Questions to Ask the OB?

Last week we meet with one of the nurse educators at the OB offices we’ve chosen.  Actually, like many things in life, we just plowed ahead based on a recommendation.  Best Of sent us to these folks and we figured we’d give it a shot.

Much like finding a realtor to buy a house, everyone had a rec for one OB or another.  The acupuncturist urged us to consider a well-thought of midwife and a coworker gushed over an OB just steps from the office.  Generally, my only priority is to find an ally who treats D and I like any other couple and who is aware of some of the challenges we might face from outside folks.

The office we chose will rotate us through a group of OBs, something I was happy about given the due date’s proximity to July 4th.  Every medical practitioner I’ve ever met takes a vacation in the weeks surrounding the 4th and I wanted to be sure that the face we saw in the hospital was a face we’d seen at least once.  The downside is that there are that many more faces to meet.  To meet and to present our partnership to and hope for the best.

It was a tiny bit disappointing to be handed off first to an “educator”.  But I’ll admit that my bias for a doctor was completely unfounded.  In fact, thank you Megan, for being the one to take us on first.  The nurse sat across the desk from us and answered every last one of our questions.  She educated us (and you know us, we need it), arming us with tons of information to digest.  She did have a tendency to sound overeager to answer my questions, but I might have been unnerving with my most serious face, scribbling furiously in a small notebook.

We left feeling relieved and prepared.  I only hope we leave every appointment feeling that way.  We go back tomorrow for the first appointment with the OB and I admit that I’m nervous all over again.  I have far fewer questions though.  Here’s what we’ve gotten out of the way:

Is a small birth canal hereditary?
What exercise can D be doing?
What tests can we expect?
When will those tests happen?
What are the different kinds of ultrasounds?
What happens at regular visits?
Will we see everyone in the practice?
Should we ask for a specific person when we make appointments?
What’s the best time of day to make appointments?
How often do ultrasounds happen?
Any tips for nausea?
Are there safe allergy medicines?
When are we due?
Who do we call in case of an emergency?
What constitutes an emergency?
What about questions between visits?
Do we email or call?
Where do your patients give birth?
How long do you let patients go past their due date?
What situations warrant an episiotomy or csection?
What is your policy on labor induction?
What is your experience working with non-traditional couples like us?

I’m so glad we asked that final question.  I could have gone with my gut (positive) but I feel fantastic knowing that we aren’t the first gay couple to darken their door.  We probably aren’t the most annoying ones yet either.  What do you think – anything else to pepper the doc with tomorrow?



Well, not scarlet itself, but a baby toasting fever none-the-less.  I admit, while I was worried about her having a cold (worried as in…do we need to run out for more tissues again?), a fever has generated more worry than I’m comfortable with.

And of course, this brings our somewhat spotty knowledge of pregnancy to the forefront again.  Do we call the OB or the GP?  We’ve decided to go with the OB and let them direct us back to our family doctor.  Then we’ve at least covered all the bases.  While there’s not much to be done, we’ll know how much Tylenol can be aimed at the fever without damaging anything.

So, fair warning, don’t inhale in her direction.



Have you ever read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?  It was my sister’s favorite book growing up and the title rings in my head every so often when nothing seems to go right.   Usually though it’s just a day of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad.  This has been a week of the same.

I realize that, as the not pregnant person, my life is significantly less complicated and my wants, needs and miseries come second.  Unfortunately, I haven’t mastered the ability to be completely selfless while beaming like a loon. I’m having a series of THNGVB moments and I feel like my poor wife is ending up at the bottom.  If I’m going to master this whole absence of needs thing before June, I better get on it.  In the meantime, I’m stuck in this THNNGVB week.

Here is a sampling of my problems:
It’s cold and wet. I usually love rain. What’s wrong with me that I don’t love the rain this week?
The dog was sleeping on the bed. On a trial basis. Now he’s not because a) no room and b) hi, holy terror batman.  A few nights out of his crate and he’s jumping, stealing and scratching.
Our house feels unwelcoming somehow – like it’s giving me the cold shoulder when we come home.  Now I’m making up emotions.  For a house.
The laundry is dirty, and persistent.  I find myself wondering if it’s possible to go to work naked rather than deal with the shocking lack of weather and work appropriate options in the closet.
I’m even tired of my own complaining.

I can hear seasoned mothers (mostly my own) saying lots of things that start with “If you think it’s bad now…” And while, yes, I haven’t forgotten that piece of life trivia that includes a fetus, I’ve still got some time to get used to having no negative feelings whatsoever.   I’m not sure I could even articulate what, exactly, would make this THNGVB week better. And since I’m generally full of solutions for everything, that’s not a very good sign for climbing out of it.

Symptom of the Week

Since late last week, exhaustion has been falling down the symptom chart while nausea has reached number 1.  Other symptoms continue, of course, and I’m sure we’ll see one of those rear an ugly head in the future (I’m looking at you, constipation).  But for now, queasy is firmly symptom 1.

Last night I went to bed before she did.   She was out cold the second her head hit the pillow while I lay there reading for a half a book more.  But this is a huge improvement over falling asleep on her dinner plate.  Though if she tried to do that now, I have no doubt that she’d get that look on her face – the one that says I’m not going to run, I’m just going to stand here while vomit overtakes my soul.

Mornings are a problem.  I spent a whole week hearing quiet crunching in the predawn hours and adding saltines to the grocery list.  It isn’t just mornings anymore.  It’s making the coffee, the scent of the microwave, rotting pumpkins in a bush.  Mercifully, she’s avoided actually throwing up, but she can’t help turning positively green when the breeze blows crooked.

Ginger should be helping, but it seems to have no effect, positive or negative.  But tart and sour things are amazing.  Crisp apples.  Lemon juice on crisp apples.  Lemon juice in water.  Probably actual lemons.  Also, pickles.  I live with a pregnant woman eating pickles.  Go figure.

We’re off to see a nurse at the new office tomorrow.  Here’s hoping we love them as much as Best Of!

“Belly Pics”

Have pregnant women always been so thin?  Celebrities, of course.  They get paid to conform to an American version of beautiful that doesn’t include folds or lumps.  Studies try to claim lots of things – that those with curves are smarter, or that men find them more attractive, live longer and have an evolutionary edge (proof that you can find a study to tell you anything you want to hear) but media images still show tiny women with huge pregnant bellies over and over.

What of the larger women?  The ones that don’t start showing at 2 days?  The ones that can’t make the joke about having eaten a burrito?  Those people are not publicly displayed except in crime television (“She hate me!”), reality television (“What’s that between my legs?  What do you mean I’m having a baby?”) and on the covers of tabloids (“Actress balloons over 300 pounds!”).  I take particular exception to the idea that women who don’t know they are pregnant are all fat, and, by extension, complete idiots.  Worse still, they allow the perception to persist that fat=dumb in every situation.  Thank you mass media, for reinforcing stereotypes.

Maybe it’s the digital camera trend (oh no, I’m eighty again.  Bring me my Polaroid, sonny!) but it seems as though everyone who is pregnant proudly finds some doorway to stand in, some wall to lean against, some outfit to squeeze into in order to have a succession of photos leading up to the birth.  This is a fantastic trend.  How wonderful to be able to document the body’s growth and change and memorialize an amazing nine months (or is it 6?  you know we can’t count over here, despite the blog name).   But (and you knew there was a but coming) why can’t I find many pictures of folks who start out bigger than a size 6?  Do those people not take photos?  Or are they simply not displayed?  Or, is it what I suspect, that if you’re already self-conscious about size, you’re less inclined to display the evidence of new growth?

I may be at a loss here, not being the one incubating anything.  My wife is beautiful (and always has been) and she says she doesn’t want belly shots.  This is not because she is huge, regularly portrayed on cops, planning to give birth in a port-o-potty or dumb.  She’s really not dumb.  She knows that she’s doing something amazing but at the same time she feels sick, it’s going to go on for another 10 months (or was it 8?) and it’s going to stretch her out. I think she should get to decide if she wants deliberate photographic evidence.

I love the idea of memorializing this time, but I want to find a way to do it that respects her wishes to leave her belly out of it.  At least, in the traditional way.  Any suggestions for alternatives to belly shots?

Stay On your Side

While I have lots of quirky sleep habits, including such gems as sleep swatting spiders and sleep pantomime, I am not a sleep bedhogger.

Don’t listen to my wife.

Right now, the one taking all the mattress space is the cat.  Though he doesn’t sleep with his limbs splayed or steal the covers, he does form himself into an immovable brick that forces D into the center of the bed.  Once he creeps up to his traditional spot on the sheets between her and her bedside table, I can forget about taking my half of the middle.  We both clamor for whatever space the cat has given up.

Whether she knows it or not, things are about to change.  She’s about to take up a whole lot more space in the bed.  And if she thinks my tossing and turning is notable now, just wait til she’s ordering me to do it from the other bedroom so that she, the cat and the baby can take what’s rightfully theirs.  Here, Graphjam has helpfully illustrated it for you:


Would You Believe SIX?

Only 6 and a half weeks.  Seriously?

I know I should soak up every last second of enjoying my wife and our life as a footloose and fancy free couple.  Well, as footloose as one could can be when one’s beloved wife is looking a bit grey in the gills.  Actually, I am enjoying being with just her.  We have a lovely little life and enjoy each others company very much.  So I appreciate knowing we have time to prepare both personally and together.

That said, Best Of says she’s just six and a half weeks.  She might have just produced an egg yesterday for all six and a half weeks is.  I’m disappointed.  Silly, isn’t it?  But I’d hoped for at least seven.  Look – there’s so few weeks that I can’t even use real numbers yet.  Six, not 6.  It’s just that eight weeks is so much more exciting and, frankly, it’s closer to 12 and that’s what I’m really looking forward to.

I mentioned she was looking a little grey.  She’s  feeling queasy, though not (yet?) throwing up.  I hear her munching crackers in bed before I wake up and she her take a pause before she takes the first bite of breakfast.  She does have a strong stomach though and so I think she’s escaping some of the worst of the nausea.  In the last week, she’s also begun to feel faint.  Oooh, queasy and faint.  It’s almost as good as a roller coaster.

So Best Of has kicked us out to an OB and while we’ll miss both his bow tie and his tightly subdued happiness at having knocked us up, we’re delighted to have graduated to the next step.  Off to see a nurse on the 11th and then the doc on the 20th.  What a lovely birthday present.

You Be The First

Perhaps it isn’t yet clear to you gentle reader, but we don’t have the slightest idea about being pregnant.  I say that with sarcasm as it’s already blatantly obvious that we are stumbling around in the dark embrace of ignorance.  I promise you, we’re trying to change!  I even read one whole pregnancy book!  Okay, not word for word. I admit, I skimmed.  At least, I read chapter headings.  Fine, I was mainly looking for information about what having an orgasm does for (or against) the little one.  But I did read it.  In some sense of the word!

One thing that still remains a mystery is (Okay, there are many things.  Fine, everything) is how many weeks along she is.  See?  I told you we were bumbling about.  I know this is simple math, but the internet, she is persuasive and goes against all of our mad trigonometry skills.  We don’t have any basic adding skills, I admit.  We’re going to be useless until that kid gets into higher math (Fine, any math).

Back to the subject at hand.  How many weeks along is she?  I need to know this because the people we keep accidentally telling keep accidentally (or on purpose, you can’t trust them for anything) asking when the baby is due.  Apparently, the month of June isn’t sufficient.  We’re somehow supposed to know how many weeks along she is.  I assume they’ll expect us to keep track of our child’s age next.  Which, seriously, do people do that?

So here’s the thing – Soap Opera’s office told us when they wanted to see us and we assumed that would be at eight weeks.  We’re going on Monday.  They know when we conceived – probably September 27th.  Is it really eight weeks?  Calculators say our due date is June 20th which only makes it seven weeks Sunday.  Why can’t we figure it out?  So you be the first – how many weeks along are we?  I’m sure you’ll tell me it’s seven.  But maybe you could lie and say eight because then D will hopefully have one less week of feeling nauseous before she wakes up.

That said, we’re going tomorrow anyway then we can debate about who’s right.

An Open Letter to Marriott

Dear Marriott family of hotels,

No free wireless internet?  You’ve got to be kidding.  Furthermore, no free internet, period?  Ridiculous.  You mean to tell me that I’m stranded here without being able to communicate with my wife through a series of clever emoticons?  Do you realize she is pregnant?  No, not that kind of rushing-to-the-hospital pregnant, not yet, but still!  How am I supposed to keep track of her every wave of nausea?  How can you do this to me!?

Regards, M


Dear Marriott family of hotels,

Thank you for taking my wife for the evening.

Love, D

Two Weeks Later

My family has been visiting for two, long weeks.  Not that we don’t love them, we do.  We’re lucky to both have parents who are supportive, love us and gently give advice without bossing us around.  That’s all anyone could ask for right?  More than just welcome for family’s sake, we’re  delighted when they visit because they make pie, bring tools they no longer need, let their dogs rough-house with ours, repair things, build things, do electrical work and take things we no longer want.  I am thrilled to be rid of our generator.  Seriously.

The best part of having them was the ability to break them softly into the idea of a new grandchild in a different sort of family.  Though one of my sisters has two kids, their practically fundamentalist family is a far stretch from our own.  By living with us, my parents and grandmother were able to hear us talk more about the baby, see that we’re sane and normal and, have a chance to ask some of the questions that are better asked in person.  It was good for us, too.  While they were here, we talked more about the future than we usually would and I had a chance to loosen up a bit.   Not that my terror about something going wrong has abated but, by talking about it, I got to experience some of the joy of planning that I’d been avoiding.  And that outweighs the anxiety.

That said, I cannot wait to sit with my wife this evening, watch tv and go to bed early.  Can’t wait.