judecorp: (marshmallows)
Summer is winding down and going back to work is looming just around the corner. There is one more week of summer life before Labor Day. How is that even possible? We have had a great and busy summer, so I know the time has truly passed but I am not ready. I am clinging to summer kicking and screaming even as the leaves begin to turn and the tomatoes are plentiful on my kitchen counter.

We spent the summer living a simple life, accommodating the baby's naps and just enjoying each other. I treasured the snuggly television watching with my daughter while my son slept in his room for his morning nap. We made crafts and played with water in the sink. We practiced writing letters and completed workbooks. She is falling right into my childhood footsteps - little nerdlet in training.

My son began the summer as a mostly immobile little guy who was content to swat at toys on the play mat and is now a nine month old force of destruction. He can tear apart my clean living room in less than a minute, climbing up and pulling things down, dumping over containers, scattering toys with might and mission. He shrieks and babbles, pulls the cats' tails, and adores his sister ferociously.

We spent a bunch of time this summer watching Punk's BFF, and it was great (and restful) watching the girls interact and watching C grow into an honorary big sister, handing the baby toys and talking to him so sweetly. We took weekly trips to our CSA farm and the big girls picked tomatoes and beans, cut flowers, and helped me choose the plumpest vegetables. We had a number of play dates with school friends and other babies. And kept the living easy.

We are now entering a new chapter in our lives together, me and my two. The baby doesn't remember going to day care and has entered the world of separation anxiety, which is likely to make the next few weeks rough. We switched him from the big day care center to the lovely, cozy home day care that Punk attended when she was two-to-three. I think this will be better for him, to have his own area for sleeping and a mom's touch, not to mention being around the corner from my job so I can fetch him as necessary. Punk is headed back to her Montessori classroom but will add two more days of after-school care since the pick-ups in the afternoon have to shift to accommodate picking up the baby first. She is looking forward to no longer being the youngest child in the classroom and it will be good for her to have some new kids to mentor.

I am not looking forward to going back to work but it will be nice to see the friendly adult faces that sustain me throughout the work day. It is nice to be wanted at work and I have enjoyed the relationship I've made between my agency and my school. I will enjoy seeing how my clients have grown over the summer and see their sun-kissed faces at the start of their new school year.

Time seems to march quickly when the work week hits full swing and I'm gobsmacked to realize that I will soon be planning my son's first birthday party. To think we are mere months away from first steps and words. It is humbling to be entrusted with these sweet souls.

I don't know what the next year will bring for my children and me, but we are ready for it and will meet it all with love.

Thoughts

Apr. 20th, 2009 08:11 am
judecorp: (remember it)
It was really powerful and lovely to see everyone turn out for my grandfather's services over the weekend. He was a truly amazing man and touched so many lives. I am so proud of him, and proud to be a member of his family. It's funny, I don't have a particularly large family but I guess it packs a big punch nonetheless, especially when you consider my grandparents.

I feel good knowing that my grandfather never had any doubts about how much I loved him and what I thought of him. I have always been very free with the compliments over the years and have tried to show him how special he was at every holiday (and the days in between). What really touched me is hearing from others how proud he was of my daughter, his great-granddaughter. It seemed like everyone had heard about her or had seen a photo at one time or another. It reaffirms our choice to name her after him, because he truly was a great and significant person.

I have been shaped so much by my grandparents; I have learned so much about love, commitment, faith, and family from growing up in their home. I can only hope that I have done them justice over the years and am not a disappointment. I hope to pass their values down to my own children as well.

It was strange to attend a Catholic funeral after being in a Protestant church for so long. I can't say that I miss the pomp and the rigamarole. There was so much praying intended to help my grandfather get to Heaven, but honestly, if I may be so bold, Heaven was made for people like him. There is no doubt in my mind that he is now seated at the right hand of his God; he spent his life in service to God and his faith was so strong. He and my grandmother have always been such pillars of the church community in which I grew up, and it was for that reason I sought a church community for my own little family. Involvement and service were such a part of our existence as a family, and it had a tremendous effect on me. We are becoming quite active in our own church and it is a true throwback to my life as a child.

I will miss his smiles, I will miss his jokes. I will miss most of all the delight he showed in playing with my daughter. I know that she won't remember these times forever, but I take comfort in the fact that they were able to touch each other's lives, if only for mere moments. In 91 years, he was able to experience a great many things, and I am honored that a great-grandchild was one of them.

I am thankful that he died with little pain and truly little suffering. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
judecorp: (soap poisoning)
So when we were at the IVP shindig in DC, there were a couple of sickies floating around - some of the kid and some of the adult variety. There was a great big melting pot of germs from as far away as Ireland and Australia as well as a healthy dose of the local flavor. I was expecting Punk to get sick. But oh, she is having the sick of her little life. (I have been spoiled. She does not get sick very often and does not get sick hard.)

She has a double ear infection that is now on its second antibiotic (the first did squat, thankfully the second seems to be working). Today is the first day since, oh, Thursday? that she has not woken up with a fever. She is congested solidly full of snot and it is now making its way into her chest. She sleeps for crap which means that I sleep for crap. And she has lost her mild-mannered disposition and become "that" toddler. The one who freaks out if one food touches another food, and then refuses to eat. The one who freaks out because a little bit of oatmeal is on her hand. The one who freaks out because you started to read the wrong book, even though it was the book she handed you. You know, that one. I have never had that toddler. And I don't particularly like her. ;)

She has been full-on spoiled because of this, with lots of juice, lots of TV, and lots of being able to eat things like goldfish crackers and applesauce for dinner. How I am going to crawl out of this one with some dignity in tact, I don't rightly know. I will leave it up to day care to straighten out. Ha ha.

I don't feel all that great myself, but Jen is of course sick to the tenth power and yesterday needed to go to the emergency room for a bazillion prescriptions and now is locked in the bedroom. I am trying to dig out from under the mountains of laundry from DC and before, all the while wrangling "that" toddler and trying to do some general house tidying. I am supposed to be working on Amy's Valentine's Day swap gift (sorry, Amy) and I am supposed to be doing the taxes and I am supposed to be doing a lot of things. At this point, I have no idea when any of that is going to happen. I'm also supposed to be sending refi paperwork in. That I can commit to doing tonight. I hope.

Since I have been sick and have been sitting in front of a lot of PBS programming (proof of devastating spoilage: Punk now says "PEE BEE ESS"), I have had time to do a lot of navel-gazing and realize that I have not been present in a very long time. I want to apologize to everyone, because I simply haven't had anything to give. I'm sorry I don't comment in your journals. I'm sorry I haven't been active on your bulletin boards. I'm sorry I wasn't more talkative and perky at your big get-together. I'm sorry I haven't made your present. I'm sorry I haven't returned your calls/texts/e-mails/messages on Facebook. I'm sorry I haven't remembered your birthday or sent you that card that has been sitting out for a month. I'm sorry. I wish I wasn't the world's crappiest friend right now but I am in a deep, dark hole and I have no idea how to get out. All I can see in front of me really is work, the toddler, and a devastating to-do list.
judecorp: (downcast)
I don't talk about this too much because it's whiny and it's ugly, but every so often it rears its ugly head and I thought that perhaps if I wrote it out, it wouldn't bother me so much. I don't know.

I was putting the baby down for a nap and got to thinking, again, about all of this muscle tone business and how the PT suggested we see a neurologist. I really don't want Punk to see a neurologist because it's very likely the neurologist will want to do an MRI, and to do an MRI on an infant you have to sedate her. You know, because you can't just tell a baby, "Don't move." And I really don't want Punk to be sedated or put under. It scares me.

But there's also more. So she has an MRI and then what? Then does the neurologist start talking about cerebral palsy? Does it go beyond the world of doing some stretches and hoping for the best, of water therapy and infant massage? Does it become something bigger?

After a while it all just lumps together in my mind: the reflux, that weird mystery rash way back, the formula intolerance, the delays. It always comes back to the same place - my uterus. My uterus, which wasn't able to sustain both of our babies. My uterus, which generated a small placenta and thin umbilical cord for Punk. At the time, it was a casual mention, "Oh, you had a small placenta and a really thin cord." As if it was no big deal. But now I think, 'Did Punk get less oxygen or nutrients because of her small placenta or her thin cord?' Or I think, 'It took a minute to get her breathing and they talked about giving her some blow-by before she got it together. Is that when it happened? Is that what ruined her muscle tone?'

And then that's when I start thinking that maybe I /should/ think about an MRI. Because maybe the MRI would be normal and I could stop beating myself up and concentrate on stretching out my daughter's hips/legs/knees/ankles so that she can function normally in the big world. Or maybe it wouldn't be normal and I would spend my whole life wondering why my body would lose one child and break the other. Maybe I asked for all of this by overriding nature with ovulation inducers, you know? Maybe I just tempted fate a little too much.

It doesn't matter to me, personally, if my daughter has delays or has to work harder or whatever. But it DOES matter to me that I may have somehow caused this for her.
judecorp: (remember it)
I had a crappy part-time job at UMass and I wanted to claw my eyes out every day from sheer boredom. However, I did manage to meet some cool college kids and they made it bearable. Also I met Peterson Toscano who is totally my Big Gay Crush and I wish I met him sooner because I would have begged him for his sperm. No, really.

I checked out of that job on June 29 - my temp contract ran out at the end of the fiscal year. Perfect timing, because I went into labor at 11pm on June 30 when my water broke.

Of course the biggest event of 2007 was birthing my daughter. Labor and delivery were amazing and intense events and I would not trade them for the world. I had the most amazing midwife, the most amazing doula, the most amazing labor nurse, and the most amazing partner. It was a wicked, wild ride and I can totally see why people become birth junkies. I am totally a birth junkie now and would love to be a doula.

The rest of the year was spent being a mama to a kick-ass, intense little person. She is also a high-needs baby and has had too many medical scares in her short life already: major weight loss and dehydration after birth due to lack of breastmilk; a fall from a bed with a resulting CT scan, ambulance ride, and PICU admittance; pretty severe reflux; a mystery rash that was believed to be petechia for no known reason; a lactose intolerance; weird hip/leg issues that are NOT hip dysplasia. We spent more on medical co-pays than probably anything else in 2007.

I spent more time crying in 2007 than any other year in my life. Except maybe when I was an infant. I don't remember. I also was depressed, really depressed, for the first time ever, largely resulting from my nursing issues. (Actually, I still can't think of nursing without getting sad. Two nursing mamas have been in my house this week and I realized that I can't even remember what nursing felt like, and I cried again. Augh.)

Pregnancy and mamahood has done a number on our marriage, but we are committed to coming out stronger on the other side and hope we are already on our way.
judecorp: (downcast)
A baby from my mom and baby group that I used to attend died about a week and a half ago. He had a heart condition and had a couple of heart surgeries and for the last month or two was at Children's Hospital in Boston and was doing so well that he was released on December 14th. He spent a day or two at home and then ended up in the local hospital PICU shortly after and died on December 17th.

I can't even imagine. It just... hurts.

A mama from my LJ due date community lost her baby after just a few short weeks on the outside - a SIDS death, I'd imagine. And I still can't come to grips with that, either. Or how she gets up every morning.

And I think about sweet baby Charlie, and about how his little sister talks about him "sleeping in Jesus's arms," and... well... I break a little bit every time.

I just don't understand why these precious little people would be sent down for such a short time. I know there are lessons to be learned in every experience, but I don't understand why there has to be so much pain. It breaks a mama's heart.

It never occurred to me, when S would talk about Baby H and his heart troubles in the group, and his impending surgery in Boston, that he might die. It was just not there, not an option, didn't enter my mind.

Sometimes I think I'm not strong enough to be a mama.
judecorp: (think too much)
I am having a bit of a crisis of faith with respect to breastfeeding. I guess I am just not used to failure. I'm a goal-oriented person and when I want to do something, I do it. And if it's hard, I work hard and I get it done. I can't really think of anything I really wanted to do that I couldn't pull off. Except this.

It hit me the other day that I am taking 9-12 pills a day and getting half an ounce (or so) of milk per feeding. In a perfect situation (where the domperidone is timed just right and I don't nurse for 6-8 hours and it's first thing in the morning when milk peaks) I can squeeze out 2 ounces of milk, and let me tell you, it takes a lot of work. I have to pump for a long time, all the while squeezing the crap out of my boob with my hand in all kinds of funky ways to eke out every last drop. And then I actually get 2 ounces, which is a minor miracle.

Usually, though, pumping involves all of the above things, but half an ounce of output or less. That's disheartening. Like WOAH.

So here's the thing: generous friends have given me about six boxes of domperidone, and one is en route from [livejournal.com profile] juliann as well. I have about four boxes left to my name. Do I buy more? Is it worth spending hundreds of dollars on bootleg medication to frustrate my little baby by continuing to put her on the boob that barely spits out milk? When she is really hungry, she gets PISSED OFF. I can't say I blame her. It's like being starving and having someone offer you one hors d'oeuvre. And making you work really really hard for it. It actually makes me sad when she's so frustrated. And then she guzzles 4oz. of formula and loves life.

It's so hard because I love nursing her and I love the time we spend, but is it worth dropping big bucks that we don't have on pills when we're already dropping big bucks on formula? (Although we haven't dropped bucks in a while, thanks to the generosity of folks sending us their free samples and Jen's parents buying us $100 worth of formula at BJs when they were here.) Do I spend $190 on 18 boxes of pills (a box lasts 11 days, so 198 days' worth) and try to stick it out? Do I use the pills I have and then see what happens when I run out? Do I continue to force the angry, hungry baby to suck out every last drop before I let her eat her real meal?

It's hard because I have a hard time separating what I'm doing that's best for her versus what I'm doing that is best for me. I wonder if I'm being selfish with all of this nursing business and whether I'm just beating a dead horse. 12 pills for a couple of half-ounce servings? I know every drop is helpful but sometimes I wonder if my money is better served buying someone else's breastmilk.
judecorp: (least resistance)
Wow. Fussy baby last night and a good chunk of today. I've spent a LOT of time bouncing and walking. She's down for the count right now, though. Yay! I wonder if there's something that I'm eating that's bothering her? I didn't think it would be an issue because she gets so little of my milk but maybe I will cut out the dairy for a couple of days just to check. She's eating the same old formula so I doubt that's it. Please bring my Zen Baby back!

The humidity is out of control today, to cap off a little heat wave. It's theoretically supposed to thundershower out here tonight, and I do hope that's the case. Jen's parents are coming tomorrow and will be staying with us for about a week, and I would hate for the house to be sticky and miserable for them. We only have one window unit A/C (in our bedroom) and while we can certainly give them our bedroom to make them more comfortable, the whole HOUSE would be more comfortable with less humidity. Our house isn't that big and then there will be four big people and one little people. (And three cats.)

I'm a little nervous about the visit from the in-laws. I like my in-laws very much but we are certainly different people, and I get anxious anyway when people are staying over because I want everything to be perfect for them. I /especially/ want things to be perfect for my in-laws! I also worry that they will be uncomfortable since we only have one bathroom, and since the baby has been really fussy from the hours of about 10pm to 1am or so the last couple of days. Here's hoping everyone has a terrific time!

It's amazing how things change. I like to think that I don't change, but I'm sure I do because everyone does. Right? But I don't think I change that much. I'd like to think that the things that were important to me continue to be important to me, and that the standards I hold myself to don't change. I know that being a parent changes people's convictions and such, and that you can't set ultimatums for yourself and your parenting, but I'm hoping that I can be the good parent that I'd like to be.

The truth is that I've always worried that I would be a bad parent because I haven't had good parenting role models. I am terrified of being someone who abuses children - I know I could never hit a person but I know first hand that emotional scars can be just as difficult to heal. I hope this is just an irrational fear.

When I was pregnant, I took time out every night to say prayers for the health of my baby, and for my family and friends. Now sleep is such a precious commodity that I think I fall asleep even before I get into the bedroom. I've been really lax in the prayer department because of it. I need to get back on that.
judecorp: (think of me)
I have such a love-hate relationship with hormones. On one hand, I love what I've been able to accomplish (and will soon be accomplishing) by messing around with my natural set-up of hormones. I'm doing something that I'd been told and always thought was out of my reach, and hey, what can I say? I like to do the impossible. But on the other hand, it's been 27 months now that I haven't been myself. I don't even really recognize myself. I'm some medically-twisted New Me.

Lots of random blather about gender and hormones that you can feel free to skip. )

But I know that I look at pictures from three years ago and see myself, and look at pictures from now and wonder who that person is. I guess I will keep telling myself it will get better with time.
judecorp: (beach kiss)
We've been legally married two whole years today! That's just crazy talk. (And yes, if you do the 'back math,' we got married on Friday the 13th, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.) I'm glad for a number of things: that we've still got each other, that we're still in love, and that our marriage is still (at least for the time being) legal in our state. Good times.

It's also our first Mother's Day as mothers-to-be, and that's a nice little accompaniment to the day. Last year, for our first anniversary, I took Jen away to the Cape for a weekend and with a heavy dose of chutzpah gave her a "mommy-to-be" card and told her that I hoped this would be our last Mother's Day without something to celebrate. Phew, I'm glad I wasn't wrong on that one.

Sometimes I think back on the road we've taken to get to this point and it blows me away. In some ways it's particularly suiting that our anniversary and Mother's Day will always come side-by-side, because one of the things that keeps us determined to go as strong as possible is the struggle that we go through every day just to try to keep what sorts of family rights we can hold on to. I can't believe that this time last year we'd already had one failed IUI and were on our way to finding out that #2 was a bust as well. Next would come our cancelled cycle, our break cycle for the awful HSG, and then three back-to-back injectibles cycles. Then the positive test. And the two heartbeats! And the bleeding. And the lost baby. And the bleeding. And the ER. And then... 18 weeks of clear sailing.

I think we've both learned a lot in the past year about both roles: being partners AND being mothers. I'd love to say that it was totally smooth and easy all the way through, but I can't. What I can say, though, with total sincerity, is that it is totally worth it in the end - on both counts.

I love my wife, and I love watching her become a mommy.

~//~

p.s. Happy mama's day to all the mamas out there: kid mamas, animal mamas, mamas-to-be, mamas of angels, mamas-working-on-becoming-mamas, foster mamas, and any combinations thereof. xo
judecorp: (remember it)
It had been a terrible year. All sorts of unfathomable things had been unraveling around me for so long that sometimes I think I should have expected it, but how can one expect something so cold? I suppose there is intelligence for this sort of thing but I have known for a very long time that I simply do not possess it. I do not have the heart, nor the brain, for such things. I am glad for that.

It was a particularly agonizing summer. Our apartment building got struck by lightning in June. The building caught fire and a neighbor pounded on our door, "Get out! The building is on fire!" I was in the middle of writing a paper for finals and had to switch gears immediately to load cats into carriers and run outside. The apartment above us but one over was completely obliterated; ours escaped with some water damage. We were finally allowed back in and I had a little nervous breakdown about how foolish it was to leave the computer inside a burning building when I was in the middle of finals. An hour after we were let back in, a policeman told us sternly that we had to leave immediately for an undisclosed amount of time. No reason. No explanation. We thought it might have been concern of a gas main problem but the truth was that in searching the charred building for embers, bomb-making chemicals were found. In my neighbor's apartment. We were evacuated for four days, I think, during the beginning of the end of our marriage. That was June.

In July, I asked him if he was still in love with me and he said no. I called Becky and neither of us were surprised. It still sucked, though. We'd signed a lease a couple of days before the fire and had just moved into another apartment in the same complex. We agreed to ride out the lease. 11.5 more months.

In August, I had my first tonsil abcess and ended up needing him to take me to the ER. It was awful - the pain, and having to depend on him. My grandfather ended up in the hospital in August as well. We both recovered, but it was a long summer. The quarter came to an end and I decided I needed a little reward for surviving the summer. I found a cheap flight to New York and made plans to spend nearly a week with my best friend. A whole week that we'd packed with parties, dancing, theatre, the beach. Oh, and making out with Becky.

Jodie had been having a bit of a stressful time so I arranged a day of total spoilage for her, a fun little Date Day. I'd arranged for flowers to be sent to her at work, and had ordered theatre tickets for us that night. She'd wanted to see "The Music Man" because Robert Sean Leonard was playing Prof. Harold Hill. I spent way more than I could realistically afford on really good seats, so that maybe RSL would see us when we yelled, "Swing Heil, Peter!" at him. She ended up deciding at the last minute to take a personal day that day so we could hang together. The flowers could take care of themselves. We got into a stupid argument the night before, god what a waste of time in hindsight, and fell asleep exhausted in the inky hours of morning.

We got two hours of sleep.
We got a phone call about an airplane.
We got up to watch the news.
We got the shock of our lives.
We got dressed.
We got donuts.
We got e-mail saying our musical was cancelled. For an unknown duration.
We got lots of frantic messages from loved ones.
We got a visit from Chris who'd walked all the way home with ash in his hair.
We got older that day.

I can't believe it's been five years. I still remember the feeling of her leg pressed against mine as we sat on the couch fixated on the playback loop. I still remember the feeling of knowing that your best friend should ALWAYS be sitting next to you when your world is shattering. I still remember the feeling of the warm sun on my cool skin as we walked outside, the weather perfect and early fall, just like today. Because it was today, a different today that I still remember in a heartbeat.

I sent two messages today: a voicemail to Jodie to remind her that I loved her and was thinking of her, because today will always and forever be etched with our friendship and how much I need her; and a text message to Chris - "Five years ago today I plucked ash from your hair. I love you."

What I wrote in 2001.
What I wrote in 2003.
What I wrote in 2004.

Expertise

Jun. 21st, 2006 10:51 pm
judecorp: (you are beautiful)
One of the things I like about my workplace is the overarching philosophy that governs how we relate to and interact with our families. When we start working with a family, one of the things we make an effort to point out first is that though we have some training and knowledge in child development, we acknowledge that it is the caregivers who are THE experts on the child, simply by knowing them best. And that while we may offer suggestions and strategies to help stimulate development, it is the caregivers' persistent hard work that will make progress happen. It's a really hands-off, client empowerment approach that I /really/ like. It jives well with me.

And I guess that's one thing that is stuck in my head about this acupuncture provider - there have been no acknowledgment of strengths, no credit to myself as someone who knows my body, no positives except what THEY are positive they can accomplish. I suppose this bothers me so much because it runs so counterintuitively to everything I believe as a therapist and in my approach with people.

I love when my families celebrate their children's milestones or accomplishments and I can say, "You guys worked really hard," and, "This is improving because of what you do." It is not about me being a superhealer and running around Dorchester and Roxbury 'fixing' children - it's about showing families ways that they can help their children make developmental progress in their day to day lives and family routines. I help families learn how to incorporate stretches into their diaper changes, how to fill their house with language stimulation about topics they enjoy, how to help their child learn new play skills using whatever objects they have around the house. But more importantly, I help parents realize that they are the most knowledgeable, most important, most beneficial partners in the treatment process. And I think maybe I would have liked a little more credit in my own treatment process.

This may not be the field I want to work in forever or even someplace I ever saw myself spending time, but I appreciate the fact that we are all strengths-based, empowerment-focused people who work our butts off to genuinely help families. I work in a building full of people who give a shit, really and truly do - people who become emotionally attached to families and staff and who get fired up about injustice and setbacks. It's pleasant.

kellynicolekrissie.JPG
judecorp: (remember it)
I tend to gloss over events these days that years ago would have held much more weight, much more need for documentation. I don't think this has changed, I just think I have become more busy, more full of events. I wish for simpler days when I could ruminate on one situation, one event, one emotion, so it could be processed and moved along. Staccato blasts of chaos and drama have all but eliminated the possibility of this.

I would have written about the traumatic experience of taking Jen to the emergency room when she couldn't breathe from bronchitis, nearly a year to the day from when I went to a different hospital, in a different state, to be told that my father was not going to live. To sign DNR forms. To have only one hope - that nothing final happened before my brother could come to town. One year later I was in a dingy ER in Dorchester with my wife who was struggling to breathe, gasping on top of several new health concerns that had popped up in the last few weeks. Flashback City. I could have given a lot of life to those feelings, to that event, to the parallel and visceral memories. Instead the car got vandalized and our IUI cycle got cancelled.

Recently, in an argument, she told me that she was really hurt by that evening in the hospital, that I wasn't there for her in the way she wanted. I didn't hold her hand much, I didn't whisper comforting things. And I felt horribly guilty, and sad, and undeserving of compassion for my own pain, for my own situation, for the acknowledgment that it must have been terribly difficult to be in the ER that night, just a year later, with yet another near and dear next to the monitors and machines. And I guess in some ways that shows more than anything else how out of sync and out of touch we have actually become in our time in Boston, with the trials and tribulations that seem to be neverending around these parts. That's sad.

I suppose I shouldn't watch maudlin Logo programs On Demand about old lesbians dying of cancer. At least not this early in the morning at the start of a beautiful Saturday.

I want my old life back.
judecorp: (think too much)
I'm half-heartedly watching an episode of "American Experience" on PBS about The Boy in the Bubble. It's a fascinating subject, I just can't bear to watch that much television. So I'm half listening and half doing other things, like updating my resume.

I have such mixed feelings about some of the "heroic" measures that some doctors take with special needs kids. I'm sure I could feel differently if I were in that situation, but for now, it just makes me nervous. I mean, this kid was trapped in this plastic playroom because doctors promised his parents a cure for his immunodeficiency and then couldn't do it.

I see the same thing with some of the micro-preemies that are in my program. One of my clients is a former 21-weeker and it is just amazing and staggering to think about all of the interventions that were performed to keep her alive. And then who knows what the long-term effects are going to be? She's 6 months old now and looks/acts like a 3 month old, so it's hard to tell. There are soooo many things that can go wrong with micro-preemies.

Some countries won't even attempt to intervene on babies born before a certain time, like 24 or 26 or 28 weeks. As a clinician I can see the reasoning, but as a parent? What if we get pregnant and have a micro-preemie? Will I be singing the same tune?

Sometimes I think too much.
judecorp: (think of me)
The other really interesting thing Jen and I talked about was about friendships and relationships, and how they affect us. She said that I haven't really been myself the whole time we've been in Boston, and I totally agree. Ryan and I were talking about how I didn't want to go to Game Night and he said, "What? You don't want to go to a party? You are the life of the party!" And it totally bummed me out because it used to be so true.

Jen told me that she is happy and gets to see the Real Me when we're with work people or people from the HelpLine. And I'm inclined to agree. I feel most like myself - my most likeable, funloving self - with people from work and the HelpLine... almost as good as with my soulfriends in Columbus. I just feel like I can be myself, like who myself is is appreciated, like I have some sort of value or merit or zing. It's nice.

I used to think that I'm happier at work than at home because things were really messed up at home. But the more I think about it, and the more Jen talks about it, the more I realize that the interactions I have at work - in a similar place and from a standpoint of genuinely wanting to get to know me and care about what's going on - help me tap into that genuine-ness and spirit of who I am. And of /course/ that makes me happy - I get to be me! I get to prank and be rude and inappropriate and people like it and feed off it and we all have a crazy time. It's good.

We talked a little bit, too, on what makes a good friend and what I, specifically, look for and need in good friendships. I mentioned when Coworker S had a family tragedy and she had to rush out of town, and how I called her every night to check up on her, even for a minute. I am that kind of friend because I /want/ that kind of friend. Maybe it's from spending my time with social service workers. Who knows? All I know is I have high standards, and I became accustomed to being blessed with an unusually large number of such quality friendships. And I sure do miss that.

I'm touched that she cares enough to think about me and my well-being, but I'm more touched that she pays attention and really notices. She's a keeper.

Dreams

Feb. 26th, 2006 12:38 pm
judecorp: (motherhood)
I think I'll probably start lj-cutting all of the baby-making stuff because I'm willing to bet there are people who absolutely don't want to see a million posts about charting and cervical fluid or whatever. I'm not great with consistently using filters, and besides, filters make things friends-only and I don't like that. So... skip the cuts if you don't want to see. :)

So I have this charting fantasy... )

Of course, I also have this weird dream where 2006 is going to be this dynamite year of change - new town, new house, new job for Jen, baby on the way. Right now, I can't really bear to imagine that these things might be, you know, difficult or less than smooth.
judecorp: (think of me)
One thing I noticed a bazillion years ago when I started getting involved in the genderqueer community was how many genderqueer people who were born female had been diagnosed with PCOS or other endocrine conditions. It's not really surprising, since PCOS raises androgen levels and throws off female hormones and all of that... but I'd never made that connection until I started hearing how many people had it. Treatment for PCOS used to just pretty much consist of birth control pills to regulate menstrual cycles, but that didn't really work for me. BCPs kind of turned me into a monster - I had these horrific mood swings and got really REALLY angry. Out of nowhere. I would be all happy-la-la and then I would just get totally pissed off. Or I would bust out crying because of some song on the radio. It was crazy. I was never so glad to ditch the BCPs. A. and I "risked" pregnancy for a long time because I refused to take BCPs anymore and wasn't really worried about getting pregnant, and life got much better.

The Metformin stuff seems to really be working, symptom-wise. I mean, I dropped a bunch of weight, I get my period every once in a while, and my insulin and testosterone levels have gone down into the normal range. But something has changed, something I haven't really been writing about but have definitely been thinking about.

I seem to be losing a lot of the boy in me, and that kind of bums me out. I'm guessing it's probably due to reduced androgen levels but I hate the idea that my identity and who I feel I am can be reduced to hormones. That's crazy! But it sure seems to be true.

It seems so strange to see older photos from when Jen and I got together. Now I have this froo-froo hair (which does look quite cool, I have to admit) and the lost weight means I don't fit into most of my boy pants anymore and I end up wearing these (very flattering) girly low-rise pants and stuff. It's crazy! So I have this girl hair and girl clothes and talk about baby-making and eeek, what happened to me?

I talk to my coworkers about passing as male a few years ago and no one believes me, and now I feel like I'm losing some of that genderqueer identity that I liked so much, that I felt so at home in. Only it doesn't feel very at home anymore. The idea that I have ever been a boy seems kind of like a sham. All this because of hormones?

This isn't very well developed or coherent, I know. It's just been on my mind. Thoughts?
judecorp: (control issues)
I always used to say (and think) that the whole "PMS = emotional" thing was just a schtick concocted by (who else?) the patriarchy to denigrate women and make them ashamed of their bodies, not to mention blame them for the crap they do wrong. And to a large extent, I still believe that.

I mean, think of all of the stupid products we have on the market to help women conceal their menstrual cycles, their body odors, etc. And how there is so much embarrassment wrapped up in girls' bodies that seems to just somehow seep into the consciousness of young women anywhere from 10-15 years old. And so on.

But I have to say, that spontaneous period thing on Tuesday night was BY FAR the /best/ thing that has ever happened to my funky Valentine's Day mood. Things had been kind of rocky for that whole weekend and of course - because, hello? I'm human - I blamed it all on Jen. Not that I'm letting Jen off scot-free, mind you (*giggle*), but hey, maybe I was a little extra, erm, sensitive. Or something. Yeah.

~//~

Also, I'm totally fooling myself that I'm going to start having more normal-ish cycles now that I've doubled the Metformin. I'm fooling myself so much so that I'm becoming a charting fool. "Just for giggles," I keep telling myself... but I'm secretly hoping that heck, maybe this will work and I'll actually ovulate somewhere in there. (I've made a few past attempts at charting but they always ended up in frustration... a few 100+ day cycles will do that to you.) So we'll see, right? It's appealing to my Inner Nerd, anyway. Aaah, graphs and spreadsheets.
judecorp: (bring it on)
It was recently asked of me if I thought it was responsible to go through fertility treatments to potentially bring a child into the world who might also have infertility issues, thereby creating familial dependence on the pharmaceutical industry. The comment and question was: I don't really consider fertility drugs a good idea. I understand the urge to be pregnant, to carry and give birth - I have that same urge. But I'm also aware that pregnancy may not be the best option for me and my child. If you push to have biological children, they will likely suffer the same infertility problems you're having, condemning generations of your offspring to dependence on Big Pharma.

My quick response:
Interesting perspective.

I don't consider myself any more dependent on "Big Pharma" than your average Joe Schmo American. My family history, like most people's family histories, is full of pharmaceuticals - high blood pressure, type II diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease, skin cancer, depression, et cetera. All of these are fairly common problems these days, especially as people get older and "modern medicine" keeps them going. My grandfather is 88 years old and has had 2 heart attacks and one bypass surgery, takes medication for heart disease, blood pressure, and type II diabetes (largely diet controlled). Should he have not had children?

I think the push to adopt existing children is admirable, and more than admirable, it should be considered and pursued by more people. However, I think that discouraging people from having children (biological, adopted, or whatever) usually ends up boiling down to trying to create some superior class of people who 'should' have biochildren over others who 'shouldn't' - queers, single parents, poor people, sicker people, older people, people without health insurance, people in poorer countries... I could continue to go on.

I'm appalled by a statement that implies that a child with the potential to develop endocrine problems (like PCOS) is somehow less desirable or would be 'suffering' more than an adopted child. My parents actually /don't/ have a history of PCOS or other endocrine problems, although PCOS is now seen largely as an insulin problem more than an ovary problem... and since my grandfather developed type II diabetes later in life it's /possible/ that I've inherited some sort of predisposition to him. Of course, it's also possible that I could have a heart attack in my 50s like my father, or have high cholesterol like my grandmother.

What /is/ a shame is the way pregnancy and childbirth have become big business for medical and pharmaceutical companies, with scheduled inductions and pain-free laboring and intervention after intervention that in most cases are not necessary and may impede progress. In that sense, /anyone/ who chooses (or doesn't choose) to be pregnant is feeding "Big Pharma." What next? End all pregnancies? Decide no one should give birth?

I think it's fantastic that you have soul-searched and come to the conclusion that pregnancy may not be the best option for you and your child. My hope is that every person is able to do the same amount of thinking and have the same amount of choice.


I thought this would make an interesting interactive debate, because I know that I have a lot of different friends with a LOT of different perspectives. SO HAVE AT IT!
judecorp: (think of me)
I'm feeling a little out of touch and I'm not really sure what's up with that. Everything seems disjointed, everything a little out of focus.

I've spent the last three days trying to straighten out my referral for my reproductive endocrinologist (repro endo?) appointment on Friday. I feel like a tennis ball - calling my PCP and then Boston IVF, then the PCP, then IVF, etc. etc. "We haven't received this referral." "I set it by fax and confirmed the fax with a phone call." "Can they fax it again?" "Can I confirm by telephone?" "If we don't have this referral, we'll have to reschedule." Me: "The two of you have to straighten this out, and you have to do it before Friday morning, because I made arrangements at work and I'm not rescheduling."

Nothing really makes sense anymore. Everything is just slightly out of whack... like enough that I notice, but not enough that anyone else does. I feel like I can almost reach the button that will bring it all back together. Almost. But I just can't stretch any farther.

I took Fin's lampshade off this evening. Poor dude had resigned himself to it but I couldn't bear to see him be so clumsy and sad. He's not much of a licker so I think he should be okay. It was purely selfish, really - he kept trying to snuggle me and hitting me in the face with the damned thing. He cleaned himself happily, glad for access to his paws again. Cute little bugger when he's not stepping on my neck.

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