Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's A...

girl!
I think we were both afraid to admit how much we wanted that outcome. Not that we wouldn't have been happy with two boys -- I was convinced, from the time we found out Jo was a boy, that that's what we'd have -- but it's exciting to think we'll have a daughter.

I've come to think of myself as a "boy mom." Even though I originally couldn't imagine having a son, now having a daughter will take some getting used to.

I also think that Bobbie's profile looks like my sister. If the pictures look decent once they're scanned, I'll post them. The pix we got from my two almost-nuchals are fuzzy and nowhere near as good as all the shots we have of Jo, which is possibly due to my excess padding. Oh, well, hopefully she'll photograph well on the outside.

Also likely as a result of my extra padding, I actually have to go back for more scanning because, during the Level II/anatomy scan (that revealed the girl parts) the doctor couldn't see the heart properly. He sent me downstairs to the pediatric cardiologist, who poked around for a while and then invited me back in a week and a half. Fortunately, my midwife warned me that precisely this scenario might happen, so we're not too worried. Everything the two doctors could see looked perfectly fine.

In other news, Jo climbed out of his crib tonight. Crap. (As Co said, why did we enroll him in that gymnastics class??) Any thoughts on crib tents? Worth it or not?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Unexpected

So here's what has surprised me about this version of pregnancy:

I'm very self-conscious. I always thought I would love the attention, love being "special." Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the excuse to have Co climb on the kitchen stepstool and let me sleep late. But I have found it very difficult to tell people that I'm knocked up. I couldn't wait to tell everyone when Co was pregnant; I chose the date (14 weeks) weeks in advance, wrote it in my planner, and leaked the news ahead of time to as many people as I dared. This time around I have only just finally managed to share the news with the world, at 20 weeks along.

On further consideration, it's actually characteristic that I would feel that way. As much as I often think I crave attention, I'm more of a behind-the-scenes-gal. I worked in radio production before I became a teacher, and you don't get much more behind-the-scenes than that.

Also, as I've mentioned, my body really hasn't changed, so it's easy not to mention. We have cute belly pix of Co starting at 10 weeks 5 days; I'm still not up to my first-pregnancy-appointment weight. I'd heard that redistribution is the pattern for us Large & Beautifuls, but still didn't expect it would be the case for me. I feel different -- it's not so easy to bend over, and I already have to pee a lot -- but even at the halfway point, my clothes are still loose.

In other news: we're signing the contract on our bigger, better apartment tomorrow! Then, it's on the to the coop board. Gulp.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fertilitea: Sharing the Magic

This post is perhaps the most long overdue of all.

Back in June, the fabulous Bree made me the third fertility blogger to make use of the magic Internet Fertil.itea. There's no scientific evidence that my religious use of Fertili.tea leading up to my IUI helped me conceive so quickly (and Co, ever the scientist, is skeptical). But there's no evidence it didn't help, either. So please comment here (with email so I can get in touch) if you'd like to be the next recipient. There's plenty of magic left in the Zip.loc.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bullets From A Neglectful Blogger

Alas, I don't actually know how to format bullets, so you get asterisks.

*Bobbie is fine. I had the nuchal back in the beginning of September and finally got to see the little bugger. Actually, I had two nuchals, because in my anxiety to get a look inside, I scheduled the first one just a little too early for comfort, and they couldn't get the right measurements. I was actually fine with that, because I was thinking of it as a viability scan anyway, and that it was! I didn't mind going back to check on a creature I knew was in there. Unfortunately, they couldn't get the right measurements the second time, either. No one came right out and said so but I suspected it was a fat thing (which my midwife confirmed). The doctor in charge of the testing assured me that everything looked fine, which I don't think he'd dare do if he didn't truly think so, so we have elected not to go ahead and get the quad screen. I haven't scheduled the Level II but it can be in two weeks, I think. OMG. (I'm a little worried about the fat thing and the Level II but the midwife said it shouldn't be as much of a problem because Bobbie will be bigger.)

*And on that note, everyone says Bobbie is a girl. "Everyone" being my sister and two of our friends. Before I conceived, I was convinced Jo would have a brother. Now I'm not so sure.

*Back to the fat thing: my midwife says I can gain 15 pounds from the weight I gave at my first appointment (um, I hate to tell her how much weight I can gain...). However, I am currently 8.5 pounds below that first-appointment-weight. My eating is still not back to normal (it's become pretty common for me to have mashed potatoes and salad for dinner). I am NOT complaining.

*Knock wood, spit spit, etc etc, we may have a bigger place to live! (And let me tell you, we need it.) We put an offer on a larger apartment last weekend and the lawyers are currently drawing up the contract. It's in the same neighborhood we live in now, a ten minute walk from our current place and still across the street from the park (and next door to the awesome ice cream place).

*In sad news, my mother's uncle died last week, and days later I got an email that my father's aunt has a pre-leukemic disorder. Uncle H. was 88 and Aunt A. is in her 90s. I grew up without grandparents so my great-aunts and uncles were the closest I had, and losing them is complicated.

*Jo continues to be the funniest, sweetest, smartest toddler in the world. He now takes gymnastics as well as his beloved music class, and he somersaults all over the place (he also does "seat drops" on our hardwood floors).

Here he is last weekend at his cousin Sam's birthday party:


And here he is at a Rosh Hashanah celebration in September:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Moving Along

Sorry for the time between posts. We are both still kind of stunned by this news. You hope it's going to work the first time, but it never seems like a real possibility.

It feels like limbo, too, because we don't have the reassurances we had last time: no betas, no early ultrasounds. I have a midwife appointment scheduled for about 9 weeks in. But at this point, I have no symptoms except possibly increased hunger. Who knows what is going on in there??

In other news, we're on our second of two weeks staying in a house in the "country" near my mom and sister. Jo is having a blast seeing his "Gabba" (grandmother), aunt, and almost-3-year-old cousin every day. Some visuals:

Cousins at the farm:

Cousins with bear statue (these bear statues are all over my sister's town this summer):


Playing basketball at Gabba's house:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Positive

So I didn't get my period, and I decided I would buy more tests if I didn't get it by Tuesday night.

Positive this morning.

I am floored. It's early, but oh my God, did I really do this???

Sunday, July 12, 2009

BFN #2

Still negative. I am mostly okay with this. I had decided to be Zen about TTC the second time around. We are already moms to this fabulous boy, and our goal for age range is closer to three years. I am three years one month older than my sister, so I have until April until I surpass our age difference.

As many of you know, the actual process of TTC fucks with your head in a big way. It's hard to be okay with failure. But I think I am. I'll just keep trucking.

No more testing unless blood is late (I expect it tomorrow).

Friday, July 10, 2009

BFN #1

11 dpo is early to test. It could still be positive later. But I don't have a lot of hope.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Nothing To See Here....

No symptoms. No nothing. I will probably test Friday, because the midwife said it's the earliest I can and I won't be able to step away from the pee stick.

Co convinced me that it can be negative on Friday and I could still be pregnant, so that's comforting.

I really, really, really hate the TWW.

Monday, June 29, 2009

IUI #1: The Swan


The deed is done. Co, Jo, and I went to the midwife's office this morning. Having been through clinic IUIs with Co, I can't say enough good things about doing it with the midwife. She was gentle with the speculum (though I still have no love for that thing) and told me how great my cervix looked. Plus, it's nice to have someone you trust and like digging around down there with a headlamp and a catheter. As I've said before, we love this midwife; she was one of the first people to meet Jo (the other midwife delivered him, but she showed up at the hospital to take over within minutes of his birth), and she has a son just a few months younger than Jo.

It was nice that Co and Jo could be there, which would be impossible at the clinic, too. Jo actually stayed through the whole procedure. We'll do it again at 7:45 tonight.

Yesterday we took Jo to two attractions in the park -- the Audubon Center and the zoo. While we were at the Audubon Center and Jo was napping, Co took some amazing pictures of a swan and her two cygnets on the lake. She suggested that perhaps the swan -- with her two babies -- was a sign. Last night I was musing about what to name my tries (Co named hers after the tropical fish that swam to her fingers in the RE's fish tank; Jo was the result of Yellow Fish) and Co suggested birds, since our Jo is obsessed with "bobbies" (birdies). So, I bring you the Swan Try. Swans are, after all, a water bird.

To end, some pictures of the boy. Here's Jo hugging a giant "bobbie":

And here he is in a turtle shell at the zoo:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

And Now, For The Other Eagle...

Positive OPK tonight. Midwife just called. IUI #1 at 8:30 tomorrow morning.

O.M.G.

The Eagle Has Landed

The title of this post was the title of the email my midwife sent when the sperm arrived at her office on Friday.

But the other eagle -- ovulation -- has not landed. It's cd14 and I will still test tonight, but I'm so nervous. Stupidly, I haven't successfully tracked my ovulation before so I have no real confidence that it happens.

Sigh.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Face.book Statuses that Didn't Make It, and An Update

Lo is itching to get started.
Lo is drinking her Fertili.tea. (I received the magic Internet Fertili.tea from the newly knocked-up Bree and I've been drinking my two daily cups diligently.)
Lo's cervix says LEAVE ME ALONE! (I had a Pap smear today, more documentation for the clinic.)
Lo does not like holding her pee for four hours. (I did my first OPK of the cycle tonight.)

I am going to start this cycle, but with our midwife. I met with her today and she is happy to do as many cycles as I want to with her. I called our fuzzy lesbian sperm bank and they are going to ship two vials to arrive on Friday. Wow.

I'm actually going to do at least two cycles with the midwife, because next cycle we'll be in town around ovulation time, but not for cd2 bloodwork. Whoops.

I'm actually very happy with this turn of events. I love our midwives -- I've never been so comfortable with any health professional -- and my associations with the office are all positive and happy. I initially thought it wouldn't make sense to inseminate with them, as much as I'd prefer it, because skipping interventions would be wasteful. But Dr. Paisan suggested natural cycles, without even a trigger shot, so in fact the protocol will be identical. Except: no monitoring, no cd2 bloodwork, and did I mention the office is around the corner??

So...here we go. Back on the roller coaster.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cycle 1?

I had my HSG today. The tubes are all-clear. Hoo-boy, is that one unpleasant lesbian babymaking hoop to jump through.

The nurse made me pee in a cup for a pregnancy test before the test. Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit seems to be out of the babymaking business.

I can't do an IUI at the clinic this cycle, because the results of my genetic testing (those pesky inbreeding Ashkenazi Jews) isn't in. I suspect I will have the results by ovulation, but a cycle with the clinic starts with cd2 bloodwork and Dr. Paisan wanted "all our ducks in a row."

But while this may be my first time TTC, it is also not my first time, and I may have a way around those pesky clinic rules. I'll keep you posted.

**Note to IRL friends: We have not made our TTC news public, so please keep the information here under your collective hats until further notice.

Monday, June 15, 2009

CD1 Is Here

I can conclusively say I've never been excited about it before.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Test Is In...

....and it's normal.

After 3 weeks of anxiety it's almost anti-climactic. But apparently ovarian reserve is not a concern.

I'm grateful.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Limbo

Yes, it has been over two weeks since my RE appointment. I called back the following Thursday, heart in my mouth. Because I'm a teacher it's not easy for me to make phone calls during work. I waited impatiently for recess and pulled out my cell phone. But there was no nurse available to speak to me; they would call back, I was told. The nurse who called me back said, "Oops, not yet. Wait another seven days to find out if you have any chance of fulfilling your lifelong dream of pregnancy!" Well. That's not exactly what she said. A paraphrase, if you will.

So I called back this past Thursday. I was considerably less excited and actually forgot to call until recess was almost over (it's scrambling-to-write-reports season). Once again: "Oh, those tests can take THREE weeks. Surely you don't mind pondering your fertility for another seven days?"

I don't think about it every minute. I can't, with a toddler in the house and those aforementioned report cards breathing down my neck. But somehow, the longer it takes to find out my results, the more I sink into assumed infertility.

*****************************

I've started several posts here about my results only to abandon them. My feelings about this blog are in limbo, too. When we started out, it was a way to participate in a community around (largely) lesbian baby-making. But that community has morphed; we're still in contact, but more often through FB and message boards these days. Honestly, I wish it weren't so. I can't write about my fertility on FB. Can you see the status updates? Ha. And I can't write blog-length personal posts on message boards. Well, I can, and I have; but I don't like to make it a common practice. This is my place to talk about me. But I wonder about the audience, not because I want to be a famous blogger, but because I used to imagine my circle of women reading. And now I don't know quite who I'm writing to anymore.

I want to clarify that the whine here is not about lost readership or popularity, it's about change. God, do I hate change.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The RE Report

Yesterday was supposed to be my whirlwind of three doctor's appointments; in the end all but one was cancelled. It was the big one that went through, though, with the clinic I suspected I would like.

The clinic is bigger than the one we used with Co -- they sent me a folder of paperwork to read in advance of the appointment, and sent me home with two more! -- but the up side of having been through all this before (by proxy) is that I didn't find it intimidating. There were a lot of straight couples there who seemed pretty intense and stressed out (some kind of educational seminar had just ended). I can imagine it must be much worse to end up in a clinic when you thought you'd be babydancing; Co and I always knew our baby's beginning would be in a lab.

Dr. Paisan (Sophia has already named him for us) was positively lovely. He was chatty and funny and sweet, a far cry from Dr. Quick, who got the job done but whose longest speech was "Sperm is going in" (to be fair, he became much more personable once Co was pregnant). He said that from his perspective, I was young and healthy with no known fertility problems and should absolutely be able to get pregnant. When I asked about weight -- I had to ask about it! -- he shrugged and said it shouldn't be a problem in an otherwise healthy woman.

I went in convinced I should start with IVF (I exaggerate, but only slightly) but he said natural cycles (as in, not even a trigger) should be just fine, again, since I am so healthy and young. It was really a twist of the kaleidoscope to hear his optimism and think of myself as someone with so much potential.

As luck would have it, yesterday was cd2, so I went right downstairs for my bloodwork. Dr. Paisan called today with the results -- he said that everything was fine with the exception of the estradiol, which was elevated. He likes to see less than 70 on cd2, and mine was (I believe) 124. He said that it probably means I have a leftover cyst from a previous cycle. In some rare cases it can mean that ovarian reserve is compromised, but he doesn't think that's likely. My MIS results will be in Thursday and that will tell us more.

I had cd3 bloods done once before and had a scare about infertility. Ultimately that doctor ended up saying everything was normal, but she too was concerned about a high estradiol level, and called me to say I had the ovaries of a menopausal woman. (Looking back at those posts, she said that estradiol had to be below 32, which seems very wrong, though she correctly called my FSH of 5.7 normal. I don't know what my FSH was this time around...didn't ask.)

So, I'm anxious. I'm trying not to be too anxious, but the kaleidoscope has turned again. I want to have a pregnancy. I've wanted it my whole remembered life and I've had intense pregnancy dreams since I was 13 years old. But I've come to be a good non-bio mom. I know how to do it. Maybe that's my lot in life. That wouldn't be the worst thing.

Yesterday I was wondering if I could get all my testing done in time to start next cycle. Now I'm thinking I'll never get to be a bio mom. But one thing's for sure: TTC with a toddler in the house is much, much less painful.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

RE

I have been working up to this post, and here it is: I have an appointment to see an RE on May 20. We are thinking about #2, and it's my turn.

Actually, I have three appointments on May 20. The midwife (who serves as my gyn), and then two different REs, who have been recommended by Sophia, Oneofhismoms, and several folks off the computer. (We had no problem with Co's RE, but the monitoring hours at that office won't work with my teaching schedule, so off I go.) I'm meeting with two because I am terrified that my weight will be an issue, so I'm hoping at least one of these guys will agree to work with me.

I have always believed I would bear a child, but now that I am so close to exploring this goal, I no longer believe it can happen. So many people have tried for so long -- why would it work for me?

Right now, as you can see, I'm more scared than excited. I am frightened by how much I want this. We already have Jo, can I really ask for more?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Allies

This year Pesach/Passover, the holiday of liberation, comes on the heels of two amazing legislative victories: same-sex marriage is now legal in Iowa (with thanks to these ladies for their pride and bravery!) and Vermont (which means wedding bells for these ladies!).

On the two different days that Iowa's and Vermont's historic decisions were made, virtually all of my queer Face.book friends made reference to the victories in status updates. Then I noticed that a few of my straight friends also mentioned the news. And I found myself feeling a special pulse of warmth for those folks. It's another thought to add to my ever-expanding definition of "ally": to be able to participate and rejoice in a fight for justice that has no personal impact. Or perhaps the wisdom to understand that there is a personal impact: that none of us are free until all of us are.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Streak

Perhaps one of the cutest things Jo loves to do is run down the hallway naked. He only learned to walk in the last month or so, but has quickly progressed to running. So he started out by wriggling away from the bath-giving-mom, and running down the hall, giggling maniacally, to visit the mom cleaning up from dinner in the kitchen (we trade off on these two roles). He loves it so much that now we always let him do his wild run, and even if he was crying and angry before (getting one's face wiped after dinner and taking iron drops can really cramp a toddler's style), naked running always makes him laugh and smile.

Co sings "The Streak" as he runs, a wacky song from one of her Dr. Dem.ento CDs. It's often my favorite moment of the day.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Daily Cute

Here begins my attempt to blog more frequently, if less deeply. I want to try to record Jo's daily antics. I'll still be here contemplating my navel when I have time (ha ha ha).

Jo has developed a passion for bunny grahams. Last night, as Co offered them to him, she made them go "hop hop hop" on the table. Jo started not only to bounce the bunnies on the table, he echoed by saying "bop bop bop" -- his version of "hop hop hop."

Today he asked for one of his favorite books by name -- he calls it "Bobo," after the name of the monkey in the story. We were at the bank, and I had offered him a book from the diaper bag. He actually remembered a book from home and asked for it!

I'm on spring break now, so perhaps I'll even update daily. Stay tuned.

In closing, here is our snarky toddler in his rocking chair:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Life of Jo

We are not blogging enough, and have all the usual excuses. I am stealing a few minutes while Co makes her delicious tomato sauce (I highly recommend Italian wives) and Jo plays with his highchair to update you all on his world.

*He walks. We did write here about his first steps, about three weeks after his first birthday, but it took him several more months to get serious about walking. Now he walks around everywhere and almost never resorts to crawling. There is this short little person walking around our house!

*He says about fifteen words. Most of them are animal noises. (For those keeping track, he knows that a cow says "moo," a a sheep says "ba," an owl says "hoo," a duck says "quack-quack," a dog says "woof" (usually sounds more like "oof"), and of course his favorite is the lion that says "ra-ra." Co is working on cat. Currently he will tell you that a cat says "moo."


We are animal lovers, and the number of jungle and farm animals in board books is really quite astonishing (my mother bought our urban boy a book about the subway in protest). I also remembered recently that in the "long profile" the donor mentioned having a "Dr. Dolittle" gene, which was one of the reasons we chose him. Hmmmm.

*He also uses his talking to, well, communicate! He asks to nurse ("ba-ba"), to eat ("na-na," his version of "num-num") and makes sure we know every time a dog crosses or path ("oof!).

*Yesterday at the bank, Co gave him his keys to play with, and he tried to put them in the keyhole of the door! He doesn't miss a trick.

*Jo still only has five teeth (and we think he's working on a sixth). Nonetheless he's become more and more interested in food and loves to feed himself. He loves pancakes and bread made by Mommy (our little carb fiend) and has developed a passion for Annie's honey bunny grahams. Nothing is cuter than watching him tackle a whole apple or banana.

*He has developed an obsession with balls, and often says "ball!" for no apparent reason. He has three at home, and likes to hold them all at once.

*He just gets more and more fun as he develops into a little person. I am so excited about taking him to a seder in a few weeks!

Our lives continue with the usual breathless pace of working moms. The plan is for us both to take some time off this summer, and I can't wait. Hopefully you'll hear more from us then, too.

Can't sign off without a picture, so here are a few.

Here he is taking a walk in the park, in his snazzy silver shoes:


Here's the homemade Cookie Monster costume he sported for Purim (you can sort of see the eyes on the top):


Here he is playing with our mah-jongg purse (you can also see one of his beloved balls in the corner):

Monday, March 16, 2009

Welcome Bonus Ball!

Jo has a transatlantic buddy!! Jay and Vee's Bonus Ball (a.k.a. Baby Boy) is here!!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Day!

Here's our snow angel. He tolerated the white stuff far better than I thought he would. Maybe next time (which I honestly hope is next year) we'll break out the sled!

Monday, February 16, 2009

President's Day: Inauguration Flashback

I've been itching to write my post about the inauguration but been short on time. So I'm taking President's Day as an opportunity to celebrate our current President.

My school watched the Inauguration in the gym; our tech folks projected ABC's coverage onto a big screen. My 7th graders were besides themselves with excitement, as they have been since the days leading up to the election. I was pretty giddy myself and everyone in the city seemed extra-happy as well. Everyone was decked out in their Obama-wear (I wore my "Another Mama for Obama" shirt). There was pizza and black-and-white cookies for all (yes, those were ordered intentionally). Jo was downstairs with me -- he goes to daycare at my school and everyone was in the gym, including the daycare babes and their providers -- so he sat in my lap, watched Obama and ate some pizza too.

We watched coverage starting with the invocation* and through Obama's speech (which one of my kids summarized brilliantly in his journal later that week). The first time the camera flashed spontaneously to Obama the whole gym erupted in cheers. Then the picture was left on but the sound turned down, and as a community we sang "This Land Is Your Land."

It was truly the most patriotic day of my life. I come from a family with a healthy suspicion of the American flag (all the flag-waving after 9/11 made me very nervous) but for the first time, I actually wanted to stand for the national anthem. I jumped to my feet when asked to stand for the swearing in of Vice-President Biden.

No, I did not get through all this without crying, and neither did many of my students. I found myself tearing up all through the day and quite a few days afterward as the reality of this historical moment kept sinking in. At a staff meeting in a sixth grade teacher's room there on the wall was one of those Junior Scholastic charts of the presidents on the wall... and there was Obama, number 44. It is absolutely overwhelming.

And almost every day President Obama (!) does something else to make me proud to be an American. Truly words I have never written, nor thought, before this administration.

Here's Jo on Inauguaration Day (click on the photo to see notes):
Inauguration Day

--------------------------------
*I'm making this a footnote because the invocation did not ruin the proceedings for me, but oh my goodness, did it suck, and I have to comment. I've never watched an inauguration before (see previous comments about patriotism in my family) so I actually assume that nonsense is par for the course. It was just so awful: I know R.W. is a big homophobe so it was miserable to hear his remarks about inclusivity and want to shove them where the sun don't shine. But perhaps more egregious was sitting in my public school, watching a government event, and hearing the Lord's Prayer. It makes me really sad to realize that separation of church and state is a total myth. I believe in it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Toddler Love

I owe you all the obligatory tear-streaked inauguration post and trust me it's coming but here's a quickie:

I love my toddler. Of course I love my toddler; what I mean is that I love having a toddler. I've worked with kids of many ages, including babies and preschoolers all the way through high school, but somehow skipped toddlers so I never knew much about them. Jo has his moments (many of them at 3 or 4 a.m.) but generally I find toddlerhood delightful.

He is walking carefully, slowly, occasionally, definitely still a skill to be practiced -- when he actually wants to go somewhere he crawls, and fast -- but he's catching on.

I love watching him learn words. (Here is the current list, from his baby book: rah-rah [see previous post], mama, moo, hoo [as in owl], woof, night-night, yeah, no, ba-ba [nursing/bottle], bye, baby.)

I love how affectionate he is: with us, with his daycare providers, with his daycare playmates, with his stuffed animals, with the long-suffering dachshund. He has taken to climbing into our laps just to hang out. So sweet!

For the past two evenings he has been climbing out of the bathtub into my lap, to hug and cuddle. Last night I finally clued in and just climbed in the tub with him. He loved that. He also took one look at my naked chest, widened his eyes, signed "milk," and grabbed me. Adorable.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Facts, Fun & Otherwise

*Jo figured out how to blow his nose. He wrinkles it up, sniffs loudly and (since he is currently and often congested) rivers of snot pour out. This is actually in the fun facts category because it is seriously helpful to be able to encourage him to blow (by pretending to do so yourself). We've been able to avoid aspirating, which he hates, a number of times since he gained this new skill on Thursday.

*We met X and his moms, who are our neighbors. X is delicious and his moms are lovely.

*We seem to have a picky eater. I hadn't been thinking of him this way, but Co pointed it out (she herself was a picky eater as a kid). And it's true that compared to lists of foods other kids his age, or even younger, will eat, he is just not that versatile. He enjoys feeding himself, but will not actually eat very many finger foods...except carbs. He is a carb fiend and happily gorges on Cheer.ios, pancakes, bread (especially challah and Mommy's homemade!). He also loves strawberries. Everything else we feed him is a puree. We constantly offer him food from our plates and intentionally prepare foods we think he might like. Our pediatrician is fine with his progress, however, so I'm not seriously worried.

*Jo has now been to two first birthday parties (besides his own) and at the latest one we gave him some cupcake. Refined sugar and all. He loved it (see above).

*In addition to saying "Rah-rah" (this is both the sound a lion makes -- roar -- and Jo's word for lion) he now also says versions of "moo" and "woof woof." He may also be trying to say "quack." Stay tuned.

Here is a video of Jo identifying a "Rah-rah" in one of his favorite books, Dear Zoo.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Visuals & Details

Just in case you were morbidly curious, here is a picture of Jo's eye the day of the surgery.


His godfather says Jo should say, "You should see the other baby!"

We have no pix of the cyst itself, though the doctor did show it to us, and if I had a camera phone, I would not have been above snapping a shot. The resident said it was the largest dermoid cyst he'd ever seen. That's my boy!

The whole experience of surrendering our baby for surgery was, of course, terrifying. My mom told Co on the phone that she'd "never" be able to let someone whisk her kid off to be operated on. But I think you just don't know what you can do until you have to do it. We wanted to be in the room while they put him under, but the nurses said no, so what else was there to do?

Perhaps the worst part was denying him food and drink. It wasn't as bad as we'd anticipated, because the instructions for babies his age are that they can have breastmilk up to six hours before surgery, and then water or juice three hours before. So we woke him and "dreamfed" at about 1:30 so he could get some final ba-ba (that's his new word for nursing!!), and then I got up at 4:30 to give him some apple juice (his first time). He was cranky while we waited for surgery -- started at 8:30 -- but it would have been a lot worse without our planning, I think. It was really hard for both Jo and Co, though, because he REALLY wanted to nurse and she REALLY wanted to oblige.

We weren't thrilled with this hospital when Co gave birth there, but were assured by our trusty pediatrician that they have excellent pediatric opthalmological care. And indeed, we were pleased. Our boy was attended by a senior pediatric anesthesiologist (head of the department) along with two residents, and operated on by the doctor we met in his office to receive the diagnosis, along with an experienced resident. The nurses were attentive and lovely.

The surgery itself only took about an hour, just as predicted, so we really didn't have time to worry too much. The hospital didn't seem to have wireless (it really isn't the best place, ugh) so I actually got some productive work done. Before we knew it, we were being called to come hold our boy as he came out of the the anesthesia.

I'll admit now that it was a little scary to see him, face-down and wailing hoarsely, in his lemon yellow hospital gown and blue shower-cap head cover. He continued to wail and wail even as we held him. He's super-strong (other parents comment on it) and in just a few seconds he had yanked off the cardiac monitors and was working on the IV in his foot. The nurse said it had to stay, and it was seriously difficult to keep our angry little guy from tearing it out.

My hippie-crunchy-mama moment: as Jo raged on, I asked when we could feed him. The nurse replied, when he calms down. Um. It seemed pretty clear to me (and to Co) that only ba-ba was going to calm our boy down. After a few more minutes of carrying on, the nurse asked what we planned to feed him. Co said "breastmilk," and the nurse replied, "Oh, that's fine." Jo latched greedily and calmed immediately. I suspect we could and should have done that as soon as we had him in our arms. We're both too quick to listen to authority figures (but I had reached a point where I was going to tell Co to stick the boob in his mouth, against medical advice if I had to!).

Once he'd nursed, he fell asleep, and was transferred to the other recovery room, where we waited about another hour while he nursed and slept on and off and was finally cleared to go at about noon.

The whole experience, as I hope this post conveys, had some frightening moments, and some confusion and insecurity, but was for the most part as routine as the doctor assured us it would be. However, I feel like I had a brief, brief insight -- a veil was lifted ever so slightly -- into the life of a parent who must wrangle more frequently and intensely with the medical establishment. I had the thought: I can do this. I don't want to, and I hope to God I don't have to, but I could do what I had to do.

Thank God our Jo is on the mend.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Memory Lane (The Boy is Well!!)

Most importantly: we are home with Jo, and he is just fine. Even anesthesia can't keep our boy down for long. He's currently on the floor playing with his stuffed rooster.

He was operated on at the same hospital where he was born. The hospital was still decked out for Christmas, just as it was on December 13 and 14 of last year. It was strange, to say the least, to go back there in the dark and cold, bleary with lack of sleep. This year we had to arrive at 6 a.m. for an 8 a.m. surgery; last year we were released in the evening. This year we got little sleep, since Jo perhaps sensed something and managed to stay up until 11:30 the night before the big event; last year, we were awake with little respite from the morning of December 12 through the evening of December 14.

Though by the time I wrote this post he was up and playing, he spent much of his surgery recovery day regressed to his newborn state. Co and I spent hours on the couch while Jo nursed and slept, nursed and slept, nursed and slept...and we cleared out the DVR (this is a whole other post, but I am deeply in love with our new DVR). His face was scrunched up from being sleepy, and from not being able to open the affected eye, so he even looked like my newborn boy.

Seemingly unrelated but tied together by the title:
I am always quick to post about my mom when she drives me crazy so I ought to share the nice moments, too. The night before the surgery we got two CDs in the mail from her, with a gift message that read "Happy winter": these recordings from my childhood (we had the records, of course). During our Chanukah visit to the Happy Valley, where Mom and Sister both live, I saw just those two records at my sister's house. Our agreement is that all of the childhood treasures my mother has saved -- books, toys, musical instruments, records, our old wooden high chair -- will stay at my mother's house where they can be enjoyed by both grandsons. However, an increasing number of these items have found their way to my sister's house, including those records. It makes me sad. I didn't mention my feelings to my mom, but she has always had the uncanny ability to read my mind (I used to accuse her of reading my diary because, really, how else could she *know so much*?). And this time she used her power for good.

It felt really good to dance around the house to music I remembered from childhood with my little boy, the night before his surgery.