Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Love Twitter but I Love THIS Better

If you haven't watched this video, you really really should!

Kudos to Sickies!

I've spent the last three days flat on my back... and so not in a good way.

I am so sick. Flu, sinus infection, bronchial trouble. When I do fall asleep, I wake up choking on phlegm. I have short stints where I can sit up (like now), but have to have my head down for most of the day.

No work, home alone - and I realize I don't really take care of myself. I haven't bothered to eat, because I can't be bothered to make food, or even walk to the kitchen to see what's there. Maybe because there isn't much. 

I can't imagine how moms do it - get sick like this - and still be able to look after their children. Especially those with no help, or partners. I don't remember my mom ever getting sick, but I know we never had a babysitter (until my oldest sibling was old enough (11!) to look after all of us). She must have just sucked it up around us. Figures... she's stubborn as hell, even now.

So as I'm hacking and sweating and shivering and feeling sorry for myself, I give my highest kudos to the women out there who have children to look after, who put their children first, regardless of how they feel. Who look after their children as well as themselves. It has to be a tricky balance.

My energy is so low - lower than usual. I have low energy to begin with. Even though I am not in a depressive episode, my energy has always been a problem. I am on a bunch of meds that are sedatives, and though my doctor has tried to balance me out with "uppers" in the past, I've chosen not to go through the day on a shaky buzz. I'd rather be tired. But what about when I have a child?

Do you just get this innate super energy mom thing? Do you show your kids that you're exhausted? Do you feel run down, and if so, how do you keep your children healthy and happy... even when you don't feel that yourself?

I often wonder, after weeks of work where I have trouble loving my job, whether I would even be able to look after a child. Not if I get as tired as I do. And yes, I can rely on D, but I want to be active and not that mother that are always in Victorian novels, sleeping in a bedroom away from her children while the housekeeper looks after the home and children.

I want to be on the front lines with my kids. I want to take them to 5am hockey practice or 7pm piano rehearsals. I want to be there for every minute of what they do (okay, maybe not every minute - don't want to be an overbearing mom). Basically, why would I want to be a mom if I can't be a mom that enjoys being with her kids.

I will have the energy. I need to find peace with some major stuff first (job, financial stuff), and then my mind can stop racing and I will find my mojo. 

Back to the couch I go, however not before giving a huge kudos to sick mothers who keep on keeping on! I have the highest amount of respect for you!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flash Forward

I’m exhausted. My partner is exhausted. We’re both just drained, and all from one conversation. 

After the appointment at Repro Psych, I admit I totally shut down and wasn’t really communicating all that well. I took my partner’s earlier request that “baby talk” didn’t take over our lives to heart and instead, said nothing. Plus, it was my birthday and I didn’t want to think about pregnancy, medication, surrogacy, adoption, or childlessness. But in the back of my mind, it never went away. It never does.

My partner… let’s call her “D” for simplicities sake… wanted answers. Is being pregnant and carrying my own child more important that parenting a child? I threw around an answer in my head, but never verbalized it until last night.
I see pregnancy and actually “obtaining” a child as two very separate things (obtaining is such a horrible word, but I guess “having” a child may suggest actually birthing one). My hormones are crazy; the intensity of these urges that seem to jump out of my empty womb are ridiculously hard to ignore. Biology is of course part of that… D has never in her life had an urge anywhere close to that, and I don’t expect her to understand. I just wish she could sometimes.
I want contact with my unborn child. I want it to be completely dependent on me. I want to make an attachment with something that is growing inside of me. I want to hold out the baby when it is born and say “look what I made.”

When surrogacy was brought up as an option, at first I thought it would be my second choice (if we had the money). But now that I’ve been thinking of it – it’s not the genetics. I don’t actually care – at this moment at least – about whether I’m genetically linked to my child. I don’t want someone else to grow my child inside of them. I fear if we go that route, my need (and I really do think of it as a NEED) to carry a baby will not be fulfilled. 

Maybe it will be option #3.

And then there is adoption. If we were to adopt, I would want a newborn. D told me that she is sad that we don’t agree on adoption. She would be happy to raise an older child – give a child a chance after adversities that he or she has had to face, and welcome them into a healthy, happy home. I would love to say that I’m that woman who could and would do that. But I’m not.
This isn’t altruistic, this is selfish. 

And all I can think about is how shitty it is that I can’t get all I’ve ever wanted, because a) I’m a lesbian, b) I’m crazy, c) I have chronic pain issues, and d) D and I can’t agree on what our lives are going to look like.

She ended the conversation with “Maybe I don’t even want a kid.” I looked at the floor, I imagined us in our 50s and 60s without child, and I realized that that life may be exactly the life we’re heading for…

Monday, March 15, 2010

Today is a good day...

Today is a good day. I’m at work, enjoying it (have been a bit unenamoured lately), and smiling.

I am turning 30 this week, and have apparently had some issues coming to term with this fact. All my life, I’ve wanted to be older… I kind of had to grow up fast, so I never really clicked with people my own age – I pretty much always form relationships with “older” people (and by that, I simply mean older than ME). That said, I have a group of gals from my high school – same grade – that I still get together with though, and I am close to them. They’ve seen me go through hell and back, and I’ve seen them all deal with the good and bad in life, so we’ve been good supports to each other.

There are six of us in this little group. We had our first baby about 9 months ago.  He was born on the other side of Canada, so we’ve only met him once at Christmas, but they’ll be moving home soon. He is adorable. Another couple seem pretty close – and by that I mean they’ve just bought a three bedroom townhouse, looking to expand their family. Another couple will probably have a baby in the next two years. The other two are single.

I have two brothers. One of my sisters-in-law just had a baby last month; the other sister-in-law is pregnant with her fourth, due in a few months.

There are babies everywhere, and although I get pangs of jealousy (in the most non-directional sense) and a gutteral energy flow, I am so blessed to have the best nieces and nephews I could ever ask for.

Before I realized that becoming a mother was a possibility, my main objective was to be the best aunt I could ever be – to be that person who gets a call in the middle of the night from a 15-year-old niece saying “I need to sleep at your house. I’m drunk and Dad’ll kill me.” Not that I’ll endorse drinking as an adolescent, just that I know what I was like, and though I hope my nieces and nephews have good heads on their shoulders, I’m sure it’ll happen. But they learn. I did.

For now, I am going to try to relax into the aunt role. The “mom” role seems so far away right now. I have to keep in the present, and not have my full energy enlisted in an unborn child and the happenings of the future. I have to be here now.  I keep having to remind myself to stay in the present – it’s hard for me, always thinking ahead. But I am blessed with the people in my life. Here. Now.

And I get to hang out with the whole gang of kiddies for my birthday.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Single? SURE! Gay... well, here's the thing...

I am blessed to live in Canada, where I'm able to be legally married to my partner, and to be treated as any other straight person is treated.

Except if you want to adopt a child.

From Adoption Council of Canada's FAQs:

So, a 18 year old single GIRL can adopt, but a lesbian couple in a long-standing marriage.... yeah, maybe not.

Bass ackwards, I say.

Not to mention sad.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Life For Sale"

I came home to my subscription to "The Walrus" - Canada's best magazine, in my books... literally. Usually I'm thrilled to read it, but I couldn't help but think that the cover story was a sign:

"Life for Sale: Canada's Underground Trade in Human Eggs" by Alison Motluk, which, brilliantly written, goes into how Canada's fertility laws fail donors, doctors, and parents.

At lunch today, I was searching Adoption Canada and websites on surrogacy, trying to be discrete, as my three male coworkers share the office space. (It's really awkward when one of them walks by and I've got a page up with a "crazylesbianmom" login or something). Everything is so confusing... I didn't open all the hundreds of PDFs of information, but with all that I read, through the odd laws, the money, the illegalities, the list of 30,000 children waiting to be adopted, I got totally overwhelmed. And then my lunch hour was up and I went into a meeting, dazed.

So what's going to be easier? Coming off a few meds and risking my health to the point where I may lose myself and my partner, and potentially get pregnant and have a baby, hoping to dear god it'll be healthy and I'll be able to enjoy the little thing without postpartum depression OR flying through loopholes and laws extracting eggs, paying tens of thousands of dollars using some stranger's uterus to grow my own baby, and suddenly have it delivered to us at our doorstep?

Money is money, and we won't worry about that until we have to - we're okay for now. And I find it really awkward to put the words "money" and "baby" in the same sentence. So, I won't.

I'm just so confused. And my partner is feeling a bit "off" and said that maybe yesterday was too stressful. And we're not even doing anything yet.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dancing a Two-Step

Well, she wasn't a dragon.

Despite her horrible reviews, she was actually really informative. And surprisingly gay-friendly. I'm still digesting the day, and the visit to Reproductive Psychiatry, and the conversations pre and post visit with my partner.

Before going in, we decided that this was merely an information gathering session, and we got a lot of information. Info we needed to hear, info I didn't want to hear, and a bit of info that is keeping me from feeling completely defeated.

There are risks. Of course, I know that. We know that. My partner and I both agreed this morning (over my tears in the car ride heading in to work) that this appointment should have been secondary to an appointment with my psychiatrist. He's the one who has known me and my mental health for 10 years. He's the one that will understand what *I'll* be like if I relapse, as opposed to some other crazy lesbian.

I wanted to know whether my baby would be safe. My partner wanted to know whether I'd be safe. We agreed to disagree, I guess, on why we were going. My partner did say something that I'd never heard in these words before: "I am not scared of losing the baby; I'm scared of losing you."

Me? Honestly? I'd put my health at risk in a heartbeat if I didn't have anyone to stop me. But I have an incredible partner that will help me get through the "I'll do anything for a baby even if it means almost killing me" mindset, and keep me level. She's good at that.

I'll go into the appointment more in another blog, but what I gathered was:
a) This doc has never treated anyone on as many medications as I am on in her 30 years of practice.
b) Against popular belief, anti-depressants hold little risk in pregnancies
c) There is a 25-30% chance of depression relapsing with a pregnancy
d) Babies addicted to crack turn out fine on the most part, so... (odd)
e) I'm on the highest amount of all my medications, so that if I *do* get pregnant while I'm on the same doses (which I don't want), there will be no room to up my meds if I relapse
f) She was impressed that I wasn't fat, considering my dose of a "fattening" medication
g) She has a book, and she likes to plug it
h) It's up to us (my partner and I) on how to proceed

She said she'd be happy to take my case if my regular psychiatrist would agree to go through this with me and work on some kind of method to lower/come off some meds. She said he's the best shrink in this part of the world, and I agree.

She also threw out the idea of adoption and having a surrogate, closing with "but there are just some women that feel as though their lives will be incomplete if they never carry their own child."

I felt like saying: Yeah, that's me.

I didn't feel as defeated as I'd expected. There is still hope. But there is still so many risks - and so many more steps. As my partner said to me today: This is just one of the many steps we are going to have to get through... so let's get through them together. Did I mention how much I love her?

Next step is my regular psychiatrist. I trust him completely. I guess he'll be the one making the call. If he doesn't agree to working something out where I can get pregnant healthily and give birth to a healthy child, I suppose that's the end of this route.

I can't even believe I'm writing that.

Wow. Way too much to take in on a Wednesday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lo and Behold...

Just a few minutes after my post earlier today, my phone rang and went to voicemail. It was the Reproductive Psych clinic - the place where we've been talking about going to for months, and have been waiting for our referral to go through. They had a cancellation for tomorrow

I freaked out in the best way possible; I knew my partner had a meeting this afternoon, but had no idea when it ended. Like a crazy woman, I called both her work and cell phone, and emailed both her work and personal accounts. I would've paged her too, though I was scared she would've thought something was terribly wrong. And it wasn't.

I got a hold of her about 13 minutes later - which felt like an hour - as I could no longer concentrate on whatever was going on at work. She's free and able to go (I knew she would've cancelled something had she been busy, but it's always good to check, right? ;-) and so I called them back and they confirmed the time and place. And doctor.

So, I don't usually go to www.ratemds.com, but when you type in the name of a doc and it's the first thing that pops up, you're going to click on it. I am not sure whether I am happy I did or not. There is a ridiculous number of ratings for this doctor (especially for a Canadian doctor on an American site). ALL of them, except for ONE, go into gory detail of how badly they've been treated, how much trouble it's been with this doctor, how the doctor has ruined pregnancies, pushed meds, not been empathetic in the least, and not even remembering names of patients they've had week after week.

I'm freaking out. My partner and I are basically waiting for this day, for that magic person to say "yes, you are healthy enough to carry; the benefits of pregnancy outweigh the risks of having a depressive episode". This doctor could be our god(dess). They basically give me a yes or no answer to a life-long question.

Second opinions? I know about them. And we will follow up with my own shrink who is awesome and knows what he's doing. Anyway, I totally freaked out, sent my partner the link, and both of us questioned whether it was actually worth our time. 

After much deliberation, we're going. I'm shit scared. I am lucky that I have a regular psychiatrist by my side, who I trust completely, but I am shit scared that this doctor will kill a dream tomorrow. Or that we'll be treated as badly as some of those vocal patients. 

I want respect from someone who knows what they're talking about. Is that too much to ask?

Now Is The Right Time

This weekend was the first time that it’s felt as though my partner is just excited about having a baby as I am. There is a little history: We’ve been married for almost 3 years, together for 6. I was straight until my early 20s, and had numerous relationships with men (boys, really), had one relationship with a woman who I happened to be living with that I happened to get drunk with that I happened to sleep with and that I happened to end up in a year relationship with. Funny how that happens. Best thing about that relationship? We saved money by not having a need for the Lesbian U-Haul.

I guess my early 20s self thought lesbian = no children. So I think I almost mourned the fact that I’d never have kids because really… how would I? (I feel a little stupid admitting that, but it’s not like a kid in college is really thinking about saving up for a freezer full of sperm, you know?). Sooooo… I fell in love with my partner, who is a bit older than me, and we never even HAD the “kid conversation” before we made our vows and went on in our good, lesbian, non-breeding way.

And then the hormones kicked in, and this intense urge just ripped through all previous thought that carrying a child was not in my future. It’s an ache, a physical ache that hurts when it’s not filled. I can’t really explain it – I know people who have never felt anything like it (my partner included), and I know people who just know what I’m talking about when I mention it. I guess I’m wired to want a baby inside of me. Others who don’t understand that urge might not get how powerful that is.

I didn’t think my partner got it, but perhaps it was the “oh by the way I want a baby – sorry I didn’t get a chance to tell you before you signed up for a life with me” talk that threw her off. But she’s been amazing. We’ve been ridiculously honest about our feelings around the whole thing, and finally, it seems to be coming together; it seems like we’re on the same page.

She has never wanted to carry – ever. When she came out to her mom, her mom was first and foremost upset at the fact that she’d never have grandchildren. But she wouldn’t have had any anyhow had her daughter been straight.

I don’t remember exactly how it came up that I was so eager to have kids, but obviously, it threw my partner off a bit. At first there was really no response… it kind of felt like I was talking to a dead end (note to blame anything/one her end – I wouldn’t know how to respond myself). When she understood how serious I was, the questions came, the concerns came, the confusion came. How would I carry healthily? How would we do it at all? How can I be a part of this… if it’s “your” child?

This was the beginning of a long dialogue that accompanies this story, the middle and end of it I’ll write another day. For today, I’ve taken my multi-vitamin, I’m on a better eating regime, and I’m feeling good.

I just came back from a business trip, and at the airport, I saw a magnet that I had to buy. It said: “Now is the right time”.  And right now, everything is right.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Who Makes The First Call?

It’s Saturday and beautiful outside and all we want to do is relax and do nothing inside. We tend to be that way more often than not. I’ve had some physical health issues that have kept me pretty stationary, and we’re waiting on some test results to see what it is. It’s a chronic condition, and I admit I’ve been less proactive than I should be about getting to the bottom of this. Is it wrong that it was only until my partner said that she’d only take the next step to baby-dom once I’d dealt with my pain that it became one of the most important things on my list to do?

The house is a bit of a mess. It kind of always is. We both work really long hours and don’t get home until late, and the last thing we want to do is clean. We’re really good at deciding what it is that we want to do – worse about actually doing it. We talk but don’t act. I’m realizing that in order to a) get/remain healthy (both physically and mentally) and b) actually get pregnant and have a baby, I’m going to have to become someone who is ultra proactive, kind of pushy, and a little big aggressive. This journey is not going to be a walk in the park.

My shrink put in a referral for my partner and me to visit a clinic that deals with reproductive mental health. I think they mostly work with people who are actually pregnant that have developed mental health issues, or that have post-partum, but we’re hoping that they will be able to tell us whether I’ll be able to carry, and if so, what I’ll need to do (medication-wise) to do so healthily.

I really really want to go, but I’m terrified. I am putting off the possibility of hearing the words “it’s not safe enough.” It definitely hasn’t been the first step in this journey (there is a lot that had to/has to happen in my relationship for this baby), but it’s sort of the first “official” step, after the initial awkward conversation with my very conservative and very religious psychiatrist.

Speaking of my shrink – he is awesome at what he does. Like award-winning awesome. And I totally trust that he could have taken this on himself, but I think my partner initially needed a second opinion. If it was completely up to me, I think I’d risk my health to any degree to get pregnant and have a baby, but I know that’s not right. It’s not fair to anyone, especially my partner, who doesn’t want to have to be responsible and care for two infants. I can’t blame her for that.

I’m also terrified that even if we get the medical okay from the shrink experts, the reproductive clinic will turn us away. From what I’ve read, you have to be pretty damn healthy for them to shoot some boys up into you.

Anyway, as I was saying: We are say-ers and not do-ers. Does that change when you have an infant on the way? Do you dust the house to keep the air clean for their little lungs? Do you sweep the floors so that their little hands don’t pick up any lint balls to put in their mouths? Do you tidy everything off the living room coffee table so that they don’t take anything off that might hurt their tiny little selves? Does a baby make you change your bad habits?

Do I wait for the clinic to call me, or do I make the phone call myself?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Introduction

Okay, so I’m not a mom yet, but I want to be. 

Crazy – yes. Lesbian – yes. So let’s define the latter two. 

Lesbian: Easy definition. I am a woman who likes other women. In fact, I’m married to the most gorgeous and amazing woman I have ever met, and I’m incredibly lucky.

Crazy: I call myself crazy because I’ve struggled with depression for the better (worse) half of my life. Like not just your “normal” depression, but your institutionalized, heavily medicated depression. The kind where they keep you in isolation on suicide watch, and when they don’t know what to do with you anymore, they shock your brains out with way too much ECT (Electro-Convulsive Therapy). 

Now before you send the social workers, hear me out - I’m better. I haven’t had a depressive episode in years. I still take medication for my mental health, but I am going to do everything I have to do to make it so I’ll be able to carry a baby safely for both mother and child, as well as my partner, who will be extremely involved in the process. (Side note: I know that I have a picture of a coffee cup on my blog template. Trust that I’ll be switching to water when the time comes)

Why don’t we adopt? Maybe we will… but before we check out that option, I have to follow through on something I feel strongly about. I have wanted a baby for as long as I remember. Like since I was three years old. I’ve wanted to carry a child in my belly. I get those crazy hormonal urges where my belly literally aches to be filled. 

My greatest fear is to wake up when my eggs are old and realize I’ve missed out on the most important gift of my life. I envy those women who can roll around in the sack for 10 minutes and bam! - they’re preggers (no disrespect to you, just sayin’). 

I expect I will come across some people online who may be incredibly unsupportive of what I’m setting out to do. To you, I want to say that I respect your beliefs, but I have ultimate faith in mine.  For the safety of my family, I am keeping my identity hidden and comments will be moderated. That said, I am happy to be in contact with anyone who would like to share stories and experiences.
I didn’t choose to be a lesbian; I fell in love with the woman of my dreams. I also didn’t choose to be crazy, and it’s not fair that as a result of these obstacles, my dream of being a mother may be an excruciatingly difficult journey to bring to life – but a journey I want to, and have to make. 

So, this blog is a place where I will be writing about my journey to become a mother: From how it affects my marriage, my health, my family, my baby’s health, my community, and the rest of my life.

And perhaps, at the end of this journey, I will be able to post a baby picture of our child.