Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Change Within (part 2 of 2)

So now I have wound back to the original post I never wrote, and that pertains to blogs written by mothers who have experienced infant loss. Given my new-found identification with the mothers of the world, you can imagine where I am going with this.

Several Blogger Bingo participants came from blogs that fell into this category. The list wasn’t sorted, so you never knew what you would find when you clicked onto someone’s blog for the first time. The first infant loss blog I encountered took my breath away. Literally. I think I stopped breathing for a moment. There was a picture of a mom holding her beautiful baby girl, and a subtitle explaining she’d had to say goodbye to that sweet girl after only a few short weeks.

And then there was another, and another, and I became overwhelmed by the grief these women have experienced.

I never wrote about this because I didn’t know how, and I still don’t, really. I don’t know the right language. I don’t know how to respectfully explain the emotions their blogs elicited or convey my empathy without it sounding like I think for a single second that I know how they feel. I know that my stopping breathing for one moment is nothing compared to their feeling that they may never breathe again, and I know that my minute or hour or afternoon of discomfort is nothing compared to what they have experienced and will continue to walk through. I wanted to read their blogs. I wanted to bear witness to their experience – one that rattles my core in the most terrible of ways – but I found that I couldn’t. I do not know the depth and breadth of their pain, but my imagining of it cut so fiercely that I found I couldn’t visit anymore.

So let’s just say it – I have some boundary issues. I’m aware of this, but I think my ability to identify with other people’s stories can be as much a strength as it is a weakness. I just have to be careful to maintain power over it. When I was about 10 years old, my dad gave me a thirty-second synopsis of Sop.hie’s Choice and I became completely hysterical. I cried and cried and cried. After I watched The Gree.n Mile for the first (and only) time, I was queasy and tearful for days. I’ve become better at managing this as I’ve grown up, but becoming Elliot’s mom triggered some back-sliding in this department. When it comes to children, there is no separation for me. I want all children to be treated well and have their needs met. I want all parents to be able to protect and care for their children, and see their children thrive. When this doesn’t happen, for any of a great number of reasons, I lose perspective and the emotions wash right over me.

I just re-read this post and I’m left wondering what the point of it all is. Unfortunately, I committed myself with that whole “post 1 of 2” bit yesterday, so it’s going up, but I apologize for taking up your time with these ramblings. It’s a change I’ve noted, and perhaps other new moms have found something similar (which would be interesting to hear about in the comments section, hint hint), but I’m afraid I’m still too "in it" to offer any useful insight or wisdom. It simply is for me right now. So… yeah.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Change Within (part 1 of 2)

A million years ago when I was doing Blogger Bingo, I wrote this post and alluded to another one I never got around to. This is mostly because I never felt I could do it justice, but something happened today that made me wish I’d written it, so that I could piggy-back on it. It’s hard to piggy-back on a post you never wrote. Blast.

So, let’s do this in reverse order, shall we? The bank across the street from my office was robbed this afternoon. For the rest of the day, the parking lot was full of police vans and dogs and yellow crime scene tape and the whole bit. I went online looking for information about what happened and nothing has hit the internet yet. But, I did find this story, which was quite the feel-good read. Three cheers for judges who honor same-sex families, even when a former member of that family refuses to do so. I also found a terrible story I won’t link to about something awful a person did to a child, and, like the total idiot that I am, I clicked on it. I knew better, but for some inexplicable reason, I did it anyway. So now I’m sitting here feeling sad and sick and wishing I could visit a certain someone in jail and inflict some extraordinary form of torture. (Any of you who know, or even suspect, what I do for a living should be able to appreciate how out of character this kind of punitive thinking is for me.) All of this brings me to a change I have seen in myself since becoming a mother. The change has a few separate but related parts:

First, I want all good things for all children everywhere - not in a trite or cliche way, but in a deep and emotional way, and not only the Big Things beauty pageant queens talk about (world peace, an end to hunger, and so on). The Big Things are obvious and go without saying because we all want them – always have, always will. And knowing we don’t even have those makes my desire for the more subtle things even more ridiculous, but I still want them. I want every kid to have soft pajamas and books with colorful pictures in them. I want kids to have food they like to eat and toys to play with in the bathtub. Every child I hear, read or think about becomes Elliot in my mind, and I want the same good things for them as I do for him.

More than that, I think, I want moms everywhere to be able to give their children these things. Becoming a mother has made me profoundly sensitive to the desire to provide your children with the best of everything. I find myself at a loss for words in expressing my empathy for moms who are unable to do so. I feel so in tune to the struggle of mothers now. When I think about poverty, hunger or violence, I instantly identify with the mothers and I feel real grief over the barriers they face in providing their children with security and comfort. This is not to say I don’t feel for the children, too. Of course I do, but I always have. The change, for me, is in my new-found identification with the mothers and the second layer that adds to my understanding of the world we live in. I have been familiar with the cliché about children causing your heart to exist outside of your body for a long time now, but I couldn’t fully appreciate its magnitude until Elliot came along.

And on that note, I have to leave this for now. If I don't post what I have, this will just fall into the pile of unfinished blog posts in my draft folder (4 already there at the moment, FYI, all written and not posted in the last 2 weeks) so I'm posting what I have, but I promise to pick it up again soon, as I still haven't made it back to the Blogger-Bingo-post-that-wasn't.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays, Part Two (With Pics)

Lest I ever doubt that all we went through to get pregnant was worth it, here are the pictures we had the privilege of sending out in our holiday cards this year:

And this is what Christmas morning looked like for us:

I hope you are all enjoying a warm and restful holiday season. We've been mostly off-line at my parents' house for the past week but we're headed home tomorrow and I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone!

Happy Holidays, Part One (TTC Safe)

Last night, as I wrapped Elliot in a towel after his bath, I told him he was my Christmas-wish-come-true.

We started TTC in October of 2006 and I spent the next two Christmases aching for him and one more feeling his kicks, heavy with anticipation. This year, I'm at a loss for words to describe how wonderful it feels to have him here with us at last.

The extra warmth of this year reminds me of how difficult the ones to come before it were. To those of you still waiting, my heart is with you and I hope things are brighter for you when the next holiday season rolls around.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Croup = Terrible and scary and exhausting.

One night down. Hopefully not many more to go. :-(

Thursday, December 10, 2009

EWCM = junk mail

I’m ovulating, or so my body would have me believe. I’m on day 2 of the most perfect EWCM a girl could hope for. I am surprised (and frankly, amused) to note how much its presence irritates me. I was unprepared for how my status as an IVF vet would make me resentful of my body’s fertility signs.

When we were TTC, I welcomed each month’s EWCM and the renewed hope it brought. This was going to be our month! Sure we’d had a dozen BFNs, but this time would be different! Look how normal and textbook and fertile I am! *sigh* I couldn’t fully appreciate how futile all those IUIs were at the time. Sure I had days of feeling like it would never work, especially after each BFN, but by the time the EWCM rolled around, I had licked my wounds and hopped back on the optimism wagon (read: crazy train). The point is, I loved seeing EWCM when we were TTC. In addition to the false (but cherished) hope it sparked, it meant that in the next couple of days, we’d actually get to DO something instead of waiting or waiting or waiting to wait.

And then I got pregnant, and the monthly EWCM went away.

Now it has returned, but I have no use for it. The longed-for baby is here, no thanks to my EWCM, and its visits do nothing but remind me of an unfulfilled promise. Now that I have no hope to mask my disillusionment, I view my EWCM as an unkind joke; as false advertising. My body is saying “Look how fertile I am! You could totally get pregnant right now!” And to that I say… bullshit. You couldn’t get me pregnant then and you can’t now. My body just doesn’t work like that, despite all the months and years I tried to prove that it did.

I find it funny that I’m more irked by the arrival of EWCM than AF. I suspect it’s because AF is what she is – no betrayals there. I didn’t enjoy her presence when I was TTC and I don’t enjoy it now. EWCM, on the other hand, is like a snake. It came month after month after month, seducing me with promises of a BFP and the subsequent baby bump. Its presence now reminds me of the years I spent asking my body for something it never delivered and aside from being bitter about that, I’m also embarrassed at having been the dummy that fell for it month after month after month.

I wish there was a “do not call” list for fertility signs. I’d sign my body up in a heartbeat, and I doubt I’m the only one. At the very least, I’d like to post a “no solicitation” sign. Maybe a tattoo? EWCM, you had your chance. You blew it. I’m sticking with science from here on out!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's cross pollination day!

So before you read this post, take a look at the list of bloggers participating today. Then as you read, you can try to figure out who the guest blogger is!


I was contemplating unfinished projects this week. I have an entire closet full of them. I have a sweater that I started knitting in 1999 or 2000. Still not finished (mostly because I think I don't have quite enough yarn). I have a baby blanket that just needs its border. I have a 2 foot high stack of recipes that I'm going to make someday. I have a box full of photos that need to go in an album - not a scrapbook, even, just an album. I can't complete shoving photos in slots.

Sometimes I don't finish projects because I lose interest. Sometimes I don't finish projects because I don't have the right materials. Sometimes I'm just lazy. I don't get terribly concerned about finishing projects, because I know life is a marathon and not a sprint. Either things will get finished or they won't.

I have one project that's been on my agenda for 5 years. I don't know if I'll be able to finish this project to my satisfaction. The project takes little of my time, but much of my attention. The project is building my family. I am the proud mom of a charming, funny, smart, obstinate, 3 year old cutie pie. She is my world. I am lucky to have her. But I can't put aside my desire for another child.

I feel like my family is not complete. My husband does not agree, although he has agreed to doing anything I want to do to make another baby. That's really quite amusing, because he has NO idea what additional intervention would entail. He likes to complain about my hormonal rages now. If I need a chuckle*, I just imagine his surprise at my mood swings if I were to start injecting myself with hormones. Since I am now 40, I know that my time is limited (although, according to the latest news reports, I have 10-15 more years!). I know that I am short on eggs. I know that I will not put my husband, myself, and, by extension, my daughter through the craziness that is IVF. In the next few months, I will have to reconcile myself to leaving this particular project unfinished. And since my husband is currently halfway around the world, I will have only one more chance to try before my 41st birthday. Unless this last chance worked.

Meanwhile, I guess I'll work on one of those other unfinished projects...anyone need a baby blanket? The baby for whom I was making it is now 2.

*If I ever need a chuckle in general, my husband is a good source. For instance, he recently told me that his few hours of non-sleeping on the hospital recliner were much more painful than my labor, because it's not like I pushed or anything, and I got an epidural. And the bed. Let's not forget that I got the bed. I was literally laid out on the floor for 20 minutes, laughing at the ridiculousness of those statements.
Welllll? Who do you think it is? It may be a tough one if you're like me and tend to hang out in your (our) own part of the blogosphere, but if you think you know who it is, leave your guess in the comments section and we'll all oooh and aaah at how well-traveled you are! :-) Then, click here to head over to the guest poster's blog and read what I wrote for today. Be sure to poke around a bit while you're there. I had a lot of fun catching up on her adventures!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I have a whole bunch of things I want to post about and no time to do it in. Here are a few off the top: We survived Elliot's first fever although I'm a little nervous he has an ear infection brewing. Our house is torn up because we decided to do some massive renovations two weeks before Christmas - sensible, no? We got a surprise $1800 bill from the RE this week and we're wondering if we'll EVER be able to stop giving them money. I also have a hysterical story I'd love to tell about how I was offered a "job" cleaning and decorating gravesites. I really will try to get to that last one.

In the meantime, here is something really exciting: Tomorrow is cross-pollination day! That means that another blogger will be guest posting here, and I'll be guest posting on her blog. I have her post all ready to go (because she is on the ball and sent it to me days ago, unlike me who slipped mine under her door like five minutes ago, you know, a mere hour and a half before it's due) and I think it will give you a chuckle, so be sure to check back  to read it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day #266

I've been sleeping off my NaBloPoMo hangover by taking a posting holiday, as you may have noticed. Actually, I've mostly just been sleeping, due to a nasty cold that had me laid up most of the week. I generously shared it with Elliot and his temperature has been fluctuating between 99 and 102 degrees for the last two days. Poor kid. I'm feeling really lucky that we made it this far (almost 9 months!) without an illness of note, but it's still hard to see him feeling lousy. I called him in sick for school today for the first time. That's right, I'm someone's mom. I can call someone in sick to school. Weird.

Anyway, on to what I came here to post about... It's time for another episode of Insignificant Milestones That People Outside of the IF Blogosphere Would (Righteously) Make Fun Of!

Today is Elliot's "Out Longer Than In" day. He has been in our world for 266 days, which is one more day than the 265 he spent in the womb. It's hard to believe he's been here for the length of a full-term pregnancy. It has gone so, sooo fast. Much faster than the 265 days, it seems. Last week, I realized we needed to start thinking about what we want to do for his first birthday. *gulp* Why don't we just hand over the car keys already?!

M was holding our sweet, sick boy tonight (stripped down to a diaper to allow his fever to vent) and he just looked so giant to me. He looks (and acts) more and more like a little boy every day. He is furniture walking with ease now and I'm sure he'll be doing the real thing before we know it. His personality seems to unfold by the minute, and as soon as we notice he's picked up a new skill, he's already working on the next one. I just can't believe how fast it's all happening.

He loves the Christmas tree. I can't wait to see what he thinks of the rest of the fanfare.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Big Chocolate Santa

A few days ago, my BFF In Loco Parentis compared reading my NaBloPoMo posts to opening an advent calendar. I was flattered by the analogy and to thank her, I would like to present her with the prize behind box 24 (or 30, in this case): A post about her and how much I value our friendship.

I'm shamelessly stealing from her playbook on this one. She posted this during my IVF cycle and it was a bright spot during a really stressful time. I revisited the post today and read it again. Glad I did, too. I forgot which stories she shared and it turns out they were pretty much all the same ones I had planned to post, but enhanced by her superior wit and charm. Foiled!

Fortunately, I'm certain I can scrounge up a few more...

For example, did you know that she is a hairless cat owner? Have you ever seen a hairless cat? They are truly unfortunate looking amazing creatures. One might say (and has said, frequently, in fact) that they look like a dinosaur/chicken fetus. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's her current cat's actual name: Dinosaur Chicken Fetus. ILP has to have hairless pets because she nearly died one time of a hamster-induced breathing incident. She would have been in big trouble if she hadn't driven herself to the emergency room and walked herself through the doors before falling unconscious. She is a serious bad ass.

When M and I got married, ILP was one of my bridesmaids. She came up with a hysterical alter ego for the occasion, complete with a special name that hinged upon her achieving a perfectly bronzed exterior prior to the big day. I shared this with KD during the week leading up to the wedding, so when she arrived, the introductions went something like this:
ILP: Hi, I'm ILP (real name, not alter ego name). It's nice to meet you.
KD: You're not very tan.
*palm to forehead* Fortunately, I didn't need to scold him. He beat himself up enough for the both of us, and still does. He's brought it up no less than a dozen times in the years since. Every time ILP comes up in conversation, he asks for confirmation that she's the same ILP he made an ass of himself in front of at the wedding. Yup, that'd be her.

It was awesome having ILP in our wedding. She was really understanding and non-judgmental when I went all bridezilla on my friends and family, or at least she put on a convincing front. She restrained herself from putting the smack down on the bridesmaid newsletters I allowed The N.est to convince me were Absolutely Essential. She sucked it up during a marathon group mani-pedi session and played Apples to App.les for hours on the salon floor. She marched down a dusty mountain in heels because I had A Vision. And to secure her position as MVP, she hung around after the Sunday brunch to fill me in on alllll the juicy gossip she extracted from our wedding guests while I was busy being a princess. What more could a girl ask for, really?

ILP and I share custody of a magic hat. We pass it back and forth depending on who needs its powers most at the time. It may be hard for me to explain the origins of the magic hat, but I feel compelled to try. The hat came from Blockb.uster Video during the original wave of Harry Po.tter madness. ILP and I had been wandering aimlessly through the aisles and I turned around to see her holding an inverted sorcerer's hat in both hands, staring raptly into its depths. When she felt my eyes on her, she looked up and said, in the most incredulous tone imaginable, "This is a magic hat!" I found her child-like awe so irresistible, I demanded the hat go home with us. It turns out that she didn't think the hat was endowed with any magical powers - she was actually referring to the fact that there was an adjustable band inside the hat that allowed it to snugly fit a wide range of head sizes. As I recall, there was some pants-wetting-caliber laughter once we shared our respective understandings of how the hat was magical. She has it now. I may ask for it back if (when) M and I go crazy and decide to ttc #2, lord help us.

We've been through a lot together in our 10+ years of friendship. I think it sucks ass that infertility is on that list. I would have liked to have spared us both the pain it caused. That said, words fail me in describing how therapeutic it has been to have her companionship during our shared journey. A "beginner's luck" baby could have easily been the thing that divided us, but instead, we have both been allll the way around the block and we can swap 2ww and PIO horror stories to no end. We've talked about how much closer we've become as a result of our infertility experiences, and I count that as one of the gifts I'm taking away from the madness. I can't wait to see what the future brings, both for us and our oh-so-wanted little boys. I hope they grow up together, experiencing the same fondness and respect for one another as I have for ILP. Oh, and I hope they share a little magic, too.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

show and tell

Shortly after E was born, M gave me this necklace:

I'm not a big jewelry person and it's not uncommon for me to go a month or two without even remembering that I own any. When I first received this necklace, I wore it every single day. After a while, I started skipping a day here and there, and then I left it off for several days in a row, and then several weeks. It caught my eye yesterday and I put it on again. I was instantly reminded of how much I love it and how special wearing it makes me feel. There were days I didn't know if or when I'd ever get to be someone's mama, but here I am and I couldn't be more grateful.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

quick update (via phone)

M and I are celebrating my birthday early this year, on accounta having good babysitters (read: adoring grandparents) in town on a limited engagement. She surprised me with outrageously swanky arrangements and I'm feeling completely spoiled. And on that note, I'm off to soak up some more pampering!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

I'm coming out as a Black Friday shopper, BUT I solemnly swear I will NEVER be trampled in a toy-inspired stampede. I don't care about it that much. I really just take it as a big scavenger hunt where the clues are hidden in the ads and I get to make my list and plot my course and partake in some excellent people watching, and hey, maybe even score some great deals on Christmas gifts. And if not, no worries. I didn't even go out until 8:30am this year and if you know anything about Black Friday shopping, you know that is waaaay too late to count as a respectable showing.

Best people-watching incident of the day: The woman in and Jack who demanded to pay full price for an item that was 25% off (the whole store was 25% off before noon) because she "doesn't feel comfortable buying gifts on sale." The poor salesperson said she'd have to check if that was even possible since their computers were automatically set to provide the discount. A few minutes later, they told her they couldn't override the computers to sell something for a higher price so she'd have to come back tomorrow. She left without purchasing anything.

The score sheet for the day: Heaps and heaps of clothes for Elliot, a few things for M and I, and one stocking stuffer for my mom. Oops. Now that E is here, it seems I have lost my interest in shopping for anyone other than him! Oh well, everyone needs a hobby, right? Elliot's reign as the best-dressed member of our family has been preserved for at least a couple more months, and for roughly 50 cents on the dollar. :-)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving IV

This is my fourth Thanksgiving since we started trying to get pregnant and my first with a baby.

In late November of 2006, I was wrapping up my second cycle ttc. I wrote this light-hearted little post analyzing every teeny-tiny detail from our timing to my stress level, as if a change in any of those variables could have made a shred of difference for us. I had no idea how long a journey I was beginning or how broken I really was.

On Thanksgiving of 2007, I suffered a crushing BFN. I chose not to blog about the details at the time, but I referred back to it in my post about Thanksgiving 2008.

This year, we finally have our baby in our arms, and words can not express how thankful we are that he is here at last. For those of you still holding your baby in your hearts, I hope this is the last year you spend longing for one another.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

rearview mirror

One morning a couple of weeks ago, I brought E into our bed after he woke up in the morning, and the three of us lounged around in PJs for a little while before starting our day. At some point, I had one of those "how did I get here?" moments. First of all, we have a baby. That in itself is still mind-blowing to me. Second, I have the good fortune of starting and ending my days with M, and that blows my mind some days, too.

M and I met in college. We were members of the same little queer community, just like the one your college had, where everyone had dated everyone else and the social event of the year was the night Me.lissa Fer.rick came through town. I had a crush on M from the moment I saw her, but it was the only kind of crush you can have on someone you don't even know, which is to say it was pretty superficial. She was about as high as you could get on our little social ladder and I... well, wasn't. We were both dating other people (read: madly in L-O-V-E with and living with them because, duh, the relationships were all of like four months old) so the idea of my innocent little crush ever evolving into anything on THIS planet seemed remote, if not downright comical. However, as we got to know one another, I realized that in addition to being a total hottie, she was also a really great person. And the plot began to thicken...

You know how the story ended, so I'll spare you the details of how we got from point A to point B. You can rest assured that it was excessively messy and complicated because isn't it always when you're in college?

I will tell you one story because it's funny, given where we ended up. There was a time when I was trying to decide whether to end my current relationship to pursue one with M and I confided in my mom about my dilemma. I told her that my current girlfriend was everything I wanted in a long-term partner and I could easily see us getting married, having kids together, and living out our days in perfect bliss... but I wasn't sure I was ready for all of that to start just yet. M, on the other hand, was "just fun" and I thought this was why I was so smitten with her. I had decided that the "settle-down" vibes I was feeling in my current relationship were freaking me out and I wanted to spend time with someone with whom I felt none of that pressure. M was the breath of fresh air I needed, and the fact that I thought we were totally incompatible for the long haul only made me more attracted to her at the time. (My insight and assessment skills were simply astounding, no? I was so dumb.)

So here we are, eight and a half years later. I have never been so happy to have been wrong about something, or someone. In the past eight and a half years, we have done a lot of growing up together. We moved across the country together. We planned a wedding. We bought a house. We survived infertility and brought a beautiful little boy into the world. We have supported each other through the highs, the lows, and everything in between. Sometimes when I look at her, I can't believe she's the same person I met almost a decade ago, or that we have built the life we share today. I would never have believed it if someone had given me a crystal ball eight years ago. She was only supposed to be a summer fling. :-)

And just for the record, I still think she's a total hottie.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's in a name? (part two)

First off, I want to thank you again for your comments on my last post about names. I'll admit I was hesitant to blog on that topic. My position on the fence is a little precarious and I wasn't too keen on exposing myself to others' opinions just yet. I get very fragile when I'm on the verge of a decision. (Just ask poor M who got an evening of the silent treatment a few weeks ago when I was coming to terms with another major decision and she had the audacity to admit she'd already picked up on my change of heart!) I shouldn't have worried. I have the best blog readers ever. You all gave me some great perspective and helped things along a bit, I think.

So, here's where am I stuck:

No, before I get to that, here's how I got here:

Everything I said in my last post about realizing I'm the "odd name out" has been simmering for a month or two, and it's been fueled even more recently by my increased desire to define the edges of our little family of three. I've started several projects to this end, from reviving the second-parent adoption conversation in our house (Appointment with the attorney in 2 weeks! Thanks for calling, M!) to buying us all matching Christmas stockings (well, kits, that will probably take me until E is in kindergarten to complete) that are completely different than what either of us had growing up. I'm just all about OUR family right now and I want to do things that reinforce and support and honor OUR family.

The major tipping point came courtesy of fa.cebook. Ha ha! I was tagged in a picture from the wedding of a family friend. I attended with just my parents and my brother. The caption, added by the bride, read "The MyLastName Family".When I read that, I felt like it was just wrong. M and E are my family, and they weren't there. I think I'm extra-sensitive to this because we aren't legally married. This gets back to what I said in my last post about thinking I might keep my name if I were in a heterosexual marriage, even though I'm now considering a different path. Scrapping my current last name isn't something I want to do, and I know that part of my reason for considering it comes from some of my own internalized stigma of M and my relationship. In looking at that picture, I felt like M and E - my family - were literally and figuratively invisible. This was acceptable because we aren't legally married, and easily achieved because my name connects me to my family of origin instead of them. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I feel like if we were legally married, people would have to acknowledge us, but since we're not, so I have to force the issue with the name. Furthermore, there aren't many legal options available to us in defining our family, which makes those available seem all the more desirable. It's simple supply and demand.

The other thing that happened was that I sent out some Halloween cards and each one was addressed to a couple with a shared last name. After writing A & B Smith and X & Y Jones half a dozen times, I started to resent the cumbersome cluster of names that denotes our family.

So these two minor incidents inspired enough of a freak out on my part that I found myself wanting to change my name - something I'd never even seriously considered before, let alone desired. This realization ushered in some interesting mental acrobatics:

1. My current last name connects me to my family of origin.

2. I want my allegiance to be to M and E rather than my family of origin.

3. I need to take M and E's last name.

4. M and E have the same last name as her family of origin.

5. I feel very uncomfortable ditching my family of origin name in favor of hers.

6. I need to mentally divorce M and E's last name from her family of origin before I can take it.

7. If I convince myself that last names do not necessarily connect one to their family of origin, point #1 above becomes moot and I can keep my own! Yay! No, wait. I'm just back where I started.

I can skip down to wanting M and E's last name simply because it's theirs, but I still get hung up on this idea of taking M's dad's name (well, his dad's dad's dad's...), because that's what it traces back to in the end. Basically, I need two different realities to co-exist in order to feel comfortable: In my case, I need my last name to be inherently connected to my family of origin so that I am justified in abandoning it in favor of a shared K-M-E last name. But in M's case, I need her last name to NOT be connected to her family of origin so that I can assume it without feeling like I'm leaving my family to join hers, becoming her property, or participating in some other weird patriarchal phenomenon. I guess the ultimate solution to THIS dilemma would be all of us changing to an all new family name, but it seems like a lot of trouble to make all three of us change and it's not like we have something we love to change to anyway.

I probably didn't explain that well at all. It's hard for me to articulate. I know the answer. If I take the name, I take it because it's E's - not M's, not M's family, etc. It's the name we decided to give E - a decision I'm 100% fine with - so I just have to decide if I want to take Elliot's name or not. And I probably do.

It just seems like such a freaking pain in the ass. There are little things, like I love the sound of my name. My last name has three syllables and I'd be changing to a last name with one - that's just a big change to the sound of my name. I like my initials and my signature. My signature hasn't changed a stroke in the last 15 years. My name feels like this hugely important part of me, and I can't imagine giving it up. I cringe when I think of all of the million little places my name will need to be changed - how did you all DO that?! It's all just kind of overwhelming.

That said, I suspect this desire to define and proclaim our family will only strengthen with time, so I suspect I will make the change eventually. I just have a little more peace-making to do with the idea first.

Monday, November 23, 2009

MTV Changed the World in the 80s - Here is What Comes Next

Catchy title, no? I got it here. See #38.

I guess you could say I have hit NaBloPoMo rock bottom. Tonight, I literally googled "things to blog about" and landed at the link above. Oy vey. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

I do actually have things to write about - I want to come back to the last name thing, and I also still owe a "part 2" post regarding my participation in Blogger Bingo. The problem is I am SO FREAKING TIRED that I just don't have either of those posts in me tonight, or any recent night, it seems. I took a bunch of time off while my parents are in town so any days where I actually go into the office (as I did today) are full to the brim with catch up. When I'm not at work, I'm entertaining family, co-managing the full-time side project known as Our Household, chasing a crawler-slash-furniture-walker who refuses to be contained or sit still for more than 30 seconds, and defending my grading philosophy to grade-inflation-damaged graduate students with wicked senses of entitlement. Yup, I'm complain-y tonight. It's the exhaustion speaking. Sorry. :-(

I don't think we have plans tomorrow night so maybe I will get an earlier start and post something interesting for a change. I don't think I'm a fan of NaBloPoMo. It was fun and manageable at the beginning but this blog has taken a nosedive lately. I'm anxious to get  back to the days of quality over quantity.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

picking up a shift

I don't blog.  (this is M)   I'm not a great writer or communicator but I thought I'd give K a night off on her posting once a day thing.

K's parents are in town for two weeks and we are enjoying the benefits of having babysitting at our beck and call.  I have to say that these days I am proud of our lack of babysitting, its like a badge of honor for me. Our days of doing shifts with the baby so we can see a movie 3 hours apart from each other makes me feel like we can and are doing this all ourselves, so there.  When friends offer babysitting these days I balk at it because I think it hurts my cred.  There are times however when I just wish we could do more things together, so these two weeks will be nice.

So what did we do with our spare afternoon, you might ask?  We filed and cleaned.  I know, romantic right? Being an adult is lame.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Not to throw her under the bus, but...

I asked M to post for me tonight and she said she would. But as you may have noticed, it's me talking typing. She says she forgot. Hmph. She wouldn't last a week of this NaBloPoMo madness!

I was out with my parents tonight and I didn't think we'd be home before midnight, hence the request for a guest post. We did make it home in time, but barely, so this will have to be brief.

The novelty of standing has worn off and we're sleeping through the night again. Hallelujah. Not to be a choosy beggar, but if we could also go back to "sleeping in" (read: past 6am) again, too.... yeah, that would just be the bee's knees. :-)

We've introduced yogurt and E seems to love eating it, but I'm just not sure his stomach is quite ready for it. He was SO intolerant of dairy in my diet when I was breastfeeding. He's had yogurt two days in a row and today he was fussy and kept spitting up this terribly rancid smelling stuff. I'm not convinced it's the yogurt yet, but it's not looking good, either. Hopefully it's just a coincidence.

Thanks for all of your thoughtful comments on my post about names. It was really interesting to read through what you all have done and how you dealt with the corresponding emotions. You inspired some new thoughts on the matter, so thanks.

OK, 1 minute to go... better hit the publish button or I'll miss my deadline!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

out of my element, in a good way

I'm in a bar.

We're milking this visiting-grandparents thing.

Being in a bar = good for fun and bad for blog posting.

The end.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What's in a name? (part one)

I am thinking of changing my name. This comes as a great shock to me. When M and I had our (illegal) wedding in 2006, we discussed this and decided we would both keep our names. It was a pretty short discussion, really. Neither of us could envision taking the other's name, nor asking the other to take ours. We did come up with an all new name blending halves of each of our last names, and we still use it "internally" to this day, but it's not something we ever gave serious thought to taking on legally.

Until very recently, I've never second-guessed our decision to keep our own last names. I never thought it took away from our partnership, and in fact, I felt good about what it said about our individuality within that partnership. I have told people that I like to think I would have kept my last name even if I had married a man, and I still believe that. If I don't fall asleep before I finish this post, I'll even explain that seeming contradiction to you. Ultimately, I never gave much thought to last names at all... until a little over a year ago when it became apparent we would need to provide someone with one.

The one thing that was never on the table for us was hyphenating. This is 100% MY opinion for MY family, so I hope that I don't offend anyone with my explanation, but here goes: I was opposed for the obvious reasons - it makes for a last name that is cumbersome, long, awkward, etc., but the deal-breaker for me was that I wanted to equip Elliot with a name that would leave him all of the options to make when he is an adult and has his own family. In 20-something years, when he decides to spend the rest of his life with Ms. or Mr. Wonderful, I want HIM to be able to keep his name, take his/hers, or hyphenate the two. Hyphenated names are like T intersections in this scenario - you can turn left or right, but you can't continue forward on the same road. Can you imagine if he took theirs ALSO and had three last names? What if Ms. or Mr. Wonderful has a hyphenated last name of his/her own - they could put them together and each have four! Anyway, I just wanted to make things as simple as possible for him, both now and later, by giving him a straight-forward, single last name. Again, MY preference. I am not placing judgement upon anyone that came down on a different side of this complicated decision.

The decision to give him M's last name was mine. She was pretty uncomfortable with it at first. She didn't want my family to think she asked for that, and she felt bad that he and I wouldn't have the same name. I was adamant for two reasons: First, I felt that since I had the privilege of carrying him, she should have her own unique connection to him as well. Second, I didn't know if and when we would pursue a second-parent adoption, and I figured if they had the same last name, it would grease the wheels for her with his schools, doctors, daycares, and so on. Of course it doesn't make her his legal parent, but it might make some people forget they need to ask, and when you're in our shoes, that's a valuable thing.

I thought I was completely okay with him not having my last name, and once I got over the initial weirdness, I was, for a while. In the last couple of months, I have felt my Mama Bear instincts slowly emerging and I feel this intense need to define our family - K, M & E - as distinct from my family of origin. If we were legally married or Elliot was our direct biological offspring, I think that might alleviate the need for me a bit, but we're not and he's not. I still think we'll complete a second-parent adoption, although I don't know exactly when or how. But I want to do more. 2/3 of my family has one last name and I have another. The answer seems obvious, and yet I feel so much internal resistance.

I would love to unpack that a little more but I'm literally falling asleep typing this, so I'm going to leave it here for now, but I'll be back to work on this more soon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Da Bears (warning: pics)

OK, I'm going to level with you. I got nothin' interesting to post about tonight, and no energy left to do it with. Today was one of the longest work days of my life. After I got off, I picked E up at daycare and headed back to work to finish up a couple of things, then fought traffic all the way home to drop him off, then all the way back downtown for a meeting, then all the way BACK out past my house to the airport to pick up my parents. Between 5:30 and 9:30pm, I estimate I spent just over 2 hours in the car. I am done.

So, call me lazy, but I'm using the free space on my NaBloPoMo bingo card tonight and posting some pictures. I fully admit it's a cop out.

I don't think I've posted these here before, or at least not all together. I wish we'd thought to take one right after he was born, but it took us a while to find the ground beneath us, let alone do anything that required forethought or creativity.

Without further adieu, I present, The Bear Pictures:

One month old:

Two months old:

Three months old:

Four months old:

Five months old:

Six months old:

Seven months old:

Eight months old:

Where did my baby go?!

I'm calling it a night. I'll do better tomorrow.

p.s. My cousin's baby arrived late last night, by c-section, after a couple of hours of pushing. Her labor experience may have started out differently, but it ended up eerily similar to ours. He's smaller than Elliot was: 7 lbs., 11 oz. and 21 inches long. Everyone is reported to be doing well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beware, it's a boring one.

I'm wiped so this is going to be short and possibly probably disjointed.

The kiddo is still awake (over an hour past his bedtime) and I'm sure it's because we had the audacity to disrupt his nighttime routine with a book signing, so yeah, mother of the year again right here. Actually, M has just emerged from his bedroom, sans baby, so perhaps he IS asleep now. We'll see. She says she has doubts he's really down for the count.

My cousin is in labor, as she has been all day. She was induced yesterday afternoon from 0 dilation and 0% effacement after her water broke. As of this morning, she was only dilated a centimeter so her chances of avoiding a c-se.ction were looking grim. Amazingly, her doctor let her go quite a bit over the 24 hour mark and as of about an hour ago, we heard she had made it to 10 and was practicing pushing! I hope it is going well. I know it could still be a while. I pushed for over three hours and that still didn't get him here. What is it with babies in our family taking their sweet time coming out? The nerve!

My parents arrive tomorrow for a long visit. I'm really looking forward to seeing them, and I'm also looking forward to exploiting them for free babysitting. M and I have several dates planned already. I took advantage of their visit to take several days off work, so I'm looking forward to that as well.

Our little stander slept through the night last night. I'm not expecting it to happen again tonight... but it would be nice, wouldn't it? :-) When do Grandma and Grandpa arrive again? Grandma loves the night shift, crazy lady.

Monday, November 16, 2009

good news and bad news

First, the bad: Crying baby at 3am last night. Nooo!

The good (for me): M responded to my 3am elbowing and got up with him. She successfully settled him back down with none of the multi-hour antics he and I went through the night before.

I have a theory. Now that he pulls himself up to standing at every opportunity, I think he's doing this every time he floats toward consciousness, whether he's ready to wake up or not. In the past, he'd probably lay there for a minute and drift back off to sleep, but not anymore.

He has NEVER alerted us that he was awake by crying before. He always seemed to wake up slowly and we'd hear him in his room, babbling contentedly, then go in to find him smiling and happy. Lately, all naps and nighttime sleeps have ended with us hearing loud, unhappy cries and going into find a groggy, grumpy baby standing in his crib. His eyes are barely open half the time. It's like he doesn't really want to be awake yet but his body got him up anyway. When this happens in the middle of the night, he's especially pissed to be awake. Can't say I don't share your frustration, kiddo!

So, will the novelty of pulling up wear off? How do we convince him not to do this in the middle of the night? What a strange (and inconvenient) side-effect of his new-found skill!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

shock to the system

I have been very hesitant to admit to anyone to what a completely awesome, amazing, wonderful, fantastic sleeper Elliot is. I'm terrified of jinxing it. The reality is that for a while now (cough, past three months), he has been sleeping really, really well (cough, cough, 10+ hours per night, uninterrupted). We had a hiccup on our recent trip across a couple of time zones where his routine was off enough that he didn't sleep straight through the night, but he was easy to get back down with a bottle and a few minutes of rocking, and after a night or two, he was back to normal.

Last night, he and I were wide awake from 2am until nearly 4am, and dozing on and off until 5am when I finally got him settled back into his crib. I have NO IDEA what was going on. He was acting a little weird (aside from being awake, which was weird enough in itself) and he was covered in a cold sweat, but I suspect the latter was just due to the fact that I was holding him against me in a blanket sleeper for hours and his body was reacting to the sauna-like conditions. Anyway, he seems fine today - no signs of illness or anything. M thinks she might not have fed him enough during the day yesterday (I was out and she had solo parenting duty) so I'm really hoping he was just too hungry to sleep through, then was so thrown off by being awake that he couldn't get back to sleep easily. I am familiar with the horror stories about babies who slept perfectly until 8 or 12 or 18 months, only to morph into sleeping terrors, and I hope hope hope that is not be what we are moving into. My heart goes out to those parents - I truly do not know how they do it. Sleep is so essential to my patience and coping ability.

In short, I'm SO out of practice on the nighttime duty (on accounta being luckier than any girl should be and I'll understand if you all hate me now) and I'd love to stay that way, if it's not too much to ask. Pretty please and thank you. :-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

an hour well spent

Warning: Mushy baby story ahead. Proceed (or not) by your own discretion.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, there's a baby gate in our house. I don't know why this feels worth talking about considering there's an actual BABY in our house, so the gate is pretty small potatoes, relatively speaking. I guess it's just one of those iconic items for me. I spent so long feeling like stuff like that belonged in everyone else's world but mine. But what do you know? We brought one home last week and M screwed it into the studs at the top of the staircase into our basement. It is clear that a baby lives in our house. Crazy.

He has become so mobile so quickly over the past few days. He went from crawling to zooming around to pulling up to furniture-walking in a matter of days. He's also 8 months old today. The speed with which he is growing up is affecting me a bit, I think...

I was trying to put Elliot down for a nap this afternoon and he was putting up one heck of a fight. When he gets really tired, he gets super-cranky and he stiffens and thrashes and can't relax enough to sleep. He's really strong and it's hard not to get frustrated when he fights like that. I'll admit that it is usually with no small sense of relief that I settle him into his crib after one of those episodes. When he finally did pass out this time, he was nestled against me so perfectly that I couldn't bear to let go of him. I put the foot rest up, leaned the recliner back, and laid there with him sleeping on me for almost an hour. As I was holding him, I tried to soak up every last bit of the experience; to memorize the feel of him. I know that before I know it, he will be too big and too "cool" to snuggle with like that. I feel hyper-sensitive to how quickly these days will be gone and how little sensory memory I'll be able to take with me.

Friday, November 13, 2009


A parent that shall remain nameless said the following tonight:

"You know what I like about this stage as opposed to, say, three weeks old? He isn't the source of my bad moods anymore, and actually, he fixes my bad moods. I come home feeling lousy and he's here and he's happy and it's just impossible to be grumpy around him."

One of the sayings in our house is "I am filled," which is our own shorthand for "I am filled with love and affection and pride and a thousand other good things toward you."

I am so filled.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


That's what I call Elliot when he's extra snotty, and it's the perfect reference for how I feel at the moment.

We got word today that M's mom was diagnosed with H1N1, or as my co-worker calls it, The Swine. Of course this news comes (a) on the heels of M's visit to her parents' house last weekend where her mom was sick in bed the whole time and (b) at the beginning of me coming down with some illness that has me feeling like my head is full of cotton balls. Awesome. I know H1N1 is respiratory (right?) and what I have seems much more like head-cold-with-a-side-of-sore-throat, so hopefully it's all just a coincidence.

Also in the "I hope this is just a coincidence" category, all reports from Elliot's daycare today were that he was inconsolable. I hope it isn't because he is getting sick, too. Maybe it's teething. Yeah, that's it... teething! (Please.)

He's been a little crabby at home the last couple of nights, too. I have chalked it up to the fact that he has become incredibly mobile overnight (literally) and he resents the restraints we have imposed upon him. I hope that is really all it is. It's been a big week in terms of his independence. He went from tentatively crawling a few steps at a time to speeding from one room to the next in the blink of an eye. We finally installed a baby gate at the top of the stairs last night, so that gives us a little peace of mind. We're still trying to figure out how to safeguard our brick fireplace hearth. He pulls up on EVERYTHING, but he hasn't yet learned to sit himself back down when he wants to move on to the next activity, so he looks around panicked for a minute and then starts whimpering to be rescued. It's both cute and nerve-wracking because I'm constantly watching him, trying not to intervene more than I have to but terrified that he's going to let go of whatever he's holding on to and crack his head on the ground. He hasn't yet, knock on wood. He seems to understand that he can't let go of whatever he's holding on to, he just can't figure out what he CAN do yet.

I can't believe he's nearly 8 months old. If I'd gotten a BFP when he was born, I'd be due around now. Baby time goes so much faster than waiting-for-baby time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

some random thoughts

Thank you so much for the input on my Creme selection! It's so hard to be objective when it comes to your own stuff. I appreciate the advice.

So, I recently underwent a little project to clean up my blog. Those of you following on readers are aware of it because you had random posts flying at you about IUIs and BFNs and sperm counts each time I had a date-stamping snafu. When I moved to this blog from my former home, I copied all of my previous posts into one big catch-up post. This worked fine to catch people up, but lately I've been wanting to go through some of my archives and it's hard to find things when they aren't separated out by the date they were written. It's done now and my clean, chronologically-sound archives index makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My next project might even include... wait for it... tags. I know, I know, I am truly a blogging wonder.

An interesting thing happened to me while I was working on my little project. I made the mistake of copying them over in reverse chronological order, so like from try #9 (or something like that) back to the beginning and into our pre-ttc planning stages. Reliving your journey in reverse is a truly horrifying experience and I don't recommend it. With each post I copied over, I was getting more optimistic and bubbly instead of less. It was like watching a car crash in slow motion and knowing there is no way to stop it. I wanted to shake the computer monitor and scold myself for my naivete: "It doesn't work! That never worked! Nope, this time will not be different. Ugh, you sound like such a sucker going on about this symptom or that hunch! I am embarrassed for you, truly." I was so adorable and clueless. It's one thing to smile and nod at another bright-eyed newbie. It's another when that bright-eyed newbie is yourself. I really had to fight the urge to edit out some of my Pollyanna musings during those first few tries.

That said, it was neat reading through my thoughts from other times along the way. M and I were talking last night about my blog (I made her vote on the Creme nominees, too!) and she mentioned that she is really glad I kept one throughout our process. From a practical standpoint, it provides a record of what, when, where and how everything took place. It's amazing how many details we have forgotten already. From an emotional standpoint, it's an invaluable time capsule that contains my every thought, hope and fear as we moved through each stage. At some point, I'd like to print and bind the entries from the beginning through Elliot's birth. I think I'd even like him to read them someday. He would need to be old enough to understand it and not get freaked out by it, so what is that... about 35 years old? LOL. I might edit out a few of the more graphic details (but everything relating to breaking laws is in!) and some of my angrier rants, but when he is old enough to see the forest and not the trees, I hope he would read it as a story about how much M and I love him, and have always loved him, even before we knew him. I like to think he'd be proud of how hard we fought for him and impressed by some of the gutsy things we did to get him here.

In mostly unrelated news, I read this hysterical blog where the author has a daughter exactly one month older than Elliot, to the day. She just posted about planning for an FET in the spring. *crickets* Seriously?! I guess that would give her (us) kids about two years apart. Holy crap. I am soooo not ready to go through ttc again any time soon. (Go ahead and exhale, M.)

I was thinking about this post in the shower this morning and I realized I wanted to clarify this last bit. I am in no way judging this woman for her timeline. My brother and I are two years apart and I always thought it was a good separation - probably one I would try to replicate in my own family someday. My "Seriously?!" wasn't aimed at her making the decision to pursue an FET in the near future, it was in reponse to the reality that we're approaching that time and if we wanted our own kids to be two years apart, we'd have to start trying again in a mere six months or so. That thought is just very overwhelming to me and my hat is off to those who are able to face it head on!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

eeney meeney miney...

It's time for The Creme de la Creme again! I have to admit I like the Roundup Extravaganza better - it's so nice to be relieved of the pressure of choosing your own best post! I am very bad at the choosing. Case in point = this post.

I have narrowed it down to three options but now I'm stuck so I'm asking for input. If you aren't drowning in NaBloPoMo posts and have time to read three more, take a look at these and let me know which one is your favorite.

Thanks to anyone who wades through these and gives me their input! I would be positively thrilled to return the favor if you're having trouble picking your submission. 'Cause you are submitting something, right? ;-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

home sweet home

I am home, praise the everloving deity of your choice. If only I didn't have to go to work tomorrow. That would rock.

For tonight's post, I bring you... pictures. Again! This time, it isn't (just) because I'm lazy, though. Meegs over at A New Day is picking nursery colors and she's considering a shade that looks exactly like the one we used. I don't think I ever posted any nursery pics here, so I figured now was as good a time as any. Good luck with your decision, Meegs!

And one more nursery pic... This is how I found things when I went in to get the kiddo up on Thursday morning:

What a surprise to find him STANDING in his crib! What's next, a motorcycle? (Guess it's time to take the bumpers out. Eek!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

last one

Did I mention I've been posting via iPhone since Thursday? If you've been wondering why my posts look as though they could use a good proof-reading, that's why. The phone will let me type and post, but scrolling back up through the box to check over what I've written? Oh nooooo! That would be too helpful.

Anywho, we're headed home tomorrow and my full-size keyboard and I intend to make up for the less than awesome posting that's been going on lately. Thanks for hanging in there with me. :-)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

one down, one to go

My grandfather's memorial was today. It wasn't an official service - there was one of those but we weren't exactly invited. Long story. Anyway, my aunts and uncles and cousins came together to hold our own observance of his life, and it felt a little insufficient, but it was probably the best course of action we could take given all of the variables.

I have hazy, non-specific memories of my grandfather from my early childhood where he is happy and affectionate and sober. Unfortunately, the alcohol and his own bitterness progressively took center stage over the last 15+ years so all of my sharper memories of him are... well... less than warm and fuzzy. He generally tolerated the gay thing okay, which is to say that although he struggled to make eye contact with me (or M on the one occassion they shared physical space), he still spoke to me. When Elliot was born, I felt strongly that he travel to meethis only living great grandfather. I don't know if the baby factor crossed a line for him or he was just too drunk or sick by then, but he was outwardly hostile on that visit. Once I'd had my fill of inquiries about why I'd "given up" on men and comments about my son being a product of science rather than a relative, we decided to leave early. Henever held Elliot. That was the last time I saw him.

Tonight, I am trying to remember him as he was when I came into the world - loving, feisty, fun and hard-working - and I'm trying to forget the rest. The last few years were rough, but I have to remind myself there were many good times way back when. I just wish I could remember more of them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

on sucking it up

After spending all of yesterday on air travel, today I strapped Elliot into an unfamiliar car seat for a 4+ hour drive to stay with people he's never met and sleep in yet another random bed. Aren't I just mother of the year? Ah, the hoops we jump through for family. The truth of the matter is that I'm feeling a little grumpy and put out about this trip myself. It needed to happen, but that doesn't mean I can't complain about it, which brings us to tonights Word, er, I mean blog post:

One of the harder parts of being a parent, in my humble opinion, is never being able to check out of the less enjoyable times. It's days when you've been running around like a mad person and you'd give your right arm to take a nap, but the baby is wide awake and ready to play. This sounds terrible - oh, poor K, she has a baby that wants to play with her. Oh boo f'ing hoo! Don't get me wrong, I don't take that baby for granted for a second. I worked long and hard to get here and I am thankful every minute that he is here and he is mine... But that doesn't mean it's always a barrel of laughs. Sometimes, it's hard, like when you are up with a new baby every two hours around the clock. Totally worth it, but hard.

Today was one of those days. Elliot was righteously pissed when I had the audacity to strap him into his car seat. What I would have liked to have done is said "I'm with you, buddy! This blows, let's throw a temper tantrum and see if we can get out of this altogether." Then I probably would have moped and pouted like a surly teen until I realized it was futile then put in headphones and napped for the rest of the drive. Instead, I talked and sang and made faces and bribed and was basically "on" full-throttle from door to door while Elliot fussed. Not poor me -I'm glad I have him to bring along to family gatherings - but getting us here was just... hard.

The one thing that is neat about those times is that when I'm able to take a step back from the situation, I can see how much I've changed since Elliot came along. I'm more mature than I used to be. Watching myself override my own exhaustion, frustration, or downright misery to care for him makes me feel like a real parent for a brief moment.

Tomorrow we stay where we are, then the next day is the return drive and Monday is the return flight. Lots of feeling like a real parent in my future.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


The E man and I travelled all day today. We left our house 13 hours ago and only just arrived at our destination. I am SO tired.

I feel like I could sleep for a day - that deep, zombie-like sleep where you wake up in exactly the same position you fell asleep in. Unfortunately, I can't as the E man and I are sharing a bed and I'm totally freaked out I won't hear him wake up and he'll find and crawl off some unprotected six inches of the edge of the bed and get a concussion. (yes, paranoia is my middle name)

Tomorrow, a four-hour road trip, sure to take twice as long on accounta the backseat driver.

Aaaand, I'm falling asleep as I type so I'm going to wrap this up before I slip into nonsense words.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cinderella post

I have about six minutes before my stagecoach turns into a pumpkin here.

I have finally finished watching the DVDs but I still have all the grade sheets to fill out. Aaaaah!

Elliot and I leave tomorrow on a long plane trip and I couldn't be looking forward to it less. He's really too big to hold on my lap for 4+ hours, especially with a stranger sitting half an inch off my elbow. And lets not even mention the fact that I haven't packed yet. M has been pulling things together for me for the last half hour or so and I'm not in bad shape, but I soooo just want to go to bed, and that is an hour away, if not longer. :-(

Thanks for the compliments on my little monkey. M and I were pretty excited to discover that costume. As I tell people in regards to the availability of donor sperm, it's amazing the things you can buy on the internet! ;-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

that was fast

It's day three and I'm already resorting to pictures. Oy vey.

In my defense, I DID write a post tonight. It was a long and thoughtful one, too! Unfortunately, it's not quite ready for public consumption and I spent so much time writing it that I don't have time to write something else because I still have student DVDs to watch tonight. Blah.

So, lucky you! You are spared my armchair philosophizing for tonight and instead get to see pictures of our little sock monkey on his first Halloween.

Monday, November 2, 2009

food, glorious food

OK, I need to make this quick because it's after 11pm and my brain is mush from grading. Did I mention I'm TAing a grad course this semester? I've just spent the last two hours watching individual therapy role-play DVDs and I couldn't generate an engaging post right now if my life depended on it.

So in lieu of something thoughtful, I have a question, no, two questions:

We've been doing the conventional food introduction thing for a while now (minimally allergenic foods, pureed and introduced 3-4 days apart) and we finally have a decent list of tested foods to draw from, including avocados, apricots, apples, peaches, pears, mangoes, bananas, watermelon, peas, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, zucchini, rice cereal, oatmeal, multi-grain cereal, teething biscuits... I think that's it. We're making the bulk of his food (95% or more, if you don't count the cereal) and it is totally satisfying to puree up a bunch of fresh, yummy foods for him. So far, all of this has worked very well for us, but I've been doing the math and I'm realizing that if we stick with this technique indefinitely, he'll be in high school before we've safely introduced enough ingredients for him to order anything off the average restaurant menu. (OK, not really, but you get my point.) It's not practical to keep up this pace, so (first question) when does the conservative approach say it's okay to ditch the 3-4 day waiting period between foods? Anyone know?

Also (second question), will someone give me the scoop on the more adventurous food introduction programs out there? I'm talking about baby l.ed wea.ning and the like. How does it work? Why is it okay? How do you trace back allergic reactions when they appear? How can a baby eat table food when they only have 1.5 teeth? Elliot balks if I mash his banana or avocado instead of pureeing it. Explain it to me like I'm in kindergarten, will you? Please?

P.S. I'm probably in on the NaBloPoMo thing. In addition to being afraid of failing at things, I'm also lousy at recognizing my limits. It's an illness.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

on the fence

I'm going back and forth on whether or not to do the NaBloPoMo thing. I'd really like to post more often, and I have a back-up of topics in my brain right now (because I've been crazy busy and did I mention I did a whole week as a single parent and oh my god, I admired you single mamas before but now I have a whole new appreciation for all that you do in a 24 hour period), and I LOVE being on the reading end the November post tsunami and feel I should do my part by contributing to it for once.

All of that said, I'm about to head out of town for 5 days with little or no internet access, and my parents are visiting for nearly 2 weeks around Thanksgiving, and these things make me think this isn't the month to take on a daily online commitment.

All of THAT said, I may do it anyway, and because I have a pathological need to follow rules, I'm posting this entry today to cover myself, in case I DO decide to do it, because lord knows I wouldn't want to mess up on the first day.

So, my options are open. Perhaps I'll do my own variation - a NaBloPoMoIntCon&ParViSchedWil*, if you will. I'll keep you posted... ha ha.

*National Blog Posting Month, Internet Connection & Parent Visitation Schedule Willing

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

yup, I did it again

...and probably will do it several more times because, apparently, I'm really bad at this. Feel free to take me off your reader for the next few days while I finish my little project. Or keep me on there and laugh as I make the same mistake over and over and over again. Up to you. :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

umm... oops

For any of you who read this blog via reader and just saw a bizarre post about us being on try #9, please disregard. That is wrong. Sooooo very wrong. :-)

RTS is currently experiencing technical difficulties (read: user error).

I'm doing some housekeeping and separating out old posts that were C&Ped in a chunk and I put the wrong date (2009 instead of 2007) on one of the posts I was copying over.

Sorry for any confusion!

Friday, October 23, 2009

island hopping

I’ve been participating in Blogger Bingo all week (which is good times, by the way, and you should totally participate in the next round) and this has led me to many blogs I would not otherwise have clicked on. The women who write them are dramatically different than me in so many ways. Even on the one thing we all have in common – our experiences with infertility and/or loss – our stories come from every far-flung corner of the map. Beyond that, the differences only become more pronounced. Most of the blogs on the list are written by heterosexual women – no surprise there – and I’ve learned quite a bit about male factor infertility this week. :-) Many of the blogs are written by people who list their religious affiliation (usually Chris.tian or Cath.olic) within the first dozen words of their “about me” section. I’ll admit that when these blogs open on my monitor, I feel a pinch of… something. I don’t know what, really. Resistance? Discomfort? Ultimately, it’s a form of paranoia because the thought that accompanies the feeling is “I bet these people hate me.”

Slight tangent: My travels have made me realize what a tiny, sheltered corner of the infertility blogosphere I hang out in. I’ve been at this infertility blogging thing for years and I thought I pretty much knew my way around. It turns out, I’ve merely been traipsing (pirouetting? pride marching?) around my own little rainbow-colored island, and as it turns out, I'm on a tiny island in comparison to the rest of the chain. I knew it was out there, I guess I just didn't realize how vast it actually was. Perhaps the rest of you rainbow island bloggers are already hip to this scene.

So back to the religious bloggers I mentioned: I’ll admit to having a twinge-y “Wow, this person is SO different from me!” reaction as I survey their blogs, but beyond that, I really don’t have a hard-wired feeling toward them either way. I feel empathy for their TTC journeys and I respect the love they have for their families. I’m fairly sure we’d mutually decide not to be BFFs if we knew each other in real life, but my judgment of them stops there. HOWEVER, I don’t subscribe to a philosophical framework that says they are immoral, evil or otherwise objectionable, and I know that some of them do, about me. I also know that they have been clicking on my blog this week too, and I wonder what their reaction is when they arrive here. I know what I hope. I hope that they will read my words, as I have theirs, and realize that maybe we’re not that different when it really comes down to the things that matter. I hope they’ll see pictures of my happy, healthy son and understand how fiercely I love him and think for just a second that maybe lesbians can also be good parents. And if all of that is too much to hope for, then I guess I hope they leave my blog as quickly as they came and keep their sentiments to themselves, because this is my island, and I was respectful on my visit to theirs. So far, so good, but I do wonder what they think.

I have another post brewing about my participation in Blogger Bingo thus far, but it’s really different and I don’t want to take this post in that direction, so I’ll save it for another day.

Updates? I got 'em.

Here are a few updates from our neck of the woods, in no particular order:

The diaper rash I mentioned in my last post turned into a yeast infection and it looks unbelievably terrible. It took us entirely too long to figure out what was going on and I feel so guilty that he was suffering with it all that time while we kept smearing useless diaper rash cream on it like the dummies we are. M had to keep reassuring me that we're first-time parents - this is just how it has to go sometimes as we find our way. I still feel awful. AWFUL. We started an antifungal cream last night and I am really hopeful that this will finally bring him some relief. I really miss his cloth diapers and can't wait to get him back into 'em.

M has to leave town on business for almost a week! I'm about to get our almost-crawler through six bedtimes, five weekday morning routines, and everything in between all by myself. Send good thoughts. And chocolate.

I'm hanging with inlocoparentis this weekend. I'm gonna feel her baby kick. She'll probably feel my baby kick too, because he's a wild man who will not be contained. I'm pretty excited about the whole affair.

I made a killing at one of those giant garage sale events last weekend. I got something like 4 or 5 long-sleeve onesies, 2 button-down shirts, 4 or 5 pairs of pants and 3 PJ sets - all for $14.00 and all high-quality brands in great condition. Keeping up with this kid's revolving wardrobe is quite the challenge. He's firmly into the 12-18 month sizes now (at 7 months) and starting to wear a few 18-24s here and there. I feel like his closet is decently stocked for the moment, but I know it won't last long.

When I dropped Elliot at daycare this morning, I sat him down on the floor and two other little guys promptly wandered/crawled over to sit with him. The three of them sat in a tiny circle, silently playing with the toys in the center. The eldest (all of about 20 months old) reached down and gently moved a toy closer to Elliot so he could reach it. As I was leaving, I called out Elliot's name (which he seems to have learned over the past few days) to say goodbye and he looked up at me and smiled the sweetest, most contented smile. The whole scene was so adorable it made me ache. It's funny, there are many parts of being a mom that I looked forward to, but it's often the things I didn't even know to anticipate that are the most surprisingly, amazingly wonderful.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I quit breastfeeding over the weekend. I thought I'd want to share more during my process of reaching this point. I composed a couple of posts in my head last week as I tried to understand and make peace with the coming change, but it ended up being something I wanted to do quietly and on my own. The preparing to quit was much harder than the quitting. I felt some pangs during my final pumping session and again during our final feeding, but overall, the transition has been relatively easy. Perhaps I didn't need to go through so much angst getting here, or maybe it was the experiencing of the angst beforehand that allowed me to pass over the threshold itself without much fanfare.

I felt really sad last week, knowing the end was near. I was (and always have been) pumping multiple times a day and taking herbal supplements but my supply was (and always has been) slowly declining despite my efforts. I think with the c-section and being separated from Elliot for the first week, and then with all of the latch/pain difficulties we had in the early weeks, my supply never really got that initial jump start it needed to get off the ground. Then, when I couldn't keep up with his growing appetite, we needed more and more supplementation which caused my supply to dwindle all the more. For the last two weeks, I was pumping 2-3 times per day and yielding less than four ounces total. It became apparent that I'd fallen into the zone where the ends no longer justified the means. My only decision was whether I was going to wait for it to zero out completely or determine that I was close enough to call it. Pumping was a time-consuming activity that significantly disrupted my work day. It was worth it when I was generating a tangible amount of breast milk, but four ounces isn't even enough to provide Elliot with one full bottle the next day, and I wasn't even getting that some days. The exercise had become an assault on my self-esteem, as well. Watching my body defy my wishes on a daily basis was so depleting. The last thing my infertile soul needs is one more reminder that I can't make my body do anything it doesn't want to. Our evening feeds weren't going well either. Elliot had become so impatient with my low supply that he simply refused to nurse once the initial surge passed and we were resorting to bottles at night for the first time.

I wasn't sure when or how I would stop - only that I didn't want to rush the process. Then at the end of last week, it finally felt like the right time, and Elliot and I quietly segued into a new phase in our relationship.

I have been terribly sad to feel that I failed at something I wanted to do (breastfeeding him for the first year) and embarrassed that my body wasn't able to perform such a basic, innate task. I am still sad now to think that I no longer have any lingering physical connection to Elliot. Breastfeeding was the last biological echo of my having carried him for nine months. I am happy that this change puts M and I on more equal ground, but selfishly, I'm sad to close the door on the special connection he and I have had since his conception. It's like the final severing of the umbilical cord or something.

All of that said, I'm actually enjoying NOT nursing him more than I expected. I love not wearing nursing bras every day; I love choosing outfits based upon criteria other than ease of breast access. I have completely overloaded myself with dairy over the last couple of days (no really, overloaded) and I'm loving eating cheese and milk and yogurt and yes, ice cream again. I'm enjoying not battling Elliot to nurse. It's a relief to spare both of us his frustration and disappointment with what I had to offer. In short, I think stopping was a very good decision. I'm trying to embrace that and take pride in the fact that I persevered through seven challenging months. I gave him the best start I could and I stopped when it made sense for us. I wish we could have kept it up longer but I'm learning to be flexible. :-)

Things are going really well in all other areas. Over the last couple of months, it feels as though the balance has shifted to less work and more pleasure. I suspect this is a combination of several factors including Elliot's temperament mellowing as he matures, our parenting skills sharpening with time and practice, and all of us getting to know each other and finding our new normal as a family of three. We're in a neat stage, sandwiched between the unrelenting demands of the newborn period and the awe-inspiring defiance of the toddler era. Right now we have a sweet, easy-going, inquisitive little boy on our hands and life is pretty darn good.

Elliot had his first tooth break through over the weekend. He also took his first few crawling "steps" with several instances of coordinated hand and knee movement, each one followed by a dramatic collapse, of course. Honest-to-goodness crawling can't be far off (Lord help us). We lowered his crib mattress to the lowest setting after he started using the bars to pull himself upward. We also experienced our first diaper rash this weekend. Poor little guy had some wicked red welts and had to spend several days in ointment and disposables. You could say it was kind of a big weekend. ;-)

Also this weekend, we had more professional pictures taken. And to leave it on that note...

Hope everyone is enjoying their Fall!