Category Archives: happy things

10 Things on a Friday

May DITL

I’ve been more quiet than usual lately, even with my Strong Mom posts. While once a week seemed like too often to post about Lady Jr, once a month doesn’t feel like enough. But I’m also not sure how to group things, because she (and we) change in fits and bursts. So I’ll just randomly jot down my musings for now.

1) I think we’ve entered a leap. Someone is super fussy and only wants to be held and has started crying when we do diaper changes / clothing changes again. Which is unfortunate, because the whole eating solid foods thing has necessitated more clothing changes than usual. She reaches her hands towards us when we swoop in to pick her up, though, and it’s just… ah. My heart.

2) Eating! Literally, from one day to another she went from kinda sucking on things to actually eating. Lady mentioned that she’d devoured most of a beet slice one day and I was, mmm, doubtful, but then Lady Jr chomped off a piece of avocado and *ate it*. Then she devoured most of a piece of chicken. And slurped down some apple sauce. And the next day ate two big pieces of chicken and wanted nothing to do with anything on her spoon. So she went from occasionally eating a teeny piece here or rather to devouring most of what we give her, then poking around her plate for more.

3) Oh, but her poops though. Man, we were warned, but solid-food poop is rank. It’s also so much more, well, solid and obviously difficult for her. I hope she gets used to it / it gets better soon. We’re trying to make sure she gets some veggies and fats along with all that chicken (geez girl), but I imagine her microbiome also must adjust with her intake.

4) She can sit up for a full 3-5 seconds unsupported now. Soon. Soon.

5) Sleep! Twice now, somebody has slept 6ish hours in a row. She’s reliably doing only 2 wakings a night and I think she may be dropping one of those. I actually slept 6 hours one of those stretches – the longest I’ve slept since, well, probably June or May of last year. It was amazing.

6) Somebody also sometimes likes to wake up at 2am and start running her pacifier along the bars of her crib like she’s in jail. >>

7) I am really loving 7 months.

8) Not baby-related, but life-related: I finished the latest draft of my WIP last week and it’s going out to betas soon. If they don’t hate it, then it’ll just need some light edits before I turn it in to my editor. Translation: omfg I’m going to make my deadline! YAaaaaass. I’m still not entirely sure how I actually wrote a novel with a newborn, but it happened and hopefully it is never that hard again.

Ahaha, who am I kidding, it will be.

9) There is no 9.

10) Life is actually really good right now. I miss having friends in town, but it’s not been as bad as I’d expected, especially since I’m really effing busy between baby, wife, day job, writing, cleaning, cooking, and, well, occasionally exercising. I count my blessings every single day, because I am so so lucky to be able to work from home, to have the job I do, to have the wife I do, to have all of this. I am content, but I also have things to strive for, and that is the best place for me to be.

 

One more pic for good luck:

May DITL

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Is This What Normal Feels Like?

Lady Jr has been in her own room – the office/nursery – for two nights. The first night went better than I had expected, but not as good as I had dreamed. I had to nurse her back to sleep three times. The first we tried to let her cry, but after 30min of intermittent checks, she was just too worked up. The second was the same result and even nursing and holding and sshing did nothing – she just cried and cried for an hour. By the third time I just went in as soon as she started crying and nursed her and that time she went back to sleep and stayed asleep.

She was up for the day at 6am. She then proceeded to take amazing naps. I don’t know if it’s related, but everything is related, so: her first nap was 1 hour long, her second was 2 hours, and her third was another hour. That just… doesn’t happen. Four hours of naps, guys. Who is this baby?

And last night – omg last night. It started out poorly. She went down just fine – literally 98% of the time she puts herself to sleep – but then around 10 she started crying and Lady couldn’t soothe her back to sleep. After half an hour she got me and I tried nursing her, but she popped back awake the moment I put her in the crib. Tried again and again and finally at 11, she stayed asleep.

She stayed asleep all the way until 2.30am. I went in and nursed her as soon as she woke up and she was back asleep pretty quickly.

Now it’s 7am and she’s starting to roll a little bit but she’s still asleep.

Yeah – that’s right. Lady Jr only woke up twice last night. Twice.

That hasn’t happened since literally January, maybe December. Holy shit. Is this how everyone else feels in the morning? Functional before coffee and actually awake after? This is amazing. I could go for a run. I already pumped and wrote two pages and edited a few more.

Two wake-ups is amazing. I’m cool with that.

Hopefully I didn’t just jinx it, but about time.

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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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