Sunday, October 30, 2005

25 weeks 6 days: It's just a little bit of skin...

I had a major meltdown last night. I am still not sure what the underlying cause was, but it started with me going on line to look for a mohel to perform a bris for our little one. Of course, most mohelim are Orthodox Jews. I knew that. That shouldn't have come as a surprise to me.

What came as a surprise was how white and straight all of the families were. (Again, I am not sure why this was a surprise. I know that most Jewish parents are in fact white and straight). I think it was two things: first, all of the talk about pain relief and soothing the baby, and second, the fact that all of the sites stressed how this is a mitzvah that is ordered of fathers to perform on their sons. Our little one doesn't have a father. And, I don't see how the Orthodox ceremony can be modified to include mothers instead of fathers. And, none of the websites seemed interested in making room for the Black, non-Jewish, non-biological mother. To top it all off, the thought of contacting these Orthodox Jewish men and asking them to come hundreds of miles to circumcize the black son of lesbians was more than I can face asking them to do.

My father would gladly step in and play the role of the father, but the bris is supposed to happen on the 8th day of life. I can't guarantee that he can travel 800 miles to be there on the 8th day, though he will be here within the first 20 or so. I cried for like an hour, and still well up thinking about it. We wouldn't be circumcizing if it weren't for the Jewish obligation to do so.

Dyke Two was really confused, but so supportive. Finally, we decided that I will call the rabbi at the reform synagogue this week, and ask what he would suggest. Unless he has a great suggestion that really resonates with us, we are thinking that we will have our OB do a hospital circumcision, with at least Dyke Two there to watch and comfort (I am not sure I can physically watch it). After the hospital circumcision, we will have a baby naming ceremony with a rabbi, and schedule it for when my parents are down here anyway. If the rabbi needs to prick him to draw blood, I think I can watch that happen. That way, we can invite friends and family to come, without a room full of non-Jews wondering what the hell is going on as they all watch a baby boy get his penis cut.

We trust our OB to do the circumcision. He does a lot of them, and is such a gentle, kind man. He has done them for friends of ours who were also under Muslim religious obligation to do it and they felt it was a great experience with little stress/trauma on their son.

I think I just became overwhelmed with the thought of so many people judging our decisions, and so many decisions that have to be made on faith/instinct, with no way of predicting 10 or 20 years in the future. i don't know that Judaism will give us the home we want for our family. I don't know that he won't grow up to become an Orthodox Jew, though he is out of luck if he does, since Orthodoxy doesn't consider me Jewish since my mom did not do an Orthodox conversion. i don't know that he won't grow up to be a right wing evangelical Christian who will feel that his mothers are going to burn in Hell. I don't know that he isn't going to resent us for giving him such a load to carry as he walks through life as a bi-racial, Jewish, son of lesbians. i don't know that he is going to finish high school and go to college. I don't know that he will ever learn to read, or even to walk and talk. I don't know that he will be born developmentally normal, or that he won't die of SIDS. All I can do is trust our hearts, the universe and whatever higher power there is up there to lead us in the right direction.

And to think that this all started over a tiny piece of skin and a decision about whether to remove it or keep it intact.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

24 weeks 2 days: boring medical update

weight: still down half a pound since the beginning of pregnancy.
blood pressure: 136/82 (I thought this was high, but the nurse and the NP both assured me it was normal. it has been around 120/60 throughout pregnancy...)
fetal heartrate: 156 bpm
fundal height: 26 cm according to the NP (the nurse who was new to the practice measured it at 30 cm.)

The NP said everything looked great. At first, she was a little concerned about the fundal size, until we looked again at the ultrasound measurements, and talked about the donor's size. She also was less concerned once she poked me and realized that there is still lots of room between my hips for the baby to continue growing, and that there is still a lot of room below my rib cage for the baby to spread in to. We talked about the glucose test, the flu shot, decongestants and indigestion.

Glucose test: I have the paperwork for it, and will go to the hospital for the testing at 26 weeks. It is a walk in testing appointment, so the NP suggested that I go immediately upon waking up so I am fasting. They will also do a CBC panel to check, among other things, iron.

Flu Shot: I asked, and the office does not routinely administer them, so NP said it is up to me to decide whether or not to get one, and then to schedule with the Health Department, my PCP, Student Health, etc. I thought it was interesting that they do not have a blanket policy of wanting their patients to get one. She told me it is completely up to us. We decided afterward that I should get one.

Decongestants: NP told me to go ahead and take Sudafed if my allergies and congestion continue. My blood pressure is low enough that they are not concerned about the increase in blood pressure that Sudafed can cause. She also suggested sleeping with a humidifier to see if that caused it to be better. I told her my ears have been popping in the pool, so we will have to see each day what we think.

Indigestion: Since the Tums seems to be helping the heartburn, she suggested that i continue taking it, and call if the maximum daily dose is not enough. She also recommended dropping my calcium supplement if I am taking Tums daily.

My next appointment is 11/15 at 2:30 for my 28 week appointment.

Friday, October 07, 2005

22 weeks 4 days: Kick for your momma

Last night we were lying in bed trying to wind down from the excitement of J&J's pregnancy, some stress that Dyke Two is dealing with at work, and the changes in my schedule that allowed us to go out to dinner instead of going to class. I began to feel Red really moving around and kicking.

For about a week now, every time Red kicks, I have been asking Dyke Two to feel my stomach. A few times I have thought I felt Red kick from outside my stomach, but it is hard to tell for sure, since I am also feeling it inside. Last night, she laid her hand on my stomach, and over the course of three or four minutes felt three solid kicks.

Of course, that didn't allow us to wind down. Instead, we became even more geared up and excited.

Good thing we didn't have to be anywhere too early this morning....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

22 weeks 3 days: What a great story...

Dyke Two and I went out for Vietnamese tonight at our favorite hole in the wall. While we were eating, my dad called. He had told me yesterday that he was going to call, and had called while I was at the library, so I didn't want to ignore the call. I answered it, and he told me that they were so excited because they were going to be grandparents again, and that yesterday was the happiest day of their lives because they found out that they were going to have five grandchildren.

I asked, "Five?" because I know that they only have three right now.

My dad said, "Yes, five. Guess who is having a baby 8 weeks after you."

I thought for a split second, since my stepbrother is not married or involved with anyone and my brother and SIL just sent me all their old baby stuff. "J &J?"

"That's right!"

My next question will sound weird to anyone who doesn't know my family's history...

"Is she pregnant?"


"Was it a surprise?"


Turns out, my stepsister and her husband are expecting their second baby. They had their first via surrogate a year and a half ago after five years of trying, two failed cycles of IVF, three miscarriages and a final diagnosis from the top fertility specialist at Yale of "unexplained hormonal imbalance." The doctors told them that she would never carry a baby to term.

Now, with no medical intervention, she is 14 weeks pregnant and just had a healthy, clean ultrasound.

Miracles really do happen.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

22 weeks 2 days: we have genitalia...

...and they are boy parts.

The ultrasound was so wonderful. It was truly amazing to see the baby so close and detailed. Unfortunately, the 3D shots were disappointing. The baby sort of looked like a potato. The doctor said it is because of the placenta being anterior, so the baby's face doesn't have a lot of amniotic fluid surrounding it. Apparently, the amniotic fluid is what actually makes the details come alive.

The doctor wasn't too concerned about how big he was, even though he is measuring two and a half weeks ahead of schedule. The donor is a large man, and I am a large woman, so the doctor kind of expected it.

I am worried about delivering now! Nobody would tell me how big his shoulders were....

In non-medical, but still pregnancy related, news, we spent about 20 minutes on the phone this afternoon with GLAD (the New England GLBT rights group). We were really disappointed to hear that they don't think that giving birth in CT, MA or VT will solve our problem. Apparently, in Connecticut, they are not planning to change the birth certificates to have two moms or two dads on them, despite their civil union law.

In Massachusetts and Vermont, they are still recommending that families go through a second parent adoption to really guarantee parental rights to the non-biological parent. We are really torn. We might still go have the baby in Vermont with my aunt and uncle in Burlington, and then bring back the birth certificate for a legal challenge. We also need to talk to the folks at our state group. And, the guy from GLAD told us that if Connecticut decides to put two moms on a birth certificate, we will still need to register for a Connecticut civil union! Our marriage license from Canada is meaningless in Connecticut.

It is days like this that just sort of sneak up on us. We go through life 95% of the time feeling incredibly accepted, supported and normal. Then, things like this come along that really pull the rug out from under us.

Much as it hurts, we have to keep remembering that we brought this baby into the world knowing that society was imperfect, knowing that there would be struggles ahead for our family, and knowing that we were strong enough to handle them. And, our baby will be loved, cared for and cherished by our friends and family. The rest of the world can go to Hell.