Saturday, December 11, 2010

Increments of Time

Yesterday was December 10th, which marked the third calendar month that Little Michael has been in the world. I use the phrase "calendar month" because I had honestly been counting his age by number of weeks.

Now I know why parents do that.

It's not just that you're caught up in milestones of how long the little kid's been around, it's because you just spent 9 months of your life counting everything out in weeks. We don't measure the progress of trimesters and pregnancy by the calendar month, we measure it by the march of days and weeks from one set point to another.

For 9 months.

And then the baby's born and you have a 2-week check-up, and a 4-week check-up, and then we're at 4 and a half weeks and what do we call that? A month and a half, right?

It's really easy to, at least when thinking of the baby, stick with the system of measuring time that you've been using for almost a year (or, before too long, an entire year).

In any case, this led to some confusion recently, and I was spending some time thinking about it. Personally I wouldn't mind just counting along for 4 week periods until we rolled around to September 10, 2011 and count it from the calendar from then on, but now that it's been pointed out I suppose that I'll just go to the calendar.

So, happy 3 months Little Michael! Hope that the next 9 treat you well!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Different Editions: Books?

I'm going to start marking posts that have to do with realizations about the difference between Michael' generation and my own.

They'll be entitled "Different Editions" which is a book joke and a gamer joke at the same time.

The first just struck me the other day.

It's not like Michael will grow up in a world without books; even trimming the fat of my book collection I have managed to more than fill an extra giant book shelf since our last move. I love books, and I hope that Michael will as well.

But it is almost a certainty that, at one point, Michael's going to have some form of device with which he can access a collection of e-books. Whether it's a dedicated e-reader like the Amazon Kindle, or a multi-purpose tablet device like the iPad, it's a technology that seems to be growing and even if it's not ubiquitous by the time he's building his own book collection... well I am a geek dad.

Think about that. Someone growing up with a portable electronic library of their favorite books, perhaps even those of parents and friends to some extent, always on-hand. Heck, it's a book store, too! Comic books are starting to be delivered and purchased this way, as well.

Good Lord, and my parents thought that I was bad about never putting the books away.

Just a thought.

Adding Up Experience

I know that it's been quite a while since my last update here, and for that I've got to apologize; between Baby Michael and work it's been hard to muster up the intiative to post on the baby blog.

But it's far from done.

Yesterday was Michael's 3 Month Birthday! It was mostly just celebrated by his parents being even more ridiuculous in their playing with him, and the watching of a Baby Einstein Mozart video for kids 3+ months.

For the record, it was sort of odd how strongly he latched on to the video; between the sounds and the big colorful images of toys and moving lights something really caught his attention in a way that nothing we've had on before ever did. Veronica sat there the whole time talking about everything that came on screen, which was also really cute.

Michael himself is getting to be a big boy, making new sounds and gaining in size. He's started day care a few times a week, started grabbing at the toys on his little bouncer, and is proving to be strong as all heck... even if coordination isn't exactly a strong suit yet. He can keep his head up for extended periods, but he also tends to stick his arms out to the sides and lift his legs off the ground when he's on his stomach which makes it hard for him to try and roll.

We're working on it, and it's fun.

In other news you might have noticed that many of the Flickr images that were once in the blog have gone away. Part of that is because Flickr can be picky about URLs when you fiddle with privacy settings (even if you end up making something public again) and part of that is because I fiddled with privacy settings so as to limit the number of images just floating around out there.

Still, there will be photos.

My last note is just that I think the nature of this blog is going to need to change a little bit if I am going to be able to keep it up. With time being as tight as it's been, my blog posts in the future are likely to be somewhat shorter and more focused on one particular subject.

I'll try to talk a little about these past three months, too, though you can imagine that my attention might be turned pretty strongly to things as they happen.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you soon!

In the meantime, here's a Michael picture some of you might have already seen.

Baby Michael Overbundled 1

Saturday, October 2, 2010

He's Here!

Actually, he's been here for 3 weeks now as many of you know.

Sorry for the delay in posting about it, but things have been slightly hectic around here and even when there have been extended periods of relaxation I haven't exactly been inclined to sit down and write it all out.

But, lucky for you, I'm feeling up to it now and the boy is sleeping not a foot from me at the moment!

First? The story.

On the morning of September 10, 2010 Veronica got up at around 5am because she was feeling contractions. Now she'd been feeling contractions on and off for a few months now, nothing serious, and we'd had a minor false alarm a few weeks before when they'd grown a bit more intense, so she didn't jump to any conclusions.

Around 7:30am she woke me up, explaining that she was fairly certain that she was going to have the baby sometime that day. Sure enough, the contractions grew in intensity over the next few hours. We puttered around the apartment, we took our dog to his "day camp" appointment, and let the doctor know what was going on. At roughly 10:30 I called the doula, the woman who'd been our birth class instructor and was going to be working to make things easier on Veronica during labor, to let her know Veronica really wanted her to come over soon.

The doula, Michelle, got here at 11 or so and helped Veronica get into the contractions more instead of sort of wincing from them like she'd been doing. Veronica got under some warm water in the shower, got into the breathing, and after an hour we were told "Ok, we need to get to the hospital now."

So off to the hospital we went. Unlike many people, who apparently sort of take a few steps back in the birthing process during the car ride to the hospital because it's uncomfortable and distracting, once we checked in and Veronica was looked over it was determined that she was at 8cm. Once we got into her room we had to answer a bunch of questions that we could have sworn had been on earlier forms, which wasn't really a hassle so much as a little annoying, but things progressed really quickly; our doula was great and our nurse was very understanding. Veronica got in the tub that the birth room had, with the shower on her back, and once she started feeling the need to push she went back to the bed.

Things moved really quickly after that, and even though Veronica was sure that she was exhausted she just kept going on and on. The hardest part was right at the end, but even that wasn't all that long. Michael was born at 3:31pm.

As for me, I spent just about every moment (depending on the stage in question): supporting some of her weight when she was having contractions early on (she was leaning against me), keeping her hydrated, keeping a damp washcloth on her forehead, making sure she didn't roll directly onto her back once we went back to the bed (her back hurt, and it pushes the pelvis slightly closed if you're laying on your back), and acting as a cheerleader at the end. I spent about the entire three and a half hours leaning over at some angle, and I'd been dumb enough to do an aerobics class in running shoes the day before so I had torn up my feet... but honestly I hardly noticed after the first half hour or so.

Little Michael in Hospital 3

Michael was born 19 inches long and 8 pounds 3 ounces. He was fine, but he'd inhaled a little fluid during the birth so after a moment or two with Veronica I had to cut the umbilical cord a little earlier than we'd planned so that they could check him out. After a few minutes they decided they needed to take him to the nursery, and with the support of one of the nurses I was able to convince/force the nurse practitioner from the nursery to roll the little incubator thing over to Veronica so that she could see and touch him again.

She, by the way, did it all without any IV or pain medication aside from a little bit of numbing gel at the end and was absolutely fine about two days after. I can say (and have) without any exaggeration that she is my hero for how she handled this.

Veronica in Hospital 1

Little Michael & Veronica in the Hospital

Little Michael in Hospital 4

We spent the next two days resting and visiting Michael and getting some information on what all we needed to do. Then we got to take him to the room with us, and eventually (on Monday I think) we took him home.

Restless Little Michael

It's been great. We had visiting grandparents, visiting friends, and lots of fun. I will hopefully be able to share more of it in the days to come, especially as I've taken dozens of pictures, but here's a small sample of how great he is to have around.

Michael With Veronica's Dad

Veronica's Mom and Michael

Leah, Annie, Veronica & Little Michael

Dad & Little Michael

Mom & Michael Again

The Pose 1

Michael At The Sports Bar

Out on the Blanket 2

Michael & Me Reading

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Preparing for the Big Encounter

First, a word from our sponsor:

Veronica At 9 Months: 1
So, we've decided to do a co-written post this time.
I'm not quite sure were to start, but with luck Michael'll edit this so it syncs up with his parts.
First off, we're doing well. The doctor says Little Michael and I are very healthy and everything's fine. Though I'm a little uncomfortable, things are going very well.
There've been once or two times when I thought he'd made up his mind to show up, but we were just practicing. Had an absolutely wonderful shower celebrating little Michael. Beautiful afternoon with lady friends of mine, hosted by Mary Charlotte, Annie, & Dana. Thank you all again.
We've gathered the last of what we need for the nursery. Anything else, he'll tell us what he needs. I've been off work for a while, and resting where I can. Happily, both my parents have plans to come down in the middle of the month. With luck and timing, they'll celebrate their anniversary with their grandson.
Just waiting for him to make up his mind!

Veronica At 9 Months: 4

So, now my turn!

As you might be aware, we're coming up on the time for all of the groundwork to be put to the test. They say that no plan survives first contact with the enemy, but at this point we're just getting antsy waiting for the battle to start.

As my dad says, we're "Sittin' on Stop, waitin' on Go."

However, that isn't to say that things haven't been at least a little bit interesting!

Veronica had a wonderful Baby Shower, hosted by my Aunt Mary Charlotte, our friend Annie, and our friend Dana (who was Veronica's college roommate). There were roses, and petit fours, and my grandmother, and friends, and paper crane folding, and food, and did I mention the petit fours? Because I probably had more of those than I should have and I wasn't even present for most of the party.

All of the hostesses did a wonderful job, and here are some of the pictures I took!

Baby Shower 3

Note the amazing flowers Dana brought.

Baby Shower 2

All of the wonderful ladies who made the shower possible.

Baby Shower 1

Crane folding. They made almost 100 of them!

And here's a link to a few other pictures from the event.

All of our friends and family have been great, this whole time, and it has really made everything go very smoothly to have all of that support. Even as we sit and wait for Michael to surprise us with his appearance sometime during these coming days we're pretty thankful for what we've got.

I get the feeling that the next time I'm posting one of these, it's going to be much shorter and involve alot more exclamation points.

We can't wait.

On that note, I leave you with this...

My Old Teddy Bear & Michael's New Teddy Bear

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Another Encounter

It has been a while since our last update, and this time that is not due to lack of events!

I will unfortunately have to keep this short, due mostly to time constraints and a burned-out ability to focus on one thing at a time (something I will need to get back before September, if only to burn it out again).

Things are progressing smoothly, and everyone is healthy as a horse. In Veronica's case this is a mixed blessing, as the baby has taken to some rather forceful movements that catch her off-guard pretty often. On more than one occasion I've jumped up out of my chair with worry over a sharp sound from the other room only to have her tell me, "No, it's ok, it's just your son kicking me in the ribs."

Good times.

We did have a minor scare last week, when Veronica's Braxton Hicks contractions got somewhat more frequent and a bit stronger. After trying a few ideas for fixing it we called our birth class instructor as a last effort before calling the doctor's office, and she recommended trying a magnesium supplement first. Veronica tried that out and within an hour was back to feeling fine, and has been taking one every day or so just to make sure it doesn't start up again.

In other news, was some looting of local baby clothes stores a week or two ago, with good results!

Baby Clothes Strike Again

A friend commented that he was certainly going to have a certain cute preppy look to him, to which I could only shrug and motion sheepishly to my own black polo shirt and docksider shoes. What can I say?

Moving on!

This weekend is our baby shower, and I'm personally very excited for Veronica to have some girly her-focused time with some of our local friends along with my Aunt Mary-Charlotte and Tutu (grandmother). There will be gifts and some food and a good deal of fun.

We already got an early present that was just too big to hide until then.

Baby Stroller/Car Seat

It's one of those car-seat/stroller/carrier combos that can be folded and unfolded with one hand. Which is likely going to prove very very useful. I already put the car-seat base in the back of my car just to see if it would hook up correctly, and while I am going to be glad that a professional might give it a glance at some point I think I did a very good job.

For those interested, you can go look at the baby's registry by clicking on these words. Totally worth it.

Other than that we've just finished our birth classes and Veronica's going to be looking at some frequent check-ins with the doctor's office as we approach the due-date. I'm apparently supposed to be packing the hospital bag, with perhaps more forethought than the one I hastily assembled when I was worried about last Thursday.

Lastly, I've been watching the Penny Arcade TV short episodes for a little while now, and the "season finale" of the show was something I thought I'd share. For those who don't know, Penny Arcade is a popular video-game (and other similar pursuits) related online comic strip that's updated three times a week and they recently had a production company approach them about a "behind the scenes" reality series. As the website has created a charity and two major yearly conventions in the last few years this is somewhat more entertaining than it might seem at first glance.

Anyway, the last episode was in large part about the families of the two creators and was something I felt even people not into all that could perhaps appreciate. Here it is, and if you want to watch some of the other ones (they're pretty good) you can click here.

I'll just warn that there is occasional profanity in the main episodes, and the ones marked "4th Panel" (which are about the creation of individual comic strips) can get a little crazy.

Will post again soon!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Story Progression

It's funny how things have quieted down recently. While a number of small things have happened since my last update, it wasn't until recently that I really felt we'd reached that critical mass necessary for me to give a full run-down on what's been going on.

I think that as we approach the due date that may change, just like there was alot more new stuff that I was physically incapable of doing anything but share early on.

Still, exciting times!

A week or two ago I discovered this little onesie in the course of reading a webcomic I follow (it's called Wondermark and it's odd or geeky humor mixed with antiquated illustrations). The onesie is funny and I want one, but the particular strip it comes from describes me to a 'T':

Click For Larger Image

It should, perhaps, come as no surprise that a friend of mine has the above framed and signed by the artist in her house.

Little Michael has been getting bigger and bigger, moving around quite a bit (more kicking or punching in the face for me, to my delight whenever he responds to my voice), and generally making sure that Veronica is constantly aware of his presence. Really I can't imagine that he's going to be anything at all like I was as a kid, considering how quiet and sedate I was. Still am, really.

...I've been warned that I can't make jokes like that, probably because it makes Veronica worry that if I really believe that we might have the Tasmanian Devil for a son.

Seriously, though, he's going to be kicking down doors and causing trouble before we know it if he keeps this up. I say with a huge grin.

Most recently, Veronica went in for a check-up and after getting the basic look-over was asked if she'd gotten a particular shot that we need due to our blood types. When she said that we hadn't, and that she was in fact going to be asking about that very shot today, she was told that they don't actually do the shot at the office and that she needed it soon.

So she went across the street to the hospital, told them why she was there, got another once-over (including putting a microphone, what they might have called a fetal monitoring device, on Michael so she could hear his heartbeat the entire time), and the shot. The folks at the hospital, confirming what we already know, informed her that she is doing great,  and Michael is doing great.

Something we didn't know was that some of the times she thought that Michael was digging his head or something into her side, she was having Braxton Hicks contractions. Luckily these turned out to be well within the normal level for where she's at (about 30 weeks!) and she was sent off with a clean bill of health.

For some perspective of where she's at right now, however, one thing she learned at the hospital is that the baby bulge now measures larger than her waist did before the pregnancy. She is very, very pregnant but is taking good care of herself and feeling fine (even went to the gym with me and walked for a while yesterday).

Lastly, in a fit of nostalgia and a geek-ridden sense of preparation I have gathered up a number of Duck Tales, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood (click it!), and Muppet Show episodes. If you're really curious as to why, reflect on the comic strip from the top of the entry.

And that's all for now! Still reading to him, still talking and singing at him, and still occasionally dancing with Veronica in a rather silly way whenever she leasts expects it.

I'll keep you up to date!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Session Summaries

It's been a while since I updated the baby blog, mostly because there have not been any large developments, but we've had enough little events piling up that I had to give an entry of some kind!

First, we owe a big thank-you for a dress given to us by one of my cousins because Veronica wore it to dinner with some friends about two weeks back and she looked absolutely stunning in it. I, unfortunately, don't have a picture of that one because I wasn't really thinking about it at the time. Just take my word for it, it looks great on her.

Second, the site I used to link to with updates on how big the baby is has apparently changed its policy or login method or something and so none of those seem to go anywhere anymore! This puts a definite damper on part of my fun in updating this blog, but I suppose I can just keep going even without comparing the baby to cantaloupes and watermelons and oversized tomatoes.

It won't be easy, but I'll do it. For you.

Third, Michael is just moving and pushing and kicking all around now. It's hilarious and great and fun and it still drives Veronica nuts sometimes. Hand-in-hand with that, though, is more stuff like the fact that he can now see and we think we were making him kick and poke by shining a flashlight against her skin. He also may or may not be using more of a hand than a fist, as Veronica swears she can feel digits.

Fourth, I got some stuff because I am just about crazy with anticipation for little Michael to make his way into the world (despite reminders of the tough parts to come, like a recent XKCD comic strip [Somewhat Dirty and Dead-On Joke, May Be Unsafe For Work or Those Born Before the Information Age]).

Going On A Bear Hunt Book

I have already read this one to the baby belly at least once, and can't wait to do so many times more.

The Geek Dad Activity Book!

I have been following the Geek Dad blog for a while now, and after seeing this book I knew I'd be grabbing it eventually. It includes lots of activities and projects, with a break-down on how difficult they are, how much they cost, how long they last, what they require and so on. It's a book that will fit nicely with The Dangerous Book For Boys and I can't wait to get to use it.

Veronica also picked up a new bathing suit, which she really likes and looks good in. She can't wait to get the chance to wear it to the pool when they open it up. Her friend Melissa is visiting next week, so here's hoping she gets an opportunity to wear it on one of our many rather warm days.

New Maternity Bathing Suit

Other than all of that we've got another doctor's appointment coming up soon, and the childbirth classes we've been taking have been more than a little bit informative about the whole process. We're working hard on our collective diet and making sure we're both staying active, working out.

It's all becoming more real every day.

I leave you with this, tiny socks for tiny feet!

John Deere Socks

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Side-Bar: The Kicking

The other night when I was reading a story to the little guy, I was close enough that the kid could probably feel the vibrations of my voice but I couldn't really feel him moving. Veronica told me, though, that he starting moving and kicking up a storm during and after I was talking.

Apparently these movements have been becoming stronger, in general, over the last few weeks and last night I really experienced it as I was talking to Michael with my head on Veronica's stomach and he kicked me in the side of the face a few times.

It was great.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Parties and the Distribution of Loot

We are now entering Week 24 (or thereabouts). All aboard!

At this stop the baby is still roughly the size of a papaya; apparently Weeks 21-25 are a time period where the site I've been linking to throws up its hands and says, "Eh, it's somewhere in there." We can work with that, though.

I'm just waiting until they make the pineapple comparison; that'll be fun.

This past week saw some big things happening in our world, concluding with a visit from my parents, my sister, and Veronica's mom. It would be something of an understatement to say that it was fun, and one of the first things that happened was my mom showing off the various baby clothes of mine that she'd found and cleaned since last we spoke.

All of the Old Baby Clothes

All of those were mine at one point. In fact the little blue ones on the right, I haven't specifically checked the others, have my initials in tiny little letters on the inside.

Sailboat Baby Clothes
Giraffe Baby Clothes

I have to note that the lighting when taking things with my phone camera is pretty awful, and the clothes are actually in pretty much perfect condition (ok, there might be a little wear and tear that I take no responsibility for) even if they don't look so in these pictures. It might also be worth it to click through to the originals and see them at a larger size.

Veronica's mom also brought down some bedding from my cousin Erin, and we got that set up in the crib. It looks great, and the nursery seems to be getting more baby-ready every day!

The Crib With Bedding

If you look in the upper right hand corner you can see the teddy bear that I had when I was a kid, which I've generally kept with me over the years; he lived on a shelf in my old room for a long long time, but during one of my moves I discovered him and he moved to my dresser before floating around. Now he's set up shop, loose yarn hanging from his nose for 25+ years, in the new nursery.

Everyone got to spend time together, and baby Michael (a name I think will finally pass from me) was active enough that my dad got to feel a pretty solid kick through Veronica's stomach. The kid has been making his presence known pretty clearly this last week or two, not least of which by sort of jamming himself against her right side and staying there, but she's taking it in stride and it's obvious she loves it even when it's annoying.

In other news, two of our closest friends have just announced that they're expecting as well, looking at a January due date. We're really really happy for them, as they both seemed really excited about it, and more than a little bit happy that we'll have someone to go through some of this with and talk to and hopefully set up play-dates with and all of that.

Also, it's just plain awesome incredible news all around. If either of you is reading this, congratulations again!

All-in-all, it was a week to remember in the best possible way and I have awesome sensational friends and family to thank for it.

Tomorrow Veronica gets another check-up and I will keep all abreast of any new developments either exciting or mundane.

If you're curious about the stricken words, I apparently use the word awesome so much (especially recently) that it infected my sister's speech during her visit. Here's me attempting to be even more awesome fantastic than normal. Bonus points if you notice a trend in my replacement words.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Class Selection

Schools. Well, Daycares. Crazy?

This may seem a bit early in the process, though I assure you we are as ever not at the front of the line on this one. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

First, how big is a baby at 22 weeks? About the size of a papaya! There's all sorts of other info there in the weeks I've missed, like the fact that the baby might be developing tastes based on the fluids he's "practicing" swallowing in the womb and that his hearing is pretty much developed. Also, as we've noticed, he's picked up something of a sleep schedule to go with all those active periods.

Second, we've been looking at some options for day care. Now we're both going to have rather flexible schedules and Veronica fully plans on being full-time with the baby for a while, but more and more we've been given to understand that if we want to get in somewhere we'd best start poking around now. So we started poking around. The "We" here is mostly Veronica, though I've tried to help where I could and went with her to check out a local place this morning.

I have to say that I was impressed. We're keeping our eyes and options open, especially given our general lack of experience, but I liked the way that they had this place set up; mostly open space inside with windows connecting closed off rooms, a school-like (but not "all business") atmosphere/direction, a good kid-to-care-provider ratio (4:1), security, cool little programs, and it didn't look like it'd been worn down to "getting by" in terms of wear-and-tear like some of the places around here. They're also more than willing to accommodate part-timers, which is a big thing for us.

Still, nothing's solid, and we're still looking around. At the very least, though, I'm keeping them in mind for that Pre-K period.

Also, the little 8-month-old girl that was the only one awake in the infant room, trying to climb on and play with every toy in sight while everyone else was napping? Really cute.

Third, STUFF. People have already started sending us little things for Michael and we've gotten pretty much in the habit of referring to him that way. Which, yes, will be hilarious if by some comedy of errors we actually have a girl or something, but we're going to move forward under the impression we have at least one clue as to what we're dealing with. My mom is already digging out the old baby clothes, and we've gotten one or two great little items from relatives who were understandably unable to restrain their enthusiasm; he is going to be awesome!

In that spirit, though, I was asked to share links to the two baby registries that we've been working on for anyone that wants to do a quick scan of the type of stuff we're looking at. Suggestions for things we might have missed (even though we're doing some research on the big ones like car seats/strollers) are appreciated.

Babys R Us Registry

Target Baby Registry

And in case I didn't make it clear before, feeling my little boy kick and move around when Veronica lets me know he's being active just makes my day.

We'll keep you up to date!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sneak Preview

On Thursday, April 30th, I ducked out of my last law school class early after giving a pretty good presentation and went home to meet with Veronica and go in for the big anatomy ultrasound.

Yes, because I know it's the single most burning question on your mind; I did talk to my professor about leaving early.

In any case, we went in and had to wait a few minutes while they prepped the woman who'd been in before us. We chatted with a nurse who we see every visit and asked about the woman who did the ultrasound, mostly curious as to how accurate she was, and were informed that as far as that nurse knew (and she'd worked with that particular ultrasound tech for over five years) she had never been wrong.

Well, time seemed to drag out but eventually we were called in and the tech (also a nurse, I suppose?) proceeded to do a thorough check on our little baby. Hands and feet were checked, the femur and skull and chambers of the heart were all measured, umbilical cord was given a once-over using some sort of multicolor setting, and we finally found out whether the baby was going to be a boy or a girl.

We're having a boy!

Ultrasound: Baby Profile

Now I'll be honest and say that I am very very excited about this, but despite the enthusiastic responses of some I don't know that I'm any more excited than I would have been if it was a girl.

In any case, one of the funniest parts of the ultrasound was that he kept moving around so much that at one point the tech just stopped trying to get the shot she needed and did a side-view of his movements so we could watch him. His arm went up behind his head, his other arm under his chin, then both were out to the side. At one point he looked like he was trying to get his feet under himself so he could stand or crawl.

Ultrasound: Baby Body

Occasionally we got glimpses of the surface of his face or body, but mostly they were looking for internal details and measurements so most of the pictures we ended up with are pretty skeletal, but they're still worth sharing. This is just all amazing for me.

So, we left the place after doing some catch-up with the doctor, called parents and notified siblings, and then had to do about a billion other things. One of the things I had to do was figure out what my blood type is, as soon as was feasible, because I couldn't remember (and neither could my mother, and it's not in my records anywhere).

Easiest way to do that? Give blood. Which I've never done before (at least not that I can remember). I won't do the whole story, but it was both not as bad as my instinctive dislike of needles would have me believe and worse than the impression I've gotten from folks who give often.

I've had to give a larger-than-a-pin-prick sample of blood for tests before and expected it to be a bit like that; initial sharp prick, light ache until they've got what they need. This was the not-that-bad slight stabbing poke, followed by... seven minutes of feeling like I had a small chunk of metal shoved into my arm. I waited for it to turn into a dull ache, but it really didn't and that might have been why I sort of rushed it when the lady told me that squeezing the grip they gave me would speed things up a bit.

Yes, to answer your question, I did feel like a big baby and wanted it done ASAP.

Anyway, seven minutes and some light-headedness later I was done, stopping a minute till I felt better while I snacked and then heading home. Should get the blood type with my card, and I do feel good about finally giving blood.

Oh, one last thing.

We're going with my name again, making him the "III." Say hello!

Ultrasound: Baby's Face

Monday, April 26, 2010

Five-Foot Step

Just a small adjustment, which seems to be the point we're at now; things are moving slow.

We moved up the ultrasound to next Thursday, because the week after that is my first week of finals and the appointment was basically right before one of my finals. Now it's a week earlier and right at the end of one of my classes; I'll be stepping out a little early to make it there in time.

Still, it can't come soon enough.

Also, I think I felt the baby move for the first time last night. Hard to tell for sure at the moment, but Veronica confirmed that the baby was being active in that area.

This is awesome.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crib Complete!

We had a busy few days, recently, that have kept me from posting and the both of us from getting a few things done. Before I get into that, however, I want to address the question that is most concerning everyone who might be reading this: the baby is apparently the size of the average sweet potato this week.

Astounding, I know.

Moving on: We made a trip to South Florida this past weekend to attend my sister's wedding (which was great!), and along the way Veronica got her hands on some very nice maternity clothes via my cousin. There were train rides, dancing, seeing all sorts of people, and playing with little kids as well as very little babies.

Now we're back in town, and have officially gotten signed up for birthing classes with the woman we met with before. JC Penney also, without ever really getting back to us on the matter, sent us two of the replacement part we needed for the crib and those were waiting for us when we got back in town.

Last night my lovely wife put the last parts of the crib together while I was still in class, with this being the final result (although the mattress is still in the plastic and we haven't put on any of the bedding or anything).

The Crib Complete 1

The Crib Complete 2

The Crib Complete 3

It looks great, and it feels like with the addition of this simple bit of furniture we've taken a big step towards making the whole situation more real. I can't wait until the week of May 6th, when we'll get to see the baby again and likely discover whether we've got a little boy or little girl on the way; it's probably the thing I'm looking forward to most at the moment, which may be dangerous considering that's the same week as the first of my finals.

Until next time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Construction Continues

The baking process goes on!

The baby is now the size of an average... onion? Ah, alrighty then!

Veronica and I are currently working on putting together the awesome new crib that Veronica's mother got for us, but unfortunately a tiny little piece was missing and we're trying to get J.C. Penney to replace the part. Still, it's mostly whole at the moment and I promise that I will make sure to get some pictures up as soon as it's done being put together.

We went in for another check-up, just a brief one where we got to hear the baby's heart again (all is fine!) and Veronica got the quick look-over (she's doing fine), and have also taken some steps towards taking some birthing classes. After looking around for some options in the area, we decided to check out one particular lady who does personal classes locally and who also acts as a doula if we decide to go there to help with Veronica's pain management.

The two of us met with the woman at a local bookstore and it went really well; she's got a good deal of experience, confidence in her ability without coming off as overly pushy, and wasn't too, ah, "crunchy." I understand it may not be entirely fair, but when people start getting too strong into the whole anti-medical-establishment "my way is more natural and better" thing I start to get a bit wary (for perhaps the same reason I tend to avoid martial arts schools that build themselves around the philosophical/chi energy stuff).

So, y'know, that's good!

Promise more updating as more happens, and the next big ultrasound (very exciting!) is in early May!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Under Construction

The next ultrasound is still a few weeks away, but in the meantime there are some occurrences of note in the Baby Anticipation department.

First : The baby is 5" from crown of the head to tail bone. This means the little one is almost as long as a dollar bill (81%), and about 1.2 times the radius of a FIFA-regulation sized soccer ball. 

Or, to put it another way, baby is roughly the size of your average avocado.

Second : Veronica has started to feel the baby moving. This is really, really cool and I can't wait until I can feel it move for myself. We grinned like idiots as she sat and hummed and let me know when she felt little stirrings.

Third : We got some nifty stuff from Veronica's parents. There was a small package with some bedding material, some blankets, and a little chick towel that's got a hoodie thing so you can wrap the baby up, keep their head warm, and make them look even cuter than they already are.

Baby Stuff

And then there's the crib with mattress, which we just got today (well, the mattress came a few days ago) and we are very excited about putting together soon.

Crib Still Packed

Scalloped Headboard

Check out this headboard! Veronica was pretty happy with how it appears to work with the room, and it is a nice looking crib.

And that's all we've got at the moment!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Minor Update

Not alot new a the moment, but we will be having some new things to show off in the coming week!

Right now I'm still telling or making up a story every night, we still have incredibly supportive families, and very excited friends. All is going pretty well.

Veronica's parents have done us the amazing favor of buying us a very nice crib and mattress, getting another of each for themselves for our eventual visits, and the mattress came in on Saturday. We expect the crib in the coming days, and I'll include some pictures and more details at that point.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


So this afternoon we had our friends Nick, Nicky, and Michael over to help us paint some of the rooms in the apartment.

The apartment is nice, but with the idea that we're going to be living here with our baby for a little while (something we kept in mind when we moved into a new place) and the desire to personalize the baby's future room a bit we decided it needed something to make it more of a home. You know, not as much a bunch of white walls with a few paintings thrown up.

That in mind, we worked on picking out some colors over the last two or three weeks that would work in some of the rooms. Today our volunteers came over, and we got started.

Well, not right away.

First we fed them some rather good pasta, prepared by Veronica (featuring Mom's Spaghetti Sauce), then we painted.

Here are some images of how it turned out, though they are not exactly setting the world on fire in terms of picture quality.

Dining Room Blue
Baby Room Yellow
Bathroom Green

Once that was done we rocked out to Five Guys for burgers, Coldstone for ice cream, and back to the apartment for some Munchkin.

Overall it was a very, very good day. Can't wait to mess with the nursery (Ha! Love calling it that) more over the coming weeks and months.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


So, Monday evening I went to a friend's place for a semi-regular board game night with a bunch of other guys, and as sometimes happens with the large group games things dragged on a bit late. I got home around midnight and was way too tired to try to do a regular "read from the book" story time...

Is it really strange that I turned our successful game of Arkham Horror into a "bedtime story" for the baby? Because it was actually pretty fun.

I'm going to file this one under: MAJOR GEEK.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Continuing Story

We've been looking at cribs.

Very early on, one of our friends pointed us at a particularly well-rated and nicely-priced crib and that model has stayed on the list of potential candidates ever since. Yesterday Veronica told me that she needed help narrowing down the selection, and I told her that if she gave me a list of 6-10 that she was looking at I could get it down to 2.

I managed to cut away 5, leaving her with 3 that I would be happy with no matter what, almost entirely based on what I was able to find positive reviews for. All of those still around check out well from everything I can find, are high-quality, and look nice... I think Veronica's biased towards one in particular based on the cut of the headboard, but I'm ok with that.

In other news, on two of the last three nights I was too tired to read a story and so instead made one up. It was fun, if incredibly goofy, and something I hope to repeat a great deal more once the kid can actually understand what I'm saying.

All our friends (not to mention our families) are excited for us too, which we appreciate a great deal. It makes all of this more fun, and just goes to show how great they all are.

Friday, March 12, 2010


What, you might be wondering, is on our plate at the moment?

A few things, actually.

First: Right now Veronica is pretty interested in painting the apartment. She's actually been thinking about it for a while, even before we moved into the new place, but the idea that we will be staying here for a while and that our kid will be spending his or her first year here has kicked the desire into overdrive.

At the moment there are paint swatches on various walls throughout the apartment and we've generally come to some conclusions on what we want in each room... now comes the time where we need to figure out when and how we are going to get this stuff done. We might take a shot at it next weekend, as this one is a little bit busy.

Second: Because of Veronica's back, which has been fused at certain points, we're looking at meeting with an anesthesiologist in order to get an official word on what her options will be when the final hour approaches. In anticipation that the already tricky matter will be made a little too dangerous or problematic by her medical situation, we're looking at some alternative forms of pain management.

I'm to be looking for some information on doulas, a matter on which our doctor is agnostic; she says that she has seen incredibly helpful doulas who work well with all the other parts of the process, those that've seemed helpful even if they weren't exactly on the same page as anyone else, and those that she couldn't believe were getting paid for their services. So we're looking at the idea as an option, but we want more information.

Third: Health. Even though she is perfectly fine according to the doctor Veronica, always the over-achiever, wants to not merely be in suitable health but good health. To that end we're looking at asking the doctor if she has any recommendations, and Veronica's been doing some Qigong and (carefully) Pre-Natal Yoga. I have to bite my tongue a bit when listening to the videos, because of the breathy "Relaxing Guide Voice" of the Qigong guy and the way that Shiva Rea says "exhale" in the yoga video. Seriously, she says it as "ex-sale" every single time.

Oh, and lastly I read a particularly odd and somewhat entertaining Grimm fairy tale last night: Fir-Apple. It's a story about a little boy found in a tree, is taken home by a forester, and who the forester's cook wants to throw in a pot... for some reason.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Character Portrait: First Look!

Today we saw the baby.

The ability to really see your baby so early in its development is... mind-blowing, really.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Today Veronica and I went in for a test, part of which involved an ultrasound. This was, we knew, going to be a very early glimpse and not the better-known "anatomy ultrasound" where you get a rather good look at the baby, along with a first opportunity to know the gender.

It was amazing. We saw the baby shifting, moving the arm (you could see the hand bones!), we heard the heartbeat, and at one point the baby did a full body kick that actually caused me to catch my breath.

The whole thing becomes more real every day, and I couldn't be happier.

First Ultrasound

Look at that! It's pretty awesome, and not half the detail we got to see at some points.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Storytelling: Reading Out Loud

One thing I've recently started doing, as in the last week, is reading a story every night with my head resting against Veronica's midsection. 

I think at this point we have all heard the various stories about playing music for or talking to the baby-to-be, that it is a great thing or a good thing or does nothing at all. For me, however, it comes down to three basic concepts:
  1. It's an excuse to spend a little relatively quiet time with my wife every evening. This cannot be overlooked.
  2. It is my current understanding that hearing and feeling the voices of the parents can be a soothing thing for a baby and get them used to those voices.
  3. It is helping the idea that there is a little person in there, that I'm going to be taking care of and humming and reading to a little kid sometime in the not-to-distant future.
So reading it is.

Right now I am working my way through Grimm's Fairy Tales with a little bit of Aesop's Fables thrown in for flavor every so often; it's stories I might actually be reading to the kid someday, and it's material that I've wanted to take a closer look at myself for a while now. I remain unsurprised but pleased by the casual way that light-hearted adventures go hand-in-hand with murder, mayhem, and randomly mystic (mis)fortune in these tales.

I'm having fun, Veronica (the wife, in her wisdom, will be going by her actual name) is having fun, and we hope that the little one is having fun.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Character Creation

Warning: If you are already afraid that the gaming jokes and/or puns are going to be coming on rather heavily, let me suggest that these fears are very well founded.

First, let's cover a little bit of character background:

I am a 29 year old third-year law student and former high school history teacher with a strong interest in science fiction, fantasy, video games, role-playing games, and other imminently "geeky" pursuits. I also like martial arts, long distance running, and trips to the gym... so I'm not a total stereotype. Not totally. Just mostly.

I've lived in four states, and a scattering of cities in two of those, and currently reside in North Carolina.

My wife and I have been together for about 10 years, and married for over 4. We met online, through one of the original MMO's called Ultima Online,  and she is a mediation specialist who is getting her certification as a massage therapist.

Second, let's introduce the players:

I'm Mike.

My wife is [INSERT NOM DE PLUME HERE]. We'll figure out what she'd like to go by soon. Coming up with the name has always been one of her least favorite parts of character creation.

The little one is going to be called the Kiddo until we start to get more of an idea as to what sort of person we're dealing with.

Others will be introduced as needed.

Third, we need to set the stage:

In the final weeks of January 2010 my wife and I discovered, to our great joy, that we were pregnant. Well technically she is pregnant, but I've been informed by the only authority that counts (her) that this is how we're referring to it and that's fine by me.

We double and triple checked, and being somewhat impatient people we broke all protocols by letting certain friends and family members know. We were excited, what can we say? In any case, we shortly after had our hopes confirmed by the doctor and began slowly coming to the realization that this meant we'd very soon need to take serious action.

It's alot to wrap the head around, even when you're really trying to, as I'm sure that anyone with experience on the matter can attest to. I couldn't be happier, though. I've always wanted to be a dad someday, and I only hope that I can be a good one. It's the most important thing I can do, at this point.

Even typing that makes me grin a bit foolishly.

So now we're coming to the end of the First Trimester, a day away from getting our first ultrasound, and we're working hard at coming up with solid plans and checklists that we can pretend will make us prepared until they are inevitably shattered by reality.

We're talking to day-care providers, looking at potential schedules, trying to work out rough (very rough) long-term budgets, doing extensive research on random questions, and putting together shopping lists.

Did I mention I was excited?