My parents came to town the weekend before last. Mostly, it was fine. By which I mean: there was no intense emotional drama, no fights, no obvious guilt trips. It was absolutely exhausting. Totally, entirely draining. I think we learned enough to take the edge of the next visit, but I also think I learned a lot about my parents, and the only thing to be done about that is grieve.

Our rental house is small, it’s not terribly accessible, and while we do have a guest room (/storage space/’room of requirement), it’s a smallish bed and cramped with boxes. We have one small bathroom. My parents are not super mobile. My dad has a condition that is similar to MS (in fact, the doctor’s don’t know what it IS, just that it impacts the myelination and communication between nerves and his brain. He went to Johns Hopkins and even they couldn’t figure it out.) and he has 0 control of his left leg and needs crutches (the kind that clamp to your arms) to walk, and even then, it’s exhausting and slow. My mom has terrible osteo-arthritis that has resulted in two hip replacements and, now it would appear a knee replacement (or two?) are in her near future. For these reasons, we had them stay at a hotel about 15 minutes south of us (there weren’t any hotels closer and, for whatever reason, we totally didn’t even check for an Airbnb.) The original plan had been to lend them a car so they could have some flexibility, but my dad ended up not wanting to drive (and my mom is pretty adamant about driving any place she isn’t super familiar) so, we had to shuttle them back and forth. With the car seat and four large adults, we also couldn’t all fit comfortably in our car, so we had to rent a minivan (which I’m kind of coveting now, y’all. Don’t judge.)

The contrast of two older (almost 70), fairly immobile adults and one can’t-stop-won’t-stop 20 month old was jarring. In Colorado, we mostly spent time at their house, having dinner and letting Ansel play with the toys there, or in their yard. It was somehow quite easy to ignore their physical inabilities. But here, it was obvious and, for me anyway, heartbreaking. We hung out at our house, I took them on a driving tour of the city, we went out to eat a lot (which was the most exhausting because toddlers are the worst at restaurants – I’m embarrassed with how much Thomas the Tank Engine Ansel watched at tables!) and we took the ferry to Bainbridge island. It was so tiring, and yet also didn’t feel fulfilling. So much driving, so little real connecting. I ended up feeling overwhelmingly confronted with my parent’s fleeting mortality and also being so ashamed by how annoyed I was.

I know that moving was the best thing, for all kinds of reasons, including my relationship with my mom. But I’m not used to this, and it’s sad and strangely lonely – being so far away from the people who have been so long all up on your business. You can learn the miss even the stuff you can’t stand, I guess. We’ll see how the trip to Denver goes. We are staying with my brother and sister-in-law, which my mom strangely supports wholeheartedly, which should make the whole thing a bit easier to handle.

Growing up is fucking hard.

In other news . . .

  • L got her period today and we are waiting on a call back from the nurse to get more details on the schedule. It’s possible she’ll be starting OCPs on Sunday (?!) This whole process is going SO MUCH FASTER than when we met with the clinic in Colorado. It helps when it ain’t your first rodeo, I guess? Also, this clinic seems hella efficient, which I appreciate.
  • We are still waiting on L’s CMV results to make a final donor decision, but have it narrowed down to a few favorites. It’s funny how much I’m relying on my gut response to their interview recordings. And how much more I’m thinking about what a baby with L’s eggs + X donor sperm will look like. It’s a game we never really played much because using BFF was such a given. The guy I like the best just sounded so kind, and I really liked that. But, I mean, WHY? He’s not gonna be my friend and is kindness genetic?! I don’t know. All of this sends me down the rabbit hole so intensely! But also, I don’t feel super strongly – about anything, honestly, except height. You might not know, but I’m pretty tall. I have mixed feelings about it but it is the thing I want to pass along to kids, I guess? So, I’m advocating for one of the tall guys. Our new addition to the list is 6’4”!
  • Upon the advice of basically everyone, we decided to plan a trip to a sunny locale for February. Initially, we thought we’d go to CA and maybe hit up Disneyland, but after pricing things out, it will be cheaper to go to Florida and hit up Disneyworld! L’s mom is going with us, and we’re going to mostly be using the money my parents give us for Xmas so we won’t have to dip into our savings at all. Which is good because . . .
  • Like many of you, we are knee deep in second parent adoption bullshittery thanks to America’s dumb move and the potential for the rise of a fascist state. Thanks to some awesome queer lawyer’s in the Seattle area, we got enough information to get the process going without having to retain our own counsel, and we should we able to walk away with the second parent adoption for $1K or less. If we can find a social worker who won’t gouge us, anyway.
  • Even with really really good insurance coverage for fertility, it looks like we’ll have to pay out of pocket for all of our meds – because the insurance covers egg retrieval but not Lupron?! Anyway, those of you who bought meds out of pocket (ours were all bundled with the package through the CO clinic) – how did you find the cheapest prices/discount programs?
  • We’ve all been sick for the last week with snotty noses, sneezes and some coughing. The last couple of days, Ansel has had a deeper, wet sounding wheezey cough. I’m starting to get worried about him. This is really the sickest he’s ever been, for which I am incredibly grateful. But still, it’s scary and sad when your kid is sick.
  • Ansel has been in a zippity-zip (a kind of wearable blanket thing) since we transitioned him out of the woombie at like 5 months. He’s in the largest size (12-24 months) and is fast growing out of it. Does anyone have tips for transitioning out of sleep sacks/wearable blankets? Did you add real blankets at that time? Go cold tukey? HALP! I kind of want him to stay in it forever because it keeps him from climbing out of the crib and doing anything shady like removing his diaper, but I think our time is nigh . . .
  • L got headshots done by a friend, who also offered to take some family pictures. Can’t say I’m in love with any that I’m in, but holy fucking shit my kid is cute. Sometimes I’m not quite sure I believe that I contributed half his genetic material . . .Also, he’s super into fistbumping, which is what we are doing in the 3rd picture down.
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16 thoughts on “Mortality

  1. A couple of things:

    1. EMD Serono has a program called compassionate Care that got me 50% off of all their drugs for my IUI cycles. It helped so much.

    2. When we switched from Baby Merlin Charlie went into zip up footie pajamas which keep the diaper on. She also has a small blanket in her crib but she doesn’t really use it. I put it on her and she always ends up throwing it off.

  2. Sympathy on confronting your parents’ mortality and good luck with the donor decision. I surprised myself in discovering which aspects of people’s profiles I ended up prioritizing–it was not what I expected going in!

    We kept Clem in sleep sacks until almost 3.5 and she’s always been in the 90-something percentile for height. Grobag (in the U.K.) makes them for ages 3-6 (and looking at 6-10 as well).

  3. It is SO hard to watch your parents age. I think you’ll find out that each time you go home it feels worse to see the decline that happened while you were away, living your life. There is something about living at a distance that allows you to kind of ignore it while away and the deterioration slams you in your face when you reconvene.

    Also, we TOTALLY connected with the donor we chose based on his audio interview. For some reason, it felt like we could sense his good nature, and the way he interacted with the interviewer was charming. Not sure if those traits will come out in our daughter, but it felt better than some of the donors who sounded like chumps. Good luck!

  4. Holy fucking shit your kid IS cute! Love those beautiful family pics. I’m now inspired to maybe get some done for us, too.
    Being part of the double burden generation is definitely hard. I watched my mom care for her frail parents and me at the same time, and now I see it all too close on my horizon, as my mom has lupus. Good for you for doing what you needed to do to make the visit work. It must have been really, really exhausting, in addition to bringing up some sad thoughts on mortality.
    And finally, good luck with the second parent adoption. We just submitted our paperwork to the court and it was a hassle and a half to get it all put together on our own, but it saved us a lot of money to do it ourselves (aside from having to pay for mandatory legal council from separate lawyers).

  5. Halo brand offers sleep sacks up to a 5t. Oliver still sleeps in them often. Mainly because I am a hot mess, and need to keep him warm somehow, in a cold house.
    Mini vans are super cool. We camp in ours, when I’m not totally living in it myself. Best thing ever.
    I paid for everything out of pocket. My Dr’s office was great at knowing the best pharmacies for the meds. And the pharmacies almost always had coupons that could be applied.

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