Saturday, December 31, 2011

20 weeks today!!!!!

Happy New Year Everyone!  We hope everyone gets what they want in 2012!!

On another note, I thought I would re-post this...something I lifted from another blog.  I found it pretty hilarious and a bit frightening all rolled in to one.

11 Lessons For Those Thinking About Having Children

Lesson 1
1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3 
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4 
Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5 
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6 
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.  Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8 
1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9 
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10 
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11 
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Baby News Leakage


Dear Facebook – I love you and I hate you.

You’re handy, convenient, and always at my fingertips. I use you for remembering people’s names and birthdays (more than once), keeping in touch with friends and family, for a laugh, a cry, a lurk, spy, poke, to joke around, for work, to share a thought, express a feeling, capture a moment, to network, make a statement, and much, much more.  You name it, and I can get pretty close to accomplishing it with you.  As much as I have enjoyed you over the years, you have become both my friend AND my enemy, and I’ve actually had thoughts of ending my torrid and somewhat psychotic affair with you.  

But then I come back in to your welcome arms.  

Facebook, you’re too good to leave, and too bad to stay.

Signed,
Soon-to-be-Papa Doug

Ok, I had to get it off my chest.  Facebook has been trying my last nerve the last several months.  My latest quandary with this social media phenomenon is what I’m calling “baby leakage”.  I have to say, I have been very good about keeping our baby plans off of Facebook.  The blog is one thing, as we have all benefited from the advice and counsel and heartfelt outpourings from our fellow blog friends...HOWEVER, Facebook is a black hole of nearly 1,000 friends (some who harken back to my kindergarten days).  So while I have no problem with these people knowing our plans once our baby is born (or I guess I should say in the “safe zone”), I was not going to share our aches and pains with infertility, our multiple failed attempts, and my bouts with doubting this whole process with every person in my life that I've brushed shoulders with, or that was a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend.  All that juicy stuff is reserved for you guys -- ha!  

So anyway...as we slowly start to make our baby plans more and more public in small groups and one-on-one conversations with friends and family, we always remind people "Absolutely, positively, NO Facebook". That, however, seems to be impossible.  That urgent need to share information immediately consumes and overcomes people. Alas!...I get a post of “congratulations!” from my niece that I respond to with a smiley face and a “like”. I take it in stride.  The post is followed by several “likes” from other people “in-the-know”.  I think “am I being paranoid?”. Probably, yes.  

And then the day after Christmas my father posts that he’s so excited for his son Doug’s “Good News”.  I remember explicitly telling my father "Absolutely, positively, NO Facebook about the baby" -- but apparently the almost 80-year-old has selective hearing.  And so I didn’t comment, just let it sit there in cyberspace. And then a mutual friend posts on my wall “I want to know the good news!”…DARN!  And so I text them, in my attempt to circumvent the omnipresent Facebook to avoid further leakage, "we’re not posting this on Facebook but…blah blah blah…we’re having a baby in May”.  They’re excited, congratulate us.  I wait a little longer and there seems to be no more fall out…and then I think, “Am I being outed by Facebook???”  AM I being paranoid?  Probably, yes.

So Mark Zuckerberg, while you’re making it very hard for us to avoid a big splashy baby announcement on my Facebook Timeline (that is what you’re calling it now, right?), please…have no fear because I know, in the not-so-distant future, we’ll cave and start letting people in on it, using your awesome power of information dissemination to mark the day and every day forward that our adorable little angel has changed our lives forever.  And then, only then, will I consider taking you off my "sometimes" enemy status. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Christmas Cake and Big Baby Gender Reveal

Guess what it is???

Our surrogate coordinated the whole affair, and totally diverted our attention from the present she sent...and had a cake delivered by our good friend Natalie...

We are so happy!  Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for following this small little hurdle!!!  See the color of the inside icing for the announcement.



Cutting the cake...anticipation!

It's a girl!!!

Champagne with Uncle Marco and Uncle Scott after the anouncement!


Love and Aloha,

Doug and Bill

Let the festivities begin

And we're opening the BIG GENDER REVEAL present LAST!!!!  So it'll be a couple hours with five of us opening.  But it's gonna happen SOON!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

19 week (ish) ultrasound -- sans baby "bits"

This morning we received a text from "M" that she was done with her ultrasound so I called and we talked for about 15-20 minutes.  It was about 5 am so I was about half asleep, but was super happy to learn that everything looked good.  Once again, baby was very active and it took over an hour to get all the measurements. At one point they saw our little 10-ounce miracle put its hand in its mouth, and open and close one hand!  I'm picturing one thumb in the mouth and the other four fingers waving around yelling "look at me...look at me! suckers!!!" Heart rate was 149.

All the photos she sent were appropriately cropped or chosen to not include any "baby bits", so again happy to hear that they were able to identify the gender.  She said it was very clear from the ultrasound.  So of course I'm picturing a spread-eagle, thumb in mouth, wiggling fingers and saying "here I am!! hahaha!!"

Sorry, bad baby humor.

Here are some photos...they are photos of the scans so once she has a chance to scan them I'll try to re-post if they are more clear.  Bill said looking at these is "similar to looking at clouds and finding animal shapes"..."hmmm...is that a snake???"

More bad baby humor.

All humor aside, we're so grateful.  These are the first photos of our baby that actually LOOK like a baby.  I see a nose, lips, a formed head and a cute little chin, an arm, and a full belly.  I know we have another month or so until things truly are OK, but this is our precious little baby living and growing in our surrogate!  Created by two sets of DNA that just happened to meet up in the right place, at the right time, under the right circumstances.  This was our 10th attempt and things are looking so, so good. We are just hoping and praying for an uneventful four months so that come around May we can finally meet this miracle that we've been working so hard for over the past few years.  Whilst in the throes of us trying to conceive I could never really see this day very clear, where we would be looking at a BABY, like you see in the pictures below.  It was almost constantly overshadowed by ovulation dates, and fertility drugs, and airplane reservations and beta counts and taking a multitude of vitamins and supplements, and then the preoccupation with the fact that it was just taking so darn long!  But finally it seems the dust is settling, and things should be clearer from here on out (until May anyway, after that all bets are off!).  But if someone would have told me almost three years ago that it would have taken this long I am pretty sure we wouldn't have moved forward.  And now here we are. Yes, we have more wrinkles and lines on our faces.  We have spent a lot of money.  We've argued.  Cried.  At times we've been resentful and angry.  And I am not completely sure what exactly made us continue to move forward, and take the next step after each devastating failure, but I am pretty sure that this little boy or girl had something to do with it.  All the wrinkles and lines, money, arguments, tears, anger and resentment are finally melting away.  And it feels amazing.

Enjoy the photos!

Three days until the Big Baby Gender Reveal!

Profile 1

Profile, neck flexed

Profile 2

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Five days away...

We are five days away from finding out the sex of our child but the crazy thing is that our surro "M" is going to know in two days, actually less than two days! Her scan is on Thursday morning east coast time and I'm sure I'll be fidgeting in bed thinking about it.  Ugh, the suspense is going to make me lose the last hair on my head (don't laugh)!  But oh what a wonderful Christmas morning it will be.  And unforgettable!

In other news, apparently this little baby is making "M" very hungry at all hours...in fact, I received an email from her this morning at 3 am east coast time saying she literally could not go back to bed without eating something..so off to get a rice crispy treat she went.  Her prediction in the wee hours of the morning is that it was a boy, since he was so darn hungry all the time.  She then went on to say that her boss calls babies in the womb "tiny dictators" -- I thought that was a hoot.  Jason, reminded me of your post about what Adrian thought your ultrasound looked like.  Ha!

OK, off to twiddle our thumbs, tap our fingers and, oh...Christmas shop!...(I'm so behind).

These five days are going to seem like an eternity!  Hmph!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

18 weeks!

Wow, can't believe we're almost five months...and I'm being just terrible about this countdown to the Big Gender Reveal thing.  Don't ever try to post every day leading up to Christmas...it's impossible with all the holiday parties and shopping.

But who cares because one week from tomorrow and we find out the gender!

We received the two packages from our surro "M" and she'll call us and let us know which one to open.  My sister-in-law Sherri is having a Christmas Day open house and she's already sent out an email saying they'll be a "surprise announcement"...should be fun...though all we ultimately want is a healthy baby.  Though there's something about knowing the sex for me because it just makes it more "real".  I think this is a common issue with an expecting parent or parents with surrogates who don't live nearby (as I'm sure all of you who are working with surrogates in India understand very well)...we wait and cling on to every email, text, ultrasound photo, video and phone call with all the gory details because it's all we really have. Though "M" has been amazing about communicating everything...from belly shots to doctor's appointments to what the latest craving of the day is...including the packages she sent.

One heart. Two heart. Wonder which one we'll open on Christmas Day???

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Q: What about Chloe?

18 day countdown...

I grew up with animals my entire life.  As a child, I remember always having puppies, kittens and fish, birds, mice,...and eventually adult animals, elderly animals, and sadly animals that inevitably cross over the "Rainbow Bridge". But the cycle always repeated itself because for some reason my parents never thought that seven of us in the house (sometimes nine with my two cousins), was enough of a challenge.  There was more than enough love to go around for everyone, including at one time when we had approximately 20 cats because someone (my sister) brought home a cat who was pregnant, who had kittens, who then had more kittens, and so on.  Talk about a lot of mouthes to feed.  As a result of always being framed by a cat and a dog or a puppy and a parakeet, I have never been nervous about children and animals.  We just adjusted, treated them kindly, loved them like family, and the animals adjusted, too.  There was never an incident of a dog bite, or a (serious) cat scratch, or a fish swallowing a baby whole, though I do remember being super freaked out when my pet chameleon latched on to my big finger and hung on with a vengeance!  (So much for hand feeding lizards...I'm still a bit traumatized from that incident).

So as Bill and I ponder the entrance of a newborn in our lives, and in turn our friends and family ponder it, we've been asked a few times...

"What about Chloe?"

What about her?  She's still in puppydom, and will most likely be out of it by the time May rolls around.  In fact, her 2nd birthday is May 3, two weeks before the due date.  But I'm convinced that this only "child" will be perfectly fine around our new baby, contrary to what most friends and family may think.  Surely we won't leave the baby unattended in the beginning, but I trust that Chloe will learn to love our baby just like we were loved by our animals when we grew up.  And what a wonderful memory to grow up with animals!

Ultimately, though a bit rowdy when people first arrive, our 55 lb. lover dog Chloe is a cuddler, just like her daddies!


And how could you resist that face?



Monday, December 5, 2011

The Christmas countdown poses another question...



We've got 22 more days until we open the results of the "wee-wee or the hoo-ha appointment", as Michael from Michael's Surrogate Experience so hilariously put it in his recent post.  While Michael does not want to know if he is having twin boys, twin girls, or one of each, we are waiting with baited breath to discover what awaits us on the other side (and as you can tell, so is Ashton Kutcher). As I mentioned before, we'll have several of the "uncles" here to celebrate on Christmas Day when we open the best present ever.  Our surro said she's mailing two sets of gender reveal packages since the ultrasound is so close to Christmas Day.  So we will receive instructions on which one to open, based on the visibility of the "hoo-ha" or the "weenie".


These two slang words for our private parts got me thinking (yes, once again, thinking...), "what will Bill and I call it?"  Boy, girl, no matter what gender this baby is, we'll need to come up with a name for it.  The biological names just will NOT do.  Sorry.  I grew up calling it something totally foreign to most everyone, except for our close childhood friends who heard it in our household.  Since there were four brothers and one sister under one roof in my family, the male name for it was used much more often, which turned out to be "gogi" (prounounced go-gee).  And since my parents really couldn't come up with a unique name, my sister's it was called a "gogette" (pronounced go-get).  Don't ask me the origin of this word but I kind of laughed and shuddered at the same time when I stumbled upon the Korean delicacy bulgogi.  Oh brother...literally.


So on day 22 of the Christmas countdown to the Big Baby Gender Reveal...what do you call it in your family, or what did you call it growing up? Inquiring minds (or at least two in Hawaii) want to know.


Please refrain from any graphic details in your answers, this is a family blog!  





Saturday, December 3, 2011

Answers to the sperm question...

...were classic!  Thanks all.  All these are GREAT.  Some very useful. Others HILARIOUS.

Jeni...Bill Gates? -- nice!  Can we use Steve Jobs?  Or since he had cancer is he now considered inferior? People can be so silly.

And Kevin, you're naughty, but I may use the first one with close friends.  

I still feel we are "not sharing that information" will most likely be our standard answer.  Though people will be able to tell when the little one arrives, as Bill and I look drastically different (think Jason and Adrian but bigger...haha...sorry J&A).

Oh and the Heffernan's, the question about the race of the baby reminds me of when we used my niece as our egg donor in India a couple years ago.  How's this??? People actually thought I was the sperm donor!  I looked at them like they were NUTS and did another squirmy dance.  People, did you take biology or listen at all during sex education?  Last time I checked having children with family members doesn't end up so well.

And Mark, I love your comment.  Your children are your children, biologically connected or not.  I've always said I'd take someone's baby off the street if they offered it to me. For some reason that hasn't happened yet...though there's still time.


Friday, December 2, 2011

24 day countdown and another question...



When I began this countdown to the Big Baby Gender Reveal it unexpectedly started something, and actually got me thinking about some of the questions I/we have about becoming fathers.  Questions we ask ourselves, or questions people will ask us during the pregnancy, and even after our baby is born.  And in the end I was surprised how many QUESTIONS popped in to my head instantaneously.  

Some were making me a bit nervous...Others were just plain funny (like would I subject a girl to the Diana Ross Supremes photo shoot, afro wig and all, like Cam did on "Modern Family"???).  In a way, this little time-passing exercise  I put upon myself leading up to Christmas Day is allowing us to explore what makes us truly giddy and over-the-moon about having a child, but also what we are most apprehensive about or what we may have some struggles with.  Ahhhhh, the irony!

Today's question has been asked many times since we got pregnant and even during the process of trying to get pregnant.  I understand it's done in the most innocent and inquisitive way possible, but every time it's posed, I do the squirmy dance inside: 

"So, whose sperm did you use?"

Again, I know it's an innocent question, but in the end, does it really matter???  Ultimately we will both be fathers of this child (for eternity, I might add), but for some reason this is one of the first questions people ask when they find out we're having a baby.  Our somewhat standard answer is that we both tried, and this time it just happened to work with one of us.  But other times we actually DO say, "does it really matter???"

DOES IT??

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The 25 Days of Christmas Countdown...



Yes, I'm doing it.

I'm counting down to Christmas Day when the Big Baby Gender Reveal is planned.  It's a way of distracting myself and having a little fun with it all.

So here goes:  On this first day of the countdown, I have been seriously pondering...

If it's a GIRL...how will Bill and I answer all those "girly" questions?


a) Do our best


b) Advise her to call one of our best girl friends


c) Google it


d) Immediately begin reading Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier


or


e) All of the above

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Halfway through the teens...

15 weeks on this Thanksgiving holiday weekend and there's so much to be thankful for.  For expanding bellies (from too much turkey and babies growing), for good friends and family, for our super surrogate "M" who is breezing through the beginning of this second trimester like a champ, for my wonderful partner Bill, and as always, for our health.

By Christmas we'll hopefully have a scan that will reveal the gender of our little guy/girl.  Currently we have that scheduled for December 22nd and then we'll open the "envelope" on Christmas Day.  "M" is already planning how to creatively do this with our friends who will be visiting for the holidays.  Exciting!!!

If I don't get any gifts this year I'll be happy.  The gift of a healthy pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby is all we need!

:-)

D

Saturday, November 19, 2011

14 Weeks and Hola from Spain!


Today makes 14 weeks!  Depending on who you are talking to, this is the start of our second trimester...but that could have been two weeks ago, too...so overall, just really celebrating where we are at right now.

Bill and I and four of our close friends/uncles (Scott, Asher, Marco and Todd) are in Spain for about 10 days and it's been an absolute blast. Mostly we are in Barcelona but we spent two wonderful days in Mallorca.  We've been texting with "M" every day and we talked to her just a couple days ago via Skype.  She said everything is going well.  She actually had just a general OB appointment on Thursday, and they quickly checked the heartbeat with an ultrasound, and everything looked good.

Below are a couple photos of our trip.  We go home on Monday morning...making the super long journey back to Hawaii.  And then back to work for a couple days before Thanksgiving.  Thank goodness it's only a two day week...I'll be super pooped from the jet lag.

Happy early (American) Thanksgiving to all!

Doug

Bill and I in front of La Sagrada de Familia in Barcelona


The motley crew in Valdemossa, Mallorca, Spain


The Cross at Santa Catalina in Valdemossa


Scott, Asher, me, Marco, Todd and Bill after a wonderful paella lunch in Mallorca


Rooftop sunset at Gaudi's La Pedrera in Barcelona


Todd, Asher, Marco and I down the street from Gaudi's La Sagrada de Familia


Supporting the Spanish economy at the Camper Outlet in Mallorca (where these shoes are made, I just figured out), with Scott's friend and our wonderful tour guide, Isa (who is 8 months pregnant and showing off her baby Camper shoes!!!)


Dug

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

There is comedy everywhere in life...

I’m fascinated with my ability to see the "funny" in things that may not be obvious to the naked eye.  It happens way too often, and it's probably my curse, but I have to share the musings in my head before they get tossed in to the recycle bin of my aging memory.  Hopefully someone, somewhere, will appreciate what I find funny, ironic and so serendipitous in life.  It’s quite possible that no one will find this even remotely laughable but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt and hoping you will…

So the story goes...

Bill has been very busy planting an herb and vegetable garden.  It’s been his little "baby" of sorts for the past couple months now.

He interviewed and hired the rock wall builders to create a garden bed on some 
unusable land behind our home...

       



The Samoan and Tongan workers built a beautiful wall and bed that was ready for dirt and soil...



Bill chose the best herbs and veggies to plant AND installed an irrigation system (on his own, I might add)...


He tilled the earth, and brought in some rich soil.  

And he planted...
and he was extremely proud to show off his new garden.


And me?  I stood by and watched it unfold...mostly because this is just not my expertise.

But I did, however, notice something very funny and ironic after all was said and done...
What does the shape of this garden bed resemble?


A pregnant belly perhaps???

All of this happened without either of us realizing it.  And then one day it dawned on me -- as our perfect little baby is growing in our perfect surrogate 5,000 miles away we subliminally and serendipitously created a garden bed in the perfect shape of a pregnant belly.

And now we watch our gardens grow.




And how cute is it that Bill carved our initials in the wet cement?



SIDEBAR
A little history on the word serendipitous: We are indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity, which he coined in one of the 3,000 or more letters on which his literary reputation primarily rests. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that "this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word." Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of "a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of...."

(Kind of like our quest over the past two and a half years, to San Francisco, to India, to Los Angeles, to Washington, D.C, and even more surprisingly, to Blogland, where we discovered some super cool people that we now call friends).

AMAZING.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Awwwww!

Thanks to our good friends Maureen and Andres who gave us the book "What to Expect in the First Year". It's our new bedtime reading...and Bill looks just too cute in those glasses.

Monday, November 7, 2011

NT Blood Test Result Came Back Great!

Big sigh of relief all the way around.

Next appointment is next week Thursday, 11/17.  Don't think we get another ultrasound until December, where we are pretty sure we'll find out the gender.

!!!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bring on the food parade!!!

Today we are 12 weeks pregnant...can you say "COOL!!!!"

This is how our baby's growing...

The most dramatic development this week:  REFLEXES!!!

Our baby's fingers will begin to open and close -- toes will curl, eyes will clench, and his/her mouth will make sucking movements.  In fact, if we prodded our surrogate's abdomen, our baby will squirm in response, though she wouldn't be able to feel it.  The intestines, which have grown so fast they protrude in to the umbilical cord, will start to move in to the abdominal cavity now, and the kidneys will begin to start excreting urine in to the bladder.

Meanwhile!  Nerve cells are beginning to multiplying rapidly, and in our beautiful baby's brain, synapses are forming furiously.  His/Her face looks unquestionably human; the eyes have moved from the side to the front of the head; and his/her ears are exactly where they should be.  From crown to rump, our baby-to-be is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs a half an ounce!  WE LOVE LIMES!....

...but it won't be long until this baby is the size of other foods such as a medium shrimp, a lemon, an apple, avocado, a large heirloom tomato, a bell pepper, and the length of a banana...

We can't wait for the food parade.
Bring on the buffet!  :-)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Preliminary Results from NT Scan

Presence of a nasal bone = CHECK!
Space in the back of the neck measuring normal = CHECK!

We should know more about the blood test results early next week.  Doctors did not think that this would show anything abnormal based on this morning's scan.

We did get another report of this baby being very wiggly...it took one u/s tech and one physician almost a half hour to get the pictures they wanted.  Sounded more like a wrestling match.  I quote from an email from our surro "M":

"I got to see a lot of movement. I saw arms, hands, feet and legs. I saw skull details, like plates, eye sockets and jaw bone. I saw ribs. It even mooned us at one point. It was very active initially and then took a nap at the time they actually needed some movement. This prompted the doctor to comment "C'mon, dude!" and "OK, perform...now!"

Thanks for the pictures "M"...and thanks for being a trooper and enduring all these pokes and prods and one super wiggly (and not so shy) baby.

I think if you look closely you can see an eye socket.  It looks like our little guy/girl is just chilling (but apparently that wasn't the case...we've still got some aerobics going on in there!)

11 weeks, 5 days

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nuchal Translucency Test Tomorrow

We have our NT test tomorrow (see below for description of test).  Just a bit nervous but excited to have another ultrasound and take a look around. Everything seems to, up to this point, be progressing well with our pregnancy, and this is just another hurdle to get over.  After this we will be 12 weeks (on Saturday!).  Which means we're headed in to the second trimester and I'm extremely glad to report that time is actually starting to move fast.  In fact, I was noticing the other day that I was more panicked about actually having a baby then any complications.  I don't want to jinx anything but it's funny how there's always something to be preoccupied and/or worried about in this process.  And I know, I know, the worry never ends.
Overall we are just super, super excited and on our trip to Los Angeles this past weekend, we got to check out some very modern looking strollers.  Those LA parents sure know how to cart their little bambinos around!  I'm kinda liking this Stokke Xplory stroller at the moment.  With my height, I think it'll do well for me to not be having to bend over all the time!  Cool huh?!  You can click the photo to see the full site.


During our trip, which was to visit our very good friends in California for the Halloween long weekend, we actually got to meet Jason and Adrian of the Stalking the Stork blog.  It was so cool to hang out and catch up, talk about our anxieties, hopes and fears, and GET EXCITED!  They are just a few weeks behind us...and as many of you know, they've got FOUR in there!  You guys are gonna be awesome dads, Jason and Adrian...but maybe it's time to build another room, or two, on the house?! It was also just a fabulous experience to meet a fellow blogger.  I'd post a photo but I lost my phone over the weekend in West Hollywood (don't ask) and so this will have to suffice for now...


UPDATE: Here's the photo...thanks Jason!  (I had to de-red eye my eyes and it didn't work too well! LOL)



Please say a little prayer and think good thoughts for our test tomorrow.  We are all staying positive on this end....!  Take care and good luck to everyone.

What is the nuchal translucency screening test?
This prenatal test (also called the NT or nuchal fold scan) can help your healthcare practitioner assess your baby's risk of having Down syndrome (DS) and some other chromosomal abnormalities as well as major congenital heart problems.

The NT test uses ultrasound to measure the clear (translucent) space in the tissue at the back of your developing baby's neck. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their neck during the first trimester, causing this clear space to be larger than average.

The NT scan must be done when you're between 11 and 14 weeks pregnant. (The last day you can have it done is the day you turn 13 weeks and 6 days pregnant.) It's usually offered along with a blood test in what's known as first-trimester combined screening.

Like other screening tests, an NT scan won't give you a diagnosis. But it can assess your baby's risk for certain problems and help you decide whether you want to have chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis to find out whether your baby is actually affected.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

10 Weeks Today!

How our baby's g r o w i n g!!...

Though he's barely the size of a kumquat — a little over an inch or so long, crown to bottom — and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, our baby has now completed the most critical portion of his development.

(YAY!!!!!!)


This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in his body rapidly grow and mature.  He's swallowing fluid and kicking up a storm. Vital organs — including his kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver (now making red blood cells in place of the disappearing yolk sac) — are in place and starting to function, though they'll continue to develop throughout our pregnancy.
If we could take a peek inside the womb, we'd spot minute details, like tiny nails forming on fingers and toes (no more webbing) and peach-fuzz hair beginning to grow on tender skin.

In other developments:   Our baby's limbs can bend now!!

(YAY again!!!)

His hands are flexed at the wrist and meet over his heart, and his feet may be long enough to meet in front of his body. The outline of his spine is clearly visible through translucent skin, and spinal nerves are beginning to stretch out from his spinal cord. Our baby's forehead temporarily bulges with his developing brain and sits very high on his head, which measures half the length of his body. From crown to rump, he's about 1 1/4 inches long. In the coming weeks, our baby will again double in size — to nearly 3 inches.  WOW!!!




Thursday, October 20, 2011

Older Parenting: A Modern Day Fountain of Youth



I found this article on the internet.  Yes, I Google'd "older parenting" and this came up.  While we are not fathering in our 50s, I have moments of wondering how this experience of raising a child later in life is going to effect me, my relationship and my life.  I ask many parents how old they were when they had their first and last child.  Don't get me wrong, I am not having second thoughts AT ALL.  But this was a great read and very refreshing -- had to steal it as one of my posts.  


If you want to see the online article click here.

Older Parenting: A Modern Day Fountain of Youth
Fathering in Your 50s: Is There a Difference?
My first psychology professor was Dr. Dick Bruce. He told a marvelous story about his family during Psych 100: When home for the holidays, one of his siblings complained that earning a Ph.D. seemed an impossible goal. The degree would take so long. Dr. Bruce's reply was "In 4 years you'll be the same age whether you go to school or not."

Fathering in your 50s is much like Dr. Bruce's thinking. If being older is the only reason we decide against having children, then we have allowed ourselves to be enslaved to age. Certainly anyone should consider factors like health, energy levels, or financial capacity when making the choice to have children. We can decide to have, or not to have, children in our 40s or 50s, but we will end up the same age, in 18 years, either way. When we magnify the negative meaning of age, we don't balance the benefits of having children at an older age. Once we place age into its proper perspective, we can see that there are many reasons to become an "older" father.


Staying Young
Fathers, like everyone, create beliefs about the meaning of age. How we define age then affects other parts of our lives: athletics, diet, vacationing.  My young children demand that I stay young. They want to play on the floor, run in the back yard, eat ice cream, and go on family vacations. I find that having young children keeps my perspective young, and my daily life more energetic. I have a youthful perspective, and my life shows it.

Feeling Connected
As we grow older, experiences can reduce our feelings of attachment. Deaths, and other losses, push older men away from the vulnerability of deep connection. But, children express their love and affection so freely, so that avoiding a bond with them is impossible. I am not closed-off in other relationships, because my children keep me open to connection every day.

Enjoying Life
The older we get, the more life feels like a grind. We ask ourselves, "Is there anything thing new or exciting in the world?"  Young children feel joy and are excited about just-about everything. They see fun in the mundane as boxes become forts. If we let them, they will take us along for the "joy" ride. Fathering in my 50s gave me back life's fun. My children make well-worn activities feel exhilarating again.

Learning Fearlessly             
All adults know the pain of embarrassing themselves while trying to learn something, but not doing so well. When men hit middle age, we discover how our bodies and minds have begun to falter (even when we try something well known). But, children approach learning new things (sports, reading, games, etc.) without fear. For example, my son is learning to read-and mastering a new word puts joy on his face, with no signs of worry. My son and daughter show me daily that I have nothing to fear if I try something new. I took up golf, as a serious pastime, last year.  And, I have fun learning to play. I thank my children for the courage to learn the game..... to enjoy the pars and the double-bogies.

A Final Word from an Older Dad
Yes, there are plenty of reasons to become a father in your 40s or 50s: Youthfulness, Connection, Joy, and Fearlessness are but a few. Parenting has challenges in your 50s, just like it would at any age.  But older parenting can reset the aging clock. You live a younger life, and your children benefit from your years of wisdom. Older fathering might not be a fountain of youth, but it will add years of happiness to your life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grateful

It's been a week since our last super positive ultrasound.  We are so grateful for everything.  This Saturday will be 10 weeks and we've got a couple more to get through before we can really celebrate and plan for this little one...but I have to say that my mindset has changed over the past few days.  I walk our dog Chloe and I think about pushing a stroller alongside us through the neighborhood.  I think about our baby's first day at the beach...his or her little toes in the sand, the ocean, feeling the sun on his or her face.  I think about the day of his or her birth and I'm overwhelmed with emotion (Will we be able to handle it?  Will we both just stand there, dumbfounded?  And not know what to do?).  One thing we have been instructed to do (by our surro "M") is to "follow the woman with the baby"..."don't stick around after the birth with me"..."it gets ugly" -- haha...sorry "M" but those words that came out of your mouth months ago have stuck with me.

I'm sure we'll be able to handle it.  Waiting for that day.  And so, so grateful for all our surrogate is doing.

I know you check this blog, so this is our public THANK YOU.  You ROCK.

-D&B

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Power of Moving Pictures


Just as I left work today, our surro "M" sent us one of the most amazing things I've ever seen...the ultrasound video. WOW!!!...I can't even tell you how real EVERYTHING became in just two minutes! 

That heartbeat is awesome, the yolk sac is awesome...the little curled up baby is awesome...and I can't believe that this is our little guy/girl...just pumping along in there. I can't thank "M" enough. I told her she's doing a top notch incredible job. We so appreciate her and everything she's doing.

 THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY ENCOURAGING...!

One day and many beats ahead...

As we led up to this third scan I was a wee bit nervous than most times, which means I was ultra-nervous because I'm always nervous...go figure. I don't know what's wrong with me but I think it's taking some time to get all the failed attempts and m/cs out of my head before I can truly embrace this awesomely perfect pregnancy. Besides low progesterone issues early on, everything has been going extremely well. However, as each doctor's appointment looms ahead of me I throw myself in to a panic, thinking that something could be wrong........

...and then the day comes, and the scan detects a gestational sac. A reason to celebrate! Yay!

...and then days before the second scan I feel like I'm getting an ulcer worrying about a heartbeat. And the day comes, and our scan detects a strong heartbeat at 135 bpm, a yolk sac and fetal pole. Boogie Down!!

...and on this third scan I knew that if things looked good, that we could relax (yah I know, don't laugh...like I'm gonna relax!) for the next few weeks until we pushed through the first trimester. Naturally this put way more pressure on the appointment, since if something didn't look right I would most likely spin out of control and become a basket case (like I'm not now?).

And then today came, and the scan indicated that we are actually AHEAD of the game. The baby measured 8w5d instead of what we thought was 8w4d. Crown to rump length = 2.06 cm! I had to break out the ruler and see exactly how big or small that was...it's small but BIG!


And the heartbeat was 180!...I'm thinking there must be some serious cardio going on in there with our olive-sized little one.

All that jazzercising is paying off little guy because you're growing like crazy...and doing such a great job!

Check out today's ultrasound that actually LOOKS like a baby now, though he/she is a little shy and facing away from the "camera" -- but looking good...BIG SMILES.


Now the wait for the first trimester to be OVER. Waiting for that day...but a little more relaxed. Promise.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sleeping with one eye open...

We have our third scan tomorrow early east coast time (can you say @ 2:50 am???) -- so I know I'll be sleeping with one eye open .-)


This will be the last ultrasound for a little while since the doctor just wanted to keep an eye on our surrogate as she had low progesterone and has been supplementing. Tomorrow will be 8 weeks 4 days. And no, I'm not counting...

And just to say, super excited about all the success out there with everyone. Albeit early, a positive IS a positive...so I say you gotta STAY POSITIVE. Keeps the insanity at bay. Works for me.

Think good thoughts and say a prayer for good news tomorrow. Grow baby, GROW!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

8 weeks!

Today makes 8 weeks and I am ready for this next month to fly by...and then we can take a huge sigh of relief. Everything seems to be going well for our surrogate. She has another appointment this Wednesday so we get to see another ultrasound. Excited to see how things are coming along in there.

I found this wonderful website called the Endowment for Human Development and the movies are absolutely amazing! You should check it out...thanks to Meg for listing it on her blog. Super cool.

Good luck to everyone out there...keep the faith. We are!!!!

D & B

Saturday, October 1, 2011

7 Weeks Today!

We are 7 weeks today and I'm loving that every week falls on a Saturday.

I also found this great quote about not giving up. SO TRUE. Good luck to everyone out there looking for their baby. Remember what Johnny and Darren said, "The only people who end up without a baby, are the people who give up...Here's to never giving up!"


And here's what happening with our little guy/girl:

The big news this week: Hands and feet are emerging from developing arms and legs — although they look more like paddles at this point than the tiny, pudgy extremities you're daydreaming about holding and tickling. Technically, your baby is still considered an embryo and has something of a small tail, which is an extension of her tailbone. The tail will disappear within a few weeks, but that's the only thing getting smaller. Your baby has doubled in size since last week and now measures half an inch long, about the size of a blueberry.

If you could see inside the womb, you'd spot eyelid folds partially covering her peepers, which already have some color, as well as the tip of her nose and tiny veins beneath parchment-thin skin. Both hemispheres of your baby's brain are growing, and her liver is churning out red blood cells until her bone marrow forms and takes over this role. She also has an appendix and a pancreas, which will eventually produce the hormone insulin to aid in digestion. A loop in your baby's growing intestines is bulging into her umbilical cord, which now has distinct blood vessels to carry oxygen and nutrients to and from her tiny body.