Monday, November 26, 2007

T-Giving Fun Fact: What Your Turkey and I Have in Common

I heard this on the news, and dug around to confirm:

"The domesticated turkey's broad-breasted varieties are typically produced by artificial insemination to avoid injury of the hens by the much larger toms and because the physical changes resulting in broad (double) breasts have also rendered most males incapable of natural mating."

(Courtesy of N.P.R. and W.ikipedi.a)


The Baby House

Saturday night, we told Nona. (Thursday was the too-late dinner, Friday we went shopping, but after Saturday's dinner was just right).

Becasue I had much (too much) to think about it, I decided that H should tell his mother. Quietly, intimately. Maybe with me not even in the room? (Out of house? In a different neighborhood? Not that I'm nervous, mind you...) After all, he was an only child, and they had lived together/been each other's family for three and a half decades before I waltzed in.

H considered it, said he'd tell her, but that I had to be there.

So Saturday, he handed over a copy of the sonogram that I'd photocopied.

"Do you know what this is?" H asked.

"It's a picture."

"Do you know what of?" he continued. She squinted a bit.

"A cat?"

"No...." H pointed to a bump on the picture. "That's the nose."

"A mouse?"

"Um... maybe you should get your glasses?"

"I don't need my glasses! Just tell me what the picture's of!"

"It's a baby. It's my baby, Nica's and mine. We're going to have a baby."

From there she grew quiet, promising to babysit, to change diapers, to sit on the floor and play with the baby ("assuming that the floor is clean enough to sit on" she tossed in).

Finally she said, "I don't know who answered my prayer, but finally my prayers have been answered."

Which I thought was sweet and typical Mama. (Um. Nona). I'm pregnant, but it's due to her prayers.

She wanted to know who the godparents would be, and didn't like our choices. Godparents, in her opinion, should be the wealthiest, most powerful people we know. She asked us to reconsider.

Then came the curveball:

"If the baby is a girl, she will be Maria Luisa. If the baby is a boy, he will be Jose Luis."

The godparent question was anticipated. Having to fight with my mother-in-law about what we were naming the baby was not. H and I just looked at each other, shocked and amused.

"If it's a girl, we want to name her after you," I interjected. She shook her head.

"I have not had a lucky life; I would not want the child to share my name and my unlucky life."


The next morning, when I was waking her up for her shower, I showed her my belly. (I'm showing, but have to see my naked tum-tum to tell. With clothing, I just look fat.) I asked her if she remembered what H said, showing her my belly.

"It's the Baby House!" she screamed, delighted. She looked at me. "Do you know what he is doing right now?" She threw herself into a fetal position, diving back into bed and throwing her hands over her eyes. "He is like this, right now!"

Completely insane, completely Mama, completely charming and totally unexpected.

T-Holiday round up

We ended telling Nona on Saturday. Thursday, we didn't eat until 9:30 at night, so when we finished we were too tired to tell her.

The reason we ate so late was that H cooked Thanksgiving. To be honest, he usually gets home before I do and everyday dinner cooking usually falls to him. But Thanksgiving -- well, that's all me.

Still, he saw them cook a turkey on A.merica's T.est K.itchen and decided that it would be "easy" to do the meal. And I knew that my job needed someone to babysit it on the holiday, so I took him up on the offer. (I even printed out recipes and a shopping list).

So H decides to sleep in on Thanksgiving. Because that's what you do. (I routinely am up at 5:00 or 6:00, but that's my way). And when he woke up, he watched the parade for a while, played a video game or two, checked out the football game. (I may watch TV from the small screen in the kitchen, but only the big screen in the living room would work for him).

So around 2:00PM, H decides that he's going to go to the GROCERY STORE. Because he hasn't gone yet. (In his defense, I didn't get the list finished until Tuesday.) And H was SURPRISED that some of the items on his list weren't there.

About 5:00PM, I get home. And find that the turkey is JUST ABOUT READY to go into the oven. Apparently, there was some trouble with the "easy" Thanksgiving dinner.

Finally, we eat. (H gave us a false alarm, as he had not remembered that the turkey needed to "rest" for a half hour.) "Can I have mashed potatoes?" I ask. "Nope, didn't make them," replied H. "Not enough time."

"Um, cranberry dressing?" Nope. Also a big negative on pies of any sort. We did have the dressing, which was okay but weird (and very unattractive-looking). And some butternut puree that was supposed to be a soup.

But the turkey was wonderful, and I didn't have to cook and clean up (only clean up), so I liked it!

Perhaps next year, we'll do it together...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We Tell Mama (er NONA) Tomorrow

Yes, that's right.

We haven't told Mama (um, now NONA yet).

We've told a few other people, but not made any big announcements. And we didn't tell her, well, because we weren't sure if she'd be jealous, and we didn't want her asking about it if things went wrong.

But, on Friday I will be 12 weeks, which everyone says is the hurdle. So. We're telling her.

If I don't sound excited, well. I'm a bit nervous. I'd wanted to wait.

Nona's going into a psych eval in 2 weeks, brought about by her hitting me and saying "I kill your baby." Mind you, her care facility does not care so much that she's hitting me, just that she's hitting. They are afraid that she will strike out at someone else. I replied, "only if the someone else is possibly producing a grandchild" but they are still making us go.

I'd wanted to wait until after her eval to tell her, perhaps asking a shrink for advice, but H is bursting to tell her. And we've been doing a lot of talking about what her role will be "when we have a baby." Trying to help her visualize what it will be like for her. And I really don't think... but. But.

But we're going to tell her, because I'm 12 weeks. (Or will be). We want to start talking about continuing the family. Because it feels like a lie not to tell her.

I am guardedly hopeful that the psych facility (which is said to have all this wonderful dementia experience) will have some THERAPY for her, as everyone thus far has just been talking about PILLS. But for the most part, H and I are very scared about the evaluation. Like, somehow that they will say she's a danger to herself and put her on zombie-making drugs and submit her to electro shock therapy, or (my husband's worst fear) take her away from us.

H was so stressed he yelled at me last week. "It's because of your calling," he said, that all of this was happening.

"So sorry," I replied. "Next time, I'll stand there and just get hit. And not try to defend the welfare of your child."

He apologized. We're both scared.


I've photocopied the sonogram picture (I want to be able to give her something she can keep) and will talk to H about how (exactly) we plan to spring it on the new grandmother-to-be.

This should be interesting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Scan Went Fine

I went to the Doctor's office yesterday, but didn't see the Doctor.

Okay, recap: I did switch to a "high risk" OB. More importantly (to me), she's also part of practice, which means if she's unavailable, someone is.

The new doctor's practice has a sonogra.m room, and that's where I had my appointment. My over-the-belly sonogram was administered by a nurse, so we asked about the brown stuff. Her opinion was that it was more leakage from the extra fetal sac (Scrappy). (Spunketta looked good, which was a big relief).

Being that I am 11.5 weeks, I had to HAD TO (I was told repeatedly) have a scan to look for D.ow.n's S.yndrom.e. So that was yesterday.

The nurse measured the neck, or tried to, but Spunketta was NOT complying. Thus, Nurse had to JAB the stick into my stomach. Hard. Repeatedly. Did I mention I had a full bladder during this?

I whimpered a bit, and the nurse apologized, explaining, "I need her to move!" (We don't really know if it's a girl yet.)

Initial tests (ie, neck measurement) looks good. Spunketta moved a bit (H swore that she waved to him) and the Nurse said we were right on track.

I see the actual doctor in a week.

So far, so good.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thankful Stuffing

This Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 22) will be notable for the little LMN family.

We'll be alone.

And we'll be trying, once again, to duplicate Nona/Mama's famous wild c.hestnut c.ranberry stuffing.

My brother, I may have mentioned, also lives in NYC. He wants very little to do with us, however, so it's almost like he lives far away. We only see him for big holidays. (My birthday does not count as a big holiday, although some years I get a phone call.)

My father always comes up for Thanksgiving. Some years, it was just he and I for turkey. This Turkey day, Brother has made other plans. A friend of his is getting married, and he's going to be traveling on T-day.

My father was still willing to come (just for me!) but I talked him into re-scheduling. Into coming up a little later when he could see both Brother and I. So the Big Family Holiday was been re-scheduled until mid-December.

So this Thursday, it's just us. And the stuffing.

Thanksgiving is kind of a big holiday for H and I. It's the first holiday we celebrated as a family. It's the first time my family met his family (which is to say, Nona/Mama). Last year, it was when we'd planned on telling everyone we were p (except we didn't last that long). And, probably most importantly, its the first holiday I brought back for H.

See, when H's mother got sick, life kind of stopped. Celebrating holidays was always Nona's passion. She'd cook a large and sumptuous meal (H tells me over and over again what a good cook she was) and decorate the house and all that. When she couldn't do it anymore, it didn't get done. (She was one of those cooks who simply remembered instructions and ingredients. She didn't have written recipes).

Enter me, NOT a good cook, but liking the holiday. I forced H to have his first-ever birthday party (since he was in grade school). I foisted turkey and tablecloths and a sit-down extravaganza on him.

And his only demand was Mama's stuffing.

He described it in such detail: the w.ild rice, the c.hestnuts, the c.ranberry. Oh, how he waxed poetic abut the c.ranberry in the stuffing. I was raised by a woman who, when she cooked Thanksgiving, put the c.ranberry straight from the can onto the table. And when I asked what it was for, no one knew.

I am NOT a good cook, but I love my husband, and he loves the stuffing, so I gave it a shot. The first year's stuffing was a disaster. The second wasn't much better. By the third, I'd taken a break from the Sacred Stuffing, and tried something with cornbread and sausage. The fourth, my Brother and Wife wanted to cook. The fifth, we had no stuffing whatsoever.

Call it nostalgia, call it INSANITY, call it what you will. This year, we're trying again.

In preparation, I spent hours searching the web for likely recipes. I then g.oogle.d up a bunch of photos of the ingredients and brought Nona to the computer.

She resisted telling me the recipe, as she has every year. (One year, she came into the kitchen an hour after we'd finished eating and announced I'M READY TO MAKE THE STUFFING! And I was ready to let her).

"But Nona," (as we try to call her now), "I need to know what to get you at the grocery store. Do you need c.hestnuts," I ask, bringing up a picture of c.hestnuts. Yes! and yes to c.hicken broth, wild, s.hallots, m.ushrooms and g.arlic. No to s.herry ("Only bad cooks use s.herry, Nica").

Any finally, H's favorite ingredient, c.ranberry.

Nona makes such a face. "No!" she yells, firmly. "No c.ranberry."

Um, what? This must be the Alzheimer's. Or something. Right?

H is behind us, and comes into the conversation. They talk hurriedly and heatedly in Spanish, too quick for me to handle.

He smiles sheepishly. "Oops. No c.ranberry..." (Apparently, she'd sprinkle a few on top as decoration. And here, I'd been cooking them in all these years.)

Memory is a tricky thing.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mas Sangre

More blood showed up on Thursday.

Luckily (?) I had Thursday and Friday off. So I immediately went on bedrest and am hoping for the best.

H thinks this is just the vanishing twin (Scrappy) doing a bit more vanishing.

I'm just tired of bleeding.

Doctor's appointment on Monday. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Playing House

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but we live in a one-bedroom apartment.

Me, H and Mama. It's tight.

We took a corner of the living room and put walls up. And WHAMMO we've got a New York Style bedroom. Anywhere else on earth, you'd probably call it a CLOSET. (And you'd be right).

So, a few weeks back, when we were pregnant with twins, we looked around our not so large apartment and freaked. Where were we going to put everyone? Was there such a thing as bunk cribs?

H had a line on a house for sale -- reasonably priced, "handicap accessible" and a half mile away from where his very best friend in all the world lives.

So we called the Realtor.

This Friday, she called back. (Apparently, the real estate market must be doing much better to take so long to return a phone call).

H and I discussed it, and decided WHAT THE HECK and went to see it.

First, and in my opinion most important, it was not actually "handicap accessible." They did have an incredibly high ramp in lieu of stairs at the back entrance, but it's grade was far too steep to legally be considered "accessible." (Or, frankly, safe to walk down in winter). And while the bathroom had a "grab bar" installed... that's all it had. Even though the former resident of the house was in a wheelchair, the bathroom was not wheelchair accessible. And even though Mama (er, Nona) does not need a wheelchair accessible shower stall, she's pretty darned close.

Second, the place was tiny. And there was almost no yard. And it hadn't been renovated in 30 years. And the plumbing was old. And the wiring was old. And the floors were scarred. And the kitchen cabinets were deteriorating. And.

And as I began adding up in my head what it would cost to make this place livable, and where we were going to put what...

My suburban dream just died.

Just to add salt in the wound, we stopped by H's BFF's house on the way home. Large, luxurious laws. 3 bedrooms plus a full living room, dining room, playroom and office. Two car garage. Full laundry room.

I want to live there...

Anyway, currently the plan is to have Spunketta in our room for the first few months, and then move her out to her own corner of the living room after that. (My living room is fastly shrinking). We figure we can wait a year. Or two.

Have I mentioned that I am jealous of all y'all that have laundry rooms?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Husband vs Obstetrician

H does not like by OB.

Well, he likes her. As a person. But. He has serious concerns.

She only has office hours one day a week. If we have an emergency, how can we contact her? H asks. Where will she be? And if we try to contact her -- oh her PHONES. When I plan on calling the OB's office, I plan on spending a half an hour. AT LEAST. And I don't always get through. If there was an emergency... yeah, you know. Could we get through?

And the WAIT. I showed up ontime to the appointment -- fifteen minutes early. And waited an hour to be put into a room. And then the nurse took me for blood. Which made me wait for another hour. I have a 5:00PM appointment with my OB. I didn't lay eyes on her until 7:15PM.

There are other OB's in her office space, they don't share a practice with her. So if there was an emergency, there's no one who could back her up.

Finally, she has limited equipment. She has the wand-sonogram that we all so well. But the "other" sonogram, the one that goes on your tum tum? She doesn't have one of those. (Completely freaks H out). Am I wrong to expect my OB should have one? Has all the high tech toys from my RE hopelessly spoiled me?

So now, to get a sonogram, I have to make an appointment with a hospital an hour and a half from my house.

What do you think -- should I switch? Or am I spoiled?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Things I Think About

Mama has decided that if (and at this stage, we're still saying IF) she ever becomes a grandmother, she would like to be called Nona. It's Italian; she's not Italian, but coming from Argentina, she was raised with a heavy Italian influence in the population. (We're planning n telling her after 12 weeks/first trimester, when everyone agrees the risk goes way, way d0wn).

Nona (as I will now try to call her) got married when she was 39. She got pregnant soon after, giving birth when she was 40. I will give birth when I am 41. (H will be 42). While there's a lovely symmetry in that, there's also the realization that in 40 years *I* might be the one with the little room in the corner while Spunketta and spouse take care of me.

Still on Mama/Nona -- a while back I mentioned that all my washclothes have disappeared. I don't know what she did with them, but I know she did something. This morning, I discover all of her socks have disappeared. All of them.

I buy her those bulk packs you get at C.ost.Co. Fifteen or 20 pairs of socks at a time. In all different colors (of course!) since Nona cannot STAND neutrals. Oh, except black. She'd dress as a goth if I'd let her. (Can you imagine? An 81-year-old goth chick?)

Anyway. Washclothes I can almost understand. Maybe you put them in your purse, your pocket, whatever.


What are the undiscovered other uses for socks?

So this weekend, I will spend money we do not have for things she wil not keep.

(I may even splurge and get myself a secret washcloth to hide away).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Syndrome of a Down

The scan yesterday went fine. During previous scans, Spunketta had never seemed to move much. My OB has a completely different scanner than my RE -- it seemed older and smaller. I don't know if it was the different machine or the stage of development, but DAMN was she moving yesterday.

H, being H, decided she was dancing and mimiced her moves. In the exam room. In front of my OB. (I kind of thought she looked pissed, but that's me).

Scrappy is still there, albeit slightly smaller. My OB called it "vanishing twin syndrome" and said all sorts of nice, comforting things. Like that I didn't have to worry about miscarriage so much and the like.

The scary part (because there HAD to be a scary part, didn't there?) was when the doctor asked about SCREENING. And recommended (strongly) that we see a genetics counselor. And discuss... possibilities.

Essentially, she was asking us if we were prepared to terminate if Spunketta has problems. (Very nicely, she sais this, but.)


Of all the things I worried about, that was never one. Birth defects? Never gave them a thought. I always kind of figured that getting pregnant (and staying pregnant) was the finish line.

Wow wow wow.

I am, of course, high risk for all sorts of badness due to my advanced maternal age and whatnot. Of course, high rish means 2%. And all the tests that are available are risky in and of themselves. And may not be, what's the word. Because I still may be carrying remnants of Scrappy, the results would be thrown off.

H's response to all this is "God wouldn't do this to us. He knows we're at capacity."

Hmm. Never heard of the Almighty having a quota system before...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

32 Thank Yous

Lest I forget...

Thank you to all who commented on my second to last post. To know that my little Scrappy was known by that many people, was mourned by that many people, was involved in the lives of that many people (however briefly) is salve to a mother's broken heart.

Thank you.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Best of Times, Worst of Times


One of the problems with not posting in a while is that so much happens. And I think to myself, where to start? How to tell? What to do?

I hope that you all had a good Halloween. I think that Halloween is a tough holiday for us IFers. I know it is for me. It was on Halloween that I decided, that my husband and I decided, that we really, really wanted to try for a child. It wasn't an automatic decision for us. He had Mama, and I was (am?) an abused child. But we saw this toddler running around dressed as a dinosaur, and we knew. We knew we wanted to take care of and nuture something, of someone, and have it be filled with hope. Not the sadness that we get with Mama.

This year, I saw the little ones in their costumes (my absolute favorites being the two little boys dressed as firemen who were running around the firehouse down the street). And I laughed at their cuteness and I giggled at their antics. And I smiled, thinking next year... And then I cried. Cried for the one who didn't make it.

On a side and Mama note: Mama has no impulse control, and if she sees a big bowl of candy, SHE'LL EAT IT. So in the past, we've been the house that gives out pretzel bags and "healthy" snacks. This year, I bought "gummy body part" candies in the shape of severed fingers and bloody eyeballs. The thought was that the kids would like them, but Mama would not find them appealing.

WRONG. I came home to find her shoving several fingers in her mouth, exclaiming, "they're lemon! I like them!" Next year, it's back to pretzels. If only so I don't have to see THAT again.

So. I didn't mention lots of things in my last post. Like, how even though I'm still, to use a medical phrase, "touch and go," I've been released to my 'regular' ob-gyn. Surreal. I have my first appointment on Tuesday night, so. I'm not anticipating it, I'm not dreading it. I'm just hoping more stuff doesn't go wrong.

I so want to get a fetal doppler monitor. Can anyone recommend a good place to pick one up?

The RE kept congratulating me which, no suprise, made me cry. My husband said that it's as though Spunketta has her own little angel, looking out for her. He's sweet and poetic like that. I immediately thought of an A.fterlif.e episode, where a boy was tormented by the ghost of a brother that didn't make it. I'm not so sweet and poetic.

My stomach/abdomen is growing. ("That's not the baby," says H, "that's fat." Nice). It's also exceptionally tender. As in, I cannot bear to have any sort of weight on it. This is something that I've not heard associated with pregnancy, but who knows. I can't worry anymore, there's no space in my heart, in my brain, in my soul.

I'm in limbo until week 12.