Happy Father’s Day (?)

Ellie made us a Father’s Day card at daycare. The part that she made (little footprints) is actually really cute. The text of the card is truly barf worthy (some stuff about how her dad is the first man in her life), and the fact that we got a card at all is troublesome.

The text of the card bothers me because it calls to mind those creepy purity balls, “rules for dating my daughter,” promise rings, and other shining examples of American Patriarchal Society With A Dash Of Heteronormativity Just For Fun, circa 2014.

And I’m bummed that the daycare director approved this activity for the kids. Look, I’m not trying to be a giant killjoy and say kids shouldn’t be allowed to make Father’s Day cards. And I’m sure that when Mother’s Day rolls around again I’ll be thrilled to get a card for that occasion.

But would it be so hard for the daycare to modify the lesson plan to accommodate different kinds of families?  We are not the only LGBT family in this day care center. And what about the single moms, or children being raised by people other than their parents?

It doesn’t matter so much now; Ellie has no idea what’s going on. But I don’t want her to feel strange, growing up, when a teacher asks her to make a card for someone who doesn’t exist.

So we have to bring this up with the daycare director. I’m totally confrontation averse, and I’ve already had to exchange emails with the director about draping blankets over the side of the crib while Ellie naps (!!) so I’m already “that parent.”

Wise people of the internet, advise me on how to do this in a low key, I’m-actually-totally-chill-no-really way, but still getting the point across that this is decidedly not cool.

Thoughts?

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Fingers and Internet Safety

Guess who is NOT 3-4 centimeters and 90% effaced? Me. Obviously. I am a “fingertip” dilated, but he couldn’t tell how effaced I was (if at all) because the OB couldn’t get his finger in there – as fun as that sounds.  Ahh, romance.

Dreams dashed, once again.

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Awkward transition here!

Can I ask you all some questions? Where is your personal line on what you share and don’t share online? Tammy and I have been discussing this lately, mostly in regard to our soon to be daughter. She’s much more uncomfortable sharing things about her than I am (although that could change when she’s born) and generally has a higher standard regarding safety and security with technology (and in general) than I do, not that I’m super out there myself.

The people who read this blog and the blogs I follow pretty much ran the gamut – from sharing pictures and full names and locations to blogging under pseudonyms and keeping a tight lid on any identifying information.

How did you come to a balance that worked for you and your spouse or significant other (if you have one). (And side note – does your spouse/SO know you blog? Do they read your blog? Mine does.) Do you think your balance would shift if you had a kid? Or, if you already have a kid, did that change your mind at all on what you were willing to share with a public audience – like a blog?

Adoption by Another Mother

Tammy will have to adopt her daughter.

We live in an area that allows gay adoption (similar to straight adoption but more fabulous), but because there are so many shitty parts of this country that do not allow gay couples to adopt and we can’t risk being in such a place if/when an emergency happens, we have to spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer to draw up the necessary paperwork, spend a couple of months in limbo, go before a judge, be deemed fit, and then go back to living our lives exactly as they were before, but more…legal.

Insert jazz hands. Legalistic jazz hands.

I’m torn about the whole thing, to be honest. Part of me is insulted that gay couples have to go through this. If a straight couple has to use a third-party to reproduce (i.e. donor gametes), they don’t have to go through all this once they finally achieve their longed for pregnancy. It’s automatically assumed that whatever the mother gives birth to is automatically genetically related to the couple that is assumed to have created it.

But on the other hand, I’m certainly not gambling with my child. Our family will not be the test case family. Sorry. Too precious, too scary. Too much to lose.

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While we’re on the general subject of adoption, can I throw a few (virtual) thoughts at you? Keep in mind that my thoughts are colored by my own interactions with people who were adopted or gave up a child for adoption, and my future experience of what we lovingly refer to as a half adopted child.

I have three cousins that were adopted. One of my adopted cousins has passed away so I have no way of knowing what he would have wanted to do, but the other two had different reactions to wanting to find out about their roots. One has reconnected with her birth mother (with the support of her adoptive parents), has gone to visit her and they are friends on Facebook. My other cousin started to investigate his birth parents (again, with the support of his adoptive parents) but after not much effort decided to stop looking. There could definitely be more to his story (maybe he found out something he didn’t want to know? Maybe he got overwhelmed?) but for now, he’s just living with the information he has. Neither of my living adopted cousins wish they had stayed with their birth families, or that they hadn’t been adopted.

My SIL gave up a child because she got pregnant as a teenager, and her family shamed her into it. That’s the long and short of the situation. She recently found the girl online.  My SIL wrote her a letter asking to meet up with her, but the girl, now a woman, declined, for reasons unknown to me.

I also have a friend who is adopted, and I’ve had a lot of long talks with him recently about his experience. It’s a long and complicated story, and while he loves his adoptive family, he feels like adoption is a traumatic, brutal and cruel thing, and every human being has the right to know where they come from. He’s gotten very involved in the adoption rights community.

Obviously, our child’s situation will be different from those I briefly sketched out above. She will know half of her genetic heritage, and we chose a donor specifically because he had agreed to be contacted when any offspring turn 18, should they want to know more about that side of their genetics

Our child will grow up knowing a kind man, called a donor, gave a small bit of himself to help Mama and Mommy make her. Parts from Mommy and parts from the donor made her who she is. She will know that Mama and Mommy are her parents, and that families come in all shapes and sizes. I’m a firm believer that genetics are only a part of who you are…but it’s easy for me to say that, as a person who knows all about her family.

I worry that our child will at some point start to romanticize the donor, or think of him as her dad. Will she wish that she was growing up with him and not us? Probably at some point she will. She will probably say something along those lines to us when she is angry at us. But as much as I try to prepare myself for that moment (or those moments) I know that hearing it will be like a knife in my heart. What happens if our daughter feels like we robbed her of something? What if she resents us? What if her life is less than, because she didn’t grow up knowing what Tammy and I both knew about our families?

What are your thoughts, dear readers? Do you support adoption? Do you think, like my friend does, that adoption should be an absolute last resort? Or do you think it is a beautiful way to build a family? Or is it somewhere in between? What about people using donor gametes?

What rights do children have to know about their genetic history?

I Need Some Advice

I feel like crap.

For the past two nights I’ve woken up every hour or so, and wake up a final time in the morning feeling like utter garbage. I wake up to pee, I wake up because Tammy’s snoring, I wake up because I’m uncomfortable, I wake up because I’m too hot, I wake up because I’m too cold, I wake up because my back hurts, my arm hurts, my what-the-fuck-ever hurts. And last night I woke up at 3am because my stomach hurt. I was up for almost two hours with stomach pain – menstrual like cramps, nausea, a few stabbing pains here and there.

So what the fuck people. I’m sorry if I’m coming across as a whining pregnant lady to a bunch of people who would love nothing more to be in my shoes, but I’m desperate here. I know it’s only two nights, but I’m a sleeper. I crave sleep. Deep, luxurious sleep that you melt into. When I don’t sleep, nothing works right. I’m clumsy, thick tongued, sore throated, queasy, short tempered, close to tears.

And today I have the added bonus of my stomach *still* hurting. Plus my fingers are swollen, which makes trying to type and do any kind of work freaking annoying.

What do I do? How do I sleep? How do I fix this? Any and all advice is welcome.

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?

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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?

Nuchal Translucency and Facebook

We had our nuchal translucency scan this morning, and it went swimmingly. The neck measured at 1.something, which is good (they want to see less than 3, although the tech told us most Down’s babies measure closer to 6). We saw the nasal bone (also good because Down’s babies often don’t have a nasal bone at this point). The abdominal organs are almost all in the abdomen now, having migrated from the umbilical cord. The heart was beating at 161. We saw two hemispheres of the brain. Saw a genital nub, but it’s too early to tell if it will grow larger into a penis or shrink into a clitoris. We saw little webbed hands, and wee tiny feet that waved and kicked.

Because I’m still under 30, my risk of trisomies was low to begin with, but now it should be even lower with the reassuring scan.

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Most of us know how hard it is to be ambushed by Facebook announcements, especially as they seem to come in groups, just after your latest BFN or right around the due date of a miscarriage. Facebook has impeccably shitty timing.

For a long time I promised myself if I was ever lucky enough to get and stay pregnant, I would just skip the cutesy/smug Facebook brag. (And side note here, getting pregnant does not, at least for me, make me like the announcements any better. Seriously, y’all. You’re fecund. We get it. How marvelous for you, etc. Shut up with the beribboned, sparkly announcements)

But now I find myself trying to figure out how to let people know what’s going on in our world. We’ve told our families and close friends, but I do want some way to let less close friends know, many of whom are scattered around the world. I considered phoning (don’t have most people’s numbers, and hate talking on the phone) and email (ditto on not having many emails, and that seems kind of cold, no?) and have come full circle to Facebook. Dammit, Facebook is friggin convenient. How annoying.

But I need help figuring out what to say. I obviously want to be as sensitive as I can to those struggling, and I’d like to acknowledge our own struggle to get where we are. I’m considering the following, but would appreciate any insight, recommendations, edits, additions, etc.:

“Tammy and I are absolutely overjoyed to announce we are going to have a baby. We are so grateful to our doctors, nurses, and embryologist for helping us get this far. Below is a picture of our embryo at 5 days past fertilization, and our fetus at almost 13 weeks gestation. I am due in January, and we cannot wait to meet our little one.

And with the announcement, post a side by side picture of the day 5 blast with our most recent scan.

One final note, those friends/family members that I know would react to the announcement with complicated feelings have been told already, via the medium we thought would be easiest for them.

Thoughts? Skip the pictures? Or skip the embryo picture but include the fetal scan? What would you want to see, and not want to see if you were reading my page?

Birth Control Barf

I started BCP yesterday. It’s kind of a screwy, manipulative cycle in which I’m taking BCP for two weeks, stopping to get my period and then going BACK on BCPs, but whatever. I’m starting the IVF cycle.

We also decided to do Option B – and thank you for all of your advice and suggestions! Basically, we viewed the extra 5k as an insurance policy, and it was worth having to pay it back. And if I get pregnant on the first or second cycle (and it sticks) I’ll be much more focused on the pregnancy and baby than five thousand dollars.

Does birth control make anyone else barfy? I took it last night before bed and woke up this morning feeling extremely queasy. And almost 8 hours later I still feel sick. How can I go through injections to the stomach with no side effects and one teensy-weensy pill makes me a blubbery/barfy mess?

Hormones are weird.