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Last night in our church small group, somehow (don’t ask) the topic of family planning came up. One of the couples said, “our friends got pregnant using “natural family planning” and the doctor said, “do you know what we call couples who use that method? PARENTS.”

Everyone laughed.

But it bugged me.

I feel fairly strongly about the following:

a) Everyone should be able to do their own research about how to have safe sex and/or avoid/plan to get pregnant.

b) Women who want to take the Pill should be able to take the Pill. Those who do not want to take the Pill SHOULD NOT HAVE TO TAKE THE PILL.

c) Aside from the Pill – taken here to mean an estrogen-containing oral contraceptive – there are other family planning methods available that are effective (or not effective) for family planning. These include the following:

1) Progesterone-only Pill – aka the “minipill”, or “POP”. Does not contain estrogen. Very prone to failure, as it is a tiny dose of progesterone that must be taken at the *exact* time every day. (Estrogen pills should be taken at the exact time every day, but they are *slightly* more forgiving of slight discrepancies in the time one takes them.)

2) IUDs. There is the copper IUD and the Mirena IUD. The copper IUD has no hormones. The Mirena IUD has progesterone which is released “locally” (although really, everything *does* circulate, but it is said to release a very very low concentration of progesterone). Both are extremely effective. The copper IUD tends not to affect periods/blood flow and the Mirena IUD tends to lighten or eliminate periods.

Once they are removed, they convey no protection against pregnancy.

I had a Mirena for almost 2 years. It was good. It stopped my periods, which was the goal. Unlike a lot of women who have it, I really had no other side effects and I thought it was fine.

3) Barrier methods: condoms, female condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps. All of which have varying rates of efficacy (the diaphragm and cervical cap being among the worst because they can slip, and the woman has no idea that it has slipped, followed closely by the female condom). (I don’t know why the female condom sucks. I’ve never used one, and they are very expensive compared to male condoms. According to this article, they are difficult to place, which probably means they aren’t used properly in practice.)

The male and female condoms are the only birth control methods that can protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

4) Abstinence. I love how this is mentioned in every birth control efficacy chart. Of COURSE this is 100% effective…until it is no longer the game plan. Remember that line from Anchorman? “They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works all the time.”

Ha. I crack myself up.

5) Other hormone-containing things, like the Patch or the Ring.

I tried the Ring. I hated it. It fell out constantly. But it has its enthusiastic fans, too.

6) More hormone-containing things, like the Shot (Depo-Provera). Has only progesterone, given by injection every three months.

This freaks me out because it is something circulating in the body for 3 months. What if you hate it? You can’t clear it out of your system, and you have to wait for 3 months! However, it is a good option for people who can’t remember to take the Pill, or people who can’t take estrogen.

7) Natural family planning methods. AKA: Non-hormonal, non-invasive methods.

And here we get on a soap box.

The options:

1. The pull-out-and-pray method (aka coitus interruptus). Does this require further explanation? Issue: Sometimes there are spermies in the pre-ejaculate. The part that escapes prior to the guy knowing to pull out.

2. Rhythm/calendar method: Where a woman starts counting her cycle days from the first day of menstruation, to day 14, when she assumes she ovulates, avoids around that time, and assumes she is safe the rest of the month.

This just doesn’t make sense.  All women are different.  Their cycle lengths are different, their bodies are different, and very few women actually ovulate on the 14th day of their not-likely-to-be-28-day cycle.

3. Natural family planning (NFP)/Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). (Yes, I am lumping the two together for purposes of this post. I’m sorry to anyone I offend.) Differentiated by the fact that FAM users employ backup methods, like condoms, during fertile phases of the woman’s cycle. NFP traditionally employs abstinence during these times.

Birth control method charts make this method of family planning look foolish, which only contributes to the types of jokes circulating in doctor’s offices. The number of health-care professionals I have had to explain this method to is appalling…friends of mine who use the calendar method, the pull-and-pray method, who think that we are insane for planning the way we did for the time that we did it. So here I go: my plug.

It is my opinion that every woman on this planet should have access to this information.

It is NOT my opinion that every woman/couple on this planet should employ this method of birth control for a billion reasons:

1) It takes planning, awareness, preparation, and, at times, restraint. The fertile phases of a women’s cycle also tend to be the most sexually arousing. Couples prone to spontaneous unprotected sex would be very, very poor matches for this method of birth control.

2) It requires that the woman read a lengthy book and understand what is going on in her body.

3) It requires that the woman consistently check her temperature and interact with her body in ways that may be uncomfortable for her.

4) It requires that the couple be on the same page in terms of protecting/avoiding during fertile periods (if avoiding). This is *not* always the case in many relationships. It is the sad reality that many sexual relationships are not characterized by negotiation, understanding, and love, and in those relationships, where the woman cannot guarantee that she will always be able to avoid/protect during fertile periods, this method is not appropriate.

That being said, this method is extremely effective when used appropriately and correctly.

It takes into account temperature charting (basal body temperature – temperature first thing in the morning), cervical mucus, and cervical position. Those three signs, combined with a commitment to using condoms or abstaining during the fertile period, constitute a form of birth control that is more effective than almost any other method (other than abstinence entirely, IUDs, or permanent sterilization).

We used this method exclusively for two years of avoiding. We didn’t get pregnant during those two years, but I wasn’t sure if it was because I was infertile or because the method was effective. (Then I had the Mirena IUD placed to reduce my menstrual flow because I was getting too anemic.) When we started trying, we achieved pregnancy on the first full cycle of trying.

That is not to say that everyone using this method will find that it works well when TTC. But it *will* help a woman determine the length of her luteal phase (a critical factor in a successful pregnancy), whether she is ovulating, or whether there might be some other underlying factor in the inability to conceive. It will help a fertility specialist in trying to help a couple who seek to become pregnant.

I will also say that DB and I practice this method in the *most* conservative way: we use a condom/avoid on the days that I know I am fertile and/or THINK that I MIGHT be fertile. I think this has contributed to our success for those two years and again in the last 4 months, when avoiding pregnancy has been critical (due to the type of pregnancy loss we had).

This book changed our (my husband and I) lives for the better:

And apparently, 1000 women agree with me (see reviews for the book on Amazon!).

It is long, and it is comprehensive, but it is absolutely the best book on women’s bodies, fertility, and practicing reliable birth control without pills or implants or medical intervention. It is also a great book for learning about conception. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I believe that *everyone* should have a copy, even if the Pill is the best option for them.

So here is my point:

If you look at that article I linked to, above, and look at the efficacy rates of any of these methods, they all seem scary, with the exception of the permanent/fixture-type (IUD) methods.

However, this method is different in that its efficacy rate is based upon reading natural signs/symptoms of the body, understanding them, and acting accordingly. Which means that efficacy rates will take into account all of the issues noted above (women unable/unwilling to chart effectively, unable to negotiate terms with partner, unable to abstain/protect at fertile times).

Which means that the data – as is the data with almost any BC method (ie, the columns for “perfect” versus “typical” use) is skewed. Couples using a condom every time but the one time she is fertile screw up the statistics. Couples who are on the Pill except for the two days she forgets it screw up the statistics.

In short, they are all prone to failure. And they are all prone to not-failure. It depends on the user’s level of commitment to the method.

And, a word on God and His will for people getting pregnant:

We all know of the couple that got pregnant using this method. Our friends did. Our friends friends did. No question, it happens.

But if you ask them, honestly, if they knew the possibility existed when they conceived that child? I would guess that the vast majority would say yes (although you’d have to be a close friend to ask!!) Our friends said that they were pretty sure they wanted a child, and they just “kind of stopped paying attention”.

OF COURSE one runs the risk of getting pregnant with this method if they “stop paying attention”!

And this also means – if you get pregnant, it is not because “God wanted you to have a baby!” No. With the number of infertile couples out there, I do not believe that God has any personal desire for one couple to easily get pregnant and another couple to struggle for years. I’ve talked about this (probably ad nauseum) before.

No, God created women’s bodies to be able to carry a child and God created men’s bodies to be able to father a child. But God wants us to be smart about what we know, too. Getting pregnant because the couple was not paying attention is not necessarily God’s will for their family’s growth. That is people having sex at the appropriate point in the woman’s cycle, resulting in a fertilization event that will ultimately become a baby.

But can we say that it is God’s will that adoptive mothers relinquish their child? That it is God’s will that a child suffer abuse, or trauma, the family they were born into? That it is God’s will that a pregnancy ends tragically in a loss?


Stepping off of soapbox now…

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This morning we had our second doctor’s appointment, at 13 weeks 1 day.

The nurse-practitioner student tried using the doppler, and we were really excited because we might get to hear the heartbeat.

All we could hear was my heartbeat.

So they cheerfully dragged in the ultrasound machine, saying, “when the babies are so little, sometimes pushing on the tummy makes them run away.”

On the ultrasound, we saw the baby, right there.

Not moving.

The heartbeat had stopped.

We went to the main fetal medicine ultrasound, to find out exactly when this happened.

Last week, they think.

The baby is pretty big.

It was just laying there, in my uterus, like a dead…little baby.

(Which, actually, it is.)

We’ve had not one single sign of miscarriage.  No bleeding.  Cervix still closed.

In fact, I am – in one of many ironies – SHOWING.  Because my uterus has really grown.

In fact, I puked three times last night – on the sidewalk, in the restaurant (and yes, this time I did the start a meal, puke, and end a meal last night – yet another irony, huh?), at home.

The placenta is certainly not dead.

They told me I have no options but to have a D&C.  The baby – the products of conception – the BABY – is too big to be naturally passed.

Too big to use misoprostol.

The D&C is tomorrow morning.  I wanted to wait, and then I realized that I would just keep feeling pregnant, even though I’m not pregnant any more.  I just have this insane placenta that keeps on sucking my blood and making me puke.

We will find out whether the baby was a boy or girl, because I want to know.  And we will – for closure, kind of like we want to know the cause of death – send our baby to pathology to find out what the hell happened.

To say that we are completely devastated is a gross understatement.

I am trying to continue to be thankful – that we had this opportunity, that we got to see something we made on an ultrasound screen, while s/he was still alive – I am trying.  Really, I am.

I am trying to praise God for this, even though it is so, so, so damn hard to do so right now.

I haven’t cried this much in…well, in a really long time.  Possibly ever.

I mean, 13 weeks.

I puked my way through THIRTEEN WEEKS.

I can’t help but feel that it is my body that killed the baby – that it was my antibodies.

That I killed my baby.

Today fucking sucks.

We covet your prayers.  Thank you.

I have a friend who conceived her child in the recovery period of a very invasive surgery to remove some fibroids. She had been told not to conceive, and she did not think it was remotely possible.  However, 8 weeks after her surgery, she missed her period, and lo and behold, and she was pregnant.

We talked at a point very early in my pregnancy (she has since given birth to a healthy baby) and marveled at the amazingness that is God’s work in creating babies.  I told her that I didn’t think this one would make it very long, that I considered it pretty much a ticking time bomb before my body rejected the new life inside it.  And my friend said – and I will never forget this – “the will to live is just so strong, Rachel.  Never stop believing in the power of the will to live.  These little babies – life wants to live.”

Now, she can say that, because her baby made it in a stitched-up uterus (and I mean, barely stitched up – they conceived 6 weeks to the day of the surgery).  So far, I can say that, although we have a long, long, long road ahead of us.  For other families, though, I cannot say that – it’s not that the will to live was any less, but the circumstances were just not right.  Something interfered with that will to live – chromosomes, or exposures, or a million other things.  But to think of the many, many pregnancies that continue despite horrific odds is quite daunting.

I think about this a whole lot, especially in the recent weeks, when we had the appointment to discuss the fetal ECGs we will have (because my body makes antibodies that cause congenital heart block) and then, a week later, my bio professor, discussing the various nuances of heartbeats and such, flashed up an ECG of a second-degree heart block.

The kind that my poor kid might have.

The kind that, actually, is desirable, compared with 3rd-degree heartblock, which would be fatal.

The kind that will certainly challenge whatever will to live our kid seems to have.

(I started to cry in the middle of the lecture.)

(Thank you, God, that there are literally 200 people in the lecture hall.)

We will start our fetal ECGs on April 9th.  We are praying for a healthy heart in the meantime.  (Don’t you like how I pepper my random prayers in these posts?  For 32 weeks, and for a healthy heart….?)

Fast forward to today:  there is just SO MUCH dust in our house that I decided to escape to a coffee shop to study (obviously going very well, thankyouverymuch…I’m working on it) and in an effort to get a TINY bit smarter, got some tea.  Some caffeinated tea.  Mostly because I know that I am fully incapable of drinking an entire cup of tea, so the max caffeine going in would be minimal, and it *might* make me smarter.  Maybe.

Anyway, I’m sipping my tea, thinking how awesome I am for drinking an entire HALF CUP of tea (really, I suck at drinking hot drinks – I usually use them to smell something yummy and warm my hands) when I decided to maybe check out the ingredient list on the type of tea I selected.

People, I am an idiot.

The tea has CLOVES in it.  That is really bad!  Cloves are really bad!

I mean, I didn’t KNOW that ahead of time, but seriously?  Seriously?!?  I am a reasonably intelligent, educated person, and who the HELL drinks TEA without checking the ingredients against a big huge internet database of What Not To Ingest?!?

The only saving grace I can think of is that I didn’t drink much of it, and really, it’s not MUCH in there – probably not even as much as what might be in some apple pie (right? Please tell me that’s right).

But still.

I mean, I’ve been having Braxton-Hicks contractions already (!!) and I don’t really need to encourage things in that area…

But then I think about the kids I used to work with – I used to work in a prenatal cocaine study.  I was blinded to the kids’ exposure status, but half the sample was exposed to cocaine, cigarette smoke, some alcohol, some marijuana (actually, the MJ made the kids smarter – no kidding) (there are probably some confounders in that particular finding, so this would really not be a suggestion to go out and hit up some weed) – anyway, the point being, the kids were exposed to a LOT.

And they were, for the most part, perfectly HEALTHY.

The will to live.

I am really, really, counting on it.

Damn cloves.

Thank you, everyone, for your helpful comments!  So Operation Bare Feet/Safe Crawl is underway.  We are ripping up the kitchen floor (not pine, just really crappy wood that has only been there for a few years and is disgusting) and the hallway (pine, but beyond repair – we’ve known we had to replace that for a while and there is no way around it) and replacing it, and then refinishing the pine in the living room and guest bedroom – IF we can manage it with the old, dry wood.  The new wood is, thankfully, a good approximation for the pine, so there SHOULD be a good overlay between the two (although one is hard, and difficult to scratch, and the pine is easy easy easy to scratch…oh well).

I’ll take some before and after pics so you can tell me if we made a good decision.  Right now the place is a disaster area with wood/our kitchen stuff/etc everywhere.  🙂

Our poor cat is locked up in the closet (the future baby’s room…yes, our closet – do you think we’ll scar the kid for life?) and Little is off at the kennel.  Apparently he was SUPER psyched to be spending the weekend there.  Sniff.  I guess we rank below the sketchy dude at the kennel.

And…last night we went to a church extravaganza to celebrate our church’s very old birthday (we go to a very historic church, and it’s been around through the Civil War and other such exciting times…)  I was debating between squeezing into a dress versus wearing jeans, a Bella band, and DB’s sweater.  To the cocktail-style dinner.

I managed to pull off something else.  I think it was okay…

With the help of Spanx.  Which, honestly, is a post in and of itself.  Suffice it to say:  even the tightest, most restrictive of Spanx cannot squish what nature is determined to display, even at a painfully early week of pregnancy.

How many people do you think will ask me if it’s twins before next week, when I can confirm (for the THIRD TIME) that it is really, seriously, truly, only ONE lime-sized baby?!?  So far, the count is three.  THREE ballsy people who have suggested that I am growing multiple humans*!  Without any evidence other than my expanding gut!


*If this really WERE me, I would be STOKED.  But since it isn’t, I am mildly offended.

So we have a long way to go here, people.

(By the way:  thank you for your helpful naming comments.  I am so glad we have 5-6 months – Lord willing – to figure this out.  We are praying for at least 32 weeks.  You can join us if you want!)

By “long way”, I mean, “my husband has a long way”, meaning, he is going to have to LEARN some TACT!

So we all know that I am now the proud (or somewhat alarmed) owner of a beer gut.  Like a full-on, Homer-Simpson-style, I-ate-many-many-many-donuts-and-beer, BEER GUT.  It does not matter that I snack on grapes and apples.  It does not matter that I eat like 80 snacks/day in tiny proportions of food (which I do, mostly because I puke with any other formulation of food).  Still, the gut expands.

And expands.

Yesterday, my fat jeans – FAT JEANS – did not fit.

And so I am now best friends with a Bella band.

And yes, I know, it is early, and you know what?  I think it is because I started this process at a buck-five, and I am short ANYway, and so where’s the extra stuff to go?

Apparently in the Homer-Simpson-style midsection.  In a direction that would appear to be perpendicular to my body.

So I am a little perturbed by the whole thing, mostly because I really thought I’d have another 3-5 weeks for this all to hit the fan (plus:  see previous posts on needing to interview at a job – I am so hitting up the spanx – the baby will be okay for a few hours in spanx, right?  Please say yes), and I do have a history of some body-image issues, and, well, honestly, what woman DOESN’T get a little bit alarmed by the growing expanse of the waistline she previously fought a hard battle to control?

OK, moving on.

So every night, I whip out my big ol’ belly (which I realize is only going to get bigger from here – ok, Em, don’t hate me – I am getting used to this, and I am a wuss) and say, to DB, “LOOK!  IT’S GETTING HUGE!” – to which he calmly responds, “No, honey, it’s not.  You’re PREGNANT!  It’s NORMAL!” – because he thinks that will make me feel good.

As if I didn’t know that about myself.

He is so wrong.

See, I would like some validation that I am getting massive, and this whole passive-aggressive, “you’re pregnant!” thing is just not cutting it.  Right?  Right.  As in, could you please validate my beer gut?  Just say, “Yes, honey, it looks like you are turning into a whale” or something?!?

Scroll forward to last night.

I am not the world’s most awesome laundry-keeper-upper these days, so I ran out of PJs, and I pulled out this nightgown (I really hate nightgowns – I hate the way they ride up and tangle up and therefore rarely wear them) made out of t-shirt material.  I look in the mirror, sort of pathetically, like, “Oh, I hate that I must wear a nightgown”.  That was really ALL I WAS THINKING.

DB is already in bed, trying to convince me to hurry up the getting-into-bed-process, and says, “Hon, it’s FINE – it hides IT pretty well.”


It hides IT?

It hides WHAT?

He instantly regrets this choice of words.

“It – I mean – nothing!  It’s nothing!  Just come to bed,” he pleaded.


What, praytell, honey, dear husband, is IT?

And what do I need to HIDE?!?

OMG, this is *so not* going to go well for him the next 6 months.  Becuase “IT” is only going to get more gargantuan with time.


He eventually, under some physical coercion from his darling, KNOCKED UP BY HIM, wife, weakly, helpfully, said, “Your bump?”


We have a lot of work to do, huh.

~12 weeks today

So I have thought this for a long time, and behold! it is 11:00, and I should really have been doing physics homework by now (if you are not getting the picture that physics is the bain of my existance, it IS), but instead!  I have been searching for baby names.  Obviously very VERY important, at 12 weeks gestation, to look for baby names.

(Yes, we will be finding out the sex.  So-and-so found out the sex ALREADY and SHE is only ONE WEEK ahead of me – UGH THE COMPETITION – because she did the nuchal translucency scan, which is high resolution, and we are OLD SCHOOL and not doing such screening things, so alas – we must wait.  For 6 more weeks.

Is this what parenthood is like?  Competing already?!?)

OK – so anyway – baby names.

I have, in my head, many baby names that I like.  (Is this where I share them now?)  Except that they each have a problem with them, and so I am hoping that you all will NOT SKIP THIS POST, and help me, because you all – even those of you who are not yet parents – are BETTER at the name game than I.

OK, behold the list:

(Also, I am sharing because this is DB’s LEAST FAVORITE GAME and I want to talk about it!  So there!  He keeps suggesting one name, and I keep nixing that one name, and it is getting OLD OLD OLD, people.)

Actually, I should say:

Here are my stipulations.

1)  Name must be able to be shortened.  Like I should be able to shorten it, add a cheesy “-y” to the end when child is an infant, or still growing in my tummy, and it should not sound stupid.

1b)  It cannot end in -y already.  Or -ie.

2)  Along with that, name must be able to sound adult and mature when child is not a child anymore.  This is CRITICAL.

3)  Name is preferably not super popular.  However, you will notice that I breech this rule pretty much constantly.

4)  Name must not end with -er because our name ends with -er and it will sound like we have a gutteral issue.

5)  Name must go well with “Lorin” or “Lauren” in the middle, since we are using that as the child’s SECOND middle name.  Probably.  Name of deceased relative.  Cannot go into that any further.

6)  Yes, child will have three names.  Anyone have a problem with this other than DB?  He thinks it’s ridiculous.  I think it is perfectly fine.

7)  Name cannot be a name that someone who is due ahead of me is using.  This creates an issue.  So if you are pregnant and you know me well, could you please, um, share your name so I we don’t use it?  I don’t want to be a brat and take your name accidentally because I’m doing this too early.  K, thanks.

ETA:  Also, nothing that is the name of an alcoholic beverage (like “Jamison”).  And nothing from pop culture, like “Silas” (from Da Vinci code) or “Isabella” (Twilight) or…etc. Although there are about 15 names that I love that got eliminated that way.

Apparently I have a lot of rules.

And now, here are my names, with their issues:

Girl names:

1)  Emma – I love this name.  I have loved this name for forEVER and now it is POPULAR and I am TOTALLY ANNOYED.

Also, DB was in a bar once and there was a woman with big boobs there, and some random dude yelled to her, “EMMA!” and caused him to forever wonder if Emma was somehow related to well-endowed women.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Internet research has proven totally useless on this matter.

2)  Grace:  I love this name, too, and it totally violates rule #1, but you can still make it cute (ie, “Gracie”). I believe it also violates rule #3.

However, Grace was the name of a dog that I loved.  I’m actually okay with this, because it was the name of the dog that made me want to get Little – Grace was another Giant Schnauzer – but still.  A dog. (*see below for rant on people naming their dogs.)

3)  Katelyn:  I do love this name.  DB hates it.  I’m working on him.

4)  Rebecca.  I just like it.

I’m out now.  I know, I know, I totally suck.  Please suggest some other names.  There may be others I was thinking about yesterday, but I’ve forgotten them now.  I have a major sieve-brain problem these days.


I seem to have more of these.

1)  Jacob:  I love this name.  A lot. See breech of #3.  Again.

HOWEVER, our friends named their dog Jake, and this has apparently ruined this name for our child forever.  THIS IS SO ANNOYING.  (We are not the hugest fan of dog Jake, which is really the issue between Grace and Jake.)  UGH!

2)  Micah: Although perhaps a cliche, I think Micah 6:8 is one of the best verses in the Bible.

Although:  more edit:  I texted DB with this name just now, and he wrote back, “It is also a good nickname for our kitchen counter.”

He is a funny one, that D.  Grrr.

3)  Isaac.  I think another breech of rule #3.

4)  Isaiah.  breech, again.  Perhaps there should not be a rule #3.

That might be it for that, too.

So here, let me rant a little bit on animal names, here:

I actually know a lot of you have breeched this particular beef, and don’t worry – I am not *really* upset, but hear me out:

We named our animals “Little” (for our massive dog) and “Chomper” (for our mean-spirited, but beloved cat).

There is not a soul on this Earth who would ever dream of naming a child either of those names.

When people name their animals people names, and I happen to LIKE the people name for my future children, it DRIVES. ME. INSANE.

Mostly because then it is ruined forever.

Because our child will think s/he is named after an animal.

When really, really, really, it was just a coinky-dink.

So please, I impore you, think of the children when you name your pet.  Really!  There are great names out there!  You can even be funny!  Or creative!  And it doesn’t mean you love your pet less to name it a non-human name!

That is my little sidebar.

Now…who is going to help me?  Please?  Please?  And also, don’t hate my names.  I know they are not unique.  I like unique names, so if you have unique suggestions, please please PLEASE throw them out there.

P.S.  I could care less if you use my names.  So consider that plea – the plea to share with me – only for your *own* protection, because I frankly do not care whatsoever if someone uses the same name we do.  However, I recognize that not everyone feels this way…

So I did the whole pee-in-a-cup thing, and convinced myself that, indeed, this is a UTI.  Which I’ve had before, many, many, many times.  Ok, not many MANY times, but enough to know that this is, indeed, a UTI*.

I was going to assume here that everyone reading has had the joy of a UTI, but then I realized this is maybe an unfair assumption, because DB’s grandma had her very first one a few years ago at the ripe old age of 89 (I am sure she would be so tickled to know that I just wrote that), so if you haven’t had one, here is a description for you:

Take some razor blades

Drink them

Then pee them out.

Ok, now we can move on.

So I pee in the cup, walk out, and say, politely, of course, “When should I hear back?”

The answer:  “You can call tomorrow around lunchtime.”

My follow-up:  “And they will have cultured the sample by that point?” – knowing FULL WELL IT IS GOING TO SIT ON A LEDGE UNTIL SOMEONE CAN GET TO IT FOR THE NEXT THREE HOURS.

Their response:  “Oh, no, the culture will take 3 days.  But you can know if you have an infection in 24 hours.”

(Which I don’t need them to tell me.  Check check, Ranger Dogs.  Thanks for the FYI.)

OK, now let me rant a little bit here.  Because I am peeing something like sharp little diamond shards, and I am knocked up, and I am frankly not thrilled.

About a year and a half ago, I got (another) UTI.  This one was actually a lot worse.  I was peeing straight blood, and I was a little freaked out by it (I mean, STRAIGHT BLOOD.  EW) and ended up – because I was going to have to wait for 24 hours to pee in a cup in a doctor’s office, and hel-lo, I am peeing blood, and also? I had a final the next day – in the ER.  Where they also cultured the pee-blood, or they tried to, and they couldn’t get a quick test on it (because it was STRAIGHT BLOOD – I asked why they even bothered, and they agreed with me), so they gave me a prescription for Cipro** and I went on my merry way.

Except it wasn’t all that rosy.  I took the Cipro, valiantly, expecting greatness in 24 hours.

Oh, no.  I was still peeing blood.

So I call the ER, to find out what the sensitivities of the pee-blood were.  You know, because the Cipro appeared to be a shitty solution for said problem. Response from one of the best ERs in the country:  We don’t have the report yet.

???  Seriously?!?!?

In the time that passed, I developed a kidney infection. By the time I was able to find out the sensitivities and take the appropriate medicine (the bug was one I contracted in Cambodia, and was therefore resistant to every oral medication available), I was one sick chiquita, and I had already created this super beast of a bacteria in my very necessary urinary tract (and beyond).

I learned my lesson:  never, ever, ever, ever EVER take medicine without a sensitivity report.

Especially on something that is so simple to test, like PEE.

So now we have this new situation:  I have yet another UTI (yippee), and not only do I not want to take medicine that will create a super-bug, I also do not want to take UNNECESSARY medicine because my resident alien baby is in his/her last week of organ development this week, and DAMN if I am going to take a bajillion antibiotics.

So I will suffer.

For apparently three days.

If I were not the daughter-in-law of a very obsessed microbiologist, I would actually not think this was a big deal.  I would grin and bear it.  I would say, “Well, we want to be VERY SURE about the sensitivities.  It takes THREE DAYS to grow a culture.”

Except, I am here to tell you:  no, no, no, it does not.

It takes 24 hours.

And the other two days are simply administrative days.

So I am in a really really REALLY bad mood.  Mostly because I am in pain, and I am going to be peeing every 30 seconds for the next three days, and also? because I may develop a kidney infection with my stellar immune system, in the three days that it will take them to get off their asses and culture my (gorgeous) pee, but ALSO! Because I have a LITTLE HUMAN! inside me, and I WILL BE DAMNED if this impending doom of a kidney infection threatens his/her existence!


And I refuse to take a drug unless it is tested first.


P.S.  This hospital is one of the top 20 in the country.  Yes, be impressed.  The rankings clearly come from something OTHER THAN PATIENT CARE.

*Unfortunately, I did not get this UTI the way your imagination is probably thinking.  Sorry to burst your bubble.  I know I am a little sad I wasted a UTI with nothing fun preceding it.

**I am allergic to sulfa drugs, which they usually give people for UTIs.  So Cipro is usually an adequate substitute.

Ours was kind of uneventful and unproductive.  Case in point:  I am waiting for a laundry load to dry on Monday  morning, because it didn’t get done over the weekend.  The laundry is critical for the rest of my week because it contains my only bra (stupid boobs), my only two pairs of jeans (stupid tummy), and my only shirts (although I did end up buying a few larger ones yesterday, because getting dressed in the morning and deciding on DB’s massive sweaters every day is getting a little…old?  Can I say that?  Although very very comfy….)

Last week I decided to look somewhat fashionable, and pulled out a blazer and a cute (form-fitting) sweater.  And walked out the door.

And promptly lost some blood circulation, because it was REALLY FREAKING TIGHT.

So then I caught a glance of myself walking by the mirror, and almost died in horror.  Yes.  That was me.  About two of me, actually.

It’s back to DB’s sweaters and my fat jeans.  Oh, and the Bella Banded jeans.  I tried that yesterday and it wasn’t terrible.  It sure doesn’t contain the bump, which is a real bump now, not bloat, but it held up the jeans okay.

(Side note:  I went into Mimi Maternity last night, in the mall.  HOLY MOLY!!!!!  I love love love this stupid shirt they have in their window, and it had some cute jeans with it, and I just casually went in to see how much the cute shirt with the cute jeans might cost – $68 for the SHIRT?  $118 for the jeans?  These are clothes I will wear for a minute, people!)



So in the second installment of Monday Morning’s Boring Post, I have a question for those of you who have been pregnant before:  water retention?  Specifically peeing, and being hydrated, but basically being unable to pee all that much?  Yes, it is an awesome question for the internets.  I am waiting for the doctor’s office to call back, because I think it is probably not an awesome sign to want to pee, and pee clear, but not pee that much.

I would be more concerned if my ankles or hands were swollen, or something, but they’re not.

So I have a question – where the hell is that water going?!?

Anyway, pray that this is a boring UTI or something…that would be so nice. Or that it’s normal.  Is it normal?

I CONSIDERED going to the ER on Saturday night to investigate this, BUT! had eaten some extremely salty popcorn that night and thought perhaps (?? I have amazing rationalization powers) that was it.  BUT!  No.  I also thought about paging the on-call physician, BUT! it was 2 am by the time I began to get concerned, AND! salty popcorn?

So I called this morning.  I am a very kind patient.

(**UPDATE:  Doctor’s office called back and I get to go pee in a cup in their office when…the laundry load finishes.  I have given them a whole ton of my pee these days!!**)


Speaking of salty popcorn, DB and I went to see “Taken” with another couple on Saturday.

**Spoiler alert** – if you are not a spoiler person, don’t read below.  Although seriously, the movie is insanely predictable.

We could NOT stop laughing at the part where the dad finds his daughter and slaughters the sheik.  I mean, seriously?  I think everyone around us was horrified, but SERIOUSLY!  Plus, DB and I have this conversation often, usually when watching ridiculous cop-and-negotiator movies:

Me:  If someone held a (knife/gun/torch) to my head, and dragged me out in front of you, would you shoot them in the head like that dude just did?

Him:  NO.  That is the dumbest thing you could ever do.

Me:  You mean you don’t love me?

Him:  NO!  I don’t want to shoot you!

And he is a pretty good shot.

So when the guy did that, after already killing about half the population of Paris, undeterred, we. cracked. up.

Anyway, we thought the movie was dumb, but it was a good distraction.  It was also not that scary, in case you were curious.  I thought it would be terrifying.

I was wrong.

So…that was our weekend.  How was yours?

Adapted for my own selfish uses, 1 Samuel 27.

Recently it has come to my attention that in the midst of the complaints and funny stories about vomiting, and hot dogs, and late-night peeing, I’ve perhaps misrepresented the journey to parenthood for us – how we’ve gotten here, how it wasn’t a walk in the park, and how, above all, we feel truly, deeply, and completely undeservedly, blessed.

(This is a really, really long post.  It gets really personal.  If you only read one thing on this blog, you should understand this.)

There is simply no easy way to become a parent.  There are harder ways, and more expensive ways, and faster ways, and slower ways, and there are ways that are marked with more trials than others, but at the end, with *any* method of growing a family, there is loss, there is pain, there is suffering, and there is expense.  If children could simply fall out of the sky, there could be a painless way to grow a family.  But there simply, simply, is not.

I think about this literally all of the time.  Literally.  I think about how incredibly blessed we are, that we are able to start this process with a natural conception (because it is, perhaps, the easiest of the three routes here – not easy) – because we surely did not expect it.  We feel very blessed.  We feel very fortunate.  And we are very, very, very acutely aware that there are thousands – millions – of families that are not so fortunate. Perhaps we will not be so fortunate to have a living child at the end – we are not so foolish to think that the next 6 months will be smooth sailing – but we feel very, very, very blessed to have gotten this far.

For us, adoption and natural conception were two equally acceptable ways of growing a family.  We were very open to either option.  For us, and I want this to be clear – for OUR situation, for US – assisted reproduction techniques were never an option.

That doesn’t mean I see children who are added to our family through biology and through adoption as exactly the same.  I don’t.  I used to, and perhaps this is part of my own growth that I have come to see them as different, but the two – adopted and biological – are simply not the same.  With a biological child, I will need to answer to them why Mommy and Daddy risked what we knew about our genes to create them – and I will have the (uncomfortable, perhaps) answers.  I will know every step of this child’s existence intimately.  The child will have the experience – I do not know if this is a gift – of not being questioned every day we are in public.  And when we announced that we were pregnant to our families, this child will have had the benefit – and of this, I am very sure – the benefit of everyone knowing *just* how to react.  “OH, how wonderful!” – they have said.

For our adopted child, we will not have the gift of information.  For sure, we will need to be able to look him or her (sticking with him from here out for brevity) in the eye and be able to say, without a flicker of hesitation, that we did *everything* we could to ensure that his biological mother and father wanted him to live with us, Rachel and DB, here, in America.  Perhaps we will have an open adoption – that we hope very much – so that we can help with those answers.  But I am cautious, even now, about how this child will be received in our family, and how we can maintain birth order when we want to adopt so close together.  I am cautious because we started with adoption, and when we announced that, there was excitement, but there was not the same excitement.  I am cautious because I’ve read an email from one of our family members to a friend of mine who is an adoptive parent, and it was something that I shuddered with horror reading.

How can I protect my child from *those* attitudes?  How can I ensure that my children see themselves as siblings, as equal in our love and equally protected by their parents?

So no, they are not equivalent.  As I said, we see these options as equally palatable (bad word, sorry) in growing our family, but I see them each as presenting their own challenges.  Perhaps as we actually become parents, my anxieties about all of it will dissipate.

Perhaps.  Although knowing myself, it is doubtful.

No, what I really wanted to write about was that we truly – truly, truly – feel deeply blessed.  This is something I wrote in a protected post, but I am not sure who actually read it.  So here it is, in an unprotected (for the next few weeks) post:

For most of my life, I did not think it was possible for me to bear biological children.

In college, I was told that I had some antibodies that recognized my own tissue as hostile, and created cardiac problems in an unborn infant (this is still true).

In graduate school, I was told – by a student health radiologist, no less – that my uterus was heart-shaped, possibly had a septum, and was not capable of supporting a conceived life, without invasive reconstructive surgery (this turned out not to be true).

Following that, my student health OB/GYN told me that there is no way she would recommend a conception, given the risks of any potential pregnancy (this turned out to be questionably valuable advice).

The summer after I graduated from graduate school, I went to Vietnam, and as part of my work with the UN, visited an orphanage outside of Da Nang.

I fell in love with a child there.  He was a child that had a father who couldn’t afford to keep him at home, but visited him often, so he was not freed for international adoption – but he stole my heart. I think he was 8.  Or 10.

He definitely wasn’t an infant.  And he definitely, definitely, definitely needed a mommy or a daddy that lived with him all the time.  He was 8, or 10, but he was young.

Did I mention how he stole my heart?

A few months later, I moved to this city.  That fall, when I was hemorrhaging so heavily that we considered going to the ER, even without adequate health insurance to cover it – I was advised – ON THE PHONE, no less – to get a hysterectomy.  By a male GYN.

About a year later, I found out that I had adenomyosis, which are tumor-like growths in the lining of my uterus.  (Similar to endometriosis, but the growths stay in the lining of the uterus.)  The only proven treatment for this is a hysterectomy, and finally, finally, finally, I cried.

And cried.

And cried.

Because it wasn’t that I wanted so much to become pregnant.  I had already started the process of researching adoption agencies.  (It was also in this period that we realized our significant autism risk, which simply compounded our belief that we were called to adopt.)

It wasn’t even that I planned to become pregnant.  When we started dating, I told DB about my antibodies, and my apparently defective uterus, and he simply said, “I don’t love you for your uterus.  I love you for YOU”.

I do really love my husband.

But for some reason, the latest nail in the coffin – the adenomyosis, plus the antibodies that had only increased in strength (and therefore clinical relevance) – crushed me.  Perhaps it was the growing realization that I was a graduate student, in growing amounts of student debt, and my husband worked for the government, and there was no possible way for us to reasonably afford an adoption and successfully raise the child.

I felt like there was really no way out.  That we would remain childless forever.  Perhaps I was overly dramatic (and obviously, hindsight is showing that I was) but that was how I felt at that time.

I struggled.  Friends (upon friends, upon friends) became pregnant, easily, and gave birth to healthy babies.  Other friends had friends who “just adopted from [fill in the blank rogue country – Guatemala, whatever], and *they* are so happy – why don’t YOU do that?!?” – and I just wanted to avoid everyone.  I was tired of the questions, “When are YOU having kids?!?”

Healthy?  No.  But with every cute baby face, and every cute baby belly, I was sinking.  And sinking. It became really hard for me to celebrate other people’s joy.

I had a friend whose pregnancy was accidental, and she was devastated.  Up until the birth of her child, she was trying to figure out how she could possibly love this child.

It took everything I had to be able to relate.  I really couldn’t relate.  I really wanted to say, “Hey!  Wake UP!  There are lots of us that would KILL for a baby! Any baby!  Pick yourself up!  Get happy!  What the hell is your problem?!?!?”  (I didn’t.  Don’t worry.  And she is now very bonded to her child after a tough road.)

It was during this time that we started our bid to adopt from Vietnam, and then realized that what had happened in the last shutdown was still happening, and we took a step back.  That part has been amply documented on this blog.

We had a doctor who suggested that a Mirena IUD would thin the lining of my uterus, strip the adenomyosis, and hopefully staunch the excessive flow of blood (that was causing me to be extremely anemic and need blood transfusions and iron infusions that I turned out to be allergic to).  We never intended to use this as a way to be able to conceive – really, the goal was simply to avoid the need for iron infusions and prevent severe anemia and blood loss – but when adoption looked like we could not stomach moving forward, we reconsidered conceiving.

Right when we made that decision, I had a stroke-like incident, and a follow-up MRI in the ER revealed a brain lesion.

This fall was horrendous.  We were devastated.  On one hand, if it was lupus, the end-game would be psychosis and death.  Pregnancy could hasten that, and I did not think *any* agency – international or domestic – would be eager to allow us to adopt a child.

On the other hand, if it was multiple sclerosis, we might have been able to conceive, but the doors would be slammed shut to adopt.  (And I didn’t think conception was really the greatest option, given the exigent circumstances.)

After six months of intense anxiety, it turned out to be…nothing.

We removed the IUD.

We started trying to conceive immediately.

We had about a window of three months before my iron levels got too low and I would no longer be able to support a pregnancy.

If we failed after three months, I was going to have another IUD implanted – so that I could keep my iron levels as high as possible, to stay healthy to be an actual parent.  Of something other than a pet.

This entire time, I had been praying to God, fervently.  My prayer varied, but it was essentially something along the lines of, “Please, God, we want to be good parents.  Please open the doors that You want opened and close the doors that You’re going to close and comfort us through this process – please, please, please, please”.

The night we conceived Little Squirt, we prayed, again.  And this is really personal, but we did.  We prayed, fervently, “Please, God, we are open to any route you want to make us parents, but please, if you want us to be biological parents, please please grant us this child and protect him/her.”

Two weeks later, I peed on a stick and found out that I am not, actually, the type of person whose hCG fails to make that second pee stick line.

We have no idea what to make of this.  We know that the Bible says “Ask, and you shall receive”, and we both fervently believe that this is one of the most warped (by people, for their own purposes) phrases in the Bible.  We believe that we do not know what makes some prayers obviously answered and some prayers answered “later” and some, seemingly, not answered.  We do believe that God is all-knowing, all-seeing, and He uses all things for His good….but that sounds cheap, really, or just too easy – in some situations.  I know that.  It does.

We know that countless, countless couples have prayed more fervent prayers, are better Christians*, for certain better witnesses**, will be better parents*** – who have prayed these prayers, and come up with nothing – no child, no options. Who struggle, and cry, and wait, and who put money down with rogue adoption agencies or pay fees to adopt, only to have foreign governments inexplicably shut its doors to international adoption.  Who have babies make it to term, and are born still.

As I said, we have no idea about the outcome of this pregnancy and we try very hard to assume nothing, although we are hopeful.  We continue to pray and we continue to rejoice, but we continue to petition God on behalf of the thousands of other parents struggling to expand their families, too.

We feel so unworthy.

We feel like it is a miracle, and we celebrate every. single. minute. that I continue to be pregnant.

No, it is not glamorous.  Yes, I’ve puked more than some others, and yes, I’ve puked in every appliance in our house and several buckets.  But as I said, not one way of becoming a parent is devoid of pain, heartache, or loss.  And not one way of becoming a parent is any less blessed, or miraculous.

We choose to celebrate our every single minute, and we will continue to choose that path with our next child (who will be adopted) and we hope that everyone – our friends, family, and those close to us – will join us.

In celebrating, as responsibly and ethically and thoughtfully as we can.

Because there is so, so, so, so much to celebrate and wonder.

*I hate that phrase

**This phrase is better

***Of this, I have no doubt

This is going to be fast, but I want to remember all of this and so…you all get to read it.  (It is unlikely to be very interesting to any of you, though, so feel very free to skip on over this if you want.) (I will eventually PW-protect these since they will have health information in them.)

1)  Baby:  is swimming around, looking beanish and cute.  We are going to call him or her “Little Squirt” now, after my brother (who is 13 years younger than me) (yes, same parents, thanks for asking), who we called “Squirt” in utero.  Gecko baby, you’ve done well.  Congrats to graduating to a real name!

2)  Doctor:  is nice.  I was a little iffy about having an OB versus a midwife but after thinking about how much of a PITA I will be, I don’t know how I thought I was going to find a midwife.  I have lupus and what is called Sjogren’s Syndrome (look it up, it’s fun), which basically means I have no spit and can’t cry, but what it also means is that I am positive (very very positive – like I thought I could make some cash selling my antibodies before I got knocked up.  It’s some good cash!!!  I intent to revisit the idea after September) for two antibodies that cause fetal complete heart block.  CHB can be detected in utero but once it is, the baby must be treated with a pacemaker.  (I know, I rock as a mom.  I think it all the time.  This is one of my personal genetic gifts.)  The good news is that the baby will be most likely be perfectly fine (with a pacemaker if s/he has this complication) and very few infants die from this complication nowadays. (Also, the really good news is that women come from all over the country to see *this* doctor and my rheumatolgist for this problem, so it bodes very well for Little Squirt.  So yay for good medical care, again.  Cannot be overstated.)

Anyway…I also have severe anemia (see previous posts on that…the whole almost-dying thing, and the meat thing).  Basically, this all means that no midwife will *want* me, even if I really want to see that midwife.  It’s not exactly an option.  Plus, this doctor is very well-versed in when to start the fetal ECGs, how to handle them if something looks bad, how to handle kidney involvement in lupus (which I don’t have, but could), and how to differentiate a lupus flare from pre-eclampsia (clinically, they look very similar, and one indicates delivery and the other does not).

We’ll start the fetal ECGs every other week starting at 18 weeks.  Yippee!!  (What do you think that means for my job prospects?  They are dwindling, huh?!?  Obviously that is not the most important thing…but eeeeek….)

2.5)  Screening:  They were TOTALLY OKAY with not doing screening.  No questions, no raised eyebrows.  They said, “OK!” and went on their way.  I was stunned.  It was awesome.

Although now I am thinking that the NT scan would have been a fun way to see Little Squirt in more action…but it is not indicated.  So we are pretty comfortable with it.

3)  Kidneys:  I have to do a 24-urine thing, where I pee into a jug for 24 hours of my life.  I am dreading this.  I am supposed to find a “cool” place to keep it, “like a garage”.  WTH does that mean?  I live on the 2nd floor of a triple-decker.  We don’t have a garage.  And I am NOT STORING MY PEE IN THE FRIDGE.  So because I have no boundaries whatsoever, stay tuned for where we keep the jug o’ pee.  Yee-haw!

4)  Waterbirth:  is not an option, although she said they would work with us to do everything possible to eliminate the need for an epidural.  So that’s good…

5)  I was able to cross out all of the things I don’t want regarding birth plans (like no internal monitoring of the baby at delivery – if they can’t get a reading externally, get the baby out already), no med students (aka my colleagues from school – LORD HELP ME if I am in LABOR in front of people who are supposed to eventually have a professional relationship with me!!), etc.

So all in all, it was a good time.  And most importantly, the baby is HEALTHY!!!  And I gained 2 lbs (well, I’ve gained roughly 6-8 lbs since the week before Christmas, but that is chiefly due to stopping some medication that prevents me from eating enough…and the doctor was just TICKLED that I had gained those 6-8 pounds, so yay for me, I guess) (although I am struggling a bit with what is normal, having a history of some various body image problems) (but that is way beside the point) – so I gained 2 lbs, which we are all just happy about.  The bump is still there, but it is somewhat smaller, so perhaps it was just from bloat.  Which is embarassing but I am way over it.

So Little Squirt, get ready for the long haul!  You and I will be getting pretty cozy together!

And…in other news…I have two physics assignments due today, evaluating material that I haven’t studied, didn’t attend class to learn, and have absolutely no background in.  They are due in exactly 5 hours.  Go ahead, ask why I am blogging right now.

It is a good question.  The answer mainly lies in the fact that I am very very likely to forget something and I want to write it all down!

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I am sitting in this noisy, noisy, hippy-dippy coffee shop trying to study.  I seem to study better at a table surrounded by excessive noise, and this place…well, this place really fits the bill. Plus, they have these sandwiches I woke up dreaming about*, so after 4 hours of thinking about the stupid sandwich, I finally got off my butt and came to get it.

(Prior to the sandwich, I dreamed I delivered this baby today.  At 23 weeks 6 days (scroll forward about 14 weeks – anything can happen in a dream), which is about a day short of official viability, and I was distraught about whether to provide him (it was a boy, don’t ask) medical care, and I was begging the doctors to please try to save him even though we were a day short.  This dream lasted about 6 hours.  It. was. hell.

The sandwich dream was SO appreciated.)

So anyway, yes, the hippy-dippy sandwich shop.

This morning I woke up to – after the sandwich dream, of course – a MASSIVE stomach.  Hello, pop!  I am in my 10th week, which is approximately 5 weeks earlier than I anticipated.  To say that I am dismayed is an understatement. On one hand, it is kind of nice to have a reminder (a beer gut, if you will) of the reason I am so miserable. On the OTHER HAND, I am trying to GET A JOB.  I really needed those 5-6 weeks of skinny-ness I thought I had!  (Plus, I eat like a teenage boy.  This is an expensive thing, this growing-a-human.  I just paid our bills this morning, and was amused to see that we spent money on…medical bills and Rachel’s food.  I have no idea what DB ate, because it wasn’t reflected in any of our statments.  Actually, I know what he eats:  pickles.  The man eats like a stereotypical pregnant person, and I eat like a stereotypical teenage boy.)

(You might think I am exaggerating.  Really, I am not.)

I tried to suck it in.  There is no sucking.  I think the fact that I am normally pretty small (like 5″2.5′ on a REALLY AMAZING DAY) and fairly petite (I mean, I yo-yo, but I am generally what one would consider underweight) means that my stomach has nowhere to go but…out.  Plus, all that food has gotta go somewhere, right?

So…what to do?  I am slightly panicked – if only the beer gut was a little less…firm.  And round.  It would be much more convincing as a beer gut that way.  I am wearing my biggest sweater today.  It is…well, let’s put it this way.  I went to pay for the sandwich, and the guy was like, “anything else?” and I said, “Coffee….1/3 caf, 2/3 decaf”, and he LOOKED AT MY BELLY.

If that is not telling, I do not know what is.

Anyone want to hire an adorable KU chiquita?!?

Yeah, I thought so.

*I know, I know, you are thinking, Rachel, you should have thought about that BEFORE you got KU.  I realize this.  But you must understand – we were told that it would be impossible for me to get pregnant.  We weren’t really thinking it would actually…you know, HAPPEN.


P.S.  Laura gave me an award!!  Which I am going to write about tomorrow.  I have never received a blog award, and I am really, really excited about it.  So stay tuned!  I am way pumped.

Has everyone else been watching the peanut recalls from the FDA?  Holy smokes!

It almost makes me wish I had followed through on my plan to avoid all peanut products – I tried it for about a week, then needed protein.  I did the research.

I concluded that to avoid peanuts was pretty much impossible, and I would screw up too many times to make it worth it.

Anyway, HOLY COW.  I have been checking Peter Pan‘s website every few days to reconfirm that it is, in fact, made from uncontaminated peanuts (as few peanuts as there are in Peter Pan PB…I mean, c’mon, I know that it’s not the healthiest thing out there…but man, it tastes SO GOOD!) and today I checked the FDA site.


All I have to say is…WOW.

(I mean, I have other things to say, like HOW THE HELL COULD IT GET THIS BAD?!?, but WOW is the most truncated version of that.)

And because the power of suggestion is very very strong for me, I now want Keebler PB crackers.

I think I am going to ask DB to buy some cheez-its so I can make my own!


I am not taking my physics final right now, but I am studying.  Hard.  I have so much to learn.  I hate physics. (Taking a break now.)

The exam is now on Monday or Tuesday.  Thank you, God.


The obligatory stomach update – I lost 3 pounds yesterday (I was up 2 the day before, so no real worries), kept water down, went my first full night without peeing in the last many, many weeks (silver lining), and kept down some cheesecake for dinner.  Don’t ask.

I am a big believer of listening to my body, and it said cheesecake.  Which, incidentally, was the only thing that stayed down, so chalk one up for the body.

I doubled the Unisom (to the normal dose) and feel okay today.  So far, so good.

(Of course, I ate cheesecake for breakfast.  We’ll see how well it goes from here on out, since I’m now out of cheesecake.)


I have this post brewing.  Well, I have one that is peripherally on adoption and on family.  I mentioned it before, and I have been writing it in my head.  So it’s coming.  I have a lot of thoughts on it and I usually have to wait for them to sort themselves out before anything I write sounds reasonable.

The other post is funny.  Like really, really, really funny.  About the other side effects of being with child.  Now, the only reason I do not post this one is that it is totally embarrassing, but hysterically funny.  As in, I giggle thinking about it.

Maybe now that I’ve built it up, it won’t be nearly so funny.

And now…back to physics.  Sigh.

I am pretty sure I’ve used that title before.  I am also pretty sure it won’t be the last time I use it.

This is BAD, y’all.  This procrastination.  It is really, really bad right now.

I woke up this morning intent on studying.  See, I missed my physics final (yes, undergraduate physics.  No, I didn’t take it the first time around.  I had a far more varied palate of classes back then) due to intratable vomiting.  It was also on Inauguration Day, but really – I was vomiting.  Intractably.  And so I missed it.

And it just so happens that when you miss a final at this school, they have Very Strict Guidelines about how to make it up – and my makeup final is on Saturday.

You would think I would have studied by this point for a final on Saturday, right?

You know, I would think I would have studied at this point, too.

The truth is, I sat with the papers in front of me…and I stared at the computer.

I emailed people.  (Some of you received those emails.)

I would say those emails were even FUNNY at points, and one was so funny that I might actually post it.

Cause I am a funny person, sometimes.

But honestly?  I did not study.

And believe me when I say it is not because I am good at physics, because trust me – I suck at physics.

Like I redefine sucking.

(OK, not that bad, but…)

What is my problem?

Part of me thinks it is a question of motivation.  I am a little preoccupied, you know.  I eat every hour or so (today’s total?  It’s kind of funny, actually – 1.5 bagels, a lot of cream cheese and some peanut butter, a lot of grapes, two kiwis, and a bowl of pasta, and I have not had dinner yet) (and yes, HALLELUJAH!  It has all stayed down!!!  There was one close call but HEE HEE!  It’s all in me!) (The close call was with showering…damn shower).  And many, many, many of those emails were about whether gecko baby will be a girl or a boy, and obviously, THAT is Very Important to discuss at 9 weeks.


It might be a question of ambivalence.  See, if I fail this exam, I will not be able to apply to med school.  This decision will be made for me, by me, but in a totally passive way.

Not that I do not want to attend med school, but I am just…not so sure.  I have this baby growing inside me, and s/he is making me think.  A lot.

Except that how strange is it that this is happening, given that this was the PLAN?  The PLAN was to apply to med school with a CHILD.  Because there is child care on site at this particular med school, and it will take me approximately five years to complete from the time of gecko child’s birth, which, in my honest opinion, is pretty much perfect.

(Then there is residency, which gives me a stomach ache to think about, so let’s not go there.  I mean, I am going there in my head right now, and it will be a moot point if I do not do well in physics.)

So I called (in my total procrastination) a nursing school today.  Because (oh, yes, there is a because) a) I like nurses, a lot, and b) you do not need to take physics to go to nursing school.  Which is really making me happy now.

The guy was kind of a jerk (can I say that? He really really was) and made me not want to attend his nursing school.

Which is probably a good thing, because I was —-><—– that close to not taking this final!  And although I have gotten some really crappy grades before, I have never actually failed a class.

THAT would be TRAGIC.

No, I think the main problem here is that I am just battling Evil.  Satan, if you will.  (Please go with me here.)  Seriously.  I do not think God wants me to be sitting on my butt thinking about whether the ancient Chinese gender prediction chart is really accurate, and I do not think God wants me to be thinking about whether I should be going to med school in two years (although that guy?  That Christian parenting guy?  He would like me to think that God does not want me to go to med school…).  Perhaps that is true – God really has an opinion about this – but frankly, I do not believe God has an opinion about this, similar to the way I decided that God really did not have an opinion about whether I went to one graduate school or another for my Ph.D., or whether I eat grapes or chocolate cake for dinner.

At least, my God does not really care that much about these things.

My God cares about whether I believe in Him.  Whether I am a good witness to His gospel. Whether I glorify Him in the things that I do, in the things that I say, in the ways I interact with people on the street and with my husband and with my dog and my cat.  In the ways that I care for my body, now that there is a raspberry-sized life inside.  I mean, I fail…a LOT.  But I try.  And I think that’s what Jesus cares about.

I know this is really foreign to a lot of you.  It is my prayer that this does not sound nearly as insane to you as it might have sounded to me many years ago, and you are WELCOME to email me if you would like to talk about this.  (Although I might take until Saturday afternoon to write you back.)

I read on someone’s facebook list of 25 things (I LOVE those things, by the way – if those were physics I would be getting 100%)(but you should really click on that link, because it is a really funny article from Time) a statement that really made me think.  She wrote (and I am not going to list who it is), “Jesus did not die on the cross so that I could procrastinate my life away.” (Or something to that effect.  I am doing a good job and not actually GOING BACK TO FACEBOOK so I am going to have to paraphrase.)

Now, that is an interesting way of putting it.

Because do I really think Jesus died on the cross so that I could take physics?  I mean, yes and no.  Again, I do not think God really wants me to take physics, per se, but as I said, I think God wants me to glorify Him in the things that I do.

I am pretty sure I am not glorifying Him by procrastinating all day.

So here it is:  my little pledge to my teeny-tiny readership:  I am going to study from here until Saturday.  The only time I am going to look at my email is when I have finished a test.  (OMGoodness that is going to be REALLY REALLY HARD.)

You know what is playing in the background now?  Gabriel and the Vagabond.  If you have not heard it, it is a phenomenal song.

It always makes me think.

P.S.  You can still comment and, you know, make me super excited to read my email.  Cloth diapering anyone?  Ha!

You will be impressed to know that I held back SEVERAL parenthetical observations throughout to try to stay on topic for this post.  I know I failed a few times, but still.  That deserves a shout-out, no?