Healthy baby

12-week-scan

We had the nuchal translucency ultrasound scan this morning this morning and everything is looking good. We’ve found the baby has a 1 in 4000 chance of having Down syndrome, which is nice and low. It has grown from less than 1CM to over 6CM in the 5 weeks since the last scan.

We could see it move its arms and head, and we saw its heart and brain. These scans are incredible. We don’t know the gender yet, but should be able to find out in a month or so.

We’re both so pleased to be able to tell people now. 🙂

Nuchal Translucency

Tomorrow morning I will be accompanying Cheryl to UCSF hospital to have a nuchal translucency ultrasound scan.

This scan determines the thickness of a pocket of fluid currently at the base of the back of the baby’s neck, and provides enough information to determine whether the baby is likely to suffer from various different genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.

It is kind of horrible to think about that sort of thing, and I’m sure all expectant parents just want to hear good news, and to know they’re having a healthy baby.

I hope we’ll hear that news tomorrow.

1.06cm

We’ve been to the hospital and had a quick ultrasound done, as well as an additional check. Current measurements are between 1.00 and 1.09cm. That size is indicative of Cheryl being around 7 weeks pregnant.

We could see the baby’s heart beating!

We are currently back in the hospital to have another ultrasound done by a certified operator who should be able to give us more information.
Just before heading back to hospital we got news that Phil and Jacqui are 14 weeks pregnant. So difficult not to mention our news.

We’re considering how and when we should tell our immediate families. Hopefully we can tell them soon.

Baby on the brain

We’ve spent the last week thinking and talking about how life is going to be when we have a baby. Cheryl’s job is going to be an interesting thing to find out about. She’s a contractor right now, and employment law in the US is pretty shit for the employees. The best case scenario if she’d worked at the same company for a year would be 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Not exactly great.

We’re trying to figure out all the permutations that could work for us, but there are so many, and they all rely on what Cheryl’s employer will do. Thankfully we’re in a position where my salary is enough to cover all of our rent and bills. I can’t imagine how couples who live in this area can afford kids on lower salaries.

Anyway, we’ve been getting ahead of ourselves and thinking of possible names. We seem to have settled on names for both a boy and a girl, so that was easy.

We’ve both been discussing how to break the news to our families, and then to other people. It’s so difficult to have this sort of life-changing news and not be able to tell anyone about it. There seem to be 2 or 3 occasions in a day where it would make complete sense for me to bring up the fact that we’re expecting a baby, and I have to stop myself each time.

Cheryl has started taking a bunch of vitamins. We’re constantly checking the ingredients of food and second-guessing ourselves over whether it’s ok to eat certain things or not. I’ve made a lot of searches in incognito mode in my browser to avoid getting things auto-completed in front of colleagues or something like that. I’m so worried about the news accidentally leaking to someone before I’ve told anyone.

We have an appointment at the hospital on Monday, and I just want the weekend to be over so we can go there and get some concrete information and form a solid plan.

Nice Drive

Last week I was working a 17:00-23:00 shift at work to support the launch of Amazon Music Unlimited. I decided that I would spend the day driving to somewhere instead of sitting on the sofa playing on the Playstation.

I looked for places on Google Maps that were within 2 or 3 hours, so I’d have time to get there, eat, and come back for work. I ended up settling on a little town called Nice. I don’t know if they pronounce it the same as the city in France, or the adjective nice.

I got there without any issues, took some pictures, and then had some lunch from a supermarket on the edge of town. As soon as lunch was over I set Waze to head for home. It said I’d arrive just after 15:00.

Clear Lake, CA

I got about 10 miles along state route 175, a twisty mountain road with a large drop on one side, when I noticed I could smell brake dust. I slowed down, testing my brakes, and the smell got stronger. I rounded a corner and saw cones in the middle of the road. I slowed down more and when I rounded the next corner I saw a line of traffic with an ambulance and police cars ahead. A police officer was in the road, stopping traffic.

SR175 Closed

After about 10 minutes he came over and said the road would be closed for quite a while, and that we should turn around to find a different route.

I turned the car around and started driving back the way I’d come. About a quarter of the way back to where I started I turned one of the twisty turns and was faced with an oncoming truck straddling both sides of the road. I slammed on the brakes, sending everything in the car flying forwards. I saw the guy quickly snap his head back to the front and swerve onto his own side of the road just in time to avoid a collision.

My heart was racing after that. I started thinking how stupid it was that I just hit the brakes, but then I started thinking about how things would have turned out if I’d tried to swerve around him. Moving a couple of feet to the right would mean sending the car off a cliff, just like you see in action films, although hopefully without an explosion.

I’m pretty sure that’s the closest I have ever been to dying.

The detour added an extra couple of hours to the drive, and I ended up heading directly to the office, where I stayed from 17:15 until 07:00 the next day.

Quite an eventful day.

Cheryl’s pregnant

Pregnant 3+

I was sitting on the sofa playing Rocket League when I heard Cheryl shout “OH MY GOD!” from the bathroom.

I quit the game, went over to the bathroom, and Cheryl said “it says I’m pregnant!” Then she said “Oh wait…” Then she said “yes, it says I’m pregnant.” I took the pregnancy test from her because I wanted to see it. Cheryl’s pregnant. I picked up the leaflet that comes with the test and it says the pregnant or not pregnant report is more than 99% accurate by this point. Cheryl’s pregnant. Almost definitely pregnant.

Cheryl began crying, not because she’s upset, but because she’s scared. I hugged her. I backed away not knowing what to say or do, then I hugged her again.

We plated up dinner from the oven and sat down to watch Independence Day Resurrection. We got just over 13 minutes through before giving up on both eating and watching a film.

I grabbed my laptop, logged into the VPN, and went to my medical insurance portal to look up a doctor.

Right now we’re just planning to use the other two pregnancy tests to confirm things tomorrow, and book an appointment with a doctor nearby at UCSF.

We spent time working out that the baby is probably due around mid-June.

Our lives are about to change drastically.

Life

I’m updating because I’m in a house in which I don’t live, and the only other occupant is a child called Bjorn.

I’m literally responsible for this person right now. It’s not difficult because he’s asleep.

I don’t think I have ever been fully responsible for another person before in my entire life. Bjorn’s parents are heading to the hospital to give birth to Bjorn’s sibling. We met, briefly, in the hallway outside. I felt the edges of their focus on the situation at hand. Everything else must seem significantly less important in this situation.

That whole circumstance got new thinking about life, and the unusual situations you may find yourself in.

Right now, Bjorn is hopefully asleep, and probably dreaming about inconsequential things that he won’t remember tomorrow, or ever think about again. Meanwhile, I am on the sofa in the next room considering the entirety of existence simply because I’m on the fringes of the experience.

It’s a fascinating part of life that I have thus far been completely inexperienced in, excluding my own birth, and possibly a small presence after the birth of my sister.

I find myself just hoping that everything goes well, and wanting to take part in whatever activity can help the process go smoothly.

I look forward to hearing how well everything went and welcoming a new human being into this world as soon as possible. 🙂

Promotion and relocation news

Today I got an email from my potential new manager in San Francisco. He told me that a better relocation package has been officially offered to me. It basically replaces my original relocation offer, which was just a lump sum. I would have needed to move myself to San Francisco, including buying flights, find somewhere to rent, etc. All of that (and more) should now be taken care of as part of my move.

I also got confirmation that my promotion is now officially going ahead in October. It’s taken two attempts and a significant amount of effort to get to this point, so to say I am happy right now is a massive understatement. Achieving a promotion at a company like Amazon is not something I thought I was capable of at many times over my life. To do so now has really made me feel proud of myself. It’s not something I feel comfortable saying, but in this case it’s just true. I feel like I’ve done well. 🙂

In a couple of weeks Cheryl and I will be having our wedding in Nottingham. We’ll be surrounded by our family and friends, and everything just seems to be going so well right now. I keep expecting something to go wrong at any moment, and every time it gets better I’m flabbergasted.

Weddings and promotions and relocations. Oh my!

In May Cheryl and I got married (again) in Singapore. Cheryl’s family wanted a pretty big wedding that they could invite their family members, friends, and business associates to.

A surprisingly large number of our friends from the UK came over to Singapore to celebrate there. It was a lot of fun.

We got to stay in the Marina Bay Sands hotel. I booked us a suite on the 50th floor that came with a butler, a pool table, and many other nice little touches.

We’ll be having another wedding in a month, but this one will be in Nottingham so that more of my family can attend. We’re hiring out the University of Nottingham venue, and it seems like a nice place.

I’ve also been put up for a promotion here at Amazon. I’m hopeful that it’ll actually go through this time, and also hopeful that I’ll get to work on some bigger projects fairly soon.

There’s a good chance I’ll be working on bigger projects because I recently applied and got offered a job as a developer in San Francisco!

If everything works out correctly then Cheryl and I may actually move over there before the end of the year! 😀

It’s been a busy year so far, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down!

Sledging in the Alps

I’m writing this post on my phone cruising at 38000ft (~12km) on a late EasyJet flight from Munich to London.

Cheryl and I just spent 10 days visiting Simon (ps) at his apartment there.

It snowed for the first week we were there, but cleared up a bit towards the end of our stay.

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We visited museums, ate and drank Bavarian things, went to a variety performance conducted in German, went bouldering, celebrated New Year, and even went sledging in the Alps.

I’ve never done any winter sports outside of ice skating, but I really wanted to go up the mountain.

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It was a very fun experience. You go surprisingly fast and have fairly rudimentary control over your direction of travel.

On my second time down the mountain I was feeling a bit more daring since I hadn’t fallen off the first time.

I went around some corners on one sledge rail, barely stopped before the edge of the trail, walked up hills to give myself longer stretches at higher speeds, landed knee deep in snow beside the trail, and other such exhilarating things.

After a while I got to a really fast bit that I remembered from the first run. Rather than brake I put my feet on the rails and ducked down like I see bobsleigh teams do (mostly in Cool Runnings).

I went really fast, and then began losing control. The sledge went over onto one rail and then tipped me onto the floor, still going really fast.

I skidded along beside the sledge for a few seconds and ended up on my back, feet further up the hill than my head with my arm resting on the sledge. No pain, no worries.

I was smiling so much because it didn’t hurt or anything. It was just completely different from my normal life.

I just stayed on the floor looking up at the sky. There was a thin layer of wispy white clouds on the blue sky background. I gradually stopped breathing so hard and just listened. I couldn’t hear a single sound apart from the wind.

I stayed like that for a minute until I heard a plane. I spotted it flying overhead, the only other sign of humans.

Simon caught up a couple of minutes later and he was laughing at me on the floor before he checked if I was ok. 🙂

It was an incredible experience that I hope I never forget.