My New Niece

Rivka Rose arrived around 9:30 p.m. on Monday after a long, hard labor, one that made me decide that Lucy can just stay in my belly forever. 🙂

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We only got to see her and Rachel briefly as Rachel and Dave were exhausted after having not slept for about three days. She kept sticking her tongue out and is quite a cutie — not as cute as Lucy, obviously, but then again, no baby is. 🙂 We’re excited about giving Rivka a cousin in NINE WEEKS!

30 Weeks

Wow, am I really at 30 weeks?? With 9 weeks, 5 days to go, I’m in the first set of single digits! It just seems so close now, especially considering October begins next week, and a week from today I will be exactly two months from my due date.

The horrible ligament pain when I walk seems to have subsided a little. However, it’s still excrutiatingly painful for me to lay down, both from the ligament pain and pain from my sciatic nerve, and when I get up after laying down (like for my many bathroom trips during the night), walking is incredibly difficult. Last night, I could barely walk the first time I got up. It was bad. But, I just keep telling myself, 9 more weeks…9 more weeks. And did I mention I now have this extreme hunger? I am hungry ALL.THE.TIME. It’s insane. I can eat a meal and feel like I haven’t eaten a thing afterward. I would *love* for this to go away!

We really need to get going on decorating the nursery now. I know exactly where I want everything to go; I just need to go buy everything. If it turns out the way I’m imagining it will be so pretty.

I can’t believe how much we have going on in the next two months. Looking at the calendar on my sidebar kind of overwhelms me, but also makes me so excited. We have something going on almost every week, which is awesome. Being so busy will make the time fly by.

As excited as I am to meet our little girl, I’ve reached the point where I’ve become really nostalgic about losing the “just us”. In a couple of months, it won’t be just us anymore, and although I’m really looking forward to being a family, it makes me a little sad. Did any of you feel that way? We’re planning on still having date nights to have time with just us, so I think that will help.

Did I mention we have fewer than 10 weeks to go?? Holy cow!

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up

(All photos courtesy of www.ajc.com)

It’s been a devastating few days here in metro Atlanta. Storms that raged through our area on Sunday and Monday (not to mention the rain we had all last week) wreaked havoc and caused nine deaths. In downtown Atlanta, the downtown connector, where Interstates 75 and 85 merge, was closed because of water covering the road, and photos showed drivers sitting on top of their cars waiting to be rescued. Interstate 285, which circles the city of Atlanta, was closed; Interstate 575, which parallels Interstate 75, was closed for almost 24 hours; and Interstate 20 in Douglas County, where my in-laws live, was closed until 12:30 p.m. today.

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Interstate 75 was flooded at rush hour on Monday afternoon.

Close to 20 inches of rain fell in the metro area. Weather forecasters say 12-18 inches fell in Douglas County, which was one of the counties that took the brunt of the storm. My in-laws have been home from work for the last two days, and my father-in-law barely made it onto I-285 before it was shut down Monday night. Not only was the interstate closed in their county, but parts of the roads in their subdivision were washed away, making it harder to get out. One woman died was found on the road you turn off of into their subdivision.

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A washed out road in Douglas County.

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A flooded Nissan car dealership in Douglas County.

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A flooded road in Douglas County.

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A view of flooding in Douglas County.

In Gwinnett County, on the other side of Atlanta where Rachel and Dave live, the flooding was insane, much of it coming from the swollen Yellow River. Their basement flooded, but luckily the rest of their house was fine, even though their road flooded. The other section of their road was closed off, and from what I heard, the road they would take to get to the hospital where they’re delivering was flooded. It’s a good thing she didn’t go into labor! These pictures of of a flooded subdivision near where Rachel and Dave live.

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We were so blessed in our county. Yes, we had heavy storms roll through, but our damage was so minimal compared to the other metro areas. We had approximately 25 houses that flooded and a handful of streets closed. That’s it. No injuries, no fatalities. We were lucky. And, this has really made me feel lucky that we live on a hill. Sure, our hill is hell to walk up when we go out to exercise, but it sure kept our house safe from flooding, and for that I am very grateful.

My heart hurts for the families of those who died in the flooding. Reading some of their stories today made me tear up. One woman’s car got caught in the flooding in Gwinnett County as she drove to work very early Monday morning. The darkness made it difficult for her to see the water on the road until it was too late. Her car was swept away and lodged behind a house, and though she stayed on the phone with a 911 dispatcher until the water rose, it took emergency responders more than two hours to get to her because of the flooding and other issues.

And, in Carroll County, which is just to the west of where my in-laws live, a 2-year-old boy was swept from his father’s arms as he clung to a tree, trying to save himself and his son. His family of four barely escaped their mobile home before it was taken off its foundation and swept away. His wife held onto a tree and their 1-year-old son, and they were stuck for about six hours before being rescued. I think that story really hit me the hardest since I’m about to be a parent. I can only imagine the pain those parents are going through.

The rain has stopped for now, though it’s expected to return tomorrow and last through the weekend. It’s not supposed to be nearly as bad as what we’ve already experienced. I sure hope not. It’s going to take a long time to repair what’s already been damaged.

When IVF goes Wrong

One of the fears in the back of my mind ever since our embryo transfer is of the wrong embryos being tranferred. One other couple had their transfer the same day as us, and it would be an obvious mixup as they are of a different race. I joke about it from time to time and, while I really don’t think anything went wrong, I think this kind of fear is natural.

Today, Joe sent me a story on CNN about a couple that found out their fertility clinic transferred the wrong embryos. They actually found out during the phone call telling them they were pregnant. I can just hear it now: “Congratuations! You’re pregnant! Unfortunately….we transferred the wrong embryos, and the baby isn’t yours.”

Nothing was said about this woman’s embryos, and I’m assuming that means the other woman did not get pregnant. Yet, this couple said they decided instantly that she would carry the baby to term and then give it to its biological parents. Amazing and selfless? Absolutely.

The story had close to 200 comments, and I read every single one of them. Most praised this couple for not aborting the baby, but many were incredibly negative about IVF, going as far as to say that people who pursue IVF are selfish and if they can’t get pregnant naturally they should just accept it and adopt. They were also attacked because this is her fourth pregnancy, and apparently wanting to have more than one child is selfish. Here are a few of my favorites:

“To the self-righteous leaving comments: IVF is going to stunt us biologically. There is generally a good reason why people are infertile, and most of them should not propagate their impaired genes. I, like others, applaud the couple for not killing the baby; I, like some others, am disappointed in their decision to try to dilute the gene pool to begin with. Whether you believe in macro-evolution or not, micro-evolution has been demonstrated within a life time, and certainly within recorded history. By diluting the gene pool with individuals biologically unfit to conceive, you are hurting humanity. Please stop it. I don’t challenge your right to have children; I challenge your sense of entitlement to procreate at the expensive of everyone else.”

“for real doc!!??? and for real ppl??!! if ur not meant to have kids accept it and move on… this is what happen when u want to go against what God gives u!!!”

“Why would you go to such lengths for a fourth child anyway? Isn’t this world crowded enough? IVF is such a selfish, self-serving medical procedure. If you can’t have babies naturally, take one of the plentiful unwanted children that exist all around the world.”

“If I were she, I’d abort immediately. If I were the biological mother, I’d insist on an abortion. No other woman would be allowed to carry my embryo! This isn’t a “gift”; she is depriving the real mother of carrying her own child. I’d never take a biological child handed to me, carried by a surrogate. And both sets of parents should shut down that clinic, and find out who got their other embryos. They could all have other children out there that they don’t know about. Everyone who has had a pregnancy out of that clinic should have a DNA test immediately.”

“I am glad you are doing this for that couple. People should learn that if you can’t conceive you need to just accept it or adopt. Things happen for a reason and too many people try to play God. These people had 3 kids already AND she had difficult pregnancies. At least she’s redeeming herself from her original selfishness.”

Those comments blew me away. I’m pretty sure none of them have ever had to deal with fertility issues; if so, I’m sure they wouldn’t be saying that they just need to accept it. IVF does not create children with impaired genes. Fertilization occurs just as it would inside the body. The only difference is that an embryologist is assisting. I’m assuming that commenter doesn’t realize that miscarriages in pregnancies occur because of something wrong with the embryo’s genetics. Yes, there are babies who are still born with genetic abnormalities, but I don’t believe that IVF increases that.

And really? It’s selfish to want to carry your own child? I guess I’m selfish, then, because not only did I want to experience carrying my own child, but I would like to have more than one. I’d love to see how these commenters would change their tunes after being told they could never get pregnant naturally.

What’s selfish is the number of women who commented and said that if they were in this position they would abort. As much as I know it would hurt to know that I’m carrying someone else’s child, I would never abort. It’s not the child’s fault. And how can you say that what this woman is doing isn’t a gift? The other woman obviously had fertility issues too, so even though she didn’t carry her own child, she’s going to get to be a mother. That’s the greatest gift you can give anyone.

27 Weeks

Sure, I may be hitting the 28-week mark tomorrow, but it’s never too late for an update, huh?

I reached 27 weeks last Wednesday and woke up to Braxton Hicks contractions. Of course, I had no idea what was going on at first except for the fact that I was having horrible menstrual-type cramps that lasted for about a minute or so and then subsided. It went on for a couple of hours, and I thought they were BH, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure. Later in the day, the nurse at my OB’s office confirmed that I had been correct. It was kind of neat to experience and to realize I’m at that point in this pregnancy, but at the same time they sure weren’t a lot of fun!

At my appointment last Friday, my doctor said that the horrendous pain I have 24/7 is severe round ligament pain, which she said some women get to experience. Lucky me! She was going to prescribe a muscle relaxer to see if that would help alleviate the pain a little, but unfortunately they all counter-react with penicillin and, since I have had an allergy to a drug in the penicillin family in the past, they won’t give me anything that could cause another allergic reaction.

Sigh. So I guess I just deal with it. Twelve weeks just seems like an awfully long time to not be able to walk or lay or do anything really without feeling like I’m going to die. It’ll be worth it, though. I just wish this pregnancy was a little easier!

Meeting a Legend

Fourteen years ago today, Cal Ripken, Jr. played in his 2,131st consecutive baseball game, breaking Lou Gehrig’s long-standing record. I remember that day like it was yesterday, and I was proud to call myself a Baltimoran.

Since it’s the anniversary of the record being broken, I thought I’d share my experience meeting Cal Ripken, Jr. In 2001, the Orioles came to Atlanta to play the Braves during Ripken’s farewell tour. I was working for a small daily newspaper outside of Atlanta, and I was determined to go. I found a way to write a story for our sports section out of it, got it approved by my editor, secured press passes for me and my photographer, and we were on our way.

We arrived several hours before gametime for Ripken’s press conference, and we joined the throngs of reporters and photographers in the visiting team’s dugout. I squeezed my way up in the front row, sitting right in front of the man who had been my favorite baseball player and one of my heroes since childhood. It was awesome.

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After the press conference, I had a brief moment to try to meet him. I introduced myself to his press secretary, and told him I’m a native of Baltimore and grew up watching the Orioles play at Camden Yards. He said that Ripken would love to meet me, and took me over to introduce me. Ripken and I talked for several minutes, and my photographer snapped pictures the entire time. I gave him a copy of a column I had written about him for our sports section, and he told me he would read it while he ate his pre-game pizza. Cool!

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He spent quite a while before the game signing autographs for fans, which I thought was awesome. He was always a player to stand out on the field and sign autographs while the other players relaxed in the clubhouses before games, which is one reason I really respect him.

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Our press passes gave us field and press room access, so I spent time going back and forth, spending some time in the press room but hanging out on the field for the majority of the game. The dugouts have a separate section attached to them where photographers can stand, and that’s where I sat in the visiting team’s dugout. In fact, Ripken was sitting just a few feet away from me for most of the game, which was awesome.

That was definitely a day I will never, ever forget, and I have a binder full of pictures to show for it. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually get them scanned in. 🙂