Oh man. This week . . .this week.
There are so many things that I have wanted to post about. Things that, really in many ways, deserve their own posts. As is usually the case for me, the times when I feel inundated with really smart, thoughtful things to post here are also the times I feel like life gets in the way of writing.
Meanwhile, when I have the space to write things well . . .that’s usually when I don’t have a whole lot to say.
So now I’m faced with the choice:
- Fit all of those ideas into a single (lengthy) post, probably not doing them justice anyway?
- Break them up so they each get their due, meanwhile possibly falling further behind?
- Just spend an entire post bemoaning my current conundrum?
I think I might do a 10 things on a Tuesday afternoon post which will likely at least hit on a few of the topics and then see if I get the steam up to really dive in to any of them. The advantage of this solution is that I can also fill you in about why this week has been so long and I do so enjoy boring you with quotidian details.
So . . .
10 Things on a Tuesday Afternoon
- Last Monday we got somewhere around 6” of snow in Seattle. In my old life as a Denverite, this would have been laughably common. But here, it’s a BFD. By which I mean, L still happily drove to the midwife to get her blood drawn for the cffDNA test (and reported it to be a quicker and less stressful commute than is typical, thanks to empty roads) but I also gladly accepted the option to work from home and enjoy the coziness of a PNW Snow Day. We made a great snow person (Seattle has the best building snow!) and enjoyed some hot cocoa.
2. Unfortunately, the snow melted and then came heavy rain, all of which combined in the crawl space beneath our rental house into approximately 6 feet of standing water which then began bubbling up beneath the laminate flooring in our room. A call to the landlords got us the Inept Handy Man (IHM from here on out) who came and set up a hand help pump which he had emptying directly into the neighbors yard. Despite our concerns (“Um, we think maybe the neighbors will be upset.” “Just don’t say anything to them!” “Um, we think maybe they will notice water pouring into their yard from a cheap plastic tube?” “Well, if they do, call the office!”) he promptly left after setting up this less than ideal solution. Predictably, two hours later then neighbors knocked on the door complaining of the water pouring into their yard. As I stood in the doorway with Ansel, explaining to the neighbor that he would probably have more success getting a response from the landlord than we would (particularly if he mentioned “lawsuit” in his message), the little bulldog ran out into the yard. Moments later, Neighbor’s son (who is terrified of dogs, especially our dogs) came walking up the street (after being beckoned by his father) and the little bulldog got excited, ran under the fence and happily chased Scared Neighbor Kid down the street. L ran after bulldog, Neighbor ran after SNK, I went back in the house to call the landlords. L reported back, after visiting neighbor, that little bulldog had “bit” the kid which seemed implausible but possible and you’re not gonna deny that when someone says it and JESUS FUCKING CHRIST ARE WE GONNA GET SUED TOO? So, Thursday was a bunch of bullshit.
3. L continues to deal with some serious morning sickness, despite being on the highest dose of diclegis. She feels miserable much of the day, vomits a fair amount, and is overall struggling. I didn’t have terrible morning sickness, but I do have a level of empathy that most pregnant people do – you get how awful it is for something you are total not in control of to wreck such havoc on your body. I have been trying to do whatever I can to make her life easier and pick up whatever slack I can. I do this because I love her and want her life to be as easy as possible, and 98% of the time I don’t mind at all. But sometimes, it’s a lot. And sometimes, despite my best intentions, I start to feel resentment creep around the edges. This is particularly true on the days when we send Ansel to the babysitter’s, because those are the days when L gets to really focus on resting and caring for herself. Something about this fact feels harder for me, because I don’t have a day when I can just rest right now. I want to clarify that my life is actually pretty awesome, and I have great things like a super flexible job and a toddler who is (by toddler standards) pretty low maintenance, and I have a lot of other things making my life SO MUCH easier than a lot of other folks. Still, it’s wearing me down a little. I made the mistake of seeking out some support from an online queer parenting group, where I thought I might happen upon others who have similar experiences, or where at least we could have an open and frank discussion about how pregnancy is hard for everyone – even NGPs (just in VERY different ways.) I did, eventually, get some very good advice and helpful support. I also got a LOT of people who essentially told me that I was being an asshole and that life was just point blank harder for L and I should suck it up and keep my head down. I was even called a “cis-hetero stereotype” and a misogynist. I think a LOT of this was because I mentioned that I work full time and L is home with Ansel and people generally are looking for fights when it comes to stay at home parenting. But it was disappointing. Because it wasn’t helpful (turning feelings off, while incredibly useful in theory, isn’t actually a thing) but it also makes it even harder to have complex and nuanced conversations about the work of raising children, growing children in our bodies, the value we place on all of that, and the role of non gestational partners (whether they are queers or just hetero dads!) and how those NGPs can be good allies and supportive partners to pregnant people. The upshot was that in my despair about the total dearth of support, I ended up reaching out to L and we had a really great, honest, loving conversation which ultimately really helped me move through my feelings of resentment. Still, fuck simplistic answers to complicated questions.
4. We found out that some of our friends, who we have long looked to as a bit of a model when it comes to queer relationships and parenting, are getting divorced. There’s nothing quite like people in your inner circle splitting up to make you put your own relationship under a microscope and start to see signs of decay where maybe none exist. Ultimately, the timing of #3 and #4 worked out in such a way that I actually feel really solid about my relationship. But it’s scary. To know that friends who seem really “solid” are breaking up makes you think about all of the heart wrenching details. Like, what would WE do about custody? How would WE respond to each other if these same issues came up? What are we doing now to make sure we are taking care of our relationship.
5. We got the results of the cffDNA test back, which assured us that the risk profile for trisomies 18, 21 and 13 is very low. Basically, while these disorders (Down syndrome, Edwards Syndome and Patau syndrome) cannot be entirely ruled out, the possibility is very low. Our NT scan is scheduled for Feb 27th, at which point we’ll have even more information about the risk for these syndromes and open neural tube defects. We felt confident enough in the results to make the pregnancy public – which we have both been dying to do! We announced my pregnancy with Ansel at 9 weeks, thanks to the embryo testing that made miscarriage risk so low. So waiting until 12 felt like an eternity
6. The other benefit of the cffDNA test is that it detects sex chromosomes as well. So, we also know that Tiny is a boy! (or, really, we know that Tiny will have XY chromosomes and will likely be male bodied when he is born.) We knew before I was pregnant that if it took, it would be a boy. So the surprise element caught me off guard (and yes, I know that most folks have to wait until a 20 week scan and some still wait until a kid is born – fancy that!) and, if I’m being honest, I realized when the midwife told us (on speakerphone on Sunday afternoon) that I had both been expecting and hoping that Tiny would be a girl (XX chromosomes, female bodied.) I feel weird admitting that, because I have such complicated feelings about gender in all kinds of ways. I have to really interrogate myself about what the desire for a “daughter” means. If I am committed to raising children in a feminist way, with a broad and complex understanding of what gender identity means, why does it matter? But, again . . .feelings exist no matter how much we try to think them away. I am not disappointed. That is too big and intense a word for what I felt. And, the more I have allowed myself to think about Tiny, now knowing a little more about him, I am really excited about Ansel having a little brother, about raising another white boy to be an anti-racist feminist. There’s just a lot to unpack.
7. We found out that the Little Bulldog did NOT bite Scared Neighbor Kid. He fell while running away from her. Relief that we don’t have a vicious bulldog. But now Scared Neighbor Kid is SUPER scared neighbor kid
8. The landlord still hasn’t really dealt with the underlying problem of water collecting in the crawl space (and the fact that the heater was under water for a few days and the ongoing need for a sump pump and the water that is trapped in the laminate and and and) although the immediate need for remediation has been handled. I am doing everything in my power to not lose my shit and to remind myself that we have less than 6 months until our lease is up and we can get the fuck out of this house.
9. On Sunday night, Ansel woke up approximately every 45-90 minutes after 1am. Prior to 1 am, I struggled fitfully to fall asleep, ultimately failing. In the times when Ansel slept after 1am, the bulldogs wanted out to pee/wander the yard/sniff shit. Ansel woke for the day at 5am. So, basically I didn’t sleep and my first thought was “OH GOD what have we done?! I am never going to sleep again.” Thankfully, he did take a nap in the morning and my job is flexible and so we all got a couple of hours of rest but yesterday made me really wonder about our sanity in having another baby. But who doesn’t love an adventure?!?
10.Tomorrow is the end of my 6 month probation period at work! I know what I’m doing about 75% of the time, but there are definitely still things that I probably should have learned in my first week that I am just learning now because huge system + overwhelmed supervisor = bad onboarding. I think this comes with a tiny bump in salary, and definitely makes me eligible to use my vacation (Hello, countdown to Disneyworld is ON! 16 days!) and qualify for some of the more awesome benefits (hello, 3 months paid parental leave!)
Also, on Friday I got to hand out condoms to kids at a library and those kids blew the condoms up and had sword fights with them and then gently bounced them around the room until one got stuck on the ceiling and I’m just saying, “All this AND 3 paid months of leave?” We made the right choice.