March 2011

I found a due date calculator online. (I’m so happy to talk about due dates and not refer to essays and projects.) Turns out, if you only know the first date of your last menstrual period and not the exact date conception happened, then the date it gives you is counting 40 weeks forward, guessing as to a range of possible ovulation dates and conception dates. That gave me the date of November 25, 2011 (this is the method Flip Flop Girl and I used, with the same result). BUT, if you know the exact conception date, it’s able to give you a better count, so that gives me the date of November 21, 2011 (this is the date the fertility nurse gave me on the phone yesterday). So November 21 it is!

The pregnancy calculator website also tells you where you are in your pregnancy. Today, it says:

Today is Thursday March 31st 2011.
You conceived on Monday February 28th 2011
and your due date is Monday November 21st 2011.

31 days have passed since the conception,
and you are 235 days before your due date.

You are 6 weeks into your pregnancy,
and you have 34 weeks to go.

You are in the 1st trimester.

12% of your pregnancy has passed, there is 88% left to go.

Cool, huh?

This morning was the ultrasound appointment to check on the baby’s heart. It’s amazing to think that last week this time, he was just a black dot. This morning, I expected to see flashes on the ultrasound screen, which is what I was told the heartbeats would look like. Today, I saw a bubble inside a circle inside a larger black dot. The bubble was dancing rhythmically all on its own. It’d shrink halfway down, then pop back out and be full and round. Then it’d shrink half way, then pop back out, in quick succession. I asked Mr. W to video it on my phone, and he did, but we couldn’t find the video afterwards. He must not have saved it. 🙁 BUT, the doctor did print out an ultrasound picture and give me another little photo folder! There are 2 x’s around the heart, cuz the doctor (female doc who discovered the polyps) was measuring the kid. He’s about 2 mm big right now, the size of a small seed. The circle around the quickly pulsating heart is the yolk sac, and the large black dot is the cavity the baby’s in, about half an inch big right now. Sorry about the glare; I took a cell phone picture of the ultrasound picture:

My multiple attempts to send the cell phone photo above to my email so that I could post it kept failing, and as I was IMing Flip Flop Girl, she offered for me to text it to her and she’ll email that to me, so this photo appears courtesty of Flip Flop Girl! She said it was cool I’m seeing all these early stages of the baby, because in standard pregnancies, the OB wouldn’t do all these early ultrasounds, if they even see you at all.

So the baby is growing at the rate expected, yes there’s only one in there, for all you who “predicted” that going the in vitro route would give me triplets, and I’ve been released from my daily baby aspirin intake and the estrogen patch. They told me to go ahead and rip it off today, so I did. I did briefly consider, since this patch still had 1 day of potency left, how funny it would be to stealthily stick it on some unaware male coworker. But they (male coworkers) probably wouldn’t enjoy the extra emotions and breast tenderness the way we women do. I had a blood test today to check progesterone levels, so I’ll be getting a call later letting me know whether I can stop getting my nighttime progesterone shots. MEANWHILE, I’ve been specifically cleared from my no-exercise restriction! She said I can do light pilates, gentle yoga, light weights, cardio as long as it’s not something extreme like boot camp, AND I can even start running again, as long as I limit the runs to 30 mins. That’s great; I can get 3 miles in, which is my minimum run anyway. (Anything less and I feel like, “why bother?”) WOOHOOOO!! Hello, endorphins!

On the way into the courthouse this morning, a coworker friend caught me and asked if we’d like two free tickets to see the musical “Wicked” tonight, 7pm show. She had two friends cancel, and their tickets would go to waste otherwise. I wasn’t interested in musicals in general, but I know Mr. W would DIE of excitement. So I asked him, and he did. He came back to life soon enough to take up my coworker’s offer. Here’s the tricky part — I have to get my nightly progesterone shots around 8pm. If I get a call from the nurse later and she says I have enough progesterone in my system and can stop the shots, then this show tonight came at the perfect time. If not, then I’m gonna have to figure something out, maybe get home first to package up the shot and try to get it done at intermission or something. But the way things have been going, I wouldn’t be surprised if Riley’s made these arrangements as another “hello” gift, like the dolphins, so that we can celebrate seeing his heartbeat/ending the meds/my returning to the gym by seeing his daddy’s favorite musical tonight. He DOES have a very big heart, my little son.

I will update when I get the nurse’s call.

*** UPDATE (2:32p)
The nurse called. Riley has spoken (har). My progesterone level is 48, and they’re looking for a number above 20. I asked how they know what part of that is me and what part of it is the progesterone shots. She said the progesterone dose only accounts for a quarter of my total progesterone, which means my body is producing plenty of progesterone on its own, like it’s supposed to. She cleared me to stop the shots. YAY! Wanna hear more “coincidences?” The pharmacy I had ordered the meds from gave me EXACTLY the right number of syringes and needle tips; I have one extra syringe at home, but no extra needle tips since Mr. W hit blood one time and had to start over with a new needle tip. They couldn’t have known how many syringes I’d need, since that was up to the doctor, and the doctor’s orders are conditional on my timing and hormone levels. Basically all of the extra free syringes and needle tips my clinic phlebotomist gave me last week are untouched, so I can return them all to the clinic with my thanks at my next appointment, 2 weeks away.
The nurse then said, “Have we told you your due date?” I said no. They calculated it at 11-21-11 (whereas Flip Flop Girl and I both came up with 11-25-11), and she said it’s based on the first date of my last cycle (which Flip Flop and I used) taking into account the dates of fertilization and implantation in a more complicated formula than the one Flip Flop and I used. This puts the baby’s arrival date even more squarely into November, as even if he were a week late and the doctors had to induce, I’d still be in November.

I’m processing divorce cases at my desk. The one I’m looking at right now shows a marriage date in September, 2010, and a separation date in November, 2010, and the wife’s Petition for divorce was filed on the same date as the separation. This would be a 2.5-month marriage. “I wonder what happened,” a coworker would sometimes say about files like this.
“She found out about what happened at his bachelor party,” is usually my automatic response.
I wonder how many times I’m actually right. It happened to Mario Lopez.

Oh wait, I can’t. So you guys will have to on my behalf. (See what a great friend I am? I’m giving you an excuse to drink.)

Yesterday, Mr. W dumped me off at home after work and he ran off to meet his son at the gym. I meanwhile spent a nice couple of hours with his daughter. GUESS WHAT THE CONVERSATION WAS! She and her new “Beau” (not his name) had spent the past 2 Saturdays with us + stepson, the first having sushi, and this past Saturday having dinner at a Japanese teppan grill (they all had a blast and loved the goofball teppan chef). Since that cultish religious group (we’ll call it “Fellowship,” which is one word of its name) has evening-into-late-night-activities EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, she and Beau obviously missed a couple. She also missed another day because her car was in the shop, and was about to miss another last night because her car is still in the shop. The “pastor” of Fellowship (I doubt he’s a real pastor, since he’s young and started the group in his living room) totally gave Daughter a hard time. He did not give Beau a hard time. There are other members of Fellowship who come to two activities a week, and they’re not given crap. Beau says they give Daughter crap about it because she’s more easy-going (pushover) and allows them to. But she’d had enough. She pushed back and told the “pastor” that she’s been at EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY and event for months straight, ever since she joined, and it is not fair of them to give her crap for missing a few events recently so she can spend ONE night a week with her family, and that it is unrealistic to plan events for every Friday and Saturday (social times) and expect her to give up all of her life to participate every single Friday and Saturday. She said her family has already pointed out that she doesn’t have time for them, and that she’s seeing it now, and she’s done a LOT for Fellowship already and they don’t seem to see it or appreciate it, and they instead demand more of her time. Why don’t they get on the cases of the members who are only there one or two times a week? Why harass HER for only missing a couple of times lately? Why can’t SHE be one of those members who only show up here and there? And the straw that broke the camel’s back for her: she attends a women’s smallgroup (the group she’s going to Haiti with) within the large primary church every Monday night. She’s shared with me some of the conversation the smallgroup has, and I’ve been really impressed with the tolerance, coping and life skills the smallgroup instills in its members. The “pastor” of Fellowship (who BTW hates this primary church and complains that the church “sugarcoats” Jesus when it should be pounding threats of damnation and repentance into its members, like he does, and he makes fun of the Thursday night services Daughter goes to at the large church, gives her a hard time for going) told Daughter that she should give up her Monday night smallgroup with the large church and instead come to Fellowship’s smallgroup, newly started and scheduled for Monday nights (coincidence? I think not). He says several of the girls have approached him and said that Daughter should be with them and away from the large church for smallgroup. Daughter put her foot down and said absolutely not. She doubted that the other members in Fellowship’s smallgroup, many of whom she barely knows, would benefit from or care about her being there, and that she gets so much out of her large church’s smallgroup, and they’ve been together so long they’re like sisters, that she feels it’s very beneficial to her and was not willing to leave it. She also took offense to one of Fellowship’s female members who trashes the reputation of her smallgroup leader whenever the Fellowship member gets time to talk to Daughter, no doubt also in an attempt to get Daughter to leave Church for Fellowship altogether. Daughter’s best friend, also an avid churchgoing but not a Fellowship member, also approached her and said honestly, she’s offended because she barely gets to see Daughter anymore herself, but despite that would never say, “Daughter, leave Fellowship and attend only large church events.” But Fellowship has been actively trying to get Daughter to cut off her other ties. Daughter said she cried to Beau about this after he confrontation with Fellowship’s “pastor.”
Beau’s take? “I’m going to go talk to him. He’s NOT RIGHT. You can take whatever time off you WANT to spend time with your family and friends. I think we should rethink this whole Fellowship thing.”
When she told me this I ran up and hugged her and confessed I’d been concerned about this for MONTHS and was hoping she’d figure it out on her own. I reiterated that when she had her fight with her mom, this was the problem, this unrealistic, unreasonable expectation of Fellowship to take each of her evenings, knowing that forces its members to split from family time; the problem was never about Jesus or her religion. She said she’s seeing it now. She might still be marginally involved with their activity one night a week (such as the day when they hang out and sing to some elderly people in a convalescent home), but she’s not going to be sucked in like before anymore. Kinda like what Rebecca said on Sunday — Daughter’s personal growth will be independent of Fellowship’s cultish practices. Thank You, God!

This is how annoying Fellowship is. The Saturday activity that they were mad Daughter has not participated in for the last 2 Saturdays in a row cuz she’d been with us? They send some of the Fellowship girls to a local Hooters, so they can talk to the Hooters waitresses about Jesus and try to talk them out of their sinful jobs there. For me it’s like, “Leave the poor waitresses alone, they’re not STRIPPERS!” Geez.

With Daughter’s newfound free time, free of Fellowship, she’d cleaned her room, done her dishes, and did a ton of laundry. When school starts today after spring break, she should even have time to study and pass her classes now. Imagine that.

Yesterday was an eventful day. Mr. W and I went to the beach and had a nice private visit with Rebecca. She focused mainly on the baby stuff. She said she definitely sees a baby out of this so not to worry and keep holding back any expectations or excitement, I don’t have to have my emotions so “in check” or be so paranoid. She sees the anxiety going away the most around 7 or 8 months, because that’s when the baby is viable enough that it will survive outside of me and that’s when I can relax. I guess I am being super-careful. When I walk by a smoker I hold my breath so as to not let any evil molecules pass to the baby; if I’m in doubt about a fish, I don’t eat it; I read about some correlation between eating peanuts during pregnancy and the baby’s future peanut allergy, so I’ve decided to cut out all forms of peanuts from my diet; I’ve been flitting around the nutrition requirements of pregnancy and panicking because my collection of supplements doesn’t have enough of this vitamin or that mineral, wanting to increase my daily intake of pills (it really is ridiculous how many supplements I take a day now). Rebecca told me to not worry about so much detail.
I asked her at what point a person’s soul comes into the fetus, because sometimes I feel connected to him and other times I feel very strongly he’s around, but on the Other Side, not in me. She said it was a great question and she’d never thought of asking that, so she closed her eyes and “asked.” Turns out, the soul typically flits in and out at will until about 2-3 months, then it may decide to settle in and stay. She says as borne humans, what keeps our soul attached to our physical bodies is our breath. Fetuses at that point don’t breathe, so it takes more to stay inside that body; it takes their actual will to stay in. This is why miscarriages are common in the first trimester; a soul flits in and out and then decides something (timing and situation, maybe) isn’t just quite right for them so they’re going to abandon this attempt and come back later. So the fetus/embryo, for whatever reason, just stops developing, and then the mother’s body gets rid of it. She says because I’m intuitive, the times when I feel like, “Welp, me and Riley are gonna go over there and watch TV,” vs. times when I feel like Riley’s doing something for us from the Other Side but isn’t with me and I can hardly believe I’m pregnant, could very well be when I’m aware of his presence in vs. outside of me.
I asked whether Riley and I had any past history (lives) together. That was my court reporter’s suggested question. At first Rebecca said that we definitely knew each other, but that she wasn’t getting any specific info. We talked about that a few minutes and she tried again. She got pictures this time; I was his mother once before, and he was very much about “I’m going to take care of you, mom.” I said, “Aww, how Asian!” She said well, no, it’s not Asian the way I’m Asian now; he looked darker-complected with narrow features, she thought he looked middle eastern or Indian. She was confused what my nationality was, because my rotund and nurturing body was quite dark, with wavy hair, and she couldn’t decide whether I looked Indian or African. I may have been a mixture of both. We were definitely alone, there was no dad/husband in the picture. It is also very much in the Indian culture that a child will be nurturing to their parent when the child is capable of taking care of the previous generation. She said that in this incarnation, Riley has very much the same attitude; he wants to come to take care of me. That was always my mom’s purpose for wanting me to have children — so that I wouldn’t be alone and abandoned in my ripe old age. My argument to my mom was that I would have friends who treat me like family, but she said that’s different, they’re still not family so I’ll learn that she’s right. Mr. W’s take on this was, “What, nobody expects ME to be around to take care of you?” Ha.
Rebecca also said that my hacking sneezing unhygienic courtroom assistant is not going to get me sick, which is something I was hugely worried about, as the courtroom assistant is oblivious and walks around coughing and sneezing into the air, and refuses to take time off for being sick. She is chronically coughing, sneezing, sniffling. Rebecca said the current hacking and stuff is allergies to dust around her in the courtroom, and that obviously, when the courtroom assistant turns on her desk fan (first thing she does EVERY DAY), it unsettles more dust and blows them at her, so she’s constantly having reactions.
At a point, we sent Mr. W out so I could ask a hard question about him. I wanted to know what’s going on with his poor memory and inability to focus and find the right words. She said he’s had a lot more time than I had to be exposed to bad toxic things, like chlorine in the water, poor diet, etc. His brain’s performance is suffering from a lack of proper minerals, which minerals are greatly depleted from our earth (I’d read something about this some time ago) and is therefore missing from our food supply. She recommended some mineral supplements and said it won’t interfere with his other medication. So I’m definitely going to look into that. Mr. W asked later why we sent him out, and I did tell him all this. I said I didn’t want him in there in case she said it was beginning Alzheimer’s or something, because I feel I can handle it alone and don’t want to freak him out. But luckily, it’s just a lack of nutrition interfering with brain function. He said it sure would be nice to be able to focus and think of what he wants to say again. I’m just relieved that 10 years from now, I won’t wake up next to a horrified Mr. W demanding I tell him who the hell I was and where was his wife?

After our session was my coworker’s session. Mr. W and I wandered around the beach town, walked the pier, and came back to meet up with everyone after they were finished. While we were out, Stepdaughter texted Mr. W and said she needs to pay $700 to her church to reserve her plane ticket for a week-long missionary trip she wants to take with her church women’s group (not the “cult-group“) to Haiti. She had brought this up to us before and asked what we thought; Mr. W didn’t say much but I thought this was the perfect time in her life to do this, and it would be so educational for her to leave the cushy OC environment she’d grown up in. She said she would fundraise to come up with the thousands it would cost, so this sudden request for $700 came unexpectedly. Mr. W right away said he wasn’t expecting to pay for her and we’d be gone all day, so maybe this year isn’t her year. (Stepdaughter had suggested the same thing in her text, that she knew how difficult it’d be with our baby expenses and her mom’s moving expense for either parent to help her out, so maybe this year isn’t her year to go. She was asking each parent to pay half, $350.) Everything in me told me Stepdaughter NEEDED this trip, and I started on Mr. W. I said I would give her the $350, I wouldn’t miss it, and I really feel that this IS the best timing for her. I argued that she doesn’t go, she will lose the motivation to do something for herself such as getting a job and fundraising, and she’ll just dick around all summer with the ridiculous cult-group and be the perpetually spoiled OC girl. He finally agreed, and said it’ll just be between me and her that we do this and he’s not going to stand in our way or have anything to do with it. I agreed and texted her right away. She was so grateful and relieved, and said that now her mom would pay. “And the process begins! I know the rest will be provided! And this is such a blessing and an incredible opportunity that I’m NEVER going to forget! Thank you thank you thank you :)”
I wrote back “I have a gut feeling this is something really good for you & the timing is ideal. No school, husband, kids, job. & I feel you will learn, it will open your eyes, & it gives you a goal for fundraising.”
She responded, “Thanks Cindy. Yeah I feel the same way! And I’m so determined to work for this too…not just fundraise but also get a job within the next 2 weeks to help pay and stuff…thanks for the support too!!!”
Since we were now back at Rebecca’s office with our coworkers, I told Rebecca about Stepdaughter and her desire to go to Haiti on a missionary trip this summer. Rebecca immediately closed her eyes to “ask” and then said, “Yes, she can go to Haiti. This is going to be a LIFE-CHANGING trip for her. They’ll be focused on, ‘Let’s preach this and that to them,’ and SHE’ll be more like, ‘How can you talk about that now? THEY HAVE NO WATER! What can we do? We need to get them clean water!’ She will grow tremendously from this trip and her life will take a turn. Maybe something with Peace Corps.” I had that same feeling! Rebecca said, “Well, you know! You’re intuitive.” (To skip ahead, after we got home that night, I handed Daughter the check. She was on her way to her mother’s for dinner and to get her mom’s half, and she told me her mom was “upset.” I asked why. Turns out her mom had hinged her contribution on Mr. W, saying she’d only pay half if Mr. W pays half, and she was “shocked” when she learned that Ana got her half from us. Appparently mom’s plan was to put it all on Mr. W, expecting him to say no, so that he would be the bad guy and not her, but since she set it up as “I’ll pay half only if he pays half,” she was now obligated and called on her bluff. I asked Daughter not to tell her mom that the money came from me. She said of course. She also told us briefly about the “Haiti Training” she got from church, how hot and difficult it was, how dirty, and they drank from simulated dirty water which was water with dark food coloring. She was VERY disconcerted about the dirty water.) I also brought up a concern about Daughter’s involvement with the “cult-like” religious group. Rebecca said the group sounded weird, but that it didn’t matter; they were just a part of Daughter’s journey and had no direct influence on Daughter’s fate. Her life and her learning was her own, independent of them. WHEW!

Around that time, my coworker returned from the restroom and joined us. She looked so much better, and just seemed lighter after her session. One of her close friends, another coworker (we’ll call her Coworker 2), went halfers on the hour-session with me and had gone in with Coworker 1 for moral support and to take notes. The four of us went for a nice seafood lunch nearby, and the Coworker 1 treated us all, insisting that this would be a celebration of her recently deceased mom’s life, and a celebration for the new life starting in me. Afterwards I thanked her for feeding my kid, and we parted ways.

Mr. W and I walked to the coffeehouse to meet up with Rebecca again for her open session workshop. Soon, my jubilation was increased as Idlehouse came by (I’d told her the next time she was in town, to let me know so I could tell her if Rebecca would also be in town for the free coffeehouse workshop; Idlehouse had a phone reading with Rebecca about a year ago), followed by my court reporter, my stepson (!!! by himself, too!), and Maggie and her hubby. It was great seeing everyone, and meeting Idlehouse in person. Everyone asked a couple of questions, including the Stepson. Afterwards, I walked Idlehouse to her husband’s car, where I waved at him, and smiled at her sleeping toddler in the backseat. What a lovely family. Then I rejoined Mr. W and his son. I asked what Son thought of his first dealing with a clairvoyant, and he said it was really cool. (I was afraid he’d been bored.) He want to come again for the next time. Yay! Son’s been growing up a lot in the past months, and I like the person he’s becoming now. He’s less contrary, seems at peace, and much more open. He’s been working out nearly daily, and Mr. W joins him at the gym whenever possible. The two of them bonding is probably what made Son come on his own to meet us at the coffeehouse that day. He also said he has outgrown the ghetto boys he used to drive down to hang out and do less-than-legal things with all the time. AND, he’s now coming into the realization that the universe is bigger and more inclusive than he’d previously thought, and that’s brought him some comfort.

After leaving the beach, Mr. W and I drove to my parents’ and dropped off the giant earthquake survival kit we’d made for them. They were shocked, saying they expected a little first-aid kit (which was also part of our giant survival rolling duffelbag). I said no, we’re making sure they survive for weeks given a huge disaster, but that if nothing happens in a year, to remember to break open all the food in there and eat it all. They said they’d have an emergency food party.

Well, just one friend: Ann. She’s had her ups and downs, and I’m banned from gymming, so she came over after work yesterday with a delicious Papa John’s pizza while Mr. W was pumping iron at the gym without me. She introduced me to amazing dipping sauces, which made me eat all my pizza crust. I’m drooling right now thinking of it. Anyway, we talked, laughed, and traded stories. I finally found out what she FIRST thought of me, given the odd way we met. She was afraid I’d be offended, but I didn’t find her opinion offensive, especially when “intelligent” and “compelling” were two of the words she used to describe me back in ’06. I’d practically excuse anything after that, haha. (There’s a joke in here somewhere about how she TRIED to stay away, and couldn’t, and found herself sucked into Cindy’s World. Can you blame her, with posts back then like this? We stumbled upon this post and I laughed out loud.) Also, we found out just how small the world is, not that we didn’t already know given how she and I met. It’s interesting to hear her side of a couple in which I know the different side, as we’d just discovered yesterday that one of her friends is married to someone I’ve known since high school. Interesting the images each side of a couple gives their friends, and how the picture looks put together. Life’s pretty cool sometimes. So are friendships, in which you can be goofy, introspective, philosophical, and open over pizza and garlic butter dipping sauces.

I had my ultrasound appointment this morning to check on the sac. The doctor found the sac without issue. It pretty much looks like just a black dot. He measured it and said it is at the right size for this time frame, then turned the vaginal ultrasound wand toward my ovaries. He said the ovaries look slightly enlarged, which concerned me, but then he said quickly that this is good; he’d expected some enlargement due to the process I’d undergone and am going through, but that it’s not overly enlarged, which is what he did not want to see. He went back to the black dot in the middle and zoomed in. With the mouse pointer, he circled the border at a part of the dot and said that this is the yolk sac. I didn’t see anything distinguishing this black part from any other black part, but then, I was looking at a wall-mounted monitor with poorer resolution than the one he was looking at. Mr. W was looking at the same monitor the doctor was, attached to the ultrasound machine, and told me afterwards that the “color” was different around the yolk part. I asked the doctor whether he could tell where the sac was attached in my uterus. He said he couldn’t yet, since he can’t observe the placenta yet, but that it’s somewhere at the top of my uterus. That’s good, because I read in my baby book that I definitely do NOT want it to attach at the bottom. That would create lots of complications if it’s too close to my cervix. So, according to the doctor, we are seeing what we expect to see at this stage, and everything looks good and normal. Yay! I’m successfully growing a black dot!

When I got dressed and met him out at the nurse’s station, I was given a printout of the ultrasound, which they’d placed into a little photo folder. We laughed, it was so cute. “It’s your first baby photo!” the nurse said. Here’s the inside of the folder:

I went to the phlebotomist station and had a blood draw so they could check my hormones. If the hormones (progestin, I think) look high enough, they’ll start weening me off the Progesterone shots at night. Currently I’m still getting 1cc injected into my butt muscle each night, followed by a nice butt massage and heating pad session, courtesy of the baby’s daddy. Mr. W must be doing a good job with the injections and massage, because altho I’d been warned by others who had walked my path and by nurses and doctors alike to expect tangible lumps or knots inside my glute muscles from the injected Progesterone in sesame oil (which my body should fully absorb and work out within months, they say), I don’t have any as of yet. I’ll update when the nurse calls me later with blood test results.

I had a brief chat over IM with Rebecca this morning. She ended the conversation with, “gonna have to go…sending love and good thoughts…and just for the record, I think this one is gonna take. I do want to remind you that I am not always right, but I am having a sense a fullness right now thinking about you and that’s why I think you are pregnant…xoxoxo”
People in the know have been asking me this week how I’m feeling. “I feel nothing,” I tell them quite honestly. “I don’t know what all these women complain about; pregnancy’s a breeze!” (Yes, they know it’s a joke.)

The nurse called with my blood test results.
Progestin level: They’re looking for a number over 20. Mine is 74.8.
Estrogen level: 1327.
I’m instructed to reduce the nightly Progesterone shot from 1cc to .5 cc. They’re weaning me off! Yay! They also gave me a fistful of free syringes today cuz I was about to run out. I asked for a prescription for syringes, they gave me freebies. Yay!
I’m also instructed to reduce the estrogen patches from 2 (to be torn off and replaced every 3rd day) to 1 (to be torn off and replaced every 3rd day). My body is responding and making the proper hormones, so the doctor is halving all my doses! Yay!

Mr. W and I compiled an earthquake survival kit over the weekend. I’d first checked with my parents and asked if they had one, and if not, if they’d like me to make one for them. My dad responded for me to go ahead, so Mr. W and I doubled everything we bought. Unfortunately, as Mr. W is a huge Costco fan, our earthquake kits came out to about $200 each. But that includes first aid kids, lots of food, and two new rolling duffels. We could probably feed the entire neighborhood from our survival kit, or survive a zombie apocolypse, provided we had a big stick to beat off scavenging neighbors in the second scenario. My mom called on Sunday and told me to skip the weekend visit as she was really sick. I protested I had to bring them their earthquake survival kit. She said if earthquakes happen, they will likely be at work, and our giant home-supply kit isn’t going to help anyway. Good point. She said ideally, we should have more portable survival kits in our cars because that’s something we’ll always have with us, no matter where we are. Also good point. Oh well.

On Saturday, we had our first official “event” with Daughter’s new beau. We’d only met him once before, rather recently, and rather briefly. This time, we invited him over so we could all go to sushi at a local favorite all-you-can-eat place. Turned out, despite his telling Daughter that he LOVES sushi, he’d really meant rolls and didn’t realize there’s a whole other world of nigiri. Son came over for lunch, too. So the 5 of us sat at the sushi bar and some of us had a ball. “Some” = Mr. W and Beau; Mr. W’s two kids, Son & Daughter, refused to eat anything out of their comfort zones so they just ordered a bunch of rolls, nothing raw for Daughter. She claims to “hate seafood.” Son did try spicy tuna and seemed to enjoy it. As for me, I was going to just avoid the high-mercury fish, but as soon as the sushi chef learned I was pregnant, he convinced me that I shouldn’t eat most of this stuff raw. He proudly announced that he has an 8-month-old at home, and that he had taken 5 parenting classes, one of which included nutrition for pregnancies. He had all the current info on how sushi should be prepared and limited for expectant mothers. I just deferred to him and let him serve me omakase style. He avoided all fish in the tuna family (ahi, yellowtail, albacore, etc) and did serve me several pieces of salmon, but he’d lightly seared the outer surface of the fish to kill off any surface bacteria, leaving the inside thankfully rare. He also made me special rolls with optimal nutrition in mind. I saw that a bunch had asparagus spears inside. Beau enjoyed everything, and kept trying to get Daughter to try his favorites — salmon and yellowtail. She refused. Hours later, when everyone was hanging out with us at our house and Mr. W took a nap in the La-Z-Boy as everyone else watched March Madness on TV and I played the piano, every few hours the silence would be broken with Beau sighing, “Ooooh, that yellowtail belly sushi!”
Soon Son and Mr. W left for a father-son gymming session, and Beau engaged me in a long conversation about religion. Not just about HIS religion, but about other religions, Calvinism, my beliefs, thoughts on predestination vs. free will, what personal experiences we’ve had in our lives that brought us to our specific beliefs. I respected much of his opinion. Although he is die-hard Christian (newly for a year, so he’s got that born-again conviction), he wasn’t pushy or preachy, and had an open enough mind to accept questions or suppositions I put up. For example, he brought up that the Bible says no woman should be a leader among men, and I said I had a hard time thinking everyone would be okay with that in this age. He said he has no problem with others not accepting this belief of his, and if he sees a woman leader leading men, he wouldn’t condemn her or say anything; if he decided it wasn’t for him, he just simply wouldn’t go to that service. But he doesn’t judge others who believe differently. I asked whether it was possible, in his opinion, that back when that passage was written, it was at a time when women were not allowed to participate in political events, talks, or even allowed to be educated. Clearly if they decided to incite a rebellion, these women would have a disadvantage in being informed, so maybe it was safer to tell people to just not allow women to lead. But that is not true today when women have the same access to information, education, and just about anything else. Beau acknowledged that this is possible, but because he doesn’t feel that he is qualified to start defining Christian rules as “cultural” vs. permanent, he feels it’s safer for him to not redefine anything personally. Because, he reasoned, what would keep someone from redefining all rules, and saying, “Oh, that no-premarital-sex thing? That’s old-fashioned cultural stuff that no longer applies to today’s culture. I don’t have to follow that. Oh, that love-they-neighbor thing? That was back then. Today’s world is different.” I get that. I can respect his logic. I also respect that throughout our discussions, he remained able to intellectualize his reasoning, he never blindly regurgitated Bible quotes or declared a defensive war with me on theology. We both just shared, and asked questions, and really thought about our answers before giving them. If there were something he wasn’t sure about, he’d either think and hypothesize, or say he simply didn’t know. At the end he gave me a hug and said he enjoyed our conversation. We also both seem to dislike the pushy “preachy” Christians who end up being more hypocritical than truly living the spirit of Christianity, as they judge negatively all the non-Christians around them and condemn everyone else’s behavior. Beau said that goes against the heart of Christianity; he believes in living in a way one believes is right according to Jesus, loving and praying for one’s neighbors through the neighbors’ decisions to do things contrary to Christian “law.” He says you don’t spout hellfire at them because you are not “above” everyone else simply because you are saved, and you are not “better” or “more deserving” in Jesus’ eyes. He says we’re all the same sinners, some have just found Jesus already. Again, I can respect that. The only thing that kinda bugged me was that he said he would have to ask someone like Rebecca who her Lord is, and if she gives ANY word response except “Jesus,” he couldn’t participate with her. I asked, what about “God” as a response? He thought and decided no, because “God” is generic and could mean any god, and he didn’t trust himself know whether he was following the “right” God and his intention is to stay on a specifically Christian path. So he wouldn’t take the risk of following non-Christian doctrine without realizing it. I understand that, it’s rather conservative and humble, but at least he’s open-minded enough to converse and learn about other religious views. Daughter, on the other hand, has a harsher more closed-perspective about her religion. She didn’t think she’d return to Rebecca because Rebecca had made a past-life reference in reading someone else, and Daughter said she’d discussed this with other pastors and they didn’t agree with reincarnation, so Rebecca must be — well, she didn’t use the word, but it’s implicit — “wrong” or “bad.” She says she believes in Rebecca’s accuracy, but was unsure of the source from which the information came, despite all of the references to the “universe,” “greater good,” “God,” “prayer.” But because Rebecca didn’t specifically say “Jesus,” that was the problem — she didn’t say the key word for the Christian community. Beau actually gently corrected Daughter, saying if Daughter didn’t know if Rebecca was Christian, she should ask Rebecca before deciding she must not be, and mused that the Bible doesn’t specifically condemn or deny reincarnation, although it addresses mainly specifically one’s current lifetime and one’s afterlife, and he mentioned some story about a woman at the well to whom Jesus said something about her having lived 5 lives. He said he simply didn’t “know” about reincarnation, but that he will once this life ends and he greets his Maker.

So anyway, Sunday was rainy, which was nice for staying indoors. Daughter disappeared early morning to church and didn’t return until about 10:30p (with Beau in tow). Mr. W and I spent the day being lazy. I watched a “House” marathon, read my baby book during commercials, and did a ton of laundry; he played a new game on his computer the entire day, stopping every so often when I would appear to tell him something funny I saw on “House,” something funny Dodo did, or needed a hug in between stupid loads of laundry. And he stopped at 8pm of course (after I yelled and yelled at him from the stair landing, because he played the game with headphones tightly plugged into his ears) to give me my Progesterone shot and massage the offended butt muscle. (Heating pads afterwards work WONDERS!) I also had a nice phone chat with my expecting cousin Jennifer. Her due date is the end of September, so she’s a bit ahead of me and shared some of her first trimester complaints of nausea and how “eating has now totally become a chore.” I shared with her what I’ve learned recently about epigenetics and proper pregnancy nutrition. (You’re eating for 1.1 in the first trimester, not for 2, so doubling food quantity is totally excessive AND bad for the baby.) She made a passing suggestion for going maternity shopping together. I’m still (secretly) hoping to get away with buying little to no maternity clothing. Why invest tons of money for a condition that only lasts a few months of my life? Besides, plenty of today’s fashion is empire-waisted and look like maternity clothes anyway. Much cheaper (and cuter) than ACTUAL specialty maternitywear.

I thought I was entering into the morning sickness stage of pregnancy this morning when I felt a little sick after drinking water this morning, and thought, “Oh no! I have dinner plans with Ann tonight to catch up over Japanese BBQ” But it passed, so I’m hoping it stays away a bit longer.

Second hCG blood test this morning. If the kid is in there and alive and growing, the hCG hormone levels should double every other day or so. The hCG level on Wednesday was 363. Because we’re in this (painful) collections jury trial, I had my cellphone on silent and missed the call, but as soon as I saw the missed call, I grabbed my phone and ran out into the back hallway to listen to voice mail. And today’s hCG level is…777! THAT’S right, if we were in Vegas that’d be money! So the kid is in there, clinging on and taking his nutrients like he should be.

I had to call back to schedule a next appointment (which until this morning I didn’t know I would have). They’re going to do an ultrasound to check on the baby’s sac Wednesday morning, then a week after that, they’re doing another ultrasound to check on the heartbeat. I’ll try to get that last one on video. 🙂 Unfortunately, everything from today on is going to be additional out-of-pocket expense. I’ll have to do an updated accounting for those who are interested.

Before we hung up, the nurse said, “Oh, and you still have all your meds, right?” I told her I had no estrogen patches left but I had SOME progesterone still in the vial for the shots. She told me I need enough of the two so to call the pharmacy right away and have them overnight refills of the two items to me. That would be 8 patches and 2 vials of progesterone. TWO VIALS? That’s how much I had to begin with! I asked how much of that I would be using, and she answered, “You’re going to keep that up until we see the heartbeat, so about 2 weeks’ worth.” WAH!

For fun though, Flip Flop Girl helped me (via IM) calculate the kid’s due date. The “clinical age” of the baby is calculated based on the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, so we checked the calendar and both arrived on the date of November 25. Thanksgiving baby! That also means that Rebecca is going to be right-on. People were telling me 40 weeks gestation would bring me to the end of December, but turns out, they were counting 40 weeks from conception, which is not how it’s done. So unless the baby is a week late (and Flip Flop says the doctors would not allow a pregnancy beyond 41 weeks; they’d induce) or a month early (also unlikely), it will be a November baby.

YAY! I’m officially preggers!

You know how it feels when you feel you’ve studied and prepared in all earnestness for a pretty important test or final exam, and you go in to take the test the morning it’s scheduled, and when you’re there you’re told by the test administrators that — surprise! — this is just going to be Part I of II, and if you pass Part I, you’ll “get” to take Part II in a couple of days? Well, I do.

Mr. W and I arrived early for our (my) walk-in blood test this morning at the fertility doctors’ office. This is it! The pregnancy test! The culmination of the last months of preparation, shots, eating well, avoiding “bad” foods, tons of talks and conjectures with each other and friends. At last, the guessing and hoping would be allayed! As I sat there getting my blood drawn, the phlebotomist (the regular one, and not “Berta,” yay!) explained to me that they are checking for my hCG (“pregnancy hormone”) level, and if it’s above a certain number, then indeed my body is producing this hormone so the embryo transplant was successful (I’ve learned in my baby book that the developing placenta secretes hCG, which tells the former follicles in the ovaries to produce estrogen and progestin). HOWEVER, in some cases, yes the transplant was successful and yes the embryo’s in there, but things didn’t “take” and the embryo stopped developing and would end up being a miscarriage in the near future. So although the blood would still have hCG in there from the presence of the embryo, there’s no telling whether the embryo is still alive and well and growing. So, if today’s blood test comes back positive for hCG, they want me back in 2 days for another blood test to re-check hCG levels. If in that time, hCG levels have increased (doubled, preferably), it means that progress is occurring and the embryo is alive and growing.

This doctor’s office has always been really good about calling me by lunchtime with blood test results, so I was waiting for a pretty early call. We had our death penalty case hearing in the morning, then we went on to our civil trial…we swore in twelve jurors…we recessed and I attended a meeting at 11:20a regarding our death penalty case and brought my cell phone with me…I returned afterwards and ate lunch at my desk…nothing. Why was this taking so long? I was getting nervous, because the nurse had said that if their blood tests showed any problems, they would have a consult with the doctor before calling the patient, in order to give the most current doctor’s instructions and information to the patient. So is a doctor now telling a nurse to hold off calling me because we have to address some problem? I imagined a phone call in which I hear a nurse say “Congratulations.” As long as I hear that word in the content of the call I’ll be fine. I had another meeting at 1pm so at 12:55p, I realized I pretty much had to use the restroom now or have a problem later, and when I got up, I said to my court reporter, “Watch, I’m going to the restroom and this will be when my doctor will call.” I returned from the restroom minutes later and saw on my cell phone I’d missed a call. I dialed voice mail as I rushed to leave for my 1pm meeting.

“Hey Cindy, it’s Patty from Dr. [name]’s office. Congratulations, I have good news for you! Your hCG test came back positive. your hCG level is 363, and we’re looking for a number above 100, so like I said, yours is 363k, so it’s very good…” The remaining of the call was information on what supplements and treatments to continue, and instructing me to return on Friday for another walk-in blood test. Oh, and I’m to call back to confirm receipt of this voice mail, but I was immediately at the meeting about new changes in legal procedures (which was SO DULL compared to MY news!), and then it ran a little late so when I returned to my courtroom, we were already on the record with trial back in full swing, and that brings us to the “now.”

My mom emailed me last nite that my younger cousin Jennifer just announced her pregnancy. Mom’s hoping for a “double happiness” for “double lucky” good news, but I’m telling you guys here first! Altho TECHNICALLY, we should hold the parade until we get Friday’s test results. (How anticlimactic, huh?)

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