Bird and Belle's Adventures in Marriage


Is Chicken a Rooster or a Hen?

During the course of this pregnancy I have had 11 ultrasounds – thanks IVF, placenta complications and breech positioning! For the first five little Chicken was too tiny for anyone to determine gender. During the other 7, though, parts were clearly visible.

Jay and I agreed from the get-go that we would not find out baby’s gender. After a very planned and scientific conception, the gender was really the only surprise. There were times that I struggled with our choice, like when we were arguing over names or the when I was having a  hard time bonding with the creature flogging my internal organs. There were several ultrasounds that I was dead set on asking for the gender when I walked in, but as soon as that tiny little beating heart and those long, long legs popped up on the screen I was ok waiting.

At 39 weeks pregnant I can say that not finding out the gender was the BEST decision for us. Chicken is still breech meaning even his/her birth date will not be a surprise so the gender is really and truly the only surprise we have coming and I. Can’t. Wait!

Jay and I have been going back and forth with our gender guesses the entire pregnancy and it seems the general population all has an opinion, too. Friends, family and complete strangers ask if we know the gender then scrutinize my bump and SWEAR I’m having a _____. So far these guesses are a pretty even girl/boy split – which only makes sense seeing as how it can only go one way or the other!

I thought it would be fun to let our readers play along, too, but since most of you are very far away and have not gotten to experience my pregnancy in real life, let me answer some gender prediction myths to help guide your decision:

  1. Carrying low or high? This Chicken has been high for the entire pregnancy. My right lung will attest.
    This means: Chicken is A GIRL
  2. Is the weight all out front or is it evenly distributed around the sides? Mostly out in the front (and in the butt!).
    This means: Chicken is A BOY
  3. Is your face round and full? Not really.
    This means: Chicken is A BOY
  4. Have I had issues with acne during pregnancy? Nope. Actually, my skin has looked better than ever during pregnancy.
    This means: Chicken is A BOY
  5. Did I have any morning sickness? Not a single drop of vomit and very, very little nausea – THANK GOODNESS!
    This means: Chicken is A BOY
  6. Is Dad gaining weight too? Nope!
    This means: Chicken is A GIRL
  7. Are you especially moody? Well, I would say no but…. I think Jay and others would disagree 🙂
    This means: Chicken is A GIRL
  8. Are you clumsy or graceful?  I have been surprisingly graceful and agile despite the large belly.
    This means: Chicken is A GIRL
  9. Is baby’s heartbeat averaging over 140 beats per minute or under 130? Thanks to the pocket fetal doppler a friend loaned me, I can say that Chicken’s heart rate is consistently clocking in the 120’s.
    This means: Chicken is A GIRL
  10. And finally, according to one study the mother of the baby is right about 71% of the time when she just guesses her baby’s sex. In which case, I’m absolutely certain this little Chicken is a A BOY

See that? A 50/50 split! I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty: Chicken is NOT another cat and really, that is ALL that matters to us 🙂

What do you think? Is Chicken a Rooster or a Hen?



Eviction Date

Baby Chicken is scheduled to be evicted on July 1 at 40 weeks, 3 days via Cesarean Section.

Baby has been breech since 34 weeks. Actually much longer now that I know that giant hard lump under my right lung was not, in fact, buns of steel like I had hoped. Nope, that big hard lump would be Brains from Jay and the squishy round mass in my lower pelvis would be Buns from Belle – also known as a soft rump that might require daily lunges should Chicken be a girl 🙂

Today I’m 38 weeks pregnant and have spent the past four weeks desperately trying to turn baby. I’ve done inversions on a board. I’ve burned moxa on my little toes. I’ve gone to a chiropractor for the Webster Technique. I’ve had a breech massage. I’ve done crazy arm stands off my couch, stairs and office chair. I’ve put ice on the top of my belly and heat on the lower belly. I’ve offered up the Alabama Shakes to my lower belly and when it occurred to me that baby might have more Jay’s music taste, switched over to Daft Punk. I’ve visualized baby turning. I’ve listened to a daily breech hypnosis CD. I’ve even ventured to a public pool full of strange children, at least one of whom discussed peeing in the water, to try and get baby to flip.

On Monday we went for the mother of all breech interventions and spent 8 hours in Labor & Delivery for an ECV, a medical procedure where a trained doctor tries to manually turn the baby through your belly. We never even go to the trying part, though, thanks to low fluid level and my oddly shaped placenta.

I been dreaming of my natural birth experience since way before I got pregnant, and even before I started infertility treatments.  A natural, unmediated childbirth was going to renew my faith in this body. It was going to be the empowerment that helped me start healing the wounds left from infertility and loss. The past few weeks have been tearful as I come to terms with the new way our child will enter this world. As my friend eloquently put it, Chicken will make his or her grand entrance by “coming out the sunroof instead of the driver side door.”

I spent a lot of time researching options and new cesarean techniques and decided that if surgical extraction is what it was going to take to get baby here safely, than so be it, but first I’d fight like hell to get a gentler kind of Cesarean that is not often practiced in the U.S.

The video above is a new take on elective cesareans that allows the family to be the focus of the procedure. Operating room chatter is directed at Mom and doctors don’t discuss what they had for dinner or how the Wildcats did. Mom is lucid and aware of what is happening. Baby is removed slowly from the uterus to help with acclimation and cord clamping is delayed. Mom gets to watch as her baby is born and then has baby placed on her chest immediately where all pediatric care is conducted. Baby stays with mom the entire time she is sewn up and then goes with her to recovery where she will receive breast feeding support right away.

I am so, so thankful that the first surgeon I met with has actually watched this video and done his own research on this new method. His eyes lit up when I said this is what I wanted and he was instantly on board, planning out the team that he will assemble to help make my first, and only, birth experience as gentle and special as possible. Within 24 hours he had contacted my family medicine doctor, who has been caring for me during pregnancy and had planned to attend my Natural Birth, to arrange for her to be present and handle pediatrics at my Cesarean Birth. He is recruiting his best nurse and hand selecting which resident will assist. He is excited to have Jay and I help him lead the way to bettering birth at UK.

While I’m still mourning the loss of my natural birth, I am extremely thankful to have found a place where everyone is willing and able to help make Plan B the best experience possible and bring our child into the world safely. Just 17 more sleeps until we find out if Baby Chicken is a Rooster or a Hen!


More Adventures in Marriage: Moving to NYC

Anyone who knows Jay and I will tell you that we both love a challenge. Perhaps that is why we got married… we each saw a tremendous challenge in the other?!  What ever the reason we ended up together, it’s just not in our nature to do things the practical, simple or sane way.

Pregnancy anxiety is only part of the reason there has been a lot of radio silence on this blog. There has also been career anxiety. Jay’s contract at UK is up in May and without a solid job offer on the table we were really struggling with how to proceed when our family grows from six to seven (that would be three humans and four cats for those who are scratching their heads). Then in February things started to look up – Jay had two interviews at two of his top choices for future employment! We sat, with bated breath, for the next month wondering what our future held. Finally, last week he received an official offer for a 2-4 year post doctoral position at a very awesome university in New York City!

We were overjoyed! Job! Employment! Baby will have diapers and the cats will continue to have kibble aplenty!

After the initial elation settled in, we started to realize what a monumental task was ahead of us… we were moving to NYC from Kentucky… from a nice big house to 1,000 square foot apartment… right after having a baby… without a support network of friends and family… with four cats? What? Are we insane?

Clearly we are because Jay formally accepted the offer on Monday and I alerted my boss to the changes this morning. Currently, Jay will finish teaching the spring semester, and then teach another class at UK during the summer so we can stash away some more cash. I’ll work up until I go into labor, which will allow me to work with my current employer in finding and training my replacement and making sure all ducks are left in neat, tidy rows. Hopefully baby will be punctual (ahahahahaha, I so know better than this) and come at the end of June as expected. We’ll then load up what remains of the Hineman Household the first week in August and set out to start our new life in one of the last places on earth I expected us to end up.

Whew, I’m so glad to have this out in the open! (This post has been taunting me from my drafts folder for two weeks.)  I’m also beyond excited to share our insanity adventure with you all in the coming months and to hopefully arrange some visits with friends and family within driving distance of Kentucky. And now I’m off to continue lining up some ducks (and cats). Cheers to new cities, new jobs, new babies and new adventures!



Halfway there – 20 weeks pregnant

Bon Jovi seems appropriate right about now:

“Wooo, we’re halfway there, wooo, livin’ on a prayer.
Take my hand, we’ll make it, I swear.
Wooo, livin’ on a prayer.”

I cannot believe we are halfway through this pregnancy. It was never my intention to post our “yay! We are making a baby” story and then leave you hanging for the next seven weeks. Seems life does not slow down even though you are gestating, though.

This week Jay and I went in for the big 20 week ultrasound where they make sure our little baby, who we fondly call the Chicken, has all of his or her important body parts and is growing on schedule. Little Chicken passed all tests with flying colors.

At the 20 week scan we had the option to learn our baby’s gender. Jay and I went round and round about this – to find out would cut the stress of picking names in half. It would also help us plan and might help with bonding. On the flip side, finding out would take all the surprise out of having our doctor proudly hold up the baby all Lion King style while proclaiming “It’s a INSERT GENDER HERE!”


I get all squishy inside when I think about being surprised on our kid’s birthday. Let’s face it – going through infertility and in vitro fertilization takes ALL the surprise out of reproduction. I can tell you that on Feb. 11, 2012, 27 eggs were sucked out of my ovaries at about 8:30 in the morning. Within the hour those 27 eggs met MILLIONS of little spermies in a petri dish. Five days later 6 high quality blastocysts were frozen using cryogenic technologies – one of which became is the baby I’m currently housing.

Blah blah blah. You see, there is no mystery here. There is no trying to calculate the day I ovulated. There is no giddy recollection of one passionate night. Nope. Instead it was one stressful morning when I was wheeled into surgery and poor Jay had a date with a plastic cup. With this in mind, Jay and I went into the ultrasound this week with a renewed determination – we are going to wait and find out whenever the Chicken chooses to join us!

Pregnancy-wise, I’ve been blessed with an easy time. I had almost no morning sickness, have barfed exactly zero times and have been able to remain active. I walk, strength train or practice yoga every other day to stay in shape. I have very few aches and pains and I’m sleeping well since adding a ridiculous life-raft sized pregnancy pillow to the bed. Seriously, this pillow is huge and caused a good deal of grumbling from both my husband and cat. In time, though, everyone adjusted and the other night I found Jay snuggling one side of the pillow and Yum Yum curled up on the other. My loves were cuddling me through my pregnancy pillow! Awwwww!

Mentally I’m doing as well as can be expected after all we have been through. 75% of the time I’m certain that this little babe is the one and that sometime in June or July we’ll be able to call our family complete. The other 25% of the time, though, I find myself terrified by all the what-ifs. I’m not daft – I know there are still risks. These days are hard and leave me kind of numb for a while afterwards. I think this is why I’ve not written since our last post. As soon as I feel ready to share some news, a wave of worry washes over me and I decide it is better to keep quiet.

But then I have a good day and I just want to shout our news from the rooftops! Today was one of those good days when, after my morning workout, I checked on the Chicken with our home doppler unit (a device I can use to listen to baby’s heart beat in utero – it gives me immense peace during the hard days). I hiked up my shirt, squirted some gel onto my growing belly and turned on the machine. After a little hunting I found the Chicken thumping away and started to close my eyes and relish in 30 seconds of blissful baby spying.

Evidently the Chicken was not in the mood, though, because he or she KICKED the spot where the probe was with such force that it made me jump. It was such a strong kick that I could feel it in the hand that was holding the probe! At first I thought it was a massive pregnancy fart brewing (I could write 1,000 words on pregnancy gas) so I put the probe back onto my belly to continue listening and WHAM another big kick! It was CRAZY and filled me with so much happiness and hope that I wanted to call my Mom. (But I realize I’m a 32 year-old woman and can’t be calling my Mommy at 6 a.m. all happy and gushy because “ma baybee kicked meeeee!”)

So that is a little update on progress so far. I could write more, but I’m not sure how many folks are really interested in a play-by-play of my baby baking! Instead I’ll leave you all with a belly photo, taken after our successful ultrasound! It’s really hard to believe how much more this little babe is going to grow in the next 4.5 months. Yikes!

20weeks color

1 Comment

A Different Kind of Adventure

It’s no secret this blog has been neglected for a long time. I’ve had friends and family inquire on the silence and I always respond with some kind of joke about how marriage is not very adventurous after one year.

This is a lie. Life has been adventurous, just not the kind of adventures that make for stellar blog posts. I casually mentioned my PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) in yesterday’s post as a way to stick a toe out of the proverbial closet. I did not expect this toe to prompt two readers to email about their PCOS and infertility journey.

“I couldn’t help but see your comment about PCOS and just wanted to let you know that my sister and I also have PCOS…” wrote a distant relative. This opened a long conversation about our infertility journey, and provided a rare opportunity to express our frustrations with someone other than our poor husbands.

Prior to this post I have leaked hints of my infertility on Facebook during National Infertility Awareness Week. Each time I go a little more “public” I’m find at least one email from a friend sharing her lonely and stressful journey through infertility.

The feelings relief and sadness when I learn that someone else is going through this are indescribable; I’m relieved to know I’m not alone and so very sad to know another woman is feeling the same devastation month after month.

According to, infertility affects 7.3 million people in the U.S., meaning 1 in 8 couples is struggling to conceive. Pardon my French, but holy shit this is a a lot of women. Why on earth are do we feel so alone? Probably because we are all hiding behind fake smiles and dodging inquires into when we are going to start a family.

Yesterday I hinted at the adventures of the past year; today I will lay it all out on the table. Don’t worry, I’ll leave out the gory details about cervical mucus, invasive procedures and stirrups.

Bird and Belle’s fun and quirky adventures in marriage have been overshadowed by 20 months of doctor appointments, hormonal roller coasters, invasive procedures, and ridiculously expensive injectable medications.

I wish that I could conclude that sentence with a joyful pregnancy announcement, but I can’t. As we close in on the two year mark of trying to start a family we are faced with more of the same. It’s been a long, hard journey for both of us. Especially Bird, who spends his days juggling math and trying to keep his wife from breaking down, or worse, verbally accosting the pregnant passerby.

I hope that by opening up here I can bring a little awareness about infertility to our readers. I hope to spark more positive discussions between myself and other PCOS/infertility sufferers. What I don’t want is ridicule and suggestions to adopt, nor am I looking for pity or prayers (although the prayers certainly could not hurt!).

More than anything, though, I hope to wipe away the dust that has settled on this blog and return to regular posting, because buried under all the hormones, tears and loss has been a lot of personal growth and more than a few hilarious adventures.

If you would like to talk more about our journey or PCOS, please e-mail me at SMagargee@Gmail.Com.