Category Archives: happy things

More Firsts

Lady Jr’s first solids – avocado!

 

april-27

 

Lady Jr’s first Easter.

DITL April 2017

 

Lady Jr’s first microbiology book.

DITL April 2017

 

Lady Jr’s first time sitting on a picnic blanket in the backyard.

 

And Lady Jr’s first sweet potato, which she seems to like a whole lot more than avocado.

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Giving Myself Some Slack

Holy fuck motherhood is tough. I have to admit, I was once of those asshats who looked at frazzled, exhausted, at wit’s end mothers and honestly couldn’t comprehend how it could be that bad. I was one of those people who rolled their eyes when mothers compared themselves to superheroes. Rolled them all the way ’round when a mother would highjack a conversation about work-life balance or some-such with a “you think that’s hard! try raising kids!”

Granted, most of this was before I really started down the path of TTC and began reading so many others’ experiences. And then I sort of just… shut down and stopped thinking about kids or babies for a while. As you do.

And now, here we are. Here I am. Frazzled. Exhausted. At wit’s end. Yet somehow keeping everything from completely spinning out of control, if only through sheer spite. And any time someone who isn’t a parent mentions how tired they are, how overwhelmed, I have to bite my tongue. Remind myself that, cliche as it is, no one can really understand what it’s like until they, too, Have Been There. But yes, I chuckle, somewhat hysterically, at any recommendation that I get more sleep or I do This One Thing to organize my life!! or that finding the time to exercise isn’t that hard!! hahahahaha

But. Yet. I’m keeping it together. I’m doing okay.

No.

Fuck it.

I’m doing AMAZING.

I haven’t slept more than 1.5 hours at a stretch in almost five weeks and both baby and wife have been constantly afflicted with colds and yet, I’ve:

– Kept up with the dishes
– Made enough food that *something* is available every day
– Acquired food every weekend
– Stuck to my stupidly restricted diet (no dairy, no gluten, no nightshades [see: no pizza, not ever])
– Vacuumed regularly
– Showered… less regularly
– Made it in to work on time every day (granted, I work from home and it’s 3 days a week, but still)
– Pumped 3 times a day for those work days even though I hate pumping with the very core of my being
– Woken up early enough to fit in another pumping session
– Paid the bills. On time.
– Fed & watered cats
– Gone on a walk or for a run or lifted every day most days
– Kept up with doing laundry (folding and putting away, not so much – what do you expect, miracles?)
– Worked 38 hour weeks
– While being the sole caregiver for Lady Jr two days a week
– Kept up with wordcount goals
– Gotten up at 5.30am every day to hit said goals
– Not wholly succumbed to eating just pints of (dairy free) ice cream
– Actually gone to a park or two with the baby

I’m sure there’s some I’m missing. Oh yes:

– Taken care of and played with the best, happiest, most cute 4 month old (evah!!)

The lows are low, but the highs are so high. Her giggles, her laughs, her smiles, her wiggles, her annoyed chirps – she gets me through all of the hard bits. She is worth all of it.

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Things Tend to Work Out

Honestly, I came to hate the phrase “things will work out!” during our TTC years. When everything looks like failure and you can’t see a way forward except for giving up, it doesn’t provide much solace.

But it’s not untrue.

I don’t know if it’s the Way the Universe Is or a greater force or simply our very human way of making sense out of our otherwise senseless experiences, but things do tend to work out all right. Coincidences and happenstances accrue until you can look back at a certain point and seriously believe This Was Meant to Happen.

Dr Lady is gone all week so I’ve had a lot of time alone by myself to think and talk to Lady Jr. And I realized in talking to her the other night that we would not be here, with her, without those struggles, without those failures, without all those opportunities going up in smoke.

We would have had a different Lady Jr, a different donor, and a wholly different work situation. For one thing, if we’d had our BFP sooner, I would not be so calmly looking forward to getting to work at home in my last weeks, to knowing I’d have a job when I come back from maternity leave, to the sheer flexibility of this work. I would still be working with the county, in a job that I had learned to despise, a job where I’d have had to go on FMLA for my OB appointments (I’m not even kidding), where I would have gotten three months off but then would have had to come back to work full time right away. I would have felt stuck there, unwilling to leave the security of regular pay and benefits with a child on the way.

If I’d had our BFP sooner, I doubt I would have gathered the courage to quit that job and I would never have been available at the exact right time for this new job, where I have already learned so many new things and had such a great experience.

If we’d had our BFP sooner, we would have been in the much less envious situation of moving cross-country with two cats and a small child. We would have been flying around the country this last year, visiting newborns and relatives and weddings, with a crawling/walking toddler. Which is doable! But goodness am I glad that when Lady Jr is one and two and three, we will have the luxury of driving to see most of our relatives.

If Dr Lady’s opportunity to go to France hadn’t fallen through last autumn, there wouldn’t even be a Lady Jr. Honestly, there might never have been a Lady Jr. It was that very month that I had fully given up, and it wasn’t until after it fell through that I thought – well, I guess we might as well try IUI.

If Dr Lady’s opportunity to go to France hadn’t fallen through last spring, well – I’d still be pregnant, but I likely wouldn’t have a stay-at-home job and I wouldn’t have been able to attend my friend’s wedding.

If I hadn’t spent so long in TTC, I would not have the appreciation for all this that I do now. I wouldn’t have found out I had PCOS – which ended up explaining all the weird hormonal stuff in my past. I wouldn’t have found this community. And I wouldn’t have learned so very, very much about not just TTC and how our bodies work, but about babies and pregnancy and breastfeeding and what you need and what’s normal and what’s not. I wouldn’t have had the chance to read so many others’ experiences, in real time. To gain so much knowledge and understand that yes, it’s hard, but it’s also doable.

TTC was hard. Missing out on France was hard. Quitting my job and dealing with four months of unemployment and uncertainty was hard. Accepting that we needed medical intervention was hard.

But… I wouldn’t trade where I am now for anything. Lady Jr is a unique confluence of events and I couldn’t have chosen better ones.

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Desert Appreciation: Sunrise/Sunset

It wasn’t until college that I tried to catch that liminal point when night turned to day or vice versa. Partially because there were just so many trees in the way and sunrise was little more than a lightening of the sky. Our college, however, was situated facing west on a bayfront, the perfect spot to witness the end of a day. That spot became a regular refuge from the stress of papers and exams. We’d sit with our feet inches away from the water, heads back and skin slick with humidity, watching the light fade and the stars come out.

I watched sunsets in Seattle, too, but it wasn’t until we moved to the desert that I began watching sunrises. Since the thermometer starts shooting upwards as soon as the sun crests the horizon, I quickly learned to appreciate the early morning hours. I became an early-riser just to get outside once a day and enjoy the world without all the oppressive heat.

The desert more than rewards the the effort, with its mountains and open horizons. Almost every sunrise is a spectacular event, full of color and bravado. If I could, I’d watch every sunrise, even – especially – the ones at 5am.

 

Four: The Tranquility of Solar Transition

 

march-169

 

Sunrise from Tumamoc Hill

 

september-341

 

february-27

 

june-23

 

Ball of Sunset

 

Sunset #43: This time with ponies

 

july-62

 

Sunset at Gate's Pass

 

Star Gazing at Gate's Pass

 

Star Gazing at Gate's Pass

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Anatomy Scan

Today was the day! We got to see Lady Jr in all their wiggly, baby-shaped glory. When last we saw them, they were hardly more than a curved head and tail, with a fluttering dot for a heart. This time, there was no mistaking that this was a baby human. We even saw feet!

Confirmation #1: Lady Jr is not a mermaid.

We were lucky to have our OB doing the scan herself, so she commented on each part we saw, letting us know what it was and how normal it was. I was surprised by how many organs we could find: bladder, stomach, kidneys, heart, and brain. The doc kept coming back to the heart, which was doing a good job of pumping with all four chambers.

Confirmation #2: Lady Jr is neither a fish (two-chambered heart) or a reptile (three chambers).

Confirmation #3: Lady Jr is a very healthy proto-human, full of organs.

Two arms, two legs. A spine where it should be. Ears. A round face with a big nose (just like one of their moms). So many parts surprisingly clear. I kept expecting something to be wrong but… nothing was.

Then of course, up between Lady Jr’s legs for the obligatory bits check. And there were bits. Or rather more noticeably, there were no bits.

Confirmation #4: Lady Jr is a girl.

Honestly, I was both surprised/not-surprised. Mostly just relieved to see her sucking happily on her toes, everything in the right place.

It was also cool to see her kicking and wiggling on the screen and to feel it at the same time. It was a bit of: oh, that’s what’s happening when I feel that. She was super active the entire time, which made it a lot easier for the doc to get all the measurements.

All in all, I’m glad I didn’t allow myself to think too much about all the things that could be wrong, but I’m also glad I was aware that so many things could go wrong, because each perfectly normal organ/body part was another happy point. So crazy that she is the same ball of cells we saw at 7 weeks. So crazy that Lady Jr is a she. Of course, she might not actually be and, if so, she’ll let us know that later, but for now having a pronoun other than “it” is surprisingly humanizing.

Now, to avoid getting inundated with pink things.

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Place Your Gender Bets Now!

Our next OB appointment is this coming Monday, the start of week 22, and we were warned it would be an ultrasound appointment. I’m just going to go out on a limb and say it’s out anatomy scan. Which means that, as long as Lady Jr cooperates, we’ll find out the sex.

Before we found out I was pregnant, I thought I’d prefer a girl. But now that I’ve been pregnant and been carrying around this little proto-human for a while, I honestly no longer care. Either is fine. Both is fine. We will smash the patriarchy together no matter the sex.

So, my own guess? Well, if we’re going by numbers, then the fact that all three of my nieces are girls and everyone I know offline has had a girl lately means we’ll have a boy. If we go by the number of times I’ve slipped and used a pronoun instead of it/they for Lady Jr, we’re having a girl. If we go by gut – it depends on the day!

According to yea olden wives’ tales:

Carrying high vs low: Low
Boy

Craving salts vs sugars: CARBS CARBS CARBS
Girl

Fetal heart rate above or below 140: 145
Girl

All the acne vs clear skin: Clear skin
Boy

Content of dreams: COVERED IN ANTS
Boy

Morning sickness?: Yes
Girl

Dry hands vs soft hands: Much drier than usual (and this is the desert!)
Boy

Boobs, which one is bigger: Left
Girl

Sleeping on the left side vs the right: Left
Boy

Moody or calm as iced tea: BITCH STAY BACK I’LL CUT YOU
Girl

Boy: 5
Girl: 5

There you have it. Even the old wives’ tales agree with me: we’re having both!

Make your predictions now. If you guess right, you will be rewarded with a smug feeling of satisfaction. 🙂

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Desert Appreciation: Monsoon

I grew up in Florida. I know about thunderstorms. Throughout the summer, we’d get them every day around 3-5pm like clockwork. Small bursts that would congregate and dispense rain like sudden, divine punishment before slipping away to the next block. You could look out one side of the house and see sunlight and blue sky, only to go to another side and find darkness and rain. Larger storms that would stretch into the night, rain drumming louder than a rock concert.

Then there were, of course, the hurricanes. Tropical depressions, tropical storms, cat 1, cat 2, and time-to-evacuate cat 3.

I thought I was ready for monsoon season. Rain? Check. Heavy rain? Check check. Rain so thick you can’t see the hand in front of your face? Checkity check check. Gimme some hail and some close calls with lightning and it’ll feel just like home.

I was ready – for the rain. But not for the desert side of things. The way you could watch a storm approach from miles and miles away. The way clouds bubbled and boiled and burst above the mountains before spilling over in a frightening rage. The way the riverbed, always dry, suddenly filled with churning water, sweeping along anything and everything in its path. The way day turned to night and lightning streaked from one side of the horizon to the other.

And the aftermath. When a Florida storm passed, it left little more than wet concrete and steaming asphalt. When a desert storm passed, the world was changed. The oppressive heat was broken, cut down from its dizzying heights to something more livable, breathable. The desert perked up, cacti swelling with the rain and brush bursting with green. The crisp, tangy smells of ozone and creosote permeated everything. Toads quarked loudly in the mud, emerging from their months-long hibernation only for the rain. The desert was renewed.

In Florida, rain is at worst a nuisance, at best a time to set your watch. In the desert, rain is at worst a flash flood that rips down streets and drowns cars, at best – life. The only way this barren, dusty landscape becomes livable.

 

Three: The Majesty of Monsoon

 

Microburst over Oro Valley

 

Afternoon sunshower

 

Rain on glass

 

Gathering storm

 

Monsoon over mountains and hills

 

Monsoon, Part: Approaching from Over the Lake

 

Storm rolling across mountains

 

During the storm

 

Water under Campbell Bridge

 

Water in the Rillito

 

Rainbows after a storm

 

Stormy Sunset

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