6.29.2006

Oh, Right

Accepting that I don't quite fit into my shorts from my Previous Life, and being seriously goddamn sick of the 2 pairs I bought in March and have been rotating ever since, I gave in and went looking for 'transitional' clothes. For this joyous time where my body is slowly returning to it's normal size but is still completely misshapen.

I saw a whole section of 'transitional' clothes at babystiiiile but all those skirts and flouncy shirts are so blase. I prefer the more daring look of cargo shirts and a t-shirt.

So I took Val and went to Sports Bazement. I found some items to try and was absolutely perplexed when they didn't 'fit.'

A few minuets later I remembered that when you have pants with a zipper and a button, you need to unbutton and unzip them before putting them on.

I also went to REI where I finally replaced my 3 year old Keens with the same pair, but new. There I learned about breastfeeding in a dressing room and trying on shoes one-handed because my baby had had ENOUGH of her car seat. She was lonely and I didn't blame her so into my arms she went.

At the checkout counter, I gave our phone number since we're members. Only it's in Andrea's name (adding me: low priority, it's only been 10 years but we only shop there about twice a year) so the clerk was confused when I wanted to use the dividend. I said Andrea is my partner and she took the opportunity to ask if we'd adopted Val.

No, I said. We made her ourselves.

I imagine that won't be the last time we get asked that, since you know, between 2 women it would be pretty hard to get pregnant and have a biological child. It's not like you could, say, buy donor sperm or anything. That question cheezed me quite a bit and I'm still working through why, beyond the obvious hey pregnancy was hard (let's not even talk about labor, which was oh so fun and easy and a terrific forum for the modest) and I deserve some credit for the effort of carrying Val. Which is contradictory to the equally annoying who's the 'mother' question, I know.

Bear with me. Some of this is complicated.

Back to my day... A quick final stop at Old N@vy found me some cheapass shorts with no elastic at all. None. The size mortifies me but I'm one important step closer to feeling like myself again.

Yesterday was also the day Val starting cooing back at me when I sang to her. Pure magic, moments like those.

I should also mention for the record that Val slept 5 hours in a row 2 nights ago. Nice work, kid.

6.27.2006

He Had A Sense Of Humor


Gus
Originally uploaded by liz2d2.

That's for damn sure. I really hate that he's not here anymore.

Our House

Is a bit less crowded now and quieter. I do not have to walk around Gus, who managed to block the entire doorway every time he ate, nor do I hear him clip-clopping around with a stuffed animal in his mouth.

I don't like it very much at all.

6.26.2006

It's Not All Sad

A wee baby just won't let it be. I'm pleased to report that Val just discovered that the baby in the mirror above her changing table is THE SAME BABY you can see above the magic swing.

Val is swinging while I inhale some carbs, staring at that baby in the mirror, and yes, flirting. With herself. There is much cooing and smiling and waving of arms. This is the funniest thing she's done yet.

The Last Walk

We waited as long as we could, maybe even a little too long because in the end, when it was time to take Gus in, we had to lift him up then carry him down the stairs using a towel under his back end as a handle.

"You're way too light," Andrea told him.

He just did his best to walk to the car. We helped him in and he collapsed in a heap. When we got to the vet, we helped him get out and then he peed a lake. Because even though he was dying, he wouldn't pee in the house.

That's who he was.

We got settled in an exam room and the baby decided to fill her diaper. So even at Gus' last moments, he wasn't always the center of attention. That's how he was, absolutely undemanding, just grateful to be part of our family and to have a soft warm place to sleep. And stuffed toys to carry around.

His breathing was so labored, his bones showed in all directions. Hips, ribs, his skull visible. He perked up for the doctor, lifting his head but the effort was too great and it fell back to the floor.

It did not rise again.

They shaved his leg, found a vein and I just stroked his head. I told him I loved him, and the last words he heard were "thanks for picking me."

It was so peaceful, I think because he was already most of the way gone from this world when we got there.

Farewell, sweet Gus. You were all things, sweet, respectful, kind, lovely and wonderful. You'll always be missed, I'll always be your mom.

Sweet dreams my boy. May your days be filled with birds to chase and your nights filled with stuffed toys to carry around. I'm proud to have provided those animals these last 5 years.

6.25.2006

Adventures In Public

We were sitting in a coffee shop the other day, minding our own bidness, when a random woman walked up to interrupt us and admire the baby. Fine, great, yep she's cute all right. Now move it along.

Only she didn't. She blathered on about some baby she knew in Sacramento, a baby who was half Asian and whose Asian parent felt left out because their kid looked like a honky. I care why?

On and on and on she went, then asked a question that is none of her goddamn business: who's the mother? In a vain attempt to shut her up, we both said 'we both are,' with the implication of that statement being 'that is all we are going to tell you about that.'

But getting the hint on that requires a level of understanding this woman obviously didn't have. So she persisted and asked which one of us gave birth.

Jesus christ lady. Please explain to me how that is ANY of your bidness. Though we'd talked about how to answer this before Val was born, I don't think we had anything clever lined up. So in another vain attempt to make her go away Andrea told her.

Eventually she did leave but the question left a bad taste in my mouth. Obviously if you're reading this, you know that my ass was the one that carried Val. But strangers don't know and why should they? And where do they get off asking?

So I think I've figured it out. We'll say something like 'that's the baby's story and we're not going to share it with strangers before she gets to know it.'

Sometimes It's A Bit Much

SF Pride: yes we went. Even at the tail end of the parade it was way too fucking crowded for my tastes. Add to that having your wee baby in tow and no even remotely clean place to change a diaper let alone sit down to feed her (which is why there were bottles along for the ride. She did not starve) and the stress level quickly outweighs the 'fun' of wading through monstrous crowds.

Val: Lots of rage last night while Andrea was out playing hockey. Rage is best served to 2 parents at a time, even if that makes them both tired.

She ate so much yesterday and I ate so little, we wound up wolfing down protein at hot pot citay late last night in a vain attempt to catch me up while a steady stream of employees admired her. I don't think im quite caught up yet because I still feel like crap.

Gus: he's skin and bones, can't get up. When I help him up his foot knuckles under the way Alice's did at the end. He wobbles and his back legs bow out but he still goes outside to pee. He's been as comfortable as I can make him this weekend, right now he's laying beside my chair, looking out the front door. He looks awful and his breathing is so labored, but he's comfortable for now.

No matter how I want it to be different, we will say goodbye to him tonight. I have washed his bowl and put it away so we don't have to see it when we get home. He's the least demanding dog we've ever had, every day when he was well, he came up to me as if to say thanks for taking him out of the shelter. Had we not taken him home he would have been put to sleep that day in 2001.

He's had a good run here, I'm proud of how we've treated him and always will we love him.

6.24.2006

I Hesitate To Say Anything

But it looks like the death watch for Gus is back on. This heat wave has been hard on him. He's been quite uncomfortable all week, though it seemed he was getting by okay. But now he's back to not eating and he's getting pretty weak. And skinny, way too skinny.

As they say, the spirit is willing but the flesh, it is weak. And that's where we are with him. Trying to balance between the two, allowing him to be at home as long as possible without suffering.

But we're getting closer to that line, and to saying goodbye. I'm pretty sure we're out of miracles here. This time, it seems our guy is just fading away rather than actively falling apart. I'm pretty sure those are the terms he'd like to go out on and we're doing our best to let him do that.

6.23.2006

Guess Who's Back?

Last night I gave in to the urge and went to Belmont for a little hockey skills action. That's right, I dug out all my gear, including the now-returned largest pair of pants I own. Sadly, those pants are not red.

But I digress. Black pants and all, I remembered how to assemble it all, from the way to pack it into my smallish (for hockey) backpack to how to put it all on in the right order. Added bonus: my newly restored Dyke Haircut means that my old and spiffy helmet fits again!

On the ice, I totally took it easy. Didn't try to accelerate at all, really. Just skated. My shot is still intact, towards the end of the night I even could aim a little bit. Just like before, I pretty much just have a wrist shot. Nothing felt foreign, exactly, just a little bit far off. If that makes sense.

I'm still a few sessions away from being game-ready. But all the stuff fits and all the parts work like they used to, just slower. Even if I never get my speed back, I've still got my wrist shot. And gear that fits.

Yes, oh yes indeed, it felt great to be back. And great to come home to my amazing baby girl afterwards.

6.22.2006

One Area Where You Don't Really Want 100%

Is in the height/weight growth charts. Or hell, maybe you dobut we're plenty happy with Val getting a 75% in all areas. She's now 10 lbs!

And...the pediatrician couldn't hear her heart murmur at all. Phew phew phew.

She get her 2nd Hep B shot, the first she got in the hospital when I was too groggy to go and witness the carnage. But I was there today, nursing her in a vain attempt to shield her from feeling the pain.

Ha. She was eating happily when BAM the needle got her and omg that sucked so bad. Sooo bad. Val cried, I cried, Andrea held her and we all voiced our great displeasure at the mean needle.

Without going into great detail, I will say that when other moms tell you to pack extra clothes for yourself when you're breastfeeding, that they are right.

Too Soon!

The total of outfits Val never got to wear because she outgrew them before she had a chance is now 3. Too soon!

6.21.2006

Persistent Little Fuckers
We had Val's picture taken while we were still in the hospital. I'd been trolling the hospital website for a while beforehand, looking forward to the day when our kid would be there.

So once they've taken the pics, they go on the little website (and um, note to the folks who run this, it might be wise to protect them from just being saved right off the internet, you know, for free and then posting them on the parent's websites...) and the phone calls from the nice folks at the picture place begin. I just fielded my fourth call from them, after I said from deep within a groggy haze early one morning, we'll just order online.

Apparently, they'd REALLY like us to order some of thses pictures. And truth be told, I think we will. But seriously what is with people calling people with wee babies at early hours and being so goddamn persistent. Makes me want to not order except that well, the pictures turned out pretty cute. Damn them!

Bliss

Finally, I went skating tonight. It felt ridiculously good even though I was slow as mo-lasses and got really tired after a few minutes. But, I did some crossovers, stopped on both sides (it's been so long I can't remember which side was my good side), and at the very very end of the session, transitioned backwards, then back to forwards.

All moves looked like crap but the muscle memory was there. I've still got 3 weeks till I'm officially cleared to play games and I may actually end up needing most of that time to get my legs back under me.

But my skates fit and tonight while I skated, Andrea held Val up to the glass so my baby could see me skate.

6.19.2006

Indestructable

Yesterday morning Gus looked horrible. We figured this was it, that we'd really take him in to be put to sleep. Given that we had stuff to do in the afternoon, it was either go that instant or wait till we got back.

Since our vet's office is crowded during the day and they're open 24 hours, we figured lets go at night when it's calmer there. We go to Andrea's game (Val's first whole game post-birth!) then come home wondering what we'd find.

What we found was Gus, up and about, showing me his octopus? Huh? You were mostly dead this morning!

Andrea came in from hanging up her gear and I said 'I need to show you something,' which was Gus with the octopus. The stunned look on Andrea's face, and on mine, said it all.

From there, he ate Chex Mix and cheese and some rice. At dinner time we gave him baby food and rice, which he ate half of. Just as key, there was no blood on the floor or outside.

Today he's eaten a lot of rice, more baby food and was giving an eager eye to the breastmilk I'd pumped.

I have no idea what to think, all I know is that we'll love him until he's ready to move on.

6.18.2006

By Some Miracle

Val is sleeping and what am I doing? Watching Next. What the hell is wrong with me?

I'll tell you. One, stressing about Gus. Yeah, I know, stressing doesn't change anything but that doesn't mean I can stop worrying. Two (and this is dumb but so very real right now) being annoyed about how hot my hair feels. I had a few inches cut off at a local place and apparently the phrase 'all one length' meant something different to the chippie with the scissors than it did to me. It's just enough longer on my neck than in the front that it looks kinda weird when it's down and more importantly, it feels even hotter in the middle of the night than before I had it cut.

I had thought that getting it cut in stages would cut down on my hair trauma (the constant nitpicking of a new haircut until it grows just enough that I don't notice it anymore) but I think it's just making it worse. Time to figure out the logistics of getting to my tried and true stylist, er $10 haircut lady who doesn't seem to fuck up my hair, so I can chop this shit off.

Maybe once I've done that my dyke card will be reinstated. Until then, it's very hot on my neck.

6.17.2006

Hard To Tell

We'll, Gus has lost 4 more pounds. I'm guessing it happened this week. He saw the vet, got a whole bag of fluids and drugs to stop the flow of fluids from both ends of his body.

He ate what we offered him once we got home but his overall perkiness seems quite low. It's still touch and go. Methinks this is the last time we try to patch him up again. Whether he leaves us next week, next month or next year, we have done all we could for him and he's had a nice life with us.

Oh Gus

Never ceases to amaze us. He got up, looked semi-spry and ate the rice he'd ignored last night. We're still going to the vet but it looks like our boy ain't ready to go just yet.

Long Night

Val decided that last night was the right time to be up and perky, with intermittent screaming. When she finally settled down, I couldn't sleep because I was worrying about Gus.

I had to put him in a crate because he's made quite a mess in his ass region. I couldn't bear to clean up the house yet again so in he went. I let him out a few times during the night, making him wait until he was done dripping (yes, it's as gross as it sounds) then wait by the door with a towel so I could hold it over his butt to catch the drips on the way back to the crate.

Given that it may well have been his last night on earth, I feel like shit that he didn't get to sleep on his bed. But I have limits.

So, we're going into the vet, trying to keep our options open. We're willing to try fluids for a day to see if that perks him up and stops the bleeding. But if the vet doesn't think that's worth it, we'll agree.

I was trying to remember the last time Gus felt well. It's been so long now that I can't recall. He's had a good life with us and I know when his time comes, if it's later today or later this year, I know we will have done everything we could to preserve his quality of life for as long as possible.

But our house will be a lot quieter without the tap tap tap of his feet carrying a toy to show us.

6.16.2006

Not Good

For the 4th time today, I just cleaned blood and poop and puke off the kitchen floor. More importantly and way more sad, Gus just refused cheese.

There's a strong chance that he won't be coming home with us after the vet visit tomorrow. I know I've said that before but it's looking more and more like the truth.

The funny thing is? I'm sad, but not hysterical. I will never bond with a dog the way I did with Alice. I love Gus, but I know that we did all we could for him. We could do no more to make him comfortable or happy these last 4.5 years. Losing him will not rip my heart open the way losing Al did. Maybe that's because it won't be much of a surprise.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, I'll keep you posted on what the vet says, and what we decide to do. Sigh.

Month One

Ahhh, wee Valerie. Today you are one month old. In that time we've been through a lot as a family. Between you deciding to get wedged in my pelvis, leading to the c-section, me feeling like crap for a while afterwards and the long nights you've treated us tom it's been a long month.

It's also seemed like an instant, like I blinked and not only did you arrive, you turned our world upside down and opened my heart in ways I couldn't imagine possible.

Among your many skills include:

  • Projectile pooping
  • Projectile peeing
  • Nursing like a pro. This pleases me to no end, since before you were born, I wasn't really sure about the whole thing. But your willingness to get right on there has made it really easy for me to do it.
  • Charming strangers. Every time we take you somewhere at least one person leans over your car seat to admire your great beauty.
  • Charming friends and family.
  • Focusing on things in front of your wee face. As of this last week, that includes my face. Holy crap, you can see me! I see you too, and you are lovely!
  • Gas. Your farts put me to shame. And I assure you, dear daughter, that I'm no stranger to passing gas myself. But already you have me beat.
  • Doing kung fu in your sleep.
  • The best part? Your smile. That's new the last couple of weeks and man, it rules my world.
Before you were born, I wondered what you looked like. Would I recognize you, would I see your face and know you right away?

And when you came, of course I knew you. And you knew Andrea and I, turning to Andrea in the OR seconds after you arrived when she said 'Hallo!' You also knew the girls' voices right away and your Auntie Susan's too. And of course, mine.

I didn't get to hold you right away or see you for more than a second when you were first born, but when you finally were placed in my arms there in the recovery room, that was the moment I'd waited for all these months and really, all my life. Now it feels like you've been here forever and I can't remember what our family was like without you.

Your mom has amazed me in how good she is with you. Her ability to calm you when you're mad and to make me laugh when your cries get to be too much. I also love that I can hug her again without my big belly in the way. Having you outside of me is really the best place to have you. I know plenty of people love being pregnant, but I just wasn't one of them. What I wanted, dear Val, was you. Not a big belly.

Sometimes it's frustrating being your mom because you're upset and I don't know what you need. But eventually we figure it out together and you're okay again.

I've never lived with anyone who shared my genetic makeup before. When I look at you and see so much of me (except that you're much cuter) I sometimes don't know what to think. It's that overwhelming.

When I see your face and you smile at me, it makes me glad I went through all the nausea, the pain, the peeing, the horrible clothes, the heartburn. The missing hockey.

Happy one month birthday, Val. I can't wait to see what you do next, even if it looks like this:

What You Do

At the end of a loved one's life to care for them often adds up before you know it. Eventually you find yourself doing just one more thing to keep them going. One more pill, one more procedure, until there you are, following an old dog around, cleaning the shit off his tail and off your floor.

And then, a couple hours later, you do it again and wonder what it means, knowing that it's likely that it means your sweet old guy is at the end of the line.

So we're heading back to the vet with Gus tomorrow. Because he's so damn fragile and such a homebody, I'd rather give him a day at home than rush him in.

Because I do understand that this day is one of his last. I strongly doubt he'll be with us past this summer.

After Ellie and later, Alice died, I remember thinking my day had all this free time now. Because I didn't need to do all the little things that added up to end of life care for them. Of course I'd have done all that for longer if it would add up to a good quality of life, just like we're doing a lot for Gus now.

Overheard

On Dr. 90210, from a woman selling a particular brand of breast implant: 'A woman, without the breat implant who has a complex, she feels like a larva. And then she puts on x implants. She feels great. She flies away.'

And on Huff, where Russell and Huff go to this totally badass Korean karaoke bar, Russell's rendition of I Will Survive, which I am not doing justice to: Walk out the door Just turn around now 'Cause you're not welcome anymore No, god damn it When you decided to hurt me with good byes You think I'd crumble God damn it no way! You think I'd lay down and die Oh no not I Bitch No no! I will survive Let's sing! Ooh yeah! As long as I know how to love I KNOW I will survive I will survive, god damn it I've got all my life to give I've all got all my love to live I will survive god damn it I will survive Not I, no I will survive I need to survive I will survive motherfucker I'm surviving right now!

That last one goes out to my sister in disco, Amyfritz! Hey hey! We did survive, god damn it.

6.15.2006

A Better Night
I must be boring the shit out of the three of you because comments have dried up like a desert stream in the summer. It hurts, man, it hurts.

That's probably because I don't have a lot to say these days and I'm not blogging quite as often. That's due to the sheer volume of time I've been spending with a wee baby sucking the life out of me, trying to eat enough to support said life sucking efforts and doing laundry.

So here's what's happening at Chez Liz, Andrea y Valerie. Gus is holding his own, may have finally kicked the kennel cough. Patrick has decided that chewing off the base of his tail is a terrific idea. Rainie has decided that for real, she's in charge and needs to growl at everyone. Zeus is still Zeus, sniffing and licking constantly. When he's not barking. I'm still losing weight, but more slowly and I'm getting pretty tired of the spare tire that the post-baby deflation has brought. Sadly, I also don't quite fit into my hockey pants. At least not if I hope to actually skate in them. Lucky for me I have a couple of larger than my red pants pairs that have been on loan to a couple of folks for quite a while and I'm trying to track at least one of them down.

Andrea chatted with her parents this morning and that went better than the last time she called. Her mom glossed over the part about her grandchild but it was a pleasant discussion nonetheless and we're all breathing easier for it.

The best news around here is that Val slept reasonably well last night. The bad news about this is that while she was sleeping from 10pm-2am, we were convinced, CONVINCED, I tell you, that she was going to wake any minute and rage.

So we didn't go to bed when she was asleep. Us, we're not always all that bright.

We fully intended to go get one month old pics taken of Val but me getting a haircut (nothing too drastic, not just yet) screwed up Val's schedule enough that it's Night Time and we're still here.

I got the bill for my hospital stay. If there was one of those now-overdone MasterCard ads for it, here's how it would read:

  • Used crib bought from a nice man named Jesus: $140
  • Pre-paid OB costs for a vaginal delivery: $350
  • Total when the hopes of the above listed vaginal delivery went out the window in an instant: $47,912.
  • Excellent and beautiful baby that was the result of the $47,912 hospital stay: priceless
Yep, almost $50,000 is what it took for Val to arrive safely into this world. All I can say is thank anyone who will listen (including Carol, who got me the job that got me the insurance) that I have insurance good enough that our portion of that is a crapload less.

Gotta run, Priceless baby has needs.

6.14.2006

Thanks

To our really special neighbor who plays loud crappy music at constantly varying volumes via a speaker that is pointed at our house. Today he's treated me to Flashdance and now, Barry Manilow.

Dude, we're not living in a dorm here. Point those speakers back inside like everyone else, wouldya?

It's A Good Day


Smile!
Originally uploaded by liz2d2.

You'd smile too, if you were greeted by this.

Dear Baby, Part Two

Thanks for being cute. Because that whole other post I wrote earlier is now meaningless due to a sudden influx of rage. You're lucky your other mom is very patient with you when you're so upset and has a very large bag of 'calm the baby' tricks, because I am currently out of options.

I get it that the transition from my belly to the world is tough. I know sometimes that transition makes babies cry a lot when they first get here and oh boy do I respect that. The same transition, from carrying you in my belly to getting you here was a bit tough for me, too.

I fear that in addition to the funny parts of my gassy issues, you've also gotten the acid reflux that kicked my ass for years and years. Should that be the case, I hope we can fix it so you don't have to deal with the non-funny gas issues that I do.

In the meantime, I'm hoping your other mom can work her magic once again and calm what's making you so mad.

But even in the madness you'll stop for a moment and look at me with those big eyes and my heart, dearest Val, my heart skips a beat at the sight of you. Now please, lovely girl, let's all get some sleep.

Dear Baby

I love you. Thank you for not screaming right now. You are very cute when you are sucking on your pacifier like Maggie Simpson and staring at me with your bee-youtiful eyes.

But it is Night Time and people who have nights and days as regular parts of their lives would like to go to sleep. Think you could close those eyes now?

I thought I'd ask, though it is futile to do so.

PS Thank you again for not screaming. Yet.

6.13.2006

Signs Of Sleep Deprivation

1. Sit up with crying baby around 2 am reading People with pictures of the Brangelina Baby. Spend the rest of the night calling your own baby 'Not Brangelina Baby' and muttering about Namibia

2. Hold up the collection part of the breast pump like it's an air horn and make the air horn noise while doing so.

3. Laugh hysterically while doing both of the above, noting that the baby seems to enjoy bouncing on a laughing chest.

6.12.2006

One Up, One Down

It was inevitable. Val was going to grow. And she has, but this weekend we hit a bit of a milestone: a new diaper size. I don't know what it was, just something about seeing that little 'N' on those wee diapers made me smile. Now there's a '1' there, meaning that Val is growing, even a little at a time. She also finally fits into the outfit we'd thought she'd come home from the hospital in. When we put her in it the day we left, it was sooo huge I was grateful I'd brought a smaller-fitting backup.

That's the wee bummer about changing wardrobes. Along with Val's growth comes my shrinkage, which is of course, excellent. Today I sorted through the t-shirts in my closet and put all the maternity shirts I had in the basement, replacing them with a bunch of my regular t-shirts. I didn't get rid of them, I'm not quite ready to deal with whether or not we ever want to do this again (right now, all sources point strongly toward hell no) so for now, they're not hurting anyone in the basement.

This change in closet contents means that I can now fit into the larger chunk of those shirts again! Smartass remarks and logos on my shirts, here I come! I also welcome the chance to wear more than just the same 4 shirts I've worn for the last two months.

Not only that, I discovered that I don't have to wear gym shorts anymore - I can fit into the 2 pairs of shorts I wore at the end of the pregnancy. Not a lot of variety there just yet but I hold out hope that one day soon I will wear shorts that need to be buttoned and I will tuck them in.

That's all for now, I'm off to put Val into one of her ginormous new diapers. That fit her growing rump.

6.11.2006

That's Not Right

We got a bill from Val's cardiologist. Her office visit cost $1200. For one hour at an office. Yes, one with fancypants machines to hook up to wee little babies, but still.

Since the insurance didn't cover it (right away) they were nice enough to give us $20 off. Gee, thanks.

They did reprocess one of her claims and somehow we still owe half of it. I thought the whole point of a PPO was to pay less for specialists and crap like that.

I'm wondering if we add Valerie to Andrea's insurance as well, we'll be able to get her totally covered for crap like this. Do any of the three of you know how that works?

6.10.2006

Yes, We Watch Too Much TV

That's pretty much all that goes on around here. Feeding Val, changing Val and hoping that she'll let us sleep for just a little longer. When the non-sleep activities are going on, the TV is our best friend.

Which means that we're seeing a lot of commercials. Including the Video Professor (who can now teach you how to use eBay!) and the eHarmony guy, both of whom seem to be on at every commercial break.

Which leads me to my next question - who would you rather sleep with - the eHarmony guy or the Video Professor? This question, and remembering I asked it, has had me on the verge of laughing my ass off for 2 days.

6.08.2006

What's Up With That?
Val had some major rage today and last night. I know part of the deal with wee babies (and young kids in general) is that there is crying, sometimes for no apparent reason. But it's still tough when you're wanting to make sure your new daughter is happy all the time and you just can't.

This afternoon, Val was wailing her little flipper cry for me and then, for Andrea (who is working from home today, offering me precious moments to myself, so I can blog from a full-sized computer and buy some stuff on the internet and now, find myself looking at pictures of Val, even though she's in the next room and I could just get off my ass and admire her in person). Until I took her back, then she inexplicably stopped wailing. Huh? But okay, fine.

She also projectile pooped today in the middle of a diaper change. Yum!

Here's a roundup of some very interesting reactions we've had to Val's arrival:

  • Only one person reacted poorly to hearing we'd named her Valerie. And even at that, it wasn't all that poor of a reaction, just more of a very weighted 'oh' that stung quite a bit. Obviously, y'all are free to name your kids whatever you choose and as I have in the past, I swear to say 'what a nice name' no matter what that name is. I ask only that you do the same for us.

    It does make me glad we didn't tell anyone Val's name before she arrived.

  • Nope, we're not staying in the house all the time. We're taking Val places at weird, uncrowded times, like restaurants in the middle of the afternoon or target 10 minutes before closing, but we're not passing her around. And we're not letting anyone who comes over hold her without washing their hands first (funny, how some people take offense to this request. I sure wish you wouldn't, it's not personal.)

    The people we know who work at our roundup of restaurants have been fascinated with Val. She's been stared at, clucked at in a variety of languages, I've been given extra food (that I don't end up eating since I'm not all that hungry these days) and admonished for not following the chinese traditions about not leaving the house or showering (EW EW EW, let me just say EW one more time for the effect) for 30 days after giving birth.

    But one thing that hasn't happened is people readily getting that Val has 2 parents and that Andrea is one of them. I do my best to broach this with each time it happens but it still smarts. Here's a restaurant we've been going to as a couple for years and yet the people who have seen us there for all those years don't fully grasp that we're a couple and that this amazing baby of ours is in fact the very wanted product of a two-parent home.

  • We were asked details about Val's conception the other day. When we were trying to get pregnant, a lot of folks knew what we were up to and knew some details about that endeavor. But now that she's here, I am extremely reluctant to share those details. Because she is here and those details? They're her story and I don't feel like anyone else should know it before she does.
  • Val's already had a few doctor's appointments - checkups at the hospital from our pediatrician and a couple other peds in her call group, plus the cardiologist both at the hospital and at home. That shit adds up and I knew that so the Monday after we got home, when I could barely get out of bed, I called to add her to my insurance plan.

    But the bills started coming and I learned something weird: insurance companies like to make sure that kids aren't insured through another company first so instead of calling me to see if I've put her on Andrea's plan, they decided to decline coverage on every appointment, sticking us with the bill. I found this out when one of the doctors called her while Val was screeching. Of course I only heard about half of what the woman said, which included some crap about the parent with the birthday that fell closest in the year being the one who should sign the kid up.

    But I only heard about half of that and finally screamed at the woman over Val's flipper cries 'OKAY, I'll call my insurance company. I HAVE TO GO NOW.'

    Until I called today and the guy said oh yeah, you'll get a letter asking about that every year. Huh? WTF? But he said he'd clear the claims to be reprocessed so maybe they'll get paid. Good thing I called.

That's all the news from here. Hope it's all well in your little corner of the world.

Rage And Movies

Val and I went to diaper daze today and saw the Da Vinci Code, which really, I hadn't wanted to see. But since it was an okay place to have your kid cry, we went. Val was a stud, fussed a little at the start, then sacked out for the rest of the really longass movie.

I'd go again, but I think I'm just as likely to go to a matinee of something I'd like to see and not be afraid to leave/go outside if she cries.

Later today, Val had a bit of rage. My guess is that it's just gas but it still bums me out when she's so upset and we can't readily make her feel better. Tonight she had some pretty serious rage, when we (okay, Andrea of the Magic Touch, in these matters I am merely the Magic Boob) finally got her to sleep we actually went to bed when Val did, at 10 something.

You may notice that we're up now, with another, shorter bout of rage. Andrea's worked her magic yet again so that's all for now.

6.06.2006

Three Weeks

It seems sorta unreal that it's already been three weeks since our Val arrived. It's like when I was pregnant - it becomes so consuming that you forget what life was like before this change. Already, being pregnant feels like a lifetime ago, so much is blurred out.

Which is good, because if I remember right, it pretty much sucked. Until labor, which made pregnancy seem easy.

But here we are, with a lovely wee girl who is giving us sleep at regular, if short, intervals at night. Her face is getting rounder, her hair redder, her eyes more like mine every day. Most newborn clothes still are a bit big on her. She can sort of hold her head up, until she can't. Then she bonks it onto the nearest body part of ours if we're not careful.

She's awake more, doing baby kung fu and making gang signs for a good while at least once a day. Her farts put me to shame.

Every day she changes just a little. Part of me mourns her growing up - too soon, too soon! Don't change yet! But part of me can't wait to see how she's going to look, what her personality, once fully formed, will be.

But three weeks already? It's been the blink of an eye and a lifetime all at once. I can't wait to see what she does next.

They Say It's Gas

But I don't buy that. When Val is awake and playful, if we touch her head, she smiles the best toothless grin. Makes the long nights and my complete inability to get shit done around the house during the day all worth it.

6.05.2006

Progress

Today is the first day since Val's birth where I've been able to laugh without experiencing great pain in the ole incision. In addition, the ginormous shorts I bought when we first got out of chez hospital have become huge, sliding down at the most innopportune times.

I also had room on my lap for both Sam and Riley to sit on my lap. Progress indeed!

6.04.2006

Dear TV Land

When I saw that this weekend there would be a Benson marathon, I thought, oh how weak. After all, even when it was on during prime time, I considered it filler.

And yet, we're here watching our 4th episode, after getting sucked in by the one where they go to Hong Kong and Clayton gets kidnapped. As soon as a nice employee of the Hong Kong hotel paged Benson by walking by with a paddle that said Ben Fun Boo Bah, we were hooked.

Damn you, TV Land and your Ben Fun Boo Bah.

6.02.2006

Oh No, Our Neighborhood Isn't Gay

Certainly not. It's not like when I took Valerie for a longass walk tonight, we went past a gay-focused leather bdsm shop, a gay bathhouse and the gay/lesbian community center.

It's like they say, location location location. We've got it all right here. Leather accessories, wrought iron and burritos, just down the street!

Hockey Dreams Again
Despite not having many of these dreams while I was pregnant (and oh, how excellent it feels to say that in the past tense, how great it was to see a pregnant woman today and realize that I'm now on the other side of that, my body quickly returning to normal, or rather, heading towards a new normal) I've now had two hockey dreams since Val arrived.

In both of them I remembered how to put on my gear, it fit, and I repeatedly was telling myself it's too early to be back on the ice. Lame.

But yes, I'll listen to my dreams and not rush it. I'll get back when I'm back. And when that happens, it will be the best skate ever.

Until then, I'm pleased to divulge that two nights ago, I was able to enjoy the Best Beer Ever. Well, okay, like 2/3 of that beer. That was more than enough. I hadn't had one since last June and man, it was Tasty

A Day Late
Yesterday was Blogging for LGBT Families Day and were my life filled with spare time instead of the great bliss and exhaustion of having our brand new baby, well, I would have blogged then.

But all things being equal, let's just admit that I'm operating on Queer Standard Time and here's that entry today.

Other folks I read spent this day talking about the lack of legal protections available to far too many families and the lack of basic rights available to these families. For their struggles to have some of the same protections that a straight couple, married or not, would have in regards to their child, my heart breaks. Is it really right that a kid who has two parents from the start only gets one of those parents on their birth certificate, that the parent who gave birth to the kid has to write some document stating that the kid's other parent has the legal right to take that kid to the ER?

No. Not at all.

But when I read these posts, I count us among the lucky, no, the Very Lucky. Because we live in lovely, expensive, crowded California, in a house 1/3 the size that the same price would buy us just about anywhere else, but that the life we've built here allows us some very important things when it comes to our relationship and now, to our daughter.

  1. As domestic partners, Andrea is automatically allowed to make medical decisions on my behalf instead of "next of kin," which I suppose would be my parents, half a country away.
  2. We also get some automatic property inheritance rights (new! for 2006!) when it comes to each other's stuff. So Andrea would get my collection of Carly Simon CD's and my automatic fart noise machine, er, rather, my assets, if I died.
  3. Most importantly? By being registered, by having conceived Valerie as a group project within that partnership, we were both automatically considered her parents. From day one.

We don't have to do a second-parent adoption (but we can and probably should, just in case we visit Someplace Else) and most importantly, Val's birth certificate reads Mother: me, Parent: Andrea.

Obviously it would be better if both listings were either Mother (which is what I write in at the doctors' offices, boldly crossing out 'father') or Parent but really, who cares? That oh so very important document lists BOTH of her parents as her parents and has since the day it was made.

That simple document is a huge gift to us as a family and makes all the challenges of living here worth it. Because it means we don't have to prove to Anyone In Authority, not even those with poles up their rear ends that we're a family, that Val is *our* daughter.

See? We can say, it says it right here.

I can only hope that other states pull their heads out of their collective rear ends and offer other families like ours this very basic yet highly necessary protection.

I Guess This Is The Next Question

After what felt like zillions of people asking when my due date was for months, now that Val's here, The Question is different.

Now it's 'are you breastfeeding?' This has been asked by people with whom I would never in a million years chosen to discuss anything about my boobs. Oh wait, that's about the entire world to begin with.

And yet for all the due date questions nobody has asked when she was born. What's that about?

Who Needs Sleep?

Tonight, so far, Val does not.

6.01.2006

Day Of Milestones

First (only because it happened first) I was able to fit into a pair of pre-pregnancy shorts. Yes, they're still gym shorts, the likes of which I *never* would have worn outside the house before this time of fashion crisis thanks to my oddly shaped deflating belly.

Secondly, we went to the pediatric cardiologist with Val. I have to say, I hate that place. Hate that it exists and that we had to go there. Hate it that they had a crapload of badass toys for other kids, all of whom, like my kid, had to be there because there's something wrong with their heart.

I also hate how many fucking wires are on the ekg. I will not discuss the number of stickers required to hold those wires in place or how removing those stickers made my baby's skin stretch until she cried.

Val hated it more than I did, screaming like a baby banshee until I actually did something I'd thought I could never do. I busted out the goods and breastfed her so she could be calm enough for the test. Which totally worked, even if it threw the whole 'do this test, then height and weight' portion of the visit off.

Tough shit. Val needs to eat, she eats. Y'all can wait.

Anyway. She's up to 8lbs 4oz and is now 21.5 inches long. Translation - all systems are working well.

We finally went back for the eeg (that looks like 'egg' misspelled), which is this longass ultrasound on Val's wee heart. The doc went about her bidness, looking at this, measuring that, not saying much. Finally, after forever and a day we heard this:

Her heart murmur is too small to measure. We don't have to go back for 3 months.

To whoever in the heavens made that statement possible, I thank you a thousand times.

Rage-Free Living!

Holy shit! We had a Night Without Rage! We had a beautiful baby who slept a good stretch, woke peacefully, got clean pants, ate until she passed out, then went back to sleep just like during the day.

What we did differently? When she did the wake and fake around 11, we ignored it, let her sleep until she was done. Then when she ate herself into a coma, I let her sleep on me (where it's all warm) until she was really out, and only then did she go to the bassinet. Once there, we left the light and tv on for a while, since I wondered if the sudden darkness and quiet of our room was kinda freaking her out.

It all added up to a blissful rage-free evening. Thank you, Miss Val, for that great gift.

She did wake up around 8, ready to be bright-eyed and make gang signs with her uncoordinated arms. She did that for about an hour and eventually went to sleep without a whole lot of rage, just took her time about getting there. Fine by me, kid.

God, I love her so.