Lamaze Class

It should be noted that we fly by the seat of our pants and are overly optimistic about the amount of time we have to complete a task, whether it’s driving across town to meet friends for dinner, or, say, enrolling in childbirth classes. On Sunday we realized it’s probably time to sign up for classes. The only set of classes that ends before Bean’s due date started Monday. Whoopsies. Luckily there was room in the class, and as a bonus,  I only had one day to dread the awkward stares and the Sisters Question.

We arrived at the posh hospital ON TIME Monday night. We were cheerfully greeted by Erin, the child birth educator, lactation consultant, and certified doula who will teach our class each Monday for six weeks. There were two other couples sitting in the waiting area. I braced myself. But no one had a chance to ask the Sisters Question.  After signing us in, Erin announced we had a small class of three couples and then led us into the classroom. She left the room while the six of us interviewed each other with a set of get-to-know-you questions. The other couples were really friendly, and we shared a palpable nervous energy one would expect from first time expectant parents. Each couple introduced another to Erin, and then we got started.

The first class focused mostly on what to expect during the third trimester, and how childbirth classes would help us prepare for labor and delivery. We watched animated videos about lightening and fetal positions. We watched a few videos of women managing labor with breathing and position changes. Then we practiced some relaxation techniques, and that’s about the point at which I lost my composure. Every time we talk about labor and delivery, my (apparently suppressed) grief over Peanut resurfaces. I guess that the grief is two-fold. One part of it is being faced with the reality that R will deliver one live infant when we expected, for 14 weeks, to deliver two. The other part is knowing that Peanut will be separated from us at the birth. Her body will be delivered after Bean’s, along with the two placentas.

At our last doctor’s visit I realized that Peanut’s body would be unceremoniously thrown in the trash with the placentas, unbeknownst to most of the attendant staff. I can’t tolerate that idea. So we’ve decided to bring the placentas home with us.  We will bury them and plant a tree over the site, so we’ll always have a place to visit Peanut and part of her can grow and thrive alongside Bean.

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It’s a Girl! (And what that means)

Hi! Thanks for bearing with me during my long silence while I labored and birthed the “baby” I’ve been cooking for the last five years. Now that my dissertation is in the digital hands of the Reading Committee, I have a few spare moments. I’m chock full of things to say, but one post has been brewing longer than most, so I’ll start there.

Peanut’s health crisis and death led to a lot of medical intervention that revealed the sex of our babies many weeks ago. I’ll be the first to admit I was elated to learn both our babies were girls. My mind’s eye saw the backs of two toddlers running on the beach in linen dresses with criss crossed straps across their backs and little bloomers cinched atop chubby thighs. I swooned at the mere thought of them. Sisters! Daughters! Swoon!

R’s Nana would be thrilled to hear we were not expecting boys. We she first heard we intended to have children, she clucked her teeth and told us she hoped we wouldn’t have boys because “Boys need a father.” I reminded her that we wouldn’t have much choice in the matter, but she was undeterred. Opinion delivered, we moved on to a new topic. But I suppose I never really moved on. My internalization of that admonishment contributed to my relief upon hearing the news that both babies were female. At least our inevitable parenting fumbles wouldn’t be chalked up to incongruence between sex chromosomes. But I was also just plain excited to have girls.

My relief and excitement were soon replaced by a defensive anxiety. Shortly after learning the babies’ sex, we began entertaining questions about it. Everyone and his mother wanted to know if we were going to find out the sex. I thought they’d all want to know how we did it! But no, all curiosity honed in on our baby’s genitals. It was truly unexpected. I was so busy preparing to rebuff unwanted inquiries into the nuts and bolts of the conception that I failed to prepare for the number one question — Boy or girl?  We made the rookie mistake of saying we knew the sex, but wanted to keep it a secret until the birth.  NB to all expectant families: if you are going to find out the sex but don’t want to reveal it, pretend you will be surprised at the birth. Otherwise, you will be needled to death by people who claim that they cannot possibly buy something/select a shower cake/knit a sweater without knowing the sex of your baby. And I mean people are out for blood.

We caved pretty quickly. It just wasn’t worth the trouble, and at the time we were still reeling from Peanut’s death, which made us a bit more pliable. Less resistant to pressure from the outside. I made a little sign that said “It’s a girl! But she has a serious allergy to pink.” My own small protest against the wider world’s effort to define my child by her chromosomes and (likely) corresponding genitalia.

It was just the beginning. Later I would argue with my mother in the Goodwill over a $2 article of clothing that I deemed too pink.  I would crumble whilst trying to register for baby items at Target, where I spotted “his and hers” toilet seats (photographic evidence below). I would catch myself wondering if a particular stroller was too boyish for a girl child. I was baited, reeled in, and tossed into the bucket with all the other new parents, floundering with less and less vigor as we resigned ourselves to our collective fate. My cousins told me it was inevitable. Fighting pink and princess was a losing battle.

Magical Moments My Ass.

Magical Moments My Ass.

And then I stumbled across this post by a friend and I realized the princess game is limited only by the lack of imagination I bring to it. My daughter’s princess can be strong, fast, and cunning. She can also be kind and thoughtful. She need not wear pink, but she needn’t be afraid to wear it either.

Mommy, Mama, and Me

We are depersonalizing and decluttering our house in preparation for selling it. We’ve slowly taken down all the art work, family photos, momentos, and much of the household kitch. I put together a bag of books to sell at one of my favorite local stores. The book buyer gave me $33 in store credit and I spent an hour I didn’t have browsing books for Bean. I bought three – Beautiful Oops!Awake to Nap, and Mommy, Mama, and Me. The first one comes highly recommended by one of my favorite two year-olds, whose mother pointed out that the book has a beautiful message for adults. It’s all about how to find beauty in mistakes. And boy is that a lesson I could use!

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I bought Awake to Nap because Nikki McClure’s woodcuts will always remind me of the Pacific Northwest and I want Bean to have some familiarity with or fondness for this place even if s/he never lives here. I love that Nikki made the woodcuts while her newborn son slept, and left off at N, when her interest in her increasingly active son outweighed her interest in finishing the book.

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And Mommy, Mama, and Me is a sweet illustrated board book about a two-mom family doing typical family things.

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It’s R’s favorite. I’m inclined to vote for Beautiful Oops!

 

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you – wherever you are on your journey. To those of you who are still waiting, my heart longs with you. To those expecting, I hope this day is one of joyful anticipation. To those with babes in arms, I hope today brings sweet smiles and a little pampering. And to those with babes full grown, I hope today brings warm thanks and pleasant memories.

Growth & Expansion

On Wednesday afternoon I raced to the bus stop, arms flailing awkwardly, back pack bouncing. The bus was late, which led to my chance encounter with Marcia Moonstar (not a pseudonym), who would probably say it was not a chance encounter at all. Marcia dashed over to the bus stop and asked me how long I’d been waiting. She looked anxious to get where she was going. She stood in the shade and chatted with a Somali woman who paced back and forth, constantly adjusting her hijab and occasionally issuing a tight-lipped smile. There was no shortage of nervous energy at the 48 bus stop on Wednesday.

After a few minutes, Marcia walked over to me and said “What kind of computer do you have?” Her emphasis on the word you led me to believe I’d tuned out a broader conversation about computers between the other women waiting for the 48.  A brief scan of the scene suggested otherwise. “I use a Mac,” I answered. She grimaced beneath the brim of her denim sunhat and said, “Those are expensive.” I agreed and fumbled with my phone. She told me about her new printer, and her need to call a woman in India to get assistance with the set up. She said she had struggled to understand the woman’s accent. I smiled and acknowledged it can be difficult sometimes. Then, tiny, wizened Marcia asked me

“So what’s your sign? I’m an astrologer. So, why did I want to come and talk to you?”

“Gemini,” I said.

Marcia punched me lightly in the arm and squealed and said, in rapid fire: “Gemini is the best sign! It’s in Jupiter right now! It’s a great time for personal growth and expansion. Are you planning something big?”

“I am. I’m getting married, graduating, moving, and expecting twins.”

“Wow! Great! Before June 25th?”

“No.”

She tilted her head. “Well, that’s okay, Gemini will be in Saturn after that, and that’s still good.”

Before I could respond the 48 arrived. Marcia gave me her card and told me to mention “48 bus stop” for a discounted reading in her home.

I sat in the back of the bus and texted R to tell her it’s a great time for growth and expansion. She agreed that she is expanding. I smiled.

Hers & Hers

I’m cooking up a longer post on the curiosities of being a mom/mom duo in the world of pregnancy and childbirth. The square-peg-round-hole effect is most obvious when I’m reviewing hospital and OB clinic websites, or reading pregnancy books from the mid-1990’s, which are clearly written  for mom/dad duos. And by ‘clearly written,’ I mean the books have cute little call outs called “Tips for Dad” that suggest he/I do things like: vacuum the carpets without being asked or do some of the “heavy lifting” around the house.

I have a feeling we are in for a lot of coming out experiences in the next few months. I wonder if I should try to butch it up a little to fit in with the other dads? More details to come! For now I’ll tide you over a photo with a photo that pretty well captures our hers & hers household these days.

Hers & Hers Breakfast of Champions

Hers & Hers Breakfast of Champions

Ants in my Pants

You know how little kids get really excited before birthday parties and Christmas and other fun things? And sometimes they dance around and jump up and down and get so excited that they vomit? Right now I am that kid. Can’t hold still. Can’t sit down. Haven’t vomited yet, but if I do you will be the first to know. Luckily I work from home, with only the cat to witness my regression.

That is all for now.