Wednesday, May 10, 2006

the end of an era

so yeah, we're done with diapers here at the wide tent. i've always been especially aware of and moved by -- perhaps somewhat melodramatically so -- milestones and anniversaries, which no doubt explains why i'm really dwelling on this of late. i'm finding hard to wrap my head around how we got from there to here. for so long, my entire being has been consumed with babies. beginning eleven years ago this summer, when julie and i drove across the country to camp and hike in glacier national park, and packed a thermometer so we could begin charting her cycles.... no, really, it would have been more than that. eleven years ago in february or march we joined a lesbians-who-wanna-be-parents group started by our friends d and m. they were pregnant and expecting j, one of trixie's best friends, who is about to turn 11. (they also have another child, m, are divorced, and both remarried ... a lot can happen in 11 years...). we ran screaming from the group, which totally creeped us out by the weird roles everyone seemed to be into (there was a lot of talk about having separate groups for the "moms" -- i.e. the ones who were going to get pregnant -- and the not-quite-dads-but-not-really-moms. these roles naturally fell along fairly traditional gendered butch/femme roles in the relationships. we were already mixing that all up, since to the extent that we have roles in our relationship -- and we don't really much, but if really pressed, julie would be on the butch end of the spectrum and i would be on the femme -- we weren't paying them much mind, as we had decided for lots of mostly practical reasons that julie would get pregnant first. first! ha! but i digress....) anyway, we took away from that one meeting an enduring friendship with d and m and now their new partners and their amazing kids. and a plan to get pregnant in the next year or so.

and as it happened, things went fairly according to schedule, all things considered. we took that thermometer -- an old fashioned mercury thermometer, which we promptly broke, scattering beads of mercury all over our tent, and a subsequent one as well, purchased somewhere in the dakotas, until we finally got wise and bought a digital one -- on our trip, and that really felt like the beginning. i remember how much on my mind our future child was as we drove across the dakotas, reading to each other from kathleen norris's dakota: a spiritual geography (we even drove through her little town, and in stalker-like fashion looked up her address in a local phone book and drove past her house; i actually regret now that we chickened out in the end and did not ring the bell.) three or four months later we began at-home inseminations with frozen anonymous donor sperm, and six tries (spread over eight months) later, trixie was conceived. then we were in pregnancy mode, then in baby mode, and by the time trixie was two we were starting to think about another.

that's a whole other story, for another post, but the highlights include six at-home tries; a pregnancy conceived on my first clomid cycle with an re, during which cycle i also passed a clomid challenge test; fetal demise, after very encouraging betas and an excellent early ultrasound; a d&c and subsequent testing which revealed no abnormalities; another pregnancy conceived on the subsequent fifth clomid cycle (by which time the clomid was making me c*r*a*z*y and my brain mush, not altogether compatible with my profession as a high-powered attorney in a very complicated, highly regulated, tax-driven field with an extremely steep learning curve....); another fetal demise, and, despite my fervent desire to miscarry on my own, an extremely painful d&c necessitated by the fact that i was about to take a business trip during which i could not really afford to have a miscarriage, in the event that my body should actually decide to oblige me; four weeks of heavy bleeding of the huge clots variety, during a trip to the midwest to visit family; another d&c to retrieve the tissues that had not been retrieved in the last [extremely painful] d&c, and which was causing all the bleeding; extensive testing, none of which revealed any reason for the two miscarriages; and finally, a second clomid challenge test a year after the first, which i failed in a fairly profound way, and which finally gave us some answers. my re said that the fact i had conceived at all was pretty astonishing, but that my chances of actually carrying a pregnancy to term were pretty much zero to none. of course we could have gotten a second opinion. we could have found a clinic willing to work with a woman with a sky-high fsh. we could have done ivf with julie's eggs. but at that point i was so worn out, so longing for a baby -- and perhaps most importantly, so longing to quit my job and be home with the baby i already had, not to mention the next baby that with luck we would somehow bring into our family, that i just couldn't justify the cost. i was making good money, but considering that every cycle would cost the same as a domestic adoption, and that if we weren't successful pretty much right away, i would be stuck in this job that was making me miserable, we decided to go with what had always been our plan for baby #3: domestic adoption.

that's also another story, and really this time i will keep it to a nutshell: one agency told us we would never be chosen because we were a lesbian couple. another agency -- the one we ended up working with -- told us we could expect a baby very very quickly. (another agency told us the same but had some seriously questionable ethical practices). as it turned out, th agency we went with was wrong (although, thankfully, quite ethical), and we waited a year from the completion of our homestudy to bring micah home.

and then we were out of trying-to-get-a-baby mode, and back in having-a-baby mode. but basically, we've been in some sort of planning-for-baby, or being pregnant-with-a-baby, or having-a-baby, or trying-to-have-another-baby, or grieving-about-losing-the-bab(ies), or researching-adopting-a-baby, or waiting-for-a-placement-of-a-baby, or having-another-baby mode for a really long time. and while micah hasn't really been a baby for well over a year now, something about the fact that he's out of diapers really symbolizes that WE'RE DONE WITH BABIES. wow, huh?

and if you think i'm being a drama queen about *this* rite of passage, just wait for the maudlin post you can expect when micah weans!

1 Comments:

At May 10, 2006 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I TOTALLY get what you mean. I actually shed a few tears when we put away the changing table and dipes when Hannah figured it out. Somehow I don't think I'll have the same reaction when Toby figures it out but that's different ;) And you're spot on in your comment on my blog re the parallels between raising a child with a disability and a black child in a racist society. You're tapping into the social definition of disability - not the medical one - the disabling condition is society that doesn't work well given whatever. And it's really not that different than raising children with any other "minority" status - two moms, whatever.

But - celebrate these transitions - with a touch of bittersweet - you want 'em to grow and be independent but you want 'em to stay your baby too, KWIM?

--Sara
www.saraskates@typepad.com

 

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