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, 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...



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!


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!


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)


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...


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!


Sunday, April 09, 2006

have we had enough yet?

I'm fed up at this government and everything for which it stands. I never could take it and I certainly can't take it now. This week's revelations about Bush/Cheney's role in the Valerie Plame leak/Joe Wilson discrediting has me fuming---the Congress is willing to impeach a president for interpreting oral sex as not sex at all, when they're not willing to do the same for a president who wastes the tax-payers' money (not their own; the rich no longer have to pay taxes, natch) on a Grand Jury investigation into a leak that it interprets as 'declassification' and 'disclosure'! Amazing.

Then, we have Sy Hersh's incredible report (he's the guy who broke the Mai Lai massacre and Abu Ghraib)--forthcoming in the New Yorker this week The Iran Plans--that the US is considering nuking Iran (like that'll influence hearts and minds).

I'm sick of this guy; I'm sick of everything he does. I am sick of Rummy, Rove, Cheney, and Condi (never mind the stupid laudatory article on her piano prowess in the Arts and Leisure section of the Sunday NY Times). I'm tired of all of this and I am not alone.

For your listening pleasure, head on over here DEAR MR PRESIDENT and have a listen to this Indigo Girls anti Bush tune. And then make sure you are registered to vote!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Raves, rants, and the great stroller hunt

In the larger world of rants, I am happy that I have a rave--in support of Russ Feingold's support to Gay Marriage. Feingold is one of the few and brave out there who acknowledges that legalizing gay marriage is the only fair thing to do: Russ Feingold Speaks Out in Support of Gay Marriage

If anything, we could argue that gay marriage recuperates marriage for all people, but I'm not even going to go there!

What else? Life has been relatively uneventful in the land of twin procreation. Morning sickness is still with us, alas, and the smell of food cooking still makes Biomom pretty queasy. This has us experimenting with all sorts of main dish salads (beef, chicken, etc cut up into small, unrecognizable pieces and tossed among fresh, not cooked, veggies) and protein-powder laced smoothies (that may or may not go down easily). It's a bit of a struggle, but I think the kids are getting most of what they need nutritionally (and whatever else they need, they'll probably leech from Biomom).

Biomom's boss is being alternatively helpful and snarky. Biomom's been having a lot of trouble getting sufficient rest (she has sleep problems generally) and has been working what is a bit of a modified schedule of 11 to 7 or so---8 hours at the very least on most days. To her face, bossman is being supportive and telling her that he wants her to do everything to reduce her stress level, but behind her back, it's a different story. This has us a bit worried since we're afraid of how this will impact her performance review, her stature at her company etc. I don't think anyone will fire her (that's litigatable, anyway), but the idea of her job being precarious and us having twins to care for is a bit daunting. Hopefully this will straighten itself out. Yuck.

My life is pretty much the same as usual---I'm spending a lot of it working, the rest of it shopping for twin strollers and things like that. It's amazing how few good ones there are out there. Our requirement for the post-infant-car-seat period is that the stroller be comfy, safe, easy to push around on city sidewalks, light enough to handle, and relatively easy to get through narrow doors (an urban hazard). Right now, the choice seems to be narrowed down to a few.

Candidate One: The Tike-Tech Double Trouble Stroller

This one comes in cheery blue, red, and maroon; has pretty good reviews on Amazon; is light; and weighs in at a relatively affordable 299.99.

Candidate Two: Behind Door number two is the Mountain Buggy Urban Double Stroller.

The colors are less bold than those of the Tike-Tech but this is a very highly rated stroller. It's supposed to be quite comfy and easy to steer. Problem is that it's 650 dollars. Crazy.

Candidate Three: Baby Jogger City Double.

This one has good ratings too--perhaps even better than those of the Mountain Buggy, but is a hefty 550.

Any advice? And any ideas why NONE of these come with built in cupholders? Honestly, for the price, I'd expect somewhere to stash my coffee (or at least waterbottle). Especially on something that bills itself as an Urban buggy, and not a jogging stroller per se.

Well, that's all for now. Hopefully we'll have some cool picks to upload from our Friday ultrasound!