He will be (legally) mine

To Whom It May Concern:

I have examined the patient, C, and have found her to be in good health. I have no reason to believe that the patient’s health status will in any way compromise her ability to be an adoptive parent.

1972448_10103694651286023_1656771591_nThose are the contents of the letter I obtained today from a local urgent care clinic so that I can submit the step parent adoption process to finally call E my legal son. I am stopping by the courthouse first thing in the morning to drop off the mighty load of paperwork required for the process.

I’ve heard a number of same-sex couples who were legally married last Saturday have already begun filing the paperwork for step parent adoption and are being assigned caseworkers. Step parent adoption, as opposed to second parent adoption, is for legally married couples. Second parent adoption would then be reserved for committed, but not married, couples, but is not currently available because of the stay issued by the Sixth Circuit Court. Truth be told, I don’t love the emphasis on biological vs. non-biological connection to a child conveyed by the title “step parent,” but it seems like a streamlined process that will provide me with the same legal rights to my child, which matters more to me.

After I submit the paperwork and a case worker is assigned, I will have an initial interview with the case worker, pay for fingerprinting, and then schedule and pay for a second assessment, which I think is actually a home study. At that point, it will go to the judge for consideration and, hopefully, finalization.

I was initially quoted $1,500 to go through the process with a knowledgeable family law attorney, and that was what we had planned to do. We spoke with a friend of ours who is also a family law attorney, who encouraged us to submit the paperwork quickly and without the hiring an attorney. The paperwork is really straightforward and is available with instructions on the County’s website.

In about 12 hours, the ball will officially be rolling, folks! We can use your positive energy, prayers, and good thoughts for an ideal and expedited outcome for the sake of our family.

Continuing to Come Out

They say that coming out is a lifetime process. As our identities evolve, as we meet new people, there’s always new opportunities to tell our stories. Such has been the theme as of late.

I’m an active member of an online chat group that is a social spin-off of a cloth diapering focused community. The group of mostly women and a few men is raunchy, sassy and uplifting. There are few rules, but the ones they have mostly involve not judging each others’ choices, especially as it relates to parenting. I’ve developed a really good rapport with the group members and the moderators have become friends of mine.

To that end, I decided to take a risk and come out to the group. I posted the photo of K and I holding our legal marriage license and told our story. Group members had a lot of questions, which I answered openly and honestly. I talked about E’s birth story and told them how proud I am of my amazingly brave husband. I continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement from people who know so little about transgender identity and the complexities of gender, sex, and reproduction.

Ever since Saturday, I’ve been hearing from friends and coworkers that they keep seeing the footage of K and I holding our marriage license in local news broadcasts. It occurred me late on Sunday night that someone at E’s daycare may have seen one of the broadcasts and could very well ask us about it. We decided that we should prepare for this possibility and coordinate the messaging we felt comfortable conveying to them. Nothing is worse than being caught by surprise, stammering or rambling while coming out to someone. It certainly doesn’t communicate confidence in your identity.

It’s a good thing we prepared because when K picked E up from daycare on Monday, one of the teachers in E’s room said that the lead teacher mentioned that she’d seen us on the news. K told the teacher about his trans identity and explained that the law views us as a same-sex couple, even though that’s not how we identify. We decided not to tell the daycare, at this point, about E’s birth story. As we suspected would be the case, the teacher was really supportive.

It’s nice to feel a renewed sense of authenticity and feel the warmth of new allies. What was your last coming out experience and to whom?

We Did!

Many of you by now have likely heard about Judge Bernard Friedman declaring Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on Friday evening in the case of DeBoer v. Snyder and Schuette. Because of this decision and our awesome ally of a County Clerk deciding to open for special hours on Saturday to issue marriage licenses, K and I were one of 142 couples to legally wed in our county that day.

It all happened so fast, but we knew that, even though K was miserably sick and I was doing everything in my power to not succumb to the same illness, we needed to make this happen for our family. We knew that a stay was likely inevitable and that we’d have this very tiny window before another potentially long wait for the rights we all deserve. To that end, we got up early on Saturday morning, hustled to get out the door, and made it to the courthouse about 45 minutes before they opened.

I’m not quite sure what I expected but I was surprised that there weren’t more people already there. There were maybe 30-40 couples in line in front of us and there was enough room for us to squeeze inside the building instead of having to wait in the cold. There was very few members of the media present, despite the historic day. At around 9 a.m., security began letting people through and the line then snaked down a long hallway toward the Clerk’s desks.

10147514_10154010548020287_171026002_oA former coworker and her partner were in line behind us and it made the experience even more enjoyable. It was fun to see so many people we knew being able to share an anniversary with us. The Clerk’s staff were all so chipper on their day off, working so hard to make sure as many people as possible could get their licenses before the office closed for the day. We completed our paperwork, paid the fee for the license and to have the clerk preside over our ceremony, and then walked down the long hallway to the County Commissioners’ Auditorium, stopping to change E’s diaper on our way.

When we reached the auditorium, couples had their paperwork confirmed by the Deputy Clerk, and then we were legally wed in a mass ceremony of about 40 couples. It was really meaningful to us that our officiant was The Honorable Lisa Brown, our County Clerk, who had actually been called by the defense in marriage equality case. When she was called to testify, she essentially said that she hated being in the position of having to bar people from accessing the institution of marriage, but had to because that’s what was required of her by law, and that she could not wait to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The words she uttered during our mass ceremony were uplifting, heartwarming, and affirming of the struggle we’ve endured and will continue to endure. K and I kissed each other and then kissed E.

We then waited in a long line to have our paperwork signed by the Clerk and two witnesses. Once that was complete, we walked back down to the other end of the building again to the Clerk’s desks, walking past other couples waiting in line for their chance to legally wed, and were immediately issued our official marriage certificates. Each time a couple emerged with their certificates, the crowd cheered, and though I didn’t know all of them and the circumstances were hardly ideal, it felt like a large, loving family supporting our union.

One of our dear friends, who was there waiting for her own marriage license and certificate, took a photo of us with our official documents and, while she did, a local news station filmed it. They asked for an interview, which I gave, but they thankfully never aired my rambling. They did, however, air at least six seconds of us standing there, having our photograph taken with our marriage certificate, and several of my friends have mentioned seeing it on the news at different times.

Despite the stay being granted only a few hours later, the attorney who represented the Rowse-DeBoers in the marriage equality case is urging families to seek second parent adoptions, as she does not believe the stay will impede their ability to do so. I will be contacting local attorneys in the morning to try to move the process forward for the sake and stability of our family.

I have mixed emotions right now. I am elated that I am now K’s legal wife, though also baffled because, after living through the adoption of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, I never thought I’d see this day. I am heartbroken for the families who continue to wait for the day when they will see equality. I am furious that Attorney General Bill Schuette continues to waste limited state resources on a losing cause, simply so he can kowtow to his party. I am grateful to those like Judge Bernard Friedman and Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown, who believe that equality is just. I feel forever indebted to April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who have bravely fought for the rights of their family and so many others. I feel awash in the glow of love and support from my community, friends, and family members.

I have mentioned several times that this union was one of the least romantic set of circumstances one can imagine – snot pouring out of K’s nose, me wearing dirty, day-old jeans and unwashed hair, scrambling to make it in time. Upon further reflection, I’ve decided that sometimes love looks a lot more like loyalty, stability, and protection, and a lot less like passionate romance. We need room for all of this, and more, in our relationships, and I’m so thankful to have it with K.

Soon to be one!

While E is still merely on the verge of walking, I think it’s safe for us to classify him as a toddler. He’s certainly showing a lot of toddleresque behaviors. For example, where he used to roll with most of what came his way, he’s extraordinarily expressive of his feelings these days. He has a complete lay-on-the-floor meltdown with pouty lips and huge tears when I ruin his fun by taking away an unsafe obstacle or put on his coat to leave.

He’s also showing a lot of limit-testing behaviors. While K was out on Saturday morning, E and I spent a few hours in each other’s company. During that time, he played mostly independently while I put some laundry away. At one point, he crawled over to an electrical outlet (it’s covered, but I’d still like for him to stay away from it), reached his hand out and looked at me. I know he’s aware that it is a no-touch zone, so I made my “uh oh” sound, said, “Mommy doesn’t want you to touch that. It’s dangerous,” and redirected his behavior toward something he could touch. It happened a few more times and the last time, he had a total meltdown when I limited him.

Beware the silence of toddlers.

Beware the silence of toddlers.

It’s a challenge for me to discipline and this is a whole new set of behaviors around which to increase our parenting confidence. While my brain knows that setting boundaries is healthy and necessary, fear tends to creep in and I worry that it will impact his love for me. That same Saturday morning, it helped immensely to see that the exact opposite played out: just 20 minutes after he had recovered from the limit-setting meltdown, he hurt himself on a toy, cried, and reached out for me. We snuggled for several minutes – also a newer phenomenon – and it melted my heart to see evidence of him needing me and only me for comfort.

E is also looking less and less like a baby these days. I look over and see the child in him, and it makes me both sad and happy at the same time. His milestones are equally exciting and heartbreaking, 1912420_10103643907776423_1068056591_nas I witness behaviors become part of my dear child’s history instead of present. The only thing that truly helps me to feel better is to remind myself to stay present and appreciate what happens as it happens. It’s a tricky proposition for me, though.

He’s been working hard the past couple of weeks to stand for greater lengths on his own, and is cruising a lot. He gets excited when we hold his hands for support while he practices walking and I know that he’ll soon be walking on his own. He’s such a determined little character who spends all day working toward these goals.

Of COURSE we practiced with a cupcake.

Of COURSE we practiced with a cupcake.

We’ve gotten almost all of the details in order for his first birthday party. We ordered and received all decor, food/beverage accessories, and the favors. The musician is booked and we have about 30 people who will be in attendance. We ordered the cake – shaped like an acoustic guitar from my favorite gluten free bakery – and planned the snacks. E has even received his first birthday gift in the mail – a framed share of Facebook stock from K’s Aunt K who hosted our family baby shower. I’m excited about celebrating this milestone with our loved ones!

I can’t believe I’m about to be the mom of a one-year-old kid. I guess I can’t really call myself a new mom anymore, can I?

Seeking Sanity

Up until this point in my parenting path, I think I’ve had a fairly reasonable approach to the unattainable notion of perfection. Recently, though, as E barrels toward a milestone at which he’ll likely only consume actual food for his nutrients, I’ve experienced mounting pressure to make sure I’m introducing him to a wide variety of nutritious solid foods.

As a working mom with husband who commutes a long distance to work, I don’t have all of the resources I need to be able to successfully pull off nutritious and varied dinners every single week night. I am lucky in that E can often play fairly independently for decent stretches of time, but while I’m trying to throw something together for dinner, E inevitably needs my attention. The time I have between getting home from daycare pickup and getting E to bed feels so short, and we try to squeeze in a bath for E every other night, too.  All of these factors have recently combined in a shitstorm of guilt and feelings of failure.

Last weekend, we didn’t have anything on our calendar, so I made the decision to spend the bulk of the time in the kitchen preparing and freezing meals. We have a chest freezer in the basement, which we purchased before E was born with the intention of having easy meals at our fingertips, and I wanted to fill it with yummy things that I could easily assemble throughout the week.

I prepared by accumulating recipes for the meals I wanted to make. I then listed out the amount of each ingredient I needed for each recipe, most of which was doubled or tripled. Finally, I created a shopping list of the ingredients needed for all recipes so that I would purchase the necessary quantities of the items.

I tried to organize my workload in a logical and efficient way, chopping all veggies for the recipes first, and always looking one or two steps ahead so that I could allow time for items to cool, bake, etc.

Delicious quinoa cakes and red pepper - NOT served on Turkey Day.

Delicious quinoa cakes and red pepper – NOT served on Turkey Day.

Here’s what I made/froze:

  • A gluten free version of Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf (double batch made into smaller sized loaves)
  • Black bean taco soup – K’s favorite so far. I made a double batch and froze into half-size batches)
  • A triple batch of my favorite Quinoa Cakes. I make them with gluten free breadcrumbs and, while I’ve had them with the recommended poached egg, our favorite way of serving them is with goat cheese and sautéed red peppers on top.
  • A quadruple batch of homemade taco seasoning.
  • A double batch of this homemade ranch dressing/seasoning mix.
  • A double batch of muffin-sized broccoli cheddar rice bakes, which uses the ranch seasoning.
  • A double batch of twice-baked potatoes, which loosely uses this recipe. I used 8 large baked Russet potatoes, 1 stick melted salted butter, about 1 c plain Greek yogurt (could use sour cream), 2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 c milk, 1 c. chopped green onions, 1 tsp of sea salt, and 3 tsp of the homemade ranch seasoning. I froze them and can bake from freezing at 350 F for about 55 minutes or thaw and bake for about 15 minutes.
  • A gluten free powdered mix alternative to “cream of” canned soups.
  • A double batch of my friend Dan’s Mexican shredded chicken. 4 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, two 16-oz jars of salsa, and 4 Tbsp of the homemade taco seasoning listed above, cooked on low in my crock pot for about 8 hours. I shredded the chicken in my KitchenAid mixer by using the paddle attachment for about twenty seconds, then mixed the shredded chicken breast back in with the sauce in which it cooked. I froze this in sandwich sized freezer bags to use as taco filling, to top nachos, or in a Mexican-inspired rice bowl.
  • A double batch of my mom’s top-secret white chicken chili, frozen into quart size freezer bags.

Since I had purchased two very large packages of chicken breasts, I had some leftover from the above recipes. I bagged and froze 1.5 lb quantities into freezer bags with marinade so they would marinate as they thawed in the refrigerator.

I completed the bulk of this work on Saturday, then wrapped up by around noon on Sunday, taking breaks to rest and spend time with K and E. It felt like a monumental task, but truly made for much easier meal prep throughout the week. As the week concludes, I am proud to say that we had a delicious, nutrient-dense, homemade meal every single night with very little weeknight effort. I have enough in our freezer to likely last about six weeks, too!

I have a feeling that this periodic meal preparation strategy will become part of our family’s organized way to stay sane, save money and feel successful and nourished.

10 Months Young

E 9 month photo

Technically his 9-month photo

Whoa. I can’t believe how long it has been since our last post. So sorry about that, y’all.

On Saturday, K and I officially became parents of a thriving, happy, TEN MONTH OLD. I can’t even believe how quickly the time has flown, and how rapidly we seem to be closing in on that looming one year mark.

Here are a few stats on our growing guy:

Weight: ~21 lbs

Length: ~28 inches

Clothing size: Mostly 12-18 months for tops because of his long torso and mostly 12 month bottoms, as long as they’re stretchy to accommodate the fluffy cloth diaper butt.

breakfast with daddy

Breakfast with Daddy

Favorite food(s): Pretty much anything Daddy is eating! E has turned into quite the little foodie and will literally try anything we put in front of him. Even things he previously rejected like scrambled eggs and any variation of potatoes are now fair game. He gets really excited when we give him super flavorful food like the quinoa risotto I make that has garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon juice and zest, and goat cheese in it. Like Daddy, he’s a big fan of fruit. He seems to be eating us out of house and home, though, and is now waking in the middle of the night because he’s hungry for an extra bottle!

Favorite activities: Standing and cruising against furniture. E has also recently started doing this hilarious thing where he scoot-hops forward while on his butt and without using his hands. Bath time is also a popular activity, as E tends to melt down when we take him out of the bath before he feels like he’s done with the fun.

Favorite toys: Cups of any variety and any sort of musical instrument.

Health: Doing so much better with his ears. He’s had his first ear infection since getting tubes, and it’s kind of gross to see the drainage come out, even though I know it means his ears don’t have that painful pressure. Treating ear infections is so much easier with tubes, too, and only involves ear drops twice a day. He’s fully stopped his reflux meds without incident. He’s had a random cold once since getting tubes, but it’s been minor.

keepin' it classy at Costco

Keepin’ it classy at Costco

Number of teeth: He has the two middle teeth on the bottom, has three of the top middle teeth and one more top middle tooth is currently peeking through. That would make for SIX!

Sleep: When he’s not sick and/or teething, E seems to do pretty well with sleep. Up until his recent increase in hunger and food consumption, he was reliably sleeping through the night. He doesn’t nap very well at daycare, mostly because he has what our dear friend calls FOMA, which stands for “Fear of Missing Anything.” He also doesn’t nap very well for us at home, unless we all take a family nap in our bed, and then he’ll sleep for 2-3 hours without hesitation.

Mommy and Daddy’s humble brags: We hit the baby lottery. E is almost always so happy and curious. This child is a total joy and we absolutely love seeing him explore the world.

Mommy and Daddy’s current gripes: POOP! With the recent increase in food consumption comes a VERY large increase in poop production. Let’s also just say that cloth diapers + solid foods = things that can never been unseen.

Future plans: I really want to enroll E in a swimming class. In a state where bodies of water are so prevalent, it’s important both for safety and enjoyment that E has a good grasp of what to do in the water. It’s also my dream to enroll him in a baby music class, but all of the local ones seem to take place during weekday hours to accommodate stay at home parents.

Adoptee Drama

I am an adoptee. At the ripe age of 16, my birth mother was whisked from her family in a veil of secrecy to the other side of Texas to “live with an aunt” for a year. She lived in a home for unwed mothers, where she was able to continue her education and hide her pregnant belly as it grew before releasing me to my family.

I’ve always known I was an adoptee and my family celebrated it as something that made me special. My parents always said that they chose me and we celebrated my adoption day each year. I didn’t think a lot about it as a child, but being an adoptee has shaped a lot of who I am today as an adult. While I never longed for a relationship with my birth mother, I always wanted to one day to connect with her to see if there was someone in the world who was like me. I also wanted to thank her for what must have been a very traumatic experience, because her sacrifice gave me the life that I have today.

Texas has strict privacy laws – some of the most stringent in the nation – as it relates to adoption. In order for adoptees and birth families to connect, they both must separately apply to a registry. If there’s a match, both parties are contacted. When I was a young adult, I added my name to the registry and discovered that my birth mother wasn’t looking for me because she was not on the registry.

A few years later, while surfing the internet when I should have been working, I stumbled upon a website for adoptees and birth families who were looking for one another. I did a quick search to see if any of the few random details I know about my origins were listed anywhere on the site. They were not, so I drafted a quick post about my details before promptly forgetting that I had done so.

A few years later, I received an email from someone who said that they might be my birth mother. While guarding myself against potential disappointment, something inside me said that the email was, indeed, from my birth mother. I instructed the person about how to go about joining the registry and, while we awaited word from the adoption agency, we continued to correspond back and forth.

The adoption agency confirmed that I had been talking with my birth mother, Ruth, and we continued the process of getting to know one another. I flew to the Houston area to meet her and her family twice. I learned the name of my birth father, whose family owns a line of Western boots, and received confirmation of the sordid tale I had always assumed was the truth – that he didn’t believe Ruth was pregnant with his child and other subsequent douchebaggery.

Ruth told me about the pain and shame surrounding the adoption and I did my best to comfort her. In the end, the trauma seemed to have won out, as she stopped communicating with me, despite my many efforts. Still, I occasionally added her to mailing lists associated with major milestones – our wedding announcement, Christmas card with our wedding photo, E’s birth announcement and Christmas card with his photo on it.

As we were planning our wedding, we received a save the date card from my half-sister, and she was planning to wed the same day as K and I. We never received a formal invitation to the wedding, not that we could have attended, but I assumed that Ruth decided that it was too much for her and convinced her daughter not to invite me.

After years of radio silence, I sorted through Tuesday’s mail to find a letter from a random Texas address I had not previously seen and immediately knew that it was from Ruth. In the letter, she apologized for letting so much time slip by without getting in touch, inquired several times about E, and updated me on some of her family’s news. She moved from the address I had when I sent E’s birth announcement, so it’s clear that she never received that, but I’m unsure how she was still able to receive the Christmas card I sent with E’s photo on it. Her daughter’s fiance suddenly broke off their engagements a few months before their wedding, leaving her heartbroken and in a lurch, which explains the lack of a formal invitation to her wedding. My half-sister has since met a nice man and is pregnant with her first child, a little boy due in mid-March. My half brothers are currently living apart from Ruth in the town where my birth mother last lived – one is working and the other is in his final year of high school.

I’m not quite sure how to feel. I’m honestly not allowing myself to feel much of anything. I don’t want to extend my emotions or get my hopes up that this communication is a sign of her desire to reconnect in any meaningful way. I plan on writing her back and providing information about E (“I hope there is a very happy story I need to hear,” she says), as well as some photos, which she requested. Beyond that, I think I need to consider each communication as a singular interaction and not think about them in succession or as perhaps something that could become a trend.

K thinks that she was driven to write the letter to find out more about E. It’s clear that it was of interest to her, given her several references to him in the letter. K also theorizes that she likely wonders about whether or not they share a biological connection, which I hadn’t even considered. I’m not really letting myself go to the place of analysis, especially as it relates to E, because I’ve long since stopped wondering why Ruth does what she does. She has a right to her emotions and has a responsibility to steward her past trauma in a way that makes sense for her. I’ve always hoped that she’d be able to get to a place of peace, mostly because she’s a nice person who deserves to feel released of that shame and guilt, but I know that there isn’t anything I can do to control whether or not that happens for her. Besides, my energy needs to stay focused on my own family.

Whew. What a can of worms.

Looking forward

One of the bonuses of being really, really sick to the point of depleting my vacation time (because of course my sick time is hovering at the zero hour mark), if I have to find one, is that I actually had some time to focus on planning E’s first birthday party.

For months, I have refused to even think about the notion of this event, mostly because of my reluctance to admit that our child is careening toward this milestone, but also because we have a teeny, tiny house that couldn’t contain our immediate family, let alone close friends. The latter concern, now that I’ve solved it, is laughable, given that I am a skilled, professional event planner, but the challenge truly threw me for a loop.

While digesting episode upon episode of the Law & Order franchise, I researched budget-friendly local venues, potential entertainers, and themes. I discovered that a local community center rents rooms of all sizes for very reasonable rates and called their scheduler to inquire about availability. I determined that the musician that E loved when she performed at his daycare Halloween party regularly plays for children’s parties, so I asked about her rates and availability, as well. Within a matter of mere days, I had hired the musician, who will play a half an hour set and bring a craft and an instrument for each child, reserved the room at the community center, paid deposits on both, decided upon a generic music theme, researched decor and sent out preliminary e-vites to close friends and family members.

I guess that settles it. We have a little kid who is turning one year old and we’re celebrating it with a party. Commence freak out.

A River (of Vomit) Runs Through It

Sorry for the revolting title, but it truly felt apropos, given the weekend we’ve had.

On Thursday, after a few days in denial over the clear bronchial symptoms I was experiencing, I broke down and left work early to go to an urgent care clinic. The doctor confirmed my suspicions: my bronchitis had unfortunately returned. He prescribed an inhaler and nightly cough syrup with codeine.

E was still fussy from his ear surgery and teething, so he was sleeping between us that night when he vomited in our bed. In a sleeping med induced haze, I changed our sheets while K got poor E all cleaned up. When we attempted to settle back in, E barfed again. K spent the next several hours with E on the couch, and was blessed by yet another massive tidal wave of vomit all over both of them. Between my bronchial hacking and sleeping meds, I was in and out of consciousness for the remainder of the night.

Early the next morning, we received an email from E’s daycare, alerting us that several children had gotten sick from a stomach virus, and requesting that we keep little ones home if they’re experiencing any of those symptoms. It was clear that E had gotten the virus. K stayed home with both of us, since I was way too sick to care for E alone.

By Saturday, we were feeling well enough to go to lunch with K’s cousins and their husbands, who hasn’t yet met E. It was an enjoyable couple of hours as we caught up with them and E, of course, dazzled them.

A few hours after returning home, K started feeling nauseous. He spent the entire night between the couch and the bathroom in total intestinal misery. I meanwhile did my best to care for E in our bed while I continued to hack away with my bronchitis symptoms.

K was feeling slightly better by Sunday morning when I succumbed to the stomach virus from hell. Even though he was still somewhat weak, he spent the majority of the day caring for E while I was doubly ill.

I stayed home from work again today, though I was finally feeling well enough to eat and drink. K took E to daycare and drove himself to and from work so he could pick E up. I spent the day resting and regaining my strength, and when I had small bursts of energy, I doused the entire house in Lysol, changed our germ-infested sheets, and washed some laundry that had accumulated from our weekend of doom.

What a helluva way to start the week. Is it Friday yet?


Surgical Success!

I’m thrilled to report that E’s surgery was a resounding success!

K and I woke up at the injurious time of 5 a.m. so we could be prepared to get to the surgical center by 6:15. We weren’t sure if the roads would be icy or congested with traffic, so we wanted to leave some cushion.

My intent was to wait until just before leaving to change E’s diaper and clothes and put him in a coat. I knew he’d be grumpy with the requirement of an empty stomach. He woke up a lot earlier than I had intended and was in happy spirits before promptly losing his shit in an epic meltdown. K and I had to continue bustling about to get ready to leave while trying without success to console him. K was also teary from the stressful experience, bracing himself for the possibility that this response could continue up until the point of surgery.

I’m certain the screaming E woke up half of the neighborhood when we put him in his car seat for the departure. I sat in the backseat with him and, after a few more moments of tears, he settled down.

20140114-202532.jpgWhen we got to the surgical center, we registered and were whisked back to a room, where a nurse conducted an intake. E was in great spirits and charmed every employee who walked by. We then met with the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist. We were slightly concerned that they’d reschedule his surgery because E has yet another cold, but the anesthesiologist felt his vitals and energy were strong enough to move forward.

E was abruptly taken back to surgery and we barely had time to give him a last-minute kiss. K and I trudged, exhausted and stressed, back to the family waiting area.

I kid you not – the surgeon came to talk to us after only five minutes. He said that the surgery went well and that it was aptly timed because he has another ear infection. He gave us antibiotic ear drops to use and told us that E would have some bloody drainage from his ears, which is normal, albeit gory looking.

After about fifteen more minutes, we were called back into the recovery area, where a nurse was holding and cuddling with our smiling, somewhat groggy son. The nurse reported that he did well, didn’t cry at all, and spent the majority of his time in recovery charming patients and staff alike. We cuddled with him in one of the large recliners in the recovery section, gave him a bottle, and slowly changed him back into his pajamas before heading home.

We were all really sleepy from the ordeal and lack of sleep the night before, so we took a luxurious three-hour nap together in our bed. Throughout the remainder of the day, E played and ate mostly as he normally would, but took longer than usual naps as his anesthesia continued to wear off. Toward the evening, it was obvious that his ears were bothering him and we gave him pain medication to try to make him more comfortable.

After an abnormal amount of daytime rest, E was impossible to get to sleep at night. K tried everything. At one point, K reports that E was jumping in bed between us and I groggily turned to him and, in a sleeping med induced haze, said, “What… the… fuck…?” E was wild but eventually went to sleep between us, leaving us very sleepy the next day.

I’ve already noticed a couple of major changes since E’s surgery:

  • E can definitely hear sounds more clearly. The slightest sound causes him to swivel his head around, which doesn’t bode well for going night-night in an old house with a creaky floor.
  • For the past few months, E has been an absolute nightmare during diaper changes, kicking, screaming, and wrestling to try to flip onto his tummy. I chalked it up to a normal developmental response to having better things to do than sit there while someone changes your diaper. Almost immediately after surgery, while he still might express displeasure, E will lay on his back for diaper changes. It’s clear to me that being horizontal was exacerbating the ear pain!
  • E is also exploring his sounds a lot more and seems to really enjoy yelling louder than I’ve ever heard him. I’m curious to see if he has a developmental explosion as it relates to verbal skills.

Thanks for all of the support, positive energy, and well-wishes, dear readers. K and I are very happy that we made this decision for our little guy, even though it was anxiety provoking.