Monday, April 28, 2008

Rainbow Families Conference

We attended the Rainbow Families DC conference on Saturday, which luckily for us, was in Takoma Park and not far from our home. We were amazed at how many people we know at the conference. Our lawyer stopped by and said hello. We ran into a couple that we met last year at the conference and later had dinner with because they were adopting a baby from India and we were interested in learning more. This year we met their adopted little girl - very cute. We ran into the folks at the blog 1 in Vermillion, who we know through A&C. A actually showed up, which surprised all of us. She looked so tired! Our friend I came to learn more about surrogacy and after we had dinner with him (if eating at Chipotle really counts as having dinner with someone). Our fertility doctor led the session called Donor Insemination 101, with charts and diagrams and models, very detailed informative. She also ended up sitting next to us during lunch. All of these people we know really shows how much a part of this community that we are now. We've lived in this area for five years, and on days like this, we realize how much this really is our home.

We were able to ask our doctor about our burning question - what if you can't find Rh- sperm? She said not to worry about it because you can get a shot after you are pregnant. What a relief - now it's back to picking sperm, and we can take into account more criteria than simply Indian with the right blood type.

The DI session was co-led by the woman who will be leading our DI support group, so we introduced ourselves to her. Her criteria for leading that group is, I guess, that she has been through it before. Her experience was not good, and I hope that our goes much better. I guess we'll find out soon.

We also attended a panel discussion about bi-racial families that was really interesting. One thing we found at is that all of the white people on the panel have racist parents, so we're not alone in that! One woman who is married to a black woman and they have a bi-racial baby said that her Irish father is just horribly racist and close-minded. They take him in small doses and with clear boundaries set. And then they tell their children "grandpa's old and hasn't had a lot of experiences. he's going to make us angry. when we go home, we'll yell and scream all we want." and if they are staying at grandpa's home, they will take breaks, like to go out for ice cream without him, and they will all yell "GRANDPA'S DRIVING ME CRAZY!" and when they feel calm again, they will go back to his house. I think this is a great plan. I don't want to shut my family out completely because they are my only link to my culture, but we need to equip our children to deal with them.

Second parent adoption

A&C asked K and I to write a recommendation for A to adopt baby K through second-parent adoption. We drafted something quickly with the hopes of dropping by with it yesterday so we could squeeze in one more visit with baby K, but it seems they were out at a wedding all day with their 10-day old baby. I'd love to hear how that went!

Here's what we wrote.

April 27, 2008

Dear Sir or Madam:

We are writing in regards to the adoption of KHW by AW. We first met A and C in 2004 at our church. We were new members, and they had been attending for a long time. We became fast friends as we had a lot in common. We were two young couples in our mid-twenties going through what all young couples go through – planning our wedding, buying a house, wanting to have kids. We’ve been through it all with them.

We went to their housewarming party in 2005 when they bought an historic three bedroom row house in downtown Greenbelt. They loved the house because it was in the neighborhood C grew up in, just down the street from C’s parents. They imagined their children playing in the backyard, which has a beautiful view of the woods. They imagined their kids playing with the neighborhood children on the playgrounds and biking through the trails. They imagined family holidays, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, crowded into their home and running around in that big backyard. They imagined their family and their lives in that house in Greenbelt. This past year they hosted their first family Christmas, and dream of many years to come.

We attended their wedding in 2006, a small affair with just their closest family and friends on a sailboat at sunset in the Annapolis harbor. The ceremony was beautiful and just so them. They took the same last name to symbolize that they were a family, and they chose the name Waters to symbolize their relationship, endless and beautiful and life-sustaining. There wasn’t a dry eye as we witnessed them declare their love for each other.

And now we’ve met baby K. He is everything they have been working for and wanting since we met them four years ago. They are so in love with that baby. C is Mama and A is Mommy. When they look at baby K, you see love and dreams and hopes for a future of family happiness.

A and C are both the moms of baby K. Neither of them could parent without the other. They co-exist as a couple, and now they co-exist as parents. Seeing them together as they care for baby K is like watching a choreographed dance – C feeds K, A burps K, K sleeps in A’s arms, C feeds K. In just one week they’ve figured out how to work out caring for a newborn as a team, and this is how they will continue to raise K – with teamwork and love.

Please grant A full adoption rights to baby K. He is as much her child as C’s. They planned for K together, and they will parent K together, but to do so, A needs to be K’s legal parent.

Thanks for considering this case, and choosing making a difference in the lives of this family.


Visting the baby

We visited AW&CW and the baby on Friday night, along with our friends KA&CC. Baby K was just 8 days old. It's an interesting dynamic because KA doesn't want to have kids and doesn't really like them, but CC does want to have kids. He just lights up when he's around babies. On the car ride over, KA said that she doesn't see the interesting thing about babies so young - they just scream all of the time. So we were all amazed when KA offered to hold baby K. We were all like 'are you sure?' and CC said 'get used to that feeling'.

K and I both enjoyed holding baby K, with his little fingers and toes and ears and eyes. Everything is so little and cute and tiny. We told him that we want to be his favorites, and we'll give him all of the ice cream and pizza he ever wants.

I was amazed at how many times CW fed baby K. We were only there for like 3 hours, and he ate at least 5 times. I guess they are still working on their schedule. I asked AW if she's used to the fact that she's a mom yet, and she said no, she feels like she's just got him for a short time and then someone's going to come and take him back. They are lucky because CW is able to take off 3 months and AW is home for 3 weeks, but since she is a teacher, she will only be at work for one more month and then she will be home for the summer. Sometimes I wonder why I'm not a teacher, but then I remember that I really hate teaching.

We had a great time with the little one and can't wait to see him again, but sadly I don't think we will until after we get back from our trip. He'll be so old by then!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Just one more week

Just one more excrutiating week before we head to Australia for a three week vacation. This is our big, blow-out, we can't do this when we have kids, vacation. But it's also our visit to K's godmother, who came from Australia to attend our wedding. We'll be there for three weeks, definitely log enough to forget about it all. But we have to get through one more week of work, and housework, and a condo board meeting, and a car repair, and a hair cut. Ugh, it all sounds so draining. I just want to be gone, out of here, on vacation.

I'm getting old!

Last night when we were lying in bed, just about to drift off to sleep, K said, in a very soft voice, "We really need to maximize our lives before we turn 30. It's all downhill from there." And I said, softly, "Yeah, and I've only got about 6 months left." K jumps, and says, animatedly, "You're turning 30 in 6 months? I knew that but I forgot! We need to get you pregnant. Oh, now I'm so nervous." Then we were wide awake and I had talk calmly to her for a few minutes before she could drift off to sleep.

I'm constantly reminding her that we are still young. Many women get pregnant with frozen sperm in their mid-30s. Hopefully, though, I will get pregnant before I turn 30 just because I don't want to wait that long.

Money woes

I've got car trouble. I have a 9 year old car with over 100,000 miles on it. It needs a new timing belt and the wheel barrings need to be tighted up. This will cost $800. If I don't get it fixed, I will be left stranded on the side of the road when my timing belt snaps. I don't want to fix this car, I want to buy a new car, a four door car with room for two car seats and room in the trunk for two strollers and a ton of groceries. Specifically, I want the Chevy HHR in orange, because it's big and practical but still cool and fun, just the kind of mom I want to be (minus the big part...).

But I can't buy that new car because I have to buy sperm. And pay the doctor to insert it inside of me. What if it takes a year? There will be no money left for a new car. So for now we will spend the $800 to fix this old crappy car that we don't even want. Sigh...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


This woman in my condo has a beautiful black and white stoller, very elegant, very modern. I asked her where she got it and she said that a friend of her brought it back from Italy and gave it to her at the baby shower. Nice friend! Most people would buy clothes or a small toy, something you can fit in your suitcase - not a stroller!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The L Word

On the first episode of the first season of the L Word, Bette and Tina go to the doctor for an insemination. The doctor tells them it works better if Tina is having an orgasm, so Bette gets to work on Tina at the doctors office while Tina is in stirrups. I've had this image in my mind for years. K has always said she's up for the challenge, but I'm not sure I could actually have an orgasm under those conditions.

But now that we are closer to the actual IUI and I've done a lot more research, nothing I've read or heard indicates that this is what would happen during an IUI. I think it's unnecessary because you are putting the sperm directly into the uterus, and the orgasm helps bring the sperm from the vagina to the uterus. I guess the L Word's not based on reality, huh? Another myth shattered.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What my wife went through to have these babies

I read this story in Glamour magazine last night about the ethics of fertility clinics. Basically, the practice is unregulated in the US and doctors are taking unecessary risks with our bodies and we let them because we really want to have babies.

Friday, April 18, 2008

New baby

K recieved a picture on her cell today of a new baby. C gave birth. It was just a picture so we don't even know if it's a boy or a girl, but we can't wait to meet the little one! I want to hear the whole story - how they gave birth, what it felt like, how long it took, everything. Here's a picture of the little one.

Morning routine

Every morning the alarm goes off at 6:15. K turns it off and I roll over and grab my thermometer. Instead of getting up, K lays there with me until the thermometer beeps. I guess everyone can use that extra 60 seconds to rest.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Workings of a 4-year-old mind

We went to dinner at an Indian restaurant, a first for these kids. R, my nephew, E, his dad, and I had this conversation:

R: What is Indian food?

E: It's food that people that Indian people eat.

R: What are Indian people?

E: People who live in India.

R: Am I Indian?

E: No because you live in Tampa.

R: How did you meet people from India?

Me: Aunt K's family is from India.

R (holding his chicken appetizer): Is this what Indian people eat?

Me: Some Indian people eat that.

R: Why only some Indian people?

Me: Well, some Indian people eat meat and some don't.

R: Why only some Indian people eat meat?

Me: Because of their religion, some Indian people eat meat and some don't.

R (looking to K): Do you eat meat?

K: No

Two days later while riding on an elevator:

R: Do Indian people eat meat?

Me: Some do, some don't.

R: But I eat meat because I'm from Tampa.

On Sunday he ate a strawberry for breakfast. Then he complained that he had a headache and then he threw up. Then he slept for hours. We think he was sick with a virus. Later that day we had this conversation with his mom J:

R: I think I'm allergic to strawberries.

J: No baby, I think you had a virus.

R: How did I get a virus?

Me: You get them from other people. Say someone who is sick with a virus touches this table. Then you touch this table and stick your hands in your mouth. Then you have the virus too.

R: So someone who ate strawberries touched this table?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


This weekend my sister and her family visited. My sister and I don't really get along. It's hard to say why. So it was an interesting visit. I never had an adult conversation with my sister the whole weekend. I mostly talked to her kids and a little to her husband, mostly about his boring job which he thinks is really interesting. But I did enjoy playing with the kids - a four year old boy and a 14-month-old girl. Really more playing with the boy. The girl mostly slept and cried. We're exhausted. Playing nonstop with a four year old is hard work.

I'm constantly amazed at how gendered hetero relationships are, even from people who are aware of gender differences and make concerted efforts to equalize things. Most male-female relationships we know, whether or not they have kids, has a man who works long hours and a woman who does more around the house, and this is true of my sister and brother-in-law. It's obvious just by watching them that she does more care taking. He spent a lot of time on his computer, blackberry, and phone, and she fed the kids, entertained the kids, bathed the kids, etc. And I heard so much about how much he works. He works all of the time, he works so hard. I'm sure there's generally an understanding that 'daddy's working'. Not that he's not involved with the kids - he certainly is - but not like she is.

I was also amazed at how gendered the kids are, especially the girl. She work pink every day, from head to toe - shirt, pants, shoes, socks, jacket. Does she ever where anything that's not pink? Also, she had a pink stroller and he had a blue one! It's so crazy.

The kids are really well-behaved, which I appreciate. Watching Supernanny, I always get scared that our kids will turn out that way. Being around well-behaved kids always makes me feel a little better. My sister said "How do you feel having a 4-year-old run wild in your home?" We said it wasn't a big deal at all since we babysit a 5- and 7-year-old who are much more wild than he is. He really wasn't that crazy in comparison.

One problem I've noticed with kids that I really want to avoid is creating picky eaters. I saw the parents say many times to the kids "I don't think you'll like this". Well, of course they won't if you tell them that. They live in Tampa and don't have a lot of diverse choices for food, so my brother-in-law wanted to eat food they don't get very often in FL. So we ate Thai, Chinese, and Indian - not even that diverse. We could have gone with Burmese and Ethiopian, but I guess that's pushing it on diversity. My sister fed the kids before we went out because she didn't think there would be anything for the kids to eat at these Asian restaurants. Each time at the restaurants though, the kids were given some of the food to try by dad (mom always trying to say they won't enjoy it) and they loved it. My sister was surprised, but why wouldn't they love it? Give them food that tastes good and they will like it. They didn't even have the boy try French toast! I made French toast for breakfast, but we had to make regular toast for him to eat while the rest of us enjoyed French toast because they weren't sure he would like it. Well, why not let him try it before saying to him, you may not like this? My one goal as a parent is to raise kids that want to try new foods.

Spending time with kids always reinforces to me that we can do this. Kids really like us. We really like kids. I'm the kind of person that gets down on the floor and plays with the kids. It's exhausting, it really is. But it's fun. We actually have a lot of interests in common with little ones. I pulled out all of our kids movies and the bro-in-law asked "Why do you have all of this stuff?" We have it because we like it. The boy loved Bananas in Pajamas, a tape I picked up for K in college. She fell in love with Bananas in Pajamas in high school when she visited her family in Australia who had young kids. They went to see the Bananas live and K was hooked. Well, now our nephew is hooked too. He watched the movie at least 5 times and walked around singing that song and laughing.

We will see these two again at a family reunion in TN for Thanksgiving. Hopefully at that time I will be pregnant.

The visit makes me want our own kids even more. When I checked my email today, I got an invitation to a Donor Insemination support group starting in June. Perfect timing for our June insemination. June come soon.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I woke up this morning with a dull ache in my right ear. Ear infection? Maybe. Or maybe I'm just congested. I've been off the decongestant now for three months, and I've replaced the drugs with echinacea. After the initial couple of weeks, I've been feeling okay, a little congested, but livable. But now it's spring and there are blossoms and pollen. A real test to my commitment. And now I have an ear ache.

Being off the decongestant has really increased my fertile mucus. In January I didn't notice a change, but in February and March I really did. So I do believe that being off the drugs will help, and that it takes a while to get the drugs out of your system, so I'm not going to go back on the drugs like I was before, taking 2-3 doses of Sudafed a day for years. But today I have an ear ache, and it hurts, and I want to feel better.

So I'm at work, and I start to think, I wonder if I have any Sudafed here? Open my drawer, oh look, it's my old friend. And I get excited. Come to me! I took one dose along with some ibuprofen. If that doesn't work, then I probably have an ear infection, which will require a trip to see my favorite doctor. But right now I'm enjoying breathing. It really feels good.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Potty training our dog

We adopted a little pug in May, almost a year ago. She was 2.5 then, so she was already potty trained, thankfully. She was perfect in so many ways - she never chews up our stuff, she doesn't bark or bite, and she's potty trained. The only problem with her was that she only peed once a day, and only if you took her on really long walks. She could hold her pee, so if you just took her on a short walk, she just wouldn't go. We didn't think peeing once a day was healthy, so we would take her on long walks three times a day - very time consuming, like may 1.5 hours a day. Our plan was to get her used peeing more, then start shortening the walks.

We also bought her a patio potty that we put on the balcony that she could use for emergencies or when we were in a hurry. It's fake grass over kitty litter. You can see her laying on it in the picture. We had a neighbor's beagle pee on it twice to make it more interesting, but Angel just did not find it interesting at all. She would sniff it, but never even attempt to go to the bathroom on it.

Well it's been almost a year now. We started to think it would never happen, that we would be taking her on these long walks forever. And we were a little worried because when we have a baby we won't have the time to take her on these walks. But then in the last month everything has turned around. She has started going in the garden by our building most of the time (though this is not a guarantee). And when she has an emergency, she has started begging to go on the balcony to use the patio potty. It's amazing. I don't know how it happened. I actually gave up on it long ago, but K was more patient and persistent than I was.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

More peeing in a cup

I got a call from my doctor's assistant today. I didn't actually see the doctor on my last visit, I saw the nurse practitioner. I guess the doctor was reviewing my lab work as a follow-up and noticed something strange. The assistant asked me who ordered all of these tests? She said the doctor didn't order them and didn't know why they were done. Big sigh. Again I explained that I was trying to do donor insemination to get pregnant and these tests were required. I had explained this to the receptionist and faxed her the list and they were mailed to me in a lab request. Assistant seems surprised - this is the first she's heard of it, and I guess the doctor doesn't know this either. I know for a fact this info is in my file because I had the nurse practitioner look for it when she was asking me the same questions. I guess nobody in that office reads the file.

So she asks if the urine samples were done on a first morning's pee. I said no, no one informed me that it was necessary. No one in the doctor's office, no one at the lab clinic, and not my nurse practitioner. So the tests need to be redone. Ugh, big sigh. She's sorry of course. At least this time they are letting me pick up the cup to take with me to pee at home. I'm so sure that when I show up tonight to pick it up they will not know why I am there. Why is everything so difficult? On top of it all, I got my period today. I wonder if I can take the test with my period or do I have to wait until it is over?

On a completely unrelated note, I was staring at myself in the mirror today in the bathroom at work and became depressed thinking about how many grey hairs I have. I plucked a few of the most obvious ones and then tried playing with the part to make it less noticible. I am going grey fast and I'm not even 30. How depressing. Maybe it's just affecting me more today because of my pms-induced emotional state.