A QUESTION THAT DOESN’T NEED ANSWERING

Last night, ZGirl and I were taking a bath. We both have been struck by colds and a vapor bath provided some relief. I called for Mr. DD who held up ZGirl’s fluffy, warm towel for me as I lifted her slippery body out of the water into his arms. As he coo’ed and talked to her in the quiet of the master bath, I told him that I noticed I had started spotting today. The first sign of a cycle trying to return since I got pregnant a year ago.

Mr. DD mulled over the information for a brief second or two and then asked, “We’re not having any more kids, right? What do you want to do about birth control?”

We’re not having any more kids, right?

The words hung in the humid air while a lump built in my throat. I’m 41. My eggs are shit. His sperm is shit. I tried to blow off the words with the snarky response, “Like we  have to worry about birth control – Ha!” to which he replied, “That’s not an answer,” and walked out of the bathroom door with ZGirl curled up in his arms.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I stretched out in the tub, the water quickly cooling, the bubbles surrounding me quietly clicking as they popped. I thought I was well-prepared for this moment, accepting that after years of ART and miscarriages, having another baby would never be an option to put on the family table to discuss. But still…

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I opened the drain to the tub and heard the water gurgle away. I watched my knees form islands of skin and bone as the water level dropped. I felt my skin cool and tighten with goosebumps as air hit the newly exposed areas of my shoulders and back. All too soon, the tub was empty and I stood up to reach for my robe hanging on the wall. In that moment I caught the reflection of my body in the mirror, and I saw the ravages of pregnancies and time staring back at me.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I thought again of the one remaining embryo on ice, Pokey. It would probably never survive a thaw and I had no idea why they even froze it, except maybe out of pity. Four eggs retrieved, four eggs fertilized, three transfered…may as well freeze the fourth. The clinic’s symbolic attempt at hope in case none of the first three took.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

No, it’s not “right”. It just is.

WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS

I’m terrible with faces. You know, not being able to recognize someone once I’ve been introduced to them? I feel that blank stare coming out of my own face as if it’s a cheap plastic mask when someone comes up to me and says, “Hey! How have you been doing? How old is that baby now?” Hopefully I cover my tracks fairly well and let them mark it up to sleepless nights and not to the fact that I’m totally inadequate when it comes to facial recognition.

I think about that quite a bit now since I’ve had ZGirl, much like I did when XBoy was a baby. To me, babies really do all look alike, with their mostly bald, bocce ball heads. With XBoy, I would inspect him during diaper changes and try to memorize freckles and birthmarks, just in case someone stole him out of my Target cart.

ZGirl doesn’t have any freckles or birthmarks, so I’ve been trying to find something – remarkable – about her face during my studies. What I find myself saying is “my god, she’s beautiful…” and I wonder why I don’t feel vain when I say it. In fact, I feel something quite differently and it took a while for me to put my finger on that feeling. It was envy mixed with jealousy.

There’s no vanity there because it’s not like I’m saying, “I’m beautiful, so of course, ZGirl is beautiful,” because she’s not my genetic offspring. The jealousy stems from something primitive inside of me, something that irrationally puts my husband with a strange woman who together had a baby and I am reaping the benefits of that union. There was nothing that could have prepared me for such a strange feeling.

I compare photographs of ZGirl to XBoy and certainly one can see some similarities, which she may or may not grow out of. I mean, c’mon. Chubby cheeks and button noses are pretty standard features on babies and those are just a couple of the things I notice when comparing the two.

I’ve been trying to put into words these complex emotions, but it’s truly been impossible to do more than state what is obvious to me. I can’t even confirm that this envy/jealousy is actually a negative feeling. Maybe it’s because that while I feel the little green monster sitting on my shoulder, I have such a feeling of adoration and appreciation that it mutes it rather effectively.

During my pregnancy, I hardly gave our donor a thought. I’m not sure if it was because I tried to keep myself emotionally calloused, just in case something happened during the pregnancy, or if it was that without the physical manifestation of that union of the donor and my husband, I didn’t understand the full impact of what has now come to be: ZGirl. But now? I look into ZGirl’s still very blue eyes and wonder: does the donor have blue eyes? Do her children have blue eyes? Does the other recipient’s baby look like ZGirl? How many children does the donor have? Is it possible that one day our paths could randomly cross and she would look at ZGirl and recognize her own child(ren)?

Everyone tells us how beautiful ZGirl is; how perfect she is. Of course I agree out of maternal pride, but I also agree because somehow it acknowledges how beautiful and perfect the donor is, and always will be, to us. So I continue to stare at her, to memorize, and marvel…

ZGirl, 14 weeks
ZGirl, 14 weeks

BRAIN DRAIN

I have three pair (pairs?) of GAP maternity pants, size 8 regular, one brown, and two tan/khaki, to give away to the first to call dibs. I kept them after I had ZGirl since my “awning” of an abdomen didn’t fit into anything else. Now that I take little time to do the things I should in my day, like eat, I would like to see them go to a good home.

Why are pants, jeans, slacks, etc., called “pairs” anyway? And underwear?

You know what’s worse than McDonald’s fries? Cold McDonald’s fries. Which is why I prefer the apple slices. Unfortunately, while I’m supposed to provide nutritional substitutes to my child and set good examples, substituting the fries on an adult meal for apples is a no-no.

I’ve decided to stop stressing about breastfeeding for the long haul. You are right. I did the best I could and if she has to have formula at daycare because I can’t get enough pumped, so be it.

While I like the playtex bottles with the drop-ins (I especially like how quickly they can be heated up in warm water), the measurements on them are shit. Today I used a sharpie to mark the outside of the bottle while I poured two ounces of water at a time in the drop-in sleeve so the care-givers can more accurately report what she takes in a day.

Don’t get the swing/bouncy seat combo. There’s no toy bar. OK, there’s a toy bar but it may as well be tacked to the ceiling as high up as it is. Completely out of reach of the baby’s hands. So now I have the fancy swing/bouncy seat combo that looks aesthetically pleasing in my living room when what she really likes is the tacky $20 bouncy seat with the primary colored toys.

When it comes to providing activities for baby, KISS, KISS, KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Which is why I let her play with the crinkly plastic wrapper from one of my decorated sugar cookies. Next toy on the horizon? The shipping box from diapers.com.

I think this item is sweet in its optimism

Prescription for Fulfillment Charm Bracelet
Prescription for Fulfillment Charm Bracelet

…but this one really speaks to the snarky, bitter bitch in me because I’d like to get one for Mrs. Duggar and all her fellow uberfertiles.

Birth Control Charm Bracelet
Birth Control Charm Bracelet

What random bit of crap would you like to share with me today?

NEBRASKA IS NOT KNOWN TO HAVE A GOOD SUPPLY OF “MALE ESCORTS”

Another October, another fundraiser.

This year I finally stopped trying to convince my husband to be my date. He doesn’t enjoy it and having him resentfully attend would certainly be the turd in the punch bowl as far as I’m concerned. Overall it’s a win/win situation since I don’t have to worry about finding a babysitter at the last minute (because that’s when we always try to find one) and he gave me his blessings in the form of The Checkbook, plus he got to stay home and watch Iron Man with XBoy and cuddle with ZGirl.

I have to admit that I think he got the better end of the deal.

XBoy was worried that I would be all by myself and offered to be my date instead. When I told him he had to be 21 before he could go, he asked if I got to sit with my friends. His concern for his old mom was very sweet.

It was nice to get dolled up and rub elbows but by 9:00 p.m. I was dangerously bored andengorged. They hadn’t even started the oral auction by the time I left even though dessert had long since been served and cleared. Giving people extra time to drink free booze does not necessarily drive up the auction totals. Instead people get annoyed with the delays and leave rather than fork out $1,000 for a autographed highschool football. But hell, what do I know? I paid over a $100 for a rather tacky looking birdhouse that kind of resembles the old church and another $100 for a dozen decorated sugar cookies each month for a year (and let me tell you the first dozen have been delish!) through the silent auctions.

Below are a couple of pictures of me Mr. DD snapped before I left. Why, yes, I am enjoying a piece of pizza before heading out for a fundraiser where supper will be served, but you never know how food at those things will be (for the record, chix cordon bleu is just wrong: ham stuffed inside a chicken?? It’s just not natural!).

 

Speaking of dates, October 19, 2007 was the date used as my LMP – even though it wasn’t – once I found out I was pregnant after our donor cycle. Not once did I ever imagine that in a year I would purchase a onesie that said, “My First Halloween” on it, especially considering the heartbreak October 2006 would bring. And today, last October feels like a lifetime ago.

TWEET-TELL DUMB

You may have noticed I use Twitter. Well, maybe you would’t notice if you only read through bloglines or reader.google or some other form of peeping-thomasina website. I have decided to lock my tweets down. This means that if you already follow, you will continue to see updates. If not a follower, you’ll have to grovel for permission, and really? I don’t like groveling (but am definitely not above it…Millie? Website?)

You can find me here if you want to follow.

THREE

This morning as I pulled out of the garage, I noticed it was a lovely fall day. To the east was the leftovers of a snow cloud, icy and gray, but quickly dissipating as the sun started its late morning rise over the horizon.

ZGirl was directly behind me in the van, snug in her carseat and little blue yarn hat with the white flower. She hates getting buckled into the seat, but once picked up, her fury subsides into an almost stunned silence. If I have the carrier’s bonnet adjusted just right, I can watch her in the rear-view mirror via the plastic mirror attached to her seat’s headrest. Her eyes wide with curiosity, maybe even some fear.

Her brother’s seat has been moved to be next to her instead of on the other side of the van’s console. He likes to hold her hands when she gets fussy.

Mr. DD has taken to calling ZGirl “Miss H.”, which I find endearing. My boss refers to ZGirl by her first and middle name, like a traditional southern way of referring to either a young lady of means or the old unmarried, but sweet, spinster down the block.

She coos like a little dove, but drools like a rabid hound. She can hold her head up when sitting on my lap, but as she tires she resembles a major league bobble head doll on the dashboard of a moving car. She sleeps like a proverbial angel on her stomach, usually after the 4:00 a.m. feeding, but to put her down for tummy time is tantamount to placing her on a baby torture rack. Yesterday, she laughed for the first time when I went to the daycare to pick her up.

ZGirl doesn’t like strangers, whether male or female, when Mommy is near. She doesn’t like to be held in the cradle hold as that usually precludes someone sticking a bottle in her face. She wakes from naps crabby even though she snoozes like the dead. She wakes from her nighttime bed happy even though she sleeps what sounds and looks to be very restlessly. She can shimmy from one side of the crib to the other in just a few hours.

Speaking of crib, she moved into hers two weeks ago from the pack-n-play bassinet. The crib is in the room first created on paper in 2004 for Vivienne. I still have not decorated, but just have the crib, a rocker, a dresser/changing table and a twin bed in her room, which I have slept on since she moved to the crib. I can’t seem to find any comfort in the audio monitor combined with a video surveillance camera we set up. The master bedroom feels like it’s in Washington state while ZGirl’s room is in Florida.

While breastfeeding kept me fairly restricted to the house, pumping is now the bane of my daily routine since Mr. DD wishes her to be fed via bottle whenever possible. I now look forward to the 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00 or even 5:00 in the morning feedings. It feels as if we are the only people in the world awake. I snuggle her in, needing little light to get her positioned, and rock softly. Her tiny fists, tight and cold, eventually relax and warm against my skin and all too soon, she is ready to go back to her crib, sated and sleepy.

I remember how I felt about XBoy when he was a baby as I hold her and stare at her face, wondering who she’ll be some day. It’s different, this love. It’s not as desperate as the love I have for XBoy. It’s not as emotional, but it feels more solid – more steady. My love for XBoy started off like a first-time crush, unforgettable and powerful and fueled by fear of the unknown, while my feelings for ZGirl are like someone who has had their heart broken many times over and then found true love.

Today, my baby? She is three months old.

I’VE MISSED HIM

I’ve been under a buttload of stress right now. Buttload is quantifiable. Really.

With that stress I have been absolutely wretched to be around. More wretched than normal, in fact. What it took for me to realize that was when I laughed out of sheer happiness while playing with my son.

His adjustment to his new sister has manifested itself in frank statements like, “We don’t get to spend time together,” and “Everything around here is stupid now!” He has the same kind of verbal diarrhea I have except he has the luxury of only being six. I have no such excuse.

It happened the other night when he threw a hissy fit about taking a bath. I was in the bathroom with him and quickly losing my patience when he refused to get undressed. I would tell him to get ready and he would grunt and sneer at me. When he kept doing it, I was able to reach past my frustration and see the humor (“humour” for those of you keeping score) and replied that he sounded like a caveman. No. More like Frankenstein! And I lifted my arms horizontally and started to stiff-leggedly stalk him around the bathroom. Soon he was giggling and butt-naked and hiding behind me as I paced the floor, grunting and growling.

It takes a moment of sheer enjoyment to realize how miserable I’ve been. I’ve missed his infectious laugh and I realized I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like with him, either.

POTTY HUMOUR

The prior post was brought to you to let you know I am OK but need some time to digest the week as a whole. My first week back to work. The first week for ZGirl in day care. Her first subsequent day care cold (fuck). Appointments, schedules, deadlines…and to end my week, a funeral.

So please, humour me until such time I can pound something meaningful out.

IN JUNIOR HIGH, THIS WAS NORMAL

What in the hell is that?!

Yes, I know. It’s a toilet, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Come, look closer…

With my incredible deducing abilities, I have…well…deduced, that those scuff marks are from someone’s shoe when that someone lifted his/her foot to flush the toilet instead of using their hand.

Now I more than anyone appreciate the desire not to touch anything that could even remotely be covered in poo or pee, but um, don’t you wash your hands AFTER you go to the bathroom?

I bet this is the same kind of person who not only did NOT wash their hands, but then went ahead and turned the knob of the door to exit the bathroom (since there is no window to shimmy through) because it would take monkey toes to open the door using its knob. And wouldn’t trying to get out of your socks and shoes to display said monkey toes be kind of a pain in the ass? 

While I may grimace each time I touch a toilet handle, nothing takes care of my fear of grossness like a good soapy hand wash followed by a very anal use of a disposable towel acting as a papery condom between my newly clean hand and a scurvy bathroom door handle. Knowing that, don’t even ask me how I feel about bathrooms that use JUST the air dryers. I go faint just thinking about it.

Thank god for hand sanitizer and wipes.