For everyone's information, I'm doing most of my posting on facebook these days. If you want to get updates and pictures of the babies, and I know you, friend me on facebook. See you there!

instructions to receive birth updates

I think what we're going to do is what our friends Jonathan and Katie did, and post to Twitter as things happen. My twitter account is connected to my facebook account, so you can get the updates either way. If you don't have a twitter or a facebook account, you can still get the updates online at:


If you want to get a text message every time we update, that is possible:

You will need a twitter account; go here to get one: https://twitter.com/signup.

You will need to link your mobile phone to your twitter account; go to settings, mobile, and then follow the directions.

You will need to be following me; go to http://twitter.com/europas_ice and click on "follow".

Then go back to the main twitter page http://twitter.com (or your twitter page) and click on "following" to get a list of all the people you follow. Next to "europas_ice" click on the first icon to set your account to send my updates to your mobile phone.

I'm stopping the anti-contraction meds after Wednesday (today), so there's a chance I might go into labor after that. If I don't go into labor over the weekend, you'll probably get one update Monday afternoon/evening after the hospital pre-op appointment. Then everything will happen Tuesday morning.

33 weeks

I've made it to 33 weeks.

At 34 weeks, the local hospital should be able to handle the babies.
36 weeks is the minimum the doc wants me to reach.
38 weeks is when the doc said he wants the babies out by.

So, I should have babies in a month and a half!


The last month or so of my pregnancy has been, you might say, interesting.  I went on a trip that was supposed to be relaxing, enjoyable, and not stressful.  And on the face of it, it was.  Nothing bad happened and I didn't feel that I was particularly overexerting myself.  Unfortunately, I was very, very wrong.  I tried to take plenty of time to lay on the sofa and not do anything, but apparently that wasn't enough.  By the end of the trip I was pretty much in constant agony, completely uncomfortable at pretty much all times, and the plane flights were like hell.  Needless to say, now that I'm back I'm not leaving town again any time soon.  

When I got back, in addition to being super uncomfortable, I realized I was having several contractions a day.  As any pregnant woman knows, that is just not a good sign.  Fortunately I wasn't having enough contractions to bother calling the doctor, so I basically did nothing but lay on the sofa for a week, feeling totally miserable.  Of course, there was some work I had to do for a spacecraft mission that's reaching a critical point, so I did my best to work on my laptop from my side laying position on the sofa.  Have you ever tried that?  It is not a feat to be sneezed at. 

After that week was over though, one day I found myself feeling much better, good enough to actually get up and do a load of laundry!  I had two good days, and then apparently the light housework I did while I was feeling good (yes, dishes and laundry) was too much for me, I was feeling bad again.  So I think the message here is that I need to take it REALLY easy, AT HOME.  And when I'm feeling good, I need to not overdo it (the definition of which has drastically changed from what I would have thought.)  The good news is that with all the taking it easy here, the contractions have almost completely stopped.  

In other news, a good number of my "maternity" shirts are rapidly becoming too small.

Also, I found a couple mom's groups in the area that seem to have nice people in them.  Unfortunately they both meet Tuesday mornings!  But still, it is nice to be meeting some people and to have things to talk to them about.  Yes, things you probably wouldn't think of or even find interesting.  Like, oh, you use cloth diapers?  Which kind?


one girl, one boy

It strongly appears that we're going to have one girl and one boy in November. The ultrasound pictures are here:


The ultrasound itself seemed to take forever. The tech first got herself an overview. The baby on my right side, she thought, was a bit farther down toward the exit than the other, so she called that baby A. That baby currently has her head up and her feet down. If it stays that way, I'm in for a C-section, but they're still small enough that they could move around some and change the situation. Baby B then was on my left. He's got his head down and his feet up.

The tech started out measuring baby A's various parts. She started measuring at the head and worked her way down the baby's body. The gender for baby A popped out pretty fast when she got to that part. After a while there were still a few parts on A she couldn't see, so she switched to baby B, hoping A would turn in the meantime.

Baby B went similarly, however, he did NOT want to show his goods. She got most parts of baby B, and then we took a break. There were still about 5 parts she wanted to measure, a few on each baby, and she couldn't see them due to how they were positioned. So she gave me some OJ, to hopefully sugar up the kids, and she told me to move around some, all to try to get them to move. When we went back to it, she got a few more parts, but baby B was still not in a good position to see if he was a boy or girl. Finally he must have started turning a bit, because the tech started saying things like, "I think I know what it is but I don't want to say until I can tell for sure." And she was pointing out little parts on the ultrasound, but not actually SAYING anything about them. I was getting the idea it was a boy though, when she finally got the shot she thought was definitive. She never did get a shot of baby B's spine -- it was just in the exact wrong position.

So for both gender shots, I think the legs are on either side, making a V, and the goods are in the middle, being pointed at by the arrow.

This ultrasound machine had a CD burner in it, so the tech was able to give me a CD of the pictures. Apparently they're in some super-weird PC format though. My mac wouldn't even mount the CD, and although the PC opened the folder and the pictures claimed to be jpegs, I couldn't even use winscp to upload them. I just got error messages. I ended up having to resave all the images after opening them in gimp, and then they copied over okay.

NM, part 2

We made it home from the NM trip. It was really quite a nice trip despite the rough start. I suppose I should finish the saga though.

So, on the way home from getting the new water heater in Albuquerque, it started raining. I guess we were hoping we could still get back to our place, but in hindsight, what we should have done is stop in Grants at a hotel for the night. But it was raining, and we started down the dirt roads. Jason was driving quite slowly, as it was slick out there. Once past the mailboxes it got really slick, and Jason was seriously going 5 mph. Still, it was so slick we slid off the road into the (fortunately) shallow ditch on the side of the road. We were stuck. The car would not move. So, with the back of the XTerra full of the old and new hot water heaters and us and the three dogs, we decided to get some sleep there in the car on the road. We ended up putting the medium size dogs on the front seats so Jason and I could lie down in the back, at least the part of the back not filled with stuff. We were there about 4 hours before we decided it hadn't been raining for a while and we'd try driving again. Needless to say we weren't sleeping particularly well.

It had dried up just enough to get out of the ditch and keep moving, though it was still quite muddy. We drove along for a while at 5 mph, and then we encountered a puddle. It was quite a large puddle, spanning the entire road, about 30 feet long, and 6 or so inches deep. I can only imagine how muddy the bottom of that puddle was! We got out of the car and looked at it and debated whether it was safe to go through it, or whether to try going around by another route, or whether just to walk to the trailer from there (about a mile.) It was tense for a few minutes, but we decided to go through the puddle. (Would being stuck in the middle of the puddle be any worse than our present situation?) But the XTerra performed like a champ and got us through to the other side, and we made it to the trailer. I was never so glad to see it!

I guess that was Friday that we were in Albuquerque, and then Saturday was the Fourth, and the big Wild Horse Ranch party. We were slightly scared to go out on the roads that afternoon, after our experience of the night before, but we tried it, and it wasn't too bad. The party seemed pretty nice, though it would have been a lot more fun if we had known ANYONE there. The pavilion it was at is by a nice lake, and they had cooked up a bunch of BBQ beef, ribs, and chicken. Then there was all the other food that people had brought, including about a dozen different kinds of potato salad. LOL, I'll know what not to bring to the party next year.

Before the food they even had a local well installer talk to us all about how our well systems work. It was a really good idea, and a nice touch. However, the dude clearly was not a PhD, his talk was SO rambling and never quite getting to the point. Even the worst scientific talks aren't bad in quite the same way. But it was entertaining. It probably would have been more informative, though, if Jason hadn't spent 3 hours the day before in the well pit figuring out everything on his own. Good thing Jason has a PhD!

So back to the water heater. Before the party we tried installing it and realized we didn't have some hardware we needed. We decided we could stand one more day without showers, and we'd go into Grants Sunday. So Sunday we went to Grants, got hardware, started to install it, and then REALIZED WE GOT THE WRONG STUFF. At this point I'd pretty much given up on a shower, so I wasn't nearly as upset as the day when we found the busted water heater. But the good news is Jason poked around our stuff up there, and managed to cobble together some stuff, and GOT THE HEATER WORKING! Amazing. That first shower felt wonderful.

Monday was then pleasantly uneventful, and we decided to head home Tuesday afternoon. We stayed in Moab, UT, for the night, and then pressed all the way home Wednesday, getting in at 2am Thursday morning.

I had a really good trip, but it's nice to be home too.

NM, part 1

Things didn't go so smoothly to start with:

Tues we get there in the evening, open things up, and realize that the generator for the well doesn't work (so, no water) and also the internet doesn't work, so, no communication.

Wed, we go to grants to try to get the generator fixed. The shop says it will take a week. Great. Still no water. We're holding out until Thurs when we get electricity to get water.

Thurs morning. An inspector dude comes by to check the electrical for some reason. Whatever. But he says Ricky, who is supposed to turn on our electric was called away to AZ and won't be able to turn it on. ARG! Nevertheless, (the one thing that has gone right) Ricky did come and turn on the electric. Great! So now we have power without the generator noise. Good, but the well STILL doesn't work. Jason spent 2 hours down in the well pit checking all the electrical connections and figuring out how everything worked. He finally figured out that one small part in the pump control was busted, he bypassed it, and now it works. So we got the water running at the well. But we still couldn't figure out how to get the water up to the trailer. (There's a spigot up there that the water's supposed to run to.) So, yet another night with no shower and no dish washing.

This morning, we discovered a mysterious valve that switches on the water at the spigot. Great! So we hook up the water to the trailer, and first thing the kitchen faucet explodes. Go figure. I think I've got it screwed back together, but the very next thing I hear water running in the front closet, and I see water seeping out on the floor there. (That's where the water heater is.) We unscrewed the cover, and quite obviously there was a HUGE gash in the hot water tank. ARG. So not only no hot water, but no obvious way to bypass the tank. Even if there was, who wants to shower and do dishes in cold water? So we headed out to Albuquerque, and amazingly Camping World was able to sell us a new hot water heater. Right now we're having dinner in Albuquerque.

At this point I haven't showered since Monday -- not pleasant. And the other problem is that I get incredibly sick to my stomach every time I eat now, and I just feel miserable for hours afterward.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you about the rodent problems. Sigh.

family on the way

Jason and I are happy to announce that I am pregnant -- with twins! They are due Dec 7, but twins usually come early, so I'm expecting them sometime in November. They are fraternal twins. We won't know their genders for another month or so.

The pregnancy so far has gone well -- at least as well as can be expected. Fortunately, the horrible morning sickness everyone talks about hasn't plagued me. I get an occasional twinge of queasiness, and that's about it. Instead, my symptoms have been extreme exhaustion and hunger. Sometimes I feel like the stereotypical infant whose life is just eat, sleep, and poop! I've also had some mild but definitely annoying abdominal cramping persistently for the last month or two. The doctor attributes it to the expansion and other changes the babies are producing.

I've had a few ultrasounds. The latest ones show decidedly squirmy babies with faces, arms, legs, and heartbeats! So everything is looking good so far.

Genubi's preliminary lab results

I saw the vet yesterday -- she took out the "drain" she had put in Genubi's wound. She said she got the preliminary test results back from the analysis of the mass. They said it was a "soft tissue sarcoma", which is, in fact, a kind of cancer. She said it was a very good thing we removed it and that we'll have to be on the watch to make sure it doesn't come back. More info next week when she gets the final lab results back. She said that it was directly attached to the rib muscles. She also said that usually you want to cut out 1 cm of good tissue around a scarcoma to make sure you got it all. The final lab results will tell us how much margin of that type there was. Genubi's staples also come out next week.

surgery went well

Genubi's surgery went well. He came home this afternoon with a shaved but flat side. There's a large line of staples along the incision, and two "drains". Blood keeps dripping out of the lower one when he's standing up. He's still pretty groggy though, so we've managed to convince him to lay down. He didn't want to, probably because he's sore. But once he was down he seemed happy enough. The vet is going to send the lump off to a lab to get analyzed, but she doesn't seem to think it's going to be anything serious.