Gratitude, week 14

What a rollercoaster of a week! I received some great news, then some terrible news that turned out just fine. Before I put the cart before the horse, I should get to the point of this post. During this fourteenth week of our pregnancy, I’m thankful for:

  • Learning that our ginger kitty is going to be okay! Earlier this week, K took him to the vet because we thought he had a UTI. The vet discovered that his bladder was blocked and needed to cathederize him. After draining his bladder, the vet discovered what he believed was an inoperable bladder and/or colon tumor, which he believed was causing the initial health concern. The vet couldn’t get his X-ray machine to work in order to confirm the tumor. Once the machine started working again, he discovered, much to our great relief, that the kitty didn’t have a tumor after all. He was just severely constipated, which has been an ongoing issue. I was so happy to hear this news that I cried!
  • We had another lovely low-key weekend that allowed us the opportunity to tackle some of the longstanding to-do’s on our Falco list. K and I went to our local IKEA store to look at and confirm some of the nursery furniture items we’ve been considering for a while. He also called a painter that his mother recommended and scheduled him to come out for a quote tomorrow evening. Today, I spent about two hours sewing a fitted crib sheet for Falco. Kitty assisted me in this endeavor:

    Kitty loves to help me with crafts!

  • Fluff mail! I squealed like a kid at Christmastime when our postal carrier delivered two cloth diaper related package yesterday afternoon. Included in the bounty was two dozen seconds of Green Mountain Diapers unbleached prefolds, five Sunbabies pocket diapers that were customized with hip snaps, and five bamboo blend inserts. Lately, K has been searching the internet for cloth diaper related obsessive disorders because I’ve been spending so much of my time researching them and shopping for deals with co-op groups. It’s been a blast for me, though, and I think actually seeing some of this cuteness arrive in the mail put K’s mind at ease.

I’m still hopeful that K will have time to post about coming out to his bosses at work, which happened last week, and about meeting with his aunt on Tuesday. So many exciting things on the horizon, friends!

Telling the rest of our family

The time has come to tell the rest of our family about our baby-to-be.

One of the few perks of having a small family – one parent is an only child and the other only has one sibling – is that this job was pretty easy for me. My parents had already told my only aunt and uncle about the news and I was surprised to hear that they hadn’t immediately shared this information with my uncle’s kids (this is a second marriage for my aunt and uncle), all of whom are at least 8-15 years older than I.

My youngest (and dare say favorite) cousin and his wife have been unable to conceive for years and are understandably very private about the matter. I have heard through the familial grapevine that the subject is too painful for them to discuss and, because of this pain and struggle, they decided not to pursue medical interventions or adoption. They recently shared with my uncle that they’re moving to a different house because their current neighborhood is extraordinarily family oriented and being constantly reminded of what they don’t have is just too much for them.

It was really important for me to try to find a way to sensitively relay our news to my youngest cousin and his wife. I have a lot of people in my life who have struggled with infertility, including my parents, and I want to do my best to be an ally to these folks. There’s a possibility that I might see this cousin, his wife and my aunt and uncle at a post-Thanksgiving party, and I didn’t want the issue to come up for the first time at that gathering. It just seemed harsh and completely inappropriate.

After asking my parents for their sage advice, something that never used to happen but is happening more often these days, I made the decision to send all of my cousins and spouses a handwritten letter to announce our pregnancy. That way, I wasn’t treating my youngest cuz and his wife differently than the rest of his siblings, but was still allowing them the opportunity to privately learn about and process this information in whatever way and by whatever timeline they needed.

In the middle of the night, I saw that I had a post on my Facebook wall from my oldest cousin’s wife, which said, “Received your joyful letter. Xoxo.” They live the farthest away, so I’m guessing that all of my cousins have received our letter. Now, pretty much everyone I plan to tell in my family is aware. (We made the decision not to relay the details to my only living grandmother, who is almost 90, frail and has dementia, because we didn’t want to further confuse her. We know she’ll be thrilled to learn that a great-grandchild is on the way, though, and she’s made the assumption that we’re adopting.)

K has much larger family than I do, and most of the folks on his mother’s side of the family will know about our pregnancy once he tells his only living grandmother, which he plans to do next weekend. K wants to tell his favorite aunt before she hears about it through her mother because he has a very special relationship with this aunt – I adore her, too – and we know she’ll be thrilled. He has plans to meet his aunt for lunch on Tuesday before our next OB appointment. I’m kind of pouty that I can’t be in attendance, but I look forward to hearing about it.

K and I haven’t talked much about disclosing to his father’s side of the family. They’ve been late to know about a lot of our news, including about K’s trans identity and our wedding plans. I think we’ve been nervous to tell them a lot of our major news because his aunts and uncles on that side of the family are significantly older. K’s dad was a later-in-life baby for his parents and was basically raised as an only child because all of his siblings had moved out of the house, married, and some even had children before he was born. I’m sure K’s aunt and uncle in Texas would be thrilled by the specifics, though we might just relay the information in broad strokes to the rest of his aunts and uncles through a holiday card that’s signed from “K, C and Baby Our-hyphenated-lastname, expected to join the family on April 26, 2013.”

How have you uniquely shared major announcements with your loved ones?

Researching child care options

Yes, I’m nuts. If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a week, you’re probably already aware that I’m a fairly Type A person and appreciate research and organization, especially when the topic is making me anxious. I’d rather spend my time researching information about a topic than obsessing about “what ifs.”

Even though we likely need a child care provider until approximately August 2013, one of the largest expenses we will face as a dual income family is childcare, and this stresses me out beyond belief. Also, every cloth diapering parent I’ve spoken with has said that finding a child care provider who will accept a cloth diped kid is extraordinarily difficult. One of the main reasons why we’ve decided to cloth diaper Falco is to save money, so I refuse to spend money to build my cloth stash, only to turn around and buy disposables for half of our kid’s life.

Using the Great Start Connect website, a resource for parents and guardians in the mitten state to help them locate potential child care providers, and cross referencing their online records through the Department of Human Services, I began my child care provider search. After pre-screening many of these possible providers, I began placing phone calls to ask some questions. I left a ton of voicemails, but of the seven in-home day care providers I spoke with, every single one of them were amenable to cloth diapered kids in their care!

I learned that there was something else I should be worrying about instead. In our state, in-home day care providers can accept up to 6 children at one time, but only two of them can be 18 months of age or younger. This means that there is a large shortage of in-home child care providers for people seeking care for their babies. Many providers I spoke with agreed that it was early for me to call, but thought it was a great idea because these openings fill up so quickly.

We also discovered a local daycare center that focuses on an eco-friendly value system, and they’re located right around the corner from us! They happily accept cloth diapered children, use eco-friendly cleaning products, serve only organic food (including homemade, organic baby food), and teach children about the environment through a series of lessons, including interacting in the organic fruit and vegetable garden that is located behind the center. The ratios of staff to children is the absolute best and the center looks impeccable and uplifting.

Sounds perfect, right? Sadly, in addition to all of these aforementioned shared values, they also pray before meals and spend time each morning reading Bible stories “that teach kindness, compassion, good manners, caring for others, etc.” According to the center’s director, “It is a very simple and age appropriate part of our curriculum and we like to offer it not as a means to convert any child to our faith, but to introduce them to simple concepts about God and His love for them.” WHY?! K and I intend to introduce Falco to a wide array of spiritual paths from the place of appreciation, awareness and celebration of diversity, and we want to instill values, ethics and morals that are not necessary based on faith or organized religion. While we wouldn’t mind having this sort of care for a baby, we’d prefer to not have a toddler or older kid be exposed to lessons that are so far outside of our comfort zone.

All of the information I’ve gathered so far and will continue to gather as time marches on has certainly given us much to consider!

Gratitude, week 13

It’s been a low-key weekend so far. K and I have spent a lot of time lounging, doing chores, and we saw the movie Looper last night. Today, we’re headed to the home of friends for one part social gathering, one part dog play date. Should be fun times!

We’ve received a lot of conflicting information about what pregnancy week signals the start of the second trimester. Some resources say week 12, some say 14. Since we’re at week 13, we decided to consider this second trimester, which brings me to my gratitude list. This week, I’m grateful:

  • That we’re in our second trimester, when the risk of miscarriage significantly drops. This provides us both with a lot less anxiety and also allows us to feel a lot more comfortable with sharing our news with extended family members. We’re certain to report more about that in the coming week or two.
  • That K will soon have the experience of sharing pregnancy news with his bosses, for which he has an appointment to do on Tuesday. He’s very nervous but I just know that they’ll be supportive and that he’ll feel a lot of relief from not having to lie to everyone in his workplace any longer.
  • For more action on the pregnancy front in the coming weeks. The past few weeks have been pretty bland, which is nice sometimes, but I’ve felt like we were just waiting to make it to this imaginary goal of safety. Before us, we’ll soon experience coming out to the remainder of our family, our next OB appointment, the inevitable maternity clothes shopping trip, and very happy holidays.

 

Surprise disclosure

When K and I first started discussing the possibility of him trying to conceive our child, I envisioned a situation in which we were, if not shrouded in secrecy, extraordinarily silent on the matter of reproduction. We discussed a small, select group of people knowing about our pregnancy, and telling others on a need-to-know basis. It wasn’t shame, but rather need for safety, that was propelling our desire to remain very private.

The status of our disclosure about Falco is becoming so vastly different from what I’d imagined. Close family and friends knew we were pregnancy from practically the moment of conception. My coworkers knew when K was ovulating, for Pete’s sake. Recently, we told almost 40 additional friends. We have much larger network of support than we’d ever dreamed possible, and it’s nice to not have to be so quiet about something we’re clearly celebrating.

Yesterday brought, by far, the most random disclosure yet. I went for a dental cleaning and was surprised to discover that my dental hygienist, whom I’m only seen twice, was 34 weeks pregnant with her second child. We commiserated about the shitty lack of maternity leave coverage in our country, and about how this impacts our ability to nurture and bond with our children and leaves a lasting legacy of pay inequality over the course of our lifetimes.

Eventually, she turned to me and said, “You know an awful lot about this stuff for someone who doesn’t have children. Are you and your husband trying to conceive?” So I gave her a frank summary of our story. She was so excited for us and asked a few questions. Then, like she was speaking to any other first-time mom-to-be, we talked about typical parenting concerns. She gave me advice and encouraged me.

It was such an empowering and liberating experience! It left me with a sense of hope that the world isn’t filled with a bunch of transphobic assholes, that we might be able to fit in with other parents. The conversation with the dental hygienist also reminded me that, while every family has a unique tale about how they came to be, we also share so many similar challenges and joys and have the ability, if we’re able to celebrate and appreciate this uniqueness, to provide each other with very necessary love and support.

Blasting the closet door open

Well, we’re definitely a LOT more out about our pregnancy this morning than we were 24 hours ago. K has been working to draft a private message to send via Facebook to people we trust, and he officially hit “send” last evening. Below is the message we sent to 38 (!!!!!!) people:

“Greetings friends,

C and I are thrilled to announce that we are expecting the arrival of our first child at the end of April!

Last year we began discussing all the ways we could bring children into our lives.  Since C is unable to conceive, I decided to take the plunge and investigate if I would be able to conceive.  In December 2011, I stopped taking testosterone and we began working with a reproductive endocrinologist.  After preparing my body and undergoing various tests, we began trying to conceive in July and were successful on our second attempt. I’ve just entered my second trimester and everything is going great. I am so excited to become a dad and know C is going to make such a wonderful mama.

While this is obviously not the typical path toward parenthood, I feel very empowered about being able to utilize the tools I’ve been given in order to create the family we very much want. Thankfully, we’ve received a lot of support from our families and closest friends and we wanted to share our joy with other important folks in our lives. C and I knew at we could count on your understanding that, for the privacy and safety of our family, we’re not widely sharing this news publicly at this time.

Thank you so very much for all of the love and support you’ve always shown for our family.

Lots of love,
K and C”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Oh, and HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

K’s ass kept vibrating because my phone found its way there and our friends kept replying. I knew that no one would react poorly, and so far I’ve been right, but several have indicated that they screamed when they read the message. I guess we have fairly dramatic friends, but then again, like attracts like, doesn’t it?

Gratitude, week 12

Since C is still at her sleep study until later this afternoon, I thought I would take on our gratitude post. Yay, my first one!  This week I’m grateful for:

  • Getting a lot of my energy back.  I didn’t realize how tired and unproductive I had been in the first trimester until I’ve felt more energetic recently.  This morning I cleaned the house for 3 hours.  C has been taking on extra housework since I was feeling so tired and sick.  I hope this means I’ll be able to take back some of my cooking and cleaning tasks.
  • I’m feeling more comfortable about coming out to others about the pregnancy since we’re on the cusp of the second trimester.  I have an appointment to meet with my supervisor and our research center manager on October 22nd.  I think once I tell a few people at work I’ll feel a little less stressed at work.  I’m also working on drafting a Facebook private message to send to about 30 of our friends.  I’m actually feeling pretty excited to share this news with a wider circle of folks.
  • For C, who is the best partner a pregnant man can have!  🙂

Lazy weekend

So far, this has been a lazy, rainy fall weekend.

We woke up early this morning and went to two Mom to Mom sales. We were one of the first to get into the first sale, and we were able to successfully make up for our recent mistake of not grabbing for sale tags of larger items we were considering before moving on. If you don’t do that and still expect the item to be there once you’ve decided, you’re totally out of luck. At the first sale, we scored an adorable green and brown Graco pack and play with bassinet for $30 and a minky, gender neutral Baby Gap outfit for $2. The second sale wasn’t as spectacular, at least it wasn’t by the time we got there, but we ended up with a cute array of pants and overalls, mostly in 6-12 mo sizes, for about $12. On our way out, I turned to K and said, “I really can’t justify spending full price on baby clothes. Hell, I don’t even pay full price on my own clothes and I’m not constantly shitting myself.”

When we got home, we lounged around, got caught up on recorded television shows, did a few chores, and took naps. I showered in preparation of a sleep study (oh joy), then promptly discovered a flea on our youngest dog. K helped me corral the menagerie into the gated kitchen, where I then applied a flea treatment while K took cover in the bedroom to avoid the terrible chemicals. Of course, I accidentally doused myself in said chemicals, so I had to take another shower. Never a dull moment in our household.

The only silver lining of the annoying sleep study tonight is that it’s located by a ton of large baby stores that we don’t have closer to our home. We’re going to leave early for the test, have dinner, and shop around a little bit before I must have all of those sexy electrodes and sensors attached to my body. While the majority of my weekend has been monopolized by this study, at least the rest of the weekend has a slow, easy pace, which is such a relief after this hectic week.

Happy Coming Out Day!

In honor of National Coming Out Day, I decided to boldly go where no one has gone before at my place of work: I announced to a few close coworkers that I have a pregnant husband and am going to be a mom.

For those who didn’t even know that K is trans, the story was a bit awkward and bumpy. It basically involved me saying something along the lines of, “You might not know this, but my husband is a transgender man. He was born female and identifies as a man…” It’s pretty much the least graceful way to start a conversation, but I knew that if I didn’t just SAY it, I might lose my nerve.

A few of my coworkers know K from when we both worked at a different agency and he came to my current place of work to talk about transgender inclusion and awareness. Telling them was a lot easier because it wasn’t as large of a leap to go to “pregnant man.”

Everyone reacted appropriately, some were so excited that they cried and hugged me. There were a few understandable questions, which I comfortable answered. There were also several laughs when they heard our due date, as it is literally one day after our largest event of the year, for which I have tons of responsibilities.

Disclosing this information is making this all so damn real and it’s scary at times. A large part of me is still so afraid of counting my chickens before they’re hatched. I know that our risk for something bad happening is much lower at this point, but knowing that something has even an infinitesimal chance of happening can be nerve-wracking. Thankfully, K and I both have the outlet of this blog, the support of our friends, family and faithful readers, and love for one another to get us through any challenge that may come our way.