Monday, August 27, 2007

Project Delayed

Hi all. We've been sitting on this decision for a couple weeks, but putting this blog on hold isn't as easy as it was to start it up. For a whole bunch of reasons, we've decided to delay project: baby for a couple years. But it has not been for nought! Here's the recap:
  • On the plus side, I am completely free of prescription drugs for the first time since 1989 (when I started prescription allergy meds.) I have had a drastic decrease in migraines--one or two a month instead of 3 or 4 a week.
  • Unfortunately, my endometriosis symptoms are returning, a little bit worse each month. I can live with it for now, but may need to remedicate if it keeps getting worse.
  • As much as we both know it's the right choice for us right now, we're sad. We've gotten to the point now, though, where we can talk about hypothetical baby without being sad, knowing that he/she is still in our future.

Thank you for reading, thank you for lurking and commenting. We'll take this up again when the time is right.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Corazon hermoso y burrito perfecto

No substantive update right now, just reporting that my echocardiogram went very well. Ultrasounds of the heart are so much cooler than abdominal ultrasounds--you can actually see stuff. The tech and cardiology fellow she was training were very sweet and funny: they kept calling my heart "beautiful." Like "Look at that left ventricle ... beautiful!" I haven't heard back from the cardiologist yet, but I'm guessing that "beautiful" means a healthy, normal heart, just as we expected. It was maybe a waste of a procedure, but it's nice to know that nothing's wrong, and Sean and I got to have lunch at the med school carts ... mmmm ... perfect burrito.

Monday, July 16, 2007

But you don't have to take my word for it ...

Seriously, go see Ratatouille for yourself. It is the best movie I've seen in a long time. Sean and I both love it and think everyone should go see it. Yeah, we tend to enjoy fine children's programming--we had regular dates to watch Fraggle Rock together when we were courting, and the first movie we watched overandover was Lilo and Stitch--but please trust me when I say this isn't just a kids' movie. It's beautifully animated, funny and romantic, all around a great date and a great time in general.

This post would be unrelated to the subject of P:B, except that it was part of truly wonderful weekend with Sean. We went to the beach, ate a great deal of fresh fish at a seafood shack, bought some clams and took them home to cook up with some spaghetti. We also went out for sushi, which I don't think we've done since we lived in Texas. We relaxed and enjoyed each other's company without the spectre of Greek class looming over us. Good, good times.

I'm just saying ... Ratatouille.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

το τελος (that's what she said!)

So this is mostly just an advertisement for a neat little Unicode Greek input script that I found after reading Annie's last post. Frankly, Annie left me in the dust weeks ago, and without my textbook, I'm afraid I can't translate her title, let alone her closer.

While Annie paints my perspective on P:B as sort of zenlike, I should admit that it's probably more selfishpragmatic than that. We're coming up on one year of marriage in August, and roughly 2 years of interstate romance. (Turnpike romance doesn't really have the same ring, does it?) So, if it takes a while before we're parents — whether the old fashioned way, or through adoption or audioanimatronics — I'm glad to enjoy spending that time with my wife, being newlyweds. Certainly willing to put the time into trying, so to speak: have I ever told you the wonders Annie can work with a positronic matrix? Either way, we win.

“Goodnight, Irene”?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

To telos

I tried to copy and paste in my neat Greek font, but it didn't work. You get the idea, though. It is to telos, the end of summer Greek. I am feeling a little low on adrenaline, post-exam. I think it would be a good idea for hypothetical baby to learn Greek while his brain is spongy ... of course, I also think that about sign language and Spanish ... what do you all think? Which languages should we inflict on our baby?

Sean and I have recently made plans to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary by taking in the roller coasters at Hershey Park. We thought about the Poconos but decided that the heart-shaped jacuzzi and round, mirrored king bed could wait until we have kids and need a getaway weekend. For now, we can enjoy being two adult theme-park goers with long legs and patience for waiting in lines, and I can ride as many coasters as I want to (a benefit of not being pregnant yet.) We're also going to spend some time exploring New Jersey. Don't snicker ... it's going to be beautiful!

I go through phases in which I'm really optimistic about our chances of getting pregnant, and then there are times when I feel like, yeah, this really isn't going to happen. As with most things, Sean helps me put it all into perspective: we may get pregnant, he says, or we may not. Either way, this time we have with just the two of us will be fun, and maybe someday we'll adopt. It's going to work out, no hurry necessary. Sometimes I yearn for instant gratification, but no matter how you go about it, having a baby isn't an instantly gratifying thing (you know, that whole nine months thing, maybe even more time for adoption.) I'd venture that it's less the gratification of microwave popcorn and more the gratification of slow-cooked pork. Mmmmmm... pork sandwich. This child will be delicious!

Thanks to all who've been there for me--through the Internets or otherwise--during this tough time. I went through this crazy lonely phase and I'm just peeking my head out from it now, thanks in great part to my summer roomie, Kat, helping me get out of the house now and then. And tonight is Harry Potter! I know it won't exactly be a cheerful movie, but I am cheerful at the thought of seeing it.

And now, I think I've earned an afternoon nap. Time to clear the study aids off my bed. Erxesthe en irene!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Cupcake therapy

We've gone a long time without posting. Unfortunately, it's not because we're holding our breath and waiting the appropriate time before announcing that we're having a baby. I'm not pregnant, and the whole project may be on hold for a bit. But backing up to why we haven't posted ...
Jason, a cousin I've adored my whole life, killed himself on June 19. My grandpa correctly called it a tragedy--Jason's sister pointed out that it's the only tragedy our generation has ever personally experienced. While my family is interesting and complicated enough to double as a genogram glossary, nothing really bad has happened since my dad's mom died young of breast cancer and my mom's dad died young of lung cancer (both before I was born.) My Umma (mom's mom) died when I was 11, but that was after a 17-month good-bye, before the real pain of cancer set in, and while she was still living independently. I still cry about it sometimes and will suddenly miss her like crazy, but I can recognize that it was pretty close to "the good death."
I don't think there's anything good about Jason being dead. That's not Pastor Anne talking, that's Jason's little cousin. Who is angry and really, really sad. I can intellectually appreciate the argument that he's not living in misery any more, but my body rejects that reasoning. I'm not worried at all about his soul--I just wish he wasn't dead.
The good came in the way our family came together, doing just what a family is supposed to do--taking turns taking care of each other, taking turns leaning on each other for comfort. I was reminded that I love them very, very much. The good is also in our memories of Jason, which we shared along with a huge number of pictures.
On the ride back to Connecticut from the funeral, my legs--which had been aching all week--began throbbing with pain and my feet swelled up. Sean and I sang for the last two hours of the trip to help distract me. Still in our funeral clothes, we drove straight to Student Health, thinking they'd give me a diuretic for the swelling. They sent us to the emergency room, and 8 hours later they'd ruled out kidney failure (whew!) and blood clots, but wanted me to follow up some abnormal blood flow they found on the ultrasound. I'm going to have a cardiology work up and an abdominal ultrasound to make sure everything's OK with the remnant tumor and my heart--although I'm pretty convinced that it was all from too much salt, standing, and dehydration. My legs are still achey, but the swelling is gone; I'm not worried. But, if there is something wrong, it's probably good that I'm not pregnant.
To work through all this I've been baking. I've made strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting, Texas sheet cake, chocolate cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting, buttermilk shortcakes and blueberry/lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting. All were quite good and most of it went to my Greek class. I think I'm ready now, though, to be less productive in my sadness. I am grateful for the voices of my pastoral care profs that (in my head) tell me what I'm feeling is normal and OK. Knowing these things, having read those books, I still don't know what to do with this grief.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What to expect when you're not expecting yet

We've spoken before of how pleasantly surprised all the doctors and nurse practitioners have been with our preparations. I really started to understand the flip side of that surprise this week with our visit to the Yale Student Health center Monday.

Everything sitcoms have taught me about pregnancy has painted it as regimented, monitored, and above-all, scheduled.

  • Day one of your pregnancy: Start taking pre-natal vitamins, one month ago.
  • Day two of your pregnancy: Wife begins craving pickles.
  • Day three of your pregnancy: Husband's anxiety over crushing responsibility, lost youth manifests in hilarious, seemingly-unrelated psychosis of questionable verisimilitude.
The process in this... discovery phase of pregnancy seems wholly self-guided.

We've had great, detailed conversations with a lot of whip-smart medical professionals, but sometimes all I hear is:

“I'm going to recommend a 24-hour urinalysis. Just, you know, take a day and get this done some time before you become pregnant.”

“Oh, so you'd like to get off your class C and D migraine meds? You might consider looking at and switching to one of these alternatives before you get pregnant. You know, talk with your primary care doctor about it.”

“So you had a football-sized tumor removed as a child. Oh -- visit an oncologist? Sure. Yeah, that might not be a bad idea. I mean, if you want. So really, you're not pregnant yet?”

They've imparted lots of great information and helped us work through all the preparations to feel confident going into this. I just hadn't considered that there's not much to the process at this point beyond advice. Anne's basically healthy; until evidence suggests otherwise, all our necessary bits are in working order; really, we're not pregnant yet. Any changes at this point depend on our initiative -- why would a doctor ever change Anne's migraine medicine out of the blue, when it's doing an okay job at regulating her migraines with a minimum of side-effects?

This may not be revelatory to anyone but me. And it's not like my doc is hunting me down with a blood pressure cuff, so I shouldn't have been flat footed on the idea. Just noticing, is all.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Will it be Dorothy or Theodore?

I wrote in the last post that I pretty much always think I'm pregnant. A monthly ritual that grew out of this in the past was me calling Sean and opening with a cheerful "I'm not pregnant!" It felt different to say it this month, but not so bad. We weren't expecting to get pregnant in the first month of trying, and I haven't been to a doc about the triptans yet, so it's not terrible news. I got a bad migraine Wednesday night and popped a triptan without any worry, which was nice. And it hasn't been so bad, endometriosis symptom-wise. It turns out the vitamin B-50 I take every day to prevent migraines is also good for preventing cramps. Excellent!

But yeah, it's still disappointing. So, based on my recent research, I think we made need "a touch of destiny" to jump start this project.

So, solemnly and according to the pirate code, I vow that if I get pregnant this summer, resultant baby will have a name derived from ancient Greek.

Speaking of Greek ... let's not speak of Greek right now. Certainly not in Greek, though I'm amazed at how much I've learned in four days. I'm going to go put my 100% quiz up on the refrigerator when I'm done writing this, but I'm putting in 8 hours of studying outside of class (which is four hours) every day. Getting pregnant under these conditions would definitely be a miracle--I haven't learned the word for that yet, but I bet I will soon.

Oh, so the subject line ... names help us as mnemonics for vocab words, like in the lesson we learned today there's a word that transliterates roughly to "dorahn" meaning gift ... Dorothy and Theodore both mean "Gift of God" because doro/dore=gift and thy/theo=God. Anyway, I'm keeping my eye on the Greek names.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Not crying wolf

It was tough to leave our New Jersey newlywed nest and come back to an apartment that needed move-out cleaning and a sublet (without air conditioning) with a single bed in Connecticut. The transition was made easier by a night out with Sean and Myra to see the latest Pirates movie, aye. I don't want to ruin anything, but there's a scene after the credits that prompted me to lean over to Sean and comment, "Maybe we'll be that lucky."

I can't help but wonder, in a hypothetical way, if I am, at this moment, already pregnant. But Sean will tell you that my instincts in this area can't really be trusted, as I kind of always think I'm pregnant. Like, if I'm a little nauseous or unusually hungry. It's always just PMS. I'll just trust that the real thing will be unmistakable, at least eventually. Ha.

Anyway, I'm not ready. I didn't think I'd do this, but I've sort of procrastinated on the baby-prep. I haven't done the kidney function test or gotten off the triptans, although I've cut down on those significantly. Moving has been a bit all-consuming--I'm hoping that even though I'll be busy now, it'll be a consistent busy, easier for making doctor appointments.

If you'll excuse me, I am unusually hungry.

Friday, May 25, 2007


There's a lot yet to be unpacked, but we've managed to hide it all away well enough to host our first guests -- my brother and sis-in-law, currently stuck in holiday weekend traffic. It's a good bit smaller than we had in Texas (obviously), but much bigger than our most recent apartments. And it's ours -- all ours.

We're willing to share it, don't get me wrong. It's possible one or two of us may have already started plotting out the logistics of a crib, even. As of today, though, we're pretty much newlyweds and it rocks.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Breaking radio silence...

In case you've been pining, just thought I'd drop a little note about where we've been. I've taken a couple days off from the Month of Many Moves to spend a little relaxing time at the office, while Annie continues her leisurely vacation folding and packing boxes in Connecticut. So refreshed we shall be when our paths re-converge this weekend.

Our doctor suggested living in the same state might improve our chances of conception.

Soon enough we'll be all settled in and back on the baby train. Which, I imagine is very cute, but just kind of rocks forward and back on the tracks, still trying to figure out the whole locomotion thing.

EDIT: I just realized this leaves the impression that our Wiederverinigung is imminent, when in fact we're just making the preparations for that to come at the end of the summer, after Annie has conquered the Greek.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

William wants a doll

I'm intimidated at the thought of raising a boy. I'm an only child--my main frame of reference/resource for child-rearing is Free to Be, You and Me. Which is great, and it did great things for me, but I'm not sure "William wants a doll" and "It's alright to cry" are going to balance against the messages the world sends boys.

I'm not saying the world doesn't send mixed up messages to girls. I'm just personally familiar with many of those messages.

If you had told me when I was a young feminist (0-18 yrs old) that patriarchal society has just as much of a negative impact on men as it does on women, I would have been deeply offended. This is corny, but in a college journalism course we watched a video called "The Tough Guise" about the dangerous myth of masculinity and its impact on men and boys ... and it opened my eyes. And freaked me out on a whole new level at the hypothetical thought of raising a boy--I'd always imagined having a girl, but this video only heightened that aspiration.

All of this came out in a less-than-graceful way over lunchtime chatting at the refectory last week. A friend asked if we want a boy or a girl, and I responded: "We're planning on a boy, but we're hoping for a girl." Another friend called me out on this and another friend assured me that it's OK to hope for a girl baby, knowing that Sean and I are going to love our baby. Period.

So here I am, a slightly more mature feminist who really does believe that Free to Be stuff. I don't want to turn around and dump a bunch of my own sex/gender issues on my child. I want to go into this mysterious process with an open mind and an open heart (wait a second ...) and really be ready with the love, no qualifications. Frankly, I should be intimidated no matter what.

So when I imagine hypothetical future baby these days, I often imagine a boy. He has a name, which I've promised Sean I will not disclose, but the name does help me imagine the kid. It's exciting. Here's the thing ...

Is it OK if I'm still kinda hoping for a girl? I'm genuinely asking ... as a fine YDS graduate once said in a sermon, "I'm not allergic to your Amens" ... or in this case, comments.

Second thoughts

(How's that for a sensational title?)

So, I may have been a bit hasty in promising Lisa Marie a comprehensive list of our potential baby names. The thing is, her very fair request coincidentally managed to pit the first two cardinal rules of baby blogging -- (1)full, graphic, obscene disclosure and (2)baby-name paranoia -- against each other. And, like the climax of every great Isaac Asimov story, Annie and I have been crippled with indecision, cycling through the possibilities, trying to resolve the inherent conflict.

Not to mix metaphors, but Annie "phoned a friend" or two and, with their council, we're leaning toward a decision. First, there's the whole issue of counting all your chicks in one handbasket. But more importantly, as our friends pointed out, this is the INTERNET and there are THIEVES. A sentiment which is surprisingly dear to my heart, as Annie can attest. So, for the time being, we won't be releasing our choices, not even under a Creative Commons license.

I will, however, share a theory on naming that Annie introduced me to when we first started flirting (with this idea of procreation): there is a subliminal, quasi-mystical importance to the acronym created by a child's initials. She learned it from her mom, a SEE. You can see how such a theory might appeal to an ACE, and I must admit it seems to really have worked out for her. As an SBE (née SBA) I really have no experience to draw on. It's very fun at least, and adds another level of intrigue to the baby naming process. How cool would it be to have not just a great name, but also a kickass monogram? And if they were tied together in meaning or form, all the cooler.

So, names that can almost certainly be ruled out:

Petrarch Engelberto Edison-Albright
Leroy Ignatius Edison-Albright
Alia Pomegranite Edison-Albright

Otherwise, we are open to suggestions.

Monday, May 7, 2007

A nod's as good as a wink...

As I recall, one of the thoughts that lead to the naming of the blog, was the concern that we not duplicate another baby blog already out there. After all, it's not "like we invented it."

What sold me on the name was the idea that we might feel just that - like we invented it - upon our first look at our child.

And while this is, technically, yet another meta post, I think it's actually fitting and appropriate that a baby blog might enjoy a discussion on naming. I know Annie and I have spent quite a lot of nights musing on the topic already.

Say no more.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

One small step for Anne ...

I'm not sure how to write this post without getting all gross and graphic ... yeah, not sure it's even possible. I refer you first to this excellent wikipedia article on endometriosis -- it's a good, squeamish read on quite a common thing very few people talk about. I was 12 ("my mother slapped me, my father went out for a bottle of Sangria ... We all wanted it to come!") I'd had my period for about a year and was exhibiting a lot of the classic endometriosis symptoms: long, heavy periods; debilitating cramps; gastrointestinal problems; fatigue and bleeding between periods. There was no way they were going to laparoscopy (although they did do a CT scan and found some little cysts, which is really neither here nor there for endometriosis diagnosis, but sucked, I mean ... 12 years old ...welcome to womanhood.) My gynecologist reasoned that I had enough scar tissue already: they would just start me on birth control and see if that helped.

I know a lot of women have a love-hate relationship with The Pill, but birth control and I have so much history together, I feel I have a word to add on the subject. We tried a bunch of different types, trying to find something where the side effects wouldn't completely negate the benefits. I was on pills that gave me morning sickness, made me lactate, gave me facial hair, made my acne worse, and made it awfully easy to gain weight (and difficult to lose it). It made adolescence just that much more .... more. But birth control also made my periods shorter and more predictable: the cramps and other symptoms were terrible once a month, not all the time. As I got older and we narrowed down the options, the birth control seemed to be doing a better and better job of handling the really bad stuff. When I was giving my medical history to the physician's assistant at the MFM office, I completely forgot to mention endometriosis--it's been that long since I worried about it.

So, tonight I'm not starting another pack of Yazmin ("Yaz! I will pretend I am having a casual conversation while I very quickly list all the side effects of this drug! I didn't go to med school for nothing! Yaz!") and I have, unsurprisingly, mixed feelings. The only time I've been off the pill in recent memory was when a random student health doc at MSU wouldn't refill my prescription because she thought it was irresponsible to give birth control to a woman with chronic migraines. So I had to skip a month before I could go back on (with a scrip from a reasonable doctor) and ... cue the worst migraines of my life, the worst cramps, bleeding all the time ... I couldn't wait to get my normal life back, nicely regulated.

I'm in a different place now: I want to try to have a baby. I worry about scarring, pain, all of that ... but I'm also feeling adventurous. This is totally new territory for me, with potentially life-changing results. Glad I'm not in it alone. =)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Meta: "Like we invented it"

"So ... titles..."
"How about 'Like we invented it'?"
"Is it too raunchy?"

So our blog title is maybe a little nudge nudge, wink wink. I mean, we are trying to make a baby. But mostly it refers to to the truth that, while we are one couple that will have a specific experience, that experience probably won't be completely unique. Sean and I are by far not the only people out there trying to add a baby to the family and facing some worries on the way. So, we aren't the original inventors of any of this, but in our earnestness (a family characteristic) we may sometimes write like we are.

Song for Maxalt

Da na na na nuh
Woke up this morning
Da na na na nuh
With a migraine
Da na na na nuh
Took a triptan
Da na na na nuh
Went back to bed
Da na na na nuh
B ...
E ...
D ...

Sometimes I feel really hopeful about getting my medical act together pre-pregnancy. Not on migraine mornings, when I wake up and reach for a triptan. I try to wake up at the same time every morning and go to bed around the same time each night (that part is more difficult). The only coping strategy I have right now is to take a pill and go back to bed for an hour or two with npr on to make sure I don't sleep all day. This usually results in weird, lost hours of non-sleep and anxiety nightmares mixed with npr stories. Like, this morning, I think I cried a lot at Story Corps but I don't remember the story or whether it really happened at all. I did force myself fully awake when I realized they were interviewing someone about reproductive rights; the interviewee turned out to be one of the people I interviewed for my senior thesis in journalism. Cool!

I'm looking forward to giving up the triptans--they make me dopey, sleepy, grumpy (insert Disney dwarf name here.) This has been "the fix" for so long, though, that I'm nervous about experimenting ... I know from experience what happens when I don't treat or under-treat a migraine, and the best part of it is the long and expensive emergency room visit. Those visits are another reason I'm glad we're figuring this out pre-baby.

My thoughts aren't cohering, I may go back to bed for awhile. Better dreams listening to the Diane Rehm show?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"What maintains one vice would bring up two children."

I'll admit that in all the excitment of the occassion, it took me until just last evening to realize the convenience of a high-volume maternity ward located right in Ben Franklin's house.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Meta: Edit Policy

Annie and I have developed a good writing rapport over the years, we're basically each other's default first-tier editorial team.  This site, however, will largely be a post first, ask questions later endeaver, to minimize impediments to updating.  (This is mostly for my benefit, as history has shown.)  So it may happen that an occassional mispelling* finds its way to your eager browsers and aggregators, only to have mysteriously and inexplicably vanished upon later re-inspection.

Expect larger edits to content or structure to be minimal and accompanied by notification and justification, or (at least) far-fetched excuses.  Fair?

*Obligitory error in post on spelling and grammar

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Sean and I share a passion for planning: on the drive back to school yesterday we planned meals, housing and activities for my parents' visit to our new apartment in June. We like to start with a big brainstormed list of almost infinite possibilities and then winnow it down to the ideal plan: we did this for the Feast of the 7 Fishes we hope to host someday, and also with names for hypotheticalfuturebaby. We've got it down to one and half possibilities for boys and three possibilities for girls, with one clear front runner if none of our siblings claim it first (their future babies being less hypothetical than ours.)
. . . . . . . . . .
I was about 13, in the car with my mom, planning out loud the names of my future children and oblivious to her growing agitation. "You may not want to be naming your babies," she said, finally unable to stand it anymore. "You probably can't have children of your own."
As I calmed down from my initial shock and tears, she explained her worries--concerns that seemed obvious when she named them, but hadn't occurred to me yet. Most of it connected back to two surgeries I had when I was 4 years old: one to remove a football-sized ganglioneuroma from my abdomen, the other to remove my left kidney. In addition to the scar tissue, surgical staples and some worry over the one kidney, Mom's biggest concern was the remnant tumor: the 5% of the tumor that they couldn't remove because it is wrapped around my aorta. How would this bunch of cells--that started misbehaving when I was a fetus--react if my body was exposed to those kind of hormones again?
As much as this conversation with my mom upset me (so ... much ... angsty ... journaling ... ) I appreciated (still do) the way it made me seriously consider the possibility that I may not, biologically, have children. It gave me lots of low-pressure time to think about other options and made "OK-with-adoption" a dating criterion. A result my mom did not intend is that I've felt guilty about wanting to try to have a biological child: that it is selfish and irresponsible for me to want this.
As Sean reported, Maternal Fetal Medicine has given us the go ahead to try whenever we're ready. Based on a recommendation from the Doc, we're going to check in with an oncologist too, just to be a little more sure about that tumor. I'm going to work with my doctor here to get my migraine meds and symptoms stabilized: no triptans during the pregnancy! With all these pieces in place, plans may still depend on how my fertility has been affected by endometriosis, and a host of other factors we can't even predict right now. I feel good, though: excited, not guilty. I want to keep planning, talking and writing it out.

Ben Franklin House (not his actual house)

Had our first trip to MFM at the Benjamin Franklin House (which, from the outside looks like a run down motel in a Muppet movie, but is all posh fountains and marble inside) yesterday to go over Annie's medical history and light this firecracker. Our sis highly recommended them. The Doc was impressed but by no means intimidated, and tickled pink that we decided to visit before we got pregnant.

"So, you're really not pregnant yet?"

Then I played hooky from training and Annie from class and we spent a beautiful afternoon strolling around Chinatown to celebrate.