Archives for the month of: June, 2015

J and I got engaged just before they announced that the Supreme Court would be ruling on federal same-sex marriage in July, which would have been just in time for us to get a marriage license and seal the deal before Glitter was to enter our world and require legal documentation that we are both her mothers. We’ve since changed our minds about getting legally married before she comes, thanks to some legal consultations and complicated finances and tax issues, BUT Friday came as a happy surprise that means so much more than just my own marriage status.

Fifteen years ago, at age 22, I sat with my old girlfriend in Massachusetts watching news coverage on civil unions. I understood why other couples would want to get married, but I had mixed feelings about the legal aspects. First of all, at the time I didn’t believe in marriage and wasn’t interested in getting married myself. I’ve always been skeptical about lifelong commitment and whether it’s natural and realistic. My father is a divorce lawyer and I’ve grown up with few role models of satisfied marriage. My own parents were in the middle of a divorce at the time, after 30 years of being together. I believed that marriage was for religious people, and having grown up in an extremely liberal and agnostic environment, I just didn’t see why non-heterosexual people would want to go there.

Fast forward to my late-twenties. All of a sudden I wanted committment, a child, a life partner. I was exhausted and disenchanted with dating and with the insecurity of new relationships and breakups. I wanted a family, a house, boring weekday evenings and Saturday mornings playing in the backyard. I had been going to Unitarian Universalist church for a few years and was softer about religion and spirituality. I was very, very hopeful that one day I too would walk down an isle, probably not in a church but somewhere, in a simple white dress, towards the love of my life. I now completely understand why same-sex marriage is so important; we just want to same rights, protections, responsibilities and legitimacies of everyone else.

My own life aside, seeing the plaintiff couples celebrate this victory is incredible. They have spent years living married life without the societal benefits, living as interracial couples had to once do; living as second-class families. I am so happy for them, and for the hundreds of thousands of couples this law effects. I am happy for the bigger picture, the symbolic and political aspects of this decision. And as a huge Obama supporter, I am so proud that this came during his term.

Friday night we felt the excitement and headed to West Hollywood to hear the mayors of WeHo and LA speak at a rally. The plaintiffs from Tennessee were there with their children and also spoke. It was moving and historic. Since I reached full term and my doctor okayed it, I even had a beer! We also went to The Abby, but I was uncomfortable being in a club with my huge belly so we just saw some friends and were out of there around 9pm! Here are pictures of the rally and of the screen at The Abby:

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Months ago I also planned on seeing Jurassic World a few weeks before the baby was born, knowing it would be one of our last loud, indulgent, thrilling 3D movies for awhile. I can’t believe that day is here! J and I both love fantasy actions, like Godzilla, Avatar, and The Hobbit. I’m soooo excited to see those dinosaurs in a few hours!

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I can’t believe we’re full-term. I can’t believe Thursday is my last day of work! I’m so excited to hug my baby girl!

Of course I’ll add a pic of Giuliana and me last fall, just as a reminder of what it’s going to feel like!

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Glitter has been moving a lot, and after two months of being in the the same position (I don’t know how that was even possible with how much she moves), her feet are now on the opposite side of my belly. I’ve always felt her feet punching out on my left side, and last night J could even SEE the indent of her little foot on that side, but she seems to have moved today. My mother said it’s very unlikely that she would turn breech at this point so I’m sure she’s still head down. I’ve been feeling the grinding sharp pain in my cervix, which is probably her head, and last night I began to have these sharp pains in my back. My mother thinks Glitter is dropping. I thought my belly might be a little lower, but it’s hard to tell.

It feels like things at happening. I can’t imagine still being pregnant in a month, but you never know.

I spent the majority of my day in meetings at the LA County Jail (Twin Towers Correctional Facility) with some higher-ups I don’t see often. My pregnancy and upcoming maternity leave were mentioned several times (in a very positive, supportive way) and it started to feel very real. I have one week left of work! I considered re-doing my FMLA paperwork and staying until July 9, but then I remembered that J has a great sense of these things and really good handle on our finances, and I should just trust her judgement and let go. Now I’m looking forward to finishing up the nursery, doing lots of preparatory things I haven’t gotten to do because I’m always at work, and nurturing my body!

I’ve been doing hypnobirthing in the bathtub for the past few days. We’ve been doing perineal massage, which is pretty unpleasant, but a good opportunity to practice relaxation and sensation.

I’ll leave you with this scary pic of my belly!

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36 Weeks

This is a self-indulgent post, but I promised some bump pics so here they are! The last one is of the maternity/nursing gown I bought for the hospital and post-partum. It’s actually the most comfortable thing I own right now.

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Maternity Shoot – 32 Weeks

Our friend is a great photographer and did our shoot for half of what it would have cost to hire a professional we didn’t know. I chose El Matador State Beach in Malibu, this amazing rocky beach with cliffs above. I know maternity pics are super cheesy but it was fun and I’m so glad we have a nice keepsake. We chose about 30 to be edited so I guess we’ll order an apple book to be printed. Here are a few:

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I’m not considered high risk anymore! Friday I had two appointments, one with our midwife and one with Maternal-Fetal Medicine, which is the high risk doctor. Our midwife always listens to the heartbeat, measures my belly and goes over lifestyle and birth questions. This time we discussed my birth plan and she was very supportive, even when I told her I want to listen to Eminem during active labor. She mentioned that she felt my bleeding and having been in the hospital may have been a “fluke” as they found no evidence of abruption on ultrasounds and I’ve had no bleeding since.

A couple of hours later we had a comprehensive ultrasound with MFM and that doctor also found everything to be normal and no evidence of abruption. Both providers don’t necessarily think I’m at risk for preterm labor anymore! Also, the baby’s head is down and she’s in a good position. Despite how much she moves around, I think she’s stayed in pretty much the same position for awhile now.

Glitter was measuring 6 pounds, 2 oz, which seems a little large for 35 weeks but is still normal. The What to Expect app says about. 5.5 pounds for this week. And speaking of What to Expect, as a side tangent – the end of the book reviews birth and breastfeeding, and refers to the “father” or “him” as the birth partner over and over. So much for their latest edition being inclusive.

We decided that July 2 will be my last day of work. Our doula (and lots of others I’ve consulted with both in person and read experiences of) feels that having at least a week to relax and mentally prepare for birth is important. I filed my FMLA paperwork with my insurance and now waiting to get it back to give to HR. Only 13 more working days! That helps, since getting up is a huge struggle every morning, getting dressed is uncomfortable, and I have to take naps at lunch every day, which lead me into afternoons of grogginess…

Yesterday I had a great yoga class taught, as usual, by the awesome doula we’ve hired. It’s getting more difficult to work out and I’m tired more easily, but it feels good at the same time. My friend from yoga and her wife had twins and I went to visit them. It’s amazing to have TWO babies! She gave me a ton of maternity clothes which are proving very useful for these last few weeks of work. J and I are thinking of starting a group of new parents and babies on Sunday mornings at a park near our house, a way of connecting and hopefully meeting some other lesbian mothers.

Here are some pics of my Sunday cooking. I promise to do some bump pics (I promise, Alicia!) soon, my belly is huge!

Cream of broccoli soup was supposed to be for freezer meals, but it’s so good I think we’re going to have to have some with tonight’s dinner!

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Spinach, mushroom and gouda quiche for freezing:

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Roasted potatoes and zucchini to go with our salmon tonight; salmon for baby’s brain development:

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Hospital Tour

The hospital tour made me want to go into labor right then and there. It was anti-climactic to return to my office afterwards!  The room we were shown, which was right near the one I spent a few days in last month, had a gorgeous view of some nature and an art center. The most valuable thing we learned was that J drops me off at the “Stork Dropoff,” which is entirely different from the emergency room/general dropoff area. 

Pregnancy Symptoms

I spent Wednesday extremely nauseous. I was up in the middle of the night, when it started, therefore was exhausted when my alarm went off, which increases my morning sickness. I somehow made it to work because it was the last day of a group I’ve been running that I couldn’t miss. Around noon, once I’d sat through a few therapy sessions and the group, I could barely stand up so I left. Once I was home I threw up violently (I somehow always make it home as my office has a shared bathroom with stalls). The rest of the day was spent sleeping and crying.

I feel huge! It’s difficult to get out of bed or off the couch. Even getting into the car is difficult! Glitter moves a lot as usual, and she’s bigger now so I can feel her feet stretching into my ribcage and her little butt moving around. It’s adorable. I also have leg cramps when I get up too fast, and I pee an average of eight times a night, even when I stop drinking water after 6pm. I’m exercising lightly, walking or doing my prenatal barre workout most days. Other than that, I’m just excited and nervous!

Work

Ah, work. It’s so busy and demanding. I love my clinic but I do wish I could work part-time. The clients talk about my pregnancy constantly, which doesn’t bother me too much but gets a little uncomfortable. As a therapist I’m really not used to the focus being on me when I’m at work, let alone a room full of 20 women asking me how I’m feeling and making comments about how big/small/far along I am all day! Pregnancy is one personal process that you really can’t hide…

A note about the group I mentioned: It’s a closed group, which means the members must be approved by their clinicians to attend, must agree to come to each weekly session, and must commit to respecting one another’s confidentiality completely. The group is for victims of childhood sexual abuse. I created the curriculum to be primaryily process-oriented, with a theme each week such as sharing aloud exactly who the abuser was and which family members were unable to protect the victim, validating anger and lack of forgiveness, and coping with family of origin as an adult. I took it on as a final project before my maternity leave and have really enjoyed running it, as sad as it is to witness the clients’ pain every week. It’s amazing to see their strength and their vulnerability and to see how committed clients can actually be, since usually they no-show half the time or blow off groups.

J and I have been discussing maternity leave – when to start, how long to take. This involves a lot of considerations like disability income, physical ability as my due date gets closer, and childcare options. I’ve begun calling daycares but so far I’m unimpressed. I’d like to leave my job a week before my due date, but I also want to save as much money as possible and save my time off for the baby. However, my doula insisted today that taking ample time off before going into labor is important. She urged me to consider at least two weeks, sharing that in her experience, women who relax and spend time with themselves before going into labor are better able to handle labor and their babies tend to be less stressed during the birth. My boss also advised me to take time off, sharing that she wished she had taken a week to lie on the couch and get ready for the baby, rather than working up until her due date. Any personal experiences or suggestions on this would be much appreciated!

Nesting

  
I haven’t had much time to do this, but our nursery is in pretty good shape and I did start some freezer meals today. I looked up some recipe suggestions on the Internet and ended up with black bean and corn enchiladas, whole wheat penne with chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes, lasagna primavera and spinach and Gouda quiche. So far I’ve made the enchiladas and the penne. I bought disposable aluminum pans that came with covers, and wrapped the final products in 2.5 gallon freezer bags, so they’re nestled into the freezer now, ready for some night in July or August!

We’re missing some supplies but there’s still time. I ordered a maternity and nursing night gown, nursing tank top, and some things from the registry I ended like reusable diaper pail liners, organic wipes for traveling (at home we’ll be using cloth wipes). Once the clothes are washed I’ll be ready to start my hospital bag just in case.