Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nothing to Say Here

I seem to have a bit of a brain-block here, because I can think of nothing very interesting to blog about.

I could tell you that I gave ED1 my letter of resignation today, but that's no surprise, since I've been talking about it for almost a week.

I could update you on continued good news from some of the newly-pregnant and newly-delivered bloggers who I read, but if you're interested, you'll have already read it their blogs for yourself.

I could talk about the dessert party that I went to this evening, which raised nearly $7000 for Obama for America, but I didn't really have anything to do with it, other than showing up (on a comped ticket, at that) and bringing grocery store doughnuts and talking to a few people.

I could tell you about how Peeper either really loves or really hates TV, because she always gets real active when I'm sitting on the couch watching it in the evenings.

She's still bopping around in there pretty good. I hope she'll keep it up for a while after we go to bed (which is happening any minute now), so she can have a little visit with Mommy.

I usually poke her a bit and try to get her to move around for Shrike at bedtime. After she's born, we may regret having gotten her in that habit, but on the other hand, I figure she'll probably end up waking when Shrike gets home from work, anyway.

If nothing else, I'm sure that PerfectPup will add her to the list of folks that she has to alert that "Mommy's home! Mommy's home! Mommy's home!"

When she hears Shrike pull in to the driveway, first she and Galoot bark around at each other for a bit, then she runs all over the house, telling everyone else.

If I'm on the computer, and don't immediately go running to the door to greet her, she'll come in and bark at me, then run back to the door, then back to me, and so on.

She'll also go find the cats, and bark at them. I try to explain that they really don't care that Mommy's home, but she doesn't seem to understand that.

I really am curious to see whether she adds Peeper to her list of people that need to be informed.

On the one hand, it would be very cute, on the other hand, if she's asleep at the time . . . .

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Work Plans

So, tomorrow I'll give ED1 my letter of resignation, and it will be official that I won't be returning to my current job after Peeper is born.

Yesterday, I did a bit more checking on the online teaching position that I'm eyeing. I was told that they wouldn't be hiring until late August or early September, but it seems that the online application is available now.

I need to update my resume, and write a cover letter, and get that submitted as soon as I can.

The job listing had some additional information that I'd not seen before - some good, some not-so-great.

They ask for a commitment of at least 10 hours / week, which is fine, but during the "peak months" of October - February, they require that at least eight of those hours be evenings (5 - 9 pm).

That could be a little tricky, as Shrike will be at work during those hours, and I'll be all alone with Peeper. I'm thinking that I'll need to squish those eight hours into two evenings, and make arrangements to not be alone with her those evenings.

Maybe Shrike's mom can help out those nights? (She was offering to watch her a day or two a week, if I'd gone back to work.) And maybe I could go to all mornings after February? I'm sure we'll figure something out.

The better news is that it says that they "also offer a part-time employee benefits package including medical and dental coverage." No information on how many hours / week is required to qualify for that, or what the cost - or coverage - would be like, but it sounds promising!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Making it Official

After I told ED1 that I don't plan to return to my full-time position after Peeper is born, I asked her when she needed me to make it official.

Today, she said that she'd like for me to give her something in writing on Thursday, when she's at my center for the day. She'll pass it on to BigBoss when he returns from vacation at the end of next week.

Here's a draft of my letter of resignation. What do you think?

Dear BigBoss:

It is after much difficult deliberation that I have decided not to return to work full-time after the birth of my daughter* in late November.

It is my intention to continue to work as far into my pregnancy as possible, so unless it becomes medically necessary to begin my maternity leave sooner, my last day to work will be Friday November 21, 2008.

However, pregnancy being unpredictable, I would strongly recommend moving forward to hire and train a new director who will be ready to step in by late October or early November.

Of course, I will do everything in my power to assist with training and preparing my successor, and to prepare the staff, students and parents of the WorkTown center for a smooth transition upon my departure.

I cannot adequately express how much I appreciate the support, both professional and personal, that I’ve received from the franchise management over the past several months, and I want to personally thank you, OfficeLady, ED1 and ED2 for all that you’ve done.

I hope to continue my relationship with the TutoringCenter family by teaching part-time with TutoringCenter Online, beginning in early 2009.

I have very much enjoyed my time at TutoringCenter, and will greatly miss working with everyone here.


*Yes, that "my daughter" line does freak me out, every time I reread it.

I've almost gotten used to talking about "my baby," and I'm very comfortable referring to her by name, but "my daughter?"

Somehow that's different. More real? More surreal?

Holy crow, we're going to have a daughter.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008


We spent yesterday afternoon at the Central BlueState PrideFest, in CapitalCity.

As far as Pride goes, we're definitely over the "OhMyGod! GayPeople!" and "Look!ThingsWithRainbowsOnThem!" phase, but we do enjoy going and seeing all our friends.

There are lots of people whom we really only see once a year, at Pride.

With most, we always talk about how we should really get together more often and yada yada yada, but with others, once a year is plenty.

When we were loading up our backpack, I thought to slip in Peeper's 3D photo, and I'm really glad I did, because we ran into several people who didn't know about her, and certainly hadn't seen the photo. So that was fun.

And handy, since I'm still not showing enough for it to be obvious yet, so I still have to tell people, if I want them to know that I'm pregnant.

It was especially nice to see Shrike's cousin, her partner and little Baby R. It's hard to believe that he'll be a year old in a couple of weeks!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Stupid Wife Pet Tricks

Just another wild Friday night at our house:

In case you can't tell what's going on here, allow me to narrate:
  • Shrike plucks a tuft of fur from BigGaloot's undercoat.
  • Shrike puts the tuft on her upper lip, like a mustache.
  • Shrike "sneezes," blowing the tuft into the air.
  • Galoot catches the floating tuft and eats it.
  • Whozat collapses in hysterics, begs for Shrike to "Do 'gain!"
  • Lather, rinse, repeat.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Making Plans

The other day, I mentioned that there were some "financial options opening up that we'd not thought about" but was rather coy about the specifics. I'm ready to talk, now.

What I was referring to was some number crunching that we'd been doing to figure out how much money we could save, in various ways, and how much money I might be able to make if I were only working part-time, preferably from home, and whether those two things might add up to enough to pay the mortgage and such.

Over the course of the discussion, some additional savings / income options came up, and we saw that the numbers were starting to match up.

I haven't actually secured said part-time work, but it looks quite promising, and today I bit the bullet and told ED1 that we're almost certain that I won't be going back to work fulltime after Peeper is born.


I'd not planned to tell them this early, but they need to line up someone to cover for me as center director while I'm "on leave" so, after much discussion with both Shrike and Anonymama, I decided that it was best to let them know now, so they can go ahead and find someone to take over for me permanently.

What really precipitated it is that ED1 and I had discussed yesterday that they would offer a "long-term sub" position to one of the associate directors of education, who will do a great job, but doesn't actually have a teaching certificate, which is required for at least one director. (And right now, we only have one - me.)

So, I talked to ED1 about it this morning, and she was very understanding, which I really expected, but I was still nervous about making it pretty official this early.

In formulating her plan to offer him that position, she was assuming there was a possibility that I wouldn't be back - and she was very appreciative that I was upfront about it, so they can move forward with plans, knowing what the situation is.

I apologized for not saying something yesterday, but that I just didn't feel like I could make it "official" without discussing it with Shrike. She was very understanding about that, as well.

So, the plan is that, unless my doctor or Peeper or my body tells me that I need to call it quits sooner, I will work through November 21 (the Friday before my due date), and will then likely be officially "on leave" for six to twelve weeks, for insurance / AFLAC purposes.

(Maybe also for their purposes, if they don't have a certified director on board at that point,)

As long as that's the case, I can just pay them for my insurance premiums, then COBRA after that, and when the COBRA runs out, I can switch to Blue Cross. I've already checked that all out. It won't be cheap, but it wasn't as bad as I'd feared it might be.

Of course, if Shrike could insure me, that would be all the better, but she can't. She will be able to insure Peeper though, so that helps alot.

Our plan, overall, is that when Peeper is born, we'll both be off work completely for about three weeks, then Shrike will do some part-time work from home (not a long-term option with her job, unfortunately) until Christmas - while I'm still off work and recovering, of course.

December 26 - January 5, we're going to Texas to visit my family, and a couple of days after we get home, Shrike will go back to work full time.

My goal is to start working myself the following week. What we're hoping for is a work-from-home tutoring position with the online division of the learning center.

The thought is that I will work 15 - 20 hours a week, in the mornings while Shrike is home to be in charge of Peeper. I can't do that kind of work when I'm the only one home with her, because I can't have her crying in the background, but if Shrike's here, she can handle her unless she's hungry. In which case, I can mute my microphone til I've got a boob in her mouth and she shuts up, right?

That money won't be enough to cover everything, but I also make a bit from my freelance web development, and I'm looking into a couple of other options of things that can be done online/remotely on a less scheduled basis, even when I am the only here with Peeper.

It's all very scary - especially the part where it's kind of official and point-of-no-returny now - but we really do think that my being home is the best thing we can do for Peeper, and for our family.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Meme About Us

I found this here, and thought, "Hey, it's been a while since I've memed!"

Where did you meet?
On the Interwebs. Specifically, a lesian message board called "The Shark's Den." I have no idea what two straight girls like us were doing there . . . ;-)

How long did you date?
We communicated online and by phone for about three months before we met in person. Then, it was about another three months before Shrike actually moved to Texas to live with me. That was a little more than ten years ago, and the rest is history.

How old is she?
Shrike is thirty-nine. (Fifty weeks younger than me.)

Who said “I love you” first?
Oh, gosh, I'm not sure about that, but I think it was her.

First there was the email progression from "love ya" to "love you" to, I'm pretty sure, "I love you."

Then, the first time we talked on the phone, we both chickened out about saying it.

Later, via email, we talked about how we were chicken. The next time we talked on the phone, I'm pretty sure she said it, prefaced with something like, "Ok, I'm just going to say it . . . ."

Funny thing is, that was all before we'd admitted that there was really something going on, and we were just pretending to be friends. Um, yeah. Right.

She was definitely the first one to actually "confess her love." I, of course, reciprocated immediately.

Who is taller?
I am, by about four inches.

Who is smarter?
It depends on the subject. I'm better and math and such, but she knows were to put commas and how to spell wierd weird.

Whose temper is worse?

Who does the laundry?
She does laundry and trash. I do dishes (except when I don't) and the litterbox (except when I'm pregnant).

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
Our right, when we're in the bed, or your right, if you're standing at the foot, looking at us?

(Why are you standing at the foot of our bed, looking at us, anyway? That's kind of rude.)

From our perspective, she is on the right, and I'm on the left. And BigGaloot is often in the middle. Or on top of us. And MamaCat is walking on our heads.

Who pays the bills?
Her check pays for most of them (except the mortgage, car note and home equity loan) but I actually handle the checkbook. Most of the bills, technically, are on auto-pay, though - which is wonderful.

Who cooks dinner?
TGI Fridays.

Seriously, if anyone does any actual cooking, it's usually me. Unless it's a special occassion and she makes something like Anonymama's Peanut Soup.

Or when we grill - then it's a joint effort. We've done that enough that we each have our roles down, and it's like a well-oiled machine.

She gets the meat marinating early in the day, then when it's time to cook, she lights the grill while I cut and kabob my veggies (usually onion and pepper). When the food is ready to go on, I usually do the monitoring, basting and turning and she passes the final judgement on whether the meat is done.

Who drives when you are together?
Shrike does. These days, we take my car, but she still drives. Which is sort of an adventure, because she's still not 100% comfortable with the whole shifting thing. Actually, it's really just first-fucking-gear-dammit that gives her trouble.

Who is more stubborn?
That would be me.

Who kissed whom first?
I kissed her.

Who is the first to admit to being wrong?
Usually me, I think.

Whose parents do you see the most?
Hers, because they live five minutes away, while mine are half way across the country. We probably communicate with mine more, though, because Anonymama reads and comments on the blog.

Who proposed?
The very first time, she did. Then we ended up postponing the wedding a couple of times, and I'm really not sure who made the call to actually move forward with the plans when we did.

It might have been when our niece was born, and Shrike decided that maybe having a baby wouldn't be such a bad idea, and I told her that we had to be married first.

Okay, "married."

Of course, that was 7.5 years ago, so evidently there were a few other things we had to take care of along the way, too.

What’s her best physical attribute?
I love her "cheeseburgers" (don't ask) and her cute, tiny little ears. Also her eyes. And other things that I won't mention. (See above, re: my mother reads this blog.)

Who has more friends?
I do, because I actually like people.

What are you most proud of her for?
Being with me.

Who has more siblings?
Me. I have an older sister (LadyKay) and a younger brother. Shrike has one sister, a year older than her.

Who wears the pants in the family?
Well, I'm the bossy bitch around here, so I guess that would be me.

Literally, of course, we both do.

Because we're dykes that way.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good News Across The Blogosphere

It's been a good (and busy) month in Baby-Making Blogland.

For us, of course, the string of good news started four weeks ago with our whew ultrasound that ruled out any neural tube defects for Peeper.

Then Vee and Jay rolled into July with a string of positive pee-sticks, followed by a positive beta, and are now awaiting their six-week ultrasound. (And writing "anxiety" posts that give me deja vu.)

On the 11th, OneofHisMoms gave birth to (not so) little Trucker/Smiles.

We had another ultrasound last week, and Peeper continues to look great - and three dimensional!

Then, just yesterday, the CutestLittleBabyMakersInTown delivered their son, Theo.

Also yesterday (and today), Calliope of IVP fame has seen a couple of her own positive pee sticks, and is scheduled for a beta on Friday.

Congratulations and best of luck to all you ladies - and welcome to both brand new little men!

Here in our corner of the world, Peeper continues to bake, and has certainly become an active little girl, lately.

We're a couple of weeks past the official midpoint of my pregnancy, and we've also now also passed the midway marks if we start counting from her conception, from when she was tranferred to me, or from when we found out that I'm pregnant.

(Assuming, of course, that she's born anywhere near her due date, which remains to be seen.)

It's hard to believe that I'm half way through. It doesn't even seem like I'm used to the idea of being pregnant yet, and now I have to start getting used to the idea of having a baby.

And then having a baby.

Our plans for her birth and beyond are coming together, bit by bit and it does, indeed, seem that it might "all work out" after all.

That's what we've been banking on this whole time.

No appointments for a while, then I see Midwife K on August 5 and we have the next ultrasound - and the echocardiogram - on August 13.

Until then, I'll just have to trust the gymnastics in my uterus as evidence that all is well.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Doula Stuff

I've also been working this evening on paperwork for our doula, KP.

I emailed her earlier today to let her know that she's got the gig, and now we have to sign the agreement, fill out the intake form and send that to her, along with a check for half of her fee, as a retainer (the rest is due after the birth).

The big part of that, of course, is filling out the intake form, which is all essay questions! My handwriting is so crappy that I just retyped her form, along with my answers, so that took a while.

I was able to answer most of the questions, but there are a few that are specifically for Shrike, as well. As soon as she answers those and signs the agreement, I'll put that off in the mail and we'll be good to go with her.

To better answer some of the questions that people (Anonymama) have had about what a doula is and does, here's a bit from the agreement that she gave us:

What is a Doula?
As a doula, I accompany women during their pregnancy and labor to ensure a satisfying birth experience. I have received training with the DONA (Doulas of North America) organization, and have had experience with natural childbirth, Cesarean sections, vaginal birth after Cesarean, and medication births. I draw on my knowledge and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort, and positive communication among your birthing team. I encourage education and making informed decisions during the birth of your baby. I can provide reassurance to you and your partner, making suggestions to encourage labor progression, and can help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for comfort. I am independent and self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you, not your caregiver or the hospital.

As a Doula, I Do Not
  • Perform medical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks and vaginal exams.
  • Give medical advice.
  • Make decisions for you.
  • Speak to the staff instead of you, regarding matters where decisions are being made.
And here are some of the questions / answers from the intake form:

What is your present belief about how labor and birth should be?
This has already been a highly medically managed pregnancy, and I am comfortable continuing with that through delivery, if needed, but given my choice, I would like my labor and birth to be as natural as possible, with as few medical interventions as possible.

I’d like to preserve my mobility during labor, and to avoid interventions and monitoring that would prevent that. I’d like to avoid an epidural or other pain relief medications, but may choose to use them, if I feel I need them.

However, that is only my ideal vision, and I have no major objection to interventions, as needed, to insure both my and Peeper’s health and safety.

Have you decided to invest in childbirth education classes? If so, which kind (Lamaze, Bradley, Hypnobirthing, Birthing From Within)?
OurTown Hospital childbirth class, with supplemental instruction from you, as discussed, to include relaxation and other coping techniques from Bradley and other methods.

What caused you to choose the type of classes you did? Does your partner attend also?

Your advice; want to be familiar with the hospital’s procedures and policies, but also want the additional skills that we would learn in a Bradley class, “edited” to those that will be useful to us in a hospital setting. We will both be attending the classes.

Describe your ideal birth.
See above. Also, see draft of birth plan, enclosed. I understand that you don’t advise that we present this to our doctors as a written document [she says they tend to react a bit defensively to that] but I've completed it as a starting point for our discussions with you about how we’d like to see things go during labor.

Who would be present and what would they be doing?
In addition to you, my partner, Shrike, will be present throughout. Her mother and sister may be present during labor and possibly during delivery, depending on hospital policy.

What do you see as your partner's role in the birth process?
To provide me with emotional and physical comfort and support.

What factors influenced you to choose a doula?
Neither of us has done this before, and we want the guidance of someone who’s trained to know what kinds of things we can do to make labor go as smoothly as possible.

What are your expectations of your doula during labor and birth?
To advise and direct both of us as to how Shrike can best support me during labor. To suggest techniques or strategies to try for pain management and / or to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of my labor. After birth, I would appreciate breastfeeding support, as well.

What comforts you when you are upset or under stress?
Physical touch (gentle back rubbing, for example) and comforting words.

What kinds of music or scents would be comforting to you during labor?
I don’t think I would like any specific scents, and would probably find that annoying. I would like to have music available, and we plan to put together a mix of songs that are meaningful to us.

What are your greatest fears about this pregnancy or birth?
My greatest fear, of course, is for Peeper’s health and safety. Beyond that, I’m primarily apprehensive about the actual pain of labor itself.

There's more, of course, but some of it is boring and some of it has already been fully blogged, and some will be blogged later.

Legal Stuff

I believe I've mentioned before about my attorney friend who is helping us to file a petition for a pre-birth order that would allow Shrike and I to both be on Peeper's birth certificate, from the git-go (as we say back home in Texas).

He's got the petition all written, and tonight I've been pulling together various supporting documents to include with it, to show that we are (in the attorney's words), "a legitimate couple and [we've] taken steps over the years to confirm [our] status as a couple."

Those documents include: birth certificates, name change court orders (when we hyphenated), wills, powers of attorney, mortgage papers, and a xerox of a check, showing that we have a joint bank account.

We'll also include the donor / recipient agreement that we signed before doing IVF, and maybe (yet) another "they're not too crazy to be parents" letter from Dr T.

The judge may also want our medical records, or a letter or testimony (hopefully just over the phone) from Dr. E, to back up our story about Peeper being made with Shrike's egg.

Tonight, I'll have Shrike sign the petition and tomorrow I'll make copies of everything to give to the attorney, along with a $47 check made out to "Red County Orphan's Court Clerk."

Orphan's Court?

That sounds like something out of Dickens!

(Not to mention that Peeper has, in fact, more than the requisite number of parents!)

He hopes to file it all later this week, and to get us a hearing scheduled for sometime in August.

So, here's the gist of the petition, if you're interested:

  1. The petitioner is Whozat . . . .
  2. The petitioner is also Shrike . . . .
  3. The petitioners have resided together since May 10, 1998. The parties each changed their legal names pursuant to an October 19, 2001 Order. Said Order is attached hereto and incorporated herein.
  4. The petitioners participated in a commitment ceremony on February 10, 2001.
  5. Currently, the parties are undergoing a gestational surrogacy, whereby Petitioner Whozat is carrying a fertilized egg from Petitioner Shrike.
  6. The parties executed an Agreement Regarding Egg Retrieval and Transfer, confirming terms of the in vitro fertilization process. Said Agreement shall be available for the Court’s review at the time of the hearing in this matter.
  7. Whozat is scheduled to give birth to the child on November 25, 2008.

  1. Petitioners desire to have a Pre-Birth Order, similar to the one attached hereto, whereby both parties can be added to the child’s birth certificate, at the time of the child’s birth.
  2. With respect to a gestational surrogacy (e.g. where the carrier of the fertilized egg is not the genetic mother of the child), the BlueState Department of Health has formulated a procedure allowing for the originally issued birth certificate to identify the intended parents as the child’s parents. Said procedure requires: a) the completion and submission of a “Supplemental Report of Assisted Conception”; and b) the issuance of a court order, directing that any certified copies of the birth record of the child shall reflect the names of the intended parents.
  3. Petitioners believe and therefore aver that they will comply with all other requirements to obtain a Pre-Birth Order. Petitioners are prepared to submit to a hearing to address matters of their overall fitness to be parents of the unborn child.
WHEREFORE, it is requested that the Court hold a hearing on this matter, and at the conclusion of said hearing, grant a Pre-birth Order, confirming that both petitioners shall appear on the birth certificate of unborn child.
Oh, and did I mention that it seems that we're the first people to ever ask for such a thing in our county?

They've done second-parent adoptions for gay couples, and have done "traditional" surrogacies, but this is the first pre-birth order for a donor/recipient lesbian couple to both be on the birth certificate.

Pretty cool, huh?

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Public Apology

Remember when we had to buy a new TiVo remote, because BigGaloot ate or stole the old one?

(Or did I blog about that? If not, I should have. Let's pretend I did.)

Well, guess what the carpet cleaning guys found in the couch.

Sorry, buddy. I stand corrected.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

More Pandas for Peeper

Shrike's parents have been at the beach, and they did a bit of shopping while they were there.

In addition to these pandas for Peeper's room (the ceramic Mama and Baby on the right are a bank), they also bought her a few outfits, but I packed them away with a bunch of others before I thought about taking pictures.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

And, Still, More Craftiness

Shrike is working on a paint-by-numbers picture of a panda for Peeper's room.

At first, it sounded easy, but when it arrived and she looked at the picture and the board with all the numbers, she kind of started freaking out about it.

I told her that if it turned out crappy, we could just wait a couple of years before hanging it up, then tell people that Peeper painted it herself.

It really does look quite complicated and difficult, but it seems to be coming along nicely. I'm impressed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Doula Answers (And More)

Things are maybe starting to fall into place a bit.

For one thing, we met with the doula this evening, and we really liked her.

Of course, we'll want to check her references, but we're pretty sure we're going to hire her.

I don't see being able to "click" with another one much more that we did with her, and she holds several tie-breaker cards, in that she's done lots of deliveries at our hospital, she's worked with (and delivered one of her own babies with) our OB practice, and she's a La Leche League leader.

Before she came over, we looked at the list of suggested questions on the DONA website, but didn't print them out or really stick to them.

Near the end of the meeting, after lots of rather free-wheeling discussion, she consulted her notes to make sure she hadn't left anything out.

It was obvious that she was working from the same list of questions!

In addition to her actual doula-ing, she also does some semi-formal childbirth education.

We asked her opinion of the two classes that we're looking at, and she said that (as I had suspected) the hospital class (which she used to teach) is pretty much "Here's how we do things here, and this is what we're going to do to you," but that it's valuable to get familiar with how things work at the hospital, even if you don't want all the default procedures to actually happen to you.

She also said that the Bradley method is great, and she's sat in on classes with these instructors, and they are good, but that alot of what you learn in the class ends up being kind of wasted on a hospital birth, because you won't be allowed to do it anyway.

So, what I think we're going to do is take the hospital class ($60, probably the all-day Saturday version) and then let her supplement that information with the most useful highlights from the Bradley method and other things that she recommends. That will mostly be relaxation techniques, prenatal exercises and things like that.

I think that will work out really well for us, not just in terms of learning what we need to know, and will actually be usable, but also schedule-wise and financially.

Speaking of finances - the other "falling into place" thing, I won't discuss in too much detail right now, as nothing is certain, but we are seeing some financial options that we'd not considered before, which could be incredibly helpful after Peeper arrives.

There are, of course, still tons of details to be worked out (about all these things) but I'm feeling a lot more secure about it all than I was a few days ago.

Add in the great ultrasound on Wednesday, and I almost feel like I don't have anything to worry about.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha . . . .

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Doula Questions?

So, the local doula that I was talking about the other day is coming over tomorrow to meet with us.

That's all fine and dandy, but now what?

I guess we're supposed to be interviewing her, but it's hard to not feel like it's the other way around.

(We'd better clean the house, or she's going to tell us we can't have a baby!)

So, what the hell are we supposed to ask her?

And do we need to serve cookies or tea or something?

Should they be organic?

(Actually, there's a list of suggested questions on the DONA website, but they all sound kind of, I dunno, something. But I'll take a look at it before tomorrow evening!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Caption This, Baby!

We saw "Dr. Peri" (the perinatologist) this morning and, as he said when he first walked in the room after seeing the ultrasound images, "Baby looks like a million bucks!"

(As she damn well ought to. If we're getting our money's worth. Or, I should say, if Anonymama and Anonydaddy are getting their money's worth.)

She's still small, measuring 19w6d today (about 8 days behind, versus 6 days behind, three weeks ago) but he said, repeatedly, that he's not concerned about that.

Her brain looked "perfect" and the cerebellum and cisterna magna (the parts that might have looked funky at 17 weeks, but the images weren't very good, and that he said looked okay at 18 weeks) were both looking exactly as they are supposed to.


Everything else looked good, too. Of course she still has the single umbilical artery (that won't change) but the cord insertion looks good, and we've seen both kidneys (sometimes the SUA can be associated with a missing kidney), so that's good to know, too.

She wasn't in the right position for the sonographer to get a good image of her heart, and I was starting to get concerned that maybe the position wasn't the issue, and that whatever she was looking for just wasn't there, but she evidently turned around while we were waiting for Dr. Peri and he was able to see what he wanted to see and said her heart looks great.

We'll get a much more detailed study of it in four weeks, when we see the fetal cardiologist for the echocardiogram. We'll also do another full ultrasound with all the other measurements at that time, as well.

The best part of the whole morning?

(Other than the "perfect" brain, and "I'm not concerned about her growth" and "she looks like a million bucks" of course.)

After seeing her heart, Dr. Peri was poking around, looking at some other things, when he evidently saw something he liked, clicked some buttons on his magic machine and, with absolutely no warning, up popped this image:

Oh. My. God. That's a baby!

With skin on it and everything!

He said, "Don't tell anybody I did this. We usually don't do 3D at this point, but that was just too cute."

And, indeed, she is.

If I do say so myself.

And I do.

So, my question for you is - just what is that gesture she's making?

Leave a comment with your caption for the photo, and we'll pick the best one.

Sorry we don't have any fabulous prizes to offer the winner, but isn't the glory enough?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Garden Update

Tomatoes and Bellpeppers



Wildflower "Meadow"

Just as I was about to start photographing the flowers, Galoot decided to water them.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Welcome, Trucker!

Congratulations to OneOfHisMoms, and the other one, and big brother Cakie!

More Craftiness

There will be a dozen of these, to hang on the walls in Peeper's room. The photos are from a calendar that I gave Shrike for Christmas a couple of years ago.

So far, I've matted them all, but only have six completely finished, because I ran out of ribbon at that point.

Michael's only had two rolls of this ribbon that we love (on the clearance rack!) but Shrike is going to check another location tomorrow, and buy all they have of this pattern, because we plan to use them to hang the letters, as well, and might want to use it for accents elsewhere in the room.

If she can't find more just like this, we'll get something similar with black, white and red, and will mix and match.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wild Saturday Night

After spending the afternoon driving the not-so-great-AC truck to HistoricTown, about 45 minutes away, to pick up 700 Obama yard signs and bring them back to our local Democratic Headquarters (we did have a strapping young Dem to help with the heavy lifting on each end), we were ready for a quiet night at home.

When we woke up from our nap (Any all-afternoon excursion requires a nap when we get home, of course.) we ate some leftovers for dinner, walked the dogs, and then worked on some craft projects. This is not a typical evening for us.

We are not crafty. We are not artsy. We are not in any way shape or form talented.

We're not even particularly coordinated.

But, I think we did pretty well, despite ourselves.

First, we worked together on the black background coat of the letters in Peeper's name, to hang on the wall in her room, then I finished them up
while Shrike worked on a project of her own:

Friday, July 11, 2008


Here's what we've learned / done / figured out so far:

I've emailed a few doulas, and heard back from a couple of them. We plan to meet with several, to find one that we really "click" with.

Sight-unseen, the one I'm leaning toward is the only one who actually lives in our town, charges less than the others and is one of two local La Leche League leaders. That all sounds promising, unless we decide that we just don't like her for some reason.

Speaking of La Leche League - the local group is essentially defunct. They "hold meetings" (one evening a month) but the two leaders are the only actual members.

They're not doing much advertising, which is probably part of the problem. The one leader (not the doula) with whom I've been emailing sent me a flyer, with I will give to Midwife K at Drinking Liberally next week, and ask her to post and distribute it.

They ought to have flyers at every OB, midwife, pediatrician and kid's clothing store in town!

The closest Bradley childbirth class is about fourty-five minutes away, meets on Thursday evenings, September 4 - November 13 and costs $200. That would require Shrike to work a weekend evening in exchange for Thursdays off, I'd have to reschedule some monthly Thursday commitments and we'd have to do some driving.

The hospital offers their own course, for $60, but it only meets three times (or one long Saturday - which would actually be better for us) and one of those is a tour.

It just seems to me that we'll be a lot better prepared with twelve sessions than three. Also, if I'm trying to avoid any non-medically necessary interventions, I'd rather learn about how to do so from someone other than the hospital. I just expect their class to be more about "Then, here's what we'll do to you next."

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for whatever interventions are necessary to make sure that Peeper and I are safe and healthy at the end of the day - God knows I wouldn't even be pregnant without tons of intervention - but (in theory, at least - I reserve the right to change my mind when it starts hurting) I'd like to try to do the delivery itself as naturally as possible. (Since there wasn't anything natural about her conception!)

Also, one of the other doulas teaches childbirth classes, as well. So, if we went with her, we might take that one.

As to the childcare possibilities - while a daycare setting is not our first choice, we are thinking that if we do have to go that route, it might make the most sense to select one in Shrike'sWorkTown, because that's sort of in the middle of our "territory," it would reduce the time she's there, by allowing Shrike to drop her right before she goes to work, and me to pick her up a bit sooner, and Shrike would be nearby in case of an emergency. Also, I could pick her up and then meet Shrike for dinner.

We were thinking that the center where Shrike's sister's kids went for years (basically, from 6 weeks til kindergarten) would be great. She and her kids both liked it, and so have other people we talked to.

Then I called them today to ask about pricing.

Hoe. Lee. Fuck.

It costs more than what we're paying for the mortgage, car note and home equity loan.

If we break it down to an hourly rate for when she'd actually be there (they don't prorate for half days, which is what we'd be doing) it would cost about four cents per hour less than what I make.

I could just work mornings and come home to be with her myself, and we'd be the same place financially.


So, scratch that idea. We don't know what plan B is, but I'm sure there are cheaper daycares out there.

Well, daycare itself is probably like Plan C or D in the first place, but we don't have any real solid possibilities for any of the preferable arrangements.

Right now, the most promising option seems to be to win the lottery, then we can just both stay home and play with her all day.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


What is it about being half-way through pregnancy that suddenly makes me think that we have to:

  1. Register for a childbirth class
  2. Hire a doula
  3. Find childcare
  4. Take over and revitalize the local chapter of La Leche League
this week?

No, we've not actually accomplished any of those things, but suddenly, I'm stressing about all of them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Half Baked

I am now twenty weeks pregnant, the official half-way point!

Don't get me started, though, on how that's only half-way through from the "imaginary starting point" and it will be another week before Peeper is actually half-way from conception to due date - and a 2.5 more days after that, before we're half-way through the time we expect her to actually be inside me, from transfer to due date, and yet another few days before we're half-way through the part we've actually known about - from the positive tests to due date.

I will, I'm sure, note those milestones as well, when they roll around, but for now:

OhMyGod - I'm half-way through this pregnancy! What the fuck?!?

One of the eleventy-gazillion "your pregnancy this week" email newsletters that I receive suggested taking a moment at the midway mark to reflect on how things are going so far, and how actual pregnancy compares to the expectations.

So I shall.

As you may have guessed, my pregnancy has been rather different from what I expected, so far.

Physically, it's been much easier.


After our scary ultrasound a few weeks ago, I said I'd take back everything I'd said about the "e-word" but, physically, it really has been.

As previously documented, I had no nausea or food aversions or super-smell-sensitivity or any of that typical first trimester ickiness that one hears so much about, I've had very little in the way of other "symptoms" and, even at twenty weeks, I feel like I'm just barely starting to show.

I don't think anyone who doesn't know would look at me and guess that I'm pregnant, although if you've been watching all along, you can probably see the difference.

On the other hand, I'm sort of (maybe) surprised at my (how did Dr T put it?) "baseline of anxiety" about everything. Which has also been fully documented already.

Of course, there was the Week O'Terror, when we were so worried that Peeper was going to have a neural tube defect, or other "birth difference" (as the genetic counselor so politically correctly put it), but even before and after that, I've really had trouble just relaxing and enjoying it, because I've had that nagging "what if something's wrong" in the back of my mind the whole time.

On the one hand, I think that's been a bit better since the Ultrasound O'Relief a couple of weeks ago, but of course I had myself worked into a bit of a state again before we heard her heartbeat at our midwife's appointment yesterday.

That was, of course, very reassuring, but I'll feel even better next week when we actually see her again, and reconfirm that everything is looking good.

And get a check on how much she's grown - that's still a legitimate concern.

(As opposed to all my other, random, crazy, illegitimate concerns.)

As to dealing with my craziness, I'm just trying to continue to hold on to all the positive energy and good vibes and prayers and healthy-baby-mojo that we felt in such abundance during the Scariest Week Ever, and to continue to envision our family being surrounded and embraced by all that love and positivity.

Now that I am starting to show a bit, and starting to feel Peeper moving around a bit - and Shrike can even feel her a tiny bit - the whole thing is starting to feel more real, and like we're actually going to OhMyGod, have a baby in a few months.

We're really moving along with the preparations, gathering the gear, planning her room, shopping for (used, cheap) furniture, and so on.

We do still have to deal with some major issues, like planning for the delivery itself (childbirth classes? doula? who to have there with us?), finding a pediatrician, deciding who's going to watch her when we go back to work, and maybe even figuring out how we're going to pay for all of that.

Suddenly, twenty weeks doesn't seem like such a long time.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Bit of an Update

No real new news on Peeper, but I did have an appointment with Midwife K (the Liberal Drinker) this morning, and all looks good.

There really wasn't much to it - weight, blood pressure, chatting, and a listen with the Doppler.

Her heartbeat sounded great, at around 159 bpm (if I remember) - with a couple of kicks to the microphone, for good measure.

She asked (again) about whether we've chosen a pediatrician, and told us about our two options.

Yeah, our little town has one pediatric group, and one solo practitioner. Or, we could go with a family practitioner, so I guess that's technically three choices.

She suggested quizzing our friends for their opinions on these specific docs. I know I talked to LiPA about this before, but I'll have to ask her again, because I've forgotten what she told me!

She told us that it's not too earlier to start "interviewing" them, and deciding who we like. That kind of freaked me out a bit.

Then, this afternoon, Shrike told me that her sister was telling her about how we need to figure out what we're going to do about childcare when we go back to work.

Oy. And we're not even going to need that until February!

Oh, there were a couple of kind of funny things to report from the appointment:

First, when the nurse was doing her thing, she asked me, "So, you're at about twenty weeks. Have you had your ultrasound yet?"

Um yeah. Eight of them. So far.

Second, when MW K was about done with all her questions, she looked back down at her little cheat sheet and said, "Oh, I don't guess I need to ask if you want your tubes tied afterward, do I?"

Yeah, I think I feel pretty safe passing on that one.

Shrike Bite Update

Shrike came home from work this evening (morning) saying, "You need to take a new picture of my arm for the blog."

"Oh," I asked, "Is the bruising worse?"

Um, yeah, you could say that.

This photo shows the bruise and the bite - but doesn't do justice to the swelling.
She has promised to take it to a doctor tomorrow, or at least to talk to one, about whether she needs a tetanus shot or antibiotics.

The most ridiculous part is that Galoot (if it was him; it could've been Not-So-PerfectPup) probably had no intention of biting anyone, she just got in the way of what was supposed to be nothing but an argument.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Peeper Says "Hi" to Mommy!

If you're taking notes, and of course you are, you'll remember that about five weeks ago, I felt some tappity-tap-taps on my insides that I officially declared to be Peeper's "quickening."

After that, all was quiet on the uterine front for a good while, but over the past week to ten days, I've been feeling things that I've thought might be her.

Or, possibly, Taco Bell talking back to me.

Basically, if the sensations were all over my belly (or if any other evidence came to pass, so to speak), I've assumed they were of a digestive nature but, more and more lately, what I've been feeling has been restricted to the more uterine area of my belly, and getting more and more distinct.

Friday night, we were sitting on the couch watching tv, and I was feeling things that seemed less gas-like and more Peep-like, so I was pushing on my belly with my hand, to see if I could feel any more.

(A suggestion I read - by squishing the uterus a bit, she's more likely to touch the sides, and actually be felt.)

Then I noticed that I was not only feeling the little movements inside - but I could feel them from the outside, with my hand.

I kept it quiet for a few minutes, so I could feel it again, and be more sure, then I invited Shrike to join the party.

It was rather tricky, holding her hand tight against my belly (she was hesitant to push down herself, not knowing how hard was okay), trying not to breath too deeply, and concentrating on feeling something, either inside or out.

There was much, "Did you do that?" "No - did you feel that?" "Yes!" and after a few times of her assuring me that she was not twitching her fingers, we decided that we were definitely feeling Peeper moving around in here.

We tried again last night, and she was able to pick up a few movements from the outside again.

I think the really fun part of this pregnancy thing is just beginning!

Day of the Dogs

If you're reading the Twitter updates in the sidebar, you're probably waiting with bated breath to hear about our doggy misadventures from this morning.

Misadventure The First: PerfectPup Takes a Walk
First, we took them for a walk, over on the railroad track, where we let them run off-leash.

They were actually doing quite well, not straying too far off in the woods, coming back pretty quickly when called, and so forth.

On our way back, I was just about to say something about that to Shrike, when they took off down the track and went into the woods.

When we caught up to where they'd gone in, Shrike spotted them near a barn, across a field.

When she called them, BigGaloot came back, but then we saw Not-So-PerfectPup head off toward the cemetery where we also walk sometimes.

Galoot went after her, (I don't remember if we told him to, but that's possible - sometimes he can round her up.) and Shrike walked back up the track and then, eventually, into the woods, looking for her.

After five or ten minutes, Galoot came romping back out, but there was still no sign of NSPP.

By then, Shrike had had enough, and was ready to take Galoot home, and I guess she was planning to go look for NSPP on her own.

Or maybe not. She was pretty pissed at her.

As we got close to home, there she was, in our next door neighbor's driveway, looking at us like, "Where the hell have you been?"

Of course, our boundary-less neighbor across the street was looking out his door, watching it all, as Shrike ran to get her.

He said that she'd been hanging out by our front door for a while, "I figured you were right behind her."

Then, of course, he had to add, "I assume someone let her off-leash?"

Fuck you. Mind your own God-damned business.

Misadventure the Second: Galoot Takes a Bite
Once we got home, we were hungry, and there was nothing yummy in the house, so we decided to go pick up some lunch at Taco Bell.

As we ate, the dogs sat by the table, watching, as usual. Also as usual, we gave them some leftover taco salad - each on their own plate.

Galoot, of course, finished his first, then went to have some of NSPP's.

I think Shrike may have reached down to move him away, or maybe she was just sitting right there, but at any rate, right about then, NSPP got pissed, and started barking and snapping at him, and he barked and snapped back.

I really don't think anyone had any intention of doing anything but making a lot of noise but, unfortunately for Shrike, she and her arm were right in the middle of it.

I was yelling at her to get away from them, and we were both yelling at both of them, and they were both yelling at each other.

That all probably lasted only a few seconds, but it seemed like forever.

When the fur stopped flying, I saw Shrike grab a napkin and put it on her arm.

She's pretty sure that Galoot was the one who got her (don't know how she knows that) but I don't guess that matters much.

She's got one puncture wound, but it doesn't seem to be deep. It looks more like his tooth just make a little slice in the skin.

That "slice" is kind of gaping, but quite small, so we don't think it needs a stitch (wouldn't take more than one, if it did).

There's also pretty nasty bruise associated with that wound (it popped up right away; I can only imagine how it will look by tomorrow) and some smaller bruises and marks where the rest of his teeth hit.

We washed it out really well, and put a bunch of neosporin on it, and a couple of band aids, and she was supposed to go buy some butterfly bandages on her way to work, because I'm kind of bothered by the gapiness of it.

She's also promised to call the doctor in the morning, and see about getting tetanus shot.

She wouldn't let me take a picture of the wound itself, because she says that you don't want to see that, but here she is all fixed up. (The band aids are covering the rather impressive bruise.)

And here's Galoot, looking appropriately ashamed of himself.

Edited to Add:
What I neglected to mention above is how I freaked out about Shrike's dog bite. At first I was all cool and collected and going to take care of her.

Then I looked at it a few times and I was all Oh-My-God-There's-A-Hole-In-My-Wife-That's-Not-Supposed-To-Be-There!!! and she ended up comforting me.

It wasn't the grossness of it (although, it was none too pretty) or the blood (there wasn't much) but more that I was just upset about her being hurt.

I'd like to blame it on the hormones, or maybe I'm just a huge wuss.

I really didn't handle it too well when Galoot was mysteriously gushing blood from his ear that time, or (several years pre-blog) when MamaCat declawed herself during a seizure or (more recently, but still pre-blog) when MamaCat impaled her tongue on a tooth, during a seizure.

(She has had a few seizure-related misadventures, that little MamaCat of ours.)

God help us if when Peeper gets herself injured for the first time.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Last night, after we found out that the fireworks weren't happening, we went over to Target and worked on our baby registry.

I'd set it up online, and had added a few things, but this was our first time through the store with the scanner.

(Not our first time ever, we registered there for our wedding, too.)

We started by playing with the strollers and found one that we love. We might want to look at other, similar styes elsewhere (it was the only one like it there) to see if there are some we like even better, but I think we'd be very happy with this one.

We also bought Peeper a couple of little bibs from the dollar aisle - one is a monkey, the other is a lion - too cute!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

There is a giant, "mile long" yardsale that's held in Shrike'sWorkTown every year on July 4.

Well, you know we couldn't resist that!

So, we donned the most patriotical outfits that we own (Me: RedCounty Democrats t-shirt, and Mama for Obama button; Shrike: T-shirt honoring WWII WASPs), packed some drinks and snacks, stopped at an ATM machine, and headed down there mid-morning.

We tried to be pickier about tiny, pink things - especially the teeny-tiny things, as Peeper already probably has more 0 - 3 month onsies than she can possibly wear before she outgrows them, but I did buy a few really cheap (50-cent, 10-cent) outfits for her at one place (for a total of $1.50).

We also got a bag of maternity clothes for me (three pairs of work-appropriate pants, one pair jeans, several work-appropriate shirts and a couple of casual shirts), plus a few tiny, long-sleeved, plain white onsies for Peeper (she will be born in winter, you know) at another place for a little under $60.

That's way more than I like to hand over at one time at a yard sale (or anywhere else, for that matter) but, as Shrike pointed out, "You have to have them, and it's not like spending $60 on the kid. You can't register for maternity pants, you know."

Touche', my love.

I also got a few decorative things - a set of Christmasy (or were they snowmen?) nesting bowls for $1.50, and two watermelon-themed serving baskets, along with a ceramic watermelon-cut-into-a-basket-shape bowl, all for $2.50.

We also found Peeper a sweet little pair of tiny, pink shoes for $0.25.

And Shrike bought a skateboard (for herself) for $0.50.

She says, "This is what happens when you prohibit your kids from doing things when they are young. They wait until they are too old and fragile and do them anyway."

I've suggested that she invest in a helmet and wristguards, at the very least, before she try it out.

Oh, but that's not all the stuff we've gotten lately . . . .

Yesterday evening, I stopped by LiPA's house to pick up a ton of stuff that she pulled out of her basement and attic for us!

All her cloth diapers and covers (small/medium - good through around 25 lbs), which she sold to us for $50, several, hooded towels, a potty chair and seat (more on that later), a bassinet, and a ton of books and toys.

She was telling me that her youngest, J, has been rather attached to the potty seat, even long after she was done using it, but that when she saw it sitting out, she said (of her own accord), "We should give that to Shrike and Whozat for their baby."

"Hey, that's a great idea!"

While I was there, J went to the bathroom, and came back carrying one of those seats that you put on top of the big potty, and told me, "This is for your baby. It's so she doesn't fall in the potty."

"Well, thank you! Was that yours, but you're big now and don't need it anymore."

"Yes. And I had diarrhea on this part - but my mommy cleaned it up."

A bit more information than I needed, but on the other hand, I was already buying the diapers that she wore for the first nine months or so of her life, so I supposed the concept of "J pooped on it" wasn't really a deal-breaker in this situation.

But, back to today - after the yardsale, we got some lunch, then went to over to a party that some friends were having. We hung out there til around 3 or so, then headed home.

Then, of course, it was nap time.

Now it's about 8 pm, and it's drizzling outside and we're trying to figure out how to get word on whether the big fireworks display is a go or not.

I think we'll drive over there in a few minutes and just see for ourselves.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mystery Solved!

The "Mary Jane" socks were from BabyBro and HisLovelyWife.

And there was supposed to be a card in the package.

I suspected as much, but I'm glad to know for sure.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Kitty Report

The kitties seem to be surviving on their new diet, although they're not too thrilled about it.

They haven't quite figured out that they have to get their fill now because the food is going to go away soon, so we are feeding them four times a day for now, and hope to cut back to twice a day.

Even over the four meals, they're not finishing their allotted one cup per kitty, but I'm thinking that as they figure out the system, they'll probably start eating more of it.

GirlCat's on antibiotics for a few days, and bless Shrike's heart for dealing with that, because she's much better than I am at shoving the pills down her little kitty throat.

Well, I guess I'd better go see how the Boy's doing with his midnight snack, and put it away if he's stopped eating.

Puzzling Package for Peeper

Shrike and I had the following conversation on the phone earlier today:

Shrike: So, Peeper got a package in the mail.

Whozat: Really, what is it?

Shrike: I don't know, I didn't open it. But it's addressed to her.

Whozat: Wait, you mean like "Shrike-Whozat Baby" or like "Peeper Shrike-Whozat?"

Shrike: Peeper Shrike-Whozat. (But her real name, of course.)

Whozat: Really?!?

Shrike: Yeah, I figured you ordered her something, or it came from some website that you signed up on or something.

Whozat: I've not signed up anywhere with her real name. What the hell?

Shrike: Well, it's probably a gift. I wonder who it's from.

Whozat: Me too - I'm in suspenders! But I guess we'll find out when I get home and open it.
Except, not so much.

Here's what was in the package - a set of six pairs of entirely too precious for words teeny socks, printed to look like little black patent leather Mary Janes, in a variety of colors, of course:

But that was all - no gift card, no note, no receipt, no indication who might have sent them.

(They were shipped from Sacremento, California, but we don't know anyone there, so we figure that's just where the store is.)

But, where ever they came from, I love them - and I'm sure Shrike will too, as soon as she reads this post and sees the photo.

So, if you sent us some incredibly cute baby socks - Thank you very much!

Also, please let us know who you are, so you can be properly credited.