Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chugga Chugga, Choo Choo!

Those who admire modern civilization usually identify it with the steam engine and the electric telegraph.
— George Bernard Shaw

I don't know anything about the electric telegraph, but I know with certainty that one of the delights we've come across on this journey, that we may very well have missed, is the joy of traveling by train. The train between King Street station in Seattle, and the train station in Portland takes about 3 1/2 hours. The journey would be the same by car, but it is in no way as enjoyable.

On a train, you can get up and move around whenever you want. There's no "please remain in your seat until the seatbelt sign goes off," or "place your tray tables in the upright position." There's no tapping the brakes in rush-hour traffic, arguing about which lane is traveling the fastest, or taking time out to stop for bathroom breaks. Amazingly enough, the bathroom travels right along with you, and even when you're using it, you continue making forward progress! You're allotted more than 18 square inches of seat and leg room, and there's even enough space to stretch your legs out and recline a bit. There's plug-ins to keep your electronic distractions charged up, and even Wi-Fi on some routes.

Perhaps the best part about train travel, are the people. We've met a lacrosse team traveling from California back to Canada, a young college grad from Denmark who traveled from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles and finally to Seattle, all by train, and all sorts of other people. People are just friendlier on trains. If you happen to take the route with the dining car, on your journey you'll be seated with two other people, whom you don't know, for dinner or lunch. Although Aaron finds this a bit tiresome, I love it. How often do we break bread with strangers anymore? Although you may only be sharing space with them for less than an hour, there's plenty of time to talk and start seeing the world through their point of view. It's always an adventure, and you never know what you're going to get!

The coast of Washington is beautiful to see by train. Much more beautiful than looking at every McDonald's and Chevron sign up and down the freeway. Just for the adventure, I highly recommend everybody try it one time, at least. You'll see the world from a whole different perspective. Whenever I start to feel like this journey is getting tedious, and I'm weary of traveling the road between Seattle and Portland, and back again, I try to remind myself that it could be so much worse…We could have to drive all the time!

We just rode the train down on Sunday and back on Monday for our 12 week appointment. It was our first time at the midwifery clinic. The midwives are all nurse-midwives, and practice at Oregon Health Science University Hospital. The baby will be delivered in the hospital in the same room that would be used if we were using an OB, however by a midwife. The first visit seemed very relaxed and personal. For the first time we got to hear the baby's heartbeat! What a great sound. "Lisa" was very excited that this ultrasound was the first that could be conducted through her belly instead of with the ubiquitous and highly personal "vag cam". Lisa and I are both happy to be done with that! Our baby is looking great. S/he is measuring five days older than s/he actually is. What a surprise, a child of Aaron and I, is already an overachiever. S/he was quite active, waving arms and legs, however also compliant and positioning his/herself just perfectly to take measurements for some sort of genetic testing and a first look for Down syndrome. So far everything looks great.

And, for those of you who are curious, the "fruit" comparison for this week is that of a peach. Frankly, given all the genetic manipulations and growth hormones, I've seen plenty of "limes" (last week's fruit of choice) that are the same size as peaches, but our glorious app tells us that this is a distinct growth.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Invertebrates" and "crabmeat"

Hello! As I sit down to dictate this (And yes, I do mean dictate into a talk-to-type translator, so please forgive any typos!) I realize how long it's been since I've written. Right after our last doctor's appointment, it was finals week for the classes that I teach. And let me tell you, now that I've been on both the student and professor side, I think finals take twice as much work for the professor. Right after that we went out of town for about a week, and then I had surgery on my left wrist. For good week after that I was blitzed out on painkillers, and God knows what I would've typed if given the opportunity! Now the pain (and painkillers) is at a tolerable level, and I'm able to dictate a blog entry into my fancy-schmancy talk-to-type program. So hooray for my return to the blogosphere! One thing I can say, is that by taking a hiatus, I've gotten a sense of who's actually reading my blog! Several of my mother's friends asked her if everything was going okay since I hadn't updated my blog in a while, and I got a couple e-mails, phone calls, and text messages checking in. It's great to know how many people really care about, and are joining us, on our journey!

My wrist is doing all right, although even with all my occupational therapy knowledge, I'm getting very tired of trying do things with just one hand. The surgery was for an injury that occurred last October while I was at work. I tried conservative treatment for several months, and then it took awhile for L&I to approve the surgery. After going in, the doctor was glad that we'd done surgery, and thought it would really help. The main part of the surgery was done on a tricky set of ligaments called the TFCC. He explained to me that if this series of ligaments were healthy it would look similar to "squid" and that my set of ligaments looked similar to "crabmeat". He cleaned out all of the delicacies, and then also did some work on the joint where the radius and the ulna connect. I'll be in the soft brace for about six weeks, and then I'll be able to start slowly using it again. My goal, of course, is to have it in tip top shape by baby's arrival.

Right now everything is going very well in the pregnancy. The last ultrasound showed that we have one healthy baby, and the other had stopped developing. While we're sad that the other baby quit developing, we're very excited that the others doing well. There was a fantastic moment when it looked as if the tiny "Flipper-Hand" on our 22 mm baby waved at us Aaron was talking about it. "Lisa" is experiencing more morning sickness and nausea than she ever did with her other two children, but other than that, she's doing well. We have our next ultrasound appointment on the 23rd, which will put us at right about 12 weeks. I feel like I'm in some weird time phenomena where time is both speeding by and plodding at the same time.

Of course these days there's an App for everything, so Aaron has downloaded "baby bump" which shows us week by week how are baby is developing. This app also continues to be a source of humor for Aaron and I. One of the things I most appreciate about Aaron is his "scientific" sense of humor. I was doing some cleaning up one day, right after he download the app, and he called out to me from the other room "when is our baby due again?" I told him and to see him furiously adjusting the program. "Ah!" He said, "now it's beginning to look more like an invertebrate!" Apparently at the two weeks he was looking at, in one week the embryo was still round shaped, and by the next week it it assumed more of a "tadpole" like appearance. I'm happy to report that it does appear that we are expecting a mammal. ;) This week, week 11, stated "On your baby's head, the ears are moving to the side of the head." Of course this left both of us wondering where the ears had started! We both continue to be amazed at how quickly the baby grows. Right now it's telling us that it's 1.6 inches, roughly the size of a "lime", weighs .25 ounces, and will double in size by next week! Ah the wonders of following a pregnancy with all the technology available to us! Thank you Steve Jobs.

PS: one of the things I'm trying to use this as is as a record of our journey. I know many of you get to this site by going through Facebook. If you don't mind, it would be great if you could leave any "comments" on the actual blog, instead of my Facebook. They'll have a complete record, all together, of both my thoughts and people's responses. Thank you! (Of course if you really want to, you can comment in both places!)

Hmmmmm. I'm discovering that if you comment here, then sometimes I don't know who you are!!! OK, feel free to comment wherever. I just like to know people are reading. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Message From Aaron (The Husband)

Hello, blogiverse; this is Aaron the husband writing for Tiffany. She can't type at the moment because she just had wrist surgery. But in her post-anesthesia stupor, she asked me to update the blog, as she has been getting many emails and texts.

Now as for the baby news, we are going to have... just one baby! The one that was barely surviving no longer has a heartbeat and is being slowly absorbed back into Lisa's body. I have to admit this is a little sad. But we are ecstatic about the healthy and growing baby that is thriving in our surrogate's welcoming womb. Tiffany and I are certainly relieved that we will not have the complications and dangers of a twin pregnancy (not to mention the extreme challenge of double-barreled baby-care). Mostly, we are thankful that we have a strong, growing baby in there!

Tiffany will put up a post of her own soon, either when her wrist heals or by speech-to-text. We thank all of you for your concern and support!