Thursday, October 6, 2011

the woes of saying goodbye...

after much thought, i have decided to bring the woes of a barren lesbo to an end. i have not come to this decision easily... in many ways, this blog has been my substitute baby for the last 3 years. i have loved it, nurtured it and spent countless sleepless hours contributing to its growth.

i have decided to start another blog (a quest called family) that more accurately captures my newest life path. one of the reasons i am shifting to a new blog is out of respect for those who are still fightin the good fight with TTC. i remember first finding the TTC blogging community and feeling for the first time like i wasnt alone. so often i would stumble on a great TTC blog post about struggling to get prego and then as i clicked on other posts, realize that the majority of the recent posts contained baby pictures and stories about parenthood. i would feel sad and frustrated... like the only kid who wasnt being picked for the kickball team.

now that i have secured my very own kickball team uniform, i dont want to taint the "woefulness" of this blog. i want it to remain a space where other folks can come and vent, grumble (and hopefully laugh) at how shitty TTC can be.

im not dismantling the blog and will be sure to post any TTC related references i stumble across.

in the meantime, i want to thank all of the fabulous blogger folks out there who take the time and energy to share little bits of your hearts and minds for the world to see. im proud and honored to have shared this part of our journey with you all and thank you for making the bumps along the road a little more bearable.

in solidarity....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

a baby and two blisters on my toes.

holy crap...  i wanna start this post off by sending a huge shout out to everyone who has sent messages of love and congrats. it felt like a big ol' cyber hug. *smile* serio, its been wonderful feeling so supported by my blog peeps.

theres lots of stuff that i want to get documented so i guess ill just dive right in.

tuesday 8/30 - 1:30 pm
i was chillin at work when the caseworker called. "she is officially in labor. you're having a baby today." i tried my best to resist the urge to sprint immediately to the hospital as she gave me more details. "birthmom is 4 centimeters dilated and is about to get an epidural. the epidural will most likely slow down labor so there is no need to come to the hospital just yet. you could probably finish out the day at work, get some dinner and then head over to the hospital".

i hung up with the caseworker and called NM...
NM: hello?
me: *southern accent* daddy, its time. (steel magnolia reference, anyone?)
NM: time for what?
me: *exasperated sigh* babe. its like time.

1:45 - NM and i walk to a friends office on campus to tell her the news.

2:00 - chatting it up with our friend... talking about random stuff like what to wear to the hospital, when we might want a food delivery, etc. when i realize i have a voicemail.

Voicemail = "jersey, this is your caseworker. birthmom is currently being wheeled into the operating room for an emergency c-section! you need to get to the hospital as fast as you can!!"

now, on a side note... NM has a friend who delivers babies for a living (i cant think of the official doctor word for that job right now. im running on fumes these days.). anywho, this friend claims that she can complete a c-section in 17 minutes. with this knowledge in mind, NM and i start RACING across campus to get to the car. naturally i had to pick this day to wear my super cute snooki leopard print flats. i could feel them digging into my pinkie toes with each stomp. i thought about taking them off but could totally hear NM in my head saying, "ew. why do white people always walk around bear-foot?!"

so... we got to the car and began the 3 mile journey to the hospital. i was tempted to start the text/phone chain but NM looked at me and said, "lets just be present in this moment together." it was crazy to think that the next time we would ride in our car, there would be a tiny human in the back seat.

2:25 - we arrive at the hospital and race up the elevator. as we make the turn into the hallway leading to the maternity ward, a nurse walks out of the operating room with a baby in her hands.
she yells down the hallway:"are you jersey and NM??"
me and NM: "yes!"
nurse: "well come meet your baby!"

we made it just in time. *smile*

the nurse escorted us to the nursery where they began to clean the little dude up. he was screaming his little head off and full of life. as it turns out, the umbilical cord was on top of his head so every time the birthmom pushed, it would cut off his flow. at some point they lost the heartbeat so they decided to go in. he was pretty far wedged into the birth canal so they had to use the vacuum to get him out. poor little guy had some pretty bad bruising and raw skin on his head.

luckily our hospital is pretty adoption-friendly so the nursing staff was supportive of us as parents. the only hiccup came when it was time to put on the baby lojack bracelets that prevent anyone from stealing him. our birthmom said ahead of time that she did not want a bracelet. that would mean that NM and i would both get to have one. the nurse said that they had already put one of the bracelets on the birhmom while she was knocked out in surgery and it couldnt be changed. apparently hospital policy dictates that the birthmom always have one of the bracelets.

i wasnt too concerned about me and NM... one bracelet would be fine since we were pretty dead seat against separating while in the hospital. i felt bad for the birthmom though. she had clearly indicated that she didnt want to know anything about the baby or have anything that would remind her of the baby and then they go tying a giant nursery bracelet on her when she is passed out.

we spent the first hour of the boy's life with him in the nursery. he had an IMMEDIATE sucking reflex and since his head was super sore, the nurses gave him a pacifier to help him self-soothe. it worked immediately. he ate a full meal and got a bath before being wheeled into our room.

since we werent admitted patients in the hospital, we coudlnt exactly get a free room to crash in. there are a bunch of adoptive parents on the nursing staff so as a group they have collectively done quite a bit to make the hospital adoption-friendly. they set us up in a room called the "sun room" which was essentially a large conference room with a tv and pull out sofas. the hospital provides that room for free to allow adoptive parents to spend the night with thier new baby. it was so awesome to have the opportunity to have a private space to spend 2 nights with him rather than being stuck in a waiting room or being forced to go home overnight.

while we were in the sunroom we had the opportunity to meet birthmom's father... our boy's birth grandfather. birthmom wanted someone to meet the boy but wasnt up for meeting him herself. she asked her father to meet him (and us). it was a very emotional meeting... something straight out of lifetime tv... and we all cried. he held the boy and said that he looked like his daughter. he thanked us and said that his daughter felt at peace as soon as she found our profile. it was a beautiful moment shared between us all... ill write more about it in a later post. in the meantime... i have a diaper to change!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

baby rolls and tiny toes

 woah... life with a tiny human is busy. im working on the birth story but in the meantime thought i would share some photos. nothing cuter than baby rolls and tiny toes. *day dream sigh*

Saturday, September 3, 2011

he's here!!!

healthy baby boy born on tuesday... 6lbs 13 oz.
totally perfect in every way.

more details as soon as we settle into a routine.

*biggest smile ever*

Monday, August 29, 2011

because of course we have to wait.

its one day past the due date and here i sit on a monday morning, ready to start yet another work week. you know, after years of waiting... waiting for the TTWW... waiting on the adoption waiting list.... waiting to be picked.... waiting for the 8 weeks to pass until his due date arrives.... you would think that the universe would do me a solid and let this dude come ON TIME! shit. im so sick of waiting!

actually, im feeling kind of torn. you see, today is michael jackson's birthday and i gotta be honest... im not wild about the idea of my kid sharing a birthday with the king of perps. err, i mean pop. so, im hoping he will bake one more day and come tomorrow.

ive been having crazy dreams the last few nights about waiting in the hospital for him to come. the first two dreams included the announcement that he is a girl. im not sure what that might mean.

in last night's dream our case worker came into the waiting room and told us that our birthmother hasnt been paying her taxes so if we want the baby we will have to pay the last 3 years of taxes for her. it was thousands of dollars so we left the hospital without a baby.

i think i might be starting to legitimately worry about the what-if-she-changes-her-mind possibility. *sigh* through this whole process we have both tried to remain focused on the fact that above all else, we support reproductive rights... including a woman's right to parent her child. we intentionally chose an agency that provides tremendous resources for birthmothers and in fact, more than half of the birthmothers who seek services at our agency choose to parent their children before they even reach the stage of picking an adoptive family. if a birthmom goes to the agency and says, "i want to choose an adoption plan for my baby", the agency will do lots of counseling with her to determine why she is choosing adoption. if the birth mom lists things like child care, school, limited funds, etc as reasons why she is choosing adoption, the agency will connect her with community resources that might help her have the ability to parent her child. if after the counseling, she still prefers to make an adoption plan... she is then allowed to look at adoptive parent portfolios.

given all of these steps, the agency's disruption (failed adoption) rate is super low.... they have only had one disruption in 11 years. i have the utmost confidence that the birthmothers in our agency choose adoption because it is the right decision for them. this is super important to me because as much as i want a baby, i have zero interest in adopting a child that a birthmother would have preferred to parent, had she been given the resources to do so.

i often feel uncomfortable with the sense of entitlement that adoptive parents express once they/we are "chosen" by a pregnant mom. when disruption happens, its not uncommon to hear adoptive parents talk about being "screwed over" by a birthmother. i have never experienced a disruption so im not sure how i would feel should that happen... but i would hope that NM and i will remain committed to our belief in reproductive rights. should our birthmom decide to parent her baby, i will be crushed and upset. AND... i will support her right to do what she feels is best for her life.

i realize that this is all easy to talk about on a blog, when im not actually experiencing a disruption. who knows... perhaps this time next week i will be writing a post saying how much i hate our birthmother for stealing "our" baby. lol. only time shall tell.

NM and i have decided that should we experience a disruption, we will take a 2 week vacation someplace warm and secluded with lots of beach sand and booze. i personally think we should go to belize and visit the big blue hole.....

its pretty much a giant sinkhole in the ocean but the photos look like ultrasound picture of a barren barren empty womb. quite fitting, i think.

let hope this little dude comes soon. in the meantime, i suppose ill head to work for the day. *grumble*

Friday, August 26, 2011

Positive Adoption Language - PAL

"she gave her baby up for adoption."
"are they natural sister and brother?"
"do you have any children of your own?"
"do you know your real mom?"

at some point in my life, i have no doubt said one or all of the above statements. like most things in life, my language was a reflection of my knowledge and understanding of the world around me. the more experience i have had with adoption however, the more i have grown to understand the importance of positive adoption language (PAL).

i first learned about PAL in our adoption class. basically, PAL is the choice to use language that frames adoption in a positive way rather than in a negative or second-option kind of way. a good example is the phrase, "gave the baby up for adoption" (which i have said countless times). without even knowing it,  using words like "gave away" unintentionally creates a feeling of  negativity. the phrase "give away" sounds cold, careless and inhumane..something a person does when they dont love something.

the reality of adoption however couldnt be farther from cold, careless or inhumane. birthmothers go through unbelievably selfless and painstaking moments as they create an adoption plan for their baby. they spend countless hours, often under stressful circumstances, to do their best to create an adoption plan that will be the best for their baby... even if it means emotional pain for them in the process.

to think of it from the perspective of the child... to say that someone "gave you up" feels like you werent valuable enough to keep. the reality though is that adopted babies are SO valuable, their birth families only wanted the best for them. the use of PAL means that the child wont hear "your birthmom gave you up" and will instead hear, "your birthmom chose an adoption plan for you".

this article says it best....
PAL begins with the concept of family. Historically people have been considered to be members of the same family when one or more of several conditions are met: they are linked by blood (father and son,) they are linked by law (husband and wife,) they are linked by social custom (woman and her husband’s sister), they are linked by love. We don’t blink at the concept of two non-genetically-related people being members of the same family if one or more of the other criteria are met…except in adoption.

Though in adoption parent and child are linked by love and by law, the fact that they are not connected by blood has often meant that some people are unwilling to acknowledge their relationship as genuine and permanent. Thus they use qualifiers (“This is Bill’s adopted son”) in situations where they would not dream of doing so in a non-adoptive family (“This is Bill’s birth-control-failure son” or “This is Mary’s caesarean-section daughter.”) They tend not to assign a full and permanent relationship to persons related through adoption (“Do you have any children of your own?” or “Have you ever met your real mother?” or “Are they natural brothers and sisters?”) They assume that adoptive relationships are tentative (“What if his real parents want him back?”)

now that i have begun to make a shift in my language its amazing to me how many blatantly negative messages i am starting to notice about adoption, birth mothers, and adopted kids. ive heard lots of "you were adopted" jokes, have had people make terrible assumptions about our birthmother's personal habits and have begun to notice how frequently the term "gave up" is used to describe the choice of adoption.

last semester one of my students (who was adopted at birth) said that she saw a book in the "comedy" section of the bookstore called "Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals". basically the book has tons of cute photos of baby animals with captions that help you break bad news to someone... like, "you're fired". she said that she flipped through the book and laughed at some of the captions. but then she came across this page...

she was struck to read that being adopted would be included in a book about terrible news. she said "i know lots of people who have such shitty parents, it would be bad news for them to hear 'Sorry, you were NOT adopted'". lol. i love students.

anywhoo... the point of this post isn't to be the language police. its mostly to share that i am learning a lot about how our society frames adoption and am hoping that our family can be one of the small examples that helps create change.

in other news, 2 days until the due date. getting so excited to meet him!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

thoughts on nesting

we have started working on the boy’s room! the tiny human will be inhabiting our craft room which is directly across the hallway from our bedroom. the original color of the room is kinda sorta like this….

which is actually a pretty cool color but we want something a little less electric for the nursery.  we were inspired by these nurseries.................

.............and decided to paint the room a warm brownish/grayish color with pops of color in the accessories. we figure grey will allow him to make an easy transition from baby into boy and neither of us could stomach the baby-pastel colors. *shiver*  it just aint our style.

as the descendant of carnies, i have an unshakable desire to turn the inside of my house into a circus tent. you can only imagine the strength of this desire when faced with the task of decorating a kid's room. *breathing into a paper bag* if i had it my way (which i rarely do) we would go all out and have a room like this:

but as you can imagine, NM heard the words "ferris wheel" and refused to even listen to reason.

as far as baby items…. we haven’t purchased anything yet other than a car seat. a lot of adoption literature recommends that adoptive families resist the urge to shop, or paint, or set up a nursery, etc until the baby is actually in their care. I guess the idea is that its good to keep the “what if she changes her mind” perspective. personally, I have come to the decision that this advice is total bulllshit. well, maybe that's too judgey. ill just say its bullshit... for us.

dont get me wrong, I understand that some couples are afraid that the deal will fall through and they will be forced to face an empty crib the next day. but how is this any different than a regular pregnancy? its not like we advise pregnant couples to hold off on nesting until after the baby arrives "just in case you miscarry". that would be silly. plus, I don’t think I will be any LESS depressed simply because I haven’t purchased anything yet… “whew, thank GOD I didn’t buy that baby swing! losing the baby would have REALLY been hard then!” *rolling my eyes*

also, i feel like our choice to adopt makes the nesting process even more important. when you are 8 months preggers, you have a daily reminder that this tiny human will soon be joining your family. we dont have that reminder and although we certainly never forget about him... its just hard to make it feel real when there are no physical reminders.

so…I think that NM and I have found a happy medium when it comes to “nesting” and have decided to paint the room (cause who wants to paint when there is a tiny human in the other room?) and get some of the bare essentials. and clearly by “bare essentials” im referring to this onesie

Friday, August 5, 2011

"you had a baby, bob. its a girl and we named her brenda." -la bamba

we are still chewing on names for the little dude. sadly, NM has vetoed jersey, camden, trenton, bronx, brooklyn, paulie d, the situation and biggie smalls. she is such a killjoy.

im realizing that naming a kid is kind of intense. im sure we have all played the "what would we name our kid" game... you know, the game that always ends with the most ridiculous names and a hearty bout of laughter. my favorite is a friend who said, "im gonna have a son and name him steven, but im gonna spell it a-l-e-x-a-n-d-e-r. so when people say 'alexander' he can say, 'no, its pronounced steven'."

but now its like, for reals. at the end of the game i gotta have an actual name for an actual human. woah. intense.

and speaking of intense... answering the "have you thought about names yet?" question sure does open the floodgates of opinions. jesus. who knew people were so die hard about naming a baby. I can talk to 50 different people in the span of 2 minutes and get 50 different -yet equally passionate (read: manic) opinions about the same friggin name.

the most common reactions look like this...

person #1 (also known as i-might-stalk-your-baby): “roger? wow. I love it! I don’t think I have eeeeever heard such an angelic name. its like the sound of angels singing on sunday. he is destined for greatness with a name like that. I wish I could change my OWN name to roger. strong, beautiful, angelic roger. *day dream sigh* if you love him you will pick that name.”

person # 2 (also known as you're-the-reason-gay-people-shouldnt-be-allowed-to-name-kids): “ROGER?! is that some sort of sick joke?! what kind of person names their baby rooooger?! I swear, if you name that baby roger I will call child protective services and report you for abuse. god. its like the sound of poop sloshing in a toilet. how could ANYONE. EVER. consider such a name?!?! *dry heave*”

person # 3 (also known as the oversharer): "did you say Roger? as in, r-o-g-e-r? omg... that's totally my uncles name! he was my faaaaavorite uncle growing up. well, until he was arrested for child pornography. he should be getting out of jail in 2015 though, so that's good. i only knew one other roger my whole life and he was a guy i worked with at the mall. he came to work one day with a knife and threatened to kill everyone so i never saw him after that. hm, i wonder what happened to him? strange... i cant remember. anywho... i think roger is a great name!"

person # 4 (also known as the united nations police): "roger? really? its nice but..... its sooooo *long pause*.... ethnic. and the baby wont even teeeechnically identify as *insert random ethnic identity*. im just saying that EVERYONE knows that roger is a *insert ethnic identity* name. so dont you think its straaaange to name a baby *finger quotes*-"roger" when he isnt *insert ethnic identity*?"

person # 5 (also known as dr. seuss): "roger? hm... that's a cool name. but you know what would be even cooler? dodger. ooh! or how about bodger. yeah! have you thought about bodger? that's a great name! bodger. bodger. yeah...that's it. that's the name. oh wait... what about modger?! i like that best. yeah. modger."

someone set me on fire, please.

ps. we arent really considering roger. its a great name, really. just not for us.
pps. no offense if your have a perpie uncle named roger.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

the boy's first paparazzi shot!

everything is still moving along as planned. the boy passed the 36 week mark on sunday and will technically be considered "full term" on august 8th. eeek! the last ultrasound was 2 weeks ago and he weighed 5 lbs 2 oz. (the photo above was from an earlier ultrasound taken in april)

the due date is still august 28th though and since most first-time pregnancies tend to go late... im thinking we have some time. he might even be a september baby.

 NM and i leave for our babymoon on saturday. a whole week in the florida sun... i cant wait! we have our fingers crossed that the little dude wont decide to come early and force us to fly home mid-trip. if he does, im sure it will be an omen of things to come in his teenage years.
our caseworkers said that the birthmother is doing much better emotionally and physically. as it turns out, she has very little support from anyone other than her mom and had been feeling pretty overwhelmed with the whole process. they said she still attends all of her meetings and medical appointments alone but is in better spirits. (*sigh* i can barely attend my annual pap exam alone so im pretty impressed with her strength!) it’s a strange feeling to care so deeply about someone we have never met. in many ways, she is a part of our family and its been difficult to not be able to offer her our direct support. closed adoption is tough in that way.
although, knowing me… its probably a good thing that we aren’t in contact. I could SO easily end up adopting a birthmother right along with the baby…. “babe, she just needs a place to stay for 2 weeks.” lol. NM would surely divorce me.

she has decided that she doesnt want one of the hospital bracelets (the ones that give access to the nursery) so NM and i will each have one. we are fortunate that the hospital in our area is very adoption friendly so we will most likely get our own room and will spend the night with the boy.

we are still in seemingly constant dialog about names and circumcision (we welcome any suggestions on either topic!) and continue to watch the clock tick down with anticipation. we arent quite at the TTWW stage yet (which officially starts on august 14th!)... but getting close!

Friday, July 29, 2011

and then jersey punched her computer screen...

yo... is anyone else getting trapped in the never ending loop of login screens and comment verification codes anytime you try to post a comment on another blog?!? AAAAAHHHHH!!!

i was about to set myself on fire from frustration but i think i might have found the solution...

1. close all of your open browsers except one.
2. while that browser is open, click on "tools", then "internet options"
3. under "browsing history" click "delete" (i was pretty much going for the enema of computer cleaning so i chose to click all of the boxes. you could experiment and see if it still works without wiping it all out.)
4. go back to blogger and login WITHOUT clicking on the "remember me" box. leave that box unclicked... apparently this is the secret solution. *shrug*

i have no idea how permanent this solution is... but it worked for me so i thought i would pass it along as a temporary fix for anyone who is about to destroy their computer. feel free to comment with other solutions/tricks that might work better than this!