6.26.2009

The Big News

Is that today's Big Ultrasound went great. All bits and pieces were
measuring right on time (well, 2 days behind but since the OB is
convinced my due date is a day later than I think it is, that's all
good). We had dropped Val at school so it was just Andrea, the doc and
me enjoying seeing the George show.

I swear, a couple of times when George moved his/her head just so, herm
looked just like Val. But who really knows.

I promise I'll tell you the gender next week, after the Grandparents get
to hear it in person. Like his/her sister before herm, George was
rather forthcoming with the private parts. Unlike Val, who kicked a
ton, this child was apparently doing a series of yoga poses. Perhaps it
is the zen of babies in there.

After what we went through to get to this point, I will confess that any
illusions I had of preferring one gender over the other absolutely went
out the window when I saw thing after thing measure correctly today.
Somehow, despite what seemed like impossible odds, we have conceived a
child who appears to be healthy.

Speaking of that, this time around we declined the first trimester
screening. When I learned that whatever they might find then could also
be found with more certainty at the later ultrasound, I said screw it.
It's not like we'd even consider terminating a pregnancy so hey, 20 or
so weeks is enough time to get used to the idea of whatever might've
been 'wrong' with this kid.

So we didn't, which made today's litany of good indicators all the more
amazing.

The other great part about the appointment was the chance to have a
heart-to-heart with my OB about when to schedule to c-section. I
reminded her that other than going home with a live mother and live baby
(which, yes, was the most important part of the plan), nothing about
Val's birth went as I'd hoped.

Hearing her sort of try to corner me into scheduling George's birthday
for 38 weeks triggered much anxiety. We gave Val every chance, every
possible day to arrive on her own. She declined but hey, she had the
chance.

George deserves that same chance. Should he or she decide to arrive at
38 weeks, then fine. I will rush to the hospital and have the c/section
then. But I want the kid to have all of these 40 weeks to decide,
should that be what the kid wants.

And so, after our chat with the OB today, it looks like that chance is
possible. I'm so grateful that the OB really listened to me. She
assured me that she'll keep listening. And will prescribe post
c/section meds before we go in so we can have them on hand when we get
home. Because the 2 hours it took for Andrea to get mine after we came
home with Val were among the longest of my life. Not doing that again.

This chat with the OB calmed me down quite a bit. I think we're on
track to have George's arrival be a lot calmer than Val's was. And to
actually have help when we need it afterwards.

But I'm still kinda stuck on having a healty-appearing kid on the way.
First and foremost, that's enough. Everything else is just gravy.

6.21.2009

Trying Not To Fret

As you know, Val had a tiny heart murmur when she was born. The doctors
said she'd outgrow it in a year or so. After a year, the pediatric
cardiologist, a doctor who I would've preferred to go my Entire Life
without meeting, went from talking about how it would close to ways we'd
need to deal with it.

I blamed myself the whole time. I still blame myself, even though
there's no real evidence that I should.

So every day for the first 18 months of Val's life, I put my hand over
her wee heart and prayed for it to close. Even after that heartbreaking
12 month appointment where we learned that it was still open, I kept it
up.

And like all things Val does, don't you know that at 18 months, 6 full
months past the scheduled/hoped for/prayed for date, that thing finally
closed.

I have never been so grateful in my life. Except for maybe the day Val
was finally born healthy after all that crazy non-effective, very
painful labor. But I didn't exactly have a clear head right then,
clouded as I was by exhaustion and drugs.

So now, we are lucky enough to have George happily gestating, no doubt
preparing to be a punkass just like his or her big sister.

And I'm doing all I can not to worry (obsessively, anyway) if there's a
heart murmur growing in there too. Apparently it's one of those things
you can't see on ultrasound, we just have to wait until George emerges
from the womb.

Great. Because I'm sooo good at waiting.

PS I miss hockey.

Huge!

Val cracked 30 pounds! She's gone from being 28.5 for a year
(seriously, no joke) to 29.3 over Memorial Day to 30 now.

No wonder she's getting so damn heavy.

If she keeps growing at this rate, we'll be flipping her carseat around
in the next couple of months. And we can do this, then, in good
conscience because she will have reached the max weight of her seat.

But still, I'd better start getting used to the idea. It's going to
take me a little while.

6.18.2009

So Much For That

1 week into big girl swimming lessons and it's clear that Val isn't
ready. I suspect it's a combination of the lateness of the classes
(6:30 pm), her not napping at school beforehand, the fact that it's
really not as warm as it should be for June and that there's a fair bit
of waiting in a cold-ish pool involved.

Poor Val cried so hard yesterday. I talked to her twice but it was
clear that something about all of it really spooked her. There was no
way I could make her stay in the pool when she felt that way so she got
out after about 15 minutes, most of which was spent crying.

The swim director suggested that we try the mommy & me class instead so
starting next week, we'll do that. That class has a lot of songs and
games, plus with me holding her she won't have to wait to do the
activities.

But I'm not likely to forget the image of my big girl crying
hysterically at the side of the pool. I sure hope she does.

6.13.2009

Coulda Been Worse

On the way to gymnastics this morning, the tire pressure sensor on my
car went off. Um, shit.

Were I smarter, I would've thought to check my tires before we started
to go home. Apparently I'm not so as we're driving away I hear that
flap flap flap that means only one thing - flat tire.

We're all of a mile away from home so I think we can make it. Until
what little air was left ran out and I heard the rim hit the street.

Lucky for all of us, I was on the same block as our friends Heather and
Gerald's house so I limp towards their house, hoping that they're home.
I had Val with me plus I'm really not doing so hot with lifting much of
anything this pregnancy so I knew there was no way I could pull this off
myself.

Fortunately, they were home and were more than willing to help. Heather
busted out some sidewalk chalk and hung with Val while Gerald started
hunting for my spare. There is no way to adequately describe how
grateful I am for all of this help.

It took forever because I apparently have locking lug nuts and only some
special wrench can undo the magic nut. Argh. I couldn't find the
special wrench so I called for a tow but in the meantime, I hunted
through my glovebox once more and there it was. Phew!

Andrea had rolled up by this point so she and Gerald got the spare on in
lightning speed time. I keep thinking of how stinking lucky I am that
this happened where it did, when it did and how kind our friends were to
drop everything to come and help us. That's easier than thinking of
pretty much any other situation, where we wouldn't have been close to
any kind of help, let alone help and someone willing to hang with Val
during the process.

Seriously, sometimes you just get lucky.

On Being Three

Now that Val is three, it's like a whole new world has opened. She
could move into the older class at school (still working out great!) and
at gymnastics too. Now she goes all by herself while I get to sit and
read a book while she does gymnastics.

I thought I wasn't ready to leave the comfort of the parent tot class
but holy shit, I was. I get 45 minutes to sit in chairs and read while
Val is not very far away. I can see her all the while.

Sometimes she runs out to go potty, other times she runs out to just say
Mommy, I love you.

There is nothing in this world, nothing, that beats that.

This Time Around

People have already started asking if we'll be having a baby shower for
George. The thought is sweet, so sweet and I'm grateful on George's
behalf that he/she will be welcomed with the same amount of joy and love
that Val was.

But, because we were so blessed with Val and because I kept just about
everything that our amazing friends and family gave us, we hardly need
anything for George. I even have a decent supply of brand-new clothes in
sizes ranging from 0-3T that Val never got to wear ready for George to
sport.

The fancypants double stroller arrived a couple weeks ago. If I
mentioned this before, I apologize. The thing gleams and looks so
fancy, I feel like a young urban hipster parent. And I can't get it to
fold all the way. I'm apparently too old and suburban to figure out the
final step.

I'm so glad I bought the thing this early. Maybe by the time George
arrives I'll know how to fold it.

We're also boldly going to try cloth diapers from a service. I shudder
to think of all the disposables we tossed into a landfill with Val so
I'd like to do something that's a little less harmful. Yes, I know that
water goes into cleaning the cloth ones but at least afterwards there's
something you can use again.

With Val, we attempted some cloth along the way but all the laundry
required was just too much to deal with. I'm hoping that the service,
with the 'we drop it off and pick up the dirty ones' model will serve us
well.

I think this was boring enough. Maybe I'll be funnier next time.

6.07.2009

Three Years Later

You may remember that before Val was born, we didn't spend a ton of time
getting her room ready. I was too sick for too long, then too tired and
too cheap to shell out for decorations when what we really wanted was to
spend time with our little one.

So we had the crib we bought used from Jesus, a very nice new crib
mattress and a million crib sheets of all varieties (many of which were
courtesy of our nice friends, including some of you three. And I thank
you for your generosity, it means so much.) and a sort of not-that-ugly
dust ruffle. We also got a ton of lovely quilts and blankets that Val
is just now enjoying as part of her extensive life with her dolls.
Since George will be arriving during the winter instead of at the cusp
of a heat wave the way Val was, we'll get to pull them into actual baby
service!

The crib and sheets kinda concluded the extent of our 'nursery'
decorations. We focused our attentions on stuff we deemed more
important, like researching the carseats and strollers that have served
us well so far.

But now that George is at long last, on the way, I figured it was time
to go a little further towards making what will be both kids' room their
own.

So I kinda went nuts and first sorted through all of the clothes in
Val's closet, weeding out a ton of stuff. Then I went for broke and
started tossing out every damn thing in there.

That closet holds a ton of stuff. You have no idea.

After a lot of work, I'm happy to tell you that Val's closet now
contains (almost) only her own stuff, plus the few long-sleeved onesies
and pjs I've bought for George. Andrea's entire cargo area of her car
is now filled with our old clothes, ready to start a new life at the
Salvation Army.

I'm hoping that this is just the first step. Now we'll keep up the
momentum and move the rest of our former office equipment out so that
soon, we'll have room for the crib we bought from Jesus.

And I'm sure you'll be amused to hear that we found a supercute crib set
the other day that we just might end up getting for George.

I Admit It

It's still hard telling people that we're pregnant again. I still don't
quite grasp that it's true, that somehow all that heartache of failed
cycles is behind us and IVF has emerged from the proverbial woods on a
white horse to carry us past the pain.

So I say, yes, due in November. No, we don't know the gender yet and
though we find out in a few short weeks, I think I'll post it after
we've caught up with all the grandparents in Ohio first and told them in
person. I'd like to have that glee of 'OMG IT'S A (whatever it is), I'M
THE LUCKIEST GRANDMA/GRANDPA/GRANDADDY IN THE WORLD!!' in person.
Because no matter what gender George is, I can assure you that we'll be
saying to ourselves first, OMG IT'S A (whatever it is), WE'RE THE
LUCKIEST FAMILY IN THE WORLD TO BE ADDING A (insert pronoun here) to our
family. And I can also assure you that Val, and now George is indeed
the luckiest little girl to have such amazing grandparents in her life.
Seriously.

I will also mention how much I love looking at Val and seeing the ways
she looks like my birthmom, as yes, like me as well. And knowing this,
because I'm lucky enough to have found her, and to have her embrace her
role as Val and George's Grandma. And that the rest of her family has
embraced their roles in my life as well. Many adoptees don't
experience anywhere near this kind of acceptance, please don't think for
one moment that I'm anything but grateful for the chance to know and
love the people who brought me into this world. And to watch them adore
my daughter as much as we do.

Given all that and a whole lot more, I've decided that I'd like to tell
the grandparents myself, or, more likely, allow Little Miss Blabbermouth
to spill the goods on our behalf.

But back to my point. Though I'm starting to look the part, I still
feel like sort of a pregnancy imposter. It cannot possibly be true, we
cannot possibly be considering minivans and already the owners of a
double stroller that kinda scares me (Phil & Teds Vibe, if you're
wondering. And OF COURSE I found it on sale) because no, we're somehow
not yet free from that long heartbreak that brought us here.

I do wonder when or if we will ever be, or if the scars of infertility
are something I will carry with me for all of my days.

6.06.2009

Kicking Ass

After just one week in her new class, it's so clear that Val was ready
for a change. She runs in there every day and plops down on her mat,
ready for the grand party that is circle time.

The toilets in her room are regular sized. I'll be damned if she hasn't
figured out how to climb right up on there and do her business - all by
herself. As I get more and more pregnant, this will be a huge relief
for me.

The teacher tells me that Val is spending most of her time with the
older kids in the class. She's certainly a lot happier, which makes
sense. Because now she has friends she can talk to, instead of just 2
kids in her previous class (as the '2 year old' class, it has quite a
number of kids in diapers and who aren't all that verbal yet in it).

The best moment so far was yesterday. I'd picked her up and we were
heading out when we saw her teacher taking 5 of her classmates to the
bathroom.

They saw Val and Every Single Kid said 'Val! Valerie! Look, there's
Val!' as if they hadn't been with her all day and all week. They know
her already, she's one of them.

6.02.2009

The Tough Stuff

I will start this by saying that nobody is pro-abortion. Abortion is a
hard, awful thing that can leave scars that I don't think anyone could
fully anticipate. But despite it's awful-ness, it's a necessary thing.
Because if it's not legal, women still have them in less-than-sanitary
places, performed by less-than-savory characters.

So on paper, I'm pro-choice. That won't change. I'll always live in a
world where I hope against hope that every child conceived is a wanted
child, is a child whose parent(s) have longed for, planned for and
dreamed about long before they were conceived.

I live in the real world, too. And I understand that abortion is a
necessary thing in our world.

Obviously, being a lesbian, I have little risk of an unplanned pregnancy
(in the last 20 or so years anyway) so I'm about as much of an authentic
voice on this issue these days as those old white guys who protest
outside Planned Parenthood every week. Assholes, the whole lot of
them.

Going through the IVF process showed me a whole new side of choice.
When those 18 eggs came out of me and headed down the hall to the petri
dish, I was full of hope for each and every one of them. When the
embryologist called me a day later and said that 12 fertilized, I wasn't
so much happy for the bumper crop of embyros (and yes, oh yes, I
understand how fucking lucky we were to get that many. I really do.) as
I was heartbroken for the 6 who didn't.

That call made me cry, weep for those 6 lost eggs. Aside from the fact
that I'd gone through a shitload of pain to get there, I mourned the
potential life that was lost.

2 days later, I got another call. 9 of the 12 were doing well. One was
the clear winner at that point. In fact, that little embryo that could
is now a fetus who, God willing, will be Val's little sibling this
winter. The other 8 were varying degrees of growing, some nicely, some
real stragglers.

Transfer day, we got the final report. For some reason, I don't feel
like sharing how many we ended up freezing. So I won't. But know that
yes, George was still the clear winner, starting to hatch and cluck and
all sorts of good things.

The doc said, after finally getting the transfer done, you've got a star
in your uterus. She was referring to the little diode thingie they put
in the catheter so they could make sure that the embryo wasn't stuck in
there instead of in me but I knew it meant a lot more.

When we left that day, I held the picture of George close and thought,
this is a whole world different than an IUI. This is a little tiny life
and if doesn't take hold, well that's a little death. Somehow it's a
world of difference between the 20+ eggs I threw during the months and
months of trying. Those guys may or may not have met sperm. Our
embryos? They met sperm. They conceived and could've become life.

For those embryos that didn't make it, I mourned. For the ones who are
currently frozen, awaiting our decision about their future, I mourn as
well.

And still, though I now have a clear picture of how fragile life's
beginnings are, I support choice. Because my story is my own, only that
and nothing more.

Lady-buggery

Val's been in her new room for 2 days and so far, it's going great. She
rolled right in there like it's where she's meant to be and hardly even
said goodbye to Andrea. She knew one girl in the class fairly well so
it's now all about that kid.

She's even napped both days, so that's huge. I know it was the right
thing for her.

The director chatted with her now-former teacher, who feels awful that
it ended that way. Let's be real - we feel awful, too. But she made
the choice to say those hateful/merely ignorant things to me and more
importantly, she chose to not keep her cool or seek backup or call us
when Val was crying that day.

Today, she wore her ladybug dress that Grandma Kathy sent for her
birthday. It's perfect - her new classroom is the Ladybugs! So perfect
that she felt the need to interrupt her dance teacher to shout 'I have a
ladybug dress and I'm a ladybug!'

Like how I slipped in the bit about dance class? Yes, she's taking
Dancing Tots. They do 15 minutes of tap and 15 minutes of ballet while
I get to sit on my ass and read a book. This is by no means the
activity I would've chosen for her - the sheer volume of gender
stereotypes that come with it astound me still - but she chose it with
great vigor. At some point, I have to trust that what we're teaching her
(and hopefully, showing her) about being strong women who make solid
choices will trump all that.

In other news, I'm sort of showing but it's more like that 'ate too many
donuts' stage. This stage in a post c-section body is seriously, no
sexy. The upside to this lack of concrete showing means I can continue
to not tell my work just yet. I should, yes, but there are so many
issues with that place that I'm still hesitant. Soon, I guess. Before
it becomes more than just donuts.