that I have developed a stock reply: “I grew up with a brother and a sister and I’ve always been close with both of them, so I really am fine with either.” (And while this is true, I’ve heard Steph use: “it’s an extra something to help me want to get the delivery over and done with” many times now, and I like this rebuttal even better. It seems like it could be a good party line for all us “Surprisers.” Also, I certainly hope she is right about this.)

More than anything though, waiting has always just seemed like the more exciting option to me, even from way before I was in any position to have kids. Maybe because then what it looks like and sounds like and feels like and whether it’s a boy or a girl — everything about the kid — comes in a rush on one day.

The only drawback that people have mentioned, that I do understand, is that gift-givers will not know whether to get a “boy” thing for us, or a “girl” thing. I have to say, however, that I even view this as a positive. I’d really prefer that my little boy not just be surrounded by trucks and dinosaurs and blue things, or that my little girl not just be surrounded by princesses and flowers and pink things. When it comes to baby-gift-giving this is where many, many people seem to end up, and I think we all have it in us to do better.

The technician who did our ultrasound was great about honoring our wishes and told us to close our eyes when she scanned over our child’s “hmm” or perhaps its “haa” (more medical terms). But I’d bet that we could have kept our eyes right on the screen and we still would not have known the sex unless the tech told us precisely what it was we were seeing — this has been the general order of things during the ultrasounds. I’m glad she played it safe, though. She then printed out some of the images and a report for us to take to a subsequent appointment with our doctor.

As we walked through the building from the ultrasound lab to the practice’s office, report in hand, Steph and I both went into some sort of Law & Order: OB-GYN mode, looking for a place where the tech had slipped up and inadvertently revealed the secret to us.

Me: “Was she saying ‘he’ at the beginning of that? I swear she said ‘He’s moving around a lot’.”

Steph: “That was before she got any lower than the head.”

Me: “Maybe she saw some indication that it’s a boy while she was getting her angle on the head, and then she let it slip.”

Steph: “I doubt it. She might have said ‘he’ but it was probably just because some people don’t like to call a baby ‘it.’ Most of the books use ‘he’ and ‘she’ when they are giving you information about a baby that could be either.”

Me: “Aah! They left the ‘Genitalia’ category on our report! Wait, well, they just put down ‘normal’ there. I guess that’s good news, regardless.”

Steph (having grabbed the report to look it over): “Oh no, don’t look at page two! I think they did leave a category on here that says what it is!”

Me: “No, I made that same mistake a minute ago. ‘Fetal anatomy’ does look like ‘female anatomy’ when you’re reading quickly.”

Steph: “God, it sure does.”

I have no idea why we went here.

We then met one of the doctors at our practice for the first time; up until then we’d only seen nurse/midwives. He had a name of Grecian origin that had a lot of syllables and was hard to pronounce. His last name started with a “V,” so he introduced himself as “Dr. V.” He did this without even hinting at the fact that there was a distinct relationship between they type of doctor he was and his nickname and I noticed the “Dr. V” moniker was nowhere to be seen on his business card! If I were a gynecologist and I were named “Dr. V” I would totally play this up! If I were a woman, I would refuse to see anyone else! This, I regret to inform you, is what was running through my head as Dr. V began discussing the well-being of our unborn child with us. I think I did a good job of concealing my amusement and looking appropriately concerned though.

I do know that he told us that our baby was healthy and growing right on schedule. Guess I should probably wrap up by telling you that.

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December 5th, 2012

Reassurance

This is from 10/14:

We seem to have settled into a sort of limbo-stage of pregnancy. Sinking-in of the concept has occurred. Doctor’s appointments have been attended. All of the people in our lives have been told — parents, siblings, and grandparents first; closest friends next; then extended family; then compatriots/coworkers/acquaintances.

Ahead lays Steph starting to show and house rearrangement and classes and showers and more profound sinking-in of the concept, but for now there is nothing immediate to do for or because of this baby. So there’s been time to just think.

One of the things that I have been thinking is: I have created a life that is going to inhabit this planet for the next 80-or-so years. And then: was that a good idea?

And here I guess I mean was it a good idea for me specifically to do this? (When you’re you, you are much too aware of all your imperfections and all the dumb things you’ve done, and you can easily convince yourself that the best thing to do will just be to go into your child’s room every morning and, before it even gets out of bed, apologize for its genetic make-up.)

But I also mean: so many people who already inhabit this world do not have enough of even the basic necessities — many times because we humans just can’t seem to share things with each other, but also because we are multiplying and using up resources at an unprecedented rate.

I recently read an article about several US couples where each member underwent sterilization procedures as wedding presents to themselves, because it seemed to them the most responsible thing they could do given the current global climate.

It really is hard to look at the facts and say that introducing another of the neediest-of-creatures to this already overwrought, overly-taxed planet is a good call.

But then I think about the person I am having a child with.

The entire time I have known Steph, I have seen her constantly, in her own unassuming way, do good things for others and for the places they live in — both physical and ethereal. (And this is not just my perspective. Anyone who has known her throughout her life will tell you the same thing.) This planet can be a difficult and unforgiving place, most often because of the way human beings treat each other, and I really believe that my wife offsets at least some portion of the intolerance and indifference every single day.

Through nature and nurture, this new life is going to be half her. When that fact pops into my head, I no longer have any doubts: bringing this life onto this planet is the right thing to do.

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