Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More on the Job Front

I'm sorry I didn't post more details about the new job yesterday, but as soon as I got home we went out for a celebratory dinner, and the we xhit the hay pretty much as soon as we got back.

As you might have surmised from my mobile post, the other girl turned down the director position at the center that's 45 minutes from home, so that's where I'll be going.

I must admit have kind of mixed feelings about it turning out to be that one, but I've already talked about all the pros and cons of both.

Mostly, the mix is between being excited and, truth be told, a little impressed with myself, for having this opportunity, especially after being there only three months, tempered with some terror and apprehension about the huge increase in responsibility.

Since it's time for me to be evaluated anyway, what ED2 suggested is that, instead of her and Director just filling out an evaluation form and telling me how I'm doing, she'd like me to complete one on myself, as well .

The three of us will sit down together on Friday and go over it all, identifying the things that I've got down, the things I'm still not quite comfortable with and the things that I've not yet been trained on.

Then we'll look at the Director job description and identify the parts of it that I've not yet learned, and we'll share all that with the Regional Director who'll be overseeing me and doing my training at the new center.

(She'll be there with me three days a week for a while, then will drop back to two days, which is what she does now.)

It's funny, when Director told me that I was going to be formally evaluated, I got all nervous. My first reaction was, "Oh no, I hope they think I'm doing a good job."

Well, you big dumb-ass, they gave you a fucking promotion and your own center to run after three months on the job. How do you think they think you're doing?

I realized that, given that it's pretty clear that they are, on the whole, happy with my work, it would behoove me to be as honest as possible in this self-evaluation, and to be as up-front as I can about the areas in which I'm less sure of myself or feel like I need further training.

That's something I've made an effort to do, from the beginning at this job. Rather than being afraid to admit that I'm not sure about something, I've forced myself to ask questions and look for clarification on things.

Also, rather than just saying, "I don't know how to do that yet, so I'll leave it for Director," I've made an effort to learn how so that I can do it.

So, I went over the evaluation form today. I couldn't bring myself to rate myself on the 1 -5 "fails to meet expectations" through "exceeds expectations" scale, so I created a whole new one:

√ - I feel comfortable with this
? - I feel like I need more training or more practice on this
x - I've not yet been trained on this
I hope they're ok with that. I like to think of it as being creative and showing initiative.

They seem to like that about me.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Mobile Post: Job Change

Job 2 - Director.
Holy crap.

Job Decision

In addition to all the sleeping over the weekend, I guess I also reached the decision that regardless of which of the two closer positions it turns out is actually being offered to me, I'll take it.

I don't think that either ED will be in today, but they promised they'd be in touch. I assume one will call me as soon as she hears from the other girl, who got first dibs at the directorship, and then I'll let them know that I'll take the other position.

Hey - Let's make this a test of the mobile blogging rapid info network!

(You know, just in case I have anything else interesting to report later this week.)

I'm not big on the verbosity (oddly enough) when typing on my phone but I'll try posting from there to say whether I'm taking:

Job #1 - Same position, same pay, 30 minutes closer to home or
Job #2 - Promotion and raise, 15 minutes closer to home

Honestly, I couldn't say which I'm hoping it will be, because each has its pros and cons.

The promotion and raise would be very nice to have, but I've barely learned the job I'm in and I'm not totally comfortable with it yet, so it's a bit daunting to jump up the next rung of the ladder so soon.

Also, every bit of distance makes a difference, especially with gas as pricey as it is (in fact, the raise with Job#2 probably would not make up for the additional 150 miles/week, compared to Job #1) and with me as sleepy as I've been lately.

And, it would be nice to work in the same town with Shrike (Job #1), although Job #2 would still bring me through town at dinner time, a few days a week.

Hmm, that actually sounds like I'm leaning a bit toward Job #1, but that part about the raise and promotion is a pretty big vote for Job #2.

That would look awful good on a resume at some point. Not just the position itself, but to have gotten to that position after only three months. But, still, there are those other points.

Luckily, though, I don't have to decide which I'd rather, and there's really no point in even trying to decide, or in hoping for one over the other because it's not up to me.

If the girl currently in Job #1 wants Job #2, it's hers, and I get #1. Likewise, if she passes on it, it's mine.

And you, loyal readers, will know which it is, as soon as I do.


It's been a very long ten (actually 11 - it's technically Monday morning, now) days since the IUI, and I expect the next five (4) until the pregnancy test to be just as long.

It's also been pretty weird. (Note: spelled correctly!)

After getting over (somewhat) the initial freakiness of the situation right after the IUI, I immediately had this overwhelming sense of vulnerability.

Actually, I don't know if "vulnerability" is the right word, but a sense that there's this hugely fragile, tentative, tenuous thing possibly going on inside of me, and anything that I do wrong could mess it all up.

The thought that I could have a little, tiny, proto-human floating around inside me, looking for a soft, squishy place to settle in for nine months or so, just made me want to put myself in bubblewrap and sit around thinking welcoming thoughts.

I just had this image of Zippy the Zygote (yeah, you got a problem with that) coming in for a landing and just then, I slam on the brakes or jump at a loud clap of thunder or sneeze or, hell, roll over in bed and "Aaaaaiiiihhhh!" s/he goes tumbling back out into the abyss of my uterus, wondering where the hell that comfy endometrium that went!

Now, at about 10 days post ovulation, if the egg were fertilized, and if implantation were going to occur, it's likely that it has by now.

I guess that makes me, on the one hand a bit less skittish, in that at least Zippy wouldn't be free-floating anymore, on the other hand, what with the placental connections that might be forming, now would be when all those rules about what to eat and everything else like that really start to matter.

Trading one neurosis for another, yippee.

As for what I'm feeling, physically, it's really hard to say.

I think I am possibly more sleepy than usual, and maybe a bit more grumpy and sensitive (like PMS, but starting too early for that), and maybe I'm more aware of smells (or maybe there are skunky-funky dogs in my house, and who wouldn't smell that? Oh, Shrike wouldn't.) but it's hard to say.

Or maybe I just think I'm experiencing all those things because I'm looking for them.

Besides, all that could be caused by the progesterone that I'm taking, so I'm not considering any of it to really be "sign" of anything.

On the other hand, overall, I don't feel particularly different, nor do I have any kind of sense that anything spectacular is going on in there.

I'm not sure what I expect - maybe a warm, glowy feeling or orchestral music emanating from my uterus or swirling rainbow sparklies circling my pelvic region or something - but it seems like I should feel something or just somehow know if I were, in fact, pregnant.

I suppose if that were the case, all those manufacturers of home pregnancy tests would have gone out of business long ago, though.

Maybe I'm just trying to protect myself from being disappointed, or maybe it's because I do have some "intuitive sense" about it or maybe it's just because it's all so fucking surreal to even be actually trying that the possibility of being actually pregnant is almost incomprehensible but, as much as I hope that I'm wrong, I pretty much expect the test to be negative on Friday.

I will, of course, be disappointed if that's the case, but not devastated. After all, this is just our first attempt and how often does that work?

(Except for fourteen year olds in the backseats of cars. Then, all too often.)

On the other hand, if I'm wrong, I'll be thrilled, of course, but also shocked.

As I was telling Shrike today, it's kind of like the lottery. When you buy a ticket, you really hope to win - and you can certainly have that money spent in your head before you even get out of the Quicky Mart - but you don't expect to win.

Then, you're disappointed when you don't win, but not at all surprised.

That's kind of how it feels. I'm really, really, really hoping for a positive beta on Friday, and that's certainly the scenario that I prefer to imagine, but I also fully expect it to be negative.

On the other hand, Shrike pointed out that our odds of getting pregnant are a lot better than our odds of winning the lottery.

She does have a good point there . . . .

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Photo Hunter #18: Creative

This is me. We hope something (someone) is being created in there!

Weekend Update

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon at Central BlueState PrideFest, in CapitolCity.

At this point, we're really over the "Oh my Gawd! Gay people! Stuff with rainbows on it! Must buy!" reaction that we had to our first couple of Prides, but we still enjoy going, if for no other reason than to see lots of people that we know.

We always say "We haven't seen you since Pride last year. We should really get together. Oh, we'll definitely do that!" But of course, we never seem to manage it.

On the other hand, are some people whom we've not seen in years, except at Pride, and we're really just fine with that.

For the past four years I've either been in charge of or helped with a booth, for one thing or another. I really enjoy that, because you have a place to sit, and shade, and a "headquarters" and you get to talk to lots of people about something that you care a lot about. (Three of the booths were political, one was for a camping club.)

On the other hand, it was kind of nice this year to just mosey up there when we got around to it, rather than having to be there early and set up everything up before the gates opened. It was also nice to just wander around a bit, sit down and chill out when we wanted, and then leave when we got tired.

When we got back into town, we went out to dinner and as soon as we got home, I fell asleep on the couch until morning.

I woke up around 7:30 am and found Shrike up already. I piddled around for about an hour, saw that she'd gone back to sleep on the couch, and decided I'd do the same.

I slept until about 10:30, then got up for another hour or so, and went back to sleep.

I got up that time when the rain outside got nasty and the thunder got really loud.

Since then, we've just been lazing around; about the only thing we've accomplished was watching a movie that we got from Netflix weeks ago, but hadn't gotten around to.

We're thinking of going out to dinner in a while, but we'd have to get showered, and would have to stay awake for another few hours.

So we might blow that off.

Saturday Special #17: Silly Questions

  1. Who is the last person you talked to?
    Do animals count? BigGaloot.
    Does email count? My mom.
    Actual human, in person? Shrike.
  2. What is your weather like right now?
    According to Weather.com: 69° F, 91% humidity, Cloudy, Winds 5 mph from the Northeast; Highof 82° F expected, lw of 66° F; 60% chance of scattered thunderstorms
  3. Where will you be this weekend?
    Yesterday we were at CapitalCity PrideFest. Today, we'll probably just hang around the house.
  4. What's for dinner?
    Hmm, good question; we haven't discussed that yet. We might go out to dinner, otherwise we'll probably just scrounge something around the house. In that case, I'll probably have leftover nachos from our dinner at Fuddruckers yesterday.

Learn more about the Saturday Special.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I'm actually writing this on Sunday morning and backdating it to Saturday, because I actually did compose it in my head yesterday evening, while lying on the couch. Only problem is, the next thing I knew, it was Sunday morning!

In the interest of not censoring myself, I usually try to forget that I've told many of my family members about this blog, and that they read it on a regular basis.

(Aren't you glad to hear that this isn't the censored version?)

Then I got an email from my mom saying, "I taught you better than to speed."


The worst part is, a couple of days ago I was actually thinking, "This ticket thing sucks, but at least it's not like when I got one when I was younger, and I had to call my mom and tell her about it."


Friday, July 27, 2007

An Interesting (Work) Development

Remember how, when I interviewed for my job, I was actually applying for a Director of Education (DE) position at a different center, about 45 minutes from home? But then they decided they needed me more at the one a hour from home? But I was told that if a position closer to home became available, I'd be considered for it?

Well, I had a very interesting conversation with the two EDs this afternoon.

It seems that the director at the the 45MinutesAway center is leaving, effective next Friday.

They've actually offered that position to the woman who is current DE at the center in TownWhereShrikeWorks, which is about 30 minutes from home. (She's, obviously, been with the company longer than I have.)

If she takes it, that will leave her current position open, and they've offered it to me. It would be, basically, exactly what I'm doing now, but 30 minutes closer to home.

If she turns down the directorship in 45MinutesAway, I've been offered that position, instead.

It would be basically what I'm doing now, plus what Director is doing (there's only one director there), but with the help, two days a week, of the TownWhereShrikeWorks director, who also helps to oversee that center.

It would be, obviously, 15 minutes closer to home, and would be $1000/year raise.

That raise would almost exactly offset the cost of my dental and AFLAC insurance, which will go into effect on Wednesday. I think my bring-home would be literally like a nickel less than what it is now.

The idea of stepping into a director position already, especially as the only director at the center, is pretty daunting, but the EDs told me today that, given what I've already learned in 90 days and what I'm doing now, I'm "most of the way there."

The only other downside would be that I really like the folks that I'm working with now (coworkers, students, parents), and I'm just getting good and comfortable with them. I do like the director over there, though, and I'm sure I'd get used to the other people, too.

Of course, the EDs are both aware of my scheduling issues regarding doctors appointments, and have taken that into consideration. They even kind of apologized for the fact that this would take me away from convenient 2-blocks-from-the-RE location, but understand that (regardless of which way things go with the beta next Friday) I'll have several more appointments there, and can be a flexible with my schedule to accommodate that.

During the conversation, both EDs said that I'm doing a great job, I've learned a ton already, I'd be great in either of these positions, and they know I want to get closer to home but that, personally, they hate the idea of me moving to either of those centers, because they like having me around at the one where they work two or three days a week. That was nice to hear.

Because the current director is leaving next Friday, and they need the new person in place on Monday August 6, they need answers from both me and the other woman on Monday!

I guess the DE position, if that's what's available, is really a no-brainer (same work, half the commute!) and I think that, although it's a lot scarier, it would also probably be smart to take the director position, if she doesn't.

I'm kind of glad that it's up to her, and not me, which position I would take, because that would be a tough call. Whichever I'm actually being offered, though, I think I'll probably take it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Finally, Some Good Financial News!

I don't think I've blogged about it yet (oddly enough), but I've been fretting quite a bit lately about finances, especially as related to our baby-making expenses.

You see, when I first started shopping for a reproductive endocrinoligist, I found one that was out of network for my insurance but two minutes from work, and others that were in network but much farther away.

I checked with my insurance company and was told that, either way, they'd cover infertility treatments at 50%. The only difference would be my out-of-pocket limit; $1000 in network vs $2000 out of network.

I asked them, to be sure, "So, once I've spent $2000, I won't spend any more?" "Right!"

Ok, not so bad, so I went with the one closest to work.

It is pretty pricey ($295 for an ultrasound - I've had three so far; $295 for the IUI, etc) but, hey, we're only paying half that, and it will stop at $2000, right?

Well, maybe not so much.

When I started getting Explaination of Benefits papers from them on some of the other testing I've had, I realized that they aren't paying 50% of what the doctor is charging, rather it's 50% of some number they made up for what they think the doctor ought to be charging.

And the other 50% of that number is credited toward my "out of pocket" limit.

And the rest of the charge - well, we get to pay that, too.

For the HSG, the radiologist charged (for the two minutes she spent in the room with me) $129.00. The insurance company looked at it and said, "Um, no. We think that procedure is worth $14.15. We'll send the doctor $7.07, and give you credit for $7.08 toward your out-of-pocket." Then the doctor sent me a bill for $121.93.

For the $295 ultrasounds, the insurance company says that they are actually worth $139.32, so they are paying $69.66.

Based on the radiologist's bill, I was afraid we'd end up paying about $225 per ultrasound, and only getting credit for about $70. At that rate by the time we fulfill my $2000 "out-of-pocket" we will have actually spent closer to $6500.

Except that we won't. Because we don't have $6500.

Then, I noticed a few more words on the Explaination of Benefits:
Patient may not be balance billed.

Hmm . . . does that mean what I think it does?

Oh please let it mean what I think it does!

So, I made yet another call to my financial coordinator at the RE's office, then talked to another person there, then faxed her a copy of the EOB.

Yesterday, my guy called back and said that "After doing some more investigating, we've determined that we do participate with your insurance, and you'll only be responsible for the 50% coinsurance."


So, to summarize, I started out thinking we'd pay $147.50 per ultrasound (for example) and get credited for that amount toward the out-of-pocket. I could live with that.

Then, we thought we'd pay $225.43 and only get credit for $69.66. That's not doable, at all.

Now, it turns out that we'll pay $69.66 and get credit for that.

That is so cool!

Especially given that we've already paid in full for everything so far, so we've got lots to be credited to our account. That means that, however the beta turns out next Friday, we probably don't owe them any more money for at least a couple of months.

Now, we just have to decide whether to go back to Dr. B once I'm good and pregnant and the RE releases me, or to find an OB/Gyn who delivers at the hospital that's in network.

Based on what we've learned so far, I'm worried that we'll end up getting stuck with a huge bill if we deliver at the local, out-of-network hospital where Dr. B works.

You know, in most industrialized nations this would all be covered automatically.

And then I'd get to take a year off work to, you know, actually be with the child I've birthed.

Oh, and in many of those countries, we'd be married.

God bless America.

Thursday Thirteen #21

Since the photos of my parents were such a hit a couple of weeks ago, here are some more that I lifted from the anniversary slide show.

13 Photos of Whozat Through the Years

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wordless Wednesday #19: Giant Panda

Should we get this for the nursery?

Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

I Fought the Law, and the Law Won

Evidently, in WorkState, being clocked going over 80 mph on an interstate is "an automatic citation."

And, evidently, 81 counts as "over 80."

And, it's a good thing that I've got a $300 prize coming for a contest that we're doing at work, because $160 of it just got spoken for.

The Rules: More Information

I got some clarification today about the soy and artificial sweeteners.

To recap, here's what I was told on Monday:

Artificial sweeteners should not be use, so if you're going to use them, do so sparingly. Soy products should not be use around the time of implantation, so wait a couple of months, but they're ok once you're pregnant."
So, am I crazy to be concerned about the fact that everything in the world has some sort of soy in it, and to want more information? Am I just totally neurotic?

Here's what I found out today, though. First, from my nurse:

Whozat! You are going to worry yourself sick!!!!!!
[No kidding!]

I honestly don't have anymore info than what Dr. E gave me -I've never heard much info about either the soy or the sweeteners. I have e-mailed Dr. E and asked her what her take is on everything you asked. I also asked her if she could recommend something legit for you to read.

In general, we recommend the following: Do not take any herbs until you speak with your OB, caffeine should be limited to nor more than one cup aday (one cup of coffee or tea or soft drink), deli meats and unpasteurized cheeses (such as Brie, and any fish containing mercury should be limited (i.e. Tuna).

Stop looking at the internet for information.
[She's right about that one, too!]

If you are truly concerned,maybe you could call your OB/GYN and see if they have a list of things thatshould be avoided. I believe the rule of thumb is to just do things in moderation (meaning everything in your diet all day long should not contain artificial sweeteners, however a soda or a yogurt with them will not harm your baby). Along with that keep in mind the above mentioned things to avoid.

I will get back to you soon with the info Dr. E gives me. Have a
great day!!!!!
Later, she forwarded me an email from Dr. E:

As far as soy products I'm talking about large amounts of tofu and soy
milk -moderate amounts like one cup a day or tofu in a meal are OK - just don't overdo it. As far as soybean oil and soy lecithin should be OK. As far as the artificial sweeteners, saccharin is a no no, aspartame no no. I'm OK with the sucralose.

Much better! I think I will stay away from my "soysages" for now, until we're past the impantation time frame, but I guess it's safe to eat things from boxes, after all!.


My Blog Interview

I've completed an interview at BlogInterviewer.com.

Please read it and rate me!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Adventures of the Stinky Dog

When I got home from work this evening, PerfectPup was barking like crazy. This isn't too unusual, but when I went to let her out, I saw that she was alone in their room, barking at Galoot through the glass door to the back yard.

What the hell?

Although it's completely unlike her, I figured that Shrike had banished him to the yard for the day because he's still skunky.

(Correction: "Only his head stinks. I got the rest of it off.")

Ok, because he's a big skunky head.

I let PerfectPup out with him and didn't think much more of it.

When Shrike got home from work a little later, I asked if she'd left him outside. She was shocked to hear that he'd been out there.

Ater a quick look around their room, though, the mystery was solved.

"I know how he got out," she said, pointing to the open window, with its screen lying on the ground outside.

No word as to what he was after at the time, but it must have been really good.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Coworkers Are Cursing My Pets

No, not cussing them, (Why would they cuss them? They don't even know them.) - cursing them.

First, a couple of weeks ago, one of our teachers told me that she'd recently been diagnosed with Lyme Disease, and BigGaloot was diagnosed last week.

Now this:

This morning, Director told me that he'd spent a good portion of yesterday washing skunk stink off or his dog.

I said, "Our dogs haven't gotten a skunk yet. I'm sure it's just a matter of time, but not yet."

Fast forward a few hours, to the following email exchange:

Whozat: How's your day going?
Shrike: Well, it involves skunk odor remover and yours?

It seems that they were off leash in the woods during their walk. Shrike was sitting by the railroad track while they ran around for a while.

She heard PerfectPup barking and when she went to check out the situation, she saw that she had a baby skunk cornered.

She shouted "PerfectPup , noooooo!" just as PerfectPup lunged for it.

Evidently BigGaloot got a snootful of skunk stink, because he foamed at the mouth and threw up and had nothing more to do with it.

(not so)PerfectPup on the other hand, kept running around, tossing the carcass in the air and playing with it.

When she got home, Shrike stuck them in their room and went to our friendly neighborhood hardware/pet supply store for some de-skunking stuff.

You're supposed to spray it on, let it dry, then bathe them.

PerfectPup got a bath before she went to work, but she didn't attempt to bathe Galoot. I'm not really sure how that's going to happen, but it's going to have to at some point.

When I got home, I just let them out, opened the back door and closed the door to their room.

And I'm ignoring them and their stink.

So far it's working.

The Rules

Good-God-A'mighty, could this get more confusing?

Of course, I am trying to behave as though I'm pregnant, in case I am.

No alcohol - check.

No caffiene - check. (Though my RE says a cup or two of coffee are okay.)

No unpasteurized soft cheeses - only a risk when my fancy French friend comes over, so check.

No sushi, no pate', no rare meat - no fucking problem.

Then it starts getting complicated.

I called my RE's nurse today for advice on a couple of things. She checked with the doctor and then left me a voice message with her answers.

I think I'm more confused now than when I started.

Take artificial sweeteners, for example. If there's anything approaching concensus on this, it's that saccharine (Sweet n' Low™ = pink) is a no-no, sucralose (Splenda™ = yellow) is probably okay, and who the fuck knows about aspartame (NutraSweet™ = blue).

My RE's advice on it is "Artifical sweeteners shouldn't be used, so if you're going to use them, do so in moderation."

Well, how the fuck to you define "moderation?"

One glass of aspartame KoolAid a day? All the sucralose I want?

And soy.

Oh my God, what's up with the soy?

My RE said that "Soy shouldn't be used around the time of implantation (which would, of course, be within the next couple of days, if there's anything there to implant), so if you're going to use it, wait a couple of months into pregnancy."

Sounds simple enough, but a quick check of some labels shows that pretty much everything that comes in a package has some sort of soy in it - if not soy protein, then either soy lecithin or soybean oil.

So, do I need to be avoiding everything with those ingredients, or just actual soy protein and things like soy burgers and the such?

I've emailed the nurse back to find out what my doctor says on the matter. I will be following her advice, whatever it is, because Dr. Google and Nurse Interwebs are not helping a bit.

Depending on what I read, soy lecithin will either cause fetal brain damage, or help maintiain a healthy pregnancy and ideal fetal development, or, possibly, when combined with progesterone shots, increase the chance of one or more embryos implanting after IVF.

What the ever-lovin' fuck?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

How Cool is This?

As you can see from my previous post, I just signed up for mobile blogging.

I don't know how often I'll use it, but when I want to, I can post text, photos or even video, directly from my cell phone.

Very cool.

This is a test. Am I mobile?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Panda Nursery Theme

I mentioned in some earlier comments that we're planning on decorating the nursery (knock wood) in a panda theme.

The thing is that Shrike loves pandas. Especially baby pandas.

At one point, before we'd quite made the decision to try, she said, "If you could just have a baby panda, it would be a done deal!"

(Sure, I suppose that could happen - our sperm came from the DC area, so I guess they could have mixed up our vial with Mei Xiang's.)

I told her that if she'd let me have a baby human instead, we could decorate the nursery in a panda theme, and dress the kid up as a panda for Halloween until it's old enough to protest.

So, that's the plan.

We're trying to avoid jumping the gun on actually buying things, but we have done a good big of looking online.

And, a few weeks ago, Shrike came home from Big Lots with a chair very similar to the one pictured here.

We've located and bookmarked everal panda accessories, and we're thinking that the furniture, bedding, curtains, etc will be black and white, with red accents.

I'd also like to find some panda drawer pulls for the dresser (I found some, but they are a whole bear; I'd prefer just the face) and some wallpaper border would be great. Or a stencil or stamp, maybe.

Now, we just need a baby to put in there with all those pandas . . . .

In Other News . . .

Believe it or not, a few (mostly) non-baby-making-related things have happened to us lately.

Little Lymey
On Wednesday, Shrike took BigGaloot to the vet for his regular check-up. He weighed in at 85 lbs (vet said she'd like to see him lose about five) and tested positive for Lyme disease.

Needless to say, we're not too happy about that, but he's on antibiotics now and they said that should knock it out.

He's taking 21 days of the same stuff (doxycycline) that I took 7 days of a few weeks ago, to make sure I was cootie-free before trying to get pregnant, but he gets 4 pills once a day and I took 1 pill twice day - and mine weren't hidden in peanut butter.

It will be a year, though, before the antibodies clear his system and he'll test negative, so we can know that we got it all.

Since Shrike is the one who walks them in the woods (where we're assuming he picked up the tick) she's going to get herself tested, as well.

Since we learned this the day before my IUI was scheduled, I freaked out a bit, as to whether I was at risk for Lyme (we generally don't tromp in the woods when I'm walking them) and whether that would throw a monkey wrench in our plans.

I checked with my RE nurse and she told me that there's "absolutely nothing to worry about" for me. Whew!

Oh, and the "Little Lymey" reference?

That's what Shrike calls Galoot these days.

Transportation Troubles
Also on Wednesday, just as I was turning onto our street (after driving an hour home from work, mostly on the Interstate), my car suddenly lost power.

I coasted to within one house of home before running out of momentum, and a neighbor (not AcrossTheStreetGuy; his next-door neighbor) pushed me into our driveway.

I probably should have called a tow truck then, but I went inside and sort of forgot about it until Shrike came home and asked why the car was parked all cock-eyed at the end of the driveway. Oops.

I called our mechanic Thursday morning, and arranged for him to tow it in before we left for the doctor's office. When the driver got there, he tried to crank it, then told me:

Wrecker Guy: It sounds like the timing belt. The problem is that on a lot
of Escorts they, they have a blah-blah-blah engine, which means that if the timing belt goes, everytime you try to crank it, the pistons hit the yada-yada, causing damage.

Me: Don't tell me that!

WG: Would you rather I lie to you?
Folks around here are very literal. They don't do well with figurative speach. Hyperbole, irony, sarcasm, etc. are totally lost on them. As you might imagine, I find this incredibly frustrating.
Me: No, you're just scaring me.

Him: Well, I don't mean to scare you, but I know a "death whirl" when I
hear one. You need to start thinking about what you want to do if it's not repairable.

Me: Oh, ever-lovin' shit.
Needless to say, there was much discussion about this on the way to the doctor's appointment.

The decision was that, since we do own a third vehicle (Sort of. We bought a small truck from Shrike's dad a couple of years ago, and use it primarily for hauling purposes. It's not the greatest or most reliable thing in the world, but it's ours.) we would not consider replacing my car until I'm well into a pregnancy.

The logic being that, right now, we don't know how long or, key point being, how much money, it will take to get pregnant. That's information that would be very useful when purchasing a car.

At some point, I believe I even spoke to my pelvic region, telling my egg that, "Assuming the car is screwed - if you will find a sperm and "stick" we'll buy you a new car - complete with your very own back doors!"

(My Escort is a 2-door hatchback. Not the most convenient thing in the world for wrestling with a car seat. But it's ours!)

However, the story does have a happy ending.

The mechanic called back while we were driving home from the doctor's office and said that my car is not one of the models with that dumb kind of engine, so there should be no serious damage, and it probably won't cost more that $250 to fix!

He did call again yesterday to suggest that we replace the water pump, for about another $75, but we're still talking about way, way, way less than replacing the car.


Disembodied Groundhog Ass
Thursday evening, we were in the office talking, each seated at our own computer, when Big Galoot came in and plopped down on the floor between us.

This is pretty standard behavior, and we didn't pay much attention to him.

At some point, I looked down and him and asked Shrike, "Um, what does have?"

On the floor, right in front of his nose was some stuffed toy (or so I thought) that I didn't recognize.

My thought process went something like this:

That part is furry with a tail, but I don't see the head, and the rest of it is made of . . . . . .leather?
. . .fabric?
. . .muscle?!?!?

Oh my God, what the fuck IS that?!?!?!?

We never did identify exactly what it was, but our best guess is that it was the back part of something that was formerly alive, ater having been partially skinned.

Perhaps the groundhog that lives lived under the shed.

Shrike got a plastic bag, to dispose of it, but when he saw her coming, Galoot picked it back up and took it back outside.

Which, actually, was fine with us.

At bedtime, we lured him way from it to come inside (so he could sleep in our bed?!?) and Shrike said she'd deal with it in the morning.

She couldn't find it yesterday. We don't know if they actually consumed it, or buried it, or what.

But we're just as glad that we don't have to deal with it now.

Saturday Special #16: Vacation Preferences

  1. Traveling by Air, Sea or Land?
    Land, if it's less than five or six hours. Air if it's farther and we can afford it.
  2. Hotel, Camp Grounds or Summer Cottage?
    I enjoy camping, but prefer that be the destination itself if I'm going to do that. Although, we've staying in a cabin at a campground near the beach, and that was nice. If I'm going to all the work to tent camp though, I don't want to have to clean up and go into town. Hotels are just fine, but I've also enjoyed when we've stayed at B&Bs a couple of times. We've never really done a "summer cottage" type of thing.
  3. Sightseeing, Weather Related Sports or Relaxing?:
    I prefer sightseeing and relaxing. Just hanging out, wandering around, shopping (in funky, arty shops or touristy places - not things I could do at home) and the like.
  4. Favorite vacation season?
    For popular destinations, it's nice to go at the tail end of the season, when it's not so crowded. For example, we prefer to go to the beach in early fall, after school starts and it's a little cooler, but still warm enough to swim. But not in February, when it's freezing and nothing is open.

Learn more about the Saturday Special.

Photo Hunter #17: Tiny

This is the syringe attached to the small catheter that was used to insert a tiny amount of even tinier sperm into my uterus on Thursday, in hopes of making a baby - which, if things are going well so far, is still quite tiny.

(Why, yes, I did whip out my cell phone and take a photo of the "biohazard" trash can holding the equipment that was used in the procedure. Was that wrong of me?)

Learn More About Photo Hunters
Photo Hunters Blog Roll

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Party In My Pants

As envisioned by my sister, and brought to life by me, with a little help from Google and Photoshop.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wham, Bam, Good Luck, Ma'am
or Swim, Boys, Swim!

Wherein Whozat Gets Sperminated

Everything went smoothly with our IUI (intrauterine insemination) this morning.

The only small negative (and I'll certainly get over it) is that our doctor wasn't the one who did the procedure. Pretty much, you get whoever is on duty at that location at the time.

This was a guy we'd not met, but he seemed nice enough in a grandfatherly, yet with the power to impregnate me, (ew ew ew) kind of way.

We got there about twenty minutes early, so had a bit of wait, but we certainly didn't want to be late, since the sperm (with its 6 - 12 hour lifespan) would be thawed and waiting for us by 11 am.

Shortly after 11, we were taken into the room, the nurse checked my photo id (to make sure some other dykes weren't stealing our sperm, I suppose) and I got situated (ie naked from the waist down).

After a short (although it didn't seem so at the time) wait, the doctor and nurse came in.

The first thing they told us was that the sperm looked great, with a count of 16 million after the wash, and great motility.

I told them that it had been double-washed (since all our donor had available to buy was already washed, but they don't trust outside washing) and the doctor said, "That's really good, then."

Yeah! Way to go, BowTieBoy!

(According to the sperm bank, their standard for IUI washed is 10 million. He's an over achiever!)

Then the doctor showed us the vial in which the sperm had been shipped, including the donor number label.

(It's TINY - I know we only bought 1 ml, and I know how small that is, but still to actually see the tiny container was kind of w-e-i-r-d.)

He also showed us the vial it had gone into for processing with its label (my name and the donor number), the color-coded (dark orange) tape, the matching tape on my paperwork, the matching patient codes on everything, et cetera, and Ihad to sign that I agreed they were giving me the right stuff.

Then, up into the stirrups I went. The whole speculum thing was less than comfortable, but no more so than usual. He did apologize when I winced, and said, "I'm sorry, I'm just trying to get a good view of the cervix."

I guess he got the view he needed, because the next thing he said, in about the length of time it will take you to read it, was:

"And it (the catheter) passes easily through the cervix for a
nice high insemination, and now I'm going to remove the speculum, and give you a few minutes alone."

Me: "What?! You're done?! That was it?!"

Doc: "Yes." (as he's removing my feet from the stirrups, covering me back up, throwing away the used materials, etc) "That's it. We could discuss 'mild discomfort' and such if you'd like, just for show, but we're done."
Then the nurse told us that I have "no restrictions" today (but I did stay home from work, on orders of my boss!), set a timer for five minutes, and told us to stay there, with my knees up, until it went off.

One of them said, "We'll give you a little less glare," and turned off the overhead lights in the room. Then a quick, "Good luck!" and we were alone.

You know, I wonder if there's really any medical need to stay put for a while afterward, or if it's just their way of giving couples a few minutes of alone time during what is a very public way of going about doing something that really should be private.

Either way, we appreciated having that chance to relish the moment.

(But, just five minutes? I've read that most give you fifteen or so. Maybe they were busy this morning and needed the room?)

The details should probably be left just between the two of us, but suffice it to say that there was giggling, and disbelief, and kissing, and a few tears, and instructions to "Swim your lazy asses up there and get that egg!"

(We're going to be just stellar parents, aren't we?)

Then we paid, scheduled my pregnancy test (Friday August 3; I'll have the blood drawn at 8 am and they'll call with results that afternoon), and drove home.

We stopped for lunch at the new Fuddrucker's when we got back in town. We've not been there before, because the one time we started to go, we discovered that they don't sell beer, and changed our minds.

This time, Shrike had to go into work afterward and I can't drink, of course, so what the hell.

I had super nachos, and there's a chocolate chunk cookie (as well as lots of leftover nachos) in the fridge for later. Want to start the kid off right, you know.

When got home, we both took a nap. I lay on my left side, so gravity to could help the little spermies find their way to the egg, which we know is coming from that ovary.

Correction, has come from.

It's now been about 41 hours since the trigger shot, and I've felt some very mild cramping, and then some "twinges" on the left side today. I don't know if that's a reaction to the IUI itself, or ovulation "pain" (which I often have).

So, I'm pretty certain that I ovulated earlier today, and by now, there's a party going on in there.

Let's hope Ms. Eggy picks a partner soon and that he's a good dancer!

But, I digress.

The nap was very nice; I lay on my left side for the sake of gravity, while Shrike snugged me all up. She got up and went to work around 2:30 pm, I slept til more like 5 pm, got online, and here I am now.

I'll take it easy this evening, and will be back at work tomorrow morning, just like normal.

Ha! Ha! Ha!

"Normal" except for spending every moment for the next fifteen days wondering if this worked, if one of those 16 million little gentleman callers found my one egg, if she liked him enough to let him in, if they've both got everything they need to, um, create a whole new freaking human being, if it found a good landing spot, if it's going to "stick," if . . . if . . . if . . . .

Thanks to everyone for all the good wishes and good thoughts so far, especially the past couple of days.

It's great to know that so many people are cheering for us!

That's Wierd Weird

Overheard at our house, moments ago:

Shrike, while reading this post : "Honey, I love you, but . . . "

Me: "But nobody cares about my twinges?"

Shrike: "I love you, but . . . "

Me: "I know. Nobody cares."

Shrike: "No, honey, you see, you have a problem with the word
Evidently I've been spelling it incorrectly my entire life.

Or at least, my entire blog.

(Have I mentioned that this whole "reading shit and noticing where the writer fucked up" is what she does for a living?)

It seems that "weird" is the exception to the "I before E, except after C" rule.

(Unless it turns out that it's correctly pronounced "wAYred" so that it's actually "sounding as A, as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh.'")

But if it were, she probably wouldn't have laughed at me so much when I tried to say it that way.

Go on. Try it. You'll see what I mean.

I asked her why she hadn't told me sooner, and she said "I didn't want to be critical, but I've reached my threshold."

That's not being "critical" - that's stopping me from looking like a dumbass to all the interwebs!

So, is there any chance Blogger will implement a blog-wide find and replace function anytime soon?

Edited to Add:
There's no find and replace, but there is a "search blog" function.

The verdict?

One. Out of nineteen.

Eight-fucking-teen posts with the word "weird" spelled incorrectly.

Two posts with it spelled correctly. But, one of those two also has it spelling incorrectly.

So, I've used the word in nineteen posts. In only one was it spelled correctly all the way through.

(Not counting this one in either category, of course.)

Did I mention that I have a degree in English?

Yeah, I think it best that I not.

Thursday Thirteen #20

As promised . . .

13 Critters I Saw at the Zoo on Sunday

And the cutest critter I saw all day . . .

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Feature

Those of you who keep an eye on my sidebar (and who doesn't?) might have noticed a new feature that popped up there this morning.

As I was sitting here this morning, feeling some twingy sensations in my left ovarian region, I thought that I ought to keep track of the various wierd things that I experience over the next couple of weeks (and in future "two week waits" if there are more of them) so I can maybe guess whether they are the prometrium (progesterone) that I'll be taking, or PMS, or maybe, possible, hopefully, symptoms of early pregnancy.

Particularly if this goes on a while, it would be helpful to see if what I'm experiencing in any given month is "normal" or something different from before.

And, of course, if I'm going to be tracking it anyway, I might was well be sharing it with all of the interwebs.

So, "How To Make a Baby" (note that I've archived some of the earlier steps) will continue to track the "hoops we must jump" and procedures that we go through, while "What's Happening to Me: Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects" will track just that - the various responses that my body has to the things we do to it.

I've no doubt that it will be riveting.

More About the Trigger Shot

That wasn't bad at all!

I was kind of freaked out about it, but I didn't even feel the needle, or the medicine going in. If I hadn't been watching, I wouldn't have even known she was done.

The only problem is that it's now a little itchy. But Dr. Google tells me that, "Itching involving only the injection site is common and is not cause for alarm."

So, I shall cease to be alarmed.

All in all, it went quite smoothly, and I think I could probably even do the injection myself in the future, if I have to.

But I'd really rather not have to.

Wordless Wednesday #18: Trigger Me, Baby

This is the shot that Shrike just gave me (Wednesday, 1:20 am), to trigger ovulation, in roughly 36 hours.

Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Good To Go

My follicle was at 18.4 mm this morning, my uterine lining is still nice and cushy and, according to the bloodwork, I'm surging!

When Shrike gets home from work this evening (around 1 am, actually), she'll inject me with the Ovidrel, which is the HCG shot that will trigger ovulation, roughly 36 hours later.

At 9:30 am Thursday, we'll call the andrology lab and tell them to start thawing and washing the sperm, because we're on our way. Then, we're scheduled to inseminate at 11 am.

As I said to the nurse, when she called to tell me that we're on, "WooHoo! Also: Oh. My. God."

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Game Plan

I spent a good portion of today on the phone with various players in the drama that is our lives these days.

I spoke with our financial coordinator from Dr. E's office a couple of times, and it seems that my insurance pre-approval has finally come through for this cycle. They'll have to ask for it again each cycle, but that's just a formality.

Also good to know is that it's back-dated to my first consultation with them, so I will be reimbursed for 50% what of I've spent there so far, as well as 50% of what's to come.

(Up to an out-of-pocket total of $2000 for out-of-network providers, then we don't pay anymore. It shouldn't take long to hit that at $295 a pop for a 2 minute ultrasound, just to give you an example.)

I also spoke to the insurance company directly, and found out that not only have they already processed the claim for the $1314.24 lab bill from May 1, when I had coverage but no card yet, but they paid the lab for it, instead of reimbursing me.

So, I called the lab and pointed out that, not only did I give them $1314.24 on May 1, but my insurance company sent them $441.75 (that's all the contract allows them to pay for the very same services that they charged me over $900 more for) on June 6 - like six fucking weeks ago.

"Oh, we owe you some money, don't we," says LabLady.

"Yes, indeedy!" says I.

(Really. I actually said "Yes, indeedy." Because I am, indeedy, a big dork.)

They will be refunding $1294.24 (the charge, minus a $40 copay) to my credit card. Whew!

Now, finally, to the part you've been waiting for!

After a few rounds of phone tag, I also talked to my nurse and I am scheduled for another ultrasound, as well as bloodwork at 7:fucking:45 tomorrow morning.

Please note that tomorrow is a Tuesday, one of the days on which I don't have to be at work until 10:30 am.

Needless to say, rather than just fucking around for two hours, I'll go on in to work when I'm done being poked and, um, prodded, and will pick up a bit of comp time, which I'll probably need later in the week. (Woo Hoo!)

At the time of the ultrasound, I'll find out how big my follicle is now, and the bloodwork will tell me whether I'm getting an LH surge yet.

The nurse will give me a call back in the afternoon with the blood results and further instructions.

If the follicle is 21+ mm and I'm surging, I will take the triggering shot tomorrow evening (depending on the timing, I may end up having to give it to myself - ack!) and we'll inseminate on Thursday morning.

If neither of those things is happening (what if only one is?!?) I'm guessing that they'll have me go back on Wednesday for another round of blood/ultrasound and we'll go from there.

I've told the relevant people at work, and ED2 has instructed me to take off the whole day when we inseminate, go right home afterward and "take it easy."

Not a bad plan, actually, and when your boss tells you take the day off work, you don't argue with her!

You can bet I'll be posting tomorrow evening with more information, as soon as I have it!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

At the Zoo

Here are some videos I took at the zoo today. They are from my phone, so the quality's not the greatest, but I think you can make out some cute critters.


Howler Monkey

Prairie Dog

Pygmy Hippo



And the highlight of the day - PANDA!!


Baby-Making Update

I had my second date with the dildo-cam this morning (which, in lesbian society, means that we're engaged now) and they tell me everything's looking good.

The first thing the tech said was that my uterine lining "is awesome."

Then she checked my ovaries. At this point (Day 12) I have one follicle developing, on the left side, which is at 15.5 mm.

After reading so many accounts of stimulated cycles, IVF cycles, etc, one follicle sounded awful wimpy, but then I reminded myself that I'm only supposed to release one.

I'm scheduled to go back on Tuesday morning for another ultrasound and, I think, blood work.

We'll trigger ovulation (with the HCG injection) when the follicle reaches 18 mm. It generally grows 1 - 2 mm per day, so I'm hoping that, on Tuesday, we'll be scheduling the shot and insemination.

At this point, I'm guessing that we're probably looking at Thursday, if for no other reason than:

a> I'm supposed to be at work at 8:30 am that day, and

2> I'm planning to get together with two different groups of friends for dinner and drinks on Thursday and Friday.
After the appointment, we stopped at the pharmacy to pick up the syringe full of HCG for the shot, and the progesterone caplets that I'll be taking (vaginally) after the insemination.

(Commonly referred to in the infertility blogosphere as "hoo-ha bullets.")

When we were all done there, we hopped a train over to, um, "BigCityThatThinksItRunsTheWorld" and spent the rest of the day at the zoo.

Photos - and video - coming soon!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Photo Hunter #16: Shadow(s)

Remember how I was worried that the fencing around our container garden wouldn't let in enough light for the veggies to grow? Well, they seem to be doing fine and we should have some ready to eat within a couple of weeks!

Saturday Special #15: Creative Adventure II

On time, for a change!

From the Creator of the Saturday Special:
Time again to use your imagination ;-} Fill in the blanks.
  1. You are walking along the surf of a lonely seaside and holding hands with Shrike.
  2. As you walk further along you notice a bonfire and a party ahead.
  3. Your curiousity gets the best of you and you walk closer to see what's going on.
  4. From the distance you can see a large group of women, drinking, laughing, talking and having a great time. Hey, some of them are people we know, let's go join them!

Learn more about the Saturday Special.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bag Open, Cat Out

I told a couple more people at work about our baby plans today. Just about everyone knows now, with the possible exception of BigBoss (depends on whether he heard me discussing it right outside his office door) and his wife, BossLady (unless ED1 and ED2 tell her; I've told them they can; I'd kind of like them to).

Lately, I've been in that awkward "Man, I really need to tell so-and-so about this, so that I can quit trying not to say anything around her because she doesn't know" stage.

How stupid is that?

The first person that I told today was PhoneGirl. I talk to her alot, so it's been difficult to not say anything thus far. Also, she does a lot of the scheduling of student tests, etc, so I needed to ask her to keep my mornings relatively light next week, since we don't know yet exactly when we'll be inseminating.

When I told her, she said that she'd sort of been wondering if that was the case, since I seem to talk about babies and the birthing of them an awful lot these days.

I'd already been talking to both ED1 and ED2 about how dumb I am for not telling everyone, and ED1 had said something about having essentially set me up to spill the beans yesterday to BossLady and the other lady who does admin-type stuff.

We had a whole big conversation at lunch yesterday about childbirth (learned that BossLady was induced when having ED2 and it was awful; also learned that ED2 had to be induced to have her twins - whom she birthed the old-fashioned way, despite the fact that the boy was breech, at the age of 41) and I still didn't say anything.

Because I'm a big ol' dork.

But it feels wierd to make a big announcement about it, even one person at a time, so it seems like it would be even wierder to just blurt out, in the middle of lunch, "Well, speaking of birthin' babies . . . . "

Also, although all these people have been totally cool about me and Shrike, I don't know them all well enough to know that they'd be cool about us procreating.

And, also there's that whole work thing and, particularly in the case of BigBoss and BossLady, I worry about them maybe being not so happy that I'm doing this so soon after starting the job.

Although, ED1 and I had a conversation about that a while back. She brought it up, and said that "Dad will probably be most concerned about covering for you while you're out and, while we (she and ED2) think about that, too, we're more concerned that things work out for you, because that is the most important thing."

She then went on to talk about how she and ED2 had each taken a couple of years off work, when their respective kiddos were young. Of course, her dad owns the company, so she knew she had a job to go back to.

But, I was glad to hear that from her.

Anyway, today, on her way out the door - right after we were discussing my dorkiness - ED1 told me "Good luck!" (with my monitoring ultrasounds on Sunday and Monday) and AdminLady said, "Good luck with what?"

(Thanks - that was just the push I needed!)

So I told her, too.

And possibly BigBoss, as we were standing right outside his door. Although, he tends to be a bit oblivious to anything outside his office. Which is often a good thing.

Of course, my dorkiness and hesitance was all completely unfounded, as both PhoneGirl and AdminLady were thrilled and excited to hear my news.

I think AdminLady even called for a high-five, and PhoneGirl called me back to her office about three different times, to continue the story after she was interupted by phone calls.

(The answering of said calls being the general gist of her job description and all.)

Now, I just need to get the information out there to BossLady (I've encouraged the EDs to tell her, and AdminLady may well say something, too, as they work pretty closely together) and then we can all just sit around and discuss my follicles over lunch.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #19

In honor of their 50th wedding anniversary, which was last week, here are . . .

13 Photos of My Parents, Through the Years

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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