musings and rantings of a blue state non bio mom

the real-life adventures of me, my partner, and our journey through ivf-enabled same sex TWIN motherhood (with not so infrequent rantings about politics in general).

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Politicizing my daily life...again

Happy June, everyone.

It's pouring here and has been for two days now. The basil in the garden is getting flooded, and everything outside is slippery and yucky. Only the mosquitoes seem to be enjoying the environment right now. And with a pregnant wife and a sick dog, we are doing more than our fair share of ruining the ozone layer and producing greenhouse gases with our non-stop AC usage. But at least we don't really drive our gas-guzzling twin-and-dog-mobile.

Anyway, on the ranting front, I was doing my daily blogroll when I came across W's radio address--now the man could be dealing with something urgent, like his disastrous war in Iraq, the Haditha massacre, rising gas prices, global warming, or any other host of important issues that have eluded him. But NOOOO---he has to go ahead and deal with the really significant issue of our time--campaigning to ban gay marriage. Because, after all, you know that "President Mandate" would not squander his precious time on trivial aspects of life focused on by, say, the likes of "Ozone Man" Gore.

This just gets me boiling mad.

Meanwhile--other aspects of my life tickle me in ways that I cannot even express---Baby B (Olivia? Hallie?) has been kicking up a storm all morning. My hand has been plastered to BioMom's burgeoning tummy and I've been playing the "OK, Baby, Kick" game for hours. Tons of fun and it makes me giggle and jump for joy. I cannot wait to meet these two wonderful characters.

Today we'll be launching our second offensive on the hall closet and girls' room---there's tons of stuff in both (some of which I can no longer identify). We'll be doing this while babysitting our adorable next door neighbor Karina:




Her mommy and daddy need to go off to the Burn Unit at a local hospital. Daddy (our next door neighbor) was making dinner last night when the oil in his pan caught fire and burned his hand really badly (second and third degree burns, up and down his right arm). Frightening. We're really worried about him---he's extremely stoic and not all that good at taking care of himself (he is most excellent at taking care of others, but that's part of the problem) and even through the morphine and percocet, it must have hurt like hell. It's his driving hand (he has a stick shift) and his writing hand, and we're not sure what the prognosis is yet. It's frightening how much can go wrong in such a short period of time. Keep fingers crossed for him.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sorry for My Long Hiatus

Sorry about being absent for so long. I was off doing research and, even though I had dial up internet from the apartment I rented, either the slow connection or the fact that I was in the Eastern bloc (or former Eastern bloc) kept prompting blogger to crash Safari every time I tried to log onto this blog. It was truly frustrating because so much happened in this two week period.

1. The 20 week anatomy scan went well. There's actually a chance that the girls are identical twins (the experienced ultrasound tech was marvelling at how similar the two of them look). And, so you can see for yourselves, here are some of the pics:






2. We finally settled on names: Hallie Rose and Olivia Skye. With a hyphenated last name.

3. And then, two days after I got back, I FELT them MOVE. It was amazing. Biomom has been able to feel them for weeks, but it was amazing for me to feel them through her. She's 22 weeks today!

That's all for now! More later!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Amnio Results are in!!!

By Thursday, the two of us were going crazy waiting for the results of the Amnio. I know they said two weeks, but we were hoping to find out sooner. So Biomom called over to the genetics diagnostics section of the Hospital and finally, late in the day, they called her back. They had results for Baby B but not for Baby A: Baby B was a girl and totally fine. They had no info on Baby A (about whom we were more concerned because of femur length issues) because, apparently, the cells culture at different rates. So we waited. I had to give a final on Friday, so I was out of commission for most of the afternoon. I was thinking about the amnio results all afternoon long, but I couldn't leave my phone on during the exam. Not only is it bad form, but that's precisely the sort of behavior I won't tolerate from my students. Anyway, I got out of my exam and called Biomom immediately, but she was on the phone. Finally, I got a hold of her, and she was angry that she could not get a hold of me (or her sister, or her mom, or anyone else, for that matter). Turns out that she had to call the genetics folks again, but they got back to her immediately this time, and Baby A was also fine, and also a girl.

So the name game begins in earnest (and we have even more faith in the capabilities of the ultrasound nurse). The choices now are leaning towards:

Ariana Rachel

and

Savannah something or another beginning with or containing an L.


But we are also considering Hallie and Harper and Hunter instead of Ariana, and Simone instead of Savannah. I also like Sophie or Sophia and Sonia instead of Savannah, but don't have much traction on these choices from Biomom (YET).

Vote early and often!

BSNBM

Amnio Results are in!!!

By Thursday, the two of us were going crazy waiting for the results of the Amnio. I know they said two weeks, but we were hoping to find out sooner. So Biomom called over to the genetics diagnostics section of the Hospital and finally, late in the day, they called her back. They had results for Baby B but not for Baby A: Baby B was a girl and totally fine. They had no info on Baby A (about whom we were more concerned because of femur length issues) because, apparently, the cells culture at different rates. So we waited. I had to give a final on Friday, so I was out of commission for most of the afternoon. I was thinking about the amnio results all afternoon long, but I couldn't leave my phone on during the exam. Not only is it bad form, but that's precisely the sort of behavior I won't tolerate from my students. Anyway, I got out of my exam and called Biomom immediately, but she was on the phone. Finally, I got a hold of her, and she was angry that she could not get a hold of me (or her sister, or her mom, or anyone else, for that matter). Turns out that she had to call the genetics folks again, but they got back to her immediately this time, and Baby A was also fine, and also a girl.

So the name game begins in earnest (and we have even more faith in the capabilities of the ultrasound nurse). The choices now are leaning towards:

Ariana Rachel

and

Savannah something or another beginning with or containing an L.


But we are also considering Hallie and Harper and Hunter instead of Ariana, and Simone instead of Savannah. I also like Sophie or Sophia and Sonia instead of Savannah, but don't have much traction on these choices from Biomom (YET).

Vote early and often!

BSNBM

Saturday, April 29, 2006

my poor doggie!

My poor dog. She's always been an unwell animal--she's a Shar-pei, and unfortunately like many of her breed, has been horribly and inappropriately inbred. Biomom and I have given her the best possible care to deal with her myriad problems (including, but not limited to arthritis; Shar-pei fever, which is a complicated autoimmune disease that leaves her skin fragile, her gastrointestinal tract delicate, and her limbs painful; and a whole bunch of other probably related allergic responses. She's been in and out of the Penn Vet hospital and we've done -- and continue to do -- everything we can to ensure that she's got a decent quality of life. In return (and by nature) she has been a great, sweet, loving dog who frightens lots of other people with her bark and her anxiety attacks, but whom we love intensely.

Anyway, she goes for regular bloodwork to make sure that her liver is okay given the huge number of drugs she's on (including but not limited to prednisone, colchicine and ursodial for her liver, and a designer drug that costs a fortune that is usually used in leukemia but not in her case). Anyway, her last liver panels were elevated, so we were going to go in yesterday for a blood check in any event. But meanwhile, on Thursday, while Biomom and I were away at work, Bailey the dog had a bout of diarrhea (or several really). I cleaned things up when I got home but we decided to try to get her more thoroughly checked out.

I called her Penn Vet doc on Friday morning, leaving an extensive message about her symptoms (which included a distended abdomen) and I took her into our local vet for our bloodwork session (usually a lot cheaper and easier than our Penn vet). Bailey was lethargic (she hadn't eaten in 24 hours) and could hardly be coaxed to walk to the vet (it took us about a half hour to make it four blocks). When she finally got there and was seen, we did a full check up (on the advice of the Penn vet who was alarmed enough by my message to call me back within the hour). To make a long depressing story somewhat shorter, it turns out that the distended abdomen had nothing to do with her Shar-pei fever or any other of the million problems she has but is a huge tumorous mass. From what we saw on the xray, it's about the size of a large orange or small grapefruit.

We hightailed it over to Penn to see if we could get an ultrasound yesterday, but four hours and 100 dollars later (a drop in the bucket in the larger scheme of things), we left at 5 pm with the info that we'd have to come back today by 7am and admit her then (they wanted us to leave her but we didn't want her to spend the night away from home; this was a good call since she had a pretty good night and was feeling a lot better today).

She's now been checked in to Penn and we're waiting to hear about her status. We're really attached to this dog but we don't want her to suffer unnecessarily or have a real poor quality of life. I am not even sure what the ultrasound will tell us---really it might not tell us anything. At best, if only her spleen or liver is involved and no other organs or major blood vessels, they might be able to do surgery to remove the tumor. But she's not a particularly good surgery candidate (since she's been on steroids for so long) and healing will be hard even in the best case scenario. And knowing Bailey, we're probably not dealing wiht a best case scenario here...

The whole process is going to be hugely expensive, and of course that has me worried with little flex in the budget and two little ones on the way, and Biomom taking off some time from work. I've been pretty good about paying down debt, but there's still some outstanding long-term debt, and here we are adding to it. If we can give her back a reasonable quality of life, it's worth the money (within reason). But the big question here is "if" and I am not certain how to gauge the answer to that. Bailey is old (8.5 years) and in poor health and clearly in pain right now. I just want to do the right thing for her...

Sadly,

BSNBM

Monday, April 24, 2006

drumroll please....

Here are the kids, just shy of seventeen weeks:





Our favorite is the following image, where the two kids are tete-a-tete:



During the ultrasound, Baby A was lounging with hands clasped behind head and kicking a lot; Baby B did a flip. It was totally cool. And yesterday, BioMom felt at least one of them for the first time.

Though this is not confirmed (it will be when we get the amnio results), apparently (according to the super cool ultrasound tech who was happy to spend a long time with us showing us the kids), BOTH ARE GIRLS.

And so, the question du jour is: do we give them androgynous/cool first names with femmier middle names , or do we bow to public pressure and give them girlier first names. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

BSNBM

Al Gore Moves Closer to Affirming Gay Marriage

It's refreshing to see that Al Gore, who back during the Clinton presidency supported the ill-conceived DOMA legislation had this to say on March 25th at the HRC gala dinner:

"It is that love, after all, that is at the heart of why everybody is here. That is what must be honored and respected. Your right to fall in love with who you fall in love with. And your right to expect that that will be recognized with the same dignity and honor that love is recognized for other couples. Love is transcendent and fulfilling and powerful and any force on earth that endeavors to make you feel that you should be ashamed for feeling genuine, deep love for another of your choosing is a form of oppression.

…Much has been made of the second simple truth — the first being that love … that transcendent feeling is at the center of all the debates. The second simple fact is that — it’s been mentioned here — is that when your fellow Americans come to know you for who you are, everything changes. But the so-called Catch 22 that discrimination and oppression put you in, is that the law requires gays and lesbians in the military or in job settings where they have no protection or in other settings where discrimination is rampant — if the law and the culture of society requires you to be closed and secret and inauthentic and to pretend that you are not who you are, then you are not allowed to use your basic humanity to change the minds and hearts of those around you. You must have the right to be who you are, just as I have the right to be who I am.

As I was on the way here, I reflected on why is there so much controversy about the question of equality for gays and lesbians. Why? This fight has been so long and so hard for something that is so simple and so right."

For more on this, see Pam Spaulding's analysis at Al Gore's Evolution on Same-Sex Marriage

On an unrelated topic: amnio went well, BioMom is feeling pretty good, and we'll have the results a week from this Friday. More later, including the latest pictures of the kids and some news about their probable genders!

BSNBM

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Decider in Chief

Just have a second...but check this out... It's pretty funny, or it would be funny if it weren't depressing. Be sure to read the lyrics. They're great.

I'm The Decider

Amnio Tomorrow....

...wish us luck.

Meanwhile, the great name game continues. It'll be nice to have an actual sense of what we're having before we negotiate the names, but here they are. Feel free to vote:

If it's boy/girl:

Holden Ellis (boy)
Spencer Ryan (girl)

If it's boy/boy:
Holden Ellis
Spencer Ryan (yup, totally gender free)

or

Holden Ross or Holden Reese
Spencer Lucas

if it's girl/girl:

Hallie something-with-an-L-sound in it (maybe Loren?)
Spencer Ryan

These names are subject to change. Basically, we need an H name, an R name, an S name and something with an L in it. Any votes for alternative names? Do these names sound too dorky, too distinctive?

We are, as you can probably already tell, not interested in having the kids named the same thing as half the kids in their classes are named---but we don't want them to get teased too much for their names, either.

So any ideas you might have will be gratefully accepted...

BSNBM

Friday, April 14, 2006

crazy, crazy week

Sorry about my somewhat prolonged absence. As I think I mentioned a while ago, we had an ultrasound last Friday to check Sharon's cervical length. Happily, I did not have to throw myself on the table and stage a sit in to demand that we also see the kids---in fact, that was the very first thing the technician spent considerable time doing. They were MUCH bigger than they had been two weeks earlier (even though they were still comparatively small, weighing in at about 3 ounces apiece.

And so, drum-roll please, here they are:






Now, the really great thing is that they both had heart beats, they were both moving, and one of them has Biomom's cute little upturned nose.

The slightly disconcerting thing is that their femurs both measured quite short (in the 20th percentile or so). While this probably means nothing whatsoever, Biomom got on the 'net and found that this is correlated with a higher probability of Down's Syndrome.

So, after a weekend of stress, we decided to go ahead and do an amnio (though we aren't telling anyone---other than the whole blogosphere, of course). This happens next Friday and the really stressful thing is that we won't have results for a whole two weeks (probably not until our 20th week anatomy scan). So, keep your fingers crossed that all is okay.

Meanwhile, our 15.5 week checkup was today, and that went really well. I adore our OB--she's responsive, patient, supportive, and has a ton of experience with twins (she has five sets cooking right now). I'm really glad we took the advice of our RE and went to this particular practice (which also functions like a well-oiled machine more generally).

Anyway, hopefully things will go well next Friday and we'll then know the sex of the kids (and then begin the great name game in earnest).

Stay tuned for updates!

BSNBM