Welcome to In the Mind of the Man blog. Here I will try to keep a sort of running diary of my thoughts and experiences about raising a child from a male's point of view. After hearing countless people tell me that her childhood will be over in a Blink of an Eye, I decided to take time to stop and reflect on the day to day mundane activities my daughter and I share. I hope you enjoy reading and sharing in my journey, but most of all I hope my daughter and I enjoy looking back at this blog 20+ years from now and laughing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Things That You're Forced To Do When Your Wife's Pregnant

"Matt, I need to do this!  I'll go without you, I'm just saying, I need to do this before the baby comes."

This was the tough predicament I was put into last month when my pregnant wife demanded we go on one last vacation to someplace warm before the baby comes. 

I know what most of you are thinking.  You're thinking, 'Man, Matt!  You really have it rough.'

Well, I appreciate it, but don't worry about me. I can handle it as it comes. 

As only a good husband would, I got on the Internet right away and started searching for, "someplace warm," to take my unreasonable wife.  

After a painstakingly long search of sold out or overpriced islands, we found a deal in Aruba. We had already been to the island once before, but that made it even more intriguing. We wouldn't feel the need to do any site seeing. Just sit on the beach and soak up the sun for a few days. 

So now here we are.  The sandy beaches of Aruba. So sandy that my pants have already gotten... well, sandy. The blue waters of the Caribbean. So blue that I can't tell where the sea ends and sky begins.  The warm island sun.  So warm that I have already had to move out of it because it's too hot.   

Please don't feel too bad for me, though.  I was fully aware that this was part of the trials and tribulations when I signed up to start a family with Heather. 

We've only been on the island for about 18 hours and Heather has already said on numerous occasions how overwhelmingly happy she is right now. 
As I sit here typing this post, staring out into the clear blue ocean, I am reminded that this is what it's all about. Sacrificing for the ones you love.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's a...Girl!

We just had our 20-week anatomy scan and everything checked out normal.  The ultrasound technician immediately informed us that she would be taking the photographs, but that the doctor would be in to give us the analysis.  She calmly, and without emotion, perused the inside of Heather’s belly identifying the body parts one by one. 
“One arm… There’s the other...”  

Heather and I are smiling at the screen, at each other, back at the screen.

“Eye lids...

“Does everything look normal?” I asked.
“The doctor will be in to tell you that!” 
Oh, sorry.  

“There’s a foot… here’s the other...
“It’s a girl.”

Wait, hold it… It’s a girl?

And just like that, as if she was just reading us the daily special at a run-of-the-mill diner, she announced that we were having a daughter. 
It didn’t matter, though, the tone of the announcement.  I looked at Heather and I could see the happiness gleaming out of her.

A GIRL!  Heather cried softly in joy.

And so there it is.  I am soon to be the proud father of a baby girl. 

Below are some pictures from the ultrasound. 
The last one might be a bit X-rated… Just saying.

                              Here is a profile of the little girl.

                            Her two feet.  So cute!

                          My Little Girl is not shy.  I'm not sure how I feel about that right now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Three Months Down - Seven to Go

We went for our ever-so important Nuchal Translucency (NT) Scan today.  Basically it is an ultrasound where they look at the fluid under the skin in the back of the baby’s neck.  This will assess the likelihood of the baby having Down’s Syndrome.  This test is done soon after 12 weeks.  They won’t be able to tell us for sure either way, just a percentage as to the chances of it developing Down’s.  The nurse told us that they would be concerned if it was over 2.5 mm, and that normal is around 1mm – 1.5mm. 

We got to the hospital right on time and had to wait for only 15 minutes, but don’t tell that to Heather’s bladder!  I can’t say I can completely relate to Heather’s experience.  I mean I don’t think I’ve ever had to drink a gallon of water and then have somebody poke and push on my stomach for 40+ minutes.  It must have felt awful!  But I was in such awe with our little guy dancing on the computer screen that, in my mind, it seemed to justify Heather’s discomfort.   And since this blog is named after my mind…  Well, sorry Heather, but because the little guy wouldn’t give us a perfect profile picture (what is needed to take the NT measurements) we were able to look at him/her for about 40 minutes. 

In that 40 minutes, we saw our unborn child turn, flip, wave, turn some more, and touch its head.  To see the our little guy move his hand like that and to its head had to be one of the cutest things I’ve seen.  Ok, I admit, that sounds cliché, but up until this touch of the head it has been a number, a percentage, a heartbeat, an ultrasound, a fetus, a “Teddy Bear.”  Now it was making human movements.  This really might have been the cutest thing I have ever seen. 

After a while the stubborn little guy gave the nurse a profile picture (see below) and allowed her to take a measurement of the fluid.  It measured at 1.01mm.  We are at 12 weeks 2 days.  We still have to hold our breaths for the next 8 weeks until the 20 week scan to see if everything is progressing as it should, but as of now everything is normal once again.

ps.  If you're reading this blog already, you obviously know already.  But we are starting our 2nd trimester, so please feel free to tell any friends or family of our pregnancy... if you want to.

Pps. Follow me on Twitter.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Follow ITMOTM on Twitter!

Okay 21st century people, it's time to step it up and follow me on Twitter.
Whether you like it or not, Twitter is here to stay and it is a great way to keep connected - especially to this blog.
If this seems appealing to you, here are a few ways to follow ITMOTM (InTheMindOfTheMan) on Twitter:

1. If you already have an account just sign in and follow @TheMindOfTheMan
2. If you don't have an account click on the Follow me on Twitter link on the left side of this page.  Sign up for an account and search for TheMindOfTheMan and follow.
2a. If you are still confused on how to sign up for a Twitter account, click on this LINK and it will walk you through the steps to sign up for an account.

Friday, October 22, 2010


We decided to rent a Doppler to hear the baby’s heartbeat.  I had heard mixed feelings about looking for the heartbeat, especially so soon. When I told my mother we were renting a Doppler she told me, on more than one occasion, that she didn’t like the idea.  “Keep faith!”  She said to us.  “You don’t need to stress yourself out with that.”  I will keep faith, but being the anxiety prone person that I am, I couldn’t wait to hear our child’s heartbeat to make sure everything was working fine.  Sure, when other people don’t hear it right away they may freak out, but that wouldn’t happen to me…

So when the Doppler came in the mail yesterday, I was excited to try it right away.  We had an appointment with Heather’s OBGYN later in the afternoon and I planned on asking her to help us learn how to use it so we didn’t have one of those episodes of freaking out that I had read about.

However, as I was reaching into my backpack to take the Doppler out and ask if she could show us the baby’s heartbeat she said, “And then there are those people who want to find the heartbeat around this time.  It’s just too soon!  But, they’re a little bit crazy, you know.”  I slowly dropped the device back into my bag and made believe I was pulling out some chap stick.  “Air is dry right now.  My lips are smarting.”

We went home feeling a little bit disappointed that we hadn’t received any data from her.  As soon as we walked in the door, though, I made preparations to gather our own data. 

Directions read. Aquasonic Ultrasound Gel on the face of the probe.  Place probe on Heather’s stomach.  Hopeful smiles on both our faces…

and nothing.  

Ok.  No big deal.  Got to search for the beat.  Wait… What’s that?  I think it is… It’s a heartbeat!  But something’s wrong.  The display is only saying the heart rate is at 70.  It is supposed to be between 120 – 180 beats per minute.  So why was our baby’s heart only beating 70 beats per minute? 

Of course, now I am freaking out.  If we didn’t find a heartbeat at all, I could assume it is just too small to hear right now, as everyone told me.  But we did hear a heart and it was slow. 

With a little help from my wife, and my good friend Eric, who is going through this process with his wife 12 weeks ahead of us, I was able to calm down and assume that what we heard was the blood flowing through Heather’s arteries.  I was content to just wait until our next doctor’s visit.

But then today came.  “Let’s give it one more try,” I said to Heather. 
“Really?  Not again.  It’s not big enough yet.”
“Come on…” I pleaded.

Within a few minutes we picked up a sound much faster than the heartbeat we heard last night.  We had found it!  Eureka!  Our little guy (or girl, as Heather corrects me) is doing well and working hard to grow.   

I recorded what we heard and made it available for you to hear, too.  I’ve created another page linked to this website where I will place all the recorded heartbeats.  I will try to keep this page updated each week with new ones.  

If you want to hear it yourself, click on the link and then download the attachment on the new page.  You will have to have Windows Media on your computer to play it.  So sorry iPads and iPhones!  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In Search of the Perfect Chicken Parmesan

One thing they never they never told us about being pregnant is that figuring out what to eat and how to eat together will be a tedious, if not a stressful, decision making process. 

The last couple of days we have had nothing in the house to make for dinner.  Going out to dinner is not something Heather is up for.  She works hard all day and when she gets home she wants to stay in and enjoy the comfort of the house.  Which leads us to ordering dinner in.  One of the great things about living in the city is that there are so many good restaurants that will deliver right to our door. 

“Hey, maybe we could order from Anthony’s!  Think they have Chicken Parm?”  Heather says with enthusiasm.

We go to the computer and type in www.anthonysbrooklyn.com.  Anthony’s has some of the best pizza that we’ve found in Brooklyn, so the thought was that the rest of their menu would follow suit.  So we perused the menu I hopes of finding some resemblance of Chicken Parmesan. 

“What’s Chicken Pizzaiola?”
“Let’s look it up!”  I say.
“No, that’s not what I’m looking for.”  Heather is still in shock that this Italian eatery does not have the Parmigiano!

“Hey what about La Villa.” I say, with the hope of having a dinner together still alive.
“No, I’m done with that place.”
“What do you mean done!  We always love it there.” 
“I don’t know, just not what I’m in the mood for.”

So we start combing through the Internet and take out the stack of delivery menus that we have saved in our kitchen until finally… Heather gives up. 

Great! It’s very rare lately that we have dinner together due to the fact that either our appetites don’t match up or we’re not on the same hunger schedule.  Tonight seemed so promising.  She brought the idea of food before I did!  She had a place in mind!  And now it’s gone.  She’s walked away.  Turning her head to say on her way up the stairs to take a shower, “Just get what ever you want.  I’ll have cereal or something.” 

This is our life right now.  With the baby growing fast inside her, Heather’s appetite is like a teenager who got the keys to the car for the first time.  Going around curves at high speeds.   Taking all of its concentration to hold the wheel tightly in order to avoid swerving into the opposite lane.  Going too slow on the highway and too fast on the back roads.  But I have to say; my wife is handling it well.  Like that driving instructor who calmly corrects without making the teenager even more nervous, Heather hits the passenger side break when needed and takes control of her appetite once again. 

I guess in the first trimester of pregnancy there are not many opportunities for nice romantic dinners.   Hopefully things change in the following trimesters, because one thing people have told us is that having a romantic dinner after the trimesters come to an end is few and far between. 

To add a happy ending to this story, as Heath was in the shower I found a place that had Chicken Parm.  “Hey Heath, what about Mulino?  You know the place we went to with my parents?”  No objection.  The meal was ordered and delivered and as we sat together at the dinner table eating our Chicken Parmesans with candlelight between us, we both agreed that this was a delicious meal.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Our Little Teddy Bear

So we got to see our little Teddy Bear tonight.  Looking and sounding healthy at exactly 9 weeks old.   The doctor was very pleased with what he saw and said it was at the “Teddy Bear” stage, where the fetus looks like a … yup, a teddy bear.  I don’t know if that is an official term or his own, but none-the-less, it was a cute description that I will gladly steal from him.   

I will post more tomorrow, but for now here are the facts and pictures below. 

Age – 9 Weeks 0 Days
Length – 2.48 cm  (pretty darn close to 1 full inch) 
Heart Rate – 175 beats per minute

Here you can see the brain and the arms.  Looking like, as the Dr. called, a Teddy Bear.

This scan shows the heart rate at the bottom right.

This scan shows the gestational age (GA) and the crown to rump length (CRL) at the bottom right.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It’s Extraordinary! Everything’s Normal!


1.  conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.

2.  the average or mean:

A word that would otherwise not be too impressive of an adjective, I will gladly, and whole-heartedly, accept now and for the next 7 months.

Here are some other words I would not mind hearing the doctor say about our baby:
average, common, commonplace, ordinary, regular, routine, run-of-the-mill, standard, typical, or usual

So we heard the baby’s heartbeat.  He / She’s working hard in there to grow and be healthy.  And Heather is doing everything right on the outside. 

We found out we are actually 6 weeks and 6 days pregnant today.  We thought we were 7 weeks 4 days… but what do we know! 

Anyway, baby is 9.4 mm long and has a heart rate of 146 beats per minute.  I’m not sure what this all means exactly, only that it is… NORMAL.

Here are some pics of the little one. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gender Confusion

When we first found out Heather was pregnant, I downloaded like ten different apps for the iPhone that allowed us to follow along with the pregnancy.  I use them everyday and they are very informative… sometimes too informative…  One of the apps is called My Baby Lite (because I’m too cheap to buy the full version.)
Anyway, two weeks ago I found that this app has a Gender button.   I pressed it and up came the Gender Calendar based on the Chinese Gender Table.  I followed it across until I got to the month of conception and then down until I got to Heather’s age.  It said G, for girl (obviously).  I accepted this as being what it was and thought, Well, I have a gut feeling that it will be a girl.  So this goes along with that feeling
I assumed the title of Chinese Gender Table was an official one so I didn’t question its authority.  That is not to say I believed it 100%, just that I thought there was only one calendar the Chinese use to predict the gender of their little ones. 
However, the other day I went online at home to show Heather the results on our computer.  I typed in, “Chinese Gender Table” into a Google search.  Clicked on the first site that showed up, and low and behold, it said B, (for boy, obviously).   In turn, this made me very excited… Heather… not so much. 
We sat with that for a night or two, but I woke up this morning thinking, If there were two different predictions from two different websites, then there must be other websites that predict, as well.
So I did a little research.  I found 10 different websites that claimed to be over 90% accurate when it comes to predicting the gender of an unborn.  Well, someone has to be lying, because the results were pretty mixed. 
Of the 10 sites, six of them predicted we would be having a Boy.  Hooray!!! 
Four of the sites predicted that we would be having a Girl.  (from behind me, Heather yells…  Hooray!!!)

Moral of the story… we just have to wait.  There are no short cuts to determining the gender of our child.  We just have to wait until the doctor tells us. 

But I’m so impatient!

I have the results here listed with a link to their websites for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sympathy Symptoms

Am I a bad person because I am wishing illness on my wife?  I feel like I am performing Voodoo on Heather.  In my countless texts to her during the day of, “How do you feel?” or, “Feel sick?”  I sit there and hope for the response of, “Yes, Matt.  I am totally sick.  Hanging over the toilet right now!”
I keep reading all these websites about what the female is going through RIGHT NOW in her pregnancy.  Then I look over at Heather and she is completely fine.  Friends and relatives that have gone through this process say that she is a “lucky one” and “enjoy it while it lasts.”  But all I think about is, Is there still a baby in there?    I know, I’m probably a borderline hypochondriac, or maybe I have crossed over the border, but I just want to know everything is all right. 
            What has happened instead is that I have looked up so many symptoms that Heather should be having, I am starting to feel them myself.  Heather told me I was having Sympathy Symptoms.  I’m getting tired easily.  I go to the bathroom often.  My back hurts.  I crave odd foods.  I feel ill!
Hell, I’m the one who’s pregnant!
And I immediately think of that Cosby episode.  You know, the one where Cosby and his son and his two son-in-laws are pregnant?  Maybe a volcano has erupted some place and the spores got into my water.  (That’s what enabled Cliff to get pregnant in his dream.) 
But once again, it comes down to being strong and having faith that everything is going to work out.   I have to believe that every woman is different.  And just because Heather is not matching all the descriptions on WhatToExpect.com it’s all going according to plan.

“Heather, how do you feel?”
“Nauseous and tired.”
Hooray!!!  Just what I wanted to hear. 
Now how do I get rid of my Sympathy Symptoms?

In case you’re interested, I’ve included a link to the Cosby episode in reference.  It’s called, The Day the Spores Landed, and it’s a classic!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One More Thing the iPhone Can Do

It has now been 6 full weeks since Heather has been pregnant and the baby is still there.  This may seem like a strange thing to notate, but anyone who has gone through pregnancy before knows that at this early stage it is a good day if nothing really happens. 
It seems as though every time we get over one hurdle, there is another one just waiting for us to leap over.  Two weeks ago we got the news that we had been waiting on for over a year.  But once you get that news, it only opens up a thousand doors of worry.  At least that is how I am. 
My good friend, Eric, told me that I needed to be the strong one.  The husband needs to be the steadyheaded one reassuring everything will work out.  Heather is going through enough emotional and physical changes that she needs to be next to someone confident who won’t cause her anymore worry than she needs. 
            That makes sense to me and is easy to say… if you’re a normal person.  However, my father was kind enough to pass on to me at my birth his gene of Complete and Udder Worrywart.  Therefore, there has really been nothing in my life that I have gone through without the act of worrying about it. 
            So about a week after we got proof that Heather was indeed pregnant, we flew to Seattle for a friend's wedding.  Very shortly after our six hour flight we were in our hotel bathroom when she noticed that she started to spot light pink blood after going to the bathroom.  Great!  We lost the baby.  I knew we shouldn’t have flown in the first trimester.  Without another thought I immediately picked up my iPhone and started looking up anything I could on the subject.
            Bleeding during pregnancy, Spotting while pregnant, Blood after going to the bathroom while pregnant… were just a few of the search words I quickly typed into a Google search. 
“Heath… is it a lot of blood?”
“No, just a little.”
“Ok, good.  Cuz it says here that as long as it’s not “a lot” of blood… then we should be fine.” 
            Three hours later when there was blood again, the same fears came right back.  It was like we had never even read the first article.
                “Heath… is it bright red?” 
“No, just pink.”
“Ok, good.  Cuz it says here that as long as it’s not “bright” red... then we should be fine.” 
A few hours later I was looking at a different article with panic, once again, setting in. 
“Heath…, do you have any sharp pains?”
“Ok, good.  Cuz it says here that as long as the bleeding is not accompanied by “sharp, shooting” pains... then we should be fine. 
So there it is... one more thing the iPhone can do.  I, of all people, hate to give unsolicited advertisement to any product, but I have to believe that if it wasn’t for this devise I wouldn’t have been able to follow Eric’s advise and act like the strong one, reassuring my wife that everything is going to be just fine.  Without it, there is no telling what my panic could have done to us.  To Heather.  To our baby. 
When we returned to New York, we had a scheduled ultrasound at our doctor’s office.  Everything turned out to be fine.  The baby is right where it should be and at normal size.  The doctor also confirmed that spotting was common in pregnancy, and that some women could spot for the entire pregnancy.  Great!
            We left the doctor’s office feeling relieved.  A clean bill of health for our unborn child and we scheduled another appointment for two weeks to hear the heartbeat. 
            Another hurdle has been leaped.  Another crisis understood.  I feel good… but what if there’s no heartbeat in two weeks? 
            Stay strong my man, I say to myself. 
            I can do that.  Everything’s gonna be fine… as long as I have my iPhone with me.

How We Got Here

    Sure, it sounds so sweet, man and woman meet, they fall in love, they get married, they have a family, they live happily ever after...
Wish it were that easy.

    My wife and I fell in love and got married thinking our natural next step was to start a family. We decided to start trying two months before the wedding (sorry Mom and Dad). But the fact that it didn't happen right away was not the worst thing in the world, because, to paraphrase Heather (my wife), she wanted to fit in to her wedding dress. As we went through the year, however, it became tougher and tougher each month when Heather got her period. (It is probably a good time to mention that Heather was 36 when we first started trying, and while you can read all sorts of literature that says having a baby under 40 is no big deal, try to telling that to a woman who, on her 37th birthday, had 7 months of unsuccessful attempts at getting pregnant.) We had 6 more months of missing the target when we finally decided to seek help.
    The first step they had us do was intrauterine insemination (IUI). Heather, who before this whole process started was deathly afraid of needles, had to inject herself with a shot of hormones in her stomach each night, for ten nights. Then we would go in for the insemination. That's when I was finally on stage. I spent 32 years of deluding the world that I was the only male who did not please himself and now here I am being told to masturbate into a cup in the next room while everybody waits for me to finish. "Do you need another magazine?" NO! I need to be alone. So, I performed my dirty business at home and then brought it into the office. This also stressed me out because we live in Brooklyn and taking my boys to the clinic in mid-town Manhattan was not a quick transfer. It would take at least 45 minutes by subway, even longer in the car with traffic and finding a parking spot. As I sat on the train I often wondered how people would react if they ever found out what I was carrying in my backpack, then again, you can never be too sure what anyone is carrying in their backpack on a NYC subway car... so all is fair game.
    I was able to get my boys to the clinic on time, being reassured by the embryologists that they can live for over 3 hours in room temperature. So alas... my one and only part to this process was done. My boys were hyper-activated and then placed inside my wife. Now it was a waiting game.
    I would look up every symptom of pregnancy in the book and swear that Heather had them. But, to our dismay, it didn't work and Heather got her period.
    We tried again. Same ten days of shots for Heather, same trekking through the underground of New York City with my own secretion for me, same every symptom matching that of a pregnant woman, but ... same result.
    Third times a charm?

    Not for us.

    We were finally ready to move on to In Vitro Fertilization Pre-Emryo Transfer (IVF-ET or just IVF). This is more intense for the woman, but the same deal for the man. Heather now had to give herself three shots in the stomach, two in the morning and one at night. And when the time came for the egg retrieval they had to give her anesthesia to knock her out.
    I did my part as previously mentioned and they were able to fertilize 4 eggs, of which 3 were healthy enough to be planted inside of her during the transfer, 4 days later.  But it was hardly just a waiting game. At this point I needed to inject progesterone oil into Heather’s backside using an inch and a half needle. Now, I’m no push over, I can watch movies with blood and guts with the best of them, but when it comes to actually doing the injection, it made me a little nervous.
    My nervousness did not seem to have a calming affect on Heather, because she was scared that she did not have control over the needle going in her anymore. Remember, this is a woman who would have rather come down with Tuberculosis than have the TB shot (not really true, but close.)
    However, when all was said and done, I did a fantastic job at playing Doctor and Heather had no complaints about me stabbing her each night. Unfortunately, as the days went by, she did start bruising, which is the one time, however, you can bruise your wife and not actually commit any crime.
    After 13 days of this routine, it was time for Heather to go in for a blood test. Leading up to this day there was a lot of anxiety. Heather “knew for sure” that it did not work. She felt the same symptoms she would normally feel before her period. I would look up everything she said she felt online to prove to here that it had worked and tried to stay positive, but on the eve of the blood test, I too was convinced that it did not work.
    Heather went for the blood test that morning and would receive a call in regards to the outcome. They were testing her human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) level. If you are pregnant at all you should have a level of 5 or higher. If it is a healthy pregnancy they would expect the level to be higher than 80.
    Heather called me at work around 12:30 that day.
    “Did you find out?”
    “No, can you come down and see me for a second? I just want to talk to you before we find out.”
    I had no clue what this was about, but about a million thoughts raced through my head as I took the 2 minute stroll outside to the parking lot. I sat down.
    “My number’s 198.”
    “We’re pregnant!” she said as she started to laugh and cry at the same time.
    I, being in complete disbelief, said, “But you said they hadn’t called yet. And you wanted to talk to me before they called.”
    “I know. I lied.”

    It didn’t matter. All the success stories we had heard about IVF came true for us and now we finally had what we had been waiting for.

    We finally had one that stuck!