...that this is currently a photo blog, but haven't had a whole lot of time to write and/or collect thoughts. We have been working on a post about the whole labor/birth day, but there's not a lot of free time between the things necessary for basic survival. Hope these will partly make up for it:

Others are over at flickr.

First Video

He's all cute and adorable here, but just know what was coming out the other end was not so cute and adorable.


D-Day + 3

Pam's at an accupuncture appointment right now. There are points that can trigger labor after a couple of sessions. We're trying everything we can right now. Walking, spicy foods, etc.

Sunday night she actually had some contractions that actually caused a little discomfort (she's been having some for months now that are just the body practicing) when we had just sat down to eat some Thai food (spicy food not even in effect). I started noting the times just in case, but they had petered out by the time we left Titaya's. We still came home and finished packing the bags and organizing the gear we're taking to the birthing center. 

... just hung up with her. Nothing yet, but sounds like she had a good session, gave her a chance to meditate and practice relaxation. The accupuncturist suggested castor oil, as did another friend a couple of days ago. 

We have a midwife appointment at 4 today. Maybe they'll give us a couple of other tricks to get this show on the road.

And a major thank you to everyone for all the good luck wishes and thoughts and phone calls and love. It is awesome and humbling to know that you all are out there rooting for us.


it's been a good run

no baby yet. i feel compelled to repeat this to everyone who calls or emails me today. no baby no baby no baby.

i have to say that i think i'm actually going to miss being pregnant. it's crazy i know. most women are screaming "get this thing outta me" at this point, but i've actually kind of enjoyed it. ok, the no alcohol thing is for the birds, but otherwise there are a lot of great things about it. it does wonders for your skin and hair (i swear i only have to wash my hair every 3 days and it never looks bad. normally i can't go more than a day and a half.) you actually do glow and people complement you on it. strangers are (generally) nice to you. friends are excited about every new development in your life. you get to leave places or bail on things whenever you damn well feel like it and nobody faults you - heck, they expect it. there's no heavy lifting (other than your own weight, which is considerable) and i haven't had to pick things up off the floor for weeks...which is good cuz you get clumsy. and you get these crazy good hormones! there's the second trimester ones which make the sex rock but there are others that have lasted me well up until the last few weeks. these hormones chilled me out better than any antidepressant i've ever tried. at the most hectic point in my life i've actually been able to let go and let what happens happen. but the best thing by far is the feeling of having a living human being move around in your belly. it's comforting and it never fails to surprise you...it's indescribably awesome. not to mention it's such a convenient way to take care of another person. hands free, baby!

i've thought about this throughout my pregnancy and have wanted to write this post often. back in the summer i was at a friend's birthday party and another friend of mine, a mother, was asking how it was all going. when i told her how good i felt she leaned in and confided to me in a whisper "i loved being pregnant." i smiled, knowing that this sentiment was considered by many to be verboten. pregnancy is generally thought of as such a burden, rife with nasty side-effects to be listed and lamented about, something that wreaks havoc on your body. but i just have to give a shout-out for the rest of us, those who have been lucky enough to have enjoyed it.


what he said

i'd like to add that only 5% of babies are born on their due date.  it is an inherently imprecise formula due to the fact that the due date is calculated at 40 weeks from the first day of your last period and it's (obviously) impossible to get pregnant that day or for the next several days after that.  so the math is off by approximately 2 weeks from the get-go, not that there's any way to standardize what the 'normal' length of gestation is anyway.  it's just yet another thing that the medical industry tries to predict and mother nature laughs in their face.

i will say, however, that freeway has been all over us for attention like stink on you-know-what today.  i think she senses something is afoot.  now i'd put money on her.

which takes me to the subject for my next blog post: will having kids be as awesome as having cats? i mean, look at this face. she kills me.


Well, here we are. Just walked to breakfast and back. Now about to do a bunch of chores and errands. 

Everything is fine here. Situation normal. We're all good here. How are you? (I don't know why a paraphrasing of Star Wars just came to mind. Oh wait, of course I do.)

Just a little reminder, but these first ones do tend to percolate a little past the due date. Will that be the case here? Not if he's like his dad, but if he's like his mom, some waiting might be involved.

Everyone can chillax, we got this.


Greezed Lightnin'

Kyrsten just sent this email:

"I had a dream about Greezed Lightnin' last night - a semi-recurring rollercoaster dream - that made me think of y'all this morning. Wondering how greezed your lightnin' is..."

For the non-Houstonians, Greezed Lightnin' was a rollercoaster at Astroworld that launched like a jet off an aircraft carrier, put you thru a loop then up a steep incline, hanging there and then going thru the loop in reverse and hanging at the top of another incline, and finally being whiplashed to a sudden stop where you started.

This was my reply: 

"One of my favorite Astroworld rides... I either liked to ride in the front row or the back car. Before the ride started, each of those gave you an advantage over the other riders. From the front you could see the little launching mechanism as it rolled back between the rails and disappeared under the car. You knew that very soon, you'd be off, 0-60 in about 3 seconds and then hitting that loop. While in the back, you could hear the little mechanism latch into place underneath you. There were a great few seconds of adrenalized anxiety both when waiting for the mechanism to roll into place and latch, and then after it latched waiting for the high school seniors to exchange a thumbs-up and the one at the control board to hit the green button.

Right now, we're waiting for the launching mechanism to lock into place."



My dad sent me a box of 25 hand-rolled Hondurans. I'd love to light one up 5 minutes ago but the waiting will make them so much better.
Maybe I'll share.

Oh ok, I'll share.


Pull handle A while pushing handle A

I can set up a playpen* and take it apart so it will fit back in its travel caddy.

Yeah, I do feel like I've accomplished something.

Also, this experience totally reinforced my desire to write assembly instructions so that they are thorough and crystal-clear; there were a few things I had to figure out for myself.

*Playpen is no longer the accepted nomenclature. Play yard Playard, please.  Um, yeah. Whatever.

Oh yeah...

...we're at 39 weeks as of this past Saturday. This week's food/baby comparison food is watermelon. Pam thanks you for the empathetic groan you just uttered.

It's kind of, ok not kind of, it's totally stunning to think/realize that what we've been waiting and preparing for is about to happen, and that very shortly, we'll have something else to take care of other than Freeway and the Boots. And ourselves.

I hope he likes robots.


Pretty Big Weekend

Saturday was painting party day. My mom, Rob, Robyn, Stephanie, Tim, & Quinn came over and helped paint, while Trevor showed up and made some collars for the a/c ducts. We did the kid's room, 3 walls in the dining room, and changed a color on one kitchen wall. Thanks to everyone who came over and helped. We did a lot in about 5 1/2 hours.

Today, we picked up the crib and dresser, making the kid's room pretty darn complete. 


8 Days

Work nears completion in the house, at least as far as what we need to do to make it ready for him. A little more painting and then just need to p/u and assemble the crib and dresser.

And then we wait....


tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock

We're 33 days away from the estimated due date/D-day/B-day... 11/29.

Pam's in her 35th week. That's only 3 weeks shy of being full term. A pregnancy is full-term anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks. 40 is in the middle so that's what they use for the due date.

"We're about ready to pop here, honey."

He's getting his introduction to music with a little Radiohead, Beatles, and U2 thru some headphones. He'll probably get some Beethoven too, maybe a little John Coltrane and Billie Holiday. Any other suggestions?

Also, 7 years ago today this happened:

"Ich bin expert!" ... "Yeah, well that's just your opinion, man."

An interesting thing with pregnancy is that even if you've only gone thru it once, you know so much more about it than anyone who hasn't gone thru it, or is in the process of going thru it. And even if it's been awhile since it happened, it's the kind of thing you never forget.

My question is: does that previous experience inherently mean that person knows best? With all due sincerity and respect, I don't think knowing more necessarily equals knowing best. Advances in philosophy and technology will change approaches over time (though those may be at odds with each other as well). 

We're using the Bradley Method and doing a natural birth. There's some basic info here and here. In conjunction with the Bradley Method, the birth will take place at a birthing center and be attended by a midwife, as opposed to at a hospital with a doctor. This all happened when we came to see that pregnancy is not an illness, but a natural and regular part of life. To us, it just didn't seem right to go to a hospital and see a doctor, who is trained to diagnose and treat medical problems, for something normal. Midwives have been assisting in births since at least 1900 BC, while doctors became the prominent pregnancy/birth caregivers in the US around the beginning of the 20th century, so it's not like seeing a midwife is flying by the proverbial seat of one's pants. We also don't want drugs entering into the laboring equation for a variety of reasons, but most importantly for us, is the potential of a slippery slope ending in a c-section.

I was initially opposed to the idea of going to a midwife. This was mostly due to having watched a neighbor leave her homebirth in an ambulance for a hospital when I was a kid. We started out with a doctor, partially due to that memory but also due to concerns with Pam being in her late 30s. Those concerns, however, were unfounded and all tests were passed with flying colors. We talked with Dr. Binford about some of our concerns with how things would go down in the hospital and the desire to avoid drugs. Unfortunately, the answers she gave were not really answers, but more passive-aggressive lectures, and "we'll do everything we can to do a natural birth, so long as its safe for the baby." We toured the hospital with about 10-12 other expectant couples. Pam was one of only two people to ask any questions. When those questions dealt with natural birth, the answer always ended with "we'll do everything we can to do a natural birth, so long as its safe for the baby." But never did we get details on what those parameters were or how they would be determined. We felt they were giving themselves leeway to be overly cautious to do things to protect themselves. But, many of those things seemed to be counterintuitive to the natural birthing methods we hoped to use and could in fact slow labor down.

One difference between midwives and obstetricians is that the latter practice medicine while the former do not. If Pam didn't pass all the tests with flying colors and wasn't having a low-risk pregnancy, we'd still be with Dr. Binford; the birthing center will not even accept clients unless the pregnancy is low-risk. Should anything change, or God forbid, complications arise, we'll go to a doctor at a hospital. We're glad they're around with the skills they have to help out in a medical emergency, and if we need those skills, we won't hesitate to use them.

In preparing for yesterday's Bradley class, I read this: "If someone were to say that in nine months he was going to throw you into ten feet of water, you would want to learn how to swim. Being pregnant, the same rules apply. If you know that at the end of nine months you are going to give birth, you should learn how."

If you know Pam and I reasonably well, you may know that we don't make decisions, especially major ones like this, quickly or lightly. We are contemplative and deliberate, sometimes perhaps to a fault, though not this time. We're doing all we can to prepare for the arrival of the little nipper. Is there a chance of making mistakes? Most definitely, because that's just how life is, especially when you're about to do something you've never done before. But I assure you we're approaching this with confidence and educating ourselves so that we're as prepared as we can be.

Everyone goes thru life doing what they feel is best for them (and/or their loved ones) in any situation, given the choices they have with which to work. For some that might be giving birth at a hospital with a doctor and an epidural. For some it might be at home, or at a birthing center, with a midwife. The when, where, and how doesn't change anything about the overall awesomeness of the event. It doesn't matter when, where, and how it happens as much as ending up with a healthy baby and a healthy mom. 


Kitchen Update

We've got countertops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's glass with some green swirls in it that's been embedded into the concrete, which is a dark gray. You'll have to see it in person to truly see it. They were awesomely made by Sun McColgin; his website is here.



Had our first shower this past Saturday. Thanks to the McGroaches, Doolicks, and Friesenhausens for hosting and to everyone who joined us. Thanks also for all the great gifts. A large dent was definitely made in the registry! We've got one more shower this weekend and are glad to have one under our belt. Just might be getting the hang of this...

And hey, if you took pictures on Saturday, we'd love to get some copies for our personal collection and may post a few here, too. Or we could grab them off flickr.com if you use that. Thanks!



i bet y'all thought i wasn't going to say a peep about this whole birthin' a baby thing.  admittedly, i'm not much of a starter.  i'm actually not much of a finisher either so what does that make me...a middler?  in any event, this is one process that is going to finish with or without me so i might as well give y'all my 2 cents.

i broke up with my OB/GYN today.  due to the fact that she told us not once, not twice, but three times that it "hurts her feelings" when people leave her practice (enough in and of itself to have justified a break up months ago), i fully expected some sort of seinfeld-like experience right out in front of everyone in her waiting room.  in reality i was the only one there and simply handed my request form to transfer my medical records to the receptionist and that was it.  after much pondering and research (and nothing but healthy check-ups and negative test results) we decided we'd prefer to see a midwife at the Austin Area Birthing Center.  i've got lots of reasons and supporting statistics - too many to list here.  suffice it to say that i'm simply not sick and would rather not be treated by those who specialize in illness and what can go wrong.  if, god forbid, something went wrong i'd want to be in a hospital surrounded by competent doctors.  but if nothing is going wrong (as is the case in 90% of births) then i want to be with the birthing experts, and i believe those are midwives.  (again, statistics abound - maybe in a future post.)  i also want to have a natural birth, without any unnecessary interventions, and the likelihood of achieving that in a hospital is unfortunately very low.  i need to be in a supportive, stress-free environment.  i'm excited about my decision.  i feel very strongly about it, and i feel strengthened by it, too.



Sometimes people really need to think before they speak. Especially to a pregnant woman. Things get rewired in their body. They have a greater sense of smell, strange desires for food, etc. These things happen in their brains, so you'd be crazy not to think that their perception of things said doesn't change as well. As a dude, I've found dealing with a chick in an up-close and personal type of relationship to be an exciting adventure where you never quite know what might happen. Re-wire her system and stick a growing, developing parasite in her belly and it's a whole different kind of adventure.

So it's always interesting to hear people's opinions on what Pam (and/or us as a couple in this here baby-makin' episode) are doing wrong or how crazy it is to be doing this or that. The interesting factor is also affected by if they've gone thru this themselves or not. Sure, everybody's got an opinion, and they usually think (sometimes they know) they're right. (It's kinda funny when it's inconceivable that anyone could think differently. Or maybe it's just sad.) Decorum often prevents me from telling them to STFU, but I certainly think it.

And I include myself in this semi-rant too.


Kitchen Photos Update

We've painted the kitchen, built all the cabinet frames and here they are roughed in place. A couple of steps closer....


Kid A Registry Info

Invites to the first shower are out and those for the second shower will be out soon. Yes, guys are invited (there's going to be beer to ease the pain). No, there won't be any baby shower games (also to ease the pain). 

Here's where we're registered:

babies r us--search under Pam or Stephen Light and/or registry #73806740. 

Target--search under Pam or Stephen Light and/or registry #014399700134721.

Austin Baby--that link goes to the gift registry info page and this link goes directly to our page.

Special Addition--no registry here, but a good place for Pam to get some maternity items and other baby things too. They do gift certificates.

This stuff can get expensive so if you want to tag-team with somebody, go for it; we won't be offended.

The purple dragon theme has been slain. Instead, he's going to have a big retro-style robot mural in his room. So anything with robots on it would be cool in place of the same non-robot items that are on the registry.

Based on some reading we've done regarding child development that says the best toys are 90% kid, 10% toy, we're looking for things that don't have a ton of flashing lights and buzzing, beeping noises, like a lot of the newer activity-type toys have. Think old school (like plastic keys and big blocks). See this link for more info.

We're also wary of the recent rash of lead-posioned toys from China, so feel free to avoid them. One alternative would be polished wood toys.

And if you're already a parent and see something totally useless on one of the registries, or we're missing something that made your life so much easier that you highly recommend, please let us know. We've asked questions about lots of things and read reviews of almost everything, but still, we're flying blind here.


nom nom nom nom nom nom

A few years back we were going out to a couple of parties with Rob and Robyn. Coming along with us on the first part of the night was our other friend Vance, his baby mama Brandy, and their baby, Jonah. 

The first party was a birthday shindig for a camera person Rob works with and also for someone's roommate, so there were a few film people we knew there, but then plenty of people that we didn't know. Brandy is carrying Jonah around bundled up in a sling from this room to that room. Pam and I have been hanging in the back yard but go inside because we each have to go the restroom. As we go thru the kitchen, we see Vance and Brandy in a circle of people. She's talking to some girl, kinda punkish looking. From our point-of-view and their body language, it seems like they know each other and we go about our business.

Dissolve to: a little while later. We're back outside when Brandy comes out and announces that the punkish girl we'd seen her talking with just said she wanted to eat Jonah.

"We thought you knew her," we said. She said she'd never met the girl before. She just came up and they started talking and then all of a sudden she said, "Man, I'd really like to eat your kid right about now."

"Am I wrong to be totally freaked out?" Brandy asked. "Is that a normal thing? To tell a total stranger that you'd like to eat their baby? Because then she kept repeating it: 'I'm gonna eat your baby. I'm gonna eat your baby.' "

"Some people's sense of humor...." someone said. 

"No, I don't think so," Brandy said. "She was waiting for a response and, like, licking her lips."

About this time the back door opens and the punkish girl comes out with a friend. Their beer cups are empty and they have to get thru us to hit the keg.

Punkish girl to her friend: "See, look, you know he's just going to be all soft and tender."

Maybe the chick was an actress because she did not have that sparkle in her eye that says, "I am totally messing with these people," which is what Pam and I had just been thinking. Someone's just screwing with you. 

As if on cue, the punkish girl says to Brandy as she walks by, "Seriously, I would totally eat your baby. Just... well, you know," and walks back into the house.

We all kind of look at each other and laugh at the freakshow who just passed thru our lives. For whatever reason, we don't co-mingle with the rest of the party for the remainder of the time we're there and Brandy never takes an arm off Jonah.

Cut to: last week, Pam and I are working on the registry and going thru the clothes section. There's all these little clothes and little shoes and it's hard not to scan everything. I'm a guy and as such there's an unwritten rule that I'm only supposed to use the word "cute" in the context of a good-looking girl. But walking around looking at the camo shorts and the Kenneth Cole outfits and the size 0 Chuck Taylors, it was total cute overload. 

And all I wanted to do was eat everything I saw. I just wanted to put it in my mouth and commence to gnawing. Sweater---nom nom nom... overalls with a moose on them---nom nom nom... little man tracksuit---nom nom nom... 8-pack of socks that won't fit on my finger---nom nom nom NOM NOM NOM!!!

However much I might have thought punkish girl was just messing with Brandy, I now know that she definitely wasn't. She just couldn't help herself.


"I cannot tell what the dickens his name is."

--Shakespeare from "The Merry Wives of Windsor"

Those of you who check here regularly probably already know this, but I wanted to put it out there with maybe more detail or reasons behind our decision. The decision being that we're not discussing any possible names outside of our personal awesome twosome.

We've seen it happen before where somebody asks and Mom or Dad tells, and then the asker makes a sour face like, "Oh really? You're saddling your kid with that? Well, I for one, do not approve." And we're not talking about your Apples, or your Rumers, or even your Pilot Inspektors, but honest-to-goodness non-celebrity normal people names. We're choosing not to let this happen.

Another thing is that we want to meet the little nipper, say hello, and make sure the name fits the boy. He might need a little time to warm up to this strange new world he finds himself in, though hopefully he'll recognize a couple of friendly voices. And that kind of goes hand-in-hand with another reason, that being there still needs to be some element of surprise, for us as well of everyone else. We know he's a he but we'll save the moniker until his arrival.

All that being said, I can say there's a master list of about 20 or so names. Of those we each have our favorites, some of which one of us likes but the other can't stand. And some that we both actually like. Those are our front-runners. I can also say that there are no names on the list like those above, no Moon Units, no Engelberts, so you may sleep easier knowing that. 

Until his birth day though, enjoy the mystery.


Olympic Kicker

10:35 pm, Monday, 8/11/08... men's gymnastics from Beijing on tv. Michael Phelps won his 3rd gold just a few minutes ago.

Pam's watching tv and says suddenly, "He's kicking and I can see it." (She noticed it out of the corner of her eye.)

"Shut. Up," I say. We knew this was going to happen at some point, in fact we'd just been told to expect it, but neither of us were really thinking it would be happening now.

"No, check it out."

So I do. I watch her belly rise and fall with breaths a couple of times. I try to pick one spot to concentrate on, and for some reason I keep going to the middle, under her belly button, even though I know he's not laying up and down but sideways. Pam points to the lower left side of her belly and says, "He's kicking over here." And then I see one of the trippiest things I think I'll ever see--a vibration that isn't in time with a breath. She says, "There. Did you see that?"

"Yes!" And I feel my eyes bulge out of my head.

I only see it the one time, but it's enough. Seriously. This is way crazy. Wicked crazy. In. Sane.

Also, we are at ear of corn


9:45pm, Thursday, July 17, 2008

First trip to the store to satisfy sudden ice cream need.

(I got 2 flavors, just to be safe: Dreyers w/Butterfingers and Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie. We have satisfaction.)


Movement Detected

The first time it felt like a wave moved from one side of Pam's belly to the other.

Then she felt something that she likened to "that part at the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring when the elves are fighting [Sauron] and there's that deep sound and wave that moves through them. It was just like that."

And last night I felt a series of rapid movements, faint and small, but definitely there.

They call this "the quickening."

We're halfway there people. Size of... a banana!

The anatomical ultrasound happened last week. Everything is as it should be.

Circumcision update: currently leaning to not doing it. I really thought more people would comment on that, and not just to me, personally. Oh well, it is a sensitive subject.  

We sold the futon. It was in the way of future crib. Next up, selling the dining room table and getting a smaller one. Then, a smaller desk, and we'll be able to redo the office into his room (a large purple dragon may take over a wall). And a sewing table I'd better check if my mom wants.

Speaking of my mom, she decided it would be impossible to spoil the kid from Houston so she's moving up here with my grandmother. We're doing all we can to Austinize her asap.

Congratulations are in order to a few other people we know...

Just hitched: Pam's sister, Amy, made it official with her fella, Don.

Just agreed to get hitched: our friends Rob & Robyn and Casey & Kelley (apparently there's a marriage bug going around)

Also in a family way: our friends Phil & Jen, about 10 weeks behind us. Pam & Jen went to pre-natal yoga last night for the first time in preparation for baby expulsion.

Stripping mastic off cement floors is for sucks.

That's all the news from here....


Operation House Re-Do 4 Kid A

We've got about 1000 sq ft in our house and only 2 bedrooms, one of which has been the office/guest room. So that room will become the kid's room which means that the dining room is going to become the dining room/office which means that the kitchen needs to be redone so we can have some more storage space and just a better working room in general. 

We're moving the back door from the kitchen to the dining room so we ordered French doors this week. Our friend Trevor (the Elder) is overseeing the project so he came over and widened the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room. The next day, we rented a floor stripper because we're going to do stained cement floors. We started in the dining room, which had 2 layers of acrylic tile. The stripper peeled off her clothes.... er, sorry... peeled off the tile as easy as mowing the lawn. It probably took about 30-40 minutes total.

Then we turned around to do the kitchen and hit the proverbial brick wall. The linoleum flooring did not want to let go. I went back to the Home Depot and bought a couple of new blades. That helped for about 2 minutes. Then about this time, it was time for Pam and I to go see the doctor so I had to take off. When we got back 2 hours later, Trevor had done some research and was now scoring the linoleum and pouring boiling water over it. This helped a great deal but it still wasn't as easy as mowing the lawn. Eventually, we got thru it all (about 8 hours for both rooms) though there are still some small batches of backing on the floor and age-old black remnants of adhesive in both rooms. We're going to get some eco-friendly stripping solvent from some friends today and that's how Trevor and I will be spending tomorrow.

A few pics below. Unfortunately, that's not snow floating in the air but dust particles.


Kid A

This isn't the greatest quality ever, but when the doctor can only record in VHS....

Regardless, you can still see him moving around (big stretch!), watch and listen to his heart beat, and see some of his bone structure, like his spine and arms and legs.

The sonographer was taking some measurements of some of the bones, telling us he's growing just fine. You can't really make it out in the clip but we were able to see the hemispheres of his brain; they were totally ready for learning.  Later, you may realize that you're looking up from below his feet. This was when she was trying to determine if he was a dude or dudette. She couldn't tell, but the doctor would in a few minutes.

This video is not even 6 minutes long but it seemed a lot longer while it was happening. Also, keep in mind the little nipper is maybe 4" long here.


The First Cut is the Deepest

A few weeks back I breathed a sigh of relief when we thought the kid was going to be a girl... at least I wasn't going to have to concern myself with one very important decision... circumcision. And then, hey-ooooohhhhhh, here's a little surprise, it's a boy and you (we) get to decide whether to cut or not to cut.

It's 11:15pm on a Sunday and I'm in Waco for a shoot. So here's the wikepedia page (featuring some non-porn but still NSFW example photos) on the decision at hand. If anything were to generate some comments I'd expect it to be this post, so what say you? As a circumcised child of the 70s, I'll admit it, I'm torn as to what to do now in 2008.


Remove Pins & Needles

The kid is a-ok according to the fine folks working in the lab. What up, Genecare!

No spina bifida, no downs syndrome, no any other scary stuff.


And chromosomal confirmation that he is indeed a he, him, male, fella, guy, and a dude.


Pronoun Day



We weren't expecting an answer today.

But sometimes, you get the unexpected, or rather, it gets you. 

Don't ever believe the old wives' tales, because in spite of all signs pointing to our fetal-American being a girl, they were wrong. 

The doctor very clearly saw the gender-specific defining physical feature of our son. We also saw his brain, spine, ribcage, and saw and heard his heartbeat again, down to 147 beats per minute. (It gets slower as he grows.) We watched him put his hands in front of his face, shake them out to his side and stretch out his legs.

It was  He is amazing. Check him out: 

It's been a long day. I'll try and revisit it in the future to give you more of a feel for it all. 


Becoming a Pronoun

On June 9th, we're getting an amniocentesis done. This will let us know that the baby is chromosomally hunky-dorry. Chances are slim, like in the 1% range, that there would be any problems, but still. You read about these things and freak out a little bit, whether you want to or not. All forms of prayer, wood-knocking, finger-crossing, lucky-rabbit's-foot-rubbing, and happy-dancing are accepted and appreciated.

It will also tell us, definitively, if it's a boy or a girl. I'm pretty sure a lab is involved so we're not going to walk out of the office with an answer, but will know in a few days or a week.

Thankfully, we don't live in the general area of any chemical plants, but a couple of other  things have pointed to us maybe having a girl. First, there's the fetal heart rate: if it's above 140 you're having a girl; below 140 for a boy. Ours was at 164. However, this old-wive's-tale has been scientifically disproven. (Google "fetal heart rate boy girl" for details.) Then, there's this article about mom's calorie-intake at the time of conception. The Mrs. was watching the calories with her friend, JC, at the time. 

Also, a friend and our tax accountant (self-determined 90% correct guess rate) have said it will be a girl. And even though I'm the first son of a first son, Pam is the first daughter of a first daughter of a first daughter of a first daughter.

People have already been asking if we want a boy or a girl. I myself asked this question of a former brother-in-law once and received the answer, "A healthy baby." I never forgot that and so it's become our answer (see paragraph 1 of this post). But after that, we divide along gender lines--Pam says girl, and I say boy. 

So, what will it be?


Fly a Kite

Something a dad should be able to do; I verified my ability to do so last Sunday. 
It was Waffle Sunday but we needed milk so I went to the store to get some milk. On the way there, being as it was Mothers' Day, I decided that my superstition could suck it (bad luck to wish a pregnant lady Happy Mothers' Day only 11 weeks in?) and I was going to do it up for Pam. Flowers, chocolate-covered strawberries, a not-so-sappy non-Hallmark card, lemon Italian soda, a couple of ribeyes... you know, the good stuff. I came home and made a couple of yogurt parfaits (is that redundant?) and then some waffles with berries on top and grade-A maple syrup.

Then, as it was really a beautiful day and Pam couldn't stand the thought of being indoors, we threw some stuff in a bag and went down to Zilker Park. We spread out a blanket and had some cheese and Italian soda in wine glasses (courtesy of this wine tote we hadn't had a chance to use yet). It was sunny and breezy and people were playing soccer and extreme frisbee, walking dogs, hanging out, and flying kites. A couple years back, maybe more, we'd gone out to a kite festival and bought one but had never flown it so we brought it with us. All I could think was that I needed to make sure I could do this because it seems like a can't-miss hit with the kids; I know it was for me. 

For a while, my dad lived across the street from a park, most of which was a big open field. Every so often, we'd go over with a kite and see how high up we could get it. Once, we took one of the dogs with us and Dad attached the string to her leash. It was pretty cool to watch Suzie the pug fly a kite.

But all those times, Dad had been the one to launch the kite. I would watch and sometimes he'd hand over the string and I'd hold it. It all seemed simple enough, but as I recalled, launching required running with the kite trailing behind you and getting some speed and wind to pick it up. It wasn't something I didn't think I could do, but it still seemed like some kind of skill or finesse would be needed, some (semi-)proper form of technique.

Maybe those were just on some not-so-windy days, or because he only had some too-short kid with him. Because we just had to let out some string and pull it tight as the other person let the kite go. Then we'd let our string out and try to keep it up as long as we could, adjusting for the gusts, and hoping it wouldn't dive-bomb into anybody. Except maybe for the people who didn't look after their dog, which tried to eat our cheese. (Never, and I mean never, go after a Whitehouse's cheese uninvited. Or be ok with pulling back a bloody stump.)

This parenthood thing... it can be daunting if you think about it too much. There's a lot to learn/consider/digest. I find myself singing the theme song from Smokey & the Bandit, or at least the line "we've got a long way to go, and a short time to get there..." just to keep myself in check. And I know that there's plenty you just can't prepare for and will totally be on-the-job training (hello diaper changing) but I figure it can't hurt to learn a thing or two in advance. 

Kite-flying can now be checked off the list.


9 weeks 5 days

Our first doctor visit was this past Thursday.

There was a barrage of questions to be answered and we had plenty to ask. Then, the examining room. And the table. One with stirrups. Guys don't have tables like that, so what followed was what you might call a new experience for me. One that's probably pretty rare for a guy to experience except in a case like this, or if he's a gyno. I'm not saying I'm scarred or anything, far from it. I'm just saying that I can check this off my list, even though it hadn't really been on the list until I walked thru the door.

The exam over, we moved to the main event--the sonogram (or ultrasound; the terms are interchangeable).

Cue flashback--------------

Home pregnancy tests are very accurate these days, like 99% accurate, or so all the boxes say. And as you can see below, the one we got was very 21st century. No confusion over a blue line or a purple cross or anything like that. In no uncertain terms, an LCD screen with the word, "Pregnant." March 22nd & 23rd were pretty surreal for us, for me at least. Here was this thing you buy at the Walgreen's telling you there was a little person growing inside you(r wife). That can kinda blow your mind because there's a bit of intangibility going on with it. Yeah, the box says it's 99% accurate, more than that even, but is it really? I mean you don't even have to talk to the pharmacist to get one, though sometimes you'd like a college-educated degree holder to at least give you a thumbs up--"EPT? That's my brand!"--, as opposed to the checkout clerk just asking if you want a receipt.

And then there's the emotions. 
Excitement: "Holy shit, we're preggers!" 
Anxiety: "We've got so much to do and we're already behind." 
Joy: "My boys can swim!" 
Fear: "How can I do this?" 
Wonder: "Oh. My. God." 
Trepidation: "Oh. My. God." 
They were all there; to say otherwise would be a disservice to the Truth. If I'd forgotten what it was like to ride a rollercoaster, that weekend certainly brought it back.

Our box came with two tests, so on Monday the 24th, Pam did the second one. Same readout on the LCD--"Pregnant." We'd been turned on to a doctor by a friend of hers so Pam called to set up an appointment. They wouldn't set up an appointment until she was eight weeks along. That timed out with when I would be in California working the Coachella music festival (Prince!), and she wanted me to go with her, and I wanted to go with her, so the appointment was scheduled for May 1st, after I got back. They told her they'd do a sonogram to confirm that yes, there was a baby present.

Argh. Just over a month of waiting for what for me would be final super doubleplusgood confirmation. We're talking visual, baby, or maybe that should be: visual baby. Some things you can tell me and I'll believe it, take it on faith. And there are certain other things that I need to see with my own two eyes to believe, in spite of whatever the FDA approved-Walgreen's sold-99% accurate-21st century marvel of technology might have told me. Seeing an image, however blob-like I imagined it might be, would make it real. Tangible.

Until then, to know what was happening, we would have to rely on what we read. Pam subscribed to weekly updates from babycenter.com to tell us how things were progressing. Each week, they compared our embryonic-American to a new fruit or vegetable. Lentil. Blueberry. Kidney bean. Grape. And tell us how it was growing--what systems and features were developing, the appearance of what would be hands and feet, the first beats of its heart. It was fascinating, yet still intangible. 

And sometimes it made me hungry. Mmmm... kidney beans.

----------------End flashback

The doctor put some jel--(I should introduce her, she's only probably going to be the 4th major character here. The name's Binford, Dr. Nancy Binford (old picture)). So she put some jelly on a thing (she called it a wand, but I was not reminded of Harry Potter) and inserted it. (Sidebar: at this stage of the game, The Grape is still too small to be seen by a sonogram sliding over the belly, so this one is vaginal. It's like a PSA, people: the more you know....) 

"Yup, there's a baby in there," Dr. Binford said.

She turned the monitor so we both could see it.


And it (the image, not the kid) was so much more than just the blob I thought it might be. Maybe it's because it's a profile view, but I was so glad that I could instantly tell what was what. All the other ones I've seen have to point out what's the head, the hands, the feet. Or maybe our embryonic-American just kicks total ass. Regardless, The Grape was now much more.

Now, I just wanted to hear that heartbeat. I needed to hear it. And then, as if on cue, Dr. Binford said, "Let's see if we can hear that little heart beat." She flipped a switch. (or maybe she hit a button. My eyes were, obviously, transfixed elsewhere.) 

And there it was. (This is a sample of a 13 week fetus; what we heard was faster.) 164 beats per minute, a very healthy drum n bass beat.

Visual and aural tangibility.

Dr. Binford may have said something else but I couldn't hear much of anything over the rush of endorphins and tingling in my temples. At that moment, I had neither fear nor anxiety, just love and a desire to see what would happen next....

...we're in week ten now... kumquat, in case you were wondering.

March 22nd