Monday, December 30, 2013

Year end wrap up

So, today royally sucked ass. It sucked so bad that at one point I made the executive decision to just head home before any more bad things happened to me. But as I've gotten back into the habit of lately, I spent a good part of the second half of the day focusing on being grateful for the small things, not dwelling on the bad things, and being optimistic for my future. It really does help.

So in the interest of not whining and instead focusing on the good, here are some positive things:

Got my first bill for my new coverage via the ACA. Which I think means I have new coverage - I think means I got that awesome discounted policy that will totally save my butt with this upcoming birth. I think. I won't believe it until I get an actual pamphlet outlaying the terms of this new policy. I also have no idea what happens to B's policy. So there are a lot of unknowns - but the fact that I wrote my first check for it tells me I think I'm in!

The German couple who I mail DVDs for who were going to shut down operations at the end of this year have decided to keep it going another month or two. I kind of wish I could just wipe my hands of it and be done - but I kind of really need the money. So if I can get another $300 in the next two months, I'll take it!

My midwife called today to tell me to take the 3 hour glucose test. She said I can in fact take it on the weekend, and said "it's no emergency", so I'll do it Sunday. I know it's going to be pretty horrible - no breakfast or lunch and sitting around a waiting room all day with nothing to do; I can see feeling really sick and awful under those circumstances. But honestly - I'm dying of curiosity to see if I really have GD or not. I never did take the 3 hour last time and I always wondered what the results would have been. And if on the off chance I can save myself ten weeks of pricking my finger four times a day, sounds like it's worth a day of feeling lousy. I can take B to the Baby Kennel so at least I can feel lousy by myself.

So on to wrapping up 2013. It was not the year either of my children were born, so it doesn't have that special feeling to it. But it was the year I decided to bring another person into this family, which I almost didn't ever do. Right now there's a new person waiting to join the Alexandres. My sister's new nephew, my parents' new grandchild, and Bumpus' new little brother. He will be so like him and yet so not. I'll get a sneak peek at him at Saturday's 4D ultrasound. 

And assuming he doesn't make a sudden appearance tomorrow, 2014 will be the year young Teddy makes his debut. I can't wait to meet him!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Year's

This will be the first New Year's in well over a decade that I have zero plans. Part of me hates it...and part of me doesn't care. Being in a swing band means we pretty much always have a gig (the rest of the band is in North Carolina right now - as I was, with them, two years ago, remember?), and before there was a band there was always something dance-related going on. I discovered today that the Baby Kennel is not only open on New Year's but open until 2 AM (how awesome is this place?). So if I really wanted to go out and celebrate, I could. But...I don't want to.

I never drink even when not pregnant, and I absolutely loathe being around drunk people. I also am afraid to be out on the road with said drunk people. And unfortunately for everyone else but fortunately for me, there just isn't that much going on locally. So at least there isn't some awesome event going on I have to miss. But still. I won't lie when I say it's going to sting a little to be all alone at home on NYE with not even Bumpus to keep me company, since he'll have been asleep for six hours by the time the year changes. 

It's moments like these I always have to ask myself, well, what else would you be doing? How were New Year's Eves in the past? Well, the past couple were good because I had gigs and had a baby or was pregnant. But before that...meh. A little too sober and a little too reflective. Never anyone to kiss - ever. For the past ten years, except for the last two, nothing but a sinking feeling of yet another year not in a relationship, watching everyone else get married and have kids, blah blah blah. Does any 30-something single childless woman feel anything other than despair on New Year's Eve? 

So yeah, an evening on the couch alone but with a roaring fire, a nice cup of tea, and one baby asleep in the room next door and another asleep in my belly doesn't sound half bad. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Epic fail

My glucose numbers came in almost immediately after publishing my last post. Keep in mind 130 is the cut off, and last time I got 154. Guess what this time was? Me, who (was) so convinced things were going to be different this time, that I would have a healthier pregnancy, that things would be better? A whopping 171!!! 

I was so fucking pissed when I read this that I almost threw my phone against the wall. How could this be??? And I walked around the block for an hour which when I was testing my sugars last time would usually lower my points by 20-40; can you imagine how high it would have been had I not walked around the block? 

So not only am I dangerously anemic but am a sure candidate for gestational diabetes. Great. Let's just go for the trifecta and throw some high blood pressure and protein in my urine into the mix, why don't we?

I started cursing my body again, until I forced myself to remember: your body got pregnant three times, carried at least one awesome healthy baby, responded to all the induction meds correctly and let you still have a vaginal birth, AND breastfeed for over a year with almost no problems. So...shut the fuck up.

I am debating on whether or not to do the 3 hour torture test or just start monitoring my own sugars as I did last time. I would like to take the test just out of scientific curiosity - Dr Google says even with numbers that high I may still pass - but there's no way I'm keeping B in a waiting room for a total of four hours! So unless I can baby kennel it for a weekend day or somehow arrange for childcare on a weekday, I don't think it will be possible. I don't remember last time if someone called me or if we just talked about it at my next appointment; I am awaiting a call, though, since those numbers pretty much suck. 

I'm still pretty mad and disappointed, but I know this from experience - whatever GD I had last time turned out to be a big nothing, so I'm not afraid of it, and I know what to do to manage it. The same with the iron - take supplements, bam, problem solved. Dealing with possible pre-eclampsia was way scarier because it's life threatening and there's absolutely nothing you can do to help yourself. So, could be worse, right?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

29 weeks

I had a lot of apprehension about today's ob appointment. I'm pretty sure it's the reason I popped awake at 2:30 AM and was more or less awake until Bumpus came to get me shortly before seven. You know how it is - always that feeling that everything is about to go to shit. That's pregnancy for you.

But it ended up being quite a positive experience. The midwife kept telling me I looked good (and what pregnant woman doesn't want to hear that - thanks also to you commenters as well!) and so didn't really comment on my now 25 lb weight gain, thank God. She just said, "well, it is the holidays." Yes, yes it is. She said, as she shoved another coconut ball in her mouth. 

She was pleased with my choice of doula, and again promised me I would have a better birth experience this time. And this time I *kind of* believed her and did not sob in the car on the way home. She ordered my glucose test on the spot. I was a bit surprised because I thought I'd have a chance to eat well for at least 24 hours...but I really didn't want to go back so went for it. After all, my dinner last night was a conservative spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and "meat"balls, and breakfast was eggs and fake bacon. Hardly a carb or sugar to be had. So I took the test - and out of necessity had to walk poor patient Bumpus around the block for 45 minutes so hopefully the walk helped my numbers. I also got the flu shot which I had been hemming and hawing about. After that awful stomach bug I just can't face the possibility of being incapacitated again - I know people who have been laid up for over a WEEK with flu and I just can't take that risk. At least the worst of the stomach bug was for only about twelve hours while B slept. Anyway. So, did that!

I am anxiously awaiting my GD numbers. Last time it was 154 (cut off is 130). I'd like to think I'll do better this time...but I don't know. I'll be pretty bummed if not. Not sure if, upon failure, I should endure the three hour torture test or just prick my finger several times a day to monitor myself like I did last time. At least I already know what works for me - no sugars, pastas, white flours, etc; no fruit, juice, cereal, or carbs in the morning; walk off all meals, and always include protein in every meal. I'm already pretty much doing that so it won't be a huge adjustment (except for the sugar part). 

The good news is, protein in the urine is still only at "trace". I don't know how it was this time last pregnancy; unfortunately the urinalysis is not included in my old records. I know this can change at any point...but I do feel like if this were going to be a problem we'd have some indication by now. After all, it's only eleven weeks to go! The odds are *most* really calamitous things would have been spotted by now. Or at least flagged.

One big fail of the day is my iron. In looking at that part of the test it's hard to get a sense of how bad my numbers are - but I know they indicate some level of anemia which I did not have last time. I'm pretty sure I'll be put on supplements. Hey man, if they make me feel stronger and give me more energy, great! I've got a toddler and several bags of groceries to haul up three flights of stairs every week! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A little Christmas photo bomb

Here is a shot of me from our Friday night gig, in an actual 1940's evening maternity dress (label reads "Stork Styling"):

Here are a couple of shots of me from my fancy vintage dinner night out Sunday, in another 1940's maternity outfit (this one labeled "Welcome Stranger"):

Here is evidence of Santa's visit last night:

...and Bumpus in his Christmas jammies:

...and the next morning enjoying his presents:

...and having a lovely day at the beach because it was 85 degrees:

...and me in my manatee glory:

...and now, good night! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Do you want to know?

Watching Generation Cryo tonight has made me curious about what other SMCs think about their donors (if you used an anonymous or "willing to be known" donor). The information I have about him is the profile information and two photos, a toddler aged one (that does look a lot like Bumpus) and a school-aged one where he looks about four or five (where he looks dramatically different - which makes me wonder how different B will look by then, or how different Theo may look). He did not have adult pictures or videos or audio tapes, but I wouldn't have accessed those even if I could have. 

Why? I don't know. It kind of gives me the creeps. I mean, I chose to procreate with a complete stranger, and one who is fifteen years younger than me! My sons' father is someone I have never (and may never) meet, someone I have never even seen. The adviser at the clinic once told me a story about how she and this particular donor (I guess she gets pretty chummy with them) had a conversation about how he always strikes out with women and she told him he needed to work out a little to "bulk up" (apparently he's a bit of a bean pole). This story makes me feel oddly warm towards him and also (again) a little creeped out. In three months I will have had two children by this awkward, skinny 20-something guy who can't get a date. If he were one of the young guys I know in the dance scene I'm sure I'd feel motherly and protective towards him. Sometimes all of this stuff is just too weird!

One of the SMCs in my group has an adult photo of her donor on her phone that she proudly shows us (he's freaking hot), and last time I saw her, she said she had (somehow) found his Facebook profile (!). She said she was a little bummed out by it - I forget why, maybe he was kind of a party boy...? But it did make me wonder, if someone said to me right now that they had my donor's Facebook page for me, would I look at it? I definitely wouldn't, for fear of being somehow disappointed by it. That and I just don't want to know.

I can wait eighteen years before anything more about this person is revealed to me, if it ever is. At least by then he'll be a man and not just "some kid". And I'll be in a different place, too. But right now knowing about the donor kind of makes me go, "ewwwwwww". 

How do you all feel about knowing about your donor? If someone offered you access to more information, would you take it?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas week

I have had a hum-dinger of a weekend, and it ain't over yet. Months ago I loaded up this weekend with the understanding that Christmas week was going to be devoid of all activity/socialization, so I wanted to be utterly exhausted by the time Christmas actually arrived. I believe I have accomplished that goal.

Because of back-to-back singing gigs Fri & Sat nights, I have been surviving on about 4 hours' sleep the last two days, which has been brutal. This is one of the areas where single parenthood takes its toll - no option for rest when you especially need it. I considered using the Baby Kennel yesterday, ditching out on the bridal shower and Christmas party I had committed to, and instead just heading home to sleep. But I really didn't want to let people down and not fulfill my obligations (I'm a bit psychotic about that), AND I knew I probably wouldn't get any sleep anyway but just toss and turn in bed in the middle of the day, watching the clock tick down until it was time to pick B up. So. Day two of no sleep, and I still have to get dressed up and go out tonight and be "on". The irony is, had I nothing to do this weekend I would be all sad and lonely and depressed and resentful I was stuck at home while everyone else was out having fun. Did I mention I'm just impossible to please right now???

Had an awful moment Friday night wherein I checked in for a second time with my 3rd call babysitter for Saturday night, having not heard from her...only to have her apologize that she got called out of town on a family emergency. Great. And who, exactly, would be free the Saturday night before Christmas at a moment's notice? So I spent all night stressing about it, and imaging I would just have to not show up for our much-anticipated and advertised gig - something I'm grateful I haven't had to do yet. But thank GOD the sitter found someone for me who was free; and I had no choice but to trust a complete stranger with my house and child for a night while paying her every penny I made. Still, it all worked out. Definitely reminded me that I MUST start expanding my pool of babysitters. And not just people who can help out in a pinch...but are then never available when you need them. I mean real professional baby sitters who want the work and (hopefully) don't charge $20/hr. I'm not sure how I'm going to do this but I have a few resources. Thankfully for obvious reasons I won't be out much for the next six months - we have only a couple of gigs in Jan-March; the March one I may not even be able to do (experience shows me it's almost impossible to sing in your third trimester; you just have no lung capacity at all). If I need to go out in evenings this spring I figure many things I can take Theo to as I did Bumpus when he was that small, so maybe I can avoid the "two kid" rate for a while! I'm pleased the Baby Kennel offers a discount for siblings so I'd only pay $15/hr for both kids to be watched if I need a little time to myself on the weekend. So, I can still have my little getaways. 

B has not napped today despite my driving around for nearly two hours and expending a quarter tank of gas. I really don't know how to fix our nap situation. I haven't even tried to get him to nap at home - how can I? When he was stuck in the pack 'n play I could just plop him in there, pull down the shades and walk out and he would fuss a little but then sleep; now with a toddler bed and his own room he would just get up and run to the closed door and scream (in case you haven't noticed, I gave up on Operation Bumpus Plays Alone in His Room some time ago). So instead we just drive somewhere; 90% of the time he sleeps. His having or not having a nap doesn't seem to affect anyone except me - but I just wish I could get him to nap in his room! Any advice on this subject would be appreciated.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

People who need people

I spend far too much time wishing "the kids" were older so we could do more fun stuff. Sometimes when I calculate just how long it's going to be before both children are potty trained, in school, able to travel, able to swim and ski, etc etc, I don't mind admitting I feel a little despair. We're talking probably five-seven years, which puts me at nearly fifty, and my elderly relatives that much older. Will I really still want to go to water parks at 48? Or attack the slopes in Big Bear? I don't know - but I hope so!

I do try every day to appreciate the moment - to appreciate Bumpus at this age and take pleasure in the little joys, while having a sense of humor about the non-joys. I think I'm *pretty* good at that. I may be bored and kind of "blah" some of the time but I am rarely angry or fed up. I remember the days not so long ago when B's kicking me while being changed or flipping around in his carseat while I tried to buckle him in would send me into an absolute rage; now I just take those things in stride, partly because they happen every day, all day long, and partly because I now recognize all kids do these things and it's normal and to be expected. I think I just had a really hard time adjusting from baby-toddler; the idea of a freewheeling active child who could hurt himself, and damage things, really freaked me out and pushed all my buttons. I'm not saying I don't still struggle with these control issues but I'm proud to say I am getting better!

The more B grows and develops, I am SO glad there is a baby brother on the way. He desperately needs playmates, especially when mommy completely sucks in that department. Every time I take him out I see how much he loves people and seeks out other children, especially older boys, to play with. He just runs up and joins their group whether they want him to or not - he is pretty much always shunned by older kids, but thankfully he's too guileless to care. Today he kept trying to engage this older boy who was all wrapped up in his IPhone game (judgment...); finally I just pulled B away because I could tell the other kid was getting annoyed and was about to "do something unpleasant". But this happens a lot - B is very social and just loves people. I'm glad I'm about to provide him with "people" of his very own to play with!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's Manatee Season

It is officially manatee season, aka the season of ill-fitting clothes, waddling, and increasing incapacity. I think I have finally reached the point of not being able to sleep even slightly on my stomach; every Friday as I'm hauling several heavy bags of groceries and my 30 lb child up my stairs I wonder when I need to start getting grocery delivery instead. But then I remember last time and how I really felt pretty ok up until about the last week - when I hear what some women go through not being able to drive, not being able to lift anything, having to sleep sitting up, wearing compression hose, etc, I feel very lucky (and healthy). Still a little afraid of my next ob appointment and what may be revealed there. But hey, all I can do is take care of myself and cross my fingers, right?

Today we went to see Santa. It was too hot for cute holiday outfits, so B wore this random St Patty's Day t shirt and was in cranky post-nap mode, but all in all we got *a* picture with Santa, and had a pleasant afternoon with a friend and her three year old who was equally perturbed. I got a sense of what I have waiting for me - and it ain't pretty. Right now I can still "put one over" on Bumpus - he didn't know that the other child had ice cream but he didn't; didn't know that the other child got to play in the bouncy house and he didn't. He just wanted me to pick him up, and wanted to play with random dirty straws he found on the ground. These are his priorities at the moment. Suddenly toddlerhood is looking a lot easier than preschool age-!

Here are pictures from the day that I think capture his general mood - I call them The Song of No:

Friday, December 13, 2013

3rd trimester, here we go!

So, here we are, the final stretch! Every day it's comforting to me that Baby T is more and more viable; that I can be this far along and still functioning and not on bedrest and with no known issues (yet). Of course lots could be discovered at my next prenatal appointment, now two weeks away. But for now I'm able to have a positive attitude, so I will stick with that!

The best news ever - a friend recommended her cousin, an insurance broker specializing in the upcoming changes, for me to talk to for some help. I spoke to him at length last night. And I'm not going to assume anything until it's set in stone, but - there is a chance I might be one of the people the ACA might actually help. I'm so glad this guy guided me through because I never ever would have figured out this system on my own - what income to put down, to include B or not, mention the pregnancy or not, which policy to apply for? It looks like I might be able to get a really good policy - no deductible, tiny co-pays, help with the premiums, out of pocket max at under $3000. So I applied. I'm not sure what happens now - what sort of vetting I'll have to endure. B will be shifted to MediCal and nobody seems to know if he can still go to Kaiser or not - but that's not a deal breaker for me. It's not like I'm married to our neither-here-nor-there pediatrician. I'm sure with a little research I can find a good MediCal accepting practice for him if I need to. For now I will just sit tight and wait to be contacted. But I'm so relieved at least I have this guy as my advocate, just a phone call away. I've felt so alone in all this insurance mess since before B was even born; now between having the rest of my appointments with the "good" midwife at Kaiser, the doula, and now an insurance broker, I feel like I'm finally getting a handle on all this stuff!

Also, a friend checked in asking if anyone had approached me about a baby shower. I was SO relieved because I was starting to panic a little that I wasn't going to have one; it's not like you can ask someone to throw one for you, nor throw one yourself, and so many of the people involved in the planning of the last one I've drifted away from in the last two years. And I would just be sad if T entered this world with no celebration. I also really honestly do need a few things, and absolutely have no money to buy them between now and March. So...I hope someone cobbles up a little party for me!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Social skills

I think B is learning some social skills. Watching him interact with other kids in group settings, I've noticed a change in him. Rather than grabbing things, he waits until the other kid holds it out for him to take, and if the kid never does, he walks away. He hands things to other kids. He gets less hysterical if someone grabs something from him. He waits his turn. He runs up to people and "talks" to them. In other words - he's getting it! I'm so proud. Even the caretakers at the Baby Kennel said when I picked him up Sunday that he's always so good and they have nothing bad to comment about. I'm not saying he doesn't have his bad moments, like all kids, but I'm really glad he's learning how to play and share and be in a group. It's probably the most important skill he'll learn in life. 

My father has disappeared from Facebook. I went to check in on his profile since I hadn't heard from him in a while, and found to my shock that he was no longer in my friends list. He was not searchable, nor was he in my cousin's friends list. Which says to me he deleted his account. Why would a person do that? It's just part of his general shadyness. I'm not sorry to see him go, honestly. If he reappears and tries to friend me again this time I'll be smart and ignore him. Have I mentioned how glad I am that this person is in another country???

I have really knuckled down and worked hard on my business the last couple of nights. Believe you me I'd rather be sewing felt owls for Theo than wrestling with designing "info graphics" and posting on every Facebook group and page and updating my web site, but I had to just force myself. And force myself to make decisions about pricing and cut off dates and dance themes. It's a huge amount of work but once everything is set, it's set. I just have to nail down the last few sets of instructors, set up my online registration page, and blast the information all over the place. The response to the notices I put out on FB last night were really positive, so it makes me feel better about my future finances. 

One area I've been striking out all over in lately is healthcare. Whenever I call the Obamacare help line I just get told the volume of calls is too high and get hung up on; when I try to apply online I get an error page. The numbers I got to call local organizations all have full answering machines that can take no more messages. I called Kaiser today to see if I should just switch policies to get a better deal; unfortunately they all carry that $6350 yearly out of pocket max, so that's useless. I am beginning to think "do nothing" may be the only way to handle this healthcare crisis; after all, if I have a normal birth with no NICU stay all of this worry will have been for nothing. Although I did get a cryptic letter from B's special discounted healthcare yesterday that put ice water in my veins - it said because my income has increased (what?) I now have a $2250 a month cost share...which upon googling means this is how much I'd have to pay out of pocket per month before the government would kick in. Huh? I'm completely befuddled by this. But of course I called all day to get answers and all I got was a busy signal for hours, followed by yet another full answering machine that would take no more messages. WTF? Does this mean the next time B gets a vaccine I'm going to have to pay full price out of pocket...? Or pay for his well exams? Ugh. I hate all of this shit SO MUCH. It positively makes my blood boil. 

Here is a picture of B at his drum circle today:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Too Much

'Tis the season of excess, isn't it? Ugh. I feel like a big fat bloated pig who's spending herself into the poor house. For the now nearly four months since my event, I have consistently way exceeded my budget. I simply cannot manage to keep my credit card under control. And yet I feel like I buy nothing but gas and groceries. But there's always something - an oil change. A dental cleaning. A hair appointment. And next thing you know I've almost doubled what I promised I'd spend.

It's the same with food. As of this moment I've put on 20 lbs. Which according to the pregnancy weight gain calculator I furtively consult far more often than I care to admit, is completely normal for week 26. Still, if I am to gain 1 lb a week for the remaining 14 weeks of this pregnancy, it puts me at a total gain of 34 lbs. Which, again, is within the proper amount of 25-35 lbs for a woman who starts at a healthy weight. Still, I hate it because I started 10 lbs lighter this pregnancy but will end up exactly the same. It's because unlike last time I was able to eat normally during the 1st trimester. Why do I care about this? Haven't I proven I'm the lucky bitch that loses baby weight easily from breast feeding? Who cares? Still, I am afraid of being shamed by my midwife and also afraid of for some inexplicable reason not being able to lose the weight this time (it could happen). Does it matter? Who have I got to impress? Nobody. But it bugs me. It makes me feel like I'm doing a shitty job feeding myself. And I just feel gigantic and bloated and uncomfortable and gross. Blah.

So between the spending and the eating I feel all out of control and gluttonous and yucky. I spend and spend, and I eat and eat, and yet derive no pleasure from it, which is the ultimate irony. I feel totally deprived in both areas. I would love to go to Anthropologie and buy myself one nice thing for Christmas, just something to make me feel pretty and spoiled, but I don't dare. I treat myself to a pumpkin spice latte but the satisfaction is utterly fleeting. I guess I'm just impossible to please at the moment!

I see how mothers put on weight and/or spend their husbands into the poor house. Especially stay-at-home mothers of baffling toddlers. Your days are so boring and exhausting that you find yourself in a constant state of wanting to "treat" and "reward" yourself, which is dangerous. I feel myself slipping into that, and I seriously need to nip it in the bud. I instead need to find my pleasure in things that are good for me - excellent books (been reading some really good ones lately); thought-provoking movies and TV; getting outdoors; socializing; working on my business. There is a healthy way to channel this need for fulfillment. I can do it. I just need to put down the homemade fudge.

Friday, December 6, 2013

26 weeks

Today Theo has a much better chance of survival should he be suddenly thrust into the cold world. I know I have zero reason to think I'm at any risk for pre-term labor, but with all the real worries regarding having this baby, I have chosen to fixate on this because it makes every day that I don't go into labor feel like a triumph.

I have chosen the expensive, highly qualified doula and sent her a deposit. I feel like I'm in good hands, and I guess it's all about feeling safe and guided during these times. I've given a lot of thought to the whole getting to the hospital/watching Bobby issue. And the only thing I can think of is having a vast network of people who can agree to *maybe* being available for one of these tasks, with the understanding that they can say no because I have lots of other people to call. I don't think it's a good idea to rely on just one or two people, again not when everyone I know lives far from me, works, and has kids. So I might just start asking people, "do you think you could drive me to the hospital, but if not no big deal because I've got lots of other people I can call?" I think that's the only way to handle it. I also can always take a cab. I have a sitter for B but it may take her hours to get here from San Diego; if my sister happens to be here then that solves some problems. And of course if I have a scheduled whatever then all of this is moot. But I'd much sooner have a normal, non-induced labor and deal with logistics rather than an induced labor with everything in place, believe me. 

B and I have been having a pretty good time lately. It might just be Christmas cheer and/or little adjustments I've made here and there, but I'm feeling less unhappy about the whole toddler age than I was a week or two ago. Less crying and tantrums, more laughter and hugs and fun. That's always a good thing. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

That new sperm donor show

So I've been watching Generation Cryo, MTV's new reality series about a teenaged donor-conceived girl who enlists her half-siblings in a quest to locate their anonymous donor. It's a well thought out, respectful show which brings up a lot of important, and interesting issues. Two episodes in, here are some thoughts I've had about it:

I feel for the one infertile dad who's wife had twins via the donor. That must be a hellish situation for a man, particularly an older Jewish man who's whole cultural imperative is all about family and genes. I'm kind of amazed any husband consents to his wife using donor sperm, honestly, since men get all weird and egocentric about their genetic material (sometimes). When I went to my clinic to browse through their binders of donors (cheaper than ordering up profiles online, which had to be paid for), just to make sure I was solid in my choice of donor, there was a couple there doing the same, and I remember thinking, "please, God, let that be her friend or brother or someone other than her husband!"

I noticed on the show the half-siblings raised with moms and dads seemed to have the most conflict about being donor kids, whereas those raised by lesbian couples or single moms seemed the most comfortable.  Maybe it's because when you have a mom and a dad you have the picture of that "normal" family, and yet you've got this unusual circumstance, but if you're raised by one or two women or men, it's kind of like the jig is up, you know? 

I was kind of surprised to learn that their donor was NOT a "willing to be known" donor, and that one of the siblings had already attempted contact through the sperm bank but never received a reply. This started to make me feel like what these kids were doing was wrong - that this guy had the expectation of privacy and that should be honored, regardless of their "right to know" about him. I mean, when I reconnected with my father, all I really wanted to know about him was if his family had any medical issues and what his ethnic background is (being "Brazilian" is about as meaningful as being "American" - really you're either from Africa or Europe, and clearly we're not African, so what part of Europe? Turns out he's Italian). Beyond that his on again, off again presence in my life has been mostly a pain in the butt. So one would think having the basic info from the guy's profile would be enough. I get why it's not, though. But it did make me wonder if these kids were pushing the boundaries. 

I once again appreciate thoughtful, non-exploitative representations of the whole donor-conceived thing out in the media, but really, really wish someone would profile the mothers for a change, not always have it be about teenagers looking for their donor, or the donor's perspective. I just feel like the female perspective is almost always lost in this world - and yet we're the ones actually making the kids, doing all the freakin' work. Why doesn't anyone tell our stories? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Best laid reverse

So, remember how I said I wasn't getting a tree and was going to really take it easy with the crafting/cooking/decorating this year, on account of being pregnant and having a toddler running around? Psych!

Today I was driving around and saw so many Christmas tree lots...and one in my neighborhood had cute little "apartment sized" ones, so I thought I'd pull over and just check them out...five minutes later it was in my front seat. I figured what the heck - it's light enough for me to easily carry up the stairs, and back down a month from now. I can put it on a table where B *hopefully* can't reach...and get to decorate and light it, and it was only about $10 more than the itty-bitty potted ones I was looking at previously. So tonight after B went to bed I had fun decorating (still not going to light the outside of the house - just too dangerous). I am utterly puzzled as to where my wreath hook and tree skirt went. I will have to keep digging around for those.

Also, in contemplating Christmas gifts today, I decided to make stuff. After promising no craft projects. I just can't afford to buy people presents, but it pains me not to give people anything. I get such enjoyment out of giving gifts. So I sat down with Pinterest and reviewed some of last year's un-attempted recipes and crafts, and I think I'm going to take next weekend which is pretty empty and go for it. Hey, anything I don't give away I can always freeze and save for later when I'm breastfeeding and can eat all the candy and crap I want, right?

I'm going to hit up the dollar store also for wrapping and stocking stuffers. Although today I did splurge on B's one big gift - a wooden play kitchen just like the one at the coffee shop play area we go to, which is actually pretty cheap and comes with all the accessories unlike all the others I viewed. So other than that I plan on this being a very frugal but hopefully still bountiful and fun Christmas. Hey, when you're a broke single mother you have to get creative, right?

Here is a picture of a creepy 1950's Christmas baby that freaks my friend and I out: