Sunday, July 22, 2012

Counting the blessing, despite the costs

For whatever reason, I allow myself to be vulnerable on Sundays.  It allows me to reflect on past blessings and prepare myself for future challenges.  This rainy Sunday is no exception.

As K has mentioned in previous posts, 2012 has been an active year for us.  "They" say moving, marriage, death, starting school and getting a job are major life events. Imagine stuffing all of those major types of events in one year for a family of three to manage.  In addition to K starting school in January, we have a razor sharp focus in making not only the love in our family recognized, but also doing whatever we can to make sure the financial and legal protections are there as well.  Our amazing wedding in March was one step in that direction (though at this point our marriage is not yet acknowledged or recognized by our great federal government or in the Sunshine State in which we live). 

Another milestone in our life took place on July 6th.  That was the day that Judge W. issued her final judgement declaring that our little E is now legally both K and my daughter. We prepared for this day for over a year, with background checks, thousand of dollars spent, home visits by our social worker and 10 different letters of recommendations from E's grandparents, teachers, and others who know us.  Thank goodness the close session was smooth and took only 10 minutes.

E is now officially E.E.!!!! WooHoo!!!!! We're the first family in our county to have a second parent adoption. (In 2010, Florida overturned it's neanderthal ban against gay parent adoption allowing for 2nd parent adoptions).* 

I am so grateful and appreciative that "little E" (um she actually is now taller than me)  feels that I am Mom 2 (too)  :-).  As K and I developed our relationship, E and I did too (if you would have asked either E or me at the time, we probably would have passed on getting to know each other).  We muddled through the bumps, bruises, mistakes, insecurities, laughter and tears. She not only gets my jokes, but laughs.  She loves house music and I have a new found respect for Avatar The Last Airbender and Adventure Time. Together we've been through emergency room visits, the start of middle school and countless piano performances (she's amazing by the way, and no I am not bias).  E understands that no matter what, K will always be there and be her mom. So Will I.  No matter what happens, regardless of our success in trying to add to our family, E will always be our first born and the joy in both of our hearts.  She is an AWESOME person, her energy and spirit is remarkable and I'm proud she is ours.

She also knows that even though her biological father has passed and despite never meeting him, she will always be His daughter and at Anytime explore who He was and that part of Her and Her family when She Is Ready.

For several years E has been my "daughter", but now she is my Daughter. Not through 9 months of gestation, but it happened authentically and organically.  It's imperative and important to me that I am responsible and accountable for her emotional, legal and financial well being.  No person, law or backwards ideology can take those rights and privileges away.  It's so kewl that she has an extended family to share with and love inclusive of a Papa, Bube, Aunt T, Aunt N, Cousins K & K and countless others.

For more information and a much better explanation of the challenges same-sex families encounter see the NYTimes Article:
A Family With Two Moms, Except in the Eyes of the Law

*Second parent adoption  is when an "unmarried" parent adopts her partner’s biological or adoptive child. This adoption generally gives the second parent full legal parental rights, legal and custodial.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Are you my mother, mom, momma?

Since my last entry was a bit down in the dumps I wanted to post something fun and interactive for all of you guys reading. For the past couple of weeks (actually longer) E, our oldest daughter, has been on a mission to figure out what to call S. She's always called S by her name but when she talks to friends or strangers she will refer to S as her mom.

As we get deeper and deeper into the baby making process we realized that it would be awkward for E to call S by her name and the baby to call us mom or momma (or mommy, whichever). So we started to think about names that E could call S that would represent mom since that title is already in use. We have some suggestions but we would like to hear from all of you what you think. Please leave us a comment and give us some suggestions and who knows....we may pick one of your ideas!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rough times

Well if you happened to catch our last post and played along with our wonderful game I want to let you know that if you were on the pregnant team, I'm sad to say that you lost (as did we). This IUI cycle seemed a bit more promising to me and although S started getting cramps and started bleeding earlier this week, I still held out hope. Even when we took two pregnancy tests, which both came out negative, in the back of my mind I was thinking that there would be a possibility that the tests would be incorrect.

I don't know if it's because my hormones are raging as well (in addition to getting very little sleep), but today I was feeling drained and a bit run down about everything. S went to meet with the new doctor today because we were not happy with our original doctor (check the Seriously.. post). After the appointment she called me up to tell me everything that we will be doing for the next couple of weeks to prepare for the IVF process, which we are now officially doing. The more she talked the more I felt like my head was spinning. All I heard was prescriptions and more visits and shots, which after a while started to sound like a cash register in my head.

Not only is all of this an emotional roller coaster but I also can't help but think about all of the money and time that we spent on two IUI treatments when we could have done IVF, which is what S originally wanted to do. This makes me even more angry at our previous doctor who we entrusted with our emotions, time AND S's body. I mean, come on.

I know this is hard on S too so I got her a card to show her that I'm here for her and how amazing she is for going through all of this. I don't want her to feel any pressure to "deliver" (no pun intended) because as it stands all eyes are on S's uterus. As I drove into school the other day it finally hit me, I got emotional. Forget that I'm in school from 7:30am until midnight Monday through Friday and working off of very little sleep. Or the fact that we are living off of one income for the time being or that my cycle is on it's way and I'm simply a blob of emotion but as I sat in traffic on the turnpike waiting to get off my exit I just started crying.

Bottom line, this is the hard part. I know that we'll look back on this experience after the baby is born and talk about how emotional and scared we were. but we have yet to reach that point. So for now all I can say is that I'm patiently waiting to cross that bridge.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's time to play...

We are slowly coming to the end of our two week wait and we have been chomping at the bit. S has been going through some changes and her body is talking to her in ways that neither she nor I have been accustomed to. But how do we know that it's pregnancy and not something else? Well we don't. As usual we've been reading books and the internet and blogs to see if these changes are early signs of pregnancy. You're probably asking what these symptoms are and if they really ARE early signs of pregnancy? Well let me introduce you to a little game that S and I have been playing called...

We're either pregnant or We're not

In this game we will give you certain scenarios that have given us hope but also left us confused. Can they be signs of pregnancy or bodily changes due to the hormones. You be the judge as we play We're either pregnant or we're not...

Pregnancy scenario #1:
S's breasts have been tender starting a couple of days after the second insemination
Same scenario:
The tenderness last for about five days and while they have come back, tenderness is also a sign that her cycle is starting.
Pregnant or not?!?

Pregnancy scenario #2:
S is terribly exhausted and takes little cat naps as often as she can
Same scenario:
The hormones she's taking (even the small dosages) are causing her to be tired
Pregnant or not?!?

Pregnancy scenario #3:
S's emotions have been all over the place and she even cries
Same scenario:
Another symptom of hormone injections
Pregnant or not?!?

I could go on and on and give you more symptoms (constipation, indigestion, abnormal appetite, headaches, and a not so sunny personality *love you babe!) But what we have come to realize is that while these symptoms give us hope they don't necessarily mean she's pregnant. For all we know this could be in our heads.

But I hold out hope. I rub S's belly and talk to it almost everyday. There may not be a baby in there but if there is I want our baby to know Me from the very beginning. I want our baby to know that I love it with all of my heart and I am helping him/her to grow and come out into this world. I talk to God every day and thank him for all of the blessings that we've been given. Even when things don't work out the way that we want it's all for the greater good.

So regardless of whether there's a baby in there or not, I've always got S's back.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

S's Letter to Baby Z

Baby Z I know you are getting ready to make your way down to earth to join us in making you a reality.  You are deciding who you want to be and we can't wait to discover who you are and will become.  Before things get chaotic and attention is focused on pregnancy, I wanted you to know what you are made of and some of the extraordinary things you will face once you join this pod.

There's an old nursery rhyme which exclaims you're made of Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails.  That's not you at all, you're made of all of the anticipation, desire, intention, love, anxiety and hope from me and your mom.  In addition to a huge amount of loyalty your older sister sprinkled in a bit of style, artistry, support, humor, focus and humility.  Your grandparents stirred in your eventual wisdom, faith, patience, determination, care and reverence for Jehovah. Your aunts and uncle added dashes of safety, humor, acceptance, curiosity, intelligence, tenacity, common sense and love of music. Lastly your cousins added the garnish of swagger, resourcefulness, cunning, silliness, athleticism and a keen sense for individuality and independence.     

Though none of us have met you in the flesh, we all love you so much and have caught glimpses of you in our dreams and private moments.  The family uses my stomach as a phone receiver to say hello and let you know they're ready for your arrival.   A day does not pass by where you are mentioned or talked about in detail.  All of us are ready to give you everything you need and teach you to strive and work for everything you want.  Me and your mom not only wished and planned for you, but we also prayed, sacrificed and compromised and used a lot of science and technology to get you here.  Though you will be a surprise, you are by no means an accident and it was all worth it!  This family is ready to zerbert your tummy, kiss your cheeks and love all over you.

Baby Z even though life with us will be amazing, it will not be easy.  That's ok, because you'll learn that the challenges and the lessons will make life fascinating. All that me and your mom expect is that you acknowledge, learn and grow from your mistakes (they'll come often and will be plenty), remain inquisitive, be a student of life always striving for knowledge, balance confidence and humility, be loyal and supportive to your family and friends and open to the possibilities for your greatness.  Know that at times you'll be disappointed and sometimes you're feelings will get hurt and you'll be sad inside, we may in fact be the cause of that pain.  Please believe me and know that time will pass and you'll have plenty of opportunities to feel happiness and elation.  Live is fluid so be flexible and go with the flow.

There is so much more I want to share, in time I will...but for now know I'm like a kid waiting in line to ride Magic Mountain, I can't wait to get on the roller-coaster of being your parent.

Eagerly Anticipating Your Arrival and Always Loving You,

 Mommy S

Sunday, July 1, 2012

That's what E said

The post below was wholly and completely drafted by 12 year old mini E.  Though her views are solely expressed, they are 100% endorsed by me and K...

When I first heard that S was yearning to have a baby I was really surprised and shocked.  I didn't know what to think at first but once I understood that my parents were serious then I got excited and very happy because I always wanted a sibling very badly since I was about 8. Some kids, like me, who were only children for most of their lives have trouble sharing but I don't think that I have a problem with that. My parents didn't have to tell me how they were going to get S pregnant, I just somehow caught on that they would need to go to the doctor to make this happen since they can't make a baby together.

We started talking about names for the baby and came up with a really good one. However about right after a certain songstress took the name for her newborn baby we decided to change it.  I was really disappointed for a while then time passed and we came up with other wonderful names.

S had to go to many doctor visits and there were only about two that I went to before I said this was enough.  I am glad that I got to experience and observe the baby-making process however, two visits is enough.  S is presently in try number two and the family all agrees that this is the lucky one.  We are all being very positive and confident. The doctor visits that I went to were very odd and I have to admit a little gross.  Especially the one where the nice nurse had to inject the sperm in S. However, the ultrasound where they had to look at S eggs wasn't that bad.  The only thing that was uncomfortable was that the nurses kept sticking foreign objects in S private part.  The highlights were the baby pictures in the hospital (That's really the only thing though).  I am very happy and can't wait until the fun parts like holding the baby and my favorite BABY CLOTHES (baby clothes look like mini people clothes). MY fashion sense will no doubt rub off on my baby sister or brother.