Letters from the front: Part two.

Continuing from last time, here are more emails from me to our families documenting Lara’s pregnancy. These cover the last few months before the birth.


October 1, 2010

We [had] an ultrasound last Thursday, but since it lasted all of three minutes, there wasn’t a whole lot to report. It really pissed us off, as a matter of fact. We had been scheduled toward the end of their business day, and they were clearly running behind. The technician was in such a hurry that she almost barged in on Lara as she was finishing getting undressed and then was less than gentle with the probe. Snap, snap, couple of pictures, OK looks good, see ya!

We’ve had some cool people involved in this process, but I’m getting more and more disenchanted with the HMO group we’re in. We have another ultrasound next week, and I’m by God going to make sure that we get the really nice technician that we’ve requested *twice* before and *still* haven’t gotten. Hopefully, then we’ll have something more to tell you guys.

We’re also doing a baby CPR class, so that should be fun. Well, not fun, but useful.


October 11, 2010

After an infuriatingly hurried appointment two weeks ago, we made sure that our next trip to Ultrasoundville would be conducted by Nicole, the technician we fell in love with a few visits ago. We’ve requested her ever since, but due to gross negligence or willful maliciousness on the part of the scheduling staff, we had failed to get her again. A personal plea made directly to her by phone seems to have done the trick, though we’ll see if this was a short term solution next month.

The reason we like Nicole is that she often provides us with what I like to call “answers.” She also takes her time, never giving us the impression that we are keeping her from a pressing engagement with the President or the Pope or a new episode of Glee.

But enough about Nicole and her peers; on to the babies!

The ultrasound shows that both babies are proceeding nicely, with Baby A (boy) at 1lb 12oz and Baby B (girl) at 1lb 13oz. Once again, the word “perfect” was bandied about, which is always nice to hear. While Baby A has been swimming around like a fish, Lara has had trouble feeling Baby B, even when she kicked so hard that it made a magazine lying on Lara’s belly rocket about an inch skyward.

The ultrasound finally shed some light on the mystery: Baby B is tucked nice and snug into the placenta, which is on three sides of her and is muffling the sensation. However, that isn’t stopping her from stretching out, legs crossed, across the rest of the womb like she was reclined on a La-Z-Boy. Baby A continues to suffer his sibling’s expansiveness stoically, curled into a ball, making visible hash marks on the amniotic sac that count down the days until he gets some breathing room.

The other notable feature that is clearly visible are the charmingly chubby cheeks that each baby now sports. As Lara put it, the kids have upgraded from The Crypt Keeper to The Joker. That may not sound like a Norman Rockwell painting, but, take it from me, it’s adorable.

As we officially enter the third trimester, we have begun our extended education. We are both now trained in infant CPR, which apparently includes a lot of stern pointing at other people and playing footsie with the tyke. I, for one, feel confident that if a child mannequin were to stop breathing in a department store, I now have the skills necessary to make its plastic chest rise and fall until help arrives.

The next appointment is November 4th. More to come!


November 11, 2010

Another month, another ultrasound! Nothing momentous to report, other than they continue to grow at an almost equal pace, with the boy remaining 1 oz. heavier than the girl. However, their continued good health and development has sadly put an end to the stream of prenatal photography. The subjects are just too big to get any flattering angles, and, as such, they refuse to cooperate. I wouldn’t have expected our children to be so vain; fortunately, though, I’ve read that it’s just a phase. So everyone will just have to make do with the seven billion shots on the ultrasound site until the end of December.

Yes, the end of December. While the official due date is January 21, our last doctor’s appointment indicated that there’s a very good chance that something is going to happen sooner. The details—such as the breech and transverse positions of Baby A and B, respectively—are in flux, but we are told that we shouldn’t be surprised if this party gets started by the beginning of week 37. Also known as “New Year’s Eve.”

We continue to play Spin the Bottle with the Illinois Masonic OB/GYN practice, and this time we spent seven minutes in heaven with Dr. [REDACTED]. She’s a no nonsense doctor with a old school attitude and a unique fashion sense, and we hit it off rather well! That is, she and Lara did. I got the feeling that she believed I was somehow oppressing my wife by sitting next to her and holding her car keys. Maybe it was because I said that women shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

She was very confident, which makes us confident, and she was much more forthcoming with information than Dr. [REDACTED], the perfectly nice but rather passive physician who has seen us for most of the pregnancy. So even though it sort of feels like a break up, we think we’re going to stick with Dr. [REDACTED] from here on out. The heart wants what the heart wants.

As for Lara’s concerns that she couldn’t feel movement from Baby B, who is in the upper part of the abdomen and is cushioned by the placenta…well, those worries are over. The young miss now does constant somersaults, often nudging the surface of Lara’s belly with what we think is her head, like a whale coming up for air. She is as expansive as ever, extending from one side of the womb to another and nestled up as far as Lara’s ribcage. Her brother is still doing his armadillo impression on the bottom bunk, trying to get some relief from the Queen of the Womb. I’ve read that the relationships developed in utero often continue to play out over the first few months of life. It should be interesting to see whether that holds true.

We have another check up in a week and another ultrasound after Thanksgiving. Lara continues to soldier on with challenges that would have broken me within two weeks. I really think someone should sue Hollywood for its portrayal of pregnancy. It’s not false advertising, because, obviously, it’s not advertising. But it’s definitely misleading. If they had to stop making cigarettes look cool, then I think it’s time for a moratorium on making pregnancy look magical.


November 23, 2010

Lara and I were pretty bummed out by the prospect of having no more pictures of the squatters until Eviction Day, so we took matters into our hands. If trained medical staff won’t give us any more photos, then, by god, we’re going to find some enterprising capitalist who will.

And find one we did. Today, we went to a place called [REDACTED] to get a “3D/4D” ultrasound (much to my disappointment, time travel was not involved). For those who don’t know, a 3D ultrasound is basically a high-powered version of the kind you get from the doctor. It allows you to see a certain amount of depth in the image (thus, 3D) and shows a rough approximation of what baby actually looks like. As it turns out, gestating babies look like cherubs from the House of Wax.

The problem is that there’s just not a whole lot of room in there anymore because we’re so far along (which is the same lame excuse the trained medical staff gave us). This is, of course, compounded by the fact that there’s two of them in close quarters, so it takes a while to get a lock on either one of their faces.

And that’s if they’re cooperating, which Baby B most certainly was not. Any other time, she would be doing the cha-cha, but today it was naptime. We could only get a partial profile despite lots of prodding. At one point, she even shook her fist at us.  I’m not kidding. At first, we thought a finger might also be involved, but it turned out she was only promising terrible retribution if we didn’t stop poking her. Then she turned her back to us, and that was all she wrote for her photo session.

We had better luck with Baby A, but they aren’t the most flattering pictures. That’s because the probe was pressing hard against Lara’s abdomen in order to see him. Envision slathering your head in self-tanner and then smashing your face against a plate glass window while someone takes a shot from the other side.

Or you can simply see for yourself at the ultrasound site, where the cream of the crop of these photos are now posted: [REDACTED]

Scroll to the bottom of the images on the left to see the new ones (the ones in “color”). As for the “4D” portion, we received an unedited DVD of the ultrasound feed so that we can watch our beloved children avoid the camera at all costs.

So it wasn’t the enlightening sneak peek that we had hoped for, but it was still a good time. It just makes us more anxious than ever to see them with our own eyes.

Another humdrum 2D ultrasound and doctor’s appointment next week! More soon!


[But, as it turned out, this would be the last letter. A week later, Lara would visit the emergency complaining of dehydration and nausea. A 12-hour stay at the hospital came up with nothing, but it was traumatic nonetheless. And then two weeks later, of course, the twins came over a month ahead of schedule.]