Thursday 30 July 2009

The new familiar

The kidlet has just passed 11 weeks.

That's half way between the previously infamous 12 week mark, and the 'new 12 weeks' of 10 weeks. Appropriately, some things people have said to me lately have gotten me thinking.

An email came from a friend mentioning how nervous I must be in these early pregnancy stages, and a comment was left here from someone who said that I would have a lot of fun with this kid because I already am having fun with them.

I'm not nervous. There is always a moment of anxiousness just before a scan or check up, but on the whole I'm not worried at all about the pregnancy.

Maybe I should be, this could be naivety, perhaps this is some sort of denial state I'm in, but I really don't think so.

I'm certain everything will be okay now. I've no proof or evidence, and my psychic abilities are somewhat underdeveloped, but I just know. That's why I'm not nervous.

It's not a matter of 'ifs' or 'someday' anymore, it's a matter of when.

I know that this kid is going to arrive safe and well, and we'll know it. We'll recognise it. (The obviousness of it dangling from my wife's cavern of carnal delights aside of course.)

We don't know what colour hair it will have, if any. We don't know if it will have all its toes or an extra ear growing from its belly, but we will know it.

We'll know it as the kid that has kept us going for two years. The kid who shook me out of sulks and reminded me to look after ET during month after month of failures. It's the same kid who inspired silly writing and jokes when all I wanted to do was switch off and just walk away.

This kid pulled both our hands together, reminding us why we were doing what we were.

So no, I'm not nervous, I'm excited at the thought of finally getting to meet in the flesh, someone who has already done so much for us. Someone we're already familiar with after years of ups and downs.

Someone we've already known for a long, long time.

A brand new old friend.

Monday 27 July 2009

Don't tell Bono

Little Fitz has doubled in length again this week.

I presume it has at least, because that's what 'the books' are telling us.

In fact, it could be doing absolutely anything in there, anything at all. I picture it sprawled out and scratching itself, reading Stephen King paperbacks, playing air guitar on its umbilical chord, stopping occasionally to choose something to munch on from the placenta platter. When it's time for a scan, it hurriedly hides all its paraphernalia under the yolk sac and assumes the foetal position for the camera.


Anyway, the growth is jolly news in itself, but toss in the fact that its relatively humongous head should hopefully not have grown this week, and we can celebrate having a less Gollumesque looking foetus inflating my wife.

If you are going to have your entire metabolism abused by a complete stranger, it might as well be a cute one I say.

A couple of 'firsts' have happened this last week for the bellydweller too.

(S)he has been registered at day care. Stop laughing. Another one of Holland's unique aspects on all this, we've asked for three days a week sometime from August 2010, and if we are really, really, really lucky, we might get them.

Also, while technically not its first live music experience, (that particular privilege goes to Holland's answer to 'The Commitments'), the kid did go to its first proper rock concert in the shape of U2.

I expect that the mutating one was just as underwhelmed as I was.

The 'first' that I'm most proud of is the fact it managed to get in for free, sneaking in under ET's t-shirt. At about 100 euro a ticket, that made papa very proud.

Kidlet is already earning its keep.

Very proud indeed.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Shotgun weddings & bastard avoidance

I never said we were normal.

We got married today. Again.

In fact, I got married today, to the same woman I was married to yesterday, and I wasn't even there.

To make a long story in no noticeable way shorter, our local town hall decided they didn't like the look of the marriage certificate we returned from Louisiana with, and unless we had it authenticated (again) by the governor over there, it would not be recognised as valid here in Holland.

Being far too busy watching television and eroding each others groins, we never bothered. A married couple, living in sin.

Until now.

The arrival into the world of spawn of people like us needs to follow the same administrative process as that of any old street tramp. Basically, Little Fitz needs to be registered at the town hall soon after (s)he rips ET a new one.

This is a task that is usually left to the father of the newborn, usually because the mother is too lazy sleeping off losing 25 lbs in fifteen minutes through a gaping bloody hole in her lower body.

I, as the father (all laboratory mix-ups aside) shall perform this fateful duty.

Ahhhh ha!

This is where they get us. If I were not married to the mother of the child I am registering, (which I am, but I'm not,) I could not register the birth in the normal manner. There would be Dutch disclaimers, affidavits, declarations, and carbon copy forms in duplicate to be furnished if we were not married.

So, here we are, 2 FedEx letters, 20 US dollars, one confused Louisiana governor, and four short years later, we are married in the eyes of the Dutch.

ET is quite smug at the concept of trapping me twice, but two can play that game.

For tonight -is our wedding night!

Monday 20 July 2009

Picture perfect

I reckon if you dangled me from a cliff by my wobbly bits, I could write you up a storm.

Sit me down in a field of heather and daises where my greatest worry would be hay fever, or ants in my picnic basket, and I couldn't give you two interesting words to rub together.

Before June the 7th, or pre 'euphoric urination day' to give it its proper title, I was full of prose, misery, knob jokes, and neediness. Now, I'm full of laziness, Pringles, and excuses not to bother bathing.

General happy as a pig-in-shitness does not stimulate my creative juices.

There is nothing going on. Granted, there never really has been anything going on, but at least I was able to run that nothing through my human mangle of a brain and spit out something to amuse myself with.

Now, the best I can do is to tell you how Little Fitz is getting on, now that he, or she, is wife invading its way to the end of week ten.

It now has a nose that is 'clearly visible'. Visible to who, or to what, the book doesn't say, but ET will knee me in the face if I approach her guts with a torch again .

The wee bugger also has formed eyes, which are fused shut, like a perpetual Sunday morning. Lest there be any confusion, my Sunday morning eye fusion is somewhat more likely to be the result of a hangover, than any exuberant deity worshipping.

Inside its wee mouth, which is undoubtedly already miming 'please father' and 'thank you papa', is home to twenty little tooth buds.

About those teeth sunshine, keep the good ones, ditch the baby ones. Not the other way around. Like me. At thirty.

'Braces & a sperm sample' is the story of my last two years, so get your own angle, kid.

So, no genitals of note, an oversized head, fused shut eyelids, and twenty bloody tooth buds already formed. As much as the books try to make that sound cute, or as much as the ultrasound pictures make this child look like a penguin dozing in a hammock, Little Fitz is currently marginally north of Gollum in the handsome stakes.

I'm going to be really pissed if this kid doesn't emerge from ET's underpass exactly like the cute baby on the cover of this book I pick up 7 times a day. Complete with woolly hat.

Just without the coffee ring on his nose and the Pringle dust fingerprint on his forehead. Hopefully.

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Sing it, Neil

She was seventeen.

Okay, maybe eighteen. Nineteen, tops. Plastered in make-up and wearing knee length white leggings, the mysterious young woman followed the consultant as she lead us into her office.

Bizarrely, we were never introduced to this person, who I only imagine, and nervously hope, was an intern shadowing a senior member of staff for the day.

So young looking was contestant number 9 in the 'let's all stare at my wife's genitalia' game show, I started to wonder if ET's impending visual carnal carnival would even be legal.

Probable charges of indecency involving a minor aside, she dropped her lot, and hopped into the stirrups. Up shot the dildo-cam, quickly followed by my blood pressure.

Et voila! A baby.

A baby-shaped baby to boot.

The previously huge yolk sac wasn't identifiable, while the recognisable body shape and large head definitely were. The consultant pointed out the harder to see heart, pumping away steadily.

I didn't appreciate what happened next at the time, but thinking back on it throughout today, it was simply amazing to witness.

It kicked out its leg.

Now, it was of course most probably a twitch, or a spasm, or a jerk, but whatever it was, its disproportionately tiny leg moved right there in front of us. A microscopic human moving around inside it's own microscopic world, of its own microscopic accord.

Little Fitz didn't stop there, the small baby shape hunched a backward 'C shape' in on itself, and opened out again in the few moments we had a window to its day.

Nothing major in the grand scheme of things, but the movement was such, that the crown to rump measurements had to be taken twice, and differed by 5 days in estimated size.

In the 12 days since the last scan, the baby has grown 13 days bigger, from 11mm to a whopping 24.6mm. Measuring now 9 weeks and 2 days, at an official 9 weeks.

It can't go unmentioned that this is the last post where we are being treated for infertility, our care there is finished after today's visit. I'm really quite unsure what I feel about this turning point just yet.

ET stole the limelight for the milestones of posts 100 and 200, and I'm more than happy to let her belly dweller steal it for this, number 300.

Hello again, hello.

Monday 13 July 2009

Into the wild

In just two days we get to have another look at little Fitz.

Hopefully little Fitz will actually be twice-as-big-as-the-last-time Fitz, we are looking for a whole extra centimetre growth.

It might not seem much to most of us out here, but that is a doubling in size within a week and a half, something even Kirstie Alley would be impressed with.

"Why so many ultrasounds?" I hear you cry, or briefly wonder at least.

We're special. That's why.

We are still under the care of the infertility clinic at the hospital, and they like to check twice that everything looks okay. The second of those checks is Wednesday.

After which, all going well, they gently pick us up in their cupped hands, taking care not to squash us, walk to the open window, and let us fly off on our own.

Pregnant and in the wild, looking for assistance.

As much as we didn't want to be there in the first place, as much as we failed to get any hint of a personal touch from 90% of the people we encountered there, and as much as it will be fantastic to be able to go about a 'normal' pregnancy, it will be a little sad to leave them behind.

No amount of relaxing, holidaying, God, well wishing, or pagan rock fornication worked, nor ever would. They made this happen. Medical professionals & medical procedures that we are very grateful to have had access to.

With our backs to that door, we will have a shed load of things to arrange, from finding and having a first consult with a midwife, to begging our respective employers not to fire us for wanting parental leave, to raising the bloody bed to a health & safety accepted height for any nurse visits.

Trust me, from what I've learned so far, squeezing a little Fitz out of ET's nether regions and into the Netherlands is going to be eventful.

Thursday 9 July 2009

Mr (or Ms) Fitz of science

Some things you just can't do systematically.

Checklists, processes of elimination, or just trying things one by one don't always pay off.

After all the suggestions, all the funny, all the cute, and all the gender neutral names we went through for the womb raider, we still had nothing that clicked.

Yesterday a friend emailed me about the ultrasound and asked did we get to see 'Little Fitz'?.

And there you have it. Little Fitz it is.

For now.

It's cute enough for her liking, weird enough for mine, and accurately descriptive of what the bugger is.

Not to mention stupefyingly obvious. I'm really not the quickest. [Taps self on temple with chewed pencil].

In other news, ET has managed to not puke on any busses, colleagues, or husbands in the last few days, which is a plus. On the down side, we may have to install a television in the bathroom due to her frequent visits.

The fact I want to use the term 'Must See PV' is a sign I'm lacking sleep, and therefore I'm going to suggest she sleeps in the bath. Eliminating the need to get up and disturb me four times a night.

On the other hand, I may allow her to stay in the bed, as she is engaging in human horticulture after all, and I fancy living to see the little fella again next Wednesday at the next ultrasound.

The same day that it will turn a full nine weeks old.

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Misery and milestones

Clichés are dull. No one wants to see 'predictable' or 'routine' really, do they?

Unless you're talking pregnancy.

Up to the start of this week, ET was flying along on the side-effect scale. A few bouts of tiredness and a bit more cleavage were the most she had to deal with.

Then along comes this week.

The woman is pissing like a racehorse. Not in the middle of a field, or with a nosebag tied around her head, or anything like that, but frequently.

Four times a night frequently.

I'm wholeheartedly in favour of this outward indication of her blossoming condition, I'd just prefer less nocturnal manifestations. I really can't afford to be losing beauty sleep.

That aside, I hit the jackpot yesterday. The lotto of pregnancy symptoms.

I received a phone call from my walking talking incubator to inform me she was on the verge of puking her guts up.


It seems empty stomachs, mutating foetuses, and 45 minute bus rides in the morning do not mix very well. The result is one very pale, clammy and nauseous wife, and one sadistically happy husband.

I just wonder how much longer she'll allow me to be outwardly delighted when she says she's on the verge of vomiting up a kidney.

That centimetre long urine generating, puke prompting, exhaustion creating creature growing happily inside her, is a whole (recalculated) 8 weeks old tomorrow.

Some cake petal?

Friday 3 July 2009

Sacred excrement

It always kind of bothered me.

No matter how much explaining people did, wherever they pointed to, regardless of what they said to make it clearer, I have never been able to make head nor rump of ultrasound pictures.

I usually end up nodding and agreeing out of politeness, I was certain this would be no different.

ET pattered over to the examination chair, daintily pulling downwards on the hem of her top in an amusing attempt to preserve modesty in front of the male nurse, before spreading her legs in his face for the third or fourth time.

Off up went the dildo-cam into what is familiar TV territory for us.


There. See that? Fuck. Right there.

Before he could point out anything, before he had a chance to say a word, there it was.

Like a torch being switched on and off in super fast forward mode. Bright, fast, and very very alive.

He didn't need to tell us it was a heartbeat, but he'd have had a tough job finding mine right there and then.

The shape was clear, to me at least, with head to rump measuring just over a centimetre.

Seriously, a bloody centimetre.

The poor bugger was carrying around a yolk sac as big as itself while still measuring a day ahead of the recalculated 7 weeks and 2 day old pregnancy.

Given the parents the wee fella has, this may well be the first and last time it will ever measure ahead on any size chart in its life.

Having a picture to look at is nothing short of amazing. There he/she is. Really there.

Freaky internet people, say hello.