My Turn with the Wand

I’m not sure about all the butch lesbians out in the world, but I know my other butch/AG/femme aggressive/futch/NYC lesbian friends make it their business to avoid going to the GYN. I know sometimes when Callie is with her friends and had an appointment at the GYN (pre-pregnancy days) they would sit and inject their conversation with a huge dose of “oh, and at the GYN today…” Say whaaaaaattttt?!?! I will avoid the conversation at all cost. Mainly, because 1) I never go (once every 2 years or so seems like more than enough, thank you!) and 2) Why in the HELL would I want to relive the horrendous experience that is a random stranger, with a fluorescent light, with cold unknown fingers, between my legs, all up in my BIZNESS! Absolutely not! But, it was time to make my bi-(sometimes tri)yearly trip.

Going to the “lady parts” doctor is a freaking process. I’m pretty good about shaving my legs (up to the knee because my cargo shorts hit to about that point so what the heck do I have to shave higher for?!), the underarms because most of the time I can be found in an A-Shirt lounging around my house, and “the goods” are taken care of at least once every 2-3 days. When it’s time for that appointment, we’re talking about a 45 minute mission to get every single hair off my body and I find myself shaving in places I didn’t even know grew hair! I’ve got one leg up, arm over here, hand over there, other leg at some weird angle with my head in some weird Exorcistesque position trying to look at every nook and cranny to find where some dark little hair may lie, razor in one hand, looking like a Puerto Rican pretzel! Trust me! It’s complete madness! But I can’t go in there, meeting this person, exposing myself and have them be like, “Ok Wolverine! Calm down, relax, and drop your knees to the side.”

All of that said, had to go check out the ovaries today, because my PCOS has gotten the best of me. Let me run this down for u. The following are the days that I had AF…
January- 2-16
February- 20-23
March -Nothing
April- Nothing
May – 29-30
June- 6-21, 27-July 13
August – spotting all month

I’m starting to get really aggravated because there have been several times at work where I have completely bled through my clothes. Luckily for me, the times that this has happened have been on my overnight shifts (about 3 times) and the only people in the building are the security guard at the front desk and myself. It’s not like I wasn’t prepared for my period. I have a box (yes! A whole 40 count super plus BOX) of tampons in my backpack, extra pads (because when I get my period I have to wear 2 overnight pads from pretty much my bellybutton to the small of my back) and a crapload of ibuprofen/Motrin/Tylenol to keep the cramps and leg pain at bay. I STILL managed to bleed all the way through my khakis, the corner of my shirt and on my computer chair. Thank goodness I keep a container of Clorox wipes in my desk. As I explained all of this to her, she did my PAP and we talked about going on a low hormone BCP which I’m excited about (NOT), the usual “losing weight with diet and exercise” which is extremely difficult due to the PCOS, trying some Spironolactone for the male pattern hair growth (after all that shit, guess I missed a spot!) and having a transvaginal ultrasound just to kind of confirm that my PCOS was still as I had described it.

We walked over to the sonogram closet ( “room” would be giving the space too much credit), and I sat on the table, put my socked feet in the stirrups and took a deep breath. The wand was directly to my right, and I could see it there, taunting me, with its “Na-Na-Na-poo-poo! You’re gonna get it!” imaginary face. The damn thing wasn’t even looking lubricated enough and I’m thinking to myself, “Really lady!?! I keeps it tight!”. She grabbed the wand, and lucky me, she grabbed some gel out of the warmer and put a whole bunch of it on (what gave it away? The baby speculum I requested during the PAP?), and indeed confirmed all of the ridiculous amounts of tiny cysts in most of my follicles. CURSES! I was hoping it wouldn’t be as prominent as it had been 2-3 years ago, but I was wrong! While feeling tons of pressure, the need to pee desperately, and just totally uncomfortable, I suddenly had this overwhelming feeling of admiration and love for Callie. She must have been through this at least, at minimum, 6-7 times a month for 16 months. The amount of love that that woman has for me and for our family and for us, to have to endure this kind of thing countless times made me realize that I have to suck it up, put on my big girl boxer briefs (or take them off actually) and get things done so that I can one day be able to have a healthy body to host our next baby. Callie’s little embryos will hopefully like living in my body, despite how hectic and damaged it all may seem right now.

When it was all said and done, I threw my clothes back on as quickly as I could, tied up my Clark’s, washed and sanitized my hands, grabbed my prescription, made an appointment for a follow-up in 2 months (What the eff!?!?! 2 visits in one year?! This ish is getting outta hand!) and hauled ass. I got into my car and on my 25 minute drive home decided, “Hey! You know what? I’m gonna join the club of ladies who talk to their besties about their misadventures at the GYN.” And hopefully, in about a year and a few months, this will all be sorted out and my body will be ready to do what it always felt it needed/had to… Be a belly-mama…

Week 15

We have made it to week 15! We thank our lucky stars every day that we have been fortunate enough to have Callie be the host to these amazing little beings. It’s still crazy to think that there are two perfectly little angelic, tiny humans in that belly. That those 6-pack abs of hers have rounded off into this perfectly, divinely feminine bump containing all of our hopes and dreams and our entire future. Still surreal!

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We had our monthly appointment with our OB. We FINALLY got to see our little Pumpkin and Sweet Pea. They are so adorable! They were putting on a show for us. As soon as the sonographer turned the monitor on, we noticed that they were ying-yanging! Baby A (Pumpkin) was showing off its beautiful little profile and its tiny nose in all its perfection and Baby B (Sweet Pea) was looking right at us, yawning and smiling and rubbing its eyes! Sweet Pea was even being a little extra dramatic giving us its ever present “woe is me” face and a hand to the temple!

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The sonographer also noticed that at one point they were actually looking at each other and interacting. It’s almost like they were laughing and communicating. She said she’d never seen any twins do that before. Nice to know that even in utero they are BFFing! I love the idea of that! You hear about the special bond that twins have with each other, but there we were seeing it for ourselves! It was something I’ll never forget seeing, and it melted my heart instantly.

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Also, we were able to find out what the gender of our little Sweet Pea is! Pumpkin, who is currently breached was not even trying to cooperate. He/she was too busy playing around and kicking those little toothpick legs. But either way, we’re not telling anyone until our reveal party. Let’s see how well we fare not spilling the beans for another 4 weeks! I am so in love with these two little beings! Somehow, I feel like they were meant just for us, just for me! Can’t wait to see them again next Friday at our next appointment, and maybe Pumpkin will feel like cooperating. Something tells me, he/she is gonna be stubborn like his/her mommy.

An Emotional Hot Trainwreck of a Mess…

And that’s just how I have been feeling!!!  I don’t know what is going on, but it feels like I am getting all of Callie’s pregnancy symptoms.  She feels great AMAZING, and I, on the other hand spend most of my days wishing we were together (we work opposite shifts and my days off are Friday and Saturday, so we get one day for “family day” per week), crying as I listen to music and catch up on my TV shows (Thanks A LOT “The Fosters”!), craving chocolate like it’s no ones business, and dealing with the soreness/tenderness of my breasts as I continue on my journey to try and establish a significant milk supply/flow to help sustain my twinfants. I’m basically feeling everything that Callie is feeling (with the exception of the actual babies, which she technically isn’t feeling yet, although this morning she sent me a text that she THINKS she might have felt one of them but it might just be that she was really hungry) even though I’m not pregnant.

As I was driving to work at 5am, I was listening to a CD that Marco made for our drive up to this past weekends hike. Ed Sheeran (with his amazing soothing voice and fantastically ginger hair) started playing a song that I had heard before but never really paid much attention to.  To make a long story short, it has to do with miscarriage and is incredibly touching and heartbreaking (Ed Sheeran – Small Bump).  When I tell you that I needed windshield wipers INSIDE my car, that is no exaggeration.  The waterworks were in full effect.  My first thought was , WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!?! I started to analyze why I have been feeling the way that I have, not just recently with the whole pregnancy, but for the better part of the past 2 years while simultaneously scrolling through FB.  I was reading a friends post about vulnerability and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and then it hit me!

For the better part of my life, I was very guarded, as I’m sure many of us are.  I grew up in a family where everything was great, and don’t you dare say otherwise.  “Don’t you dare cry, or I’ll give you something to cry about” kind of home.  Don’t get me wrong, I had the best time growing up.  In retrospect I had the best childhood that anyone could have asked for.  I lived with my loving, accepting, tolerant and encouraging parents who drove us to all of our soccer, field hockey, basketball, softball games and swimming, karate, and attended every concert or musical that we were in.  I have 4 incredible siblings that I would die for.  We are all very close in age (I’m 31, sis-almost 29, bro-27, sis-26, bro-25 as of yesterday) and spent lots of time in cramped spaces, like 8 hour road trips to Niagara Falls.  I wasn’t allowed to go ANYWHERE unless all the ducklings were right behind me.  To this day, family dinners on Sunday at my parents are a non-negotiable, and I love that about my family.  We all live within 10-15 minutes of each other with the exception of my youngest brother who lives in Brooklyn, but him and his boyfriend visit all the time and probably spend the most time at my parents of all 5 of us (Yup! My handsome and hilarious younger brother is gay too and has been with his partner for almost 3 years).  If I’m to speak candidly, (and why wouldn’t I?) sadness was just one of those emotions that got pushed away.  “What are you sad about? Look at how great your life is!” Although this was probably said to teach us to appreciate everything we have and think, “Hey! It could be worse!”, for someone as emotional and sensitive as me, it was pretty difficult to deal with.

I learned very early on to bottle up my emotions.  To cry only in the shower where no one could see me.  To wait until my sisters had fallen asleep so that then, and only then, I could grab my pillow and scream into it until I couldn’t scream anymore.  To take out my aggression and express my anger on the playing field.  To become these characters in the school plays and musicals and in some ways live vicariously through them, even if it was fictional and temporary.  All I really wanted was for my mom to kiss me and my dad to hug me when I was sad or mad (they did plenty of it all the other times, believe me – my family is incredibly affectionate), but they rarely did, and even then it was awkward and uncomfortable.  So being sad or angry was just not something we did well with.

Being or allowing myself to be vulnerable was out of the question. It would mean that I could be hurt, and the hurt would lead to sorrow, and sorrow would lead me into this abyss of darkness, despair, and depression.  For a long time, I lived my life devoid of anything that would lead to the risk or possibility of getting hurt.  For the better part of 16-26, I was just a mess.  Drinking, drugging, cutting class, obsessed with my relationships and my inability to let them go, and not allowing anything to effect me emotionally.  A lot of people even went there, and called me ” A cold-hearted bitch”.  It’s fine because I totally owned it.  I might have even been proud of it! I didn’t give a crap about anything. You’re mom died? Sorry! People die everyday.  You’re dog died? He’s a freaking dog! You lost your job? What the hell am I supposed to do about that? (I didn’t really feel like this, I swear it, but I wasn’t sure how I was really supposed to feel or express any of it) I was so numb that on 3 separate occasions I tried to take my own life (19, 21, 26).  At 26, I decided I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. Another failed 4 year relationship and I was done.  I committed myself to an inpatient hospital where I spent 2 months of my life doing Intense therapy, DBT, and acknowledging that my way of coping was not effective at all.  After that, I moved back in with my parents (who after the birth of my niece have become emotional wrecks themselves and have NO ISSUES WHATSOEVER showing us tears of joy, relief, sadness, anger and every other emotion you can possibly think of).  My mom visited me in the hospital every day, brought me dinner every night, asked how I was feeling, and listened.  Really listened.  They actually said, I HAD to move back home and that they weren’t taking no for an answer. I have no way to repay them for what they have done for me.  They helped me enroll in a full day outpatient DBT program which my dad drove me to M-F and picked me and asked me what I learned about myself every night at dinner. That gesture in itself was therapeutic.

One of the most important things I learned was to embrace being vulnerable. “Open myself up to these things? What the hell for?!?” But the more I practiced, the more I realized that for every possible little bit of sadness that I let in, I was also letting in possible joy.  Even when there was sadness, I had all these amazing feelings of happiness to override that.  That feeling sad wasn’t that bad! You feel it, recognize it, and move on.  I could actually feel things and come out the other side a better person.  Like, really feel them, and feel them with people and for people, and have an appropriate response.  What I realized the most about allowing myself to be vulnerable was that it actually felt like I was living.  I wasn’t simply going through the motions.  I was truly knee deep in life.  All these things were coming at me from every direction (my aunt who is my second mother getting diagnosed with beast cancer, a huge fall out between a ton of my family members, trying to start a new relationship after nearly 2 years of selfishly working on myself, losing a great paying unionized job as a carpenter in NYC because of my time in psychiatric care, moving from the NYC where I had been for nearly 10 years back home to the suburbs which I had outgrown) and I dealt with them.  And I wasn’t the worse for wear. Who woulda thought! I was alive and feeling, and that was okay with me.  Better than okay!  It was amazing!  So now, after having analyzed this, I see that my pseudo-pregnancy symptoms are just me living and feeling and accepting.  Of course I feel sad when I hear the terrible news about someone losing their precious baby, or when pets leave us, or even when something as simple as a rain storm ruins our one family fun day that we had been looking forward to.  How could I not!?! So even though they are sad tears, they are still happy tears for me.  My kids will always know hugs and kisses and validation of their feelings.  They will see their Mamá cry, breakdown, pick up the pieces, pray, laugh, dance, and love.  A Mamá with a big ole’ vulnerable heart.  Mi corazón estará abierto para ustedes…<3

My amazing family...

My amazing family…

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Foster Mama – Part 2

Being a foster parent is broken up into 2 parts:
1)The Easy part
2)The Hard part

The Easy Part – Callie and I have worked in childcare for a ridiculously lengthy amount of time.  She’s been the Director for a childcare center for about 13 years, and I have worked as a preschool teacher on and off for over 10 years.  Loving the kids, caring for them, teaching them right from wrong, nurturing them, helping build a positive self image and self worth, those things  come effortlessly.  We figured fostering would be similar.   We were made to have children, to care for these tiny humans.  Choosing to foster (foster to adopt actually) was something we both knew was in the cards for our family and something we both felt strongly about.  In the past 6 months we have had 2 placements.  Our first was a set of 3.6 year old twin girls. We loved them.  From day one, we loved them.  Our hearts took them in so quickly.  We held them at night when they cried for us.  We potty trained them and made them feel secure enough to get rid of their pacifiers. We sang songs in the car on the way to daycare.  They called us mom.  They loved us too.  Now we have Mary.  She’s our spunky, rambunctious, sassy, quick learning, very expressive 6 and a half year old.  She came to us and didn’t know how to read, had horrible manners, and lots of trust and control issues.  And again, We loved her, From day one.  4 months later, she’s reading everything her eyes come in contact with (even the super long hard words on the ingredients on the cereal box), she’s drawing pictures of rainbows and butterflies instead of dying flowers and crying and rainy clouds.  We rub her back when she’s tired, we put band-aids on boo-boo’s and kiss them better, we give her foot massages while she eats ice cream and the 3 of us cuddle on the couch for Friday Movie Nights.  We read bedtime stories with different voices for every character.  We teach her to fish and to say please and thank you. To wash her hands after potty and to say her prayers for all things good.  Hugs and kisses, hand holding, Loving them, that’s always the easy part.

The Hard Part – When we decided to become foster parents we had to take a 10 week course that trains you for the challenging but rewarding experience that is fostering.  You go to a 3 hour class once a week and you touch upon topics like child abuse, gains and loses, managing behaviors, teamwork and partnership with the birth family, and a whole slew of other things. Being well aware of how to handle many of these situations (through many years of mandated training with our childcare jobs), we felt like this class would be sort of boring and redundant.  We were pleasantly surprised when we left there with a better understanding of how it all worked, and how many different circumstances lead up to children being removed from their homes and entering the “system”. You never really stop to think that maybe a dad lost his job and became very depressed. That he could have gone out with some friends for a few drinks and ended up with a DUI and mom had to post bail but spent all their bill money.  That their 9 year old was hounding them because they promised to take her and 2 friends to the amusement park and now cant afford it.  That they went to the ER for 2 separate incidents in a 3 week period because first mom lost it and ran out of the house as their 2 year daughter chases her, tumbling down the stairs and breaking her collar bone and a week and a half later dad pops the 9 year old in her mouth for being fresh about that damn birthday party and she pulls back and splits her head open on a wall corner (true story). Sometimes, they aren’t horrible parents, just a product of circumstance.  Taking all of this into consideration, you remember that fostering is only temporary, and our main goal is to support the families and the children and do our best to reunify them. We were ok with that.  We were prepared for that.  But after you’ve nursed all those boo-boo’s, dried hundreds of tears, cuddled and loved them when they lost everything they had and you became their new everything, you look at it differently.  You know that they aren’t  yours and that usually (sadly more often then not) they go back to the places that they came from, whether they are half way decent of hardly livable. They go back.  They leave you and take a piece of your heart with them.  You find a left over sock under the bed, or it falls out of your shirt sleeve where it’s been living since your last load of laundry.  You have to let go, and letting go is the hard part.

Mary has been with us since March 28th, 2014.  In the short time that she has been with us she has learned so much from us, but we have learned so much more from her.  We have learned to communicate effectively not only with Mary but with each other.  We try to model appropriate behavior and try our hardest to show her the proper and effective way to communicate your emotions.  We use “feeling” words, like “I’m feeling very sad today” and provide explanations for those emotions, “because someone at work hurt my feelings”.  We try not to raise our voices.  We have sit down dinners every night AT THE TABLE and not in front of the TV.  We try and limit the use of electronics when we are doing family things.   She’s taught us to see the extraordinary in the every day.  Catching fire flies and looking for starfish has never been so fun.  We have more open and honest conversations, and we ask more intimate questions.  We used to ask, “How was your day?” but now the questions are more along the lines of, “So did you laugh till your belly hurt today?” or “Did someone say something that made you sad today?” or “Did you do something today that made you feel good about yourself?”  These are the real questions worth asking.

Mary and her mom have a great relationship.  We know most of the details of the placement, but aren’t really sure what mom’s consequences are for her behavior.  They don’t really give us much info on moms progress.  They did let us know though, that mom put in for an interstate transfer to have Mary moved to an aunt’s house (who she has only seen a handful of times in her life) in CT.  When we spoke to Mary about it and asked her how she felt, she said, “My heart is confused.  I love you guys and I love the babies, but I love my mom and my family too”. My heart is confused…that’s the kind of stuff we like to hear.  We know that so far, in the short amount of time that she has been with us, we have instilled enough confidence, courage, and self worth that she will always do her best to voice what she is feeling and how she is doing.  They say  it can take anywhere from 2-6 months for the transfer to go through, and it usually does.  We asked the case-worker if there is anything we can do to advocate for her.  We believe that Mary going back with her mom is the best option for her.  Her mother isn’t a horrible person.  She isn’t even a bad mother! She’s just someone who made some mistakes and deserves a second chance, provided she comply with everything she was told to do. We aren’t those people that believe sabotaging a reunion could mean an adoption for us.  It’s never been about us. It’s always been about the child, but transitioning her to another home is crazy! She’s adjusted so well and made so much progress socially, academically, and emotionally that taking her away would just create more attachment and abandonment issues and probably send her into a place similar to the one she was in when she came home to us. Mom really likes us, a lot actually, but we aren’t family and that’s where her child belongs (even if it will tear her apart).  Callie and I have been having dreams that they are gonna remove her from our home, and it’s terrifying.  We’re feeling like this day is coming soon, and we’ll have to say our “See you later Coo-Coo”‘s and our “Remember to wash your hands cuz you have all those yucky germs”.  For now, we’ll just keep loving her and teaching her and helping her create some of the best memories she’ll ever have.  The easy part is over, but the inevitable hard part still awaits.

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Everything seems to be going ok…

WARNING:  Ridiculously random post for things that have happened in the past 2 days, and photo overload! My apologies.

Today marks 12 weeks.  It is the last week in our first trimester, and FINALLY we get to spill the beans! Not that we haven’t told everyone that is close to us (immediate family, closest friends who might as well be family, and most of our co-workers) but finally being able to post pictures and little blurbs about  Pumpkin (Baby A), Sweet Pea (Baby B), and my gorgeous Callie on all my social media sites is ridiculously exciting to me.  Am I the only one that is really excited to show the world what we have been up to? They are probably wondering why we haven’t really attended any social gathers and have stayed away from any invitations including the words “Bar”, “Pub”, “Game Night”, “Pool Party” or “Karaoke”. It’s been really difficult to not show our weekly chalkboard update, cute little sonogram pics, or how ridiculously adorable Callie looks in the cute dresses I bought her for the remainder of the summer.

I can’t even believe how much her belly has grown in the past 2 days!  This morning, she noticed that her bellybutton was protruding just a little bit and was able to tuck it back in.  This afternoon, changing into her fishing clothes, she noticed that it was out again, but when she tried to push it back in, it wouldn’t stay. We regret not having started to take measurements earlier.

The daily morning picture I get at work

The daily morning picture I get at work

Fishing at sunset, one of our favorite things

Fishing at sunset…one of our favorite things

We’ve been very patient in waiting to find out the gender of our little ones.  Not that I ever really wanted to know much anyway but since it’s 2 and double the planning, sure! Why not?! We’ve refrained from buying anything (2 of everything remember?) until we know what we’re having but there are 2 things I couldn’t resist! I’m on baby overload, and I can’t control myself!!! I ordered THESE GIANTS!!!! and they finally came in! Go ahead and judge me, but my family bleeds blue!!! As long as I can remember, I’ve been excited about Sundays with my kids and extended family, watching games and talking crap.  It’s gonna be awesome!! I went to Marshall’s to look for a gift to surprise Callie with, I saw these and of course i had to have them (the only ones that I could find that weren’t gender specific)!

Little snuggle buddies (lovies) or as we called our security blankets growing up, "tita's"

Little snuggle buddies (lovies) or as we called our security blankets growing up, “tita’s”

And finally, appointment this afternoon with our Perinatologist.  Even though so far this pregnancy has gone off without a hitch (minus our little scare a few weeks ago), when you talk about down’s syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities, it’s still pretty scary stuff.  We’ve come to the realization that it’s a really personal decision to make if the results of these tests show anything less than “normal”, but we always knew that we would love our children no matter what.  We will  use our resources, ask for help, and care for them as best we can.  Terminating a pregnancy wasn’t an option for us unless of course our children would be suffering. But thankfully, it looks like everything is just fine! 1 in 7400+ chance of  Down’s, and my lady is sporting the baby making insides of an early 20yr old! Our sonographer was AMAZING!! She took her time with us and worked really hard to get great pictures, and she printed about 20 pics for us.  Pumpkin even gave her moms a little wave! Our little cuties are growing as they should and their little profiles make my heart melt.

They have my nose (i think)

They have my nose (at least we think so from these pics)

Bunk beds! Sweet Pea up top and Pumpkin down below

Bunk beds! Sweet Pea up top and Pumpkin down below

These aren't that great, but how can you resist not saying "awwww" like 1000 times in 10 seconds!?!

These aren’t that great, but how can you resist not saying “awwww” like 1000 times in 10 seconds!?!

"Hi" back atcha kiddo!

“Hi” back atcha kiddo!

First come love, then comes marri…wait?!

Callie and I started dating exclusively September 22nd, 2010.  Even before that, it’s fair to say that we were only dating each other although I had a girlfriend that moved from NY to FL right as our relationship was starting and I hadn’t seen her and had barely spoken to her in 3+ months.  It was a whirlwind kind of thing that involved a lot of fishing, rainy afternoons, and late night phone conversations in hushed whispers.  I was living back with the Parental Unit for about a year after 2 months in a psychiatric ward recovering from earth shattering depression after the dissolution of an almost 5 year Domestic Partnership. Borderline Personality disorder is a b*tch tho, ain’t it? Needless to say, they weren’t any less strict than when I was growing up.  Even the keystrokes on my laptop at 1am with my parents behind their closed door and me behind mine, across the hall, on the OPPOSITE side from the door, was enough to send my mom into a tizzy! (SB: My mom is AMAZING, just don’t eff with her sleep!)

Unlike any other relationship I had been in, we worked out the kinks early on.  We had no qualms about discussing what we were and weren’t okay with, what we could and couldn’t deal with, pet peeves, and relationship no-no’s.  Neither of us was trying to waste anymore time in our lives.  Nearing 30 with several failed relationships under our belts, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t figure out 5 years down the line that it simply wasn’t going to work.

So fast forward 4 years later, December 2013, a couple of weeks before Christmas, I finally buy her a ring.  It may not be the most expensive or the biggest diamond, but my gut told me she’d love it.  I researched long and hard to make sure that it was something that she would love and that matched her personality and who she was. Not that she wouldn’t love it anyway because I think at that point she was convinced I would never ask! Everything had to be just right though.  Nothing on a whim.  Perfectly calculated.  That was the only way.  Callie is a storyteller, and there is nothing she loves more than a great love story, and I was going to give her one! I started it by talking to her father and asking for his blessing.  He hesitated for a second, but only because he was choking up and didn’t really know what to say. “As long as she’s happy, I’m happy.”

She’s always pressing me to buy Groupons for scavenger hunts, but I was just never really that interested.  So what better way to ask her to marry me than to give her the ultimate hunt? Got family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who wanted in to help (thank you Facebook events). Wrote out clues (in perfect rhymes may I add), distributed them as needed, and got everyone in position, but not before I had emailed the itinerary at least 10 times and confirmed with everyone that they knew EXACTLY what was to happen and they were not to be late, OR ELSE!!!

January 4th, 2014 – 11am start

Clue #1-Her parents place, where she was raised, and dad gave her the second clue sending her off with a hug and kiss.

Clue #2-Mani-Pedi’s with my sisters. She has only 1 brother and wanting sisters was something that’s never left her. And besides, you can’t show off a shiny new engagement ring with your nails looking a mess!

Clue #3-Bowling alley in my home town where we had our first real date.  We were non-dating for a while (read first paragraph).  She walks in to find a spread of all her favorite bowling alley snacks, and a few drinks with 2 of our closest friends.  After noshing on some good eats, they gave her…

Clue #4–  My parents came in with my brother and his boyfriend (yeah! 2 gay kids out of 5!) and drove her back to their house, where I grew up, where my sisters would do her hair and make up and a new dress and shoes were waiting for her.  After some shenanigans and lots of wine, my parents gave her clue number 5.

Clue #5– Off to the marina, where we had our first kiss.  Where we fished in the rain for hours and knew that the other was “the one”.  Where we played spades and she wiped the little beads of sweat of my nose which for some strange reason she thought were so cute.  Where she held my hand and kissed me.  Where our whole relationship lost the rockiness of the seas and finally reached the calms of the harbor.

On the car ride to the marina, my friends gave her my iPad which had a 12 minute iMovie of our whole relationship playing our soundtrack.  It’s the exact amount of time from highway to marina. She cried for 12 whole minutes, only to arrive, be blindfolded by my best friend Marco and walked to the beginning of the gangway. 30 or so people, in 2 straight lines holding sparklers, rose petals all the way down the gangway and all over the dock, and candles leading the way to me. I asked her to marry me in our favorite place surrounded by all of our favorite people. It was incredible! And freezing! Coldest day in NY the whole year! -4!

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Well thought out clues

Mani-Pedi, Bowling Alley snacks, wine with my family, movie of our love, and blindfolds for the reveal

Mani-Pedi, Bowling Alley snacks, wine with my family, movie of our love, and blindfolds for the reveal

Waiting for my love

Waiting for my love

She said YES!

She said YES!

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Our favorite place in the whole world

eng6 eng7Almost 8 months later we still aren’t married, but totally pregnant! This is not how I had envisioned this going at all! It’s all kind of backwards, isn’t it??? I never really thought about it much until I took Mary outside 2 days ago to play with her new sidewalk chalk.  I was busy opening some mail when out of the blue this lively little 6 year old turns and asks,

Mary: “Why aren’t you and Callie married? You’re having babies and you’re not married? Pssh! Weeeeiiiiirrrrdddd!”

Me: “We just didn’t have time kiddo.  We’ve been really busy getting Callie’s tummy ready for a baby, remember?”

Mary: “Yeah, but you’re ‘upposta be married first!”

Me: “Well, it’s a little different for us honey.  I can’t help Callie make a baby, so we have to go to the doctor and get all those medicines.  We needed money for the doctor, so we had to use the money we saved for our big wedding. Now we have to wait a little while before our we get married.”

Mary: “You don’t need monies! You just need to love each other! I’ll draw your marrying day!”

Callie and I getting married thanks to our 6 year old

Callie and I getting married thanks to our 6 year old

 

Somehow she put things into perspective.  We don’t need money or anything extravagant.  We don’t need flower arrangements, DJ’s, or wedding planners.  No hugely overpriced cakes or 100 hours of arguing about who can and can’t sit at what table. Maybe we’ll just go to our local government office and tie the knot there, with our family and closest friends by our sides, followed buy a small intimate dinner.  Maybe we’ll have something bigger when the babies get here.  Maybe we won’t. All I know is that we just need what we needed since day 1.

Trust. Hope. Faith. Passion. Understanding. Honesty. Love.

Above all things love, and that we have covered.

Week 10

There is nothing more awesome to me than watching my beautiful Callie get excited about our weekly “chalkboard update”. Every Thursday for the past month I have been documenting the stages of fetal development via a $5.99 chalkboard I bought at the Home Depot. I then add everyone to a MASSIVE mass text (about 20 of our closest friends and both of our families which include my 5 brothers and sister, mom, dad, Callie’s parents, brother, and her 2 aunts) and watch the craziness ensue. Our phones go off about 100 times in 10 minutes with a ton of “awww’s”, “how cute!”, “she’s glowing!” and “love the weekly lessons”. It’s nice to have everyone in on our joy, being that they have all been on this long, trying, and exhausting journey with us and are just as invested in these kiddos as we are. They’ve helped us through the really dark times when we thought there would never be any light to alleviate the sadness. They’ve been amazing and we’re extremely lucky. Everyone calls them “our babies”. One of my best friends Nikki texts us all the time, “How are our babies doing?” It’s actually really cute, comforting, and nice to know that we have such an amazing support system and so many people on our side.

This week was no different. Callie got home from work, kicked off her shoes, pet the kitty, gave hugs and kisses to Mary and asked about her day at summer camp, and was ready for her weekly snapshot. Let me not forget to mention that she peed about 3 times while all of this was happening. We set up the board and took our picture. The whole time, as usual, I’m thinking to myself, “Look at her smiling! She’s so happy! She is so damn beautiful! How did I get so lucky?” My best girl, in all her pregnant, baby carrying splendor. All mine! I hope our twinfants look like her. Freckles, beautiful green eyes, red hair (this week they are actually developing peach-fuzz on their bodies). I hope they are musically inclined like I am (thanks to our months of pouring over Latino donor profiles and waiting for the perfect one with a musical background, and not having webbed fingers anymore this week helps that too!). 2 healthy babies is all we can ask for. Until they’re here, I’ll keep marveling at what Callie is doing to her body for us. I’ll continue to assure her that as her belly grows and grows so does my heart and love for her, and that I have never been happier in my life. 10 weeks of babies, but a lifetime of love already…

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That is NOT a penis…unfortunately!

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Every time we go to an ultrasound appointment, I kind of hope that they’ll be able to tell me what gender my babies are.  I know that it’s technically not possible yet, but what’s wrong with hoping right? Our 9 week ultrasound was no exception!

We get into the room, the Dr. steps out, and my Callie goes through the usual routine.  She quickly undresses before the Dr. comes back in (they’ve probably seen that thing as many times as I have this past year and a half), throws her pants and underwear at me but not before she tucks the underwear into the folds of the pants as EVERY woman does when she goes to the GYN (why is that???), and sits on the table, excited as ever to see our tiny humans again. 

Sidebar: We opted out of our appointment last week because our Dr. was on vacation and rescheduled for this past Wednesday, only to find out that our Dr. was in his NYC office that day and we wouldn’t be seeing him anyway.  Fantastically enough, we got his assistant who allowed us to really spend some quality time watching our babies wiggling around. IT WAS AWESOME!!!

So Callie lays back, and no matter how “safe and sound” we know our babies are, there is still this little twinge of fear when they do the ultrasound and you’ve seen baby 1 and not baby 2.  You have no idea the wave of relief that comes when you see baby 2 and hear his/her heart beat (let’s say “his” in hopes that the God’s will hear me and grant me my one true wish!). I’ve been a good person for the better part of my adult life, paying it forward, lending a helping hand, and doing the best I can do.  A son to watch my NY Giants with would be the greatest blessing, but two healthy babies, regardless of gender, takes the cake.

Having my partner, our Foster daughter Mary, our kitty Gracie, our 3 birds (2 females), our rabbit, and myself, it’s fair to say that our house might as well be called Estrogenfest!  Imagine we have 2 girls?!?! I will probably make front page on the Daily News with the headline, “New Mama throws self from Tappan Zee Bridge because she did not have a son!”.  Still, we look at the monitor and see what’s going on.  I’m happy to say that there are still 2 little ones in there, cute as ever.  They actually have little bodies, and aren’t just bean-looking anymore.  There are heads, and noticeable little paddles for hands and feet, and the best part, no tail! We no longer have tadpoles but tiny humans, big heads and all! What a difference a week makes. But I see something in the image.  Something LONG and smack in the middle where genitalia should be.  I know it’s too soon to tell, but in my head I’m like, “OH, HELL YEAH! My son is PACKING!”. I know damn well it’s the cord! And then the Dr. confirms what I already knew , “And that’s just the cord, not the penis.” DEFLATED! I start cracking up, mainly because I was JUST thinking that, but also to hide that weird farty sound that balloons make when you let that last little bit of air out of them.  I guess the personalized infant NY Giants Jersey I have in my cart on the NFL store website to match mine will have to wait a few more weeks…hopefully…twins1