Last night there came the slenderest sharp edge to the wind. This morning it's still here, held in the corners of the house and the vacancies below the squash leaves. Our poor eggplant, which struggled so valiantly over the summer, will die a virgin.
We have a full four seasons here, and when one reigns, it reigns supreme. Until all has only ever been that one season. Before yesterday evening, it had always been summer. Now comes a thread of doubt, and one remembers that when the seasons change, they change quickly. Memories surface of hard winters banished by verdant springs within a single weekend. A rumor, carried on the wind, claims that summer, too, will end. That whites, and duns, and dust-darkened greens will be succeeded by golden light under a hard blue sky. That the plants will burn and the wooly smoke will gather and gather until suddenly we are smothered by winter.
In January, friends, remind me of light and heat, and how in tropical places the bugs really are too big to bear.
It's been sad here. We realized yesterday that Julia was not getting enough to eat through breast feeding and had to give her formula. Kristin's best friend is a lactation consultant and was out here this afternoon helping and we're working on increasing Kristin's milk supply so that we can stop the formula supplements. On a positive note, giving Julia formula last night resulted in us getting about 4 hours uninterrupted sleep.
Kristin feels terrible, was devastated, was crying. I feel terrible. Not because of the formula, (though I agree that breast milk is best, and I really want to be a supportive partner about breast feeding) but because this last week my hormones have been out of control. I have had mood swings, weepiness, and anxiety. If I didn't know better, I'd think that I had just given birth. My breasts are even larger and sore (but not lactating, unfortunately). So I feel bad that instead of being calm and even-keeled during Kristin's emotional storm, I just jumped right in with the crying and feelings of worthlessness. It was pretty bad, even the dogs wept in their doggie way.
On a post before the baby was born, Anne at Land Mammal commented that perhaps I was taking in Kristin's hormones and reacting to them. I replied with a comment about the phenomenon of Couvade in which the male partner of a pregnant woman experiences "sympathy" pregnancy symptoms. Research has revealed that these men do have elevated levels of hormons similar to their wives (only at levels not as high) and I speculated that perhaps my hormones are fluctuating with Kristin's to an even greater extent because of the sensitivity women have to other women's hormones. I'm beginning to believe that that's very true. During Kristin's labor, I suddenly got the worst period I have had in a very long time, complete with killer cramps. We joked about sympathy labor. Then we both got weepy and irritable. Wondering why I was suddenly going crazy when I felt I should be so unadulteratedly blissfull, I went to see my therapist. She commented that she has had other lesbian clients who have had the same problems. Though it is most likely being compounded by my serious lack of sleep, her diagnosis is that I am, indeed, post partum.
So, a warning and a question:
Those of you reading this who are in lesbian relationships trying to get with child should keep this in mind and make plans accordingly. What kind of plans, you ask? I don't know. Buy lots of tissues? Bring tampons and/or pads to the hospital for the non-birthmother? (I didn't do that and I had to have a friend bring me some the evening Julia was born after I had used up the ones we had brought for Kristin's lochia). I just wish I felt a little more stable in order to be a better support for the woman who is truly post partum over here.
Did any of you who read this blog and are already non-biological mothers experience this post partum hormonal rollercoaster? How did you handle it?
You may have noticed that we have 2 dogs. Oscar and Oliver. Oscar is 4 and Oliver just turned 2. They're both crazy. Very lovable, very loving, but crazy. Oscar thinks that the way to get people on the street to love and play with him is to bark at them very loudly and show them his teeth. I know he's smiling, but no one else can tell. Last fall, Kristin heard him barking at kids walking to school and she ran outside to introduce them to him so that they would come up and pet him and get him to stop giving us, and all the neighbors, migraines when they walk by. The kids wouldn't come near the fence, even though once Kristin was out there Oscar was more interested in licking her face than barking at kids. "We call this house the House of Terror," (Capital letters theirs) "because of the big dog, but we like the little one."
Everyone likes the little one (Oliver), and Oliver likes everyone. Unreservedly. Aggressively. When anyone comes to the house his tongue flicks in and out like a reciprocating saw. It is a truly horrifying site to see that tongue come at you. I was a bit worried about that tongue when thinking of our life after baby. But when the baby came home, he seemed a changed dog. Gentler, kinder, more considerate. He sniffed, he looked, and he licked... but gently, gently. All that changed Thursday afternoon.
After having read The Other Mother's discussion of rituals associated with a baby's cord stump, Kristin and I decided that we would bury the stump with a rose bush that had been given to the Julia while we were in the hospital. At the time, the rose bush was in a pot and rapidly dying, and we were really hoping that the cord would fall off before the plant hit its expiration date. So, on Thursday morning when Kristin called upstairs that Julia's cord stump had come off, much excitement ensued. I told her to put it in a safe place. I went and took the baby from her. She got in the shower. I forgot about the stump. The dogs were outside barking at people, so I let them in. Oscar came into the library and fell asleep at my feet. Oliver went elsewhere and was quiet. I wondered, briefly, at his good behavior.
A few minutes later Kristin started screaming and laughing at the same time, "He ate it, He ate it!" Ate what? I wanted to know. "The Stump, he ate the stump! I came out of the shower and watched him finish what I thought was a chewy you gave him and I wondered why he was being so good when it hit me to look at the nightstand where I put the stump and it's gone!"
Yes, my friends, our dog ate our baby's cord stump. Now his interest in the baby seems a bit more sinister. Last night he also ate the bloody bandage from her PKU/bilirubin test and 2 diapers. How he found these things I do not know since they were in the garbage can of a room that we keep closed. His sneakiness knows no bounds. And now, I swear to god, everytime he looks at Julia, he licks his lips.
He's had a taste and he wants more.
Do you hear that? Of course you don't. Because "that" is silence and, as such, does not make a sound.
Do you see this? I'm typing with two hands.
How, you might ask, are you using two hands while enjoying the sound of silence?
The wonder of a sling. We are actually getting things done around the house this afternoon while actually listing to our own music. Thanks to the wonder of the womb-like qualities of denim...
Praise the lord.
First, a cute picture...
Ok, when we left off, Kristin’s contractions were beginning to set in and we were watching Waiting for Guffman. We had just gotten to the point where the community actors realize that Guffman is late, but before they realize that he’s not coming at all, when she had me turn the movie off and put in the hypnobirthing cd. She said that the contractions were very strong, but the external monitor was only recording small cramps. We were feeling very alone and beginning to get frightened.
Suddenly the day shift came on and the difference in our care was like, well, like night and day. Suddenly our room was full of people, all solicitous, all concerned and caring. Our nurse introduced herself to us by saying how happy she was to have a hypnobirthing couple and asking us details about our birthing wishes that I hadn’t included on our sign. Best of all, she was there when Kristin’s first really big contraction (registering as a mighty 30 on the external monitor, 30 being the equivalent of, say, the way your uterus feels when someone pinches you on the arm) and though I was caught off guard by the intensity of Kristin’s pain, Nurse Cheerleader didn’t look at the monitor once, but just grabbed Kristin’s hands, called her KRISTIN (as opposed to Whiney Bitch Lesbo Takin’ Up All My Time which is what I think the night nurses though her name was), looked deep into her eyes and told her how strong she was, how she was going to be able to do this, and while she did all this she smoothed Kristin’s forehead out and praised her again on how well she was handling the contraction. She never sounded false or condescending. She helped Kristin through that contraction, and helped me get control of my own fear and feelings of insecurity about being able to comfort someone in that much pain. That moment changed the path of our birthing experience, reminding both Kristin and I that we were strong, that we were the ones in control, and that we were capable of handling whatever came our way.
Though Kristin’s contractions continued to be quite strong, the external monitor was still recording only slight bumps. Without accurate readings on the strength of her contractions, though, the doctors would be unable accurately to judge how much pitocin to administer, so they told us that they would like to insert a monitor into Kristin’s uterus that would tell the world exactly how strong her contractions really were. I got the impression that all these doctors were thinking that Kristin was really wussy and just unable to handle the pain of labor and they wanted to prove it to her by proving that she wasn't really having very strong contractions. So, she agreed to the internal monitor. Putting it in was extremely painful (on top of the pain she was already feeling from the contractions, but she managed it admirably) And, once it was in – voila! contractions everyone would believe. Yes, doctor, we are in labor. It turned out the contractions she was having were like icebergs – the small tip that was visible gave no indication of the dangerous, early-twentieth-century-optimism-crushing mammoth malevolence below. Actually, they looked kinda pretty on the monitor – like the coolest rollercoaster you could ever want to ride. I told Kristin she should be having fun, too bad she didn’t get the joke.
The kind of contractions that she was having on the pit were equivalent to the kinds of contractions women have during the phase of labor called “transition”, excruciatingly painful, one-on-top-of-the-other. The kind of contractions that if this were a movie the director would have had Kristin screaming obscenities at the doctor and swearing that she would never let me touch her again. “Scream harder, scream harder darling, let us really feel your pain, look terrible, you’re a Hollywood star in labor!” Kristin moaned a few times, as I held her hand and rubbed some pain-relief pressure points, but for the most part, you could not tell from looking at her that she was having any contractions, she was so relxed. Doctors would come in the room (yes, plural, I’m not certain if every laboring woman has EVERY SINGLE RESIDENT, STUDENT, AND DOCTOR on the floor hovering over her, but we certainly did) and begin to speak to Kristin about her pain level or some new measurement they wanted to take or some procedure they wanted to do, when they would get a look at the monitor and fall into a respectful silence. Kristin would look at them impatiently and say (very calmly) “you don’t have to wait until it’s over to talk to me, I’m capable of listening to you while going through this.” I swear some of those visitors were in there simply to see the Amazing Hypnobirthing Woman talk her way through contractions as strong as they could give her.
At 11 0’clock Dr. Blue Eyes checked Kristin’s cervix and it had only dilated to a 5 (from a 3 at 6 am) and was still only 90% effaced. They upped the pitocin a bit and she said she would be back in a couple of hours to check again. Nurse Cheerleader had to go Rah Rah Rah a woman though her delivery, so a new nurse came to attend us. Yet another miracle worker. This nurse, let’s call her Nurse So Cool We Want To Move Her Into Our Basement and Force Her To Be Our New Best Friend (BF for short), was awesome, and young, and though supportive of our hypnobirthing method, also was one of the only matter-of-fact people we had talked to when it came to pain relief, because though Kristin was weathering the contractions like a champ, we were both getting extremely tired. Before the induction, we had planned to spend the majority of her labor at home, comfortable, sleeping if possible. With all of this hospitalness, walking, relaxing in the Jacuzzi and sleeping had become impossible. Kristin, faced with the possibility of another 5 hours of hard labor with another 2+ hours of pushing, all on no sleep, felt that she would be too tired to push, or bond with the baby after she was born. I reminded her of the IV, that it would have to stay in longer should she opt for the epidural, but at that point Kristin felt that the best thing she could do for herself and the baby would be to have an epidural so she could get some rest.
The epidural went in at 12:45 and Dr. Blue Eyes came in to check her cervix again. Still at a 5. Baby still at -3 station (negative? the one where it’s high up in the pelvis, not the one where it’s hanging out the birth canal). Kristin’s bp still very high, but not so high she needed to be put on magnesium yet. Dr. Blue Eyes told Kristin that with the type of contractions she had been experiencing for the length of time that she had been experiencing them, it was not looking good that the cervix was not dilating, nor the baby moving down. She said she’d give us another couple of hours, but that she was thinking that we needed to begin thinking about the possibility that this baby would be born via c-section.
Now, a moment here to talk about slippery slopes. All the natural childbirth books that we had read had warned about how interventions are a slippery slope leading to c-sections. And certainly, the amount and severity of interventions in our birth were increasing. On the surface, an advocate for pure, natural labor could consider this a textbook case of interventions slowly but surely leading to an unnecessary c-section. Perhaps. However, we have perfect faith in Dr. Blue Eyes. All along she had been incredibly supportive of our desires, my role as partner and parent, and our wish to labor naturally and with few interventions. With Kristin’s bps as scary as they were, and with the baby’s heartbeat non-reactive (though, to be fair, it was non-reactive most of the pregnancy, but she always passed her bio-physical profiles, so the non-reactive thing wasn’t especially worrisome for us) we knew that the interventions we were receiving were par for the course. We felt as in control as we could be given the situation. Plus, Kristin’s hips are very narrow. They had widened a bit during the pregnancy, but both of us wondered if she would be able to birth the baby through those hips. So, when Dr. Blue Eyes came in and told us that she thought Kristin would need a c-section, we believed that she wasn’t doing it to get us off her plate and move us along, but rather because she sincerely believed that a c-section would be the safest thing for Kristin and the baby. We asked her a lot of questions, among them one from me “Can you do the c-section?” “Oh, I think I know how to do a c-section” “No, I mean, can YOU do the c-section instead of someone else?” “Yes, I will be doing the c-section.” Then Dr. Blue Eyes said she would give us another couple of hours to see if the labor would progress and to make up our minds. If this had been Dr. Condescending, there would have been no way to convince Kristin and I that she was suggesting such a thing for our best interests, and we would have held on until the situation became critical. But Dr. Blue Eyes is not condescending, and instead of feeling like we had fallen (or been shoved) off a mountain, we felt as if we had been guided into a well-provisioned hunter’s shack in the middle of a killing blizzard.
Two hours later, Kristin had napped, I had paced, and the cervix had begun closing up. Dr. Blue Eyes recommended a c-section and we agreed to the procedure. And an hour after that, I watched (and took pictures) as Dr. Blue Eyes held Julia up for Kristin to see and then handed her over to the pediatricians to be cleaned up and evaluated. In a matter of minutes, my wailing beauty had been declared perfectly healthy and handed over to me to take to the nursery. There were only 3 upsetting things about the section itself: 1) Kristin kept wanting to know what was happening, and there was no way I could look over the drape to see the doctor cutting my darling in half, so the anesthesiologist had to keep her updated. I felt like I had failed her at the very end, so I forced myself to stand up and take pictures as they pulled Julia out. 2) While I was standing near the pediatricians as they were examining Julia, I heard a doctor say, “looks like we need a little clean-up over here.” I turned around and saw him standing in a pool of blood and there was something that looked like a piece of Kristin’s LIVER on his foot. Ok, ok, I know that was part of the placenta, nevertheless it gave me a bit of a heart attack. The final thing was that I needed to choose between remaining with Kristin and going with the baby to the nursery. I chose, correctly, to stay with the baby, but it was so hard to leave Kristin there, when the fatalist within (who’s been on a roll, which those who’ve been following my posts can attest) was screaming that that may be the very last time I saw her alive, and how could I leave her alone on her death-bed like that.
She didn’t die, though when she was transferred from recovery to maternity right at the change from day to night shifts (see chapter 1 if you need a refresher on how we feel about night nurses), and while I was in the nursery with Julia, and my family was outside the nursery looking through the window, Kristin’s anesthesia began wearing off and she went into shock, unable to get any of the night nurses to respond. My mother went to the room to show her pictures, found her convulsing, and went and ripped the heads of several nurses in order to wrap Kristin in the corpses and feed her their blood and livers to give her back heat and strength. That, and she got her a morphine drip, which though it didn’t work all that great (unbelievable, whoever spread those nasty rumors about morphine being a wonder pain killer is surely roasting in hell with only a morphine drip for comfort) was better than nothing. I knew nothing of this until much later, no one wanted to tell me, for fear I would get too upset.
But, we survived. We survived 2 more nights of terrible night nurses (until the very last night when we complained and complained and were finally assigned to a nurse named, I kid you not, Patience, who was another miracle worker and gave us our first 3 continuous hours of sleep since Tuesday night), and 3 days of terrible hospital food. We survived being told that Julia has jaundice and was on the verge of needing a blood transfusion. We survived seeing and hearing her scream in the light box for hours at a time, and now we are home and surviving the sheer, overwhelming joy of having such a beautiful little person in our arms and lives.
Three more thoughts, and I will wrap this saga up:
Though we live in Utah, and I will have to fight to have any scrap of rights over this little girl, at the hospital I was treated with respect and as if I were the child's father. No one ever questioned my right to be anywhere I wanted to be and no one questioned my right to make decisions for Kristin or the baby. For this I am eternally grateful, and more than a little surprised.
I thought that Kristin and my relationship was tight. I thought that I loved her as much as I could love another human being. I was wrong. Over this whole process, I fell in love with her all over again. The emotion is so much deeper, richer, than I have felt before. I am crying as I type this and I think about what an amazing, wonderful person I am partnered with -- hell, I don’t care what the California Supreme Court says – MARRIED to, as I sat with her on her hospital bed and we looked at our daughter, I knew beyond anything else why I was with her and how special what we have is. And on top of that love for Kristin is all this love for Julia… so much that I hurt with it. I am positively tender with emotion, and if ever I can manage to get even a fragment of this feeling into a poem, I will call my life as a writer complete and weep with joy for it.
Yikes, that’s schmaltzy. What do I think I am, a poet or something?
and for the final thing before letting you go…
Silver Linings to C-Sections
1) Our baby was the prettiest baby in the nursery since her head wasn’t all
mushed up by a trip through the birth canal
2) I got to keep my scrubs. A baby and free pajamas! Sweet!
3) People keep bringing us dinner and doing our dishes since not only do we have
a newborn, but Kristin’s recovering from major surgery.
4) No episiotomy, no tearing, no vulva explosion. What’s not to love!
5) Kristin’s got a whole bottle of percoset that she’s not going to use so I
have a head start on my future career as a professional prescription drug
abuser. Hey, every poet’s gotta have a problem!
Ok, so, when last we left, Kristin was scheduled for an induction on Wednesday night because her blood pressures were so high. We went out for our last baby-less meal (extra spicy Indian food still trying to get labor started w/out pitocin) with some friends and talked all about babies and baby stuff. Wednesday Kristin’s blood pressures were even higher but we didn’t go to the Ob emergency since we were going to be induced that night anyway. We slept in, made and froze some more meals for the post-partum experience, re-packed the hospital bags (again) and practiced the hypnobirthing techniques.
At 6 PM, as we had been instructed, we called Labor and Delivery, only to be told that they were so busy that they had cancelled all scheduled inductions. We tried explaining to the Attending OB that this was NOT an induction for our convenience, but rather one that was medically necessary. Dr Condescension told us that if Kristin’s blood pressures were really as high as we said that we should come in, but that they were probably going to be sending us home anyway. We called Dr. Blue Eyes’ answering service and when we explained the situation to them, they called her at home and connected her to us. She told us to go in, that there was no way they were going to send us home with those bp readings, and that she would see us in the morning. So we went in and spent 3 hours in OB triage with Kristin’s bp readings fluctuating from 130/72 to 160/107 (sometimes those disparate readings were within minutes of each other) before a room opened up and they agreed to go ahead with the planned induction.
So, the triage nurse walked Kristin over to her room and I ran to get our bags from the car. When I came back, they were busily hooking Kristin up to monitors and placing an IV. Now, we had planned on hypnobirthing, and we did not want an IV unless it was necessary. We understood that with Kristin having an induction, they would need to place an IV, and so, though Kristin wasn’t happy with it, she allowed the IV to be placed, thinking that they were going to start the pitocin drip. Not so. We sat there another hour before we saw the Dr Condescension, who, I should say, was very sheepish when she saw us, saying how busy they were, but how glad they were that we had, in fact, come in. The nurses were not so glad. All of the nurses that attended us (or didn’t attend us as the case may be) were very obviously put out that we had dared to come in on a night that they were so busy. Every time one came in, she complained about how busy they were, how they didn’t really have any time for us, and what was that we needed again? Kristin needed to be taken off the monitors so she could go to the bathroom? Couldn’t you figure out how to take the monitors off and on yourselves? How many times in a night does a pregnant woman have to go to the bathroom anyway?
I was lying on a cot that had been made from a tombstone, finding it impossible to sleep. Kristin’s entire arm was aching from the IV and the fluid push they were giving her made her need to pee every half hour. Finally Dr. Condescension came in and checked her cervix and decided to place a pill behind the cervix to help it dilate. She spoke to us like we were 4 years old, “Now I’m just going to slip my little hand in and put some medicine in you and when the medicine is all gone, a little stork will fly out your pussy with a baby just for you!” Everyone on the night staff treated us like we were mentally handicapped children. When Kristin complained about the IV and how she didn’t see that it was necessary (nor all the fluids they were pushing into her – if she was dehydrated, no one bothered to tell us) we were told that we were horrible baby-killers to be so upset about the IV that could, possibly, save our baby, maybe, if something really, really bad were to happen. Of course, they would have had to notice something bad happening first, and since they never checked on us or really paid any but negative attention to us, I still don’t see how the IV would have helped since both Kristin and the baby would have been long dead and buried before I could get anyone’s attention. If we asked for help getting the monitors on and off (or needed some ice or whatever) we were informed that if we had wanted attentive help then we shouldn’t have pushed our way in there when they were so busy. Yet, on a trip to track down some ice for Kristin, I passed 2 other empty rooms. They may have been overwhelmed when we called, but by 2 am all was quiet in L&D.
They had told us that they would start the drip at 4 am. Because I have a difficult time sleeping on slabs of engraved marble, and Kristin has a hard time sleeping while her bladder is exploding through her hand and her back and legs are aching from the abnormal positions we were unable to get the bed out of (those beds are made for laboring women, not sleeping women, one of our caring and sympathetic nurses comforted us by saying), we were both bright eyed and bushy tailed when 4 came and went with no sign of a drug-bearing stork. We were still alert at 5 when we gave up on anyone coming back to help us (this will be a common theme during the nights of our hospital stay). Finally, at 6, the doctor and nurse came back in and started the drip. The doctor also did a pelvic exam and in the course of it broke Kristin’s water. I was a bit surprised with this since I thought we would be extensively consulted about such a maneuver (I know Dr. Blue Eyes would have talked with us first) but it was done, and since we were definitely going to have a baby by the afternoon (no way in HELL were we going to let Dr. Condescending deliver our baby when she came back on shift that night) we weren’t too, too upset.
The drip set, Dr. Condescending and Nurse So-sympathetic-I-want-to-puke-on-her-shoes left us to our labor. I slapped our hypnobirthing sign on the door and put in Waiting For Guffman to while away the time. Kristin’s contractions began within a few minutes, and though they were strong, it took about 40 minutes before they settled into a pattern.
OK, more after my nap. You know, sleep when the baby sleeps and all…
Good News! Our OB, Dr. Blue Eyes, is back from vacation; and she agrees that Kristin's blood pressures are TOO HIGH. So...
They're inducing tomorrow night. Our baby should arrive sometime Thursday. Arrive. As if she's coming from far away. As if instead of going to the hospital, we should go to the airport or train station to pick her up. As if she's coming to us via mass transit and the hospital is just some way station. Well, I guess in a way it is, and we do. Though it's only centimeters away, it might as well be in a completely different universe. No worries, no trauma, no alarm clocks, no people with bad breath getting in your face... shit, why are we forcing her out? Oh yeah, that's right, she's killing her mommie.
Ok, well, she's not really killing her. At least not yet. Kristin shed more blood today so they can check her liver functions and what not. I'm sure those tests are going to turn out fine (just like the ones she's taken every other time her bp has shot up) but if not, they call us and we go in tonight. We were also warned that if her bps go up just a tiny bit more and remain there during the labor that she'll be put on Magnesium. To keep her from having seizures. It's a very nasty substance to be pumped into your body, but worth it to keep her from having the siezures that high blood pressures can bring on during labor. Dr. Blue Eyes comforted us by saying that they rarely have patients OD on it anymore. Sheesh. Cold comfort. I am resolutely NOT googling it. I will have faith.
It's the end of a very long 9 months, and I am so speechlessly proud of Kristin for carrying the baby to full term. I know that her complications are nothing compared to some, but they've been scary enough for us, and she's defied the expectations of Dr. Blue Eyes and her office. Sure her blood pressures have gotten high, but she hasn't actually develped preeclampsia, and that is a fucking miracle. Now we just have to get through labor and delivery.
I was reading A Little Pregnant, and she mentioned the discussion on birth plans taking place on The Leery Polyp. We made birth plans, too. When we were planning this pregnancy, we wanted to have a home birth. Then we found out that her insurance wouldn't pay for a home birth and that home births are technically illegal in Utah, so we decided on a midwife at a birthing center. Then we found out that with her complications a birthing center,let alone a midwife, wouldn't touch her. OK, the hospital, and an OB specializing in high-risk pregnancies. Still, we'll be hypnobirthing, goddamnit! Natural labor is rare at our high-tech hospital, but not unheard of. They even have big jacuzzis for labor. On our tour we asked if we would have a problem getting a room with the big tub and they laughed "we save those rooms for women who want to go naturally, they're almost always empty." Hmmm. Well, anyway. Our Ob is very supportive of our hypnobirth plans even as we begin to toss them (and our high-falutin' ideals) out the window... "Stripping the Membranes? Well, if we have to. Pitocin? Ok, if you think it's best. Magnesium? Sure, why not? Heroine? Bring it on baby!" But I spent an hour making my hypnobirthing sign, so by golly, I'm hanging it on the door! (even if I end up crossing all of our requests off one by one -- no IV, no pitocin, no continuous monitoring -- the first three all scratched off and we haven't even started!)
Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) 'Ever to confess you're bored
means you have no
Inner Resources.' I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as achilles,
who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.
Still no baby. Kristin's blood pressure is hovering in the 160-170/100s most of the time. She's on full bedrest. It seems a little ridiculous since her pregnancy's term... but we've done what we can to try to get labor to start at home: sex, nipple stimulation, acupressure, sex, wishing really really hard, acupuncture, the spiciest food imaginable. I keep suggesting castor oil, but Kristin has drawn a line on torturing her bowels. Apparently, her bowels are precious to her.
Finally, her blood pressure dropped to a charming 158/97 so we decided to do a daring and courageous thing... we got in the car and headed for the Idaho lottery. Foremost in our heads was the thought that heck, if we drive far enough away from our hospital we might tempt fate enough to send us our baby. And we might win the lottery. These both feel like the same thing.
You see, I feel that getting pregnant is a little like buying a lottery ticket (or winning a lottery ticket in a raffle, depending on how hard you have to try to get pregnant before you actually get pregnant) you buy your lottery ticket in a moment of hope and happiness and sure-that-you're-really-going-to-win-ness and then spend much time planning on how your life will change when you win the lottery, all the fun things you're going to do when you win the lottery, how happy the family will be when you share the winnings when you win the lottery, how different the house will look when you win the lottery. Very much like most of the conversations about the baby: how happy we will be when we have a baby, how different our lives will be when we have a baby, how excited the family will be when we have a baby, how all our dreams will come true when we have a baby, how we'll finally be able to go on that alaskan cruise when we have a ba... well, I guess not entirely the same. Still.
But it didn't work. Fate was not fooled. It's probably that we were never REALLY far enough from the hospital to make it risky. This afternoon I'm going to suggest Nevada...
2) Alphabetized by Author (and then chronologically) the rest of my library (all 40 linear feet of it).
3) Alphabetized my DVD and VHS collection. (Are you seeing a pattern here?)
4) Spent 2 hours debating various ways of organizing our CD colletion. Kristin wanted it organized by genre, I thought alphabetical was best.
5) Caved and organized all our CD's according to genre.
6) Currently considering going back and doing it alphabetically within genre (and, of course, alphabetizing the genres as well)
7) Decided that my white washcloths aren't nearly white enough.
8) Went to the store to find something to brighten them up with.
9) Came home and rewashed all white washclothes, this time adding bluing to the rinse water.
10) Gave up on the idea of white washcloths (for today)
11) Took all the addresses in our baby announcement database and put them on teeny, tiny, little return address labels and created a miniscule little address book magnet for our new fridge
12) Thought about all the ways a miniscule address book magnet would come in very handy (for instance if both Kristin and I were found asphixiated by carbon monoxide poisoning, and the people investigating why our dogs weren't barking crazily at all hours of the night broke into our house and found our bodies and needed to call someone in the family to have them come get our cat who had escaped the poisoning because she's a little promiscuous -- in a completely sterile kind of way -- and didn't know who our family was and then they look over at the fridge and see the address book and suddenly have all the answers. You laugh, but something very similar to this happened to me just last October. The finding a body and needing to call a member of the family part, NOT the asphyxiating part)
13) Stared intently into my lover's face to try to determine if she could be hiding contractions from me
14) Asked Kristin every 15 minutes if she had taken her bloodpressure readings recently.
15) Hovered over her (willing them to go down) as she took said readings.
16) Sulked after she told me that my hovering was making them go up.
17) Read some more blogger's archives.
18) Looked at my manuscript, put it back away.
19) Started Ahab's Wife
20) Took silly tests like the following test that I took 3 times to see if I would end up being a different feminist icon. I didn't. That's ok, she's awesome (in the original sense)
You are Angela Davis! You were the THIRD WOMYN IN
HISTORY to appear on the FBI's Most Wanted
List. You are a communinist, black power-lovin'
lady who shook up the United States when you
refused to lie down quietly to oppression. You
WENT TO JAIL! Wow. You kick so much more ass
than Foxxy Brown.
Which Western feminist icon are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Ok, still no baby yet. As of right now, everything is in a holding pattern. Except for one thing.
My job. Or ex-job, as it turns out.
Yes, I received an offer of employment with the Securities and Exchange Council as a Secretary. Yes, it’s more money than I have ever made with health insurance to boot. Yes, the people there are nice. They would have to be, as well as have strange senses of humor, in order to hire me. Particularly after my stunning interview.
Still, my last job was amazing. I worked for 5 years at a little non-profit. I think the website’s still up (though out of date) if you want to check it out. The hours were flexible, the pay was decent, and the mission was a life-goal of mine. Frankly, the goddess sent me this job. Unfortunately, it was supported exclusively by grants, and when those grants ended, so did the job. I’m still volunteering, the office is in my basement, because we still have a few (small) outstanding projects. And we wrote a large grant in January that everyone thought had an excellent chance of being funded. The project was a bilingual (Spanish/English) look at the impact of religion on society and the different ways that impact manifests itself regarding race/cultural relations in this country. It was to consist of bilingual reading and discussion programs to be run (free of charge) in libraries all across the country. I found out today that the grant has been denied. This pretty much means the end of that little non-profit. And solidifies the fact that I will, indeed, be working for the Feds come September.
It’s a step backward on my career ladder (from Administrative Assistant/Project Coordinator to Secretary), and a gigantic leap away from what I feel should be my life path. Up until now I’ve been lucky enough to work only at jobs I felt very passionately about except the winter I worked in the Harry & David factory. That winter was one of the hardest of my life, not because of the grueling physical labor, but because of what taking that job meant to me. I was lucky to have that job, I knew that, it kept me off the streets and away from starvation, and yet… So here I am again, forced to take a job because of the money.
My therapist tells me that I need to change my definition of “following my bliss” from an outward manifestation in terms of job, to an inward manifestation in terms of state of mind. She reminds me that my bliss is at home, with my wife, my (soon to arrive) child, my writing. That taking the kind of jobs that I want (meaning the kind of jobs that consume me whole) would serve to divert my resources away from the things that are more immediately important. I am trying very hard to hold to that. I am also telling myself that I will not become comfortable and complacent at this job and so will remain open to new possibilities that may arrive -- ie grad school or (unlikely but a wonderful thought) a teaching position. Kristin called to remind me of my Rob Brezsny horoscope for this week. The relevant sentences of which are:
the week ahead will be overflowing with paradox… a risky opportunity that will feel like an ordeal even as it brings out the best in you. To thrive in the midst of these rich anomalies, you should suspend any prejudices you might have against puzzling evidence.
This I will try to do.
PS – If horoscopes are accurate (and I do think that they are), according to Kristin’s horoscope, we are going to be giving birth to some amazing child.
Thanks to everyone that voiced their support. Kristin's blood pressures are still elevated, but her cervix is at 2 and 50% effaced. Right now we're considering being artifically induced at the beginning of next week. Tonight we're going to see an acupuncturist to try to get this ball moving. The baby is still fine.
If you don't hear from me for a couple of days its because we're off having a baby!
(or you could hear from me later tonight when labor hasn't hit but insomnia has.)
I’ve said some doozies in my life.
Normally they come out un-premeditated. They sort of pop out in a fit of passion, compassion, or curiosity.
You mean the baby is starting to eliminate inside you? Wow, how does it feel to be a toilet?
This poem would be so amazingly great, if only you would lose those stupid rhymes.
or, my personal favorite
Wow, that’s a lot of mucus. Is it supposed to be that color? It’s kind of oozing out of the os, it looks a little like snot. What does the book say it’s supposed to look like? Do you think you could have a disease or something?
These things are not meant to be hurtful, but they end up hurting just the same. I’m usually better in writing, where my internal editor has a bit more control over what other people receive. But not always.
So, when I set up this blog I wrote that the worst of me would eventually show up as the result of exuberance and good intentions… I just thought it would show up on this blog. Don’t worry, it probably will, eventually.
But for now, suffice it to say that I got a teensy bit too involved in another blog’s drama and got a bit exuberant in a couple of comments. Not a blog I’ve got linked here, in case you were wondering. The situation unfolding on that blog struck a fear chord in me. It’s an irrational fear because though it has tangential similarities to my own life, that situation is extremely unlikely ever to occur to me. But being irrational doesn’t make it less strong. So I got a bit carried away in my comments. I am extremely sorry for that. It’s keeping me up tonight.
If anyone is reading this, and I have gone too far in any comments on any of your blogs, please put it down to baby blogger bad manners and know that I have learned my lesson (and a very difficult one at that) and it will not happen again. At least, I am going to make a damn concerted effort not to do it again.
If any of you know which blog I’m referring to, please understand that what I said was not meant to be hurtful… but I’m afraid that it was insensitive, and for that I am sorry.
Though not too too scary since Kristin is considered term now.
We spent the morning in OB emergency. Yesterday Kristin's blood pressures were in the 150/105 range. The baby was also moving much less than normal. This morning Kristin's face was extremely puffy and her pressure was 160/110. So we rushed her in -- grabbed all our stuff just in case this was it.
3 hours later they released us. Her blood pressures went down while we were there and the baby started moving. They did an ultrasound just to be sure. Ok, they said the baby is fine. But we've had a LOT of ultrasounds lately, and one thing that has been consistent is that our baby has practiced her breathing constantly through the ultrasounds. This time it took our baby 20 minutes to move her diaphragm. She passed, because she did, eventually, start moving it. But still. I asked how important it was that the baby practice breathing and was told that the breath practice is the first thing to stop when the baby is in distress. So I'm left wondering if Kristin and I just caught the very beginning of something. I think her pressures went down because once we got to the hospital we knew that if anything happened we were in the best possible place getting the best possible care. But if the baby's breathing pattern has changed, even if it's still technically in the normal range...
Well, we have our regular exam tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get more answers then. Until then, our little dry run this morning revealed some preparations I still need to complete. I'm off get them taken care of!
We can actually see the little fat rolls on the thighs in the ultrasound. The stenographer pointed them out to us. She also pointed out the "double halo" of fat on the chest and calves.
Ok, so fast forward 3 cycles. Let me just say, in brief, that those 3 cycles were full of their share of spermy adventures, and someday I’ll relate what happens when a man ejaculates into an empty salsa jar…
So, I’m in my second year of an MFA program, desperately trying to think of ideas for my thesis, and Kristin’s resolutely not pregnant. Our Ob/GYN decided to drop the ob part of her practice and was really just keeping us on for pity. Also, she was refusing to manage any of Kristin’s meds for her PCOD. Apparently, they’re kinda scary for those who don’t know them well. So, we had 3 doctors at this point: Dr. Endocrine, Dr. Gyn-NOT-Ob, and Dr. Nurse Practitioner for all unrelated issues. No one was talking to each other. No one knew if all the different Meds were combining in unpredictable ways. We couldn’t get any straight answers. The pharmacists were beginning to drop hints that they thought we were druggies skimming for scripts – except that none of the scripts were very good. And then Kristin developed chronic high blood pressure.
Apparently, one of the meds that she had been on, and had just been taken off of, had a side-effect of masking developing hypertension. That was the last straw for our poor Dr. GNO. Before Kristin was even pregnant, Dr. GNO declared her “high-risk” and recommended that we start seeing Dr. Blue Eyes – a specialist in high-risk pregnancies at the University Hospital. This was a blow. We had been hoping to have a home birth, or if not a home birth, then a low-tech one at the local birthing center. Further, Dr. Blue Eyes didn’t work with infertility. Well, technically Dr. GNO didn’t either, but at least she had made noises about helping should we need her. During this same month, Dr. Endocrinologist stopped taking Kristin’s insurance, so we really didn’t know what to do. We made an appointment with Dr. Blue Eyes. Yup, she’d be happy to see us (and manage all Kristin’s different health problems) but only AFTER we got pregnant. She recommended an RE at the hospital. It was 2 months to get in to see him. We took that appointment and in the meantime went back on bent knees to Dr. GNO. Kristin had just ovulated, it was our fourth cycle, could she please just order a test of her progesterone or whatever hormone levels to make sure everything was working ok? She agreed, a favor because we were so darn cute.
I should mention that Kristin hates needles. HATES THEM. She doesn’t have good veins, and the majority of phlebotomists miss the ones in her arms. It works best to take the blood from her hand but for some reason the phlebotomists seem reluctant just to take our word for it and start there. Consequently, blood draws are very painful for her and leave to a lot of needle tracks and bruising. To illustrate how important getting pregnant had become, not only was Kristin willing to have her blood drawn for this test, but she was starting to look like a junkie from all the blood pregnancy tests she’d been taking over the last 4 cycles. (Why waste pee on something that can’t tell you if you’re pregnant until you’re ready to start bleeding? There’s a hospital in our area that will give a blood test for $15.) So we went in for the test and had the usual fight, “No, don’t try to prove that you’re the best with a needle this side of the equator. You’re not, just take it from the goddamn hand you bloodthirsty, arrogant – OUCH, I told you so -- FUCK!”
A couple of days later, Kristin had started her period, so we were already depressed when we came home to a message from what was obviously a transplant from the Valley (you know which valley I’m talking about).
“Hi, um yeah? Like, I’m calling from Dr. GNO’s office? And like, we got the results from your test back? And like, you ovulated? But, you know? Just not very well. Call us back.”
WTF? How can you ovulate “not very well”? Wasn’t it an either/or kind of thing? You either ovulated or you didn’t? How could she leave that kind of a message at 4:55 on a Friday afternoon? Besides her atrocious phone voice and mannerisms, they had Kristin’s cell number on file. We knew from bitter experience that the office closed at 5. Now we had to sit with that knowledge for an entire weekend with no way to get our answers resolved. No way to know if we were going to be able to afford to fix the problem. No way to know if we were capable of having a baby in the near future or not.
We got online and surfed the big wave of unfiltered information and found out that it is possible for women with PCOD to develop an egg and release it, but for that egg to have difficulty making it past all the other nascent babies to the fallopian tubes. It was a mystery to me how they could tell that from a blood test. Maybe there was something else wrong. Still, the “cure” for this condition was Clomid. Though Kristin and I had been reluctant to consider Clomid in the past because of the cancer risk and the way it made women crazy-hormonal, we decided to take it if it were offered because 1) Cancer wouldn’t kill Kristin until after we had a child and 2) we were already under so much stress that adding crazy-hormonal to the mix might actually make it more fun.
First thing Monday morning we called Dr. GNO’s office and were told that as a last favor (and don’t call us again you crazy lezzies!) the Dr. would write us a prescription for the lowest dose of Clomid – refillable once. One month later the CLomid had failed us (yes, we had been certain that it would work the first time, we are, if nothing else, incurable optimists). Still, we refilled the prescription and decided to keep going.
I know I haven’t really talked about any of the inseminations since the first. But I think I will mention this next one because it so perfectly illustrates our life. We had gotten into the habit of having our donor over for dinner on one of the nights he was making his donation (we usually did 3-4 insems a month). He’s really enjoys cooking and he’s excellent at it. So, though the original idea was that we would feed him, it had evolved into a large experimental cook-fest with all 3 of us pitching in – but with him doing most of the work. We usually made Indian food. This one night he had decided that he was going to make samosas from scratch. While I got started with dinner, and he’d gone to produce his contribution to Kristin’s and my baby, a woman knocked on our door. It was Adelaide (name changed to protect the easily embarrassed). Our donor had told her that he would be over here and she didn’t have anything else to do, so she thought she’d stop by. Did I mind if she came in? Oh, says I, ummm well, no? (I knew that this girl and our donor had started a serious flirtation, but wow, this was… wow) so she came in. She had brought wine. Our donor had told her she would be welcome. He’s a very generous and social person; it wouldn’t occur to him that others might not be. He walked upstairs, jar discretely hidden in his palm. I took it into the bedroom where Kristin had been getting ready. Donor began making samosas, the phone rang. I picked it up on my way by. 2 other friends. D had just witnessed a stabbing through the peephole on the front door of his and T’s apartment. They were really shaken. They didn’t want to be alone. Come on down, says I, the more the merrier. I hung up and went in to make some babies. When Kristin and I came out about 30 minutes later the house was full of people (their chatter had provided a soundtrack while we did our thing) – Donor and Adelaide (doing more flirting in the kitchen than cooking), D and T, and our friend Jennifer who had also just stopped by. We ran to the store and bought more supplies, finished the evening surrounded by friends. We told donor that if he wanted to get it on with Adelaide he’d better do it that night because we needed him to start saving up again in the morning. That’s precisely what he did.
It was finally time for our appointment with Big Shot RE. Kristin and I wanted to discuss to possibility of doing IUIs. The appointment was a HUGE disappointment. We had been told that this RE was the most liberal and understanding in the valley – possibly even the state. And, indeed, he had a reputation for helping lesbians get pregnant. However, he kept referring to Kristin as a “single mother” even though I was sitting right there and we had explained our situation to him. Then he told us that before they could do any services we would have to get a note from the hospital’s counselor. I kid you not. Kristin and I just looked at him. “We have been planning this for over a year! We have a binder full of budgets, timelines, mucus descriptions, to-do lists, names! This is not some spur of the moment thing.” “ Nevertheless, it is this hospital’s policy that any single woman wanting insemination services attends at least one counseling session.” “But we’re not single.” Kristin was ready to walk out, but our desire for a baby was too strong. We agreed to the counseling. Then the subject of sperm came up. They would only use fresh sperm if the man was the woman’s husband. If we insisted on using a known donor his jiz would need to be frozen for 6 months. Or, we could buy already-frozen sperm. Unfortunately, the sperm bank in Utah is not available for use by single women. “But we’re not single” we kept repeating. This was a nightmare. Semantics gone wild. The one hope we had was that we were 3 DPO and might be pregnant this time. We said as much to Big Shot RE and he agreed to write us a prescription for a blood pregnancy test. We took the prescription because that meant we could go to the hospital with the good lab, the non-hand-hating lab. Then we left his office hoping beyond hope that we would never have to step foot in there again.
On December 15th Kristin shed some more blood for the sake of our sanity. She felt good about this test. So, she had me call in to the lab to get the results. The following is an excerpt from my thesis which contains an almost exact transcription of my conversation with the lab tech. The formatting is screwy because of the width of the screen.
from NO NORMAL LOVE
(A Sci-Fi Lesbian Pirate Bodice-Ripper)
Part the Twenty-Seventh
In Which The Pirate Goes To See The Biographer of Desire (Who Is Not A Real Doctor)* and Ends Up Shedding Blood
*The Biographer of Desire (who is not a real doctor) appears courtesy of Geoffrey Babbitt
BD – You’re a 7.
TP – But what does 7 mean?
BD – By law, I’m not allowed to tell you.
TP – You’re a doctor, you can’t tell me what 7 means?
BD – 7 means many things, one of which you are. I’d like to tell you,
but that would mean I was practicing medicine.
TP – It was supposed to be a qualitative, not quantitative test.
BD – What’s done is done. There’s no going back. You need to move
TP – Well, can you tell me what 6 means, then.
BD – Are you a 6?
TP – You just said I am a 7.
BD – Why would you want to know what 6 means?
TP – Why shouldn’t I want to know what 6 means? Is there
something wrong with wanting to know about 6?
BD – Well, if you’re not a 6, then I can tell you that 6 means yes.
TP – So I am a yes.
BD – You said you were a 7.
TP – I want to know if I’m a yes. 7 is more than 6. Yes is
more than no. Am I wrong?
BD – Yes isn’t necessarily more than no. For instance, you could ask
if I took some of your pieces of eight. If the answer were yes,
then no would be more.
TP – But we’re not talking about pieces of eight, we’re talking about
weeks and hormones and 7. Wait, did you take some of my
pieces of eight?
BD – At week three, 1 through 5 is no. But I can’t tell you if you are
a yes. You’ll really just have to figure that out on your own.
TP – Look, scurvy knave, all I want to know is if I’m expecting. I’m
seriously considering running you through with my cutlass
BD – I’ve told you what I can. Are we through here?
TP - Not quite…
We were going to keep our maybe-news on the down low. But the English Department Christmas party was that night (we were getting ready for it when I called the lab) and we are TERRIBLE at keeping secrets (like you couldn’t tell that from the nature of this blog) and so by the end of the night everyone knew that we were pregnant. Complete strangers knew that we were pregnant. Drunk English professors knew that we were pregnant. My parents knew that we were pregnant. By golly, we had better really BE pregnant.
And guess what? We were. And we never had to see Big Shot RE again.
Having been inspired by Wannabemom’s posts on how she and her partner met, and feeling much better since Anne’s comment, I thought I would kill some of the time waiting for the baby’s arrival by writing on how she was conceived in the first place.
In the summer of 2003, Kristin and I bought a house. We moved in. Once there, we realized that the 3 things that we had told ourselves to achieve before getting pregnant were now done: Kristin finish her bachelor’s degree and find a career, Trista get accepted into grad school, and finally buy a house (we already owned a condo, but thought it was too small for a family). We rattled around in our house for a bit, unpacking and settling down, and then one day Kristin started asking for a puppy. Another puppy, since our grown dog still considers himself 6-months old. I balked. One 80 lb puppy was enough, I thought. But eventually I caved in and we got Oliver. A couple months after Oliver came home (during which we nursed him through both Bordatella and Parvo) Kristin admitted to me, “Well, when I said I wanted a puppy, what I really wanted was a baby.” Excellent. I’d been ready for a couple of years, just waiting for her to catch up.
So, we started making decisions. Because I worked at a non-profit organization with only one other employee, I didn’t have any health insurance through my employer. Because I have a history of depression, I can’t get health insurance on my own. Kristin works for the state, so she has excellent insurance. We knew that if I were to get pregnant, I could get Medicaid (Medicare? I don’t know, the one for poor people) but then when the baby was born we’d be relying on CHIP or other welfare programs for its health-care needs because co-habitating adults can’t adopt here, so Kristin wouldn’t be able to put the baby on her insurance. Because of these reasons, it seemed really irresponsible to us for me to be the one getting pregnant – even though I’m a couple years older and have wanted to be pregnant for so long. So, decision one done: Kristin will be carrying.
Decision 2 was about sperm. Kristin felt very strongly about having a known donor. I was less happy about the known donor issue, but felt that my fears could be alleviated through careful planning. We started keeping our eyes out for possible donors but basically tabled that discussion while Kristin began tracking her cycles and meeting with health-care professionals to get an evaluation on her reproductive system. Kristin has Poly-Cystic Ovarian Disease, and she had been told before that she would not be able to conceive. However, since she had been given that diagnosis, that doctor (a premier endocrinologist in our area) had been revealed a raging homo-phobe who had screwed up some friends attempts to conceive, and we wanted a second opinion. Thank god we found a new doctor. Not only had the first doctor been wrong, but he had been sabotaging Kristin’s reproductive health. (I’d say more here, but I want to protect Kristin’s privacy) So, the new doctor was very optimistic about her chances of conceiving, and began prescribing Kristin new medication to get her body back on schedule.
Meanwhile, months were passing and the donor issue has not been resolved. We’d asked a few people (my brother, some friends) and were turned down. We wanted to start trying in July 2004, but it was April, and still no sperm. With Kristin’s cycle ok’d to try, but still a little iffy, we felt we needed every advantage on our side, and that meant using fresh sperm. Finally, a donor said yes. We entered into negotiations, everything seemed fine. It would be completely anonymous, with a clause that the child could know the donor’s identity when he/she was a teenager. Relief, thy name is semen.
One Sunday morning in April, Kristin and I went to church. We go to the Unitarian Church in SLC. We were sitting in the balcony because we were late (we’re always late) when I noticed the most strikingly handsome woman I’ve ever seen (besides my beautiful bride, of course) and I said as much to Kristin. She looked, and began to laugh. “I think that’s a man!” She was right, he was. We began joking about getting to know him so we could ask him for his sperm and have strikingly beautiful children. A few weeks later we did get to know him, and surprise! He’s already going to donate to another lesbian couple TTC. I didn’t realize that Kristin was beginning to have doubts about our chosen donor. But once she found out that he was open to donation (or open for donation ha, ha) she began dropping subtle hints about changing our donor. Subtle hints like: “I think X should be our donor now.” And before I knew it, we were in full blown negotiations with a new donor. It was June.
July arrived and Kristin’s cycle started beautifully. The first insemination was awkward, and messy, and hilarious. We got SO MUCH semen. We had bought the 5 cc syringe even though the book recommended a 3cc to cut down on surface area on which to lose sperm. We couldn’t find a 3 cc syringe and were worried about all the little sperms we were going to lose in our gigantic syringe. Hell no! He had been excited, and celibate, for days. I know this is going to sound crazy, but we got about 7 or 8 cc’s. We had to REFILL the syringe. A lot dribbled out. It was stringy and gross and we were both dry heaving, but we finally got it all in and done and were convinced that there was no way we were not going to be instantly pregnant. Still, we asked him if he was available for two more in the next couple of days. He was, and we got our routine down, but we never got that much semen again.
July’s ovulation was over. We were sure we were pregnant. All the other lesbian parents we knew (or had heard of) had gotten pregnant on their first try. Oh, we knew that theoretically that was unlikely. But come on! With all our anal-retentive planning, and the amount of semen we had been provided, plus our sheer perfection as parents-to-be had to guarantee that we would AT LEAST do as well as those other couples who were less perfect than us in every way. If they did it in one, we would do it in one-half. Arrogant, weren’t we? We were ready for a smack-down.
Two weeks later: disaster, devastation, death. Our cat was killed. Kristin had had that cat for years. She was devastated. We buried him two days before leaving for vacation. We were trying to fly standby to Ecuador. We got on the plane, and then sat on the runway for over an hour listening to the pilot reassure us that that strange noise was NOT coming from the engine. It was July, in Utah, on the Tarmac. There was no air. People were passing out from the heat. The flight attendants were testy. Finally, we started taxiing for take-off. We moved into position, revved the engines, started forward, accelerated… then de-accelerated and pulled off the runway. The pilot comes on over the speaker. “Uh, ladies and gentleman, we’re going to be returning to our gate. It seems our left engine just gave out. I know some of you have some tight connections, but there will be a gate attendant to help you make new reservations…” Ecuador was o-u-t out. In fact flying anywhere was out. There was no way stand-by passengers were going to be getting out of SLC on that airline that weekend. We left the airport, got in our car and started driving. We stopped for the night in a trashy motel and Kristin got her period.
OK, though I was inspired by Wannabemom, I didn't want to copy her use of installments. Still, this is just too long for one post. So, more tomorrow. (or later tonight)
Quiet day. I didn’t get a lot done. Finished reading some blogger’s archives. Stared out the windows at our pet Mutant Squash. Thought.
It’s August. Friends are coming back from their vacations, getting ready for school. I had thought I would be starting the PhD program. I’m not. Though I am very, very, very excited for the baby, I feel a bit lost and left behind in every other aspect of my life. And isolated.
I haven’t written any new poetry since late April. Most of the work I did after I finished the material for the thesis was crap. And I haven’t had the heart to work on it. I know that I wasn’t rejected from the PhD program because of a lack of talent or intellectual ability. And I know that I don’t need a PhD to write. What I do need is a community. That’s what I miss when I think about not attending school this coming year. And though I thought I’d reapply this fall, Kristin’s making noises about wanting to go back herself, and really, it’s her turn.
The funny thing is, the very writing community that I crave is also contributing to my very first crisis of influence. I owe a friend a critique of her manuscript. It’s amazing. I’m going to mention her name because one day she is going to absolutely famous for both her music and her poetry, so keep an eye out for her: Kathryn Cowles. I’m reading her manuscript for the umpteenth time and seeing so many of the ways that she has influenced my own writing of the last few years. And the question that begs to be asked is this: why read me, when she says it so much better? Now any of you who might still be with me through this very self-pitying post really have no way of judging my talents (or, probably, hers) so I’m not expecting anyone to tell me: “no, Trista, really, you’re quite an original and stunning poet, and Kathryn’s good too, but really, you’re doing two very different things and your writings resonate off each other rather than cancel or compete…” I can tell myself things like that all night. Whether I believe them or not is another thing entirely.
What it comes down to is that the phenomenal growth in my skills and interests is entirely dependant on the community of writers that I have been seeped in for the last two years. Yes, I am a sponge: spineless and full of holes (and apt to get a little stinky when left to soak in my own moisture). And I am desperately afraid that 1) they will no longer have time for me (the corollary of this is that they will leave me behind) and 2) that I am not really a real writer. That I can’t do it on my own. That I have forgotten how to be self-sufficient with my writing (I mean, after all, it was 5 years between the bachelor’s degree and grad school, and I wrote well enough during that time to get published and accepted into the program, and I wasn’t even an English major in college.)
So, OK. I’m heading in a different direction. I’m not going to school. I may not even be working in the non-profit/humanities programming/library-related field I’ve worked in for the last 5 years. Newness. I can handle that. I’ll take this time to send things out. Enter some contests. Re-evaluate. Find a new project.
Don’t worry, this melancholia is the sure result of so much hard work recently. Or maybe so much of this hard work is the result of the melancholia…
One thing I must say for blogging, or at least reading blogs, is that it sort-of approximates the community I want to build even though many of the women I read have no idea that I am reading them, or taking heart in their journeys, or that if I knew where they lived (and if they lived close to me) I would stalk them until they conceded that I am the best friend they were ever forced to have. It does help.
I probably shouldn’t post this, but I’m going to anyway. I wanted this primarily to be a record for myself, and myself has bad days sometimes.
We now have everything ready for the baby, whenever she decides to make an appearance. She's due August 28th, but Kristin had bloody show Sunday night, and yesterday our midwife said that her cervix is ripe and dilated 1+. Of course, she also said that women can sit that way for weeks. Everything else is fine. Strange. It actually looks like Kristin could carry this baby another 3 or so weeks, despite her hugely swollen feet and toes that look like those big, purple globe grapes. This is good news, so why are we so conflicted? We've spent so much of this pregnancy waiting for problems -- on and off bed rest, a bazillion blood-pressure readings, bi-weekly NST tests and so many ultrasounds that we’ve gotten a bit blasé about them-- certain that this little girl was going to make an early, emergency appearance, that to be told she might not be here until 40 weeks is a little disappointing. I know, I'm a bad person.
It's just that I found out my unemployment* ends next week, and I've got a new job that I'm waiting to start, but I put off the start date because I need to be there for the birth and am nervous to start a new job (with the federal government) with the conversation: "Hi, I know I'm new, but I need to take an unspecified amount of time off, I'm sure it won’t be more than 5 days, on absolutely no notice. Why? Well, because I need to be at the birth of my lesbian love child..." This reluctance on my part does NOT mean that I plan to be closeted at work. Far from it. It just means that I don't want to start a new job asking for concessions a new employer might be extremely reluctant to give. I don't want to have to quit (something that I really can't do given our financial state) and don't want to be fired, and I don't want to miss the birth. But if the baby were to be born in the next week or so, I could probably call and ask for the original start date back (Aug 22) and that would only put us 1 week without any income from me. That's do-able. Of course, it isn't up to me. It isn't up to Kristin. It's up to Kristin's womb. And the womb doesn't care about jobs/unemployment/losing the house...
*Why, you ask, are we pregnant while I'm unemployed? Aren't you two women? This pregnancy couldn't have been an accident, how could you get pregnant in your state of financial insecurity? Well, it's a long story, and this post is long enough. Suffice it to say, we planned this pregnancy to the nth degree. But you can't plan life. The month we got pregnant was the month the non-profit I worked for was the victim of budget cuts. We found out only AFTER we inseminated.
We finished it last night. My mom put the finishing touches on the murals and I finally finished the canopy. The room is really small, so I had to take pictures of different angles. Everything made of cloth (except the curtains which we bought forever ago and the canopy which I made) was made by my mom. My mom also did all the murals. It is entirely thanks to her that this room is so beautiful!
I'm not really bitching in the post, I'm crowing! But I thought I would be bitching and thought of this title and now love it too much to give it up.
Saturday our new Fridge came. You know you're old when you're excited about a new fridge. I just can't stop looking at it. And opening it. And looking at it again. And opening it again...
See, we had a vintage 1950's Hotpoint fridge. It came with our vintage 1950's kitchen. cute as a bug. We were really excited about it... "Look how cute our fridge is..." then we moved in and tried to fit everything that had been in our normal-sized fridge into our bug and realized that vintage 1950's refrigerators were meant for vintage 1950's housewives. Someone who has time to grocery shop every day. Someone who buys milk in quarts. AND we couldn't just replace the fridge because there was a cabinet that hung over it and so any fridge that we bought would have to be the exact same height and they just don't make full-sized modern refrigerators that short.
So we lived in crampy-fridge-ville for 2 years. We began to worry about the quality of any breast milk we attempted to store in the fridge (it freezes what should not be frozen but ice-cream and ice-cubes liquify in its ice-box). We were trying to figure out how to re-do the entire kitchen (something we still plan to do in near future) before the baby comes so that we could buy a new fridge. There was just no way we could do it. Despair ensued.
And then I noticed that the cabinet over the fridge was not really a real cabinet. It was just shelves that were disguised to LOOK like a cabinet. I determined that whacking off the bottom 10 inches would not compromise the stability of the structure. So we bought a fridge. And Saturday morning I got up. Butched out. Took out the jig saw (which I have used approximately once, to disastrous effect) and cut a space for the fridge before the delivery guy came.
I thought this post would be full of bitching because I was certain that once Kristin woke up and saw the way I cut the cabinet she would be full of criticism and complaint. But all that woman did was laugh and say, "This isn't permanent, right?" And really, what more could you ask? I did cut it pretty crooked.
PS -- This is only the second time I've tried to put pictures on the blog, and the first time didn't work so well, so let's hope this looks good.