5.31.2009

The Big Move

Friday became Val's last day in her old classroom. I hate to leave
abruptly but I feel strongly that her teacher first failing our family
by sharing her true feelings about gay marriage, then (and more
importantly) failing Val by not giving her the freedom to have a bad
day. It's one thing for me to be hurt by this teacher's words (and I
must tell you, I got home from that conversation feeling so fucking low
and alone it was ridiculous), but wholly another when you gave a 3 year
old a hard time for crying.

So I called the lovely director and said yes, we would like to make the
move starting Monday. All day after that call, I dreaded seeing the
teacher. I rehearsed a number of speeches but in the end, I just got
Val's stuff together and told her to say goodbye. The teacher in
question asked if we were going to get Val's backpack so I grabbed that
too and we were off.

On the way out, we looked at her new room. Physically it's not as nice
as her old room but she's more than ready to hang with 3 year olds and
it's a much smaller group of kids, 8-12 instead of the 20ish she'd had
before.

Here's hoping the transition goes well for all of us.

5.28.2009

Sigh

Before Val's birthday, I wasn't sure if we could just invite one kid
from school or if we had to invite the whole class. I would've just
invited none of them except that Val's good friend invited us to *her*
party. And then we didn't know.

No way I was inviting the whole class. Not only would that mean buying
a crapload more food, it would mean inviting the little girl whose Dad
sported a yes on h8 bumper sticker.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I told the teacher we couldn't invite that kid, for that reason. She
pondered this for a few days then told me we needed to chat. She felt
sooo bad that we would exclude that kid. This devolved into a stupidass
conversation about the fucking Bible and eventually she told me that gay
marriage is wrong.

Were I wiser or less tired, I'm sure I would've said whatever clever
retort is popping into your head right now. But I'm not. So I just
told her we wouldn't be inviting that kid, thanks for her input.

I haven't looked her in the eye since. We did look at another preschool
but ultimately decided against it because it wasn't flexible about how
many days Val would go to school, nor did it have infant care.

When I got to school today to pick her up, the teacher gave me a full
report that quickly made it clear that said teacher had kind of lost
it. And yes, clear that Val had indeed had a trying day. The teacher's
report went on and on until I hit a point where I snapped after she told
me that they'd sent Val to another classroom so the teachers could get a
break from Val's screaming. Even then, she said, Val didn't follow
directions! Like this was some kind of personal attack from Val to the
teachers. I said look, (teacher name) of course she didn't calm down.
Whatever made her upset wouldn't change just because you moved her to a
different room.

The teacher didn't want to hear this and sort of shut down. I just
wanted out of there, so I grabbed Val's lunch and walked out of there
without saying goodbye.

Val is, for the most part, a well-behaved kid. If she cried for most of
the day, something is probably wrong. But the teachers apparently got
so flustered by her crying and shenanigans that they didn't, or couldn't
see that.

After I got her all buckled in to her carseat, I saw the director in the
parking lot. I didn't hold back, I voiced all my concerns about the
teacher's actions that day, all the while holding Val's hand. Don't get
me wrong, I *do* want to know when she's had a bad day. But I want to
send her to a place where she can *have* a bad day now and then without
us having to worry that the teachers take it personally or can't handle
it.

Not only that, I told her about the other shit the teacher had said.
The director was irate, said that was not how she wanted her staff to
act. If anyone thought that way, they didn't belong at her school.
Jesus, she said, would not have voted for prop h8. That's right, he
would've come to my wedding.

The end result of all this is that I think we're going to move Val to a
different class starting next week. My reservations about the teacher
have grown too great to ignore. Even though she loves Val, she also
coddles her during the day, to the point where Val is often in the
teacher's arms instead of playing with her friends when I get there.
That this was an issue became clear when the teacher went away for a
week - every day Val was playing with her friends when I got there.

I'll do my best not to confront the teacher tomorrow, I'm not sure how
much that would help. I hate to have her switch classes after drama but
if it's change for the good then it's worth it. So it's off to the
Ladybugs we go.

5.26.2009

Well

Prop H8 is upheld but my marriage is still legal. Where's the justice
in any part of that?

5.23.2009

The True Fit Report

This will no doubt only be of interest to other carseat nerds but since
I can think of a couple of you out there, I'll share it.

Val's new True Fit carseat arrived this week and of course I installed
it right away. I should note that back when Val was not yet here, I
asked Susan, our friendly carseat tech, what the best seat was. She
said that it's the seat you'll be able to install and use properly
*every* time. And then she mentioned Britax.

I became a huge fan of the Britax Marathon and that love has not
stopped. But. The seats don't offer a ton of legroom for tall skinny
extended rear-facing kids like Val. So when I read that the True Fit
had a ton more legroom and rear-faced to 35 pounds, I paid attention.

I'll say this: it's no Britax. Many of the things that made using
Britax seats so easy are not on this model. And as I struggled with the
thing, I kept reminding myself that the *only* reason I got this seat
was so she can rear-face at least until George arrives.

But holy crap, it was a struggle. The LATCH connector only adjusts on
one side (the Marathon is on both) so it was quite a graceful ballet of
me kneeling in the seat, pulling, sweating, cursing, then taking the
damn thing out and starting over. Again.

All the while, Val was playing in the driveway next to me. At one
moment she decided to go to our porch to get something. I looked up and
she was nowhere.

I don't think I've ever been more scared than that moment. The
post-apocalyptic abandoned toys in the driveway, the child nowhere to be
found. Horrifying.

But I digress. Eventually, after 4 or so rounds of the aforementioned
cursing, sweating, repeat routine, I used brute strength and got the
damn thing in. It is as rock-solid as Val's other seats.

The leg and headroom she has no is astounding, especially since the seat
takes up no more room than the Marathon. The kid sits lower, a lot
lower in the seat and that's where the room is gained. So that makes it
worth it but here's a summary of what makes it, in my book, less than a
Britax:

- it doesn't tether rear-facing. Using this strap reduces impact in a
crash so not using it makes me twitch a little. But rear-facing without
a tether is still safer than forward-facing with one.
- the LATCH only adjusts on one side.
- the 'infinite adjust' harness is really just a pain in the ass
- in theory, you're supposed to rear-face it at 45 degrees always. But
a tech from First Years said you could put it higher, so I did.
However, unless it's at 45 degrees, you can't really reach the lever to
loosen the straps.
However, I'd read this trick: keep the straps at the right tension, then
use the infinite adjust bit to get the kid in. This does work. Again,
not as easy to use as a Britax.

I think that's it. All told, I'm glad this seat is available and can
give Val a few more months of extra safety without me having to spend a
bazillion dollars.

5.18.2009

Oh Good

After all that time undergoing various, sundry and increasingly more
involved fertility treatments, it's still a bit strange to just be
going to the OB. You know, like everyone else who just happens to be
knocked up.

In fact, I'm pretty sure some of my waiting room colleagues might've
gotten pregnant without shooting themselves up every day, undergoing
surgery or having any blood draws at all.

Crazy, isn't it?

And yet, there I was. Waiting my turn just like everyone else. My
weight remains fine, George's heartbeat came up loud and clear on the
doppler. But most importantly, the doc led off with 'I'm going to
recommend a repeat c-section'

Oh phew, because you bet your add I was going to ask for one.
Apparently my doc was delivering a VBAC at one time, right there in a
hospital and the mom's uterus ruptured so fast that the baby couldn't be
saved.

That's not for me, thanks. Of course, then the doc went on to suggest a
date that was about a week earlier than I want. Val wanted to gestate
for 40+ weeks and if George would like to as well, I do believer the
little critter should get the chance to go as close to 40 as we can.

The doc's big worry was that if we waited, I could (gasp!) go into labor
on my own and (gasp once more!) someone could be in the OR when I needed
to go and (gasp a third time!) we might have to try to stop my labor
until the doctors arrived and the OR was ready.

I tried not to laugh hysterically at the notion of going into labor on
my own.

I got the translation of all this later, from Susan. It means, I don't
want you to wake me up because you went into labor.

Got it. My bossy-about-medical-care won't be swayed by this. 39+ weeks
it is. Given that 31+ hours with Val got me absolutely nowhere, I'm
willing to take the chance of going into labor on my own.

In fact, I'd prefer that because it would mean the kiddo is ready to
arrive on its own time. But yes, we'll play it by ear. That's really
all you can do.

The 'birth plan' remains healthy child, healthy me. And I'm still
adapting to being a regular old pregnant lady.

5.17.2009

One Thing

As part of National Infertility Awareness Week, which I missed,
fertility authority suggests that infertiles list one thing that they'd
like people to know about this struggle. For me, I think I'll share
what I've said all along: that there is but one appropriate response to
hearing about someone's struggles with this random, heartbreaking
condition: I'm so sorry to hear that.

Maybe, if you've been through it, you might say a few more things, just
a few about your own struggle.

But if you haven't, go ahead and refrain from sharing whatever you've
seen on Oprah or Dr. Phil. Just say you're sorry to hear that.

The road to this pregnancy has forever changed how I feel about the
struggle to get pregnant. I've started to say how, exactly, for a while
now but the truth is, I don't quite have those words. I do know that
I'm more apt to put a disclaimer on it when I tell people we're having
another baby. It took a while this time, I'll say. Because I don't
want to just pretend like everything was easy or that the pain of
infertility is far behind me.

Because it's not. Even as our big ultrasound approaches (in the next
month or so, how is THAT possible??) there's an element of disbelief
around it. I think that much heartache on the way here sort of lends
itself to feeling that way.

5.16.2009

What I Remember

In the months and years before we had Val, I was anxious about what
childbirth would be like. So I did what I tend to do when I'm worried
about something - research. This consisted of reading many books and
watching everything cable had to offer about the process.

You may remember that I'd hoped for a drug-free labor with Val. You may
also remember that those hopes went out the window and she was born via
emergency c-section. I don't carry many issues around this, I don't
feel any less of a woman or a mother or whatever but I do have a bit of
disappointment that's quickly overshadowed by gratitude that we're both
okay. As she gets older, I'm starting to get a sense of how close we
both came to having a different kind of outcome.

But afterwards, I just couldn't watch those shows anymore. Couldn't
watch all those women having bits and pieces of the experience I'd hoped
for.

And Jesus Christ, just hearing the sound of the infernal feta heart
monitor makes my heart race. Listening to that stupid thing for 31
hours straight caused so many anxiety-laden thoughts it was ridiculous.
First it was nice, ah yes, she's in there swimming around and fine.
Then it was oh, the rate is changing, is she okay. We moved onto we've
been hearing that for 3 days now, will this baby EVER come out?

We likely could've pushed to have the stupid thing removed for a while
but we fucked with their standard procedures enough, I left alone. And
good thing, because Val had some issues while I was sleeping that the
monitor showed. It caused a team of nurses to come running in at 4 am
with oxygen for me to perk Val up a bit.

So here I am, finally on the road to another birth (and wide awake at 4
am, good times!) and somehow, I'm watching those shows again. It's with
a different eye this time. Not bitter, not jealous, just different.
And of course the episodes with the repeat c-sections interest me a
lot.

I'm also remembering how long pregnancy takes. I'm already making 3
point turns to get out of bed (due to round ligament pain rather than
girth, the way it will be later) and in-between most of my clothes.
Still haven't told work yet.

It's also exhausting in a whole new way, this chasing after a little
girl while being this tired. I suppose it's just as tiring as it will
be, holding a wee baby while chasing after a little girl, except then I
can wear the baby or possibly put it down now and then.

This week will be the first time I see my actual OB. Last time I was in
there, I saw the NP I love the most and noticed a pamphlet on VBAC on
the wall. I hope that she doesn't even mention it, let alone more than
once. I tend to present myself as rather confident in my decisions
(this prevents soooo much assvice!) so hopefully she'll see that
confidence and not question me on this.

In other news, I just bought a Compass True Fit carseat for Val. It
seems that all of her height is in her legs so her recent growth spurt
has made her even more squashed in her beloved Britax Marathon in my
car. Rather than flip her seat around, I shelled out for this seat. It
has a ton of legroom so I can feel good about keeping her rear-facing at
least until George arrives. Why flip her then? Because I don't think
the True Fit or the infant seat fit behind my driver's seat,
rear-facing. But for now, this gets us a few more months of added
safety.

At 29 lbs, Val still has some rear-facing pounds to go yet. At 3, the
data on the added benefits of keeping her rear-facing are less clear
than they were at less than 2 (it's safest to keep your kid rear-facing
until AT LEAST 2. There's my continued assvice to you, but please
google this for yourself. And flip your under-two year old back
around.) But I keep going back to Sweden. Kids there routinely
rear-face until 4 or 5.

And they don't die in car crashes very often at all.

I know that not all things are equal, but this is enough for me. I am
extremely lucky to have a lovely wife who goes with me on this. I had
no idea how many spouses get antsy to flip the kid around until I
started really paying attention to friends, neighbors and the
internets. What a weird thing to get antsy about, but again, with the
gratitude that Andrea trusts my research.

Our kid is safer because of it.

5.15.2009

I Think I Was Right!

Check this out... Now that we're parents it seems that I haven't lost the things I'd hoped we could hold on to -- farting in public, burping while I skate, laughing a lot.

And though we don't have a preschooler who says fuck, we do have one who says shit. Not bad, eh?

3 Years

Tomorrow marks 3 years since Val made her arrival into this world.

Today marks 3 years since the hardest day of my life. In many ways, I
will always be grateful that they are separate. This gives me a chance
to mourn the birth experience I thought we'd have (should I need to.
Last year, this day didn't bother me, this year, it seems to.) while
wholly celebrating her birthday on the 16th.

So today I remember the struggle of that warm spring day, the pain, the
exhaustion and the grilled cheese that I'll never forget.

Tomorrow? It's all about my little girl. Hell, it's all about her
every day. I just get a moment to myself today.

5.11.2009

How It's Different

So, with Val I was nauseous for 6 months. No, that's not a typo. This
time around, I was determined to do everything in my power to make that
better. So I went on this high-protein diet for the IVF (helps prevent
hyperstimulation, so I was all for it) and just sort of stayed on it
even as my crazyfuckinghuge ovaries started to calm down.

For weeks, that's worked out to me eating every couple of hours. Yes,
I'm putting on some weight earlier than I did last time but I feel a
shitload better. Every night, I feel varying degrees of awful but it's
better than it was with Val so I'm grateful for that.

We're being a little more vague about the due date this time. That's
because more than a few things didn't go anywhere near the way we would
have liked with Val. We're doing what little we can to prevent those
sorts of calamities this time so please bear with us.

Yes, we're finding out the gender. Yes, we'll tell you. No, we won't
tell you the name before this child arrives. We won't tell Val either,
because Lord, that child is a blabbermouth.

I have no illusions about having a VBAC. I know lots of women deliver
this way without issue but frankly, I feel that we've used up all our
luck getting to this point. I don't want that luck to run out in a
uterine rupture that risks the life of the kiddo and myself. Plus, all
of my lady bits are intact and I sort of like that.

So we'll have a scheduled c/section, hopefully right at full term. I
hear they're much easier to recover from than after 2 days of difficult
labor. No, we won't tell you when. I'm all full up on surprise
hospital visits at this point.

That's the news from here.

5.06.2009

The Other Parts I Can Tell You

Unlike our pregnancy attempts with Val, where I did not test until I had
a pretty good idea of how it would turn out and unlike many of the
failed attempts along the way for Crazy Horse Too where I just didn't
want to face that stark white of the failed pregnancy test, after the
IVF I tested way early.

And I'll be damned if we didn't see the faintest of faint second lines
on that test. It was so light it looked like dust.

But there it was, in all it's faint faint glory.

My official blood test was scheduled for 2 days later. It felt so weird
to go in, knowing that finally, after all this time, I wouldn't be
getting that 'it's negative' call from Nurse Ratchet at the RE.

Silly me for thinking that they'd be happy for me. It seems that
they're so busy being cautious that they deemed fit ti deny me any joy.
Seriously. The next week was a series of every-other day blood tests,
as they waited for my beta to double. Except that it didn't, not
quite.

Though Dr. Google assured me that a doubling time of 48-72 hours is just
fine, Nurse Ratchet did not share this conviction. Finally, I had to
yell at them and ask when, exactly, they'd be happy for me.

4 betas later, my numbers finally got to a point where they thought
George (yes, that's the code name. No, we won't share the name until
after herm is born) was going to make it

We were released to my OB after the 2nd ultrasound and now it's a bit
odd to go from all that medication to just being a regular old pregnant
lady.

The proper way to watch a sporting event


IMG_2334
Originally uploaded by gadgetgrrl
Always does include a blanket and Hello Kitty.

The Other Thing I Can Tell You

Is that, for us, IVF actually worked. Crazy Horse Too is due around
Thanksgiving.

We're still in denial about all of it, but happy.

5.04.2009

One Thing I Love About Our Life

Is that I've always got a plan in my head for what to do should Val feel
the need to dance spontaneously.

5.03.2009

What I Can Tell You

About egg retrieval. First, I'll tell you that we didn't move to IVF
sooner because I read all about this procedure and was NOT ready to have
any of that done to me. But by the beginning of the year, our supply of
sperm was getting quite low and my patience was wearing thin. There's
only so many rounds of disappointment a person can take, you know?

So we made the switch, got that necessary millionth negative pregnancy
blood test and I started birth control pills. After a while on those, I
stopped then added some Lupron into my drug regimen. This drug causes a
lot of people some rather crappy side effects, I felt lucky that it just
gave me a headache promptly at 3 pm every day. After a while of that,
we added the Big Guns, Foll.istim, which encouraged my ovaries to work
overtime.

And they did. I went into egg retrieval with 18 promising-looking
follicles. I can not adequately describe how uncomfortable that is.
Rolling over was nearly impossible and my fat pants hardly fit from all
the bloating. Good times, oh yes.

They said no more vigorous exercise after a certain point and I thought
that was a load of shit. After all, I'd had 4 and 6 follicle cycles,
why should this be different?

Ha. 18 is very different. I sat out from hockey. Yes, me.

We went into egg retrieval day hoping that all 18 could be retrieved.
My daily prayers for 1 good 5 day blast (with a ton to freeze)
continued, and my good friends inside the computer said the same prayer
on our behalf.

The effort it took to get egg retrieval day off from work was fucking
ridiculous. But every day I've needed off has required the same
ridiculousness so I wasn't surprised.

I'd dreaded it for so long but finally, it arrived. I was instructed
not to eat or drink after midnight the night before. I sat in the
clinic waiting to be called and thought oh, I'll just get up and get a
drink.

Oh wait. Sigh. My parched ass finally went in and got a lengthy spiel
about what to expect including a very pointed admonition not to put
anything in my vagina. Gee, thanks. (Never mind the 3x a day
pro.gesterone suppositories that were in my future. I guess sticking
those things up there is fine).

I got a lovely gown to change into and finally, I went in to get an IV
put in. Thanks to my many failed pregnancy blood tests, I knew where my
best vein is. That didn't stop the nurse from blowing it just a bit and
leaving me with a bruise that lasted over 3 weeks. No joke.

They had me walk into the procedure room (aka O.R) and I laid down on
the table. I remember asking the anesthesiologist to raise the head of
the table a bit and then bam, the next thing I knew I was being wheeled
back into recovery room. The nurses said '18, they got 18' and I
thought YES! then promptly fell back to sleep.

Andrea came in and sat with me, eventually I felt up to leaving so (I
suppose) I got dressed and walked wobbly bobbly to the car. I thought
of all the women I'd seen making this walk, how I had dreaded it but in
the end, desperation brings you to places you never expected to go.

One weird thing is that when I was asking the nurses beforehand, could
Andrea be with me in recovery. Somehow, that got me a list of the
things she could do while waiting for me. Huh? I was the one in there
having delicate instruments go inside my even more delicate bits. Why
would I be concerned that she couldn't figure out how to entertain
herself for 45 minutes?

This is where I'm guessing that some husbands treat this differently
than she did. And yes, that means with less compassion.

But I made that wobbly walk, 18 eggs lighter and with more hope than
we'd had in a long time. I was starving so we made a beeline for some
tasty Chinese food. Which I inhaled, then asked Andrea to drive through
McDonald's so I could get some fries.

That afternoon, I napped and that night I felt like shit. The next day
I felt better but not 100%. The next day also brought the Fertilization
Report -- of the 18 retrieved, 12 were fertilized. I found myself
weeping for the 6 who didn't make it.

Even thought I'd thrown countless eggs over these months of trying,
those 6 were different. I think, because they should've had a better
chance. But they didn't even get to try.