Archive for February, 2010

The baby is a…
February 25, 2010

I was warned by friends that lots of people, strangers even, will have opinions about all of my choices regarding the pregnancy and will have no fear in expressing them. It’s just how it is.

I didn’t experience this until I was in a baby store in Pasadena with my friend Cece. She suggested we go while I was in town since it’s so hard for me to shop when on the island. Since baby gear shopping requires a trip off-island.

Thankfully Cece was there to ask questions on my behalf because I was like a deer in headlights in the store, just wandering around with my mouth slightly agape. So much to take in. So overwhelming. So many strollers!

We were sitting watching as the personal shopper gave us a stroller demonstration when three pregnant women joined us and sat beside me.

“That’s the stroller I wish I had gotten,” the woman to the left of me said, “Because you can add a seat for your second kid. You can’t do that with the Bugaboo and now I have to buy another stroller.”

Makes sense, I thought. Then she told me how her friend was having twins and has to buy a side-by-side for both kids. She pointed at the twin stroller then pointed at her friend.

“When did you find out,” I asked the woman carrying twins.

“Right away,” she told me. “Eight weeks in.”

“Oh,” I said, “Could you hear two heartbeats or something?”

“We could see them both on the sonogram.”

That’s when I foolishly confessed that I still hadn’t had my first sonogram… and they all looked at me like I was insane.

“Oh my god! Are you serious?! How far along are you?!”

I didn’t want to tell them. I knew what the reaction would be. But there wasn’t changing the subject at that point. “Almost 18 weeks,” I said, “But I live on an island and they don’t have ultrasound machines there.”

Way to make it sound even worse, Steph. They’re probably picturing a shack on some backward island where bleeding patients is still a legitimate method of treating illness. Where babies are left to survive on their own. Where cell phones don’t work and there’s not even a hospital. Okay, well that last one may be true. But still… (and to be clear, my cell phone does work in town, just not at the house.)

My point is that these women were FUH-LOORED and seemed to think it was their job to rescue me.

“You’re in L.A. now. Go get a sonogram! Seriously! Please. Just go get a sonogram.” There was a lot of whispering and hub bub. I heard one friend whisper to another, “She doesn’t even look pregnant.” And for some reason that offended me. Do they think I’m lying? Why do I care? I am pregnant, okay? I’m pregnant. Just like you.

But I didn’t say any of that. Instead I just laughed. The truth is, though I was anxious to see our baby for the first time, I wasn’t desperate to have an ultrasound. I had one scheduled for my 18th week and was perfectly fine with that. I mean, come on, my mom never had one and I came out just fine. My brother too.

I was technically wrong about one thing. There is an ultrasound machine on the island. At the clinic. It’s just that the technicians only come over from the mainland every other Wednesday. It’s not like I couldn’t have scheduled one earlier, I just didn’t want to. My midwife (yes, I’m using a midwife… and I love her. I’m not having a home birth, I will be delivering in the hospital) only schedules ultrasounds when necessary. So I won’t be getting one at every visit. Only at key points in the pregnancy and that works for me. I don’t want to micromanage my pregnancy. And I don’t want to be charged for unnecessary ultrasounds. Necessary ultrasounds are covered by my insurance. Unnecessary ultrasounds? Well, I just don’t want to take any chances.

So… yesterday was the big day. Our first ultrasound. As the technician put the little camera thing on my belly, Bob was watching the screen and I was watching Bob. I don’t know why. But I wanted to see his face first. His reaction would tell me what I needed to know: that there was indeed a baby in there.

His eyes went wide and a big smile spread across his face. That’s when I looked and saw our baby.

Here’s the head, the brain, the spine, the heart… pumping fast and strong. And here are the legs.

The technician said, “Okay, are you seeing what I’m seeing?”

There was something between the legs. Clearly.

“It’s a boy,” Bob said.

Definitely? Are we sure? There’s no mistaking? It seemed pretty clear. There was clearly something dangling between the legs. So, yes… we are having a boy.

Wow. My brain takes it in. I think I hear Bob say he was right. Which he was. Which isn’t a surpsrise. He knew I was pregnant before I did. So we’re having a boy. A boy. Wow.

More than anything, the ultrasound made it all real. He’s so well-formed already. I mean, he’s been working hard in there. I’ve been feeling him move around all week so seeing him move in the ultrasound wasn’t a surprise. But, wow… this guy moves a lot!

At first he was lying across my belly. “He’s using your placenta like a mattress,” the technician said. Then he moved again. At one point the technician said, “Oh, look. He’s dancing.” And we saw little arms moving. I could have sworn he waved at us. I could see the knuckle bones in his hand.

Calling family and letting them know the sex was so much fun. I understand why some people choose to wait. To be surprised. But we were just too anxious. And now I have him pictured in my brain. A little boy. We’re having a little boy. How on earth am I expected to accomplish anything when all I can think of is WE ARE HAVING A LITTLE BOY!

And it appears he has my nose.

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how to get to the island
February 23, 2010

Convenience is not a reason anyone would choose to live on an island. Especially not San Juan Island. Convenient it is not. There is no bridge connecting us to the mainland. No chunnel. No. To travel back and forth from the island to the mainland, we are at the mercy of the ferry schedule.

The ferry takes an hour and five minutes if you are traveling direct from Friday Harbor to Anacortes. However, Bob and I once spent over 5 hours in one day on the ferry. How?

Well, it was a Saturday and we were trying to get on the 8:05 ferry. We arrived to line up at 7:15 only to find out that it was already full. We were turned away and told to return for the next ferry… which wasn’t until 11:15. But that ferry stops at Orcas, Lopez and Shaw before going to Anacortes. We could have waited for a later, direct ferry but didn’t want to run the chance that we would miss it. So we got on this incredibly indirect route.

We didn’t make it back until the last ferry of the day… which is also a “local” as opposed to direct. It took even longer than usual because just as we were finally heading to Friday Harbor from Orcas Island, the captain got on the loudspeaker to tell us that a couple of passengers had failed to disembark at Orcas and we were going to turn around to let them off. But first we had to wait for another ferry to unload their passengers. And that’s how we ended up spending over 5 hours in one day on the ferry.

So… all of this is to demonstrate how challenging it can be to get to our little island. Usually we just pass the time on the ferry by either reading or playing games. Our new favorite is Bananagrams. Do you know this game? It’s so much fun and really easy to carry around. Seriously, check it out. Especially if you’re a Scrabble or Crosswords fan.

Anyway, the ferry terminal in Anacortes is a 1.5 to 2 hour (depending on traffic) drive from Seatac (the Seattle airport) and the ferry ride (if direct) is an hour and five minutes after that. Don’t forget the wait time. You generally need to arrive about an hour ahead of schedule this time of year to be sure you make it. It’s apparently ungodly longer in the summer.

Now, we recently returned from a two-week vacation in Los Angeles. My new play “American Home” was being workshopped at The Blank Theatre in Hollywood. So we went for that and to see friends. We drove down so that we could return our leased vehicle. And we flew back. The plan had been to leave our “new” car (a 1995 Volvo wagon with 195,000 miles on it) at friends house in Seattle so that we had a way back to the island. That plan went out the window Day 1 of our drive down when the car sputtered and quit. We called AAA and had them tow it back to Friday Harbor to our mechanic who had just done a bunch of work on it.

Our mechanic felt so bad that this happened to us that he offered to pick us up in his Cessna from the airport so that we would have a way back to the island. And that’s what he did! On Saturday we landed in Seattle and found our way over to Boeing Field where he said he would meet us. He arrived just after we did and forty minutes later we were landing in Friday Harbor. Amazing! It was such a thrill. We were so lucky to have clear skies and a pristine view. It was totally exhilarating. And so much better than taking the ferry. We have the best mechanic ever!

But I don’t know how we’ll ever travel by ferry again.

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