Category Archives: J

Happy Birthday, J!

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Thirty-something years ago, a baby girl was born at just 30 weeks. She weighed a little over two pounds, and her doctors didn’t believe she would make it. In fact, they had so little faith, she was delivered by a nurse. But this baby girl fought hard, and she made it.

Thirty-something years later, she is the woman I wake up to every morning, the woman who fills my life with joy and beauty, the woman I call my wife.

My J has had to fight and exhibit so much strength through so many of her years, but through it all she is still warm, and funny, and has the biggest heart of anyone I know. When she loves, she loves big–far bigger than anyone might expect of someone in just a 5’2″ frame. I am such a lucky woman to be the recipient of that love, to know the strength of this woman, to wake to her beauty and her sparkly smile every day.

Happy birthday, my love.

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Filed under birthdays, J

My Work Is Never Done

J here. I’m working through something, so bear with me as I clunkily trudge through it. Where to start? I guess I’ll start with the word “work” which appears in the title. Though I am not working, as in bringing in a paycheck regularly, I feel like I’m working harder than ever in so many other ways, and it’s hard. It. Never. Ends.

I’ve written about some of the work I’m doing to change my habits: quit smoking, eat better, exercise more, etc. All of these are important because I want to be around to watch our child grow up. I don’t want to teach him that it’s okay to smoke. Neither of us want him to struggle with weight issues. We want him to be healthy, and we know that in order to best do that, we need to model healthy behavior. However, healthy behavior is new to us, so it’s a challenge sometimes, but we don’t shrink from challenges; we rise to the occasion, and so a new life is beginning to emerge–one that doesn’t rely on crutches to overcome the hard stuff. Not easy, but doable, and getting easier with practice.

There’s other work too, mundane stuff like extra chores around the house, going to the grocery store, which I generally loathe, attending doctor’s appointments and the like. Again, not back-breaking, but a non-pregnant wife of a mother-to-be has got to do what a non-pregnant-wife of a mother-to-be has to do.

Then there’s some of the really hard work, like sifting through the emotional minefield left to me by my departed alcoholic mother. Yes, that lovely pile of shit that I have waded through my entire life resurfaced almost instantly the moment we found out we were having a baby. She was a sick, abusive, mean woman–a terrible mother. She left me with no positive messages about myself and certainly no model for good mothering. She taught me how to smoke, drink, gamble, and most importantly, how to hide my hurt behind rage. I have been working for years to heal, to relearn what it means to be human and vulnerable and to resist escaping life’s problems with unhealthy activities. I honestly feel like I’ve abandoned much of that, seeing as how it doesn’t really help, but some of it remains, and I fear always will. There are times when I’m nearly paralyzed with sadness about my own childhood, yet I try to use this as motivation to be everything my own mom wasn’t. It’s work, I tell ya, to overcome all of this. There are so many layers to it, and sometimes it comes out of nowhere and knocks me on my ass. I worry that I won’t have it sorted out sufficiently by the time my baby comes, and I get terrified that somehow, unconsciously, I’ll send the wrong messages to my son. But I keep working on it.

Here we are, two months out, and I find I’m not done with my work. I’ve discovered something very unsettling the past few weeks. I have issues with males (as in boys, men, human beings with penises). I don’t “get” them, and too often for my own comfort, I don’t really like being around them. This is a wee bit of a problem considering I’m about to have one, don’t you think? I don’t hate men, but I’ve privately thought on more than one occasion that I could live quite comfortably without them, just in the company of women. Men are loud, often inconsiderate, uncommunicative, and they take up a lot of room with their bodies, their voices, their ideas. Did you ever notice how much space they take up in public places? It’s like there’s this entitlement about how much of the world belongs to them. Try sharing a bench with one sometime. Do they scoot aside and make room? Not in my experience. They talk over women in conversation. I’ve seen this time and again in the classroom where a young woman will patiently wait her turn to make a comment only to be drowned out by some guy who could care less that someone else was speaking. When something is wrong, they don’t tell you about it. They brood. I know what some people will think: not all men! Of course not all men. This is the problem with generalizing about any group of people, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have a point.

There are these teenage boys that hang out down at our pool. They take up the entire pool splashing each other (and anyone around them whether in the pool or not), performing dangerous dives too close to others, they spit loogies on the cement, cuss loudly, and openly admit to pissing in the pool. They are completely oblivious to those around them. I was out there last week trying to read a book, trying to be cool about the fact that they were having fun in their own way, trying not to be offended by the spit and piss, but I couldn’t help it, my first thought was “Oh my God. I’m going to have one of these.” I was stricken by that thought, readers, very shaken up that I not only thought that, but I also thought “I don’t want one of these.” I’m terrible. I know it.

I’ve lived too much of my life cloistered by academia, surrounding myself with educated, refined people, enjoying wine and fine foods and quiet hours reading books. I’ve been overly-selective of the company I keep, and I find that anything, anyone who seems rough or rowdy or crass completely turns me off. What the hell am I going to do? Certainly my boy will cuss and spit and scratch himself and injure insects and any number of things that boys do. It seems I have much work to do. I want this baby so much, and I know baby boys don’t come out of the womb doing these things, that I’ll have time to adjust to his personality. I know, too, that I’ll have some influence over what kind of boy he is, but these thoughts about men, about boys, they plague me lately. I tell myself to stop, that my boy won’t be that way, but what if he is? I’m ashamed of these feelings, and I am working on them. I hope you won’t think ill of me for voicing them here.

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Filed under coping, disgusting things, fear, J

J’s Second Trimester Recap

Several of the books we’re reading and websites we frequent tell us we are kissing our second trimester goodbye this week; T just hit 26 weeks, which means it’s been ten weeks since last I posted. Time for another recap.

Honestly, I’m in a bit of denial about heading into the third trimester. T’s second trimester has been pretty blissful for us. We’ve gotten to enjoy lots of quality time together nesting, shopping, and talking about our hopes, our dreams, our plans for our family. We walk, talk, go to farmer’s market, sit in the baby’s room and touch his clothes (is this weird?). Initially I felt very guilty for being out of work while T was pregnant. I did look for a job for the first three months, but I didn’t get a single bite. However, since I’m still bringing in money through the online scoring gig and my occassional unemployment benefits, and considering I do the majority of the house chores, we’ve found that it has worked out just right for us. I get to be at home tending to my wife, and we’re not living in a van down by the river, so for that I’m grateful. Obviously this will not do once the baby is here. I’ll need to go back to work, even if I’m not offered classes for the fall, but for the mean time, I can’t tell you how happy I’ve been to dote on my wife and prepare for the baby.

T has slowed down quite a bit. She tried to push it a few times while out hiking and paid dearly for it. We still walk, but shorter distances and not as fast. We go to the pool from time to time, and when necessary, I suggest ways we can get out of the house and enjoy the warmer weather. She’s been amenable to all of my suggestions and has a positive attitude about most things. I say most things because there is one thing T does not like; she doesn’t like me drinking. Even though I’ve given up my wilder ways, she still can’t stand when I have more than two beers/glasses of wine. I rarely do it, mind you, but on those rare occasions when I do, the shit hits the fan. Other than those very rare  blow ups, we’ve been getting on great. We’re both excited about all the new developments with her pregnancy and look forward to each new discovery.

The highlights for me have been feeling the baby kick and watching my wife transform into a living embodiment of the mother goddess. Seriously. She’s the most beautiful person on the face of the earth, and I’m a lucky lady. I try to show her this by rubbing her feet or painting her toenails, rubbing lotion on her belly, picking her flowers or making her special foods that she likes (right now it’s iced coffee–decaf, of course). I don’t say this to glorify myself but to tell you that it’s really all I can do as the non-pregnant person. I can’t grow this baby, but I can honor my wife for the difficult work of gestating him for both of us. She is doing what I cannot, and because of this, we get to have a baby in three months. Thank you, T!

Weird thing: she smells different. I know her scent; I love her scent, especially first thing in the morning, but now she either smells like vitamins, smells like this awful sandalwood lotion she bought (but has since stopped wearing), or doesn’t smell at all. I find myself burying my nose in her neck, her bosom, her hair, anywhere just to get a whiff of my wife. Still no luck. This pregnancy has changed a lot about her physically, but the one thing I really don’t like is how it changed her smell.

I have changed a lot myself. As I said above, I gave up my wilder ways, including smoking, excessive drinking, and smoking weed, which was something I had always considered pretty harmless in the grand scheme of things. However, I just wasn’t comfortable doing it anymore, so I went into the woods and “donated” a large cannister of marijuana. Don’t know if it went to a good home, but I hope so. I’ve also let go of a lot of baggage I was holding onto from my own childhood. There’s a lot of growing to be done in pregnancy, even when you’re not the pregnant one. It’s been so good for both of us. I’m more present, less prone to outbursts or moping, and we’re more connected than ever, which is so vital right now.

We have a lot to look forward to: an old friend is coming to visit next week with her 18 month old; our girlfriend baby blessing in Humboldt is in a few weeks; our best friend is getting married in July; there’s a family campout sometime over the summer; another shower in August, and then we’re hunkering down for the last month. I don’t know what the third trimester will bring, but if we welcome it with the awe and respect we did the first six months of this pregnancy, then I can predict lots of growth, more wonderful togetherness, and maybe one or two fights about my third glass of wine. Joy. Whatever comes, I hope we remain happy, healthy, and somehow manage to prepare ourselves for the adventure of our lifetimes.

Thanks for reading.

J

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Filed under J, second trimester, the P word

the meeting

We met our midwife yesterday. J and I are still floating a bit from the experience. It was wonderful. She was wonderful.

It took forever to get to her place. She lives about an hour from us in this beautiful rural location amidst rolling hills covered wtih vineyards, and her office is in a building on her property. When we turned into her driveway and got out of our car, she was walking out of her garden holding a handful of spearmint. She came up to both of us, reached out to shake my hand, and held it with both of her hands as she looked into my eyes telling me how lovely it was to meet me. She did the same with J, then introduced us to her apprentice, her client who was just leaving, and her client’s little girl.

As they left, her apprentice asked us to take off our shoes and invited us in. The “office” is a big living room with pillows and comfy chairs and sofas and pregnancy and birth art everywhere. We were surrounded in goddesses, casts of pregnant bellies, paintings of mother goddesses giving birth. It was cozy and beautiful and empowering. Her apprentice asked us to sit wherever we liked and offered us tea and spearmint water. We gladly accepted. C came in and snuggled up on one of the sofas and invited her apprentice over to sit and cuddle with her.

I should take a moment to describe the midwife: C. C is 62 but honestly looks about ten years younger. She has long silver wavy hair, which she ties back on the top. She is somewhat short, and thin, and she wears long skirts and flowing clothes.  When she smiles, her eyes twinkle, and when she looks at people, she seems to look beyond any guards they might have up; she looks straight at people’s beings.  She is a crone, and she looks like the crone archetype.

After everyone was settled, we sat in each other’s presence for a moment drinking our tea and making small talk. C would ask us questions about our lives, and then asked us if we had questions. I looked to J to ask the majority of the questions. I wanted her to feel more part of this than she did in the past. The whole coversation was easy, organic. J asked how the IUI would work, and C explained the process. At one point she asked if either of us had ever looked at our cervix. When we both replied that we hadn’t, she pulled out a speculum for each of us to take home so that we could cervix-gaze at our leisure. (J later told me that she has no interest in her cervix and does not intend to look at it. I told her that was fine as long as she had some interest in mine. She does, so all is well in cervix land.)

We knew before that C had only done one insemination in the past, but she has wanted for quite some time to be able to provide IUI for those who ask. She has for ages been involved in feminist and gay rights activism (she told us she and her husband only got married when it looked like marriage would be legalized for gay folk in California, and they toasted Gavin Newsome at their wedding), and she wanted to be able to help out women like us. C has a midwife friend who will be training her to do IUIs, so she talked about her for a bit and let us know that if we wanted to work with her instead we could. J said, “No, we want to work with you!”

A smile broadened across C’s face, and she said, “Good! Because I really want to do this for you! I’m so excited about this.” I think I teared up a little when this happened. I proceeded to tell C that when I found her website that I knew we had to work with her, that we needed to know her, and I told her I dreamt of meeting her. She smiled knowingly and said, “It’s so important to listen to your dreams. We can learn a lot from them.”

We discussed a few more details. C had finally researched what she would charge us, which was one of our hugest concerns (as you all know). The final answer: $150. If that’s not a bargain–a downright gift–I don’t know what is.

We continued meandering through conversation. C and J talked about their parents’ deaths. We discovered that she too was an English major in college (her poetry about birth is stunning), that she’s an ordained minister. We talked about our dreams to have children. C even asked if we had names picked out (we do) and asked if we would share them (we did), and it was utterly beautiful. C talked a little about her philosophies about pregnancy and birth too: she discourages unnecessary ultrasounds, promotes home birth, and, well, my foggy brain can’t remember the rest right now. We did tell her that should we get pregnant, we would like to talk with her about being our midwife, and again that beautiful soft smile crept across her face. “Of course,” she said. She’s a lovely woman.

An hour zipped by, and it was soon time to leave (I still had to teach my final class of the day), and she told us to take some apples (from her trees), and offered to get us some spearmint, which we unfortunately had to decline because we weren’t going home for a few hours. She gave us both a warm hug, told us again how excited she was to be working with us, and sent us on our way. J and I left full of hope and peace and eagerness to get all of this started. We were lifted up in a way we have never been through all of this.

J took me out for sushi after I taught my class, and we reflected on the appointment, how her home reminded us of Humboldt, how she reminded us of the best of that place, of home. We kept talking about it all when we came home, dreaming about our child, knowing that somehow this woman was going to help us bring him/her into the world.

We feel like this marks the beginning of the end of our break, the restoration of hope in a new and reassuring form, the beginning of Reproducing Genius Phase 2.

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Filed under insemination, J, midwife, new beginnings, The Long Break, ttc

de-funked

I think I’m beginning to emerge from the funk I’ve been in for the past few days. I was really down most of the day yesterday–just feeling miserable and empty and sad and quiet. Once J came home from teaching, I felt so much better knowing that we would have a few days to spend together before the routine of the school week begins again on Monday. I don’t think it helps that I’ve been on the verge of a sinus infection and suffering the retched headaches that accompany such things.  

We have an official appointment with our midwife on October 1st. I like that. It’s the first day of the month when we get to start trying again. We can’t wait to meet this woman.

I can’t say that the “h” word is back in my vocabulary necessarily, but J’s enthusiasm is contagious. I should mention that she is the cynical one in our relationship, not that I am a fountain of optimism, but J is typically the one to think things will go wrong, and I’m usually the one reassuring her that things will improve. I’m not used to this new J, this person who has hope and who is trying like mad to get me to feel it too. I rather like her.

We have a full weekend ahead of us. We’re going to meet up with my parents tonight to see Lewis Black. Then tomorrow we have a literary festival to attend. Mostly, though, we get to spend time together, which is such a precious thing these days.

Thank you all for letting me stand on your shoulders, for having hope for me when it’s such a foreign feeling to me. You’re a beautiful bunch of souls, ladies.

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Filed under dear readers, depression, J, Ramblings

Happy Birthday, J!

Happy Birthday to my lovely wife!

Just a few reasons I love you:

  1. You bring more love to my life than I ever could have imagined.
  2. You’re sexy and beautiful and lovely.
  3. You’re really, really fun.
  4. You have a wicked wit and a wonderful sense of humor.
  5. You can cook Mexican food like no other white girl I know.
  6. You clean the cat box without too much complaining when I forget.
  7. You’re passionate about teaching and politics and everything else you love.
  8. You’re the greatest cat mom I’ve ever met (even though you disliked cats when we met).
  9. You encourage me to be the best person I can be.
  10. You continue striving to be the best person you can, even though life has handed you a lot of bad hands.
  11. Speaking of hands, you’re a bad ass poker player.
  12. You love children, and they love you.
  13. You’re a wonderful friend.
  14. You love sunflowers and light up when you see them.
  15. You take care of the people you love.
  16. You are a great dancer.
  17. You sing a mean Joan Jett cover.
  18. You want to be a mom just as much as I do.
  19. You’re going to be great at it.
  20. You put up with my shit.

Enjoy your day, my sweet!

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Filed under birthdays, J

an update on the car/work sagas

Life has calmed down since I last wrote, or rather, my reactions to life have calmed down. We still don’t have J’s car back, but the mechanic has informed us that his lawyer misunderstood his request. In fact, he asked him to send a letter to the former mechanic, not to J. It looks like he might even take payments from us eventually should we need to go that route. Meanwhile, we’re going to contact the former mechanic on our own to see if we can make some headway before scaring them with a lawsuit.

J and I also had a long talk last night about the job she was going to take, and we decided it was not in our best interest for her to take it when they couldn’t promise her anything but part-time work. Since then, we’ve heard from a university where J applied to teach, and she may be getting a couple of classes for the fall. She now has the motivation to apply for other jobs, for even teaching one or two classes would make working in some generic office a lot more palatable. And so her outlook has improved, and this helps us both.

I’m waiting out the summer as I fulfill my obligations to my current job, and then I’m going to find some stellar position doing something I’ll be great at. What that is yet, I do not know.

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Filed under car, J, job hunting, Ramblings

when it rains

J and I are both feeling so utterly blah. She’s being swallowed up by PMS and a lot of bad luck. It just sucks. Compounding this is some serious car trouble and potential legal trouble to boot.

Warning: I’m going to rant and complain and bitch and whine now about something completely non-TTC. You are excused from reading should this be of no interest to you. No note from home necessary.

Over a month ago, we were on our way to see my brother graduate from his firefighter officer’s academy when J’s car broke down. We were pulling into a gas station, and everything just died. After a couple of days, the guys at the service station where we broke down concluded that they couldn’t fix it; it was a serious electrical issue. So, we had to do something scary and choose a mechanic out of the phone book. We don’t know anyone here, so it truly was a crap shoot. The one we chose took several days to even look at the car only to find that the computer was blown.

The good news at that time was that it was the fault of the mechanic who conducted the tune up J got before we moved, so they can be held responsible for the repairs. The new mechanic even said he’d help J with it. Fast forward a month (it took nearly three weeks for the guy to fix the problem), and the guy is charging J over a thousand dollars for repairs to a car that is thirteen years old. The mechanic told her he’d help her contact the garage responsible for the problem and that he’d work with his lawyer to recover the charges from that garage. Yesterday in the mail, J received a letter from said attorney who has claimed that his loyalty is to the mechanic, and she needs to pay up now and pursue the matter with the mechanic on her own (or with her own attorney).

This is par for the course with us. We have bad luck with legal matters (don’t get me started on her parents’ probate case, which, after seven years, is still not settled), so the last thing we want to do is tangle with this, This just fucking sucks. Ultimately, we need a new car, but that’s not happening until we have some new jobs.

Oh, and on that front, J was offered a job with a for-profit learning center. When she applied, she applied for a full-time position. They want to offer her a part-time summer job. As though she were a student on break. We’re thinking she’s going to have to turn it down and keep searching. Meanwhile, our bank account is more and more anemic.

I’m so ready for something to go right. No pity, please; I’m just annoyed.

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Filed under car, crappy days, J, job hunting, legal matters

walking it off

As I sat around feeling sorry for myself yesterday morning, J didn’t quite know what to do with me. I was a bigger mess than I’ve been in awhile, and I was determined to stay that way. Eventually, she looked at me and said, “I think we need to go for a hike. What do you think?” My immediate reaction was to say no. I wanted to sit in my own misery all day. Then quickly, my rational side rescued me, and I remembered the mantra of gym teachers everywhere: when in pain, walk it off. So we packed some sandwiches and some water, and we headed out to walk off the pain of this cycle ending.

We went to this nearby state park that we had not yet explored. It consists of many different trails, some of which go straight up the small mountains in the park. We decided to follow a trail that went about halfway up one mountain and soon discovered that it linked with the main mountain trail, so we climbed and climbed and climbed until we could see the entire valley where we live:

 

We think it was probably about five miles total, but much of it (okay, half) was straight uphill. We’re still just intermediate hikers, and this was a bit more brutal than either of us had expected, but along the path, we both became lighter and happier. By the time we were back down the mountain, we were ready to move forward again, ready to leave the tears behind so that we can try again. It was beautiful.

 

HIking has unintentionally become our way of dealing with the loss of possibility. It seems that every time a cycle ends, we lace up our hiking shoes, pack a lunch, and head out on a new trail. It’s far healthier than drinking our way through it, and it give us the chance to leave some of the pain behind.

I’m better today, thanks to my wife. I’m going to try not to pin all of my hopes on this next cycle, but at the same time, I know that if it doesn’t result in pregnancy, we’ll figure it out. We always do.

 

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Filed under coping, hiking, J, us

no, no, and no

I tested again this morning, and it was so very negative. There may as well have been a neon-flashing, “Not this time, sucker!” I don’t think it could have been more negative. I stared at the test for the longest time just waiting and waiting. But nothing. I still don’t have my period, but I think I know why: I believe I ovulated a couple of days later than FF is suggesting, which means I’m most likely 12dpo and should be starting to spot today. This would account for why I wasn’t getting positive OPKs and would also mean that our inseminations were way too early. My still low temperature, erratic emotions, vice-grip headache, and crampiness today would indicate that my theory is correct. I expect Auntie F to be knocking on my door with her overstuffed suitcases any moment.

Naturally, I’ve not been doing my best today, and I pity my poor wife. I made some poached eggs this morning and upon asking her how they were, she replied innocently and honestly that they were fresh and good, but maybe a little dry (and they were). I lost it and started crying, but clearly not because the eggs were dry. Hell, I know J likes my cooking, that this was unusual, that I hadn’t been paying attention to how long I was cooking them, and that, frankly, she wasn’t saying anything negative about me, but rather stating a simple fact–about eggs, no less. And still, I cried. This was not one of my finer moments, but my reaction was clearly not about eggs, and she called me on it. So, like the wonderful wife that she is, she called me over next to her, and wrapped her arms around me while I proceeded to curl into a ball and sob. She smoothed my hair, and we mourned the loss of hope once again, and she made me breathe.

However, my sobfest took place at an unfortunate time, for we had been watching something on one of the cable news stations while eating breakfast. When the program ended, I was still crying, and J was still comforting me, so neither of us knew what was going to come on next. Suddenly, we both saw and heard this young woman talking about having her baby and insisting that her baby live on the streets with her. She was a whore, living on the streets, and she had a brand new baby, and this just set me off even more. I felt very sorry for myself as I thought about this completely irresponsible girl who was saturated in this drug culture and was determined to expose her child to it. Why must the universe throw these things in my face nearly every time we face the end of an unsuccessful cycle? How is this fair? The answer, of course, is that it’s not fair, but damn, what unfortunate timing!

Since this morning’s breakdown, I have finally found a slightly more comfortable headspace. I won’t call it zen, but I’m not sobbing into J’s shoulder nor pounding my fists into pillows (that’s always pretty). Now, I’m eager for my period to begin so that we can just move on with this last cycle with Mr. G. It’s raining here, which makes for a perfect day to sit inside with my sweetheart watching movies and eating popcorn. I’m glad it’s raining, glad we’ll soon have another fresh start, and while my baser self wants to wallow in self-pity, I’m determined to pick back up and move forward.

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Filed under J, negatives, ovulation, testing, TWW