Saturday, December 28, 2013


Right now, I can't see the forest for the trees.  End of year reflections,  new goals and objectives for the new year, resolutions to blog more and more often. ...I can't.  I can't seem to see beyond the situations circling me.

Let me start by saying I'm fine. D. is amazing. Me and D, we're solid. He is truly the Best Baby Ever. (Don't believe me? Ask his grandparents. No bias here. Natch) Xmas rocked. Many visits with family and friends.  Many outings before the weather turned frigid. I think he finally figured out the whole opening presents thing, now that there aren't any left to open. D dazzled everyone with his walking (!) and new front tooth (!) But some other family members are weighing down my heart, and my shoulders. Heavy. Both feel so, so heavy.

Let's start with the easy one (it's all relative, isn't it.) M got a promotion at work. A pretty huge one. As in, he is now kind of a public figure. A pretty visible member of our little community.  For some, this is a dream job, a career goal, something to aim for and hope that you're in the right place at the right time when a position opens.

For M, it is not exactly that. In fact,  some days it feels like torture. Constant and steady torture. It is nothing he asked for, nothing he actually ever wanted. But he was in the right place at the right time and didn't really have a choice in the matter. As in, "can I go home and think about it?" "Not really, we're making a public announcement at the end of the week." "Oh." A painfully shy person with some serious social anxiety and remnants of PTSD who is pretty averse to confrontation is now managing a staff of 20, most of whom have been in his field for 20+ years and are, shall we say, pretty set in their ways.

You would know NONE of this if I didn't tell you. M puts on a helluva a front. And by all external accounts is kicking ass in this new role.  So, if you know us in real life, ixnay on the ob-jay talk. Mums the word, ok? For all you know, all is well. The new job is "challenging," but that's it.

To the world, he's confident, knows what he's talking about, has his shit together. And he does! But he doesn't think he does. Every step is filled with doubt and apprehension. He dreads most days (And nights since he's pretty much on call 24/7 now.) If you break it down to an hourly wage,  it might not be worth it. And when I say "it," I mean losing the person I love.

Moments of joy and laughter feel rare. Even with the Best Baby Ever at his feet. At the end of the day, he's just not sure this is what he wants to do, how he wants to spend his time and more importantly, his mental and emotional capital on.

So, we're dealing with this. Do you owe it to your son to stick it out and provide for him? Have a job that he would be proud to tell his friends about? Or do you owe it to your family to understand that what some people define as success is not necessarily what works for you? Is it brave to leave a job that is sucking out your soul, or cowardly? I'm not sure.  Neither is he.

When I started this draft, it was 11 pm on a Saturday night and M was in front of 3 computer screens and 2 laptops with his cell phone on hand. Taking calls.

This is success?

It's selfish, but I want my husband back. And I would like to have just a portion of my brain back to not think about this 24/7.  I can't speak for M, but I had a dad who put "providing for the family" first, before anything else. And I can tell you it harbored resentment, not pride. I would seethe when he actually showed up for any awards ceremony in grade school, because in my mind, what did he do to help me get there?

And yes, I know. He put food on the table and a roof over my head. But he never let me forget that either. Food and shelter, essential, yes. But I think there is more to life than the first row of Maslow's pyramid.

But right now, another family member is pretty focused on maintaining that first level. My brother, through every fault of his own, lost his girlfriend, his job and fears he could lose his house. All in the course of a few short weeks.

I'm not going to go into it, because, well I'm tired of hearing about it and I'm tired of talking about it. But let me just say this, yes, it's important for someone to admit, "I f-ed up." But the next step, and this is an important one, is to STOP F-ING UP.  Like, now.

He's said things to others about borrowing money from me, or moving in with us. Both of those statements make me laugh. Out loud. Ain't happening, dude. I will change my locks first.

I had offered a month's mortgage payment when I heard the first version of the sob story, but as further editions were refined, and more info was gathered from other versions others had heard, that offer is off the table.

Because what is the line between compassion and enabling? How gray is that space? How fuzzy is the boundary? I am probably the last member of my family still in the gray. Everyone else is on the "you've made your bed...." side.  Even my mom.

But I spend my days trying to get people the resources and help that they need, so I can't really shut that off when a situation presents itself so close to home.  But I can only open the door. My brother still needs to walk through it.

And here's a little tip: one should probably lay off the FB status updates with pics of nights on the town if they conflict with the tales of woe you are feeding your family members, who are also on FB.


But he's my brother. So how far do I watch him fall? How far is he going to fall? And more importantly, will that fallout hurt me? My family? Because when my brother feels helpless or frustrated,  that's when threats of violence emerge.  His reaction to feeling out of control is to regain some sense of control through intimidation. And as much as I claim that I'm used to it, these are the things that fill my mind on these days off work once D is asleep.

I hope this explains my silence. My absence lately.  I know these things will work themselves out.  I do.  M will find peace and, dare I dream,  satisfaction in his new role.  Or he won't.  My brother will dig himself out,  or he won't. And the world will keep turning and I will remember to be thankful for all of the things we have.  But right now,  I feel like I'm going through most days without my glasses,  and I can only see as far as the emotions in front of and around me.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Guest Post

Hi dudes,  this is D!

Mom would love to be blogging and talking with you right now,  but I've been keeping her a little busy.  See, I just figured out this standing thing.  And I'm pretty sure I can get from one place to another even faster once I sort out this thing grandma calls "balance. "  In the meantime, I'm perfecting speed crawling.

Mom and dad are really bad at child proofing.

We're heading down to granny's for a few days next week.  Maybe mom can tell you what's new then.  From my perspective,  life is good.

Now then, back to mischief....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

It's Oh So Quiet

The baby is sleeping. M is working. And I've got that darn Bjork song stuck in my head.

It's midnight on a Friday night, and I've got the place to myself for a few more hours.


I start every autumnal Friday with ambitious plans. Today, somewhere between dinner, finishing up some work deadlines and wrapping presents for a wedding we're attending tomorrow, I lost the plot and sank into some facebook ogling and solitaire domination for an hour or so (iPad...the most expensive solitaire machine ever, says M). It's the time of year when the a/c comes off and the windows open. School starts, as does the fall sports season. Which means M will be in the office from 5 pm until at least one or two in the morning each Friday. Unlucky for him. Not so bad for me.

Not only do I not have to worry about child care (thank you, daddy!) during the day, but I can fill my calendar with dinner dates for practically all of September and October. Last weekend little D and me popped in to our local to dine with M's parents and their friends. Tonight we hit up a pizza joint we haven't been to in ages with our pal A. The bartender nearly fell over when he saw me carrying D.

Whoa! I guess it has been a while. Look at that! You reproduced!

Oh Scottie. Always a way with words.

Well done! You and M make beautiful babies. 

Why yes. Yes we do. And for a few moments I let my mind wander to our other babies. The ones Scottie never got to see.


Autumn is so lovely. It is so awful. I love it. But I really hate it. I love football season. The crunch and chill of the air, the shades of the sunsets. The game itself and all the sounds (whistles, crowds) and smells (funnel cakes, hot dogs, hot chocolates, fried everything) that come with it. But I know what an immense burden and stress this time of year puts on M, so that love is a little muted. For his sake.

Autumn is also the only time I ever got to spend with I and J. Autumn was our season together. This time five years ago, there were two little babies in my belly. Growing. Thriving. Back then, Friday nights were our special times together. I would eat whatever I wanted. Watch whatever I wanted. Fall asleep on the couch waiting for M. All the pleasures of being single made better by knowing I wasn't really alone, and a loving husband and soon to be dad was on his way home.

In those days, M also had to work a few Saturdays. I remember strolling through arts fests, apple fests, anything with fest in the name in it, I was there. Sometimes with friends or family. Sometimes solo. Always with this glow of knowing and anticipation. I feel like I floated through that autumn on a cloud.

I'm rereading some of those posts now. Gosh. What a different tone.

Those days, I would avoid blogs that talked about loss like the plague. Lalalalala my ears were plugged, my eyes averted. Months later, those same blogs became my lifeline. Holding me steady. Holding me in my grief. Abiding with me no matter what shape that grief took on on any given day.
Some of those bloggers were already a few months into their new lives, having lost their little ones the season before me. In autumn.

So every few days now, I hear a ding from my calendar. I look up expecting to see a meeting I'm supposed to be at or a deadline I will most likely miss, and instead I see a very simple note. Usually just two names. Reminding me what day - whose day - it is. And so I take a moment to quietly reflect. And to remember.


M just sent a text. He's on his way home. D just shrieked, as if on cue. The spell breaks. The meditation is over. I'm off to check on the baby and heat some pasta. See you next Friday, if not sooner.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Perfect Moment Monday - Yawn

Every morning, somewhere between 4:45 am and 5ish, a certain someone stirs.

After a few ounces of formula to satiate the Hunger that cannot wait (because clearly, we are starving this child), I'm left with the dilemma of "now what do we do?" Hard as I try (and to be honest, I don't try that hard) I can't get my eyelids to stay up this early. Starting the day promptly at 5 isn't an option. But it's almost time to get up, so is it worth the several minute negotiation of going back into the crib?

So, it's not time to get up, but it's not not time to get up. What shall we do? Where do you want to be, little child?

How about here? Right here. In this little space nestled between my legs, on top of the covers. Just for a bit.

I can usually coax at least another hour of sleep from D here. Sometimes, like yesterday, we both fall back asleep so soundly that we don't wake until grandma knocks on the door to come pick him up. Either way, the second waking, the waking from here, is simply the best part of my day. It's slow, gradual, leisurely, even. Punctuated by lots of stretches and dream faces, like this one:

No matter what the rest of my day holds, I know I can do it, because I get to see this tomorrow. And that, my friends, is my Perfect Moment for this month.


Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

On the last Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. Go visit Lori at to discover more perfect moments (and add your own?)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cognitive Memory

Some amazing friends came to visit us on the Fourth of July. In tow were their two lovely and spirited daughters. Our plan was to have some lunch, saunter through the holiday street fair and to the minor league baseball park, watch the game, watch the fireworks, come home, put the kids to bed, pass out.

I'm pleased to report that all of this happened. Even with one of us on crutches due to a knee injury (note: not me), record crowds at the park and the fair, and 95+ degree heat. Yowsers, it was hot. But eventually the sun started to set, the kids started to calm and we started to make our way from the ballpark back to home in two distinct groupings: me, D, our friend B and her youngest girl. M, the oldest daughter and her dad staying to watch the end of the game and bringing up the rear.

As we were watching the fireworks, D in my arms, neck craned upwards, mouth open, eyes wide, all I could think of, over and over again as I recounted our nice day. Gosh, I wish D could remember this. 

Some days, I'm incredibly thankful for his seven-second memory span. Like when he shifts inexplicably from a furrowed brow and quivering lip to a wide-mouthed laugh for no reason. Like when the water I pour over him in the bath is too cold and he lets out a howl to let me know how he has been wronged (whoa, those little pee pees shrink quick, don't they?) Oh I am sorry, little man! Really sorry!

But on days when we have another first, hit another milestone, or just have a really, really great day with friends or family, I wish that was somehow lodged in his little memory. But it will be years until D. will be able to say, oh yes I remember....and actually mean it.


Earlier in the day on the way back from the game, we were crossing the river on a grated walking bridge and our friend B was telling a story about losing her favorite hairband (a cautionary tale, but one her daughter wanted repeated over and over again). What color was it? Who were you with? Why did you drop it? How old were you?

B couldn't remember the answer to that last one. And we started talking about how hard it was to place your early memories unless you have some major life events, like a new sibling or a major move, to serve as time stamp. B's husband lived overseas until he was 5, so it's easy for him to say whether something happened pre- or post- move. Before or after 5. My brother joined us when I was 4. And I usually place his arrival as one of my first memories. I'm not sure if it was. But I can say distinctly, "I was 4 when this happened and I remember it clearly. I know I was 4 because C was here."

I'm sure I have memories earlier than that. Snippets of moments, times at grandparent's houses and with cousins. But how old was I? Was it pre- or post-baby brother? Did this come before that? Or the other way, 'round. Was C here, but just not there with me during that thing I'm trying to remember. Ah, that's possible too.

Then there's the blurring of what is your memory and what is the story that you've heard so often that you've made it your memory.  M cites his first memory back to when he was 2, and uses the Super Bowl of that year as his marker. People never believe that he can remember something so early, but his retelling of the scenes seem accurate to those who were there, and he uses pieces of the game to prove it happened then.

But how many times might he have seen that game on replay? Who else in his family might have told the same story that he happened to be in? Might he be confusing this piece of a memory with another one from when he was slightly older?

How do we really know what we are remembering and what we're not? Or what's been altered? Or modified? If I tell D about something often enough, will he make that memory his own? Will he remember it as if he is actually the one remembering it?


After all the kids were put to bed, us grown ups talked about this heady stuff and B's husband took it to another level. I know if something were to happen to me now, our youngest wouldn't remember me. [The oldest] might. But barely.

I think we were all a little quiet as we let that sink in.

Here I was, a little melancholy over the loss of knowing some sweet moments, never once taking it to the higher plane. The loss of knowing me.


Memories are such a strange and amorphous thing. Can you think back to your first one, or at least one of them? How old were you? How do you know? What's your time stamp?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Observations and Truths

  • D is 16 weeks old TODAY. 
  • I need to get better at posting from my phone. If I can't do something from my phone, it ain't happening. At least not today. Or tomorrow. Or any day I don't have child care. Forget flashy blog posts with links, letters I need to write for work that take any sort of research or multiple layers of thought, anything that needs to be mailed....This is more resignation than observation. But there you go.
  • Steel wool is amazing. I'm sure I'm late to the party on this. One day with D on my hip, I was tidying up the kitchen and got sick of looking at crusty bits here and grubby bits there, so I picked up a box the next time I went to the store. Wow! Those little rusty balls really buff things to a lovely shine. And can be used one-handed. My teapot, stove top and sink now adore me.
  • If there is a crack of a space between the crib and the wall, that is where the binky will fall. And the next one. And the next one. There are binkies breeding among the dust bunnies behind the crib in the nursery.
  • I think D might be teething. If he's not, we are living with a little being who drools nonstop and gnaws voraciously on hands...his, yours, mine. And makes bizarre animal-like sounds as he does. That's weird. I choose to believe he is teething. 
  • babyproofing this apartment makes M and I wide-eyed and panicked. it feels like an impossible feat. Can't we just sequester him in the hallway?
  • I can absolutely see the value of a standing desk, considering D squeaks every time I attempt to sit. "Squeaks" makes it sound cute.
  • I now say/sing just about everything to the tune of Lullaby and Goodnight. It's a tune that works well to get D to chill, and I usually give him a little recap of the day as I sing him to sleep. But if M walks in the room I'll ask him a question or tell him something without breaking the song. Earlier tonight I was thinking about something and actually found myself thinking to myself in tune. Kind of like talking to yourself in another language, only disturbing.
  • Getting offspring to sleep and to stay asleep - is this a uniquely human dilemma? Are there any veterinarians or animal behaviorists in the audience? Does any other animal struggle with tucking their little ones into bed? We hadn't, until the last few nights. I do believe we are heading into what AskMoxie calls the four-month sleep regression. You know, where there is just so much shit going on in your little brain (and mouth. See teething) that it's enough to keep a little dude (and mommy. and daddy) awake.  So, monkeys? elephants? mice? Are we the only animals that hover in that middle space just above the crib waiting to see if our shushes have worked before stepping backwards out of the room?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Back at It

I'm really glad I didn't hit send on the post that's been lingering here in the drafts for the last few weeks. I'm looking at it now and meh, it's just me sleep-deprived and bitching. There's no need to bitch. It's all good.

I'm back to work. Week one is down. Sure, it was a three-day work week, but still. Did it. Done.

Now it's week two. There are no holidays to save me. And even with my awesome MIL offering an extra day of coverage, I still need M to take some hours off work to watch D since my office scheduled a last minute meeting for me to chair this Friday.

Because child care grows on trees and is really, really easy to coordinate.

I can't complain too loudly. The transition back hasn't been as bad as it could be. I still have a job. People are happy to see me. And I'm starting with a clean slate - if you still need me to do something from three months ago, you're gonna need it bad enough to ask me again. I've erased most of my email and task lists.

A clean slate, and a new attitude. Nothing in the office is earth-shattering. Nothing is life or death. There is nothing contained in those walls that matter more than my time with D. and M. When I'm on the clock, I'm on. And focused and giving 100%. I promise. When I'm off, leave a message. There are other things on my mind.

Like childcare for D. We're patching it together now with help from family and a little bit of flex in our work schedules. But I'm wondering how long that can last. My office has already (completely predictably) shown its disregard for my calendar. How often can I expect that to happen before I need to bring a paid component into the mix?

It really does take a village, doesn't it? Especially since the United States has its head up its ass when it comes to maternity/paternity leave, or creating and sustaining any kind of policies to allow families to have babies AND participate in the workforce/economy in meaningful ways.

Focus on the family my ass.

Ok see, I'm getting cranky again. I should sign off. And really, my ire towards the politics and working conditions in this alleged first world nation deserves its own post, with some supplemental material. Links, research, annat.  I've been reading some great books I need to tell you about. Alas, no time for that this morning. My conference call is ending and now I need to multitask a few different things.

Like finding some coffee.

How are you? If you're stateside, did you survive the long weekend of explosives? We had four days of it. You? Honestly, does any country enjoy pyrotechnics more than the U.S.? I have to think we'd feel very differently if rockets' red glares were a common part of our evening skies, like they are in other parts of the world right now.

Just sayin'.

Do you miss Google Reader? Did you make the transition gradually or was it a last minute, oh shit, what's that other app called again, kind of jump? Where are you reading me now? You are still reading, right? :-)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Breaking the Six Week Seal (spoiler: he didn't break)

Now that D is well into month #3 of existence (11 weeks old tomorrow!) I'm fairly certain I won't break him. But there were some milestones along the way that freaked me. Like that six week one. Did it scare anyone else?

Hitting the "six weeks old!" mark was exciting (the "don't go indoors with crowds" ban - Lifted! Grocery stores, here we come! Free! We are free from confinement! We can go anywhere!) but also a bit intimidating.

I have a stack of parenting/baby books. One or two I appreciate, some I glance at, others I ignore, but occasionally peek at to give M and I some "listen to this shit..." conversational material while we make dinner. (I'm looking at you, you sleep training tomes.) All of them seem to have a lot of sentences that start out like:
  • By six weeks, your baby should (love his bath! Almost sleep though the night! Start to recognize you and this and this and that....)
  • Don't worry about this until your baby is six weeks old...
  • This is all fine until about the six week mark....
If the books were to be believed, there are very few ways to fuck up parenting within the first six weeks, but look out, once those cognitive lights start switching on, you better bring your A game. Are you stimulating enough? Are you paying attention to sleep patterns and starting to mold them? Are you giving in a little too easily to cries and whimpers? Ack. It was enough to get a sleep-deprived mom a little panicked.

Luckily, I have some well-read friends, who must have been sensing my (I'm looking for a better, less misogynist word than hysteria here. If you can think of it, insert it.) And links to more soothing literature started to find their way on to my phone and iPad.

I found a lot of comfort in these essays and articles. So I thought I would share the calm:

This one makes me feel better about folding the laundry and doing the dishes with D, particularly this line:
what children need to grow and develop adequately is typically provided for during everyday experiences in the context of a relationship with sensitive caregivers in the child's natural environment.
This one gives me free license to drool everywhere. Nice.

This makes me feel a little better about the little bit of breast milk I've been able to give D, even if I do decide to dump the pump (more on this later). Like so many of you have already noted, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition.

And this just makes me feel better. All the time.

Thanks ladies. We made it.

Friday, May 31, 2013

A thousand and one...

....reasons why the drafts in my blogger account are still draft, why I keep meaning to pull open the computer and don't. Why I'm way behind on writing, reading, bathing....

But excuses about not blogging on your blog are boring. And unnecessary. And it really just boils down to this.

This is what I'm doing. This is how I'm feeling. This is all that's right in the world. We are at granny's house this weekend. Too hot for the beach, but not too hot to sit in the breezy shade outside. We may attempt a walk on the boardwalk once the sun sets a bit and shadows lengthen enough to offer some protection.

30 more days of leave. And I don't want to waste a drop of it. Oh June, please be the slowest month ever.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: A Book Review

It's back!

When I first started blogging, one of the things I looked forward to the most was the next round of the Barren Bitches Book Brigade. Hosted by Mel at Stirrup Queens, the book brigade would read books relevant to the adoption/loss/infertility community, pose questions to each other related to the text and our own experiences....basically, function as a virtual book club, minus the cookies and wine and dysfunction that sometimes come with real life book clubs, at least mine.

And here it is again. The 23rd tour of the Book Brigade. Welcome.

It may have even been through one of those discussions that I got to know Lori Holden, the author of
The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole the book featured here today.  Lori blogs at Lavender Luz, and is a dedicated advocate for open adoption and adoptee rights. She's also, quite simply, a cool ass lady that I've had the pleasure of getting to know and the honor to meet. And she has done the very hard work of turning a concept into a hard-covered reality.

The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption is an easy read. It doesn't mean its easy to read, especially if you are struggling right now with the very questions that Lori puts front and center. How does an open adoption work? How might an open adoption work for me? Where is my place here? Where do I fit? How do I know if I'm doing it right?

Because there aren't any magic answers, no secrets that Lori reveals.

But she does present a comprehensive guide. Peppered by her own experiences and those of the birth mother of her daughter, with lists of pros and cons (a lady after my own heart), with points to consider and pitfalls to avoid. I've already heard several friends on the internet exclaim, "wow. I wish this was around when I started my own journey...."

While I'm not on a journey toward open adoption, not at the moment anyway, this book hits home for me in a number of ways. As:
  • An adult adoptee from a closed adoption, reunited with one of my birth parents,
  • A grieving mother to twin girls I carried and who we're born premature, and
  • A brand new Mother through an open gestational surrogacy using anonymous donor eggs
I tried to read Lori's book with all of those hats on. Some were easier to wear than others. Here are the questions I'll try to tackle:

Lori refers to the relationship between adoptive parents and birthparents as similar to an in-law relationship. Does thinking about the relationship as an in-law relationship influence how you approach open adoption?

Yes! In fact, it makes something abstract and perhaps a little daunting feel far more concrete for me. I had never made the connection between a relationship with in-laws and ones through adoption before.

This was just one of the many "ah ha!" moments that I had reading Open Hearted. Every one of Crystal's sections gave me a perspective I never realized before. And I also had never heard of the idea of an "as if" family (in closed adoption, attempting to match a child as closely as possible to his/her adopted family so that one could easily assume he/she had a biological connection) even though that clearly happened with me.

Lori often stresses the importance of exploring difficult emotions. Describe a time when you have been forced to explore difficult emotions related to adoption and the outcome of this exploration.

As I mention in a previous post,
Issues around identity, origin, connectedness – I think about this shit nonstop, as I am sure many, many people who have built families through nontraditional means do. I believe there is a balance between recognizing and honoring origins and finding a space of love and acceptance in a family that is not genetically yours. These things can co-exist. I believe this. I HAVE to believe this.
Now that little D is here, M and I constantly think about how to best share his origins with him (see the following question). Of course, my own adoption experiences shade my thinking. Difficult emotions for me relate to things I have discovered on my own, assumptions I made (sometimes wrongly), how I reacted towards my parents (both adopted AND first) based on those discoveries and assumptions, and coming to terms with all of that now that I am a parent myself. Gah! I was a dick. But I wasn't the only one.

I honestly think my dad never (ever) explored his own complicated emotions around adoption. If he had, he never would have said things like, "my father had 7 kids; I never had any...." in front of me and my (also adopted) brother.  I don't really know where to go with that thought other than, my gosh, it is so vital to reach into the deepest parts of your mind, pull out those thoughts and work them through before a child enters the picture. I really like how Lori emphases the option of counseling throughout the process, especially for the adopting parents to help them work through grief that may be lingering after years of infertility and possibly loss. I feel this was a step that got skipped back in the day.

Since the question asks about a specific time, I'll point to the drive home after meeting my birth father for the first time. Wow. What a range of emotions. My first thoughts weren't about him, they were on these two new amazing women in my life - my birth aunt and birth grandmother. Two women who now are among D's biggest fans. I had to stay focused on the positive because I was so utterly disappointed in the person who was the biological connector. Because he was so like my dad dad (see "as if" adoptions), so unlike the origin myth I had created with the little info I had. So, so, meh.

Worse than meh, this was a stranger acting pretty territorial about me. Me! Dear readers, I ask you, how do you think that went down?

Even before the meeting, I knew there was truth in my birth mother (now a counselor)'s words. Words she used to explain to the agency why she chose NOT to reunite with me: "these meetings are never what either person wants them to be." But I still needed to try. After the twins died, I needed to find this biological connection. I needed to grow one piece of my family to ease the pain of the other piece I had lost.

So, what was the outcome of my exploration? I had to remember that I asked for the reunion. I sought him out. Not the other way around. And he is not to blame for not being the person my imagination wanted him to be. He had to realize I was not going to jump into his arms and be the daughter he always wanted. Expectations needed to be managed for both of us. These are realizations that might have been a little easier to come to if there hadn't been a 30+ year gap between having me and getting to know me.

In the beginning of the book, Holden talks about who this books is for. She states that it includes people pursuing donor eggs, embryos, and sperm. If you know there is no way for you or your child to ever contact the donor in the future, how would you apply the concepts of open adoption to a closed situation such as this? 

This is a question I actually posed to Lori after her Huffington Post piece about donor sperm because I was wondering the same thing.

In our situation, we have an open and amazing relationship with our gestational surrogate. Connecting D with the woman who held him in her womb for us will be easy. Biological questions around the woman who anonymously gave her eggs to us to use won't be nearly as clear cut. I mean, we have the basics on paper, but sometimes, like the little girl says in the commercial, you want MORE; you want more, you just want it.

And we don't have more. 

So, I'll share with you what Lori said to me: "It is more about parenting with an open heart than about having actual info and contact." She repeats this concept  - honoring both the biography and the biology of a child - in Open Hearted a lot. It's important. It's something I've been thinking about since the beginning of our journey:
I think about beginning a process. Recently, my brother asked if I was at least going to go in search of my medical records in case we would need then for the seedlings, forgetting that their origins are also a bit unknown. To be honest, I did too for a moment.

What can I do to ease this longing? Will the seedlings have these same feelings? If they do, I will need to remember that this particular kind of curiosity and longing does not go hand in hand with rejecting the life, or family, or love that you have. It really does coexist.

And I have to remember that in the end, Gonzo doesn't run into the spaceship, into the open arms of people who share his nose, his personality, his love of cannons, people just like him. He opts to stay right where he is.
My life is here. This is my home.

Please return to the main post to read more opinions on Lori Holden's The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption. There are tons of great bloggers answering some very thoughtful questions. I'm looking forward to carving some time out today to see what everyone else has to say, and adding a bit more to my own answers here. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

How Fast Can I Type This Post?

Says the lady living on borrowed (aka nap) time with a baby wrapped around her chest.

People, life is good. It is so fucking good. So, no matter what I say here, just know, we are living a dream. A serious dream. And even if D kept us up all night, we will tell not a soul. He is perfect.  That's our story. We're sticking to it. Life is nothing without him.

That being said, life is different with him. Hello understatement. Here's a little sampling of our daily routine (all times are approximate):

around 5 am - the baby stirreth. Food is called for. We comply.

6:30 am - baby and me pass out right about the time M gets up for work, gets ready, sits on couch wanting to cry because that's how much he doesn't want to leave us. If we can muster it, we get up and chill with dad for a little bit. Watch TV. Drink OJ.

7:30 am - M leaves. We are left to our own devices. When I'm lucky, D passes back out for a bit more. As do I. If I'm not, we hang out. We dance. We work through the grunts and cries. A few rounds of The Gas Dance* usually does the trick. On mornings where sleep isn't happening, I've found a pretty sweet spot on Comedy Central from 9-11 am: Daily Show>Colbert>Always Sunny>South Park. That works.

9 am - 5 pm - eating, sleeping, pooping, waking, crying (not really a cry, more like a yelp. its pretty adorable...for a while). Lather, rinse, repeat. Every day there is that inevitable moment: "Holy shit. How is it noon already?"

5 pm - Daddy's home! The evening begins. We may start dinner, or entertain visitors, or better yet, visitors bringing dinner. Getting the mail these days is also a treat.  (Seeing all of these beautiful cards and boxes of treats for D makes me so grateful there are so many people celebrating his arrival. but also makes me wince at how sucky M and me have been as friends and family members these last several years. Completely checked out as far as most life events. Sigh. Sorry.) On lovely days, we go for a walk along the river together, either in the snap-n-go stroller or the wrap.

Here's my favorite part:

stranger: OMG, what an awesome baby! How old is he?
us: almost 4 weeks old.
stranger (eying me up): whoa. you look GREAT!
me: Thanks!
M (after the stranger walks away): you DO look great, but are the skinny jeans really necessary?
me: hells. yes. Daddy.

How weird is it to refer to each other as "mommy" and "daddy" all the time and to ones self in third person. Mommy's washing you! Mommy sees you! Mommy smells your pooooo.....but like most non-native speakers, pronouns and abstracts are tough for babies and referencing each other in ways they understand is apparently strongly recommended. Huh. Who knew. I just thought my dad had a weird mom complex. I mean, I'm fairly certain he did, but that's another story.

On a good day, I may also do one or more of the following:
  • brush my teeth
  • make the bed
  • eat breakfast
  • throw in a load of laundry
  • write some thank you notes
  • check email/blogs
  • try to figure out our new high-deductible insurance, which, for the record SUUUCKS. Like, three syllable sucks. 
  • pump
Notice, shower is off the list. Bathing is overrated. IMHO. That's what weekends are for.

And oh the pumping. That is really the thing that is most often the most undoable. Simply because when D is down, I have a list of other priorities, like feeding and clothing myself. When D is up, he is up and demands undivided attention. As he should. I mean, have you seen him? He's a-frigging-dorable.

D hasn't "taken to the breast" yet. We try at least once a day. I could probably try harder. But you know, I'm ok with it. We have plenty of us time. Plenty of skin-to-skin and kangaroo care moments. (read: I'm running around topless all the time, yo!) If he doesn't want my boob, I'm not going to force it on him. Because that feels yucky to me. It just does. I don't like pushing him to do something he doesn't want, especially when it is so intimate in nature. Plus, it stings just a bit when your baby physically pushes you away, no? I'd rather take that time and cuddle and love, and feed him with a bottle. Fine.

About 10% of D's daily intake is breast milk. The rest is formula. My pal A heard those numbers and wondered, "dude, that's not a lot. Is it really worth all that work?"

Well, fair question. And for right now,  I'm saying yes. It is. It's worth sitting in the dark for a few moments, nursing (as it were) those few drops from my breasts to give to him. Because I can. Because it's giving him a few more nutrients. A little less constipation. A little part of me. A taste for curry. A love of garlic. A craving for vegetables. Its worth it for now, even if I can't give him as much as I'd like.

So that's where we are. That's how we roll. In a snap-n-go. ;-)

*Think white-girl hybrid salsa/meringue/cha cha cha/side sway to the music provided on the Music Choice Tropicales station, which appears to be D's standing fave.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Behold, the BBB

Dmitry.  The meaning of the name is a "devoted to," "dedicated to, or "follower of Demeter" (Δημήτηρ Dēmētēr), "mother-earth", the Greek goddess of agriculture.

Demeter. Goddess of the harvest. Mother of Persephone. Mother Earth. Earth mother. Mother of a lost daughter.

Here is Dmitry.

Is it just me, or do all babies look like Brock Lesnar for the first few days of life?

In all seriousness, in a certain light, he looks just like Isa, bears a striking resemblance to Jovi, looks like his daddy, has a face and an identity all his own. All of that. Wrapped into one precious bundle that neither of us want to put down.

Except for today. I'm a little tired today.

After this post, I probably won't post too too many pictures here on the blog, because let's face it, if you are in the midst of your own journey, struggling with infertility or yet another loss, I know the last thing you want to see is someone else's smiling baby. Man, it stings. I know.

But so many of you have asked. It hardly seemed fair to you who kept the vigil with us to not have a glimpse of the end result.

The end result arrived at 9:14 pm, Monday, March 25th after me, M, L and her hubby (and L's aunt who kindly captured the day with her camera) spent the day watching P*wn Stars and L*ve It or List It marathons as we waited for the induction drugs to take effect.

The day was relatively uneventful until BBB had descended far down enough for L's doctor to safely break her water. That happened around 6 pm and from there on we watched this amazing woman put herself into a zone and prepare to deliver our baby.

Our baby.

The waiting was nearly unbearable. I could see M start to get rattled when the nurse asked us if we had ever seen a delivery before. I answered that I had, but was the one delivering...And that's when I realized how traumatic this event could potentially be for M. He was there. The first time. On the receiving end. Receiving our baby girls. Seeing their first, and some of their last breaths. Oh M.

We left the room for a bit. M cried. I let him. Then he asked for some time alone to talk with our daughters. I went back in with L and he joined us a little later. After he said the things he needed to say. 

It wasn't long until L said, "I can't NOT push anymore. I have to push." One last check of her cervix and her doc simply said, "ready when you are."

Holy shit, I see a head.

Oh my god, there's a face. Umbilical cord! Ack! (no worries, doc looped it over and around, out of the way) Shoulders!

"Ok. We're gonna push until we're done now. Go!"


Baby!!! When his voice sounded, so did my sobs. I totally and completely failed at my assigned task, which was to start drying him off and wrapping him in warm blankets. All I could do was sob. Big ugly joyous sobs.

M was right by my side. Staring. Just staring. We waited until the cord stopped pulsing, M cut, and that little sweetness was lifted onto mommy's chest. After L looked down and said, oh, he's not so big. (says the woman who had three ten-pounders). We laughed and cried and it was seriously the most amazing moment. With amazing people. Lots and lots of hugs and hand squeezes and relief. Sweet relief. Big baby boy. You are here.

In the evening and day that followed one of the nurses kept coming by to our rooms when we were all together to see if we needed anything. After the fifth time, we were all like, seriously, we are fine. "I know, I know!" She said. "I just want to BE here. There is such an aura of blessings in this room. I just want to be around it."

Well, that about sums it up, no?

The drive home was long and filled with firsts. First road trip! First hotel room! First diaper changing in the back seat!
I so love this pic

Might as well get him started right. Right? :-) Me and M and D. We three. A road tripping team.

And now we're home.

So, what about the blog? What's going to become of the Maybe Baby blog?

Well, I write about my life. And plan to continue. My life now includes another person in it. Odds are good there will be some posts about D here. But also life and work and running and such. Sometimes starring D. Sometimes not. I understand if you need to step away for a bit if this isn't what you want to be reading right now. I get it.

If you stick around, I'm also working on some book review type posts. One on the latest book written by Lauren Sandler based on her own life and her research for Time magazine on the decision to have one and only one child. I'm half way through it with pages of scribbles. Questions for Lauren, for you, for myself. With or without infertility thrown into the conversation, there are some discussions worth having here.

And here's the problem (not really) with pumping wearing a sassy hands-free pumping bra = way too much time to shop online. Good thing that Amazon is filled with offerings from the IF community. Have you seen Lori Holden's book The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole has finally arrived?? Did you know there's a sequel to Melissa Ford's Life from Scratch called Measure Of Love? Done, and done.

So, M is back at work (boo.) Me and D, we are chilling. Pumping, eating, pooping, sleeping, reading. Getting to know one another.  It's awesome. For reals.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Where HE eats. A lot. Your feedback needed.

Oh dear readers, at long last, BBB is here.

He is healthy and beautiful and simply the most wonderful baby ever. And more details are coming soon. I promise.

But right now I need some immediate input. It's 2:30 am. BBB's appetite is voracious. its taken him less than 72 hours to chow down the milk supply it took me six weeks to produce. We are down to the last 7-8 oz of my expressed breast milk and no formula in the apartment other than the sample containers you get at the hospital that M would rather not use unless necessary (because this is what happens when you go on the Internet and start reading.)

For those of you who have had experience using formula, which did you use and why? Have any of you mixed breast milk and formula and if so, with what result? Please tell me anything you can.

Except that "breast is best." Yes. I know. I got it. I agree. But we can only do what we can, right? I am, and will continue to do so, but it will take more than me to satiate this little guy. This is becoming painfully obvious.

Doc appointment is at 10 am tomorrow, and well seek advice here too. But please, tell me. Is there any formula brand that is not the devil? Feel free to email me privately of you'd rather not name names here.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Where We Eat. A Lot.

JFC its cold out here. Dipping into single digits with the wind chill. No lie.

I did tell you neither of us packed coats, right?

We've got sporty little down vests. Great for long car rides. Sucky for walking icy, windy streets. We packed thinking we would be heading straight to a hospital and hanging out there for a few days. Heavy on sweats and hoodies and slip on shoes. Light on everything else. The good news is that folks are so bundled up here, its hard to tell what anyone's wearing anyway. I don't feel too terribly self conscious going out in my casual wear. Except for when M shows me up with the one button down shirt he packed. Damn him.

Better news: I finally realized we don't have to spend an extra $10 a night renting a fridge at the hotel. I did the first few nights until I realized, heywaitaminute.....the coffee in our mugs that we left in the car froze solid overnight, so why not keep my breast milk in the cooler out there too.

Oh yeah. Duh. Who brought the smart girl? It's rock solid. Solid as a rock.We'll need an ice pick to get through the ice to the actual milk.

We've bounced between 3 hotels in our week-long stay - that's what happens when you're bidding one night at a time via Priceline. Because the moment you commit for a week will be the day we get a call to pack up and go. So far, every place has been great. We're back in one of our favorites, complete with a free shuttle that will take us anywhere and shuttle drivers that have warmed to us.

"So, what brings you two to _____?"
"We're, uh, waiting for our son to be born."
"Wow! Wow! (quick glance in the rear-view mirror to make sure he didn't miss something) that is so cool. Are you guys adopting or using a surrogate or something?"
"Yep. A gestational surrogate. And this might be our last night here, it might not. So, where should we go to dinner? Where's a fabulous place to be?...."

We're getting pretty good at this conversation the more we have it. (And having some great meals.) We're waiting for our son to be born. Wow.

Most of the texts and emails from family assume we are biting every nail from our fingers and sitting on the edges of our seats at all moments. The truth is far more boring. M is dialing into his daily 9 am meeting and cursing at his computer. I'm pumping and finishing up some documents for work. We're getting bagels and coffee every morning and trying out a new place for dinner every night. We're trying to enjoy these "last moments of freedom" as the doctor described it this morning. But there comes a point when even going "out on the town" starts to feel mundane and routine. Especially when its ten degrees outside.

Especially when you'd rather be doing something else.

But we sit and we wait and we try not to think about things too much. There is only so long you can maintain an OMG OMG OMG OMG! state of mind, right?

But back to the news you want to know: we accompanied L to her doctor's appointment today. All is well. BBB is good. ETA is still set for Monday.

BBB's heartbeat is strong. And he even entertained us with a few kicks after lunch. He's still head down, butt jutting out. L says she feels great. She looks great. All healthy and aglow. This morning's appointment gave us a chance to go over some logistics.

"Can we talk about where you want us to be, and not be, in the delivery room?" I ask the doc.
"Oh yeah, that's would be great since this is a new thing for me too," He says.

We walk through the day starting from induction and how things might progress from there. Where we'll be, where he'll be, what's to be done after delivery, who gets to do what.

It all sounds pretty awesome.

So, we're here. Chilling. Literally. In search of some live trivia this evening. Because that sounds like a fun distraction. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spoiler: No baby yet.

I love americana. Love it. Love. It. I love small towns, big cities, little havens, sprawl. Pretty much everything about my lovely country. The majestic bits as well as the quirky. I haven't seen every nook and cranny of it yet, but I think I've seen a lot.

And I have to say the drive between where we call home and where we are now is the longest, most painfully boring, nondescript, landscape one could possibly ask for. All 15 hours of it. Toll route. Non-toll route, avoiding highways....between this sprint and our previous visit, we've tested all options (pttttghthh). That's me. Blowing a raspberry.

But now, here we are. We are here. Here are we. In a town that we LOVE. Waiting for news. Not much is happening today. But yesterday, L felt like she was heading into labor. So I am so, so happy she called. I know she probably thought long and hard about when to bring us into the mix in case it was a false alarm. Again, reason #4321 why we love our surrogate. She errs on the side of caution and inclusion. Thank you, lady. I would rather be here than not be here.

M and I both have our computers and a handful of things to get done before this ride begins. We'll work from here as long as we can. Just to wrap up lose ends. Get people access to what they need while we're gone. All that. You would not believe the gorgeous hotel we scored on priceline or what we are paying for it. ($45/night holla!) nice rooms, sweet gym, can I get a hot tub? Why yes, yes you can. Now that we are here, we are content to just be until BBB decides to be here with us.

Just to be safe, L is giving her doc a call first thing in the morning to see what he thinks about all the activity yesterday, and if he thinks things are still on schedule, or if BBB is nudging his way to us a little sooner. She invited us along to the appointment so we may even get a sneak preview of our little kicker before his birthday.

Oh you feisty little thing.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

en route!

BBB is a movin'!!

in a way that made our gc text with a gentle suggestion that maybe we should come a little, now.

we are en route. quite a drive ahead of us. hoping the little guy waits for us. wsit for us, dude!

today officially ends The Streak. 240 days strong. every step hoping us towards the next few days and all that awaits.

want updates? fb and twitter are the best bets. check the left sidebar (oops. sorry. right. I meant right. Forgot about the new design) for deets. will post as often as possible.

here we go!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

T Minus 26 Days

That's what my secret counter says. 26 days. 12 hours. 29 minutes.....

It feels like we've waited a lifetime. Now we wait just 26 more days. M and I walk around in a bit of a stupor. Stunned disbelief. Despite tripping boxes of gear and wading through clothes to be washed, its still hard to believe. We, you mean us? you mean me and him?? will soon have a son that will fill these items, and our time and our hearts and our lives.

Meanwhile, life goes on demanding things of us when all I really want to do is watch the wonderment that are my breasts and stare vacantly at the nursery and make lists of things still to do, as opposed to actually doing them. Dammit work, stop asking me to like, do shit.

I suppose I can't complain. At least not loudly. Particularly since my co-workers threw me a lovely shower luncheon last week. So lovely, that I'm sorry for anything sucky I may have said about any of them on skype in recent weeks. Uh, sorry.

The best part of the shower, besides sharing a great homemade meal together, besides the bevvy of gifts (car seat! yes!), besides the cupcakes - yes, more cupcakes - was realizing the shift in the conversation. The substantial shift.

Five of the eight of us have been through all of this together. They were there when tests confirmed what I already knew, when we went through cycle after cycle, when I announced I was pregnant with the twins, when I crumbled into grief and stayed there for well over a year. They saw all of that. And stuck with me. And then had to walk on eggshells for the next few years, gingerly avoiding too much talk of kids or grandkids or pregnant colleagues, lest m. get that look in her eye, or even better, lash out, storm away, all that good stuff that happens when you feel people aren't recognizing your loss, your feelings, your needs.

I'm not saying those feelings aren't valid. I am saying that it had to be hard being with a co-worker that was on the defensive 24/7, ready, waiting and perched for the next opportunity to remind someone of how insensitive they were being.

But last Friday, I found myself sharing, laughing, engaging with people who wanted to share their parenting stories with me, and for the first time, I wanted to listen.

Tell me. I will listen.

I didn't even cry, until a woman (who is technically retired but we all adore so much we keep finding ways to give her projects and keep her in our fold) was getting ready to leave and hugged me as hard as her little body could, looked me in the eye and said, "I am so, so happy for you and M." And in that gaze we both relived all that we had lived together and where we are now.

We are 26 days away from being parents.

One thing I will say about surrogacy, this whole baby thing kind of sneaks up on you. You don't have the physical reminder, literally, in front of you. You just have this date circled on your calendar and in your mind of when your life will change. It's easy to fool yourself into thinking this is all just a story you're telling. An anecdote that is incredibly interesting to people. Because it is incredibly interesting.

The day after my shower, we attended the baby shower of some amazing people who are expecting twins shortly after BBB's birth date. It was a fabulous party with lots of their friends and family and friends of family. Basically, a shitload of people. And beer. A lot of beer. I can't tell you how many people I have never met before approached me, congratulated me, and then wanted to know more, as much as I would tell them, about our surrogacy. How does this work? How did you find the person who is having your baby? How will you get the baby? Logistics, ethics, expenses - nothing was off the table. For me or for M. It was, quite frankly, freeing and awesome.

M actually came up to me and said, "This is so cool, no one every asks me. And I get to talk about it! This is a really good party!"

See also: beer. A lot of beer.

It was a fantastic party, and it was wonderful to celebrate with a smart, funny couple who are our age, who haven't had an easy time of this whole pregnancy thing either. Now we are partners in this madness. All of us, we're gonna rock this.


In other news, the running streak soldiers on. The pumping continues. And is working! We've got a few tiny bottles of breast milk in the freezer now. I smell of fenugreek. Oatmeal makes me fart. Which then smells like fenugreek. It's awesome, I tell you. At a time when my boobs are voluptuous and I actually have a semblance of a waist, I am actually feeling the most un-sexy I have in decades. Oh look, I farted just writing that.

Whatever. BBB is gonna love these boobs. Doing it for you, little man. Doing it for you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 Running Dates, Maybe

chillin' w the seashore striders this December.
You guys, how awesome are you? Within a matter of days after this post, my calendar is filled with amazing suggestions for summer and autumn runs. I have committed to none of these yet. Believe me, Mandy, I hear what you're saying. I know I have no idea what's store for me. And no idea if/when any of these are possible. But I wanted to put them all together for you here. An easy reference for me and for you, if you want it. Because some of these races fill the day they are announced (ahem, Dogfish Head Dash and Hershey half marathon, I am pointing at you.)

June, July and August are filled with runs based in Delaware and hosted by the Seashore Striders. I really just cut and paste their schedule here. Because every race I've done with them (all two) has been fun. It's a tight knit group of runners. Lots of folks know each other. But don't let that intimidate you. All skill levels and ages here. And everyone is really friendly. I know we'll find ourselves at grandma's house a lot this summer. Who knows. I might pop into one of the walks if BBB is happy and occupied.

39 days until anticipated arrival.

Day 213 of running streak. But I confess to single mile days. Because the gym is boring. And its cold outside.

Nursery is packed. I mean packed with gear. Thank you, friends, family, internet buddies.You were right. We have everything we need. And then some. And then some more. Wow. Thank you.

So here's the list of possibilities. We'll worry about circling dates later. 

  • 11th - Mrs. Smith's Challenge - Lancaster, PA - I won't be running this year, but wanted to share because I love this run. Love it. Trail is lovely. running with all women is cool. The t-shirts rock. Order one size up.
June -
  • 6th - Bird in Hand Half Marathon - Bird in Hand, PA - I've heard this course is gorgeous. It rolls through Amish country. But be ready for the hills.
  • 8th - Harrisburg Half Marathon - Harrisburg, PA - super flat course. Awesome for your first one, or if you're looking for a personal record.
  • 8th - VA Women's Half - Fairfax Station, VA
  • 15th - Run Geek Run 8K - Washington DC
  • 29th? Dogfish Head Dash - Milton, DE - register in April!
  • 9th - Deja Vu Half Marathon - North Wales, PA
December - nothing yet.

January,  2014
  • Polar Bear 5K Trail Run - Lancaster, PA

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oh Yes I Did.

Taken from inside the car I was driving yesterday afternoon.

Because I CAN.

Because I AM.

I've been meaning to go there for a while now. And yesterday - after I missed my doctor's appointment because I couldn't get the keys into the ignition of my mother-in-law's borrowed car because I had the wrong key. After M drove all the way home from work and deposited the right key into my hands and calmed my hysterical ass down, since I had literally worked myself into a lather in the lot because I could not. figure. this. out. Yesterday - when I soothed myself by driving around aimlessly once I had a car with a key that would start - I found this spot and said to myself, oh yes, thank you, I think I shall.

And I saw that lady in her parked car next to me have a look my way. And a little up. And a little down.

And I looked back with a look that said, Yes. Oh yes, bitch. Test me. You are the one I've been waiting for. I dare you. Triple dog dare. Please say something. Please.

And I think she thought better of it.

I have seen other signs in other places that specify they are for parents with small child(ren) (as in, lugging him/her/them in and out of the car), and that, I get. Totally get it.

But this gender-specific, non-inclusive space. Well, it just had to be mine. So I took it.

So tell me, non-traditional moms: have any of you re-appropriated these parking spaces for yourselves? What about you, dads? Why don't you get a choice spot? I say bullshit. You?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Map My Run - No Really!

my soon-to-be-replaced shoes
Last year, even before I started this crazy Streak, a very cool woman that I met through this space invited me to come and do my first half-marathon with her, up in her neck of the woods. [Looking at you, N.] That would have been awesome.

While the scheduling didn't work out  (damn you, work), the idea hasn't lost its appeal. I would LOVE to run with my blog buddies.

If you think I'm batty, don't worry. I have no assumption that the Streak will continue once BBB is here. I know things will be hard, and will get harder before they get easier, and that I will barely be sleeping, let alone walking in a straight line, let alone running.Once BBB arrives, he is my world. His needs are my needs. At least until we get this whole living together thing figured out.

And then I am fairly certain there will come a time that I might like to shake off my shoes and go outside for a jog. Maybe with BBB. Maybe without. I also know nothing motivates me like a circled date on my calendar. Especially one that I've had to pay for.

So I'm wondering: does anyone have any races in mind for autumn? Any trail runs that are calling you? Any half marathons that sound like a blast? Forget the tough mudders, the warrior dashes, the zombie runs....that's not my type of hype. Running itself is a challenge for me. I don't need chased, or electrocuted, or to be made "undead" to hike up the thrill. But your nice, everyday 5K? Yeah, I'm down with that. A 10K all-girl trail? Oooh, mommy like.

I'm based in Pennsylvania, but I wouldn't mind a little drive. Especially since I've pretty much done my own town to death. Paying $25 to step over the same goose poop and sidewalk cracks I dodge for free on my own morning run is getting a little old.

I already have some potential events in mind, and I'll share that schedule with you here - once I see that I'm not full of shit and that my running days aren't over once my dream running partner actually gets here.

Tell me - where are you running this year? Would you like some company?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Milky. Cereal, Baby.

I'm hungry, mama!
Later this afternoon, after my discount eye exam at a box store retailer, I am going to drive down a country road near where I grew up to pick up (breathe) a hospital-grade, dual-expression, electric, breast pump from a durable medical equipment rental company.

That is way too many words. They all terrify me.

I made the decision to attempt induced lactation well before we chose our gestational surrogate. Another one of those, well if I can't do that, maybe I could do this....kind of things. She, and our health care providers (hers and mine) have been fully supportive. Curious, kind of new to the idea themselves, but total cheerleaders. For the past two months, I've been dutifully taking my pills, eating my oatmeal, stocking up on herbs for later, watching my boobs expand and grow along with my husband's eyes. Whoa.

But this week, this week right here is where the rubber hits the road, or rather, the suction cup hits the tit. And I confess, I'm nervous.

What if it doesn't work? What if it hurts? What if I just can't manage the schedule. Every three hours? Before the baby even gets here? For real?

I've already told myself all I can do is try. Stick with it. Have at it. All that. I'm not going to beat myself up if my nipples don't secrete the nectar of the gods. I've already resigned myself to that fact that most books on breastfeeding suck (ha). No, really. Save your money. They really do. It took me several attempts at various libraries to find one that didn't spend 100+ pages on why breast milk is essential to your child's health and manufacturers of formula are the devil.

Spare me, eye-rolls the imitation similac-eating, survived-just-fine grown up over here.

In the end, the only one I've liked so far is one I found nestled in my pile of boxes. This one. The edition I have is old. It still talks about car seats as an option. (can you imagine?) But it spends 2 pages, not 100, on the value of breast milk and then gets into the nitty gritty. Like, pictures. And charts, And troubleshooting tips, and best of all, it doesn't use the cooing, soothing, you just had a baby so your brain must be mush language that so much of this shit does. It doesn't assume your baby will be ok or that you will manage this just fine. There is a robust chapter on Special Moms, Special Babies. I confess, I haven't read this cover to cover yet, but I think its one I will actually use as a reference. Phew.

Because I can't do the support group thing, guys. I just can't. Not yet. Not now. Maybe never. We were at a local hospital the other day visiting M's mom who had a minor procedure and just in case all of my triggers and synapses weren't afire already, we ran into an elevator full of full-on pregnant women coming back from a tour. My knees buckled. I didn't cry (then) and I can't explain the emotion. It wasn't sadness, it wasn't anger. It was more like, aversion? At any rate, the idea of spending any amount of time in a space of new moms....I'm just not there yet (ever, maybe).

Friday, January 25, 2013


By the end of this week, I think I will have told everyone that needs to be told that BBB is on his way and PS leave me the heck alone for at least three months. My board was ecstatic and super supportive. Everyone has been. People barely bat an eyelid when I talk about surrogacy. If anything, they want to know more.

I had no idea how many IVF pioneers, trailblazers even! that I knew in my immediate circles. Somehow talking about surrogacy opens the door for people to reminisce about their own journeys, heartaches, expenses (!)

I have had more 60+ year old men tell me about the shots their wives had to take, the constant trips to the clinics, the affairs with the plastics cups (boys! stop! TMI!) than I ever would have imagined. It makes me humble.

The things we don't know.

Yesterday, I broke the news to another batch of colleagues. But it was at the end of the meeting as we were winding up. I didn't get to the surrogacy part, and figured this wasn't a group that needed to know everything. I will be absent. That's what they need to know. But then my boss goes into talking about her own adoption adventures. Because it's all about her, right? It always is.  So I think the assumption made was that we are adopting.

And I almost clarified. And then I decided. You know, its ok. In some respects, it really doesn't matter where/how our family comes into being. It just matters that it IS. Adoption, surrogacy, having "The Sex" as Dresden likes to call it....none of these processes create a son or daughter that is any less loved. In two months, he will be here. That is what matters.

This isn't to say origins don't matter. They do. Oh golly they do. But those are our conversations to have. We will never be untrue to BBB about where and how he came about. That is our pledge. Once he arrives, it will be his choice with whom and when and how he shares that information. That is our pledge. To ourselves, to each other, to our surrogate, to BBB.  The only reason I mention the surrogacy now is because:
  1. It is obvious I am not pregnant. In fact, I am 30+ lbs lighter these days. Holla!
  2. I usually have a glass of wine or cup of coffee in hand, so I need to stem the tsk-tsking which would occur right after I say, "we're having a baby!" 
  3. I kind of like putting it out there. In everyday conversation. At least right now. And as I've mentioned, response has been awesome. 
  4. I still feel like we are in the process. Therefore, the process can take precedence. It ain't over yet.  
I don't think I'm going to be that "out there" once BBB is here. Because I cringe when a certain someone I know introduces her kids as "I have two adopted kids from _____" before she even mentions their names. As an adoptee, oooh it burns me! Like the act of adopting is more important than the individuals themselves. Especially when they are standing only a few feet away. I wonder if they introduce themselves like that? "Hi, I'm ____ I was adopted from _____." Somehow, I think its doubtful. 

But am I being hypocritical? Unfair to my colleague? Is there a problem in mentioning process once the person has arrived? Is there a difference? Am I just doing the same thing? I would really love your honest assessment here. Feel free to be anonymous if you prefer. Because this discussion of origin. It ain't going away. And I would love there to be some open dialog about it here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


65 more days until ETA. I can barely sleep. When I'm not dreaming of the rockstar cupcakes that apparently we are getting for The Shower, I'm dreaming of me and M and BBB spending the night in the world's worst B*st W*estern (which, in itself is hilarious since I haven't stayed in a BW since I was a kid on holiday with my thrifty parents).

In that particular dream, we had a crappy hotel room attached to the hotel lobby with a bathroom out in the hallway, also attached to the lobby. the bathroom was so tiny there was barely enough room to sit on the toilet without your knees grinding against the opposite wall, and constructed so poorly you could actually see into our room, the lobby and the game room in the basement below by peeking through the cracks in the walls and the floor.

Sidenote: do you worry when you dream about bathrooms and toilets? Do you wake up and think, oh crap, did I pee the bed? I do. (think it, not actually pee the bed. So far....)

Back to the dream: We were obviously in a hotel room since we were bringing BBB home. But instead of being a few days old infant, he had suddenly fast forwarded to fussy toddler stage, and for some reason, kept wanting to take off his diapers and walk around naked. In the hotel.

"BBB, why don't you have any pants on?"

"I don't knowwwwwwwww!!!" he would wail. Like he just found himself in that predicament and had no idea what to do about it.

"Well, how about this - why don't we put them back on?"

"Okaayyyyyyyy" he would sniff and acquiesce. And I would laugh. And M would roll his eyes and chuckle. And then we'd continue to hang out in our crappy hotel room.

At one point, BBB was pantless, again, and peed all over the bed. His little pee pee spraying everywhere. And I remember thinking, you know what? Awesome. Good. There  you go, crappy hotel room. That's our gift to you. Let's blow this joint. And we did.

And we ran to the parking lot together and laughed and laughed.

Me and M and BBB. Against the world. Or at least crappy hotels. That dream, days later, still has me in a good mood.

Last night, my dreams were a mix of awesome and suck. One part just had me hanging out with infant BBB, crouched over him on the floor. My hair kept hanging down and tickling his face. I was just stroking his sweet skin. I could dream that over and over again. Other parts were based on The Shower. Again. (Sorry! I've never had a shower for anything before. I never even go to them. So this whole thing is a thing of mystery and awe for me.) In one section of The Shower dream, our shower got mixed in with a Mexican wedding reception. And our cupcakes were interspersed with Mexican taco stands and actual venders selling the most awesome fried awesomeness.

I kept thinking. Oh gosh, I hope no one notices. We definitely got the better end of this deal. I brought over a cupcake to one of the vendors that had just fried me up something spectacular when M wasn't looking.

In another part of the same shower dream, there was a lot of suck. M's dad called from the car to tell me that he and one of his lawyer friends looked over the parentage paperwork that our attorney prepared and found this and this and this wrong with it and as a result weren't really sure whether BBB was legally ours or not...Cue me screaming, yelling, crying, hanging up, but not before saying, you couldn't wait 2 hours to tell me this? You had to tell me minutes before I walk into a room of people to celebrate our family? WTF you guys? 

So, the excitement. It's not without a little anxiety.

65 more days, y'all. 65 more days....Can you stand it? I can't stand it. 

the best GC in the world is doing great. She reports BBB is head down and still squirming. For the record, the running streak streaks on. 193 days strong, albeit some limited mileage these days. Damn you winter. Bring on the spring. Bring on BBB.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Spilling Beans

There. I've done it. With 78 days to go and M's reluctant ok, I've finally spilled the beans. I've managed to find a space to talk with each of my co-workers, and this email went out last night to friends and family who didn't already know:

Dear friends,

The last time I used this list it was to share the painful news of the loss of our daughters, Isobel and Jovita. Four years later, we still feel their absence every day.

But this year, I am overjoyed to tell you that we are expecting the birth of our son in just two and a half months! Big baby ____ is due March 31, 2013. Yes, we've taken a while to spill the beans....

As most of you know, our journey towards a family has been long, and anything but straightforward. We have a wonderful woman named _____ and her supportive family to thank for this gift. She is our gestational carrier (aka surrogate) and has been doing a rock solid job so far. We are really so happy to have _____, her husband and her own four children as part of our extended family now.

We’ll be traveling out to the Midwest in about two months for the birth, and then bringing BB_ home. We can’t wait for you to meet him.

Thank you for all of the love and patience you have given us. Thank you for your friendship as we struggled with our grief, and found happiness in our lives again. We are so excited to share this next piece of the journey with you.


m. and M.

So my inbox is a pretty steady stream of "OMG!!"s" and "Holy Shit!!!s this morning, along with some very sweet remarks about what kind of parents people think we will be. It's kind of fun.

Now, I'm not done yet, I still haven't gotten the word out to colleagues and volunteers I connect and work with, but most of them weren't really around for the long haul. I don't feel the same kind of obligation to them. They'll figure it out soon enough.

So, phew. That's done. And it is a nice weight removed. An elephant exposed. Look! There it is! Now we can talk about it!Baby! On the way! That's what we've been up to. That's what's new.

Now we just need to figure out how to assemble the crib. Gasp.