2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 16 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Adios, 2012!

I feel like K and I spent half of 2012 in doctors’ offices in our quest to conceive and the other half worrying about the entire process of becoming parents. What if K’s cycle won’t return after so many years of being on testosterone? What if we won’t become pregnant? What if we can’t afford the entire process of trying to become parents? What if we’re pregnant? What if something’s wrong with the baby? What if K barfs for literally 9 months? What if we aren’t prepared to become parents? Is that pain normal? Is that gas or Falco moving? What if we’re having a boy? Am I going to be able to handle the fact that Michigan does not currently allow second parent adoption or view me as legally related to this child? The list is endless and contains both silly and very sobering fears.

2013 will bring about some terrifying and exhilarating changes. Those who know me well are aware that change is not typically my bestie, but I am really looking forward to being a mom and know that I will get through all of the challenges because we are tough cookies who have an amazing support system. I have a handsome and phenomenal partner (truly, you all should be jealous) who loves me and walks through this life with me as the world’s best teammate. K and I have treasured family members, both given and chosen, who are always there for us, even at the drop of a hat like our dear friend M did over the weekend when I suddenly realized that I had no idea how I was going to carry all of the heavy IKEA purchases we’d just made for the nursery. K and I often feel like the luckiest people in this world, and we’re so grateful for that.

Bring it, 2013. We’ve got this.

What a NGP looks like

This, dear readers, is what it looks like to be a non-gestational parent during a snowy, Midwest winter:


That’s the end of our driveway after only one and a half snowfalls. I can’t even bring myself to shovel the whole driveway, just the path to and around our car.

Yes, please feel free to feel sorry for me. Happy Saturday, everyone!

This is a lucky kid

K’s Aunt J sent a holiday card for us to K’s parents’ house because she had lost our address when she discarded the envelope from our holiday card. Reading this card on Christmas Eve was one of the highlights of my holiday, and you’ll see why. Her reaction to our baby news is beyond priceless!

Front of the card

Inside of Aunt J's card

I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting this Aunt, as she is elderly, lives in Nevada and was unable to travel to our wedding. However, I know I would just adore her. One of her roles in K’s family is recording each family member’s “number,” as in, the order in which people entered the family. When we were getting married, she sent us the loveliest congratulations card and told me my number in the family. I can’t wait to know Falco’s number!

Because I couldn’t get it together to scan our ultrasound photo yesterday during my busy half day of work, I decided to post it today. There’s no such thing as too many baby photos, right? I don’t think this one is as exciting as the previous one we used for our holiday cards, though.

Falco at 23 weeks

TGIF, all!


Looking at Falco again

Our OB wanted us to repeat our anatomy scan because the ultrasonographer didn’t capture everything the OB wanted to see the last time. K has been really stressed about this and we’ve both been really hopeful that Falco is developing exactly how our little one should be.

Today was definitely a rocky day. K was so stressed that he got a terrible night’s sleep last night. We woke up at 5 a.m. and while K was in the shower, I bundled up to go outside and shovel snow for the third time in 12 hours. (Can I just say what a shitty season this is to be a non-gestational partner?) We scrambled to leave early just in case the roads were still really rough, and managed to get to the ultrasound appointment before any of the fetal imaging staff members arrived. K was nauseous from stress and I was battling a pounding headache from sleep deprivation and/or impending illness.

The ultrasound tech was a lot less friendly and personable than the tech we had the first time. I was also really irritated by her heterosexist and gendered assumptions when she called K to come back by referring to him as “Mrs. Hislastname.” Seriously, Mrs.? Not every person in fetal imaging is married (let alone female, but I’m willing to let that slide since we’re a fairly unique case), so why not just call people’s first or full names?

The tech was really quiet while she conducted the ultrasound, only occasionally pointing out various structures. She spent a lot of time on Falco’s heart, which made my own heart pound with anxiety while my imagination ran away, worrying that they were repeating the exam because Falco had a heart problem. The coolest part of the ultrasound was when K felt Falco kick and, at the same time, saw the kick on the ultrasound screen and as movement on the outside of his belly. The ultrasonographer said that Falco weighs approximately 1 lb. 4 oz. and everything “looks average.” Even though we’re a family of overachievers, this information gave us a sigh of relief.

After the ultrasound, we slowly made our way through the Michigan slush to our next OB appointment. Thankfully, we were early, allowing us time to run a quick errand before the appointment. K’s blood pressure was slightly elevated for his typical measurement, but still very much within the normal range. The OB says this is something she is going to closely monitor.

By the time we made it to the appointment, our doctor had already received the new ultrasound report and said that all of the structures that weren’t visible in the previous ultrasound. We asked for clarification about why we needed the repeat ultrasound, and the OB told us that a number of times, little ones don’t cooperate in terms of their position, and not all structures are visible. Falco’s lips and heart chambers weren’t visible in the previous ultrasound. The OB assured us that everything is going well and that we have nothing to worry about. K needs to get his glucose tolerance test before our next visit in a month. Oh, joy of joys.

We’re breathing a sigh of relief from the good news and are looking forward for the milestones to come!

Bah humbug no more

I found it so difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year. We didn’t put up a tree, I didn’t bake some of my favorite treats, and I didn’t even get very elaborate with my gift wrapping. I will give myself a little bit of credit for at least hanging a wreath on the front door and sending out holiday cards, though, let’s be honest, the motivation behind the cards was really about announcing Falco’s impending arrival.

I had a really difficult time coming up with a gift to get for K. Buying creative and thoughtfully curated gifts for my loved ones has always been among my favorite parts of the holiday season, and feeling at a loss around K’s gift made me feel like a total Scrooge. I had considered many options, including a snazzy new pair of brown dress shoes, since he’d mentioned needing a pair, but nixed the idea when a coworker commented on how difficult it is to purchase shoes for someone else. I even considered wrapping a new pair of shoes that K purchased several months ago when they were buy one, get one free, but had not yet worn, and packing a decorative note inside that read, “Let’s go buy you a new pair of shoes.” Even this idea felt like it was lacking my typical gifting sparkle.

Finally, on the Friday before Christmas, inspiration hit! K has been complaining about his crappy slide phone for so long, wishing and dreaming for an iPhone. While we definitely could not afford to upgrade K to the iPhone 5, the cost of an upgrade to a 4S was only slightly more than I would have spent for a nice pair of new shoes for him. My phone line was eligible for an upgrade whereas his was not, but since I didn’t need a new phone, I transferred my upgrade to K’s line.

I decided to use a similar concept as my initial creative wrapping idea for the shoe gift, lest it be too obvious that I had gotten him some sort of delicious technology for Christmas. The outside of the shoe box:


Inside of the shoe box:


I wrapped the iPhone and tucked it inside one of the shoes before wrapping the entire shoe box.


K was so surprised! I think it will be a fun and functional gift, especially when Falco arrives. It will give K something easy to do/use while feeding the baby, we can FaceTime with grandma and grandpa, and then there’s the inevitable deluge of baby photos to our social networking streams.

Better still, selecting this gift and creatively packaging it for K really helped me to tap into that elusive holiday spirit.

Hope your holidays were merry and bright!

In memoriam

My maternal grandma, my only surviving grandparent, has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years. She has been living in a nursing home near my parents, which is located on the other side of the state. When she came to our wedding last year, she was in a wheelchair because she had become prone to occasional falling. In the last few months, she had lost the ability to form complete sentences or, at times, coherent thoughts, and was unable to feed herself. When K and I visited her after Thanksgiving, one of her nurses had asked her how she was doing and her reply was clearly her desperate wish, “Dead.” With her last, shallow breath yesterday afternoon, her long suffering ended and she is finally at peace.

Mimi and Papa Joe

My grandma, whom I had called Mimi, was always one of my favorite humans. During my childhood, I easily considered her my very best friend. She taught me many of my favorite and most treasured lessons about life, like the importance of being thrifty, caring for the environment, creating beauty out of anything you have on hand, and never taking anyone’s shit.

During my early childhood, my mom was a substitute elementary school teacher, and my grandparents watched me on days when my mom had to work. One of my favorite foods at that age was fish, which I pronounced “tish,” and Mimi readily fried it up, day after day, even though she knew that the ocean perch would stink up her entire house. We would dig through her packed basement for all sorts of objects that were just begging to be transformed into fun new games and activities.

I spent long summers with Mimi and my grandpa, Papa Joe, at their rustic cottage in Ontario, where we fished for hours on the placid lake, took long walks, picked and preserved wild raspberries, and appreciated the simplicity of what life can bring. I played endless games of Gin Rummy with my grandparents and pleaded Mimi to stay up late each night, telling me stories by kerosene lamplight about her childhood. I would spend sunny days on the hammock, writing stories as wild as my young mind could conjure up, running back to the porch to show my grandma my creations. She always encouraged my writing and I like to think that I am honoring her memory by maintaining this blog.

Outside of the home, Mimi’s first and only job was as a bra fitter in the lingerie department at the original Hudson’s department store in downtown Detroit. As my body matured, she used her experience as a large-busted woman (like me!) coupled with her knowledge gained at that job to teach me all about how to find the perfect bra. One time, we spent hours in the TJ Maxx fitting room, trying on bras and laughing our asses off at the ones that were completely ridiculous. One bra was teal with almost entirely sheer mesh cups and a lace pattern of a singular rose over each nipple. She squealed when I showed her, declaring, “Everything’s coming up roses!” and we laughed until we could barely catch our breaths.

One of the most meaningful things about my relationship with Mimi is that she taught me about family and culture. Each summer and again at Christmastime, we would set aside an entire day, filling the house with the scent of butter and sauteed onions, to make pierogi with my mom. As an adopted, red-headed Irish/German (with a dollop of Italian for good measure) kid, she gave me the gift of her Polish heritage, teaching me all of the best swear words and her top-secret recipes. One of the largest compliments she ever paid me as an adult is when she told me how tender my pierogi dough was when I surprised her with my first solo attempt. I decided to make pierogi today – my first time making them gluten-free – because nothing taps into a memory quite like the senses of taste and smell.

One of my largest regrets is that I never got the opportunity to tell her that we plan on naming Falco after my late Papa Joe, but I am choosing to think that, wherever she is now, she already knows this in her heart. Seeing her and my Papa Joe with little Falco would have been such a gift, but I know that they’re now watching over us and our baby-to-be.

I love you, Mimi, and I will deeply miss you and will always keep you in my heart. Please give Papa Joe a big squeeze for me.

Try it again

K got a call from the OB’s office today and was told that our doctor wants us to do a repeat anatomy scan. Apparently, she wasn’t able to see everything in our previous ultrasound. We’re trying not to fret about needing to redo this test and to just take it as another opportunity to catch a peek of Falco, but it’s difficult to not allow your mind to wander to the darkest “what-if’s” that reside there.

I’ve been doing some internet research to see if this is a common problem, and I’m learning that it seems to happen to a significant portion of pregnant people and usually without incident. Maybe this is just happening because of how Falco was positioned or because it was fairly early. I keep telling myself that if our doc was actually concerned about something specific, she’d tell us what that is, but again, it’s difficult to keep from obsessing. Please keep your fingers crossed for us. Our repeat ultrasound is next Thursday at 7:30 a.m. (sorry, K!).

In unrelated news, one of our dogs managed to pull a Houdini this morning. When K went to put the dogs in their crate before we left for work this morning, he yelled up from the basement, “WTF?! One of the dogs ate almost an entire package of rice cakes, made a huge mess and pooped all over the place!” My reply: “Wait – which flavor of rice cakes did she eat…?!” K was outraged and asked incredulously, “Is that really your main concern here?!” Ah, the joys of having pets. They sure know how to keep us on our toes.