Ramblings

Tammy did not get that job that would have required us to move, after three rounds of interviews. On one hand, I’m incredibly relieved that moving is no longer on the table (for now), especially because my parents are closing on a house in our neighborhood on Friday. On the other hand, I had worked myself around to a place where I could view moving as an adventure and an opportunity for us, and a chance for me to stay at home with the baby in January.

Tammy’s getting more and more excited about having a baby. As she puts it “my excitement is directly proportional to the size of your belly”. Even I can’t deny that I have a distinct bump that can only mean one thing. Random people have been more comfortable coming right out and asking me if I am pregnant, which is oddly discomforting. Saying yes feels almost…embarrassing, like I’ve been caught with my hand in the cookie jar. Or like a teenager caught smoking or something.The flip side to this embarrassment is that I’ve become much more comfortable talking about the work it took for us to get pregnant. I drop IVF and frozen embryos into discussions of pregnancy and siblings like it’s no big deal at all. Look at me, normalizing IF and shit.

Speaking of normalizing, I’ve been working on acting like a normal pregnant lady who’s relatively assured of a baby at the end of this process. Tammy’s been painting the baby room, and we’re planning what furniture to buy. I’ve been researching day care options (OMFG expensive). I’m planning meals to make and freeze for the early days after the baby’s born and I even made my first one: tomato soup from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made the recipe a few times before, but this was my first time making it with fresh tomatoes from my mom’s garden. I did the whole blanch and shock thing to get the skins off easily, which worked like a charm. The fresh tomatoes (as opposed to canned) made the soup taste much more…tomato-y, if you know what I mean. Not a bad thing, just an observation.

I’m planning to make a few more soups (potato, broccoli cheese) and casserole type things (lasagna (don’t have a link to the vegan recipe I use), chicken pot pie (again, don’t have a link but it’s from here, which I highly, highly recommend). Any other suggestions, especially healthy suggestions (note my decidedly unhealthy options above) for freezer meals? Keep in mind that I’m vegetarian and Tammy’s vegan, but I’m pretty good at veganizing recipes (i.e. subbing veggies stock for chicken stock, faux meet for real meet, almond/soy/rice/etc milk for cow’s milk, etc).

I have a few posts rattling around in my brain but the biggest one is about religion and faith*. So, obviously a very light post that is a breeze to write. Another one is my struggle to be sensitive to people trying so hard to get pregnant while celebrating my own pregnancy. So, also quite fun and light. Slightly less heavy is the post on the second parent adoption proceedings that Tammy will go through after the baby is born.

Happy Fall, everybody.

*Working title: “On Why I Burst Into Tears When Discussing God and Death, or Spiritual Malaise”

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Childhood Neurosis

I’ve been thinking a lot about what our future kid is going to be like. What will their interests be, their personality, their likes, their dislikes?

And beyond that, what things will they inherit from me, good or bad?

*********

I was kind of definitely a weird kid. I was anxious, even then, and lived almost entirely in a world populated by my imagination.

My mom and I had a good laugh about it recently when Tammy and I went to visit them. My parents are cleaning out their basement and they came across a lot of stuff from my childhood, including artwork, school pictures, and books. A lot of these things brought up memories.

Weirdo Kid Memories:
1) My sister and I each had a special “comfort item” that we slept with. Hers was a doll, and mine was a bear. We used to play together at night when we were supposed to be sleeping. We would pretend we were new moms, and we had just given birth (not that we had the slightest concept of how that process would work) to our doll and our bear.

The only weird thing about my sister’s doll was that it was bald.  Because she had thrown up on it so many times as a child, my parents had pulled the wig off it, basically saying, “fuck this”.

Anyway, we would play this game where we introduced our new kids to each other. Here’s how that conversation would go:

Sister: Sarah, come meet my new baby! She’s beautiful! Only problem is…she’s bald.

Me: Sister, come meet MY new baby! He’s beautiful! Only problem is…he’s a bear.

And then we’d play the game again.

2) I freaking LOVED the Little House on the Prairie series. The books, not the show. Don’t speak to me about that abomination.

Little House on the Prairie

(I also loved the spinoff books about Rose (Laura’s daughter) and Caroline (Laura’s mother.)

I went through a period when I was about 8 where I longed to live in “olden times”. I would steal one of my mom’s work skirts (calf length on her, beyond floor length on me), put on the prairie boots that were inexplicably in style at the time (and that I had successfully convinced my parents to buy for me) and run around the backyard pretending I was saving the crops from a looming tornado. Or frost. Or something. I also wore those clothes while making forts in the living room, and then knocking them down when the tornado came.

3) I had a dress when I was around the same age that I LOVED. Actually, I loved dresses my whole childhood and my mom had to FORCE me to wear pants when it was cold outside. I know. Worst lesbian ever. Anyway, this dress was old-fashioned, with a sash and smocking along the top. It was kind of maroon colored.

When I was in elementary school, we took a field trip to some local caves. Upon learning this, I instantly knew I would wear my dress because being in the cave would be ALMOST like being in olden times (no telephone wires, no cars, etc to ruin the illusion), and my dress would make things more authentic. I also had these stickers that were little paw prints of animals.

animal paw prints

Before leaving for the field trip, I accessorized my dress by sticking many of these stickers on my dress, reasoning that girls in olden times obviously had wild animals as friends. Perhaps people would even think these stickers were real animal prints and know me to be fabulously cool. I was so excited.

Of course, as soon as kids saw me they made fun of me. They said my clothes were dirty and ugly and that my mama should “wash me better”. While we were in the cave, I peeled off those stickers, but held on to them. That night in bed, I stuck them on my headboard. The see-through backing of the sticker showed the maroon fuzz that came off my dress. For as long as I had that bed, every time I saw the stickers I felt those kids mocking me, and was ashamed and embarrassed all over again.

Anxious Memories:
1) I had an immense fear of my parents death, and “what would become of me” (I picked up that phrasing from books). I worried constantly that they weren’t taking their vitamins. For a long time I thought it was normal for kids to worry about their parents dying, but I have since been informed this is not actually the case. My parents had to talk to me over and over about which aunt my sister and I would live with if they died. Far from reassuring me, for some reason this made my fear worse.

2) I also had a huge fear of fire. The area my parents live in often has droughts during the summer months, and sometimes the town will tell people not to water their lawns to conserve water. Combine this with learning about Smokey the Bear (and how one unattended campfire can cause a forest fire) and I was convinced our (brick) house was going to burn down every day.

Smokey the Bear(I took this sign a little too seriously)

To combat this, I ignored the town’s injunction over watering the lawn (rule bender, even then) and watered the…house. Yes, I would go outside and water our brick house during the summer. To keep it from burning down. No need to thank me, Mom and Dad. I’m here to help.

What kind of funny/weird/sad things do you remember about yourself from childhood? Do you think these memories influence who you are as an adult?

Dream Company Anxiety

I’ve been all out of sorts this morning. Irritable and jumpy and tears lurking close to the surface. At first I thought it was because we stayed up too late watching Orange is the New Black (NSFWish), and I was just tired. And then I thought it was because I was waxing philosophical in my mind about my former life of drugs, sex & rock ‘n roll (“It was actually kind of glamorous in a way….JESUS, Sarah. It was HELL. Please take the idiot stick out of your ass and remember how brittle and cruel you life was back then”). Orange is the New Black has really gotten to me, apparently.

And THEN I realized it has to do with Tammy and her job situation. Tammy is extremely talented at what she does, and is highly sought after. The job she currently has is prestigious, and she’s being head-hunted by other, even more prestigious companies. About 6 weeks ago, she heard from her Dream Company. They had seen her resume and wanted to interview her. So she had an interview and then never heard back. We had kind of assumed that was it, and (I at least) more or less wrote them off.

Until last night, when Tammy got an email saying they would like to move forward with a second interview (this company apparently has many, many interview rounds).

If Tammy got a job offer, it would probably be a GREAT job offer. One that would be difficult to turn down. It’s the kind of place where, in Tammy’s field, if you work there you can write your own ticket afterword. A good analogy: if you work in politics, the dream  is always to work at the White House. And if you’re lucky enough to do that, once you leave the White House you can pretty much pick who you want to work for. You’re set. Same idea here (although vastly different fields).

So why am I unsettled about this, you ask? Dream Company, moving forward with a potential job for my wife?

Taking a job with Dream Company would mean probably moving, potentially across the country or around the world. The Dream Company does have an office in our city, but I don’t think they do the type of work Tammy does at that location.

It would also mean giving up my job. I don’t love my job, but it is a job that I’ve been at for over three years. It’s stable, and I contribute to our household bottom line in meaningful ways (although Tammy does make more, and would likely make considerably more at Dream Company).

And it would also mean giving up our support system, right before we have a baby. When Tammy and I discussed finding a way for me to stay at home with the baby, I always envisioned that being in the context of the city we know and love, surrounded by friends and family to help and give advice and babysit.

I can’t imagine myself, unmoored in a new city, with a new baby, and unemployed for the first time in my adult life.

You know that old saying, “be careful what you wish for”?

And that other saying, that even an atheist like me can recognize for its truth: “humans plan, God laughs”.

We’re still a long way off from any kind of job offer. And then, if/when a job offer is made, we’d have to sit down and seriously look at all the factors. But, given my dream of having a baby, how could I deny Tammy her dream of working for this company?

A lot to think about, ponder over, and worry about in the weeks to come.

ln Which We Tell People

Tammy and I had decided after our 6.5 week ultrasound we would tell family and close friends. While half of me remains scared that telling people will jinx everything, the other half longs for normalcy in this decidedly un-normal process. So we told people.

A bit of background here: my family is incredibly supportive of me and Tammy, and gay rights in general. I have three family members (that I know of) that are LGBTQ, etc. etc. 1)I have a gay cousin, (on my dad’s side) who’s been out since he was born basically. 2)Supposedly I had a great-aunt (sister to my dad’s father) who one day announced she would no longer be known as “Margaret”, but “John”. And the family, oddly enough for that time and place, just kind of went with it. I guess when you’re isolated in a tiny holler in the West Virginia mountains, you deal with the family you get without too much fuss. And 3)my mom’s sister told her that growing up she strongly identified as a boy, rather than a girl. And that she’s bisexual. So basically, my family is responsible for more than our share of gayin’ the place up. YOU’RE WELCOME, FUNDIES.

However, on Tammy’s side…Tammy grew up in an extremely conservatively Christian household. Think Jesus Camp. She is the youngest of five siblings, and when her parents divorced and dad remarried, she got three step siblings in the deal. Interestingly enough, only one of her siblings still maintains that “lifestyle” (oh yes I DID call it a lifestyle) but they all possess, to a certain degree, holdovers from their upbringing that affect their relationship with and reaction to us (and all that comes with us). Shockingly, all but one sister, one step-sister, and one step-brother came to our wedding (the sister that maintains the “lifestyle” and two step siblings that aren’t that close and/or couldn’t afford to travel up here for the wedding). Even her dad and step-mom came, though they sat in the back and her dad promised to be “miserable” the whole time. Thanks for coming, asshole!

ANYWAY, (God, could I stretch this intro out any longer?) we were a little apprehensive about the reactions we would get from Tammy’s family. But, for the most part, we were pleasantly surprised. Tammy’s dad had clearly been coached, and did his best “gee golly shucks, that’s just wonderful! Jesus loves ya, kids!” which is basically how the baby Jesus has told him to respond to everything (baby Jesus doesn’t like anything unpleasant, don’t you know). Tammy texted one brother (wife to the pregnant “V”, who I haven’t spoken to since she stomach bumped me at the wedding in April). He texted back: “congrats,” and that was it. She called the other brother on Father’s day, which may be why he responded, “well, congratulations, I guess, dad”.  Cue eye roll. Tammy’s mom and sister number 1 were both told while we were undergoing IVF, so they were told of the resulting pregnancy earlier, to mostly positive results.

The only really negative response we got was from the sister in the “lifestyle”* Her two kids had just gotten back from summer camp (not unlike the camp in Jesus Camp, I imagine), and she was in a good mood. Tammy broke the news to her by modeling the reaction we were looking for (“[sister], we have some great news. We’re really really excited to let you know that Sarah’s pregnant. You’re going to have a new little niece or nephew in the January!”). Lifestyle sister was silent for a good 90 second count, before bursting out with “well how did that happen?!” If I was quicker on my feet, I would have told her it was a miraculous conception, but I do try to keep my asshole tendencies in check. Somewhat. Tammy muttered something about IVF (for which she received a whack, because we’re so not going there with this sister) and I tried to drown her out by talking about a donor. Honestly, I’ve never heard Lifestyle Sister so shocked and unsure of herself. She got off the phone quickly, after telling us she would be praying for us. But to do what, I’m not quite sure. I suspect she isn’t either. Tammy said her reaction is typical, because for her, gay people simply do not have kids. Children are something the Lord gives to straight people.

JL OK

This sister not only didn’t attend our wedding, but likes to pretend it didn’t happen entirely. We were told not to send her an invitation or any pictures. And now that it’s a done deal, she will literally get up and walk out of the room, often taking her children with her, if our wedding is brought up, even in passing.

Here’s the thing: I can handle her being a bitch (but a bitch in a Christian, Lordy way, obviously) to me, and to Tammy. It sucks that she is the way she is, but we’re big girls. We can take care of ourselves – and I have no problem giving her a piece of my mind if the situation warrants. But a baby? No. A baby is innocent. She can ignore the fact of our marriage if that’s what gets her rocks off, but she cannot, let me repeat that, cannot, ignore our child. Our child is going to be a member of her family, like it or not. The second she makes my child feel any less than is the second we have a serious, serious problem. I don’t even really know what I would do in that situation, but given her reaction, and her behavior surrounding our wedding, I feel like I should be prepared.

Since I can’t think of a way to finish this blog post and I have to get back to work, I leave you with this picture of the pirate, taken at 8 weeks gestation. I don’t have another ultrasound until June 12th, with a regular OB. Sob.

8 weeks
*I’m getting way too much of a kick out of calling it her lifestyle. Seriously, I’m five. And petty.

More Updates and I’m a Hot Mess

I’ve had daily ultrasounds and blood work for the past week including my damn birthday on Sunday (Happy Birthday! POKE. Happy Birthday! STAB). My follicles have been growing nicely, and my lining has thickened up beautifully – I’ve never seen it this big, actually.

I’ve got somewhere between 15 and 20 follicles (the number seems to vary, depending on who’s doing the ultrasound), of which, probably around 15 will be mature at retrieval. This morning most of them measured in the 17mm – 20mm range. My estrogen has been going up nicely. Yesterday’s results were 2,254. Trigger will most likely be tonight, for a retrieval on Thursday morning.

And a note on the trigger – my doctor is switching me from an hCG trigger to a Lupron trigger. Has anyone ever done this? She says she’s not worried about OHSS for me, but that she thinks I can produce enough LH on my own, so I don’t need the hCG shot.

The two main things I’ve extrapolated from the Lupron v. hCG decisions is that with Lupron I a) do not need to test out the trigger – if I get a BFP it’s a real BFP; and b) Lupron is sub-cutaneous, and hCG is intra-muscular. Would MUCH prefer the sub-q.

cookieOn the emotional front, I’m a hot mess. I’m working reallyreally hard to lock.it.up. with varying results. I’m sore, and bloated, and uncomfortable, and exhausted. I fell like a pincushion. I’ve been poked and prodded and dildoed (what are they DOING in there?! It feels like you’re vacuuming in my vagina for God’s sake) within an inch of my life.

On Saturday, Tammy ran a 5k with her company to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. I dropped her off before the race and ran (haha! Don’t be ridiculous, I drove) over to my vagina check. I got back to the race in time to see her cross the finish line. I have absolutely no idea why, but I burst into hysterical tears when she rounded the bend. In my defense, the song playing over the loudspeakers was this, and HOLY SHIT. Commence ugly cry. Her company should SERIOUSLY know better than to play emotionally charged music when there are women hopped up on hormones watching their beloved cross the finish line!

And then last night the pharmacy was late delivering meds I needed for the morning (damn right they deliver. I’m paying out-of-pocket for all of this so I’m taking the perks where I can). I was extremely agitated waiting up for it. What if they didn’t show up?! That’s my anti-ovulation/antagonist med! What if I don’t get my meds in time and I ovulate and lose all my eggs? What if this has all been for nothing?! When the delivery FINALLY showed up (10:15pm!!!!) I nearly ripped the box out of his hands. I tried to politely smile at him, but it probably came out more like a snarl.

mandrill-snarl_2110219i

So now we wait. So much hurry up and wait! Hurry up and get to your daily 7:30AM appointment. Wait for results. Hurry home and inject yourself! Wait for more meds. Now I’m waiting on blood work results and final word if I’m triggering tonight.

I want this to be over. I want this to work. I want. I want. I want. Pleaseletthiswork. Pleaseletthiswork. It’s my mantra, chanted over and over to myself as I lay there, dildo shoved halfway to heaven, counting the little dark circles of hope on the ultrasound screen.

Friends with Babies

ME: you back at work?

Friend With Baby: Yep

ME: welcome back!

FWB: thanks

And they upgraded my operating system so I can actually get into my gmail again

as you can see

ME: yes, very nice

how are you doing?

other than being so-so on going back to work

FWB: i’m doing ok. tired.

you?

ME: tired and sore

had a lot of early morning appointments this week so i can still get to work on time

FWB: sore?

ME: injections

for IVF

FWB: oh gotcha

ME: plus bloated from all the follicles

FWB: follicles are a bunch of assholes

ME: indeed they are

and i’m hysterically emotional. am a joy to be around, obviously

FWB: we should hang out then

ME: you up for me bursting into tears at random moments, and jumping into hulk like rage at others?

FWB: well…

ME: ha

FWB: that does sound a little terrifying

an emotional rollercoaster

ME: it is

poor tammy

she was away all week on business

good timing

FWB: well…it’s almost time for me to go pump. see what you have to look forward to? also my old uniform shirts don’t fit cause apparently i have huge boobs now (first world problems)

ME: child having problems

cannot relate

FWB: you’ll have one (probably triplets or something)

ME: i kind of doubt it

but we’ll see

FWB: i got all my fingers and toes crossed for you and your triplets

better have three boy and girl names picked out just in case

ME: far too jinxy

cannot even discuss one

the jinx gods are listening

FWB: Jinx gods are a bag of dicks.

ME: they can suck my dick, that’s for sure

FWB: (I’m trying to draw them off of you)

ME: well thanks

we’ll see what happens

go pump

FWB: ok…be back in a bit

ME: enjoy your romantic time with a mini plastic sombrero

Family Linen

I had two very different interactions with two of my sisters-in-law at the wedding this weekend.

The Bad
We drove up to the wedding location Thursday morning, in time for the rehearsal Thursday afternoon. It was chaos, as most things having to do with Tammy’s large, boisterous family are. As I was making the rounds, I ran into one of the two sisters-in-law that knew about my (lack of) pregnancy troubles. I leaned in for the hug, and immediately felt the hard press of her stomach against mine. My heart sank, and my throat clenched up. I knew. FUCK. FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK. I pulled back, and she opened her sweater to flash her stomach at me while chirping on about how she was knocked up with an “oops” baby. I hugged my smug brother-in-law (he of the sanctimonious comments regarding infertility treatment), but couldn’t even bear to look at my sister-in-law (V) as I mumbled my congratulations.

Now, we all know how hard it can be to hear of friends and family members who get pregnant with ease, and especially by accident. And that would have been bad enough. But this bothered me particularly because she knew what I was going through, and admitted later in the weekend that she was nervous about telling me she was pregnant. WTF?! If you were nervous, that would indicate you realize the situation could call for some sensitivity. Pressing your pregnant stomach against me is one of the most insensitive ways I can think of.

Then of course, the rest of the family was falling all over her, and I had to listen to interminable questions, comments, excitement, sex guesses, and “maybe it’s twins!” har har. She’s three months along. She would know if she were pregnant with twins.

The Goodish
Tammy’s brother got married this weekend to my new sister-in-law (M). M was married before, and has two kids from her first marriage. When she was pregnant with her second, she got into a bad car accident (was hit by a drunk driver) and had resulting complications. I’m not entirely clear on the details, but when her second was delivered via C-Section, she had a hysterectomy. Now she’s married again, and her new husband (Tammy’s brother, my in-law) really really wants a biological kid. And M would really really like to provide him with one, but lacks the necessary equipment (still has ovaries but doesn’t have a uterus anymore) to do this easily. This is all fairly well-known within the family (or so I thought).

When we were on the way to the wedding, some of the other bridesmaids started singing “[Tammy’s brother] and M, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage!”

WHY they were singing this song, I will never know. I looked at M after the song was over, and she looked absolutely crestfallen. My heart broke for her.

The day after the wedding, the whole family got together for lunch. By chance, I ended up sitting next to M, and we chatted about various things. At one point, someone at the table brought up how V was pregnant, and maybe M would be next? My mother-in-law made a few comments about how M’s kids are growing up, and would she really want to go back to having diapers and midnight feedings, etc. M was stammering about how it would take a miracle, and finally I cut to the chase. I leaned over to my MIL and said, “she doesn’t have a uterus.” (unsaid message: please shut the fuck up and change the subject.) MIL laughed uproariously as if that were the most hilarious thing she’d ever heard. I’m sorry, It’s FUNNY that your son, who desperately wants a biological child, and new daughter-in-law that desperately wants to be able to provide that for him, cannot do so without great emotional, physical and financial expense? Ugh. That woman.

M and I were chatting later, and I brought up the “baby carriage” song. I apologized, and told her I knew how hard that must have been for her. She nodded, and said “the most annoying thing is that all of them singing that song knew our situation”. We began discussing surrogacy, who she would want to do it (family member or professional surrogacy match?) and the logistics. As we were running through the list of family members, I told her that I was probably out, as you would a) want someone with proven success and b) want someone who wasn’t trying themselves. I told her how long we’d been trying, and I told her about my miscarriage. She said all the right things. That she was sorry, that it must be so hard. That she would be thinking about me. Perfect.

I felt like we “got” each other. We may have different issues, but neither of us can have a baby without medical intervention. While I’m really sad that they are going through this, I’m so grateful that there’s SOMEONE in Tammy’s family that can discuss in/fertility with a modicum of sensitivity.

IN OTHER NEWS…
I started stims Saturday night. I already feel bloated and exhausted. Fingers crossed that means the perfect number of follicles are growing, perfectly paced, in my ovaries. Pleaseletthisworkpleaseletthisworkpleaseletthiswork.