Almost there...

Friday, September 09, 2011

You're Doing What? Wait, what?!!!

So there was this shiny new toy called Google Plus. It has what I like about Facebook, plus longer posts, and an absence of obnoxious ads. It's funny, but this coincided pretty neatly with another big event in my world, announcing a massive life change, and being able to do it selectively. It was a ticking time bomb of congratulations as folks have joined Google Plus over the last 10 weeks. But here we are at the half-way mark, and the second ten weeks went far more quickly than the first ten weeks, and I don't expect that to change. There are a few bits and pieces I'd like to get down in what I perceive as my personal record of things that are just me, that a few folks still deign to read. A few folks, including my grandma, who I'm guessing isn't ever going to join Google Plus (or Facebook, or anything else). It's also still the most conducive place for long format posts. So here goes.

We're having a baby. Well, that's the big plan anyway. Sometime around 20 weeks from now, we're expecting to be in a hospital, I'm expecting to be in a lot of pain, and at the end of it all, we expect to have a little baby girl.

Now for those of you who missed the memo and are now staggering around going, "Wait, what?!!! But you said no kids. What gives?" Well, there's always been a small reservation, infrequently voiced and never expected to be acted upon, that for the right partner, I could see having one kid. It seemed such a dim possibility, that it nearly faded out of existence.

Remember the part where I also said that there were two reasons to get married, thus getting the government involved in your love life: 1. Because it's important to you for religious reasons or, 2. Because you want to have kids. Well, remember that whole getting married thing last October? Remember how I haven't had a sudden religious conversion? Yeah, it was all down to the "One-Child Compromise" (TM).

When Erik and I first met, lots of folks said, "Wow, you two have such great chemistry." And then they implied a lot of relationship potential. Meanwhile, we were both happily ensconced in other relationships. I knew that it could never work between us because having kids was very important to him. So, nice as he was, it was just never going to happen.

Then things changed. Rick and I broke up. Marissa divorced Erik. Suddenly we were both single, saying, "Well that was never supposed to happen." When we first started dating, more than one friend counseled suggesting that this could only end in tears because he wanted kids. We lived with the elephant in the room for a few months of dating. When it became clear we were both pulling back on playing the field and spending an awful lot of time together, we acknowledged the elephant. He said, "So where is this going?" I said, "Well, I've always thought maybe I could do the one with the right person." Erik looked like I'd lit off fireworks. I said, "BUT! I don't know if you're that person. You might be, but if you push me on this, I'm going to do what I've always done and bail." I suggested that he had a PhD to finish and that he wasn't really going to be making major life changes between now and then, so how about we enjoy what we have, and when the ink is dry on the bottom of the degree, I can have an answer to the kids/no kids question.

As it turned out, this was the best deal I've ever made. Many times, it stopped him from pressing the issue. It also provided him a big motivation for finishing the darned thing. For me, it gave me the breathing room to measure things, knowing that I'd have to have an answer, and I'd have to be ready to walk away or to go forward on an adventure I never planned for. Things bore a lot of scrutiny. Every good thing, and each slight or failing was judged against how that would affect not only me, but what if we were raising a child together? No pressure, eh? And it went on for months, which for me meant plenty of time to collect data and plan a future state, and also plenty of time to imagine how this could work. In the end, Erik finished his PhD on August 7, 2009. I was officiating Alex and Sherman's wedding on August 8th. So there we were waltzing at the wedding, and I said, "Y'know, the ink is dry. And I've thought about it." And there was a sort of "oh dear god" hanging in the air - here? now? Um, yes. "And I can go for the one."

A lot more discussion was had later as we embarked on our big vacation together, headed to Yosemite the next day and Disneyland afterwards. What if it doesn't work? What alternatives are we willing to explore? Should we get married first or try for a kid first? (Because ostensibly, knowing how important this was, if it wasn't going to work, then why would I block him from finding that joy with someone else, and why make him a two time divorcee in the process, right?) So that's when it comes back to a great moment in our early dating period.

At Bad Movie Night at Tracey's place, Sam pulls me aside and says, "I think I've got a solution to your problem with Erik, but you might find it offensive." Now, Sam, bless his heart, is inadvertently offensive to folks with some frequency. That he knew this would likely be offensive, and wanted to preface it that way was a pretty good measure of just how offensive this was going to be. Deep breath, rub hands together, and say, "Okay, I'm ready. Lay it on me." And Sam says, "Well see, Erik wants kids, and you don't, so you could just get your tubes tied and it barely leaves a mark, and then he could try and try, and then when nothing happened, and it didn't work out, it's not like he's going to leave you over it, right?" And I say, "WOW!!! Sam, you're right, that's REALLY offensive." And I laugh really hard. Because, no, I could not even conceive of starting a relationship on a lie of that scale. Eventually I even told Erik this story. He took rather a less humorous view of it, but here we are on our way to Yosemite, and he says, "Y'know, really, fundamentally Sam is right. It's that you're willing to give this a go, and if it doesn't work out, we'll do other things. But that you're willing to go down this path with me, to potentially change your life this much to spend your life with me, well, that means a lot." And so it was decided - marriage, attempt One-Child Compromise (TM), and see where we end up.

Well, turns out, once you do everything you're supposed to (more on this in another post), getting pregnant, even at 37, can be remarkably easy. Like, um, first time you give it a serious try and pull out all of the road blocks. We very specifically avoided the potential December 7th and January 1 due dates, giving things a try in time for the January 27th due date. At our amniocentesis, they adjusted our due date by a whole 1 day, so now we're officially due on January 26th. That means that last night was our official half-way mark. We took our first baby belly picture last night. I'm finally starting to look a bit pregnant rather than just plain fat.

We did opt for amniocentesis as it's recommended to everyone over 35. At 37, my chance of a trisomy (47 total chromosomes, where one has 3 copies instead of 2) is 1 in 125. Next year it gets worse again. Not liking those odds overmuch, I wanted some assurance that if I was going to all of this trouble, I wasn't growing a creature that might or might not make it to birth and then might live less than a year, because yeah, some of the trisomies are just that bad. I mean, in reality, Downs Syndrome is the *good* trisomy. At least, it's the one that you can survive. Most of them are tragic. So I met with a very nice geneticist named Sharon at Kaiser and she ran me through the options and we opted for amnio. As Erik said, "Have you met my wife? Have you ever her seen her pick less information over more information?" On the plus side, you get an extremely detailed ultrasound (in our case, with a totally awesome ultrasound tech) that checks that everything is in the right place - heart with 4 chambers, and blood flowing in and out the right way, with no leaks. Full digestive system. Two little kidneys. Feet with five little toes apiece. Brain connected to the spinal column. Spine inside the body. Lots of things to go wrong, but everything looked alright. It also looked a lot like a little girl. Then they stabbed me, and sucked up a bunch of fluid. That part was not so awesome. Sharon called 12 days later to give us the good news that indeed, the wee little alien has 46 chromosomes and is definitely a girl. Here's her photo from 5 weeks ago:

Now we're on to other adventures - comparing strollers (and we really like the City Mini and the Britax B-Agile) and cribs (looks like we're going for the Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib) and deciding on nursery themes (Space! With a side of geek!). We got our crib set in the mail today.

Suffice to say, I've been a bit quiet here, and there's going to be some serious download about pregnancy and baby stuff in the near future, so I'm sure I'll likely drive away my last few readers, save for my grandma. But like I said before, this is for me to have a place where I write it down and have a history. And for that, this is just perfect.


  • Congratulations from Brisbane, Australia. I look forward to going on the amazing journey with you.

    By Blogger Andrew, at 7:57 PM  

  • I look forward to keeping up with your journey as well!

    I guess you have at least two other readers besides your grandma. :)

    By Blogger Unknown, at 4:20 PM  

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