February 2: JAKOB EMANUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12:22 a.m., 7 lb 6 oz, 21 inches

Thirty-nine weeks, one day, 7:49 p.m.

Now we're going to the hospital. Minute-long contractions every five minutes for the past hour, now coming every three minutes. Don't call the hospital; we'll keep the Moms in touch. They have the call list if anything happens.

Thirty-nine weeks, one day, 6:36 p.m.

OK, stop calling the hospital, I'm still at home. I promise to post here when we leave, OK?

Contractions stopped about 11 a.m. (stupid uterus), so we went to Abacus for lunch (and were they crowded!) where the contractions started again, then to my afternoon appointments, where Jorj got to listen to the heartbeat with me, then to the OB (2-3 cm dilated), then to a walk to get the contractions going good and strong, which did work. We're counting contractions again, and we seem to be doing well. We're also watching Galaxy Quest, on the theory that funny movies and lots of laughing stimulate contractions.

Mom asked what a contraction feels like. Early ones feel like sudden, peaking menstrual cramps, and the stronger ones are the worst cramps ever, then they change to feeling like my body is trying to push a baby out my body. Can't wait for the next stage.

We've got to wait until until the contractions are five minutes apart for an hour, or my water breaks. But I promise I'll tell you.

Thirty-nine weeks, one day, 6:25 a.m.

I was going to write tonight about yesterday's sonogram (est. 7 lb 15 oz -- no way!) or today's OB visit (how's that cervix doing?) but at 4 a.m. I started having contractions. Not yet frequent enough for the hospital, but we're showered, bags are packed (ooo, there's one) and I should have some breakfast.

Thirty-eight and a half

Should the little one choose to arrive now s/he will be considered full term (anything between thirty-eight and forty-two weeks). First-time Mom's often go late, but recent comments from my OB indicated that I was more likely to "go" early or on time.

Then, at this week's appointment, she said that they prefer not to let Moms with gestational diabetes go past the due date. This means inducement.

Of course, I have mixed feelings about this. Now, I should have asked why -- placental health or only size of the baby? Health of the mother? Even the OB said (after palpitating my uterus) that LO's size is very normal -- 6 1/2 to 7 pounds (in keeping with my extrapolation from the estimate at the last sonogram). The twice-weekly non-stress tests are monitoring the health of the placenta, making sure it passes enough blood and oxygen. Although, as one nurse said, sick babies don't move as much as the Little One does. Frankly, I'm happy waiting until LO is ready to put in an appearance, despite our anxiousness to finally meet this person. And my anxiousness to have chocolate and advil again.

And we're ready now. The room is complete and completely stuffed. We've ordered cloth diapers, we have disposables, the breast feeding class is done, the downstairs of the house is a complete disaster, Jorj has been practicing, practicing, practicing with his new lens, the co-sleeper is assembled. We only need a car seat (but the family shower is tomorrow).

Monday is another sonogram to check size (any wagers?); Tuesday the next non-stress test and OB appointment, wherein we will discuss inducement. Perhaps I'll write down some questions.

Diabetes under control with a morning shot of long-acting insulin and a before dinner shot of regular insulin, in case you wondered.


A busy week baby-wise, and I just haven't had time to update, since I'm trying to clean the house too. Just in case the hospital does surprise inspections.

Most importantly, I have wonderful friends, family and co-workers, and now enough clothes and baby things that I have stopped worrying that Jorj would spend my labor at the baby store, getting stuff. Sunday a week ago, Lynn, Suzy, Jo-Ann, Mom, Jorj, and probably many other people, tricked me into thinking I was having "lunch" before some quick shopping. As we walked to the restaurant, I hated to tell Mom that there seemed to be a private party going on, and we'd need to find somewhere else. No, it was a shower provided by my wonderful, deceptive friends.

What can one say about a baby shower? It was lovely, with lots of friends, including Trollops, co-workers, Quakers, and school buddies. Suzy made sure there was sugar-free cake (which I gave half of to Gordon, my diabetic co-worker, who started low carb as his New Year's resolution). I was surprised, and overwhelmed, and turned red, and took too long unwrapping.

Work also threw me and the Little One a shower, but only the people I work with, and they did two group gifts and cake. I had three small bites of carrot cake. This is diabetes, not deprivation. It was low-key and communal -- just perfect. Jeanne M. also crocheted one of the softest blankets. There may be a fight over that blanket.

Speaking of which, I have incredibly talented friends and family: Aunt June knitted a bunting or sack and a blue blanket with a moon and stars (to match the room). Mom's close friend Margaret sewed a large quilt. My sister has crocheted three blankets, two smaller ones (one years ago in yellow and green) and one full-size for the bed. Mom's 94-year-old neighbor crocheted a blanket and cap that the Little One will wear home from the hospital. There should be a picture of the LO with every blanket and outfit -- isn't that why Jorj got the camera?

The birthing class is completed; we are now allowed to give birth. Tomorrow night is the childcare class (next week: breastfeeding!) after which we'll be allowed to raise the child. The Little One has strict orders to remain in place at least until next Wednesday.

On the other hand, the OB I saw today said to expect to deliver by the due date, February 7. We have some tentative plans, with many, many caveats.

Diabetes OK. Insulin shots not as bad as expected, but the needle must have hit a nerve one night, and I've been skittish since then. But, slowly, I'm getting used to it. I've also stopped grimacing using the lancet pen to test my sugar. The insulin is helping the sugar; the night numbers are quite reasonable. Additionally, I'm going for "non-stress tests" twice weekly, wherein I lie on a lounge chair with a fetal monitor on my tummy, and wait for the Little One's heart rate to go from inactive to active and back. Each time the LO moves, I click a button. Of course, once I lie down, there's no movement for minutes. The worst part is probably the drive to the hospital for the test (not that I can complain, Karin drove into the city every day for weeks with her twins); every driver on the road seems to have forgotten where the gas pedal is.

One thing that bugs me is the nurses adminstering the test told me to take the "report card" with my to the OB after today's appointment. When the blood sugar test results came back, I was told I'd "flunked."

I don't know about you, but every F -- every grade -- I ever got depended a lot on the effort I put into it. What effort is required to get my pancreas to produce more insulin? How do I make sure the Little One's heart rate is ok? Do I smack my uterus if the heart rate "feels" odd? If calling these procedures "tests" requires using school metaphors, lets call them "diagnostics" instead. I'd prefer that bastardization of the language.

Thirty-five and a half

Guess who's shooting up?

Typical, isn't it? A serious situation like gestational diabetes and I make a joke in poor taste.

Anyhow, I'm on insulin now, once a day before dinner. I'm sure that will change as the pregnancy hormones increase and decrease the insulin's effectiveness more. Had a lesson in injecting insulin today, and did not pass out after injecting myself, which is a triumph. Needles just skeeve me out, and I am tense and lightheaded before, during and after the whole procedure. Even using the lancing pen to draw a drop of blood to test my sugar still gives me pause.

Other than the actual act of injecting, this makes me very happy. My blood sugar seemed to be totally out of control no matter what I ate or if I walked or moved after eating. My biggest fear was not that the Little One would be too big, but that LO's blood sugar would drop dangerously after the umbilical cord was cut, because the infant pancreas isn't particularly good at stopping insulin production when blood sugar drops. It can be very, very dangerous for a newborn. The insulin will keep my sugar in check so that LOs pancreas doesn't need to do any work.

As for the Little One, we are at the squirm and stretch stage. If I wanted, I could watch a scene for Aliens be played out on my tummy ever day.

Just a month to go!


[Another chubby-cheeked 
sonogram]At this month's sonogram, the tech said, "Look at those cheeks!"

Those are Jorj's cheeks. At Christmas we looked at baby pictures, and Jorj was just the cutest, sweetest, chubby baby. The estimated weight is just over 6 pounds, right in the middle. At this rate, the Little One will weigh 7 pounds, 11 ounces -- the same as Jorj at birth. My birthweight was surpassed immediately after the previous sonogram.

We saw the usual: kidneys, bladder, tummy, femur. And the spine! What a spine that was! Long, and casting a "shadow" because the vertebrae were too dense to allow the sound waves to pass through. We also saw a profile, partially obscured by a fist in the mouth (how sweet!).

Feeling lots of movement, lots of squirming, lots of pushing when I slouch. "Mom! You're leaning on me!" Ooo, there's another roll. My tummy looks like I'm belly dancing when L.O. moves around. It's disconcerting. The feet are most decidedly under my ribs now.

Blood sugar is getting worse, but L.O.'s size is good -- not too big, in fact, right in the middle. I'll be discussing sugars with the OB at the next appointment (no idea who it is, I'm working my way through the practice). Preparing myself to inject insulin. At least that will give me good ammunition for the "you never did anything for me" whine.

I'm getting very excited about meeting this little person. Can't wait! Five weeks to go, God willing.


 The first toy, named Raccoon, from the Buchmanns. Raccoon is also a music box and plays a traditional German lulaby. Raccoon arrived in the Summer when Renate and Lutz came to America.


The transformation from Tobi's room to the Little One's room is done. Thanks to Sandy, Lynn and Mary, the painting was done in three days. Sandy and Mary, bless their hearts, did the ceilings, my absolute least favorite part of painting. It always seems to take as long to do the ceiling as four walls. Last week I stencilled each night, first primer, then fixing the borders where the primer had flowed under, then the yellow.

[J's room
with moon and star stencil]

I hope you can clearly see that one wall is yellow. It's the yellow from the dining room ceiling. Hey, a quart was left over after that project! The same yellow is used in the moon and stars. All stencils were made free-hand, except for the four-pointed stars, which used a protractor, ruler and a bit of geometry. (See Tobi, even I know some uses for math.)

[J's room]

The remaining walls are yellow. That one wall was enough blue! On the bed you see the music box from the Buchmanns. They suggested playing the music box for the Little One now, and when LO is fussy, the music should be soothing. The racoon is sleeping on a yellow moon, and can be removed for play. On the other side, one box of childrens books has been unpacked, the other is in Jorj's closet. OK, the books -- most from Jorj's and my childhoods -- can't stay out once LO is mobile and curious (destructive); the plan is to use the bookcase for toys and indestructable books until the destructive phase has passed, or been channelled into chemistry experiments. The rocking chair is mine from childhood.

Don't interpret the decor as indicating a boy. I'd picked out the room and bathroom themes (bathroom is ducky) before deciding to get pregnant. With luck, this theme will last us until the Little One can wield a paintbrush and redocorate without help.

Blood glucose is usually OK. Having some spikes after lunch, especially this week, but that could be the cold. Any sort of movement after eating really helps. The glucometer is keeping me honest and away from sweets and black tea with sugar, but it seems there are too many factors for me to accurately predict when my levels will be good or OK. Activity helps; as my GP said, I've proven once again that muscles don't need much insulin to take up glucose. I can probably convince one co-worker for a quick stroll after lunch, and even housework is enough movement to keep my levels in check. One thing is obvious: deskwork burns NO calories.


Sonogram, 30wks 5daysSonogram went well, as can be seen in that chubby little face. If you can't tell what's what, the Little One's face is sideways, with the forehead to the right. Yes, it is like seeing the face in the surface of Mars. L.O. is already over four pounds -- nearly my weight at birth -- and has turned, with one foot under each rib cage (thanks, kid).

Glucometer acquired, diet explained. Blood sugar quite good, under 100 mg/dL two hours after each meal -- except today, when we had dim sum, and it was just over 100. Under 120 is good for a pregnant woman.

Hope to start stencilling the moon and stars design on the blue wall today, which means I should get off my butt, off the computer, and start working on it!


Seven months and growingThere I am in the "kitchen." I certainly look pregnant now. Yeah, everything above the waist is bigger, and I'm tall, so I look "smaller" than seven months.

The third trimester seems to be the tired trimester (first was yucky, then was normal). Or the feet in the ribcage trimester. The Little One is quite active, especially when I first wake up. On weekends Jorj and I lie in bed and feel kicks. I see another soccer player in my future.

The third trimester is also the gestational diabetes trimester. I knew this was too easy. The big danger is that the Little One gets too much sugar from my blood, and gets very big, increasing the risk of a Cesearian. So ... watching how much sugar and starch I eat (at Christmas, joy), testing my blood four times a day, and ultrasounds every four weeks to check the Little One's size. A spreadsheet will be tracking my carb intake, and so far I've learned that, surprise, I don't eat enough veggies. I'm also cheating and counting cheese as a dairy, and not a meat substitute, because I can't eat yogurt (don't ask) and only eat milk on cereal. What worries me is that I was watching what I ate (but drinking lots of juice and chocolate milk), and didn't gain much weight. Now that I'm really watching what I eat, will I gain any weight?

This does up my chances of developing adult-onset diabetes, so expect lots of biking essays come spring time. Any one want to babysit?

I do have an ultrasound next Friday; perhaps I can get a picture up.

And who says pregnant women can't lay floors?


It's been some long weeks, and a post about the wonderfulness of the list as a sanity-saving tool was in the making, when the world just fell apart for my friend Cecily. Cecily has had a fairly awful pregnancy -- vomiting every day until she went on medication, edema so bad she gained 20 pounds in three weeks, high blood pressure, exhaustion. She was carrying twins, and was three weeks "behind" me. I had a pregnancy buddy, some "insta-friends" for the Little One. At her normal 22-week sonogram, the tech quickly left to get the doctor. Thank God her husband and best friend were with her. She'd lost one twin, probably a week before. It just kept coming after that. She had pre-eclampsia; she was being admitted to the hospital; if she couldn't be stablized, she would have to terminate; she spent the night puking; her blood pressure was still far too high; they couldn't keep her alive long enough to deliver the remaining son.

At dawn she had to make the decision that every loving mother thinks will be so easy -- me or my child. Well, me of course! So simple. Except that wasn't the choice Cecily had; she had to choose between losing the remaining twin, or losing the remaining twin and dying with it.

Cecily is, thank God, still with us.

And she's got a plan for how she's going to get through this, get healthy again, head for a second round of IVF (did I mention? she went through IVF for this pregnancy), and hopefully keep the pre-eclampsia under control. Cecily amazes me. One minute she writes that she doesn't have herself together, and a few paragraphs she's describing a frustrating personal situation and how she needs to learn to change her reaction, because she can't change the other person.

So, how am I doing? Thankful. Very, very thankful.

Well, not to leave you on a complete downer, here's the heartwarming story of the pregnancy:

Jorj was talking to his brother Scott, who is mentally retarded, and has the capcity of about an eight-year-old. He can read with constant practice and lots of effort. He can't live alone, but could live in a group home. He takes SEPTA to his job as a dishwasher.

Jorj asked Scott what the baby's name is. Jorj's mother has always called The Little One by his/her full name. (She's also always preferred "Mother.") Rather than calling the baby J------, he said J---, the nickname Jorj had picked. He's never heard that nickname used for The Little One, he made the connection himself. Jorj was so excited.


The final amnio results are in and the little one get the all clear. We tested for Fragile X (Jorj's brother) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (Mom) in the Little One, and carrier status for me. As expected, I am a carrier for SMA. This is no surprise, more a confirmations of Mom's diagnosis 30 years ago. I came to grips with the tainted gene a few months ago, came to grips with the feeling of carrying a time bomb just to give it to the Little One and any Little Ones that may come after. The counselor is checking whether the test also indicates that the Little One did not get the silent time bomb, i.e. is not a carrier. Mom cried when I told her. As for the Fragile X, it was unlikely, but Jorj and I wanted reassurance. SMA seemed more manageable to me, as much heartache as I have seen my mother experience. I can have a conversation with her. Through the teenage years these were more screaming fights, but still, conversation.

Additionally, the Little One dances. This is definite movement now, not just a feeling of, um, digestion. (Jim P's mom says she also thought the first of Jim's movements that she felt was gas.)

Jorj wants me to give up any idea of helping with the reconstruction. Frankly, I think a seven-month pregnant woman can lay a floating floor (no nailing, no gluing, the boards just snap together); it's just crawling around, and some of the pregnancy exercises include arching the back while in Table Position, as they call it in yoga. Dammit! It's my kitchen too! I want to do more than just write checks.


I could start counting in months, but I like the rapid advancement of counting in weeks.

We now know the sex and ... you'll have to ask us in person. Someone doesn't want to know until the little one arrives. Yes, this means the standard amnio results are back: no neural tube defects, no chromosomal abnormalities. We are still waiting on the SMA and Fragile X testing, but the needles may be over until the birth!

I think I feel movement, but it feels more like digestion. The sonogram showed lots of activity, and the doppler at my last appointment found a heartbeat, so I am not worrying.

I've started looking at daycare, and really need to start calling around. Ugh. It's tough finding anyplace that is on the drive to work, whose customers haven't annoyed me by not signalling, turning and blocking the traffic flow, etc. Why yes, I really am looking forward to not driving during rush hour for three months. The education-oriented places like Montessori or Quakers seem to do only nursery school (or pre-K) and above, no infant day care. Although Mom volunteered a few years ago to watch any offspring, her arm strength has continued to deteriorate (and Fred doesn't diaper), which leaves us hunting for a professional. Perhaps Pauline wants to raise my kid.

Our neighbors, Bonnie Next-Door, uses the same ob/gyn. Bonnie said Brett's birth went fine, except the ob on call told her she didn't need to go to the hospital, and when Bonnie finally did, she was 6 cm dialated (out of 10). Jorj gets a pair of salad tongs, a flashlight and a ruler to check. Bonnie recommended a pediatrician, which is another call I should make, although my "doctor" -- actually a practice where I see whoever is available -- probably has pediatricians on staff too.

Maternity clothes suffer from the typical problems of women's clothes, only more so. I'm an extra-large, but not the largest woman I know who is or was pregnant. Most maternity clothes are only small, medium and large. Most pant inseams are only 31 or 32 inches (my jeans are 34, and I am LOVING the trend in too-long pants). Mimi Maternity has lovely business clothes, but had many more extra smalls than extra larges, more short inseams than long. One pair of jeans was found to be an extra-large long, for a reasonable price for mall retail -- not a reasonable price for someone who bought her last three pairs of jeans at the Reading outlets. But it's so good to wear jeans that aren't held together by hair ties. Motherhood Maternity had more extra larges, but the clothes were less work oriented (who cares what I wear at home?), and they didn't have long inseams. And, oh yes, no pockets. Even on-line, maternity specialty stores don't carry unusual sizes, like extra-large and long inseams. JC Penney has women's sizes, but the styles didn't thrill me.

And then I bought three bras at Bloomies that cost more than the jeans (each). The bra situation was desperate. Let's just say that when the pregnancy is over, the only person who could wear them is my Mom.

Eighteen and a half

Amnio today, and the answer to the big question is ... we don't know! This is certainly the kid of Jorj "after 11 years of living together yes I still want to pee alone" Bauer. The kid heard ultrasound and immediately hid his/her goolies. Everyone has to wait until the genetic results are back in two weeks.

However, the little one is right on track, weighing in at 9 ounces, roughly 250 grams. There are two arms, legs, hands and feet, with five fingers (or toes, as appropriate) each. We saw a spine, vertebrae, a brain, a heart with four valves and lots of movement. I think I know why haven't felt movement yet; it looks like the little one is playing with (i.e., pushing against) the placenta, which is as big as the little one. Poor thing is trying to push against placenta, uterus and mommy pudge.

As for the amnio itself, well, it wasn't the "pinch" that everyone says it is -- okay, the whole "pinch" thing is a big fat lie, unless you're talking about the pinches given by that the kid who always knocked you to the ground that your mother said meant he liked you. Anyhow, it seemed to take two or three minutes. The needle felt smaller than I expected, and Jorj said it looked smaller. He held my glasses and my hand while I gritted my teeth and clenched his hand. There was a definite feeling of something not right while the needle was in, worse, but not much worse than an IV.

I seem to have passed the point of lying on my back. Two nights ago, really bad cramps in my back woke me from a sound sleep. Today, lying down for the ultrasound (about half an hour) and amnio (fifteen minutes), the muscles started cramping again. Normally I sleep on my tummy; if I don't feel well, on my back. Now I have sleep on my sides all the time.

Seventeen and a half

For me, not much new: if I wore tight clothes, I'd look pregnant, but I don't, so I just look fat. It's a definite pregnant tummy, not a pudgy tummy. I snugged up to Jorj and he said, "You have an extra bump! You're pregnant!" Still not feeling movement, but my cousin Lori M. O. (I have two cousins named Lori; they both married men with last names beginning with O.) said SHE did't feel life until the fifth month. I am determined not to worry. The books say it's harder to feel life if the mother is overweight, and the doctor heard a heartbeat at last week's visit..

The biggest change is Mom: she bought a sewing machine. It's a Singer, but frankly it looks like a toy! Mom made many of my clothes when I was a child, including Halloween costumes, although she has eliminated this from the list of items she will make for her grandchild. The dress that was a fair (white bedsheet) one year, a princess (dyed pink) the next and a witch (dyed black) was fantastic, fun, efficient and thrifty. Apparently, the little one will be a nine-month old lump for his/her first Halloween.

Mom now has goals: baby clothes and stuff to be made. We are a goal-oriented family, and happier with a project. The sewing machine seems to have cut down on the "is your butt square?" questions. That or the screeching.

There should be news soon. I've scheduled the amniocentisis for next Friday, and the level two ultrasound (more in depth) will be at the same time. We should know whether the little one is a boy or girl. However, I won't be posting that here, because someone wants a surprise in February. I'll tell you when I see you if you want to know, Before we do know, one thing should be mentioned: no pink. No, really, I mean it. NO PINK. Cute baby stuff is okay, pink is out of the question. Ultra-feminine -- or girly-girl if you prefer -- has no appeal for me. As long has I dress her, my daughter, should the little one be a daughter, will wear what I want her to wear,

Other pregnant friends have already started researching parenting techniques, like attachment parenting, who recommend a "family" bed rather than a "marital" bed, and I'm sorry, how do you get beyond only children with a family bed? And the nursing into toddlerhood thing skeeves me out. The thought of something living off my body is just weird, so I'm ambivalent about nursing. I'm ambivalent about pregnancy too, but I seem stuck with it now. So, the thought of nursing into toddler hood, and nursing a toddler and infant simultaneously is just a no-go (and doesn't the breast stop producing milk during pregnancy?). Frankly, I'm surprised that in this day and age you can't get kid in a can. I much prefer the "pick up the pre-raised teenager at the airport" method of aquiring children.

Anyhow, the only thoughts I've given to parenting are: cut down on the TV viewing. For myself, watching TV will suck any and all ambition out of me for the evening, and I'll sit through 2 1/2 Law and Order episodes before realizing the laundry needs to be done, and it's nearly bedtime. And the crib/baby bed that can be pulled up to the side of the bed to make breast feeding easier in the middle of the night, that looks cool too. No hitting, because Jorj is a Quaker, and that probably means I shouldn't do much yelling. Doing active, outdoorsy stuff.

I have also not talked to HR at work, found day care, found a pediatrician, researched birth centers or methods, or probably a million other things. I have looked at maternity clothes (on line) and baby furniture (on line). I should get cracking.

Fifteen weeks

Not much to report. Feeling better, with the tummy feeling more or less just like an upset tummy, especially if I eat too much. Not nearly as tired. No new sonogram until the amnio. Getting routine blood work done Wednesday morning with Jorj; he'll be there for me when I pass out.

Saw Robb, Pauline, Xander and June Saturday. Started telling Xander not to pick food off dad's plate. Ahhh! Already!

Oh, yeah, this is the tadpole with limbs that ate my brain. I can't remember a THING. It's awful. By three in the afternoon my brain is gone. I've told work so that they can be prepared. Thank heavens my project has a to do list, and my manager updates it frequently. And it's now after nine, and my brain is mush, and I'm going to bed.

Twelve weeks

So, you've heard the news. We're almost as shocked as you are.

Look! It's a tadpole with limbs. The Little One was very stationary for this scan. The next visit, s/he wouldn't keep still and it took the obstetrician five minutes of chasing with the wand to find the heartbeat. I'm going to be running after this kid for the rest of my life.

BTW, the actual due date is Feb 7, plus or minus two weeks -- such an exact science this. I don't know why I wrote the 12th, except that's Scott Bauer's birthday. Other birthdays that month: Sandy and Uncle George, 2nd, Jack, Feb 5th, Goombah, 14th, Janine, 17th, Heide, 24th.

So, how are you feeling?

I'm glad you asked, because I feel awful. I really thought I had the flu, but I was "late," and there might have been a good reason for the exhaustion and queasiness. This has since been accompanied by heartburn. I've lost 12 pounds, but my clothes still don't fit because my tummy pokes out and baby + uterus doesn't squish under waistbands like fat.

At 12 weeks, I feel more energetic. Everyone promises the second trimester feels better, if not "great." (I will hold each and every one of you to that.) No one mentions the third trimester.

Jorj/your mom must be ecstatic!

The whole extended family, including Tobi ("I'm getting a little brother or sister in America!"), my sister Mary ("finally!"), Aunt Anne (screams of delight), cousin Robb ("Jorj, your boys can swim!"), cousin Pauline ("Sue, you are SO knocked up!"), Aunt June ("I guess I should start knitting"), is pretty excited. Mom cried. Fred smiled -- this will be his first grandchild too. Mom is convinced this is a boy, because she didn't have morning sickness with me, and no woman would do that to another. This is disproved by Mary having morning sickness with Janine, but an easy pregnancy with Sam. Mom is also checking to see if my behind is "square," "because some women's behinds become square." Oh-kay.

Jorj is quietly overjoyed. He smiles a lot. He does the dishes because the smell of dish soap makes me feel worse. He also cooks because I don't feel like eating, and therefore don't want to cook.

Aren't you kind of old for this?

I'm 36, and will be 36 when the baby is born. That is the age where I start getting prescriptions for extra ultrasounds and special counselling with a diagnosis of "advanced maternal age." I'd feel really old, except great-grandmother Julianne had her first in 1905 at the age of 31, and her chldren and grandchildren waited similarly long, if not longer. I figure I've got genes for good eggs late in life. We Julias have been breeding for "advanced maternal age"!

However, we did decide to risk the amnio, because they can test for lots of other things at the same time as the age-related genetic disorders. For example, they can test for SMA (types I through III), also known as Kugelberg-Weylander syndrome, or "what Sue's mom has." Mapping that human genome came in handy! 95% of cases of "what Sue's mom has" are caused by two recessive bad versions of the SMN gene. Most likely, I'm a carrier (as were my grandparents). Unless Jorj also has one bad copy of this gene, we're home free. Unfortunately, if he is a carrier (unlikely), and the kid does inherit (only 25% chance if we are both carriers), they can't tell how severe the syndrome will be. Type I kills in childhood. Type II also kills early (teenhood? early adulthood?). Mom has the mildest, Type III, which is just debilitating and depressing.

Also, it's unlikely that our child will inherit any mental retardation from Jorj. Most retardation of genetic origin is passed through the mother. Jorj's mother had a retarded brother, so that does point at mother-transmitted. On the other hand, my mother was an only child, so we have no idea of what genes might be in her family. But they can test for that too!

The date

The date from the first sonogram is Feb. 7, but from the start of my last period is Feb. 2. For a variety of reasons -- do you really want to know? -- I'm going with the Feb. 7 date.

The sex

I'll tell you if you want to know. If you don't, I won't mention it here, but don't talk to me about the Little One, because I cannot keep a secret.

The names

Julianne Esther if it's a girl. Julianne was mom's mom's mom. The progression is Julianne, Julia, Frieda Julia, Susan Julia. Despite my beloved cousin Elaine naming her oldest daughter (and the first girl in that generation) Julia, my daughter will still be a Julia*. Esther was Jorj's beloved great aunt, who willed him her piano.

Jakob Emanuel for a boy. Jakob was my mom's dad's middle name (his first name was Otto, I couldn't do that to a child), and is the German translation of James. It was also the most popular boy's name last year, which surprised me. It's so ... old. Emanuel was Jorj's grandfather (and Esther's brother), who encouraged him to take things apart to figure out how they work, and sent Jorj to computer classes, and bought Jorj his first computer.

We've had names picked out for years. It's the last name that's giving us problems:

  • Talbutt-Bauer: my preferences, and a lot of kids at meeting are hyphenated
  • Bauer-Talbutt: the kid could be at the front of the class!
  • Talbutt: my suggestion when Jorj said he didn't want to hyphenate
  • Bauer: the expected choice; however, I'd like the kid's name to match mine, and my name is not Bauer
  • Edelmann: the dark-horse, compromise candidate