Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Going on the dole...

Months ago, Dyke Two and I realized that for a variety of reasons, our best option for health insurance for Bigfella is to apply for the state insurance for low-income families. My insurance is extremely expensive for dependents, and provides very little coverage. Additionally, because I am not currently a student, and therefore covered under a COBRA of sorts, there was a question about whether or not I could add Bigfella to it upon his birth. We would love to have Dyke Two add him (and me!) to her insurance, but because she is a state employee, this is not an option. Our state will not allow domestic partner benefits.

Because the state refuses to recognize our marriage, we are more than willing to allow them to treat me as an unwed single mother with no income. After all, if, G-d forbid, something were to happen to Dyke Two, Bigfella and I really would be indigent, with no ability to collect social security, or even sue for wrongful death or malpractice. The angry activist in me feels that the government deserves to pay for Bigfella's medical insurance, as well as any other public assistance we qualify for. Fuck them and their homophobic laws and policies. Serves them right to pay out for the son of lesbians.

So, then why did I cry as I filled out the application tonight?

I cried for myself. I've never taken assistance before. I was raised to believe that people from our family pulled their own weight. State assistance was for other people. People with fewer resources than we had.

I cried for my son. These supposedly "family-friendly" politicians in my state are actively taking steps that deny Bigfella the family he deserves. The family that every child deserves.

And I cried for my wife. Dyke Two is a caring, generous spirit. She takes every opportunity to provide me with as many luxuries as she can. Because of her hard work and commitment to our family, I have the luxury of going to school fulltime without working. Because of her hard work and desire to care for me and Bigfella, I have the luxury to stay home with Bigfella for the first six months of his life. But her hard work and commitment can't provide us with a basic necessity: access to affordable health care.

As I filled out the application online, Dyke Two was in the other room, singing and cuddling our son. Bigfella had been fussy most of the day, and she had eagerly gathered him into her arms when she came home from work. Worn out from his crying and nursing, I was more than willing to relinquish him to her. His cries and whimpers filled my ears, stressing me out more, making me leak breastmilk into my tshirt. As I printed out the confirmation number, I heard him gulp and coo, his cries finally soothed.

I walked into the bedroom to find Dyke Two and Bigfella nestled together in our bed. The state may deny her the right to be known as his mother, to claim him as her son, to fully provide for him legally, financially and logistically, but just looking at them together proves how lucky he is to have her as his mother.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bigfella's first milestone...

...and I missed it.

Two mornings ago, Dyke Two woke me up to feed Bigfella (at 10 am--can I tell you what a gem of a wife I have?) and said, "Guess what happened when I changed his diaper?" (again, a gem, I tell you, a gem.) She pulled his blanket down and his t-shirt up, exposing his little navel for my examination.

And what did I see? A cute little belly button, tucked into his belly. A cute little belly button, no longer obscured by his umbilical cord stump.

And I slept through it...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What weighs 10 pounds?

1. A bag of flour

2. My cat

3. A medium sized bowling ball

4. The average Pekinese

5. Our son (!)

As it turns out, Garfunkle ended up being on call when we went to the hospital, and he stuck around for delivery. (I think that the three other patients in labor and the fibroid surgery had something to do with him working on his day off...) After stalling at 7 cm, the doctor began to make noises about a c-section. Since there was no operating room available, I was sent to walk the halls. When I stalled again at 8 cm, a pitocin drip was started. The doctor appeared again about 90 minutes after the pitocin was started to finish the discussion about having a c-section. Luckily, I was ready to push when he returned, so Bigfella was birthed naturally. Garfunkle eyeballed his weight at 9 pounds, and was a little sheepish when he found out his actual weight was 10 pounds, 5 ounces.

Life with Bigfella has been going well. My parents came for a visit, which brought with it the duality of stress and comfort that parental contact always brings. They left this morning to return home. Bigfella is almost back to his birth weight, which the lactation consultant was thrilled to discover today. Our cloth diaper attempt is much more successful now that the diaper service brought us small covers instead of newborn ones.

And, we of course, are absolutely in love. He's the cutest, most alert (clearly a sign of intelligence, right?) baby ever.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Welcome to the world, baby boy...

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

41 weeks 2 days: We think the fun has begun...

...hopefully, this is not a false alarm, in which case we will hang our heads in shame tomorrow, as the internet laughs at us.

The doctor stripped my membranes this afternoon at about 1:30. I had a non stress test after that, and everything seemed good. We set up appointments for Friday and Monday, with an induction on Tuesday.

However, at about 5 pm, we think my water broke. I stood up from the couch to let the dogs in, and felt a gushy feeling in my pants. I headed to the bathroom and felt a gloopy mass move out of my hoo-ha and into the toilet. It has been followed by various squirts, leaks and gushes.

Contractions began at about 7 pm and are now approximately 8-10 minutes apart. Right now, he feels like he is trying to crawl out my ass.

We called the doctor, who said to stay put until morning, or things change. I think he just wanted to eat dinner, watch Idol and the Olympics and go on vacation, thus pawning us off on his partner.

That's OK, though. The doctor we talked to is the Garfunkle of the practice. It's great to have Simon and Garfunkle nearby, but who would choose Garfunkle when they have the opportunity to see Simon??

The good news is that Dyke Two finally finished packing her stuff into the hospital bag.

Monday, February 13, 2006

41 weeks: Glad I am not the betting sort...

Monday morning, and I can officially say that Red will not be born this weekend.

I am trying to remain optimistic, but it can be a struggle. We see the doctor on Wednesday, so the hope is still there that Red will be born before that appointment. Last night, we thought we were almost there: an hour and a half of contractions at 10 minutes apart. With each contraction, there was a distinct knocking on my right hip. I will have to ask the doctor if this is normal, or if it is a sign of a "bad" fit.

I am really struggling with the concept of being induced. I don't want to force him out if there is no reason to, but the two things that are beginning to weigh heavily on my mind are:

1. Is my chronic mild hypertension causing the placenta to deteriorate?

2. Are the knocks against my hip demonstrating his difficulty in getting down into my pelvis for a safe vaginal delivery?

While I am all about trusting my baby and my body to spontaneously labor when the time is right for both of them, there is a time when a kid (and a body) need some outside intervention.

So many questions for the doctor on Wednesday...

Friday, February 10, 2006

40 weeks 4 days: Will it be this weekend??

I have my money on sometime Saturday or Sunday.

Here is my reasoning:

1. Full moon Saturday night
2. First winter storm of 2006 is predicted for all day tomorrow.
3. My niece's birthday is Sunday. I came the day before her father's birthday all those years ago, so it just makes sense that my child would have the same need to upstage his child.

Yesterday, I ran into a former colleague at the post office while mailing packages. She asked when I was due, and I told her I was past due. She looked at my stomach, and said, "Yeah, he's pretty low in there." We exchanged niceties, and she left after I promised an email announcement upon his birth.

As I was leaving the post office after mailing my packages, I overheard one woman in line say to her friend, "I heard her say her due date was earlier this week. Can you believe it?"

I hope it was because I look good, and not because she thought I was crazy for running errands.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

PFOX doesn't quite get it, do they??

I received this memo as an email from a friend. The sheer brilliance in the DC OHR's logic is beautiful to me...

RE: Discrimination Complaint Filed Against NEA By PFOX

As you may recall, a group called "PFOX" applied for exhibit space at the 2002 NEA Representative Assembly in Dallas. PFOX represents the interests of "ex-gays," and it defines an ex-gay as a "man or woman who has left homosexuality and is now a heterosexual by preference or practice." PFOX's application was denied, and it subsequently filed a discrimination complaint against NEA with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights ("OHR"). The basis of PFOX's complaint was discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation."

Because there were some threshold procedural issues, and because OHR is not in any event a model of efficiency, OHR did not rule until May 24, 2005. It found "no probable cause" for the complaint, and PFOX filed a request for reconsideration. OHR recently affirmed its prior determination, and closed its file on the matter.

The basis for the OHR ruling is somewhat ironic. PFOX alleged that it was being discriminated against on the basis of "sexual orientation," which is a protected category under the D.C. Human Rights Act. According to OHR, the statutorily protected categories are defined by "immutable characteristics, i.e., those characteristics that are not subject to change as race, national origin, and gender." OHR held that an ex-gay does not meet the "immutable characteristic" test in view of PFOX's assertion that an ex-gay is "a man or woman who has left homosexuality and is now heterosexual by preference or practice." Accordingly, ex-gays are not entitled to statutory protection.

PFOX has three years from May 24, 2005 to file a petition for review with the D.C. Superior Court. It is our assumption that this matter is now over, but we will let you know if anything further happens.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

40 weeks 2 days: At least something is moving along...

Another doctor's appointment...

Blood pressure was still high, urine came back clean. Red's heartrate was good and strong, uterus was still growing. I gained a pound since Friday, so the little guy must still be gaining weight.

Internal exam showed no more dilation--still at 2 cm-- but the doctor said I am between 70 and 80 percent effaced now.

But what is really moving along is the stuff coming out of my intestines. I am hoping that my body is preparing for labor by cleaning house. maybe a biological nesting instinct??

The doctor told me that given my blood pressure, he wants me to "take it easy" and spend as much time as possible leaning back with my feet up.

It is hard to remain patient when you are supposed to lie around the house all day...

Monday, February 06, 2006

40 weeks 0 days: What's going on in there??


It seems we are no closer than we were two weeks ago. I thought I was having some promising contractions, but now it appears that this little stinker has run out of steam again. Apparently, he takes after Mom: a spurt of energy, fueled by a million good intentions, then a rapid running out of steam that requires a couple of days for rejuvenation. I am hoping that a walk Downtown in the sunny weather might motivate him to come on out tonight.

In other news, the insurance company has denied the first half of my claim for the double vision extravaganza. Apparently, they won't cover the fact that I started the adventures by going to the optometrist. Had I known that the optometrist wasn't covered, we might have started at the emergency room. I shudder to think what the bill would have been from the ER, and what might have happened: MRI, which would have meant emergency c-section, which might have led to a NICU stay. But, clearly, a $189 bill from the optometrist is not medically necessary. Clearly, there were more cost effective ways to handle the whole double vision excitement.

The kicker is that they are covering the appointment after the optometrist, but they currently have it coded as having been a visit to the dialysis center. Apparently, an optometrist isn't covered, but any pregnant woman (without kidney problems--mind you) can waltz into a dialysis center and get treatment.

For the record, I did not see a nephrologist that afternoon. I saw a neurologist.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

39 weeks 3 days: Note to self...

Dear Self,

When 39 weeks pregnant, the best way to celebrate one's successful preliminary exams is not to start reading about disgruntled parents of donor conceived children and the medical problems they unexpectedly inherited from their donors.

Especially when one can find examples of sick children from the bank one used, complete with irate parents who feel that the bank hid information from them.


Very Pregnant Self

Seriously, Dyke Two is not nearly as upset about these recent finds of mine. I am not sure why that is. Perhaps it is because she is more concerned about the pile of laundry sitting in his crib, or the dirty dishes accumulating in the sink (I really do think that our nesting instinct is broken.)

I have to admit, I have had a morbid sense of relief that the problems I have read about are occuring at more than one sperm bank, so I can't blame myself for picking a "bad" bank. I also have a sick sense of relief when I read about these donors and their physical descriptions and say to myself, "Well, our donor is a different race than that one."

Obviously, this thought process is ridiculous, since dishonesty is dishonesty, and it effects all of us, not just the users of the specific sperm. But, in that selfish, me-centered way that pregnant women get as they near the end of their pregnancies, it still makes me feel better.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

39 weeks 2 days: the preliminary exam...

...and I passed. Paper was fine. My interpretation of the journal article was acceptable. (I said it was crap--and the committee agreed).

We talked a lot about race and class issues in education, and that intervention and services are more important than placement.

We joked about needing to finish before the baby was born.

then, they kicked me out, and I went to pee.

then, they called me back in to tell me I passed.

One of the professors on the committee wants me to work with him this spring and summer on a needs assessment and survey of African-American parents of students with LD and the services the kids are currently receiving and the services the parents think that they should be receiving. And, he wants me to work with him next fall as a TA.

So, now, I just need to get this parasite out of me...