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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Doctor, Doctor

As a woman, and I know many of you can relate, there is a certain level of comfort involved with having the same doctor. You don't want someone different diggin' around down there every time the impending "annual" comes around. There really is a certain level of security associated with exposing one's self to someone familiar. I think the same can be said for having the same OB/GYN as is relates specifically to pregnancy.

It is not new news that Sara and I are starting down the road for baby number two. Since this was a path that we paved once before, we were relatively comfortable with the with our doctor and the fertility nurses, pick a donor, buy the goo, inseminate, get the legal crap together, have the kid, finalize the adoption, the end.  Oh, if only it were all that simple. At least we get the same doctor.

We scheduled an appointment to meet with our doctor and the fertility nurse. It was deja vu sitting there in that office all over again. The smell of hospital and magazines, the staff at the front desk, the glare of the florescent lights overhead. Everything was very familiar. Even the fish in the aquarium were the same; a bit bigger, but the same nonetheless.

Sara was called back to the patient room shortly after we arrived. I followed. Flutters of nerves and excitement filled our bellies as we prepared to start our journey all over again. We were met in the room by our doctor, our beloved doctor, with whom we related to very well. We share the same lifestyle, have similar interests, and he saw us through my pregnancy with Graisyn.

"Well," he said after taking several minutes with us to catch up on life, "It's pretty cut and dry. We'll do some preliminary tests and get the ball rolling for you."

"Great!" we replied, "Anything else we need to be thinking about? Anything we else we should be doing?"

"Yeah, there's one more thing," our doctor noted, "I have taken on a new role with the facility as the Medical Director (or something fancy like that). While I'll be here at the office, I am no longer seeing patients. You'll want to be thinking about who you want for a doctor."

"Wow! We what a great opportunity! How exciting for you!" And how completely unexciting for us.

Wrapping up our conversation, our ex-MD lead us down the hall where we would meet with the fertility nurse. There she sat in her office looking exactly the same as she did about three years ago. She took care of all of the nitty, gritty details. Did we want to do the ultrasound before insemination? What about fertility drugs? No, these are not the kind that make you an octomom either, people. Have we selected a donor? Did we think about how many vials of "seed" we wanted? Oh my God! Slow down. Please! What about our doctor?!

Ahh, yes. Our doctor. The one who wouldn't be this time around. So who then? Our fertility nurse went through a list of the MDs names with us. She noted who was "friendly" because, whether or not you want to believe it, not all doctors practice equal care for patients. Sara and I experienced this discrimination first hand when we were started trying to conceive Graisyn. Anyway, with the recommendation of our nurse, we selected a new doctor. He would be respectful and kind she noted and that he himself said he doesn't have an issue with the way we live our life.

We finished our appointment with a to-do list which is, I think, a requirement when you're creating a baby the way we are. Sara was sent to the lab for blood work to test hormone levels. We had medications to order, a donor to select, and ultrasounds to schedule. We were all set for when we decided to move forward and we even had a doctor who would be okay with us. Phew! That was all the easy stuff!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dear Sara

For those of you who know me, it is common knowledge that I am not a sappy person. But, fact is, I am celebrating eight years of bliss with my "wife" (because that's what she is less the paperwork), so I feel the sap oozing from my mind...just a little bit.

And, for those of you who know me, it's not a surprise that I don't really like people. People are a foreign breed to me. They are complex when they don't need to be. They are dramatic. They lie. They cheat. They steal. They nurture. They love. They survive. Stupid as it sounds, it is all way above my realm of understanding. Given my emotions toward the species I am a part of, I never anticipated finding someone that I would even want to share the rest of my life with. I did, though, and it has made me elated and frightened and grateful all at once.

Sara, this is for you. Here's to eight years down and many, many more. I love you (God, with this damn blog nothing is sacred anymore, is it?).

Dear Sara,

Do you remember the evening that you stole my heart away? I'll bet you do. We were never even supposed to happen you and I but, we did. And, alas, here we are. It's great isn't it? Please say yes. I want to thank you for the last eight years. It has been easy eight years for me. I'm sure that it I have been more than a pain in the ass for you. I kid. I kid.

Sara, the thing I love best about us is that we are real. We don't really fight because we talk. In eight years I think we've probably had five real fights and I don't remember what a single one of them was about. Do we disagree? Sure. Who doesn't? But, I think what makes us special is that we disagree in a respectful manner. We aren't rude or hurtful. And, we talk. Every single day we talk. Even if we are bitching about work or whining about the challenges presented with our two year old, we talk. For as much as I don't like talking to people, I can't shut up when I am with you. I just can't shut my damn mouth. You're that good.

Sara, I have never met someone so romantic. How in the hell can you balance work, school (full time), exercise, a toddler, me, two dogs, and still manage to be romantic? Are you even human? You're probably one of those super humans we saw on that 20/20 special. That means I better never piss you off. Really? How do you do it? You, who makes it seem effortless to be charming and sweet, got me. I'm not romantic at all. Wham. Bam. Thank you, ma'am. That's the kinda girl I am. For that I am sorry. I try, but, unlike you, my parents didn't get married on Valentines day. Thank you for wooing me. As you know, it never fails.

Thank also you for putting up with my chaos. I am never, ever, satisfied (except for with you). I have a mind that doesn't quit (which must drive you nuts). I am quirky. I am weird. I am spontaneous. I have passed all of that on to our two year old daughter and now you have two of us to deal with. If we were legally married, we should be contributing to the divorce statistics, but, for some reason, we work. A couple of crazies with a stable person equals one fully functioning household. Great.

I appreciate your beauty. You are obsessed with your flaws. I am inspired by your compassion towards humanity. You think you are too trusting. I think you are sooo brilliant. You think I have the memory like a steal trap. Honey, I keep telling you the contents are useless. I am flabbergasted at how you can be so laid back, but, at the same time, equally as impatient as me. That one I don't get...

Look at the life we have built together. It's pretty phenomenal, isn't it? Noteworthy I would say. We wouldn't be here today if it weren't for you. We wouldn't be here today if it weren't for me. I love that our life is boring and overwhelming all at the same time. I am excited at the family we have created together. I anxious and nervous to expand that family, but relieved that I have you to share it with. I love us, Sara Sue. You, me, Graisyn Quinn, and our dopey dogs. Thank you for loving us too.

Happy eight years, Love. Cheers to more to come. I can't wait!


Your wife

P.S. I do still write in that book I created for you, Honey. I haven't in few months, but I think there might be some new stuff in there...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Waiting to Ovulate

Peeing on a stick and praying. I recall these days like it was yesterday. I wasn't checking for pregnancy either. This was all pre-pregancy stuff too. Ladies and, well, ummm, ladies, get out your ovulation kits. Let the peeing and recording begin. We will see what the future has in store for us...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Education or Application?

I never fit well into the “go to college right after high-school and make something of yourself” mold. Sara didn’t either. I tried. I think we both tried. When I was eighteen, I applied and was accepted to a few institutions, but I just could not bring myself to go. It wasn’t a matter of laziness or an issue of confidence on my part though. I earned excellent grades all throughout school and very rarely had troubles understanding learning objectives. Frankly, after years of “pre-school,” (because let’s face it, that’s what grades K through 12 are now days) I just needed to learn who I was outside the pages of a textbook. I had prime opportunity to start this venture since I was living on my own and couldn’t afford to support an educational habit anyway.

Was this the right move for me? Many colleagues critique my lack of education. In fact, at one point, it caused me to start doubting my decision to wait on college. I was fell victim to the “you don’t get anywhere without a BA or a Masters” line. People would even mention that it didn’t really matter what I went to school for as long as I went. Really? I just needed to show commitment. Hmmm. Maybe these little birdies had a point. After all, working steadfast in an industry for a decade, flourishing in a monogamous relationship for nearly eight years, and pouring my soul into our nearly three-year old daughter is certainly not commitment. That stuff must just be life. Silly me.

Since I’ve been pretty successful at “life,” I thought it was time to give the good old conservatory a shot. Sara decided that she wanted to be an RN now that she was all grown up, so she started her commitment at the local tech a couple years ago. I recently got down on bended knee and committed myself to the local tech as well.

In pursuit of a degree in Forensic Science, I was quickly informed that an Associates degree won’t cut it either. Rewind to the earlier paragraph where BA and Masters degrees are noted. Oh well. You can't please 'em all, can you? No, I have not settled for mediocrity. I just came to the consensus that I am now attending college for myself. I am ready to make the commitment to learn something new and use the information that I am paying out the ass to receive. If that rolls into even further education, be it a BA or a Masters, I am fine with that. If not, I am fine with that too.

Given my philosophy on education as it relates specifically to my life, one might wonder what expectations I hold, we hold, for Graisyn and, God willing, any future children we have. Sara and I discuss this regularly. At Graisyn’s ripe old age of one we even attended open houses for area elementary schools. In our household, there are high stakes placed on the nurturing and development of her young mind. We want a strong focus on the basics, you know, math, English, history, science and an even stronger focus on humanity, civilization, and communication. Our wants and needs for the growth and development of any children we have pointed us in the direction of the Charter schools in our area.

Sara and I wait VERY patiently for the day we send our little girl off to school. Meanwhile, we, along with Graisyn’s daycare provider, work with her daily on skills that will help her once she “enters the world.” She knows her numbers through fifty and is sketchy, but getting there, from fifty to one hundred. She knows the alphabet. She is beginning to recognize small words and has mastered shapes, colors, texture, and age appropriate fine motor-skills. She is also recognizing consequence and the value of human emotion. “No Graisyn, we don’t hit our friends because that hurts them,” or, “Graisyn, that was really nice of you to give so-and-so a hug when they were sad.” We want her to beam with her successes and feel a healthy amount of shame with mistakes. More importantly, we want her to make mistakes and own them, because making mistakes is a key factor to success and dubbed the phrase "trial and error." And even more important than that, we want her to know that it is ALWAYS okay to change course if a decision is not panning out the way it was intended.

Why is the last one so important? In my opinion, having the ability to recognize error and change direction to rectify the error or at least minimize damages makes a statement about an individual's or an even an organization's integrity, ethics, strategic skills, financial/life/business planning, and forecasting. Generally speaking, making mistakes and owning them, is not a skill that can be taught from a textbook. It's also not a skill that many possess. We live in a world where the expectation is that someone else will clean up the mess we've made and all will be forgiven and forgotten. Is this because application has been taken out or reduced in the learning process? I don't know. I do know that waiting to dedicate myself to further education forced me to master the art of trial and error. Sara might say the same. We were on our own. If we were not successful, that would jeopardize the roof over our heads or the food on our table.

Ideally, Sara and I would love to see Graisyn grow in a curriculum that embraces the basic concepts of school, but broadens it to include the components that will move her forward in the real world. We want her to be able to balance her checkbook and figure out what she can and cannot afford, not just maintain the American average of $5K-$15K in credit card debt. We want her to have enough confidence and tact to present a problem with a solution to her boss, not just gripe about the problem. We want her to read the textbooks and apply the information that she read, not just take a test and forget it. We want our daughter to value good education, to appreciate it, especially during her "preschool" years. We do not want her to get so wrapped up in "higher" education that she cannot see beyond the pages of a textbook.

I am ranting, so I will wrap it up. I really meant to say these tiny, uneducated things. Let us not piss our money away on education simply for a "piece of paper." Let us learn with purpose and intention. Let us cultivate logic and problem solving skills and, for the love of Pete, let us learn how to communicate with the other two legged homo sapiens that surround us. Let us embrace those that have knowledge based on experience. Let us not cap that knowledge because we have a degree and might know better. Let us, educated and uneducated alike, share the contents of our minds because I think knowledge might be power. And, finally, let us zip our damn lips about our ideals for the success of others and speak of a united, progressive, civilized, cohesive future.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Back to Square One

Now I swore after a month with a wailing infant that I would never have more children. No way. No how. I mean, really, why would I? Graiysn's birth didn't go just the way I wanted it to. We barely got to hold our baby after she was born and that continued after we brought her home. She was so jaundice that she spent weeks on a BiliBed at home. It was not a great experience, but it was our experience so we managed.

The saga with our infant continued when she grew just a bit older out of being jaundice and into being a colicky, screaming nightmare. When I say that she cried for twelve hours a day and slept for twelve hours at night, I do not exaggerate. There is no class, no parenting book, no words of advice that can help with colic. It just needs to pass and that's it.

So why would we even consider having having another baby? I don't know the answer to that. I do know that I learned to be grateful for what we were given. There is an absolute (and not the vodka) reason she was picked for us. Besides, I've always wanted a family with two children, a few dogs, some fish, maybe a bird or two, a loving spouse, and a constant flow of coffee and wine. I wanted to be surrounded by all the beings I loved and that loved me back. And, in the grand scheme of things, we were and are truly blessed. We were delivered a relatively healthy baby. She didn't have to spend any time in the NICU. She was a little early, but alive and she had fully functioning, very well developed lungs.

We really do want to expand our family. In fact, we were so eager to expand our family that we decided to settle on another dog. We foster boxers for the local Boxer Rescue and have had in our recent care a big, bouncy, destructive, young man named Abbott. He annihilated our kitchen several times. He was adopted and returned three days later. He was a lovely terror. Sara and I worked so hard to rehabilitate  that Abbott dog. He eventually mastered all of his commands with the exception of "down." He got along with our boxer girl, Lexi, famously, and he and Graisyn displayed the ideal amount of annoyance with each other. This is it! He was staying! End of story. Our family is now complete.

Nah! Sara and I are going to start trying for baby number two in a year or so. The donor we used for Graisyn appears to be unavailable. Apparently his supply has been depleted. We've selected three donors to request additional information packets on. Ladies and gentleman, get out your checkbooks. This is going to be pricey, but, hey, at least we get a discount on the adoption of this one. It's not quite the buy one get one philosophy, but it's something. Maybe this one will ring up at about $8,000 instead of $10,000.

Sara and I are excited to try for another child. In fact, I am really excited. This time it will be her instead of me. Don't worry doll, I will pray that you don't get morning sickness and hemorrhoids. I will pray that if you must have morning sickness, it be mild, for throwing up your breakfast and sometimes your lunch is not only aggravating, it can also put you on the verge of wetting yourself. I will hope to the stars that your experience is wonderful; that you will be pregnant and healthy and that you will glow.

In the meantime we wait and prepare. We will research donors. We will save our pennies. We will give our lawyers a heads up. Here we are back at square one and all in the hopes of one more squirmy, screeching, human being. Donations? Anyone? Hello? Okay. I kid, but it was worth asking.