Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2 moms, 4 breasts, 1 baby

On Gail's post about gearing up to lactate again, Lex made a really interesting comment (and thanks to Lex for the clever post title). A somewhat condensed version of her comment:

"I'm quite curious as to what your plan is...for how to balance who nurses the baby when. Being able to nurse our baby is incredibly important to me, but I also want to be careful to not get in the way of the baby's nursing relationship with my wife. And, having been the only one to nurse our three other children...I'm aware of a slight feeling that maybe I should just let this be something that only my wife can do this time. She has said that she wants me to nurse the baby sometimes, but we haven't talked about it a whole lot because it is a somewhat charged topic...

My thought was to do something along the lines of what you all are planning: to try to nurse the baby sometime after the first 3-4 weeks... But I'm worried that we'll get to that point and my wife will not want me to nurse, or it will just seem too complicated and easier to stick with what we've been doing. My wife is planning to go back to work when the baby is 6 months old, and ideally I'd like to be the one to nurse the baby when I'm home alone with the baby, and I know that it will be really important to establish a nursing relationship before 6 months if that's going to happen. It all feels more complicated than I want it to . . . the idea of two moms and four breasts nursing one (very lucky) baby just sounds so easy and perfect, but I'm finding that the reality is much more confusing..."
There are two sets of issues issues here. The first is straight up logistics. The second set of issues though is more sticky, the questions of who should decide if both moms will nurse and how to prioritize and navigate potentially contradictory desires, which are more or less questions of "territory." Those issues are a lot bigger, so in this post, I'll start with our thinking about logistics.

Roughly speaking, it looks like leaves are panning out such that we'll both be home for the summer (I'll get 8 weeks), and then in the fall we'll have a schedule where I'm home two days and Gail is home three (both of us needing to get some work done on those home days). We should be able to maintain something similar through to the next September (probably needing to stretch with a one or two day a week Nanny spring semester) when we'd feel comfortable starting daycare at our neighborhood center where Leigh goes. Leigh will continue at daycare, either on her current three day schedule, or possibly a 5 day schedule starting in September, with whoever is home trying to get her home fairly early so there's some slight hope evenings will go smoothly (Ha!).

The general gist as it is relevant to Lex's comment, is that after eight weeks, during weekdays, only one of us will be with the baby, so that mom will be nursing. Our hope is that by both nursing, we will divide pumping duties, perhaps each only having to pump once or twice on a day away (as opposed to the three or four Gail had to do for Leigh) in order to make sure there is sufficient breastmilk around and maintain each of our supplies at a reasonable level. Gail will plan to be start nursing at maybe four to six weeks in order to be set by the time I'm away more often, but we'll have to play that by ear. One of our main goals for both nursing is that we'll be able to handle nights better than we did with Leigh (overall we handled nights OK, but it's one of the spots we both wish we had a do-over). We'll hope to trade off nights (or partial nights) "on duty" once Gail is up and running, with whoever is "off-duty" pumping ASAP in the morning. Weekends will have to be ad hoc, but hopefully both of us nursing will make them easier, not harder, and allow both of us to have nice chunks of time to spend with Leigh.

All of this is our theoretical "best case scenario." For this scenario to work, we're making the following gigantic assumptions:
1) I have no trouble getting started nursing and establish solid supply quickly (Though if breast growth is any indication, I'm all set. These things are huge!)
2) Inducing works for Gail
3) We're both able to maintain sufficient supply by nursing only half a baby (and pumping, though hopefully not pumping a whole second half-a-baby worth).
4) We have a healthy baby that arrives full term and ready to nurse.

Despite my enthusiasm for this plan (and as you'll recall, I was the one pestering Gail to consider it), Gail reminded me the other day that we do need to tread with caution, because chances are that all will not go perfectly smoothly. We consider this an ideal worth laying the groundwork for, but we are still planning to prioritize my nursing relationship with this baby, as it is likely my only shot at this experience, and it is one I've wanted for a long time. Depending on how things go, this prioritization may end up reducing the amount that Gail contributes. If the med side effects prove intolerable for Gail, or if she develops the problems with plugged ducts that plagued her time nursing Leigh (and caused a nasty abscess. I promise, you don't want the details), than we'll drop it. Her health is more important than this pipe dream. I'll pump more and we'll find other ways to handle nighttime duties. If we have a baby with health challenges, or who arrives early, it's hard to know whether both being prepared to nurse is a plus or a minus, so we'll have to figure that out if we get there. Mostly though, we're heading in with some confidence in our abilities to negotiate complicated logistics and surprising emotions as a team. We also love a challenge, and feeling like we're blazing a new path.

More later on the sticky emotional issues around decisions like this.

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's not a race

Gail and I got into one of our big discussions last week in which Gail was insisting that with two moms in a family (with children arriving via any means), you inevitably end up with some form of competition, whether it is spoken or not. Maybe it's competition around who is most skilled at parenting, who the kid comes to for comfort, who is the "real" mom, or if you are both trying for pregnancy (either at the same time or sequentially) who is more fertile. I was insisting that no, it isn't necessary to have competition, and that somehow we've avoided it for the most part, so if, as she claims it is unavoidable, what gives? Now, you might argue, this whole blog is about comparing the first time to the second time, about thinking our way through how switching uteri has impacted our family structure. But I stand firm that the bulk of this thinking and comparison is not competitive. Rather it reflects our ridiculously strong interest in the structures that underlie human interactions, and probably has something to do with being mathematicians. However, in the fertility arena, I think I'm wrong. Since that conversation, I've noticed that despite my insistence that we don't compete with each other, I do often compare this pregnancy to Gail's with Leigh, often with a competitive tone, and I think this has been going on for a while, without my noticing (and as you might note, I prefer to think I notice everything).

As I was wrestling my cycles into some semblance of order, I often thought (and talked) about how Gail had these beautiful clockwork cycles, and mine were crap (though Gail's weren't perfect either, she had a pretty crappy luteal phase--though that clearly didn't stop her). When I got my second BFN, I said to Gail (out loud) "Well, you won that one" (Leigh was conceived on the second try). When we started telling people about this pregnancy, they often asked how I was feeling, and then followed up asking how Gail felt first trimester with Leigh. My joking response was often "Well, I win the crappy first trimester prize." Sometimes people will ask more general questions about Gail's pregnancy and I'll say something like "Well, she was a pretty sparkly pregnant lady. It's a hard act to follow." I've already started comparing births, when we have ages to go before this birth. I'm already feeling caught between hoping and preparing for a birth that goes more smoothly than Leigh's, and worry that if it does, I will be invalidating what Gail experienced during Leigh's birth.

What's up with that? This pregnancy is what it is and will be what it will be. So no more fertility or pregnancy competition talk from me. I need to work on enjoying what is most likely my one shot at this, and quit measuring it against Gail's experience. The first way to do that is to stop "joking" about winning first trimester prizes.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Start your Engines

Today I start taking the pill. I haven’t taken the pill since I was 17 and still having sex with boys. It makes be nervous for a few reasons. First, I stay away from medications like the plague. I don’t even really like to take Advil. Yet I’m about to take some powerful hormones, and I have a shipment of domperidone on the way from a mysterious internet pharmacy (on my account I have a charge from “SP Media Co,.Ltd.”).

But that’s not what’s really making me nervous. I’m using these drugs to induce lactation. I’m excited at the prospect, but it really brings this baby home to me in a physical way that I wasn’t initially anticipating. I know we are having a baby next summer – Lyn’s puking and expanding belly are enough to remind me of that every day (but I think we are on day five with no puke, hooray). However, for me that baby has still been just an idea, something a very far way off, both physically and in terms of time. I think this is an unanticipated bonus from the decision to induce lactation. I’m now physically involved and thus I can feel more closely involved in the whole process. So I’m nervous, but it’s in a good way.

For those of you who are interested in the process, I’m using the lactation induction protocol developed by Lenore Goldfarb and Jack Newman. This involves getting a prescription for birth control pills from my doctor (covered by insurance, so $10 a month) and buying domperidone from an international pharmacy (it’s not approved in the US) to the tune of $130 for 1000 pills. I’ll be taking the domperidone 4 times a day, so that supply will last me until after the baby comes. I’ll be taking the pill (it's Yasmin, which has more progesterone than the regular Ortho 1/35) every day, so I’m having my last period for some time right now and I should experience “breast changes” (aka “big knockers”) much as a pregnant woman does. Once the baby arrives, I’ll stop taking the pill and start pumping in earnest and taking fenugreek and blessed thistle. I’ll start to actually nurse the new baby after Lyn’s nursing is well-established (perhaps 3-4 weeks after birth, but we’re going to play that by ear). Once my own nursing is well established, I may be able to stop taking domperidone, but I may be on it through the entire time I nurse. As a bonus, it may help with issues I have with gastric motility (and it's going to be awkward to tell the gastroenterologist I'm seeing in early January that I'm taking a motility drug without a prescription).

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's not just me...

I requested several queer pregnancy and parenting books from the library, in anticipation of trying to do a few book reviews around here, and we did a lot of (re)reading over last weekend.

Hopefully actual reviews will follow, but what I wanted to write today is that I am so absolutely honored and delighted to have a wife who gets just as riled up as I do, perhaps even more so (smoke coming out of her ears, eyes bugging out, talking louder and louder and louder) when she reads a paragraph like this, in which the author, a lesbian mom who birthed her daughter, is justifying why she will not permit her partner a second parent adoption:
"After all, I am still the baby's mother. She sprang from me; she is of me and my body...I asked her to come, and kept trying till she did...While my partner has a big influence on Frances, she is not "of" her. Frances did not grow in her belly, did not share her body. She did not push out of her cooch. She did not suckle at her breast. She was created by me, nurtered by me, and is of me. This is not something that can be denied. And if I ever want to move across the world and take the baby with me, I don't want anyone telling me I can't. Ever."
Excerpted from "Beyond the White Picket Fence" by Rachel Pepper, from the collection "Home Fronts: Controversies in Non-traditional Parenting" edited by Jess Wells

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some things don't change

First of all: wow people. The comments on the switcheroo post are amazing. We haven't been doing this long, but it is wonderful to already have such thoughtful and clever readers. Gail and I had several discussions about the smart things you said, and have now started to refer to our (ongoing) debate over when/if to pass on our remaining vials as our "lesbian vasectomy" (thanks Lex!).

Amy wrote on the switcheroo thread that "#2 is certainly as important but won't define us the way the first did. With the first, we became moms." And you know, that's true for me too, even though I'm probably coming at it from a different direction than Amy. When I'm out there in blog land, or poring over queer parenting books (usually grumbling at their inadequacy), I am absolutely elated when I find a non-bio-mom writing (of any flavor, aspiring, TTC, expecting or parenting. Lately, I've been loving liberation theory, Olive at Insert Metaphor , J's posts at Two Hot Mamas, strawberry at 1 in Vermillion). I seek out the writing by folks who are thinking hard about, and maybe struggling with, how to build a place in their families as a lesbian NGP. There's nothing like a desperate post from an expecting or new NGP saying how she feels left out to get me going, writing about 3 books worth of comments. It doesn't take much to get those feelings flooding back, and the internet assvice exploding in unmanageable and inappropriate quantities. This is still true. Even now. Even though here I am pregnant. Even though I should be all over the pregnancy blogs and wanting to describe the intimate details of my nausea to any and all comers (which I suppose I do, but it's just not as exciting as a really good non-bio-mom thread).

When we started down this road for our second, at some point very early on, when I was just coming to grips with the fact that this might be hard, that my body might not be the kind where you just plunk a little sperm in there and you're good to go, I remember saying to Gail in a rather exasperated tone "I just want to do this regularly...I just want to get pregnant...and have people gush over my belly and talk to me about nausea and birth and nursing and all of it without always having to explain...I just want to have a kid like normal." And I am enjoying getting a chance to experience this, to share this with many mothers the world over. But a huge part of my identity as a parent was built as I walked the road to parenting Leigh, as I fought off the demons, real and imagined, internal, external, that could have kept me from truly mothering her. I don't think I'm ever going to lose that, and while I'm enjoying this whole pregnancy thing, and am perhaps unrealistically looking forward to birth, it somehow seems tame by comparison. I'll probably always bond with dads at the playground, especially dads who are home taking care of nursing babies (I gabbed about this with our neighbor just the other day on my way home from work, a father of 2-month twins who he'll be home with alone soon). I'll probably always bristle when hippie mommy groups go on and on about how there is absolutely nothing that can bond you with your baby as closely as nursing. I think I'll always fancy myself a bit of a revolutionary, even though I'm doing it "regular" this time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hmm...maybe I'm not the poster child...

I had an appointment with acupuncturist Li last week to work on these last vestiges of morning sickness (thankfully, it's intermittent, and I do have my energy back, so really, mostly I'm better).

She said something about how long I'd been coming to see her, and I mentioned that I remembered way back at my first visit, when she regaled me with miracle stories. I said "Now maybe now you can tell people about me!" and she said " took FOREVER!" I guess it wasn't just me that thought it was taking a while to get my cycles into shape. Maybe I'm not the poster child I thought I was.

I take this to imply that most people should get fixed up much faster than I did, so to anyone who found my acupuncture story horrifying due to it's length, perhaps I was an outlier.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The disappearing switcheroo

Gail and I often think about the different dynamics of TTC #1 vs. TTC #2. I wrote before about how somehow TTC this time had much more of a taint of selfishness, that somehow, when it is perfectly clear that I can fully love and parent a child whom I didn't birth, and yet feel dead set to carry our second come hell or high water, it lays bare the fact that the reasons I want this are kind of selfish. I suppose selfish is harsh, but as Gail says slightly more diplomatically, they are at least very personal, and are kind of self-centered. But here's the thing, Gail's desire for pregnancy was ALSO selfish, or personal, or kind of self-centered, but we didn't know it back then because we were both so excited to become parents together. It was the act of "switching up" for number 2 that exposed this, and I don't think we would have noticed if Gail had carried again. In that case, it would have just been more of the same, and if anything, she would have gotten extra points for being self-sacrificing and willing to put her body through the work of carrying again.

When I read all the stories of lesbian two-mom families, families that take so much work and love to build, I can't help but notice patterns that I'm not sure that we as a community really notice as a whole. One that I've noticed is that in families that may originally plan to "take turns," a planned second pregnancy often fails to materialize, or does, but it's a repeat for the mom who already gave birth. There are so many possible reasons for this, not least of which is the extreme cost, in money, time, emotional energy, and hard work it takes for us to get pregnant. But there are other factors, too, and they are impossible to see when making those early decisions about who will "go first."

In our case, Gail, who was just as insistent on a second kid as me, definitely started dragging her feet on TTC #2 after Leigh was born. We had originally thought to try for something like two-year spacing (as if you have very much control over such things) and she quickly started lobbying that we wait longer. There were all sorts of issues. Money, job and school transitions, the stress of TTC, and sure those were all factors, but the nasty jealous part of me was still thinking, "Sure, you can wait. You already gave birth; for all you care we could never have another." During the conversations over those months I demanded all different kinds of proof that she was on board for number two, some of them perhaps unreasonable, but I think my fear that she might bail on our plan was actually NOT unreasonable. It definitely happens. We had a different set of motivations, and mine were much stronger, whereas heading into number one, we were both 100% on the same boat.

Now it turned out that my body decided for us that we needed to wait. And to Gail's credit, she was the one who fussed at me to start charting when Leigh was only about six months old. I thought snarky things like, " don't even want another one anyway, why should I wake up every day to take my damn temperature?" and really, that response was just masking my own desire not to face up to how bad my cycles really were. Once I charted for a while, and faced facts, it was important to me to give acupuncture a real chance before heading in for drugs; I was now on Gail's preferred schedule, but for my own reasons.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but maybe I'm saying that in a family where both moms plan to give birth, the one who goes first really does have a lot of power over how things progress (and this is assuming the best of legal circumstances). By the time you get to planning for number two, the mom who carried number one has proven fertility. At every slight bump in the TTC road, you both wonder, would this be easier if we just went back to the way we did it before? You also already have a child, a child whose needs you must prioritize. Money is tighter and you know how much childcare costs. Maybe you would have gone all the way to IVF in a heartbeat the first time, but the second time it seems too drastic, and too expensive considering you already have a child to support. And there are the donor issues that come up so often when trying for another kid. If you only have x vials, are you willing to risk them on unproven fertility? Will you move back to your original set-up if you run out, to ensure that your kids will have some genetic link? There's also the inevitable discomfort with taking on a new role, even if not for parenting, certainly during pregnancy. If things are working like they are, and you've finally negotiated your respective places in your family, perhaps in deference to or defiance of biology, it can be hard to face the prospect of finding your way down a new parenting path.

I know every family faces this stuff differently, and that only a small subset of two-mom families even contain two women that both want to give birth, and also manage to avoid the fertility nightmares that can make such a plan impossible. But I think the fact remains (albeit based unscientifically on broad generalizations from our own experience and meta-analysis of way too much blog reading), that once one mom has birthed a first child, she's probably more likely to birth a second, even if that wasn't originally in the plans. We felt many of these pressures, and we really had all of the cards stacked in our favor. I guess I may really mean stacked in my favor, since I'm writing about my own chances to achieve this pregnancy I wanted so much. I had ample donor supply, a relatively idyllic legal situation, enough money to keep trying, and a partner who shared my commitment to having another kid and wasn't chomping at the bit to get pregnant again herself. And even with all of that, we could have easily ended up with Gail pregnant again, despite our intentions at the outset. I am grateful that we got here....and will be even more grateful when I stop puking in the morning. (hello Universe! I'm pushing 15 weeks! Isn't this supposed to stop?)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The story of your birth

We usually tell Leigh a story before she goes to bed. Often the stories involve Baba (grandma) and Baba kitty (grandma's cat) and usually a lion and a giraffe who have to go potty before their naps. But one of her favorites is the story of how she was born, which I thought would be interesting after the discussion about divulging who is the birthing mother on yesterday's post. FYI, I am "Ima" and Lyn is "Mama."
Before you were born, you lived in Ima's belly. We were very excited to meet you, and we were waiting for you to come out for a long time. Finally, it was time for you to be born. You were working really hard and Ima was working really hard, and then Ima gave a big push and you came out. Mama caught you in her arms and held you. Mama and Ima wrapped you up in blankets so that you wouldn't be cold, and then we thought you looked a little scared so we sang you a song, the same song we sing you every night before bed [we then generally launch into our bedtime song (here's an elaborate version of the same song) and it's off to bed].
Leigh will bring up this story from time to time or ask about the time she lived in my belly, but she doesn't seem to think it's a big deal. I'll be interested to see what happens when she figures out that Lyn has a baby in her belly. We haven't talked to her about it directly, but she's clearly picking things up because she told us the other night that she was going to have a baby and her sister was going to get it for her!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The inevitable awkward questions

Gail's post got me thinking about how we handle the inevitable somewhat awkward conversations that come up due to our family structure. As she wrote, we've both noticed they come up much more now that we're back in pregnancy (and later, little baby) land. I noticed some time ago that we had developed some mix of official and unofficial guidelines:

1) Before Leigh's arrival we decided that divulging who gave birth to her was not forbidden. I understand why some families choose this route, but we feel strongly that Leigh should not have to feel secretive about her family structure, and so we need to model that for her (though see comment 4 on how we handle donor questions, which is different).

2) That said, when discussing such matters, we are careful in our language. We do not say that Gail is Leigh's "bio-mom"--rather we might say that Gail nursed Leigh, or that Gail gave birth to Leigh, so that her genetic link (and fallout from that link) is not also presented as representing her motherhood of Leigh. Her motherhood of Leigh is based on the same stuff mine is, the day in and day out love and hands on parenting. Along the same lines, I don't refer to myself in casual conversation as Leigh's "non-bio-mom." I'm just a mom (or Mama as the case may be). That said, in conversation with peer parents around the nitty gritty issues that come up around buidling our family this way, I will refer to myself as a non-bio-mom or and "NGP" (non-gestational-parent, my dad coined that one)--but only with people who understand our family structure.

3) In response to subtle prying on first meetings, say someone new at the playground, or a new work colleague, I usually don't divulge information on how we formed our family, either regarding our donor, or who carried Leigh. I understand people are curious, but you need to wait until at least a second meeting. We want people to see both of us parenting before we give information that might lead you to decide one of us is the "real" mom. My least favorite type of prying is resemblance talk. Seriously. I hate it when Gail and I show up somewhere with Leigh, and someone pointedly makes a comment about her hair or eye color (brown and brown) and then says she looks just like me (red and blue), pointedly staring at me for clarifying information, while Gail is standing right there (with her brown hair and brown eyes--yes, this really happens). It really drives me crazy and I make special note of who does such things and vow never to give them any tidbit of information ever. However, if I'm out with Leigh alone, and someone casually says she looks like me, I secretly glow and take it as a compliment.

4) We do not provide any details on donor information (other than we went with frozen). Not which bank. No tidbits from the profile. Nothing about appearance. We feel very strongly that that information belongs to our kid(s) and they should decide who should know and how to handle the information as they grow. It belongs to them, not us. And if anyone asks, that is what we tell them. I know other families handle this differently, meeting up with donor siblings early for example, and sharing all information freely from infancy, and I can see the attraction there. But for us, it feels a little wrong to have a whole slew of people knowing potentially sensitive information about Leigh that she doesn't even understand yet. Note, this does not contradict number 1, because we don't feel that Leigh should have to be secretive about her donor information. But we don't want to decide for her who and what people outside of our family will know. If another queer couple or single mom working towards TTC asks us how we made decisions around donor selection, we will definitely talk to them about it, and will probably give them more info (e.g. the thinking we did on ID release vs. not), but that is only for folks trying to work their way through the same decisions.

I'm sure there are more unofficial or official guidelines that I'm not really thinking of right now. Most of this stuff we just make up as we go along really. And we have no idea yet how this will shift as Leigh grows and understands more about her family. But for now, it works. I'd love to hear other folks thoughts on those inevitable awkward questions.

Friday, December 5, 2008

An old scar

We just had Lyn's midwife appointment and got to hear the heartbeat again! We're happy and relieved. We are also starting to get over the monster cold from hell, which is a relief. I'm still coughing my head off, but my fever is gone and I don't feel quite so crappy. Lyn is still coughing and puking, but the puking is down to once or twice a day and she is starting to seem almost perky. She's taking a much-needed day off and buying some maternity clothes.

We recently started to tell more people about the pregnancy. Overall, it’s pretty fun. As the non-pregnant one, I’ve noticed a few things. When I tell people, “Lyn and I are going to have another baby,” they immediately ask who is pregnant, or sometimes I just tell them by following that sentence with, “Lyn is pregnant!” This isn’t really surprising or troubling because of course people want to know who is pregnant. People say all of the appropriate congratulatory things. That’s gratifying. But it’s not as much fun as when I got to tell people I was pregnant. It’s almost as good – but not quite.

Sometimes people want to know if we are using the same donor. This is interesting. I totally understand the curiosity, but it makes me a little uncomfortable. With Leigh the issues of donor and genetic relationships have mostly gone away (for now) so I’m not used to talking about it. There’s still the occasionally resemblance talk, however. I look like Leigh, and when people comment on that I wish that they’d realize they’re also making an oblique comment that Leigh doesn’t look like Lyn. For her part, Lyn does occasionally get a comment that she looks like Leigh as well. We’ve decided that in all cases the proper response is, “Thank you,” and leave it at that.
So I’m not used to talking to people about donor issues anymore and it feels somewhat intrusive. I haven’t gotten the question phrased as, “Will the new baby and your current child be half-siblings?” but Lyn got that question at the doctor today. We’ve decided on a good response to that one: “We were able to use the same donor, but of course they are full siblings.”
I’ve also been thinking about how badly that innocent question, “Did you use the same donor?” would hurt if we weren’t able to use the same donor. Using the same donor was important to us. We felt as though each member of our family having a genetic link to one other member (me to Leigh, Leigh and Lyn to this new child) would knit our entire family together genetically and solidify our connections as a family. Of course, that’s not really a rational way of looking at things. We obviously believe that deep connections are possible without any genetic link. It can be painful to admit that a genetic connection is important at all, but it clearly is because so many of us work hard to try for the same donor for a second child.

I understand that the idea of two women having a baby together is really interesting. I’m certainly curious when I meet other lesbian couples having children. But in addition to being interesting conversation fodder, the details about how we acquire our children are very personal parts of our family. Like many other married couples, we would really love to be able to combine our genetic material to make a child, but we cannot. We’ve made peace with that, we love our daughter absolutely to pieces, and we are ready to open our hearts to a new person in six-and-a-half short months. We’ve worked on our issues around who’s the “real mom,” and I can honestly say that don’t have any at this point. But there’s still this little spot that chafes. It’s the place where we decided to create our first child together through one of us giving birth. It’s that place where one of us is connected genetically and one of us is not. It’s that place where Leigh looks more like one of her moms than the other (despite her dimples). This isn’t some kind of deep wound – we feel bonded as a family and know that each of us is essential. It’s more like having a scar that still hurts a little when you rub it. When you tell me how much my daughter looks like me, or when you ask if we used the same donor, then I’m reminded of that old pain. Those may be innocent, well-intended questions, but you are poking around in the sensitive guts of my family.

Monday, December 1, 2008

cough * cough * cough

Sorry for the radio silence around here. We're kind of hanging on by a thread and any moderately interesting writing has fallen by the wayside, thanks to my continued puking and a solid round of viral bronchitis for all three of us. We're on week 3 of nonstop coughing. Fortunately Leigh has been sleeping OK through it, but we grown-ups haven't. Alas, our supply parental patience also seems to have disappeared just as Leigh has started to really get the hang of the two-year-old thing. I promise, we'll be back once we have an ounce or two of energy.