Tripping the (First) Trimester Fantastic: The Fonz's Flailing Kumquat and the Blood of the Prune Baby

In Prior Weeks of Torpid Trimester Part Uno, a wee little olive sprouted fangs and made its presence known through evening ailings and endless exhaustions. Though a fraction of the birthday monster's girth and size, little olive flung and flapped and triumphed, demanding offerings of choco-potato-pretzel-cowboy bark while the not-so-fat-lady sang her way to a finale never seen. 

As week ten wakes up, the olive evolves beyond singular produce possibilities. Prune, kumquat, lime??? It flails and frolics in its little encasement. Adella's dietary tastes shift, surge, and ebb like white rapids. Names and gender are pondered (Kalamata Gandalf Wright??). And a pre-natal kickstarter appointment at that BOGA-man yields kindly fairies and two very big thumbs up from Baby Fonzie! 

Food Cravings, Aversions, and Changes at Week 10

Since I'm reaching the point where theoretically my nausea and other fun first trimester symptoms should start to abate, I thought I'd wrap up some of the more notable changes over the last few months. 

Salt. Ordinarily I hate it. I eat low sodium everything. Typically, the way restaurant food is salted makes my tongue shrivel like a slain slug. Suddenly, though, I am flailing for the salt lick like a rabid rodent. Simple dishes with a healthy dose of salt are the ultimate nausea-buster, salsa is my best friend ever, and I can even tolerate soy sauce. Bring on the seaweed salad!

Cottage cheese. After once getting sick just after I had eaten cottage cheese and subsequently having a hard time eating it, I was delighted to discover I really liked it about a year ago. A healthy, tasty snack... that suddenly makes me gag wildly. I've had to throw away my stash of on-sale-deal cartons and hope for a future in which I can like it once more. 

Cucumbers. Never my favorite, but super iffy now. The smell makes my tongue curl up. Possibly edible if doused in vinegar. 

Mushrooms. Could eat them raw by the handful before. Suddenly the smell makes me queasy about 75% of the time. They have to be exceptionally fresh and it had better be early in the day on a salad or I'm gagging. 

Steamed veggies. My go to evening staple dinner has been a huge plate of steamed veggies with some seeds and nuts. Suddenly, can't stomach more than a few bites. Salad, I can do. Veggies in moderation with other things... but not pure unadulterated veggies. Shudder.

Eggs. I've always liked eggs ok, but I love them right now. Except when the thought of them makes me queasy. But if I get past the illusory smell, I love them. Best if they include cheese. Although they work fairly well with some flax meal as well.*

*And of course then I read that flaxseed may not be safe for fetal development because some mumbo jumbo about lignans and estrogens and voodoo priest demons turning little baby olives into big moldy sastumas and I sigh. Because there is nothing that has been really proven safe for pregnant women. Kind of like how being alive is statistically the greatest cause of death... being pregnant is decidedly not safe for pregnant women or their little incunabula. Ah well. 

Cheese. Another category of food for which I held no particular fondness. I'd add a little bit here or there to salads because it was healthy and extra calories. My tepid tolerance has evolved into a constant craving. I could add melted cheese to nearly anything and that anything would transmogrify from gagger to drool inducer. I'm suddenly having nonstop fantasies about grilled cheese sandwiches and a black bean tostada (salty black beans, salsa, crunchy lettuce, and CHEESE) is my heaven food. 

Legumes. Thank god, my implacable adoration for legumes remains unquashed, except I want them more salty than before (as in "somewhat" instead of "not at all"). I can eat beans, lentils, split peas... Indian, Middle Eastern and Ethiopian food are constantly on my mind. And peanut butter went from a highly liked food to an open jar constantly available when nothing else will go down. 

Bread. Never a big one for me, it's getting a more and more prominent spot in my food fantasies. Covered in butter even (another thing I pointedly never cared for). Sourdough and Injera in particular. Not sure why, but that little sour bite settles my stomach. 

Nutritional Yeast. Normally, I'm obsessed with this. It goes in all sorts of things I make. Suddenly, I have to be careful about it. There's a certain aftertaste that just doesn't gel. 

and speaking of gel...

Chia seeds. Love them and rely on them for digestive happiness, but if they're too gooey or noticeable in a dish... gag. Chia jam, yes. Chia buried in other consistencies, absolutely. Chia pudding... not this year. 

Coconut butter. Brings me to the verge of regurgitation at just the merest hint. 

Chocolate. No change, except I may be even more rabidly anxious to sample every available bar in imagination and to nibble an extra bar's worth of teeny tiny bites throughout the day. 

Onions and Garlic. Until now I could pretty much eat them raw by the handful. Suddenly, I'm a little touchier. The smell of onion haunts me, even if I still like it in my food, albeit in more sparing amounts. 

Hot peppers. I still like spice, but am a little more ginger about it these days (literally preferring ginger over cayenne and other peppers). 

Yogurt. Cannot eat after about 5:00 p.m. but before then I like it a lot. Though I suddenly prefer skim greek yogurt to full regular yogurt. 

Popcorn. Air popped in the microwave, this is like my safety food. I can eat it at night even. It's bland, comforting, high in fiber, and satisfying. 

Frozen peas and corn. My substitute for steamed vegetables at night. Something my mom started me and my sister on when we were younger. She tricked us into thinking it was some kind of special snack. It worked apparently. 

Nutrisweet. I don't drink much aspartame or diet soda, but I did chew Extra gum before and always used to steal a sip from my mom's drink (she has several different kinds through the day). Now, I still can't resist the sip-stealing habit, but every single time, the flavor explodes perilously in my mouth and I make a little face much like a toddler taking her first sip of coffee or whiskey. Spasmy shudder optional, but common. 

Alcohol. I had a sip of communion wine over Christmas services and my body went into full revolt. Apparently, we will not have to worry about fetal alcohol syndrome. My body is so not down with anything alcoholic these days. 

Green Tea. Makes me nauseous to no end. I can have it if it's very weak and it's early in the day when I'm feeling mostly ok. 

Junky diner food. I still can't actually eat more than a few bites of this sort of food, but it features heavily in my food fantasies. Grilled cheese, mac and cheese, NACHOS, and sweet potato fries. I can even fathom a hefty bite of hash browns and super duper white bread with butter. 

Ice cream - I still find it far too sweet for me. I really wish somebody would cut the sugar in half without adding some kind of sickly artificial sweetener in its place. Creamy and cold sounds amazing. 

My body is confusing sometimes, but I'm actually relieved at how wide my dietary allowances have been. I know a lot of women who end up living on saltines and plain pasta for their first trimester. The ability to enjoy Mexican, Indian, Ethiopian, and Middle Eastern food pretty much keeps me well fed, especially with my increased dairy fixation.

Wondering Woman Wanders to the Tippe Toes of Thursday I've mislaid my invisible jet again, goshdarnit!

I appear to be semi-conscious this morning. This shocking turn of events is perhaps due to the early bedtime creep currently unfolding in my life. Not like a jerkface who attacks me before bedtime, but the successive shaving of minutes until I hit those sweet sweet sheets (and fifty specially arranged pillows). Because two naps a day weren't enough for sufficient shut eye! By about 7:30 p.m. these evenings, I'm pretty spent. Through Herculean effort, I've managed to  keep eyes open and nearly focused for the rest of the evening. But shortening that evening is an increasingly appealing habit. I've reached about 8:30 at this point.

Of course the earlier I go to bed, the later Andrew seems to. Like we're yin-yanging it up to a drastic degree. Or my change in ritual has stymied his internal clock cues. I'm guessing he'll catch up on the weekend, but in the meantime, I'll pretend he's consciously making himself tired in an effort to be sympathetic to my current "delicate yet glowing" exhaustion. Or being competitive. He is a dude and one who gets his rocks off racing after all! But I think he knows better than to try to best me on the tiredness one too much. 

And here I am, conscious enough to log the drool that drips upon my keyboard. Amazing what twenty pillows and an extra half hour of sleep can do for ya!

Five-ways to Friday Post Parenting Plan Picnic Pick-up

My mom had a difficult five-way yesterday. That's code for a meeting between attorneys, their clients and a fifth person usually another sort of professional. In this case, a communications coach/child specialist.It's a Collaborative Law thing that can work pretty well outside the model... or devolve into screaming and crying and futility. But that's why you bring snacks to these things! Breaking bread and all that nonsense... plus it gives an outlet for all that nervous energy! And once you've frenetically downed half a ton of trail mix, you're a wee bit saturnine and less apt to leap at anyone else's throat for fear of upchucking all those little bits of dried fruits and seeds!

Naturally, we had to locate the perfect bread for yesterday's meeting. Something sweet but not too sweet. Fresh. Meal-like but not heavy... Our quest involved an excursion to Great Harvest Bread. 

The perfect bread was an experiment they were testing out that day: orange cranberry cinnamon chip. Something like that. It was oh so amazing. The aroma wafted through town and straight to the nerve center of my salivary glands. I will note that attempting to cut a loaf of freshly baked bread with a dinner knife can lead to some less than exquisite looking slices. Then again, we don't want any serrated skivers hanging around a meeting between divorcing couples. But, crumbs and crumbles aside, the offering was quite a lovely one. I can only imagine that the aroma provided affirmative afflatus towards an amicable solution.

I'm even happier to say there's plenty left. Now to eat it before it goes stale!

And to celebrate the fact that it is Friday! Oh sweet Friday. I'm officially at "week ten" of this pregnancy thing. Our little incunabula is apparently now a thrashing kumquat that drinks amniotic fluid and then cycles it right back out in kind of a gross way. But its a great image: a flailing little miniature human, naked and streaming fluid all over the place. Practice for when it's a child and has its first swimming lessons I guess! 

Depending on the "your week-by-week guide," the little creature may also be a prune or a lime. It's going to take some time deciding which of these fits our little Wrightlett best. Limes are kind of zesty; they're sweet but with a decided kick. Prunes are reliable, dark, a bit practical, and offer some seriously blessed relief to pregnant ladies like myself. But kumquat is such a fun word to say! Not a bad name, really! Come along Kumquat!  

And Kumquat is a nice gender neutral name. Andrew is already growing weary of calling our pre-fetus kumquat "it". He'd like a gender to affix to it during the employment of pronouns. Me, I kind of feel like no matter what, we'll be imposing all these constrictive gender norms on the poor little produce before it's even out of the womb. And really, even if we knew the sex of the baby, as such, we can't really know the gender until it's expressed the gender it identifies as! My proposal was to refer to the baby as "it" for as long as possible. I'm thinking 9 or 10 years old. Long enough so it can really decide for itself! In the meantime, we'll name it Baby, which is not much worse than several names registered at public schools these days. Or Gandalf. There was short talk of Gandalf last weekend. After that, Kumquat doesn't sound too bad, does it (although the nickname is unfortunate)? And it's one step beyond Oliver and Olivia which are apparently among the top grossing baby names of 2015 so far, and clearly came from last week's "baby the size of a green olive" inspiration. Maybe Kalamata?? Kalamata Kumquat Wright!

Ah well. As long as it's a thrashing peeing fruit of some sort with a nice normal three-times-faster-than-human heartbeat!

We have a prenatal visit on Monday. My first with Dr. Mallory as my OB instead of my GYN. I know to bring a book, since the wait times are beyond human imagination. Maybe a tissue or two as well. I get all girly emotional when people say things like "normal" at times. 

It will be nice to have some contact with the ongoing care provider, and to ask my bajillion questions that I'll doubtlessly forget upon entering the office space. I have a list, but we'll see if I remember to bring it! Hey, I've got all weekend to remember to remember to not forget before I forget. 

Heeeeeeeeeeey Baby Alien Gremlin Fonzie Prune Gives the Big Thumbs Up!

I had quite a scare yesterday morning when I received a message from BOGA (Bellingham OB-GYN Associates, but I prefer the acronym, because it always makes me chuckle and say BOGA BOGA BOGA!!!! AAAAAAH). Dr. Mallory, my prior gynecologist had to go and be enmeshed in a family of sickos. With the flu, in particular. Apparently they all thought it was a good idea for him not to traipse about a haven of pregnant ladies spewing flu bugs all about. So he was staying home with his ailing family and heavy doses of Tamiflu. Which I respect. And support. I do not want the flu. Ever, but this year in particular. 

But, BOGA is legendarily difficult in terms of scheduling. They are just that popular. And I was at the tail end of acceptable for a "first prenatal visit." Rescheduling would have been a nightmare and possible required making an appointment at midnight on the Harvest Moon with additional forms promising 50% of my placenta for the OB-GYN gods or something. 

Blessedly, BOGA is a team. I can see any of the associates there. I actually didn't know this previously or I'd have had a much easier time scheduling in the past. And even more fortunately, a Dr. Kaepernick was available to take my slot! Dr. Kaepernick turns out to be a magical fairy OB-GYN. Or at least, she reminds me of a beautiful silver-haired fairy godmother type from The Princess and the Goblins (a favorite children's book that I've long retold in my head to possibly have no association with the original story, but I'm pretty sure there was a beautiful silver-haired fairy involved). She was spritely, friendly, tactful, positive, clear and everything in between. 

Andrew trudged along, looking a wee bit bedraggled and irritated at the confusion over times leading to our extra lobby-wait (he'd thought my appointment was at 2:30 because I needed to be there by 2:30 to fill out early paperwork for a 2:40 appointment, and then somehow came home early and then somehow we ended up at BOGA - despite my warnings, actually, that we would be able to get there in ten minutes - by 2:15. I insisted we take a short walk, needless to say. Anyways, he settled into his book once we got there, and made a concerted effort not to look too closely as various portions of my lady parts were palped and prodded. And, there was a total pay off for all that waiting and missed work. BABY ALIEN FONZIE!!

The head is on the lower left slant. The body trails diagonally towards the upper right. The double-thumbs up is snuggly in the center. And that huge arcing thing is the umbilical cord! Quite the chin, don't you think?

 Technically, we didn't need this ultrasound (the 7 week on confirmed pregnancy already and the 12 week is still necessary), so Dr. Kaepernick threw it in as a freebie. Because she is a magical fairy lady. 

I can't believe how much the little gremlin in my tummy has changed over the last three weeks. I went from an indistinguishable omelet to a distinctive gremlin Fonzie! 

Oh oh oh and I am "healthy" and The Fonzie Kumquat is "healthy" and "normal" and my pregnancy is "low risk"!! Which, I know were the chances all along, given my age and general health (though I am still on the lower end of pushing it for healthy weight, but working on that), but when it's so particularly hard to get to this point, one never assumes. As if the consequences of losing the baby (the increased cost and challenge of trying again) being heavier made the odds any different for this little Fonzie. 

I'll be heading back once more in two weeks, since there is all that twelve week stuff to handle. And shockingly, they even managed to schedule me in for the day required. Perhaps helps that I don't need to see an OB-GYN at that point. Can't wait to see what The Fonz is up to by then!

Hopefully not ski-jumping over any shark tanks just yet! Low-risk after all. Low-risk. 

Tripping the (First) Trimester Fantastic: Fanged Olive and the Case of the Missing Tail

Previously on A&A's Adventures in Frisky Fecundation, a long Advent season brought new meaning to waiting in the darkness. Twinges, Machiavellian embryonic gladiators, and chest-bursting forfended, Adella rejoiced ... and then collapsed in a pile of sleepy groggy nauseous stupor while dreaming of mac and cheese with sweet relish and fudge sauce. Andrew declared victory and fled to the mountains of Colorado for family reveries. And the year turned, aflood with promises of pullulating newness and rebirth, while teeny in utero crafting projects began their long practice. 

And so it begins... Moanday Murmurings and Resolute Recrudescences Wait, not ready yet. Can we have one more holiday week

Wiping the tinsel and stardust from my eyes as best I can, I re-emerge from my little hobbit hole.

 At home, once more I am a wife. Which is a lovely, lovely thing, although had my husband's plane just been delayed just half a day, I would have managed to finish Inherent Vice, a book through which I am currently at the ever breathless 80%. If this had been Infinite Jest, I would have barricaded myself in a hotel room and refused to come back until I was finished with the obsessive re-reading of various sections of the books and the interminable "huh... wow... huh..." unfolding that nips the heels of a finishing read. But Inherent Vice is more of a lark and a caper than THE ENTERTAINMENT. Blessedly my obsessive urgency is not quite at that level. 

I can occasionally read while others are present in my home, but it is far more challenging. Being wrested from a paragraph by a passing comment from another person can feel physically agonizing once I'm properly hooked in. But as I said yesterday, I am never thoroughly able to draw my mind from an awareness of those around me - and that dual death of empathy and curiosity. An activity best left alone or in the solitude of thronging crowds.

 I did a wee bit of reading after his return, to be fair. A paragraph or two while making breakfast (punctuated with panicked interruptions as various foods sizzled or sassed). And the end of a chapter last night before bed. I try not to read to close to bed, though, since it inevitably keeps my mind awhirring. 

At any rate, welcome to the grand voyage of work year 2015. 

This year I resolve the following: 

  1.  To gain 20-35 pounds depending on my doctor's orders over the next eight months or so.
  2. To take plenty of naps. 
  3. To obsess over baby names endlessly but refuse to pick one because it would end the fun. 
  4. To be a little more selfish and take it a little more easy, because this is my last shot. 
  5. To find a way to finish my gosh darn book (possibly a few more of them, because again ... really kind of my last shot if I recall trying to read Ada, Or Ardor while visiting my nephews)

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Dromedary Didgeridoo-Da-Dooo-Da-Dee-Da Hump Day 2015

Well it's a wee minor hump, but we've reached it nonetheless. Bring on the fantasies of weekend wallowing and sumptuous Saturdays. Or... just sort of stagger through another day and hope to recover some of that color I left somewhere (oh, apparently it drained entirely from my face into my socks?). I feel that "glowing" is less apropos than "chalky and delicately haggard." But I guess my pallor ensures that I could be seen from outer space if set against the proper contrast, which is like glowing. I might glow under a blacklight at this point!

While I was at home devotedly siphoning off the lion's share my own blood, guts and gestational glory towards fashioning a little Wrightlet for Mr. (W)right, he was off skiing it up at some resort without a care in the world. I exaggerate. He had cares. Like tweaking his bicycle set up via motorcycle mechanics and thermodynamics, and possibly something ski related. Sniff Sniff. Hand to forehead! Woe would have been me had I not rather wanted a hermitage for my vacation week.

But being the magnanimous fellow he is, he remembered to bring home a souvenir from the excursion. 

Good news: he did not bring home piles of snow and ice and insist on throwing them at me to give me the full "ski experience." 

Bad news: he seems to have opted for a sweet little head cold that he picked up at the airport instead. 

Generally, I prefer earrings. But it's nice of him to share.

 Well I think I caught a cold from him. Given that I pretty much feel hungover and anemic a majority of the time (body shutting down to re-devote all resources to its little crafting project instead of its usual self-maintenance), it's hard to tell. But given that I was even whiter than usual and have had itchy eyes and a sore throat, plus phlegm that exceeds the standard reflux throat-frog (ribbit ribbit). And signs point towards "really? now???" 

Ah well, it's not bad. I just probably should take it easy. Easier. Which is saying something. I mean, two naps a day and an earlier bedtime is pretty lavish in my book. I might just go on sleeping bag rest and get a laptop to work at the office at this rate!

Or cut back the capering. I did a little capering yesterday. Just a final goodbye lunch with "not coming back to Bellingham anytime soon" friend on his last day. Today he flies directly from Seattle to Dubai and then off to Beirut where I'm assured I can still catch him on Facebook or Skype. 

After we ate, we went on a bit of a "walk." He walks with striking celerity. Particularly for somebody already diminished by exhaustion. I was, shall we say, winded and starting to feel my lunch warming up for an encore performance. And I did walk on the treadmill earlier in the day. 

So no more friends for a while! Or slower friends. Maybe I'll just hobble them upon greeting to make sure I can keep up. 

In the meantime, I shall lock my office, douse myself in sanitizer, and click clack away in passable pretense of work. 

May you do the same until you're off the hook and free to roam the world (at a reasonable pace!)

Birthday Monster's Last Stand!! The Icing on the Cupcake

Nobody will ever attempt to eat Morty the birthday monster cupcake. Morty is - most likely - toxic. Or at least, his concentrations of pure sacchariferous slurm  is enough to straighten my hair and bug out my eyes to twice their size. Yowza. But he does make a fine companion for a boss lady's 63rd I think. 

Sadly, he's falling a wee bit into shambles, as birthday monsters do on the days following their coming out parties... if only we could shellac him and turn him into a permanent desk installation. Just think what the cleaning lady would do with that! (grumble grumble, god I hate her and her presumptuous way of putting everything where it doesn't belong in some kind of grand artistic editorial on the conflict in Darfur).

At any rate, Mom-boss had a good enough birthday with a little bit too much work in my opinion, But some good results sprang from that work, so she is happy. Having completed her birthday workday, she's playing hooky today to go all the way to Seattle for a follow up thingy from back when she had that cancer related surgery stuff years and years ago. Kind of just a pilgrimage they make you make once you've reached remission to give offerings to the cancer-gods, really. I've been on a few, but they are supremely dull and involve driving in Seattle.

I considered going even today - since there will be an appointment with the geneticist about risks for family and so on - but I have a delightful appointment with the IRB again today. Oh joy of joys. And how nostalgic. The last IRB meeting was five weeks ago on the day that I got my very first positive on a pregnancy test and spent the entire phone call in a daze obsessing over the various qualities of urine and timing required for the second test to confirm or confuse the first one's results. Which was, regrettably, far more interesting than the long debates over a single sentence should instead be two sentences to hit that eidetic "sixth grade reading level" that apparently means to some doctors that we should write in Seussian rhymes with illustrations. 

Which means today I am - drumroll please - a whopping nine weeks pregnant! In short, our little creature is a fanged green olive with big eyes and teeny tiny indeterminate genitals. Is that cute or what? Almost as cute as Morty maybe.

I suspect that I will eventually succumb to my toddler temptations and smash Morty into my face to recreate photos of my first birthday... or maybe just kind of continue picking at him and then going "URG" whenever the frosting hits my delicate taste buds. Gotta have something to do while the boss lady is away!

Magi-Monday Merry Mojo (Maybe)

I shall and will prevail over the petty slings and arrows of such scurrilous fortunes as the cleaner messing with my office again! This time, I hid the sleeping bag and pillows out of her path of devastation. Instead she reverted to moving all my computer stuff out of alignment, putting a stool on  my treadmill (obviously!) and closing the window in my office. This she has been told repeatedly not to do, considering the office boiler burbles our little domicile away from domicile into incalescent torpor without a little help. She also mucked up mom-boss' desk (as always) and turned off the fan in that office. Maybe she thinks we want to work in a tropical jungle during the hot season? 

But oh the windows are open and the fan is on and it shall be a Monday. And I shall prevail. Or at least kind of muck through the irrational hormonal reactions to pecadillos that pique me until it's glorious nap time. Of course Monday means meetings (oh boy!) An office meeting, and then a big old Whatcom Collaborative Professionals Meeting. They have been warned about my delicate position (proper euphemism really, as I feel fragile) and I'm optimistic about our new president's sense of direction and momentum. Hopefully it should be a pretty good meeting. Or at least one that doesn't bring me to tears or public displays of lalochezia. 

Yesterday, my father made my drive by bringing me a bag of "snacks." They all were variations on our Christmas discussion on chocolate covered junk food. Mostly of the chocolate covered potato chip variety, but with some variations. I got a chocolate bar with potato chips in it; I got chocolate covered potato chips (although instead of single chips dipped in chocolate, these manifested via more of a big pile of potato chips slathered in milk chocolate); I got "Ruggedly Adventuresome Cowboy Bark" (toffee, pretzels, peanuts, and almonds); and I got Bark Thins Dark Chocolate Pretzel. Drool. 

The final entry was my favorite (had a simple and clean profile of dark chocolate, crunch and salt), although the Ruggedly Adventuresome Cowboy bark did complement my reading of the Western (the "existentialist Western") novel Warlock. Almonds, toffee, peanuts all slathered in sumptuous dark chocolate: A good candy to desperately try and fail to do what's right, while pride and the petty ephemerality of human intent and chimerical heroism turns it all to a mad mushy hash instead. Just don't be surprised if you're forced to kill your best friends... for that last nummy bite of this deeelicious bark. I'm pretty sure that's in the TJ's flier. 

I was a wee abstemious on the chocolate gorging, since my stomach still doesn't handle too much candy well at a time. Besides, we were driving down to have lunch at Bamboo Gardens. It was stuffed to the vegan-faux-shark-gills but surprisingly efficient and tasty. They did drop the ball a bit in getting us to-go boxes (took fifteen minutes of asking several times before my dad got up and grabbed some). Still,  impressive. 

And we saw Tosca at McCaw Hall, which was our main purpose for the trip. Well, we saw most of it. I admit that we bailed at the second intermission. The last act was 25 minutes. The intermission preceding it was also 25 minutes. We decided that maybe instead of waiting 50 minutes to complete the everybody dies operatic mission, we'd just leave it at "the volatile and jealous heroine who flubs everything up for her sweetie repeatedly (and then decides she'd rather commit murder than bargain her body for his life, but both were equally ineffective options anyways) stabs the nasty lecherous chief of police and thinks maybe she's still saved her lover's life." Almost a cheery ending!

It was a lush and lavish production, and the singing was spectacular. That said, it wasn't my favorite opera by a long shot. Puccini is very hit or miss for me. I think La Boheme is painfully overrated, although some of the arias are beautiful. Madame Butterfly is exquisite. Turandot is oddly compelling in its heartless grandiosity (especially with the contrast of the highly sympathetic character of Liu). Tosca was good, but I heard hints of better. The music was beautiful, but I feel like many of the themes and soaring ideas were developed subsequently into Madame Butterfly and Turandot. And really, there's something about the structuring of the plot that doesn't quite hit the agitated passion of the music; the contrast left me emotionally unattached. Not an opera to bring one to tears or goosebumps, though it is a juicy little potboiler.

And maybe I just don't really care for any of the characters. I find Tosca especially unlikable (and without without a Liu to contrast her). Her lover is good hearted enough, but not particularly dimensional. And the villain is villainous, but not in an exceptionally novel way. There's a nuance lacking in any of the motivations or emotional states that left me slightly less than rapturous. But that said, again, gorgeous singing and some amazing uses of a large chorus.

And I'm glad to make an opera! I missed Don Giovanni back in 2014.

I was equally glad to make it home a little early. The bike-and-chain did, as promised, spend all day working on his bike after a prior all day of wandering around the Chuckanuts with a teammate of his. I suspect that as long as he has a list of things to do that include "sign up for that difficult professional exam that may or may not be a pain to apply for" and "refresh resume and start considering other job options" he might have a lot of new bike projects coming up. This weekend, it'll be a charity ride in Woodinville. For a good cause, anyways. And hey, I'm not a 100% reliable to be anything approximating "good company" these days, so perhaps the extra Adella-staycation will be good for all involved.

I'm glad to note that it's cooled down considerably to almost chilly. Thus have I thwarted the evil cleaner and righted the office! Ha!

From ART-ventures to Expecting - a mini journey back through December 2014

November 24th: 
Reflections Upon Reaching My Very First 2ww (forum argot for "two week wait" between all the fertility treatment excitement and the test that says whether it's time to plunge back into the thick of cycle two).

It's a little weird to reach this point of interstitial wait and see. A mix of relief for my very tired body, some emotional hangover, and the beginnings of my perpetually plotting brain's need to chart out the next cycle in better detail. But here we are. No shots. No ultrasounds. No blood tests. Just radio silence as things run their course or don't.

Going through my brain:

(1) there's nothing really left to do if our "cunning gonads on the prowl" didn't meet up in some torrid tango during that last window. And probably, they didn't. Given the odds. BUT there are all kinds of factors impacting implantation of any embryo that maybe popped up, so technically you should be laying low, keeping minimal social interactions, meditating, resting, cutting up pineapples and giving them accupuncture while dunking brazil nuts in rooibos tea etc. just in case!!

(2) all of the hormones you've just flushed into your body are the same ones that would be released if you'd managed to knock yourself up. That means all the same symptoms in full force! And you could pretty much get a screaming positive on any test requiring strips and urine for at least the next ten days until all that crap clears your system. Which is tempting. Sometimes just having the illusion of success is, no doubt, gratifying.

(3) if you had your way, you would jump on that California "zen camp" a family friend cited as her December plans. Because all you want to do is sit somewhere quietly and try to clear your brain of the backed up emotional and physiological baggage of an a first time out and all the weird fear and exhaustion that uncertainty brings about with a first try.

(4) but you also want to be absolutely ready for the next cycle in two weeks. You desperately want a chance to evaluate the final tally and - having been a little thrown off by the twists and turns of an unpredictable first go - you really want to get back into a second cycle to do it right this time now that you know what to expect and every one has a better read on your idiosyncratic physiology. The longer you wait, the more anxious you'll get.

(5) waiting for two weeks to see if anything stuck is actually far more humane than that horrific wait between taking the bar exam and finding out if that stuck. Except that you had probably an 85% chance of a positive letter on that one and this time you have probably an 85% chance of a negative result. Which may or may not be easier or harder. I'm actually not sure.

(6) you're pretty sure that your husband is still actually pretty terrified of having children, making this particular interim far easier for him than for you. But possibly making that one week where he's actually on-call after the surrounding ones of powerlessly observing that much more of a head trip. And as much as you're in this together, it's still your body going through most of the stuff and there's still going to be this slip into it being your thing. And that's hard sometimes, but that's why it's good to have friends too.

(7) but even if you're relieved to be through to the chilling part, you did realize that when you both actively work on keeping things romantic and taking time for each other and prioritizing all that canoodling of early dating, it is really nice. Maybe a bit wearing for several days in a row, but that relationships always are a bit of work and slipping out of comfortable yields positive results.

(8) this could just be the medically induced raging PMS/early-pregnancy (pretty much all those hormones are doing a jump and jive in my system so I'm running the gamut), but I cannot get enough chocolate. Forget three pieces, I need three bars. For breakfast. Please!

December 5th
Live Blogging The Pee-Stick Friday Follies Fun

4:45 a.m. - stagger out of bed. Don't need to pee. Good. Will not test before work. Do not want that pall cast over our morning. Don't want to get mad at Andrew for not being perfectly empathetic about the ombre shades of complex girl-emotions about to explode upon seeing that little minus. Pack up HPTs. Pack up progesterone "just in case." Carry on. Ooops synthroid. Take the synthroid! Ok. We're good

5:00 a.m. - 5:15 a.m. - start breakfast, turn on my phone, pop on some music. Wait wait wait until it's been at least a half hour before eating a bite of that banana for Andrew's oatmeal or it'll mess up the synthroid absorption.

5:15 - 5:20 a.m. - sneak upstairs, plug in the Christmas lights, leap onto the sleeping loris, and start poking him until he stirs. Make a funny face as he puts on his glasses. Hand him his not-too-hot-to-accidentally-land-in-his-lap coffee mug with the cute monkey. Back downstairs.

5:20-5:37 a.m. - finish breakfast, run upstairs to announce "breakfast is ready." Change the lights up for "mood lighting." Close the cabinet doors and sit down to a crossword while the loris stumbles downstairs.

5:40 a.m. - 5:55 a.m. - as the caffeine reserves increase in the man's system, experience an increasing amount of edification on engineering type topics, bike parts and similar topics before leaving mid-sentence.

5:55 a.m. - oh yeah, bring the HPT. Oh yeah. Have to do that. Ugh.

6:15 a.m. - get into work, set up, start the usual.

6:20 a.m. - hmmmm have to pee. Earlier than I'd wanted. I have this theory that if I dehydrate myself severely, my urine will be more concentrated and that in turn will make me ... I don't know... more pregnant?

6:30 a.m. - Ok, I'm going to do it. Wait wait wait. Distract myself. Start to think what that little negative is going to do. Remember previous ways it hits.Wonder if it will impact me or if I'm already ready to move..

6:33 a.m - "Pregnant"...

wait. Um. Is there a "not" there? 


Huh. How do I feel about this. 

Am I going to cry? 

Am I excited.


6:34 a.m. - Ok, little test you'd better not be a liar. I'll be mad. Darn it, I'm going to have to retest. Later. When I have to pee again. Which means it will be less of that morning concentrate so it might be less likely to show up which means it might be negative and I might have to buy yet another test! Oh god this is totally going to tie up my morning..

6:35 a.m. - but, I should take that progesterone suppository then, huh. Ok. Only half a day off if that test is messing with me.

6:36 a.m. - could be false positive. Not getting excited. Not getting suckered into that. Still dazed. A lot to go. This early on... But hell, wow, if it is that would be so much easier. In some ways. Unless I'm full with a small litter. But I can handle that. Just make this real. Make this stick.

6:37 a.m. - Fot to distract myself. Ok, I'm going to write about bike parts and my day yesterday. Not sharing. Not talking about it. Not letting it get me involved and hopeful.

6:50 a.m. - Ok, want to test again but don't want to drink too much and dilute everything.

6:55 a.m. - Oh crap, the IRB meeting. Phone in.

7:00 a.m. - warily eye the positive pregnancy test on my desk. Still the same. Still pregnant. Classy little paperweight.

8:08 a.m. - oh my god, you wordsmiths are worse than lawyers. The original sentence that we have been parsing for the last fifty minutes made perfect sense!! You are being an idiot! But whatever, stop explaining why you want to change it. I will do whatever you want. We can write the new consent form in crayon if you like. With glitter. Whatever.

8:15 a.m. - seriously we're shelving it because you have a problem with the wording? Ok, whatever. I'll say "aye."

8:16 a.m. - Test still says "pregnant." Does not suddenly say "psych!" Ok

8:21 a.m. - hmmm so I need to call a nurse regardless. If I have two contradictory tests will we just assume the negative or do the blood test. And with the risk of multiples, they'll want to follow up on that before that 10 week ultrasound. What happens if I am positive?

8:22 a.m. - what the heck are we talking about? Heavy water? Informed consent? Whatever. Pace pace pace. Don't pace too much. Imaginary embryo might fall out. Hold very very still...

8:37 a.m. - Leslie's in. She's going to the bathroom. Oh shit, did I put things away in there? Is there a big urine cup just sitting in the sink. Oh god. NOOOOOOOO!

8:39: a.m. - she's back. Does she look disgusted? Is she carrying a glass? Should I go look? Maybe I should test again?

8:40 a.m. - Ah hell. I'll just try it. Yes, yes, I'm going to pee on a stick while participating in an IRB. So sue me. I have no idea what they're talking about and they can't hear me anyways.

8:41 a.m. - Waiting waiting waiting. Don't look at it. If you look at it before 3 minutes, you'll jinx it. Or it'll turn into a dead cat in a box or something. Just...

8:43 a.m. - Pregnant!!! Holy crap. Ok, still could be some HCG lingering in my system from the ovidrel. Don't get excited. Still could miscarry. But... ok. Got to call the nurse. Which nurse? Sarah vanished. Lindsay? Does she work on Mondays? Wait, it's Friday.

8:44 a.m. - Now I am walking back into a fully populated office holding a pregnancy test so that I can place a second one on my desk. This is probably not super professional.

8:45 a.m. - What the heck is going on in this meeting? Is it time to say "aye" yet?

9:00 a.m. - Meeting goes from 7-9. I don't care if you're still talking, I'm hanging up.

9:01 a.m. - Message for nurse. "Um, so I was supposed to take a pregnancy test and call you. I did. It's pregnant. Er I took two and they both are positive. So, calling..."

9:05 a.m. - tea. Haven't had much to drink all day. And chocolate.

9:10 a.m. - return call from nurse. Time for a blood test.

9:13 a.m. - ok, time to tell a few people. Andrew says "are they even supposed to work this early" while I remind him that I've been talking about taking this test on this morning for the entirety of the two week wait. He then says "cool" and credits his "famous" Wright virility. Given the number of eggs released, he'd better hope that's a myth or we're in trouble.

9:40 a.m. - arrive at the lab. Wait for my number.

10:10 a.m. - number called. Vein is a little rolly but mostly just slow. Apparently I'm dehydrated.

10: 30 a.m. - return to the office, drink a lot of tea, and wait with my legs crossed lest something fall out!

What happens if??


11:45: Blood test says yes. Ultrasound on the 26th? Oh god that's an eternity from now. I think I'll go crazy. But ... wow. They both still say yes!!

The Agonizing Wait Between December 5th and December 26th

Random thoughts in my next two week wait.

Two beta tests down. HcG doubling at a high normal clip. I *am* chemically pregnant. Sounds like some kind of euphemism for being drugged out on something wild. "Gravid with hormones." "Mother of the periodic table." "Sire of argon, neon, and uranium."

Yes, yes, the HCG in my system shows up on ovulation tests again. That's fairly meaningless since they got high enough that it will take a long time to clear the system, but it's oddly reassuring, and I have 20 strips that have to be used this month.

I feel sick. No I don't. Wait, do I? Ooop, that's heartburn. But not reall... Ugh, if I eat any more of this... I think my esophogus is just clogged. Man that onion smell is strong!... (two seconds pass) MUST EAT ALL THE CHOCOLATE!! Wow that smells really minty. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or... crap I don't feel nauseous at all; can't possibly still be pregna- (burp)

If I had "morning sickness," then I'd feel like this was all sticking and real. Except progesterone supplements probably what's making me a little nauseous now. It's what, five weeks? Doesn't real morning sickness usually start around the 6th week. But I'm a little nauseous. But not very. But it's early. But if I were really pregnant, I'd feel worse! Ugh, wow, room spinning... need to sit/lay down. Yikes. What was I saying, oh yeah if I were really... This isn't nausea. This is like when I drink too much tea on an empty stomach. Which makes me nauseous. And I'm not drinking tea on an empty stomach. But it's still not...

Mood swings? I've been moody on some form of hormonal supplement or other for years, and this is nothing compared to when I was taking those shots... except when it is. Suddenly reading the word "placenta" makes me tear up and in between wanting to write my friends cryptic text messages about how much I love them, I'm muttering wanions under my breath that would make Satan blanch.

Middle of the night... who lit the bed on fire and why is my husband wearing several sweaters and shivering??

Cramping? Abdominal pain. These are insufficiently descriptive for the full palette of not-quite-the-cramping-I-think-of-when-I-think-cramps new experiences my body is going through. Soreness like a pulled muscle. Hmmm gassy reflux type something. Ok, now it feels like my stomach is just bruised.

Can't tell. Can't get excited. The more excited I get, the more upset I'll be if it doesn't work. I was ready for another cycle of the shots and the tests and the driving and the grueling emotional roller coaster ride, but every day I go, the harder coming back to that would be. The harder losing this sense of something inside of me. The more discouraged. 

The more people who know and don't know the keywords of "if it sticks..." and other gentle avoidance until all qualifiers are off, the higher the risk that it just won't stick. At least in my brain. But I have to tell some people. I have to make appointments. My massage therapist needs to know. I should probably check with my pilates instructor. But oh god if I act pregnant, then... oh wait nausea, one sec... mulling to resume in a minute.

Things that currently make me nauseous:
1. that really delicious pine scent from the wreath outside, but only if I put my face close to it. Before that, it smells ooooh so good and just lures me right int.
2. Licorice. Except it might calm the nausea. It depends.
3. The smell of green tea. Oh my god!
4. Eating.
5. Not eating. Especially the absence of eating salty foods.

Just throw up already! Stop with this constant unending nagging queasiness... ok don't really. I don't really want to go there, but god I kind of do.

Basically, being 6 weeks pregnant is like being hungover while also PMS-ing. Nauseous, lightheaded, tired, achy, sensitive to smells, craving salty and possibly greasy foods (except the grease makes your stomach seize just thinking about it)... "sick" but not actually sick.

If I don't smell the food while I'm making it... it's ok. Naw, I'm fine. I don't feel... ugh.

Can I take a nap now?? It's been two hours.

But if there's something in there... then that is oh so a-ok with me. Please let there be something in there...

I'm going to enjoy this Christmas no matter what. This could be - if we're lucky and if everything goes ok, but I don't want to say it might because if I do and it doesn't then I don't know what I'll do - our last Christmas with just the two of us. And my parents. And all that stuff. But us as the kids.

And if it's not. There's nothing I can do so I should just enjoy... But keep those legs crossed just in case. And that pain in my side... stop feeling it. If you just go lalalalala, it'll stop existing and everything will be fine.

No emergency room type pain, no blood... then it's probably normal. Probably. Don't panic. It's probably "normal" Deep breaths. Oh wait, that made me nauseous again... ONE MORE DAY!

December 30th:
**Houston we have a (single, normal seven week little cherry of a) heartbeat!**
Q. What do you get when you mix a bicycling ex-ballerina engineer with a sassy sock-fiend lawyer?
A. I don't know, but it's due around around August 14th.

If ever a December has fully embodied the spirit of Advent - of waiting in hope for light through the darkness - this December would be it. After a tough first cycle of treatment and a close scrape with scrapping it all,  I found ourselves staring at a positive pregnancy test at the beginning of the month.

Blood tests confirmed, but that early on there is so much fear, doubt and uncertainty. As if moving too quickly or hoping too lucidly would cause the illusion to crumple and fade. Each twinge and each strange feeling (a perpetual event in the first weeks of pregnancy) a moment for unparalleled nerves: experiencing hypochondria for too now!

Would it stick? Was there anything to stick? Had it stuck in the right place or dare I murmur the banes of all hopes: ectopic, molar, blighted? Were those tests a statistical fluke, or a trick of chemistry run rampant? Would the family lore of profligate Wright fertility paired with a bout of super ovulation ensure a full on reality tv show of little creatures in utero? And if so, would the little embryos turn Adella's tender innards into the battle ground for a Machiavellian game of embryonic thrones until all were lost?

But finally - as of the 26th of December - we can say that we've seen a tiny blob that we are assured is a single healthy embryo of seven weeks. There was a heartbeat. There was a blob our doctor assured us was, in fact, a teeny human embryo. It was - blessed word - normal.

It's early yet in the scheme of pregnancy announcements, and there are a billion more things to be paranoid about before we even reach the even more terrifying realization some hapless little life will be stuck with us as parents, and our lives are about to change forever.

But that heartbeat was perhaps the best Christmas gift I can imagine.

Now if you'd excuse me for a minute while I collapse by a nearby toilet (just in case) with a jar of peanut butter and some of these ridiculously huge pickles that my aunts sent me!