Monthly Archives: April 2011

“I Kissed a Girl”

The latest installment of my blog on TheNextFamily.com is up!  Check it out and leave some love – the story is getting good!

http://thenextfamily.com/2011/04/tanya-dodd-hise-is-falling-for-a-special-girl/

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Pregnancy Dreams

This blog was written several weeks ago – maybe a month or so.  Weird, weird dreams were going on….lol!

Erikka has been having weird dreams, she says, every night since she became pregnant….complete with night sweats and everything.  Most of the time she can’t remember the dreams to relay to me, which I think is typical.  But I would love to hear what’s going on in her slumbering brain sometimes, especially with the noises that she makes while she’s dreaming!

So I guess I felt left out, I don’t know.  I’ve been having some odd dreams myself, but last night’s was rather odd, even to me.  I dreamt that I was big and VERY pregnant – which is a big ole HA! unto itself.  I’ve done the pregnant thing…and did it badly, I might add.  My first pregnancy, at 20 years old, was a nightmare from about six months on.  Pre-term labor, hospitalizations (yes, that is multiple), bed rest (over my 21st birthday, which was a suck fest), and finally a premature baby that had to be Careflighted away at three hours old to a children’s hospital in Ft. Worth.  Yes, not a good start on the pregnancy journey for me.  But when the nightmare ended and I finally got to take my baby boy home, crazily enough, I wanted to do it again someday.  I tried again about four years later and nothing happened; they told me that I had secondary infertility.  Well, surprise to everyone, a few years later I found myself pregnant again (yes, this was back in my former married-to-a-dude life).  That pregnancy involved high blood pressure, bed rest again, and another premature baby born via caeserean.  And surprisingly enough, I STILL wanted to do it again (must have had some oxygen deprivation one of those other times).  I lost three babies after that – and no, I no longer wanted to do it again.  My body doesn’t do pregnant very well.

Anyway, back to the dream.  I’m big and pregnant – did I mention HA!?  From what I can recollect, I was big and pregnant and decided to go on a trip.  An aimless trip, not really knowing where I was going – just going.  Only I didn’t have my Jeep or a car of any kind; I was traveling by Greyhound bus.  Yuck!  I ended up in some other state, and then decided that I was going to catch another bus and head up to Wisconsin – which was 11 hours from wherever I was at the time.  While on the bus I decided to call one of our friends that we know from our activism and Facebook, who lives in Madison.  I just knew that I wanted to see her and asked her to pick me up, which she was more than happy to do.  When I arrived, she picked me up and I immediately went into labor – I panicked, knowing that it was too early and I wasn’t home, with Erikka by my side.  But I got taken to the hospital and our friend was by my side, doing her best to make me relax and get through it.  Then I woke up…consequently thinking, “What the hell???”

I’m sure that the dream has to be a direct result of the documentary that we watched last night, called The Business of Being Born.  I had high anxiety throughout the entire film, as it brought up too many emotions that surround the process of giving birth that I experienced each time, as well as the miscarriages.  I have great anxiety, apparently, surrounding Erikka and the birth of our child together.  I worry that if we go to a hospital, that she will not only not have the birth experience that she wants, but of how I will be treated (in Texas) as the non-biological mother.  Here, because our marriage is not recognized or validated, we have to take extra steps beforehand to assure that I will have access to my wife and child while at a hospital – and even then, nurses and doctors can still disregard me as her “roommate or friend.”  I worry about her having a home birth, mainly because of all that could go wrong – and I know that this stems, for the most part, from all of the things that DID go wrong with my own births.  So surely the dream was just a manifestation of my anxiety after the documentary and my own personal fears, right?

We’re now exploring some other options, if everything is progressing normally and there is only one baby in there.  We have made an apointment to tour a birthing center that isn’t very far away, and it looks very warm and homey (it’s a historic house, not a clinic).  They have no qualms about a same-sex couple, and assured me on the phone that I would be included in all aspects of the prenatal care, labor, delivery, and post-partum care…should we decide to go with them.  That would take away a LOT of anxiety on this mother…so we will see.

** Since I wrote this blog, we have since found out that Erikka will indeed have to have a c-section.  She had a surgery in January that involved several cuts to her uterus, so our doctor said that she cannot have contractions and labor due to the risk of uterine rupture.  So we ended up canceling our tour of the birthing center, and are now looking at delivery at the beginning of November.

Being the Support Staff

This is my blog that I wrote six weeks ago, but couldn’t post it because we hadn’t told our news yet.  Enjoy!

It is so odd to be going through this whole process and experience on this side of the coin.  I mean, I’ve had two babies and remember all too well all of the ins and outs of pregnancy – but this is wild!  I’m getting something that a great deal of women will never experience.  I’m getting a glimpse of what it must be like for men who are in the role of expectant father!  I think the only difference is that because I AM a woman, with the same hormones as my lovely, expectant wife, I have been experiencing many of the same symptoms as her!  Sympathetic or PMS, I don’t know, but similar all the same.  But to be on this side of things is very different, with the role of “support staff,” so to speak.  Don’t get me wrong, I try to be this to her all the time – making her lunch and coffee before work, trying to keep our house clean on days that I don’t have jobs to go do, taking care of the laundry and dinner, and getting her little surprises just to let her know how much I love her.  So now I feel a little at a loss since I need to amp it up a little and don’t really know how.  But I’m trying my best, so I guess that counts for something, right?

We are five weeks along today, and everything is going well.  She is starting to experience some of the tiredness that accompanies the first trimester.  Not just tired – but that dragging ass, tired to the bone kind of tired.  Man, I remember that the most.  But it’s a lot of work to grow a person!  So I try to make sure that she’s getting plenty of rest and is eating well.  I think she has had some mild queasiness this week, but thankfully it hasn’t been bad and it hasn’t included puking.  Everything that I read says that the nausea/vomiting morning sickness usually kicks in around week six, and I pray that it passes her by.  Perhaps I need to practice some biblical passover type stuff, with morning sickness in the role of the death cloud, and something cleaner than blood to put on all of the doorposts (if you don’t know the story then you’ll just have to look up the story of Passover).

We have our first OB sonogram on Monday the 21st – which seems like an eternity away from today!  It is actually only a week from Monday…LOL.  But right now, everything seems so far away and in between – I just want her to get safely through this first trimester, with my little tadpole snug and happily growing in there.  Last week I drove her to Missouri for a business trip because I am so paranoid about her flying during these early stages.  Well, she has to go back at the end of the month for the trial, and I still don’t want her to fly – but I am booked during those days and cannot drive her this time.  So dear sweet wife that she is, in order to appease my paranoia, is going to drive herself.  I feel bad that I can’t go with her, but I feel better about her going now that she isn’t flying.  Fortunately, she can break it up into two days and stop for some R&R at our favorite bed & breakfast in Little Rock, Arkansas.  I know that they’ll take care of her there and I don’t have to worry.  This is hard, the job of spouse/partner who is NOT carrying the baby!  But hopefully I’m doing an okay job and she’ll keep me…LOL.

Remembering Today & Tomorrow….and Always

I went back through some of my older blogs/notes to find this one that I wrote two years ago.  May we always remember all of the lives that were lost to deranged mental illness and hate.

* * * * *

Today marks some anniversaries that I am sure most of us would rather forget. As I was watching a recorded show, ironically about the dangers of cults and extremists, it just so happened that one of the cults and their horrible, tragic end was today.

April 19, 1993 – the Branch Davidian compound, Mt. Carmel, in Waco, Texas was burned to the ground. David Koresh, the cult leader, and 73 others died that day.

April 19, 1995 – Timothy McVeigh sets a bomb at the Murrah Federal Bldg. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There were 168 adults and children killed that day – many lives were terrorized as a result of huge amounts of hate. McVeigh has since been executed by lethal injection.

April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School school shootings; 13 students/teachers killed, plus the suicides of the two shooters. (this tragedy took place, purposely, on the date of Adolf Hitler’s birthday)

And let’s not forget the latest April tragedy, whose anniversary was a few days ago:

April 16, 2007 – There were 33 college students killed at Virginia Tech University, including the lone shooter.

One of the darkest calendar weeks of the entire year. There has been a lot of death and destruction surrounding the dates in this 4 day span. Just remembering and thinking about all of those who lost their lives and the families that were left behind to cope with it. The least we could do is to never forget, right?

Today, We Told MY Mother

“I’d rather be black than gay because when you’re black you don’t have to tell your mother.”  ~Charles Pierce, 1980

So I’m not sure how many of my readers have actually paid attention to the fact that not only am I married (to a woman), and a proud mom of two boys….but also the About Me shoutout that I am destined to be a mama again.  I’ve been trying my damndest to keep it quiet online, but we are finally approaching the end of the first trimester and I think that my gag order has been lifted.  We have told the oldest boy, told my wife’s parents, will tell the rest of her family over Easter weekend, and announce to the world (at least our Facebook world) via video in another week or so.  But as for today…..

Today we told MY mother.

Well, to be exact, today I told my mother, brother, and sister-in-law before we all sat down for lunch at a restaurant for my niece’s birthday.  I have been wanting to do it for several weeks now, but had no idea how or when I was going to do so.  I have fretted over how my mother would react, given that she and I have NEVER had even a discussion about the fact that Erikka and I are legally married, or that we had a beautiful wedding by the ocean almost two years ago.  Yeah, I have been a little antsy about how she was going to take THIS.  For almost a year before I got married, she spoke to me very little, and spent alot of time crying and lamenting of my fate and how I was destined for an eternity in hell.  I had no family at my wedding to celebrate my day with me, and more than one Thanksgiving and Christmas went by where I felt like an orphan.  Now we are expecting a joyous miracle, something that we weren’t sure was going to even happen – and oh yeah, I probably need to tell my mother.

I have been gearing up for the day – whatever day it was going to be – that I would tell mom that we are expecting a baby.  Several friends said that surely it would help her to deal with and accept the situation better, bringing a baby into the mix.  Who can resist a baby, right?  But I know my mother, and I would look at these same, ever-hopeful friends and know that mentioning a baby being born of two lesbians would probably NOT pull my mother over to the dark side.  I expected a tightened up, squished up face, with lots of frown lines and veins popping out; followed by some unkind words, maybe mixed with some spittle and tears.  She hasn’t had any problem sharing her disgust and disappointment towards me previously, so I really don’t expect differently now.

We were invited to come to lunch, Erikka and I, with mom and my brother’s family, who were in town for the weekend to celebrate my niece’s birthday.  I wanted to be able to tell my brother and his wife in person, given that they are the ONLY aunt and uncle that our baby will have (along with tons of adopted “aunties” and extended great aunts and uncles).  So on the way over, I pretty much decided that it was do or die time – the time had come.  We got to the restaurant early, so the kids were lingering on the front porch and steps, waiting to go in.  I found myself alone at the back of mom’s car with just she and my sister-in-law, and there in the moment, I simply and matter-of-factly told them.  Sister-in-law was awesome, and excited, and thrilled for us.  Mom?  Did not say a word…at first.  I looked at her and said that I knew it would take getting used to for her, and put my arm around her, saying “just think, this could be my girl!”  And she then, in a strained, choked-up voice, uttered the words that I fear from any and every person who doesn’t see my marriage as legitimate either:

“But it won’t be YOUR baby.”

The piercing shot through my heart could have been heard throughout the city, I think.  It didn’t matter that I expected something like this from her; it still cut deep.  I had to explain to her that no, the baby would be just as much mine as Erikka’s.  I had to explain that I am adopting the baby, in a second parent adoption much like when the boy’s father had done a second parent adoption to adopt my oldest.  She seemed to take it in and have somewhat of an understanding, but I am still not sure as to if I got anything through to her or not.  She did offer congratulations to Erikka when we approached her and I mentioned that I had told our good news, and she did say that she hopes that SHE has a girl.  I’m hoping that once the shock wears off that she will get on board and see that we’re just a normal couple who want a family, just like everyone else.  I told her that I need handmade baby blankets….but it remains unseen as to whether or not we will receive anything.

So a huge burden is off of my shoulders now that I have told her.  Will she be thrilled (or not) when we find out the baby’s gender in about 8 weeks?  Will she crochet baby blankets and booties for our sweet little bundle?  Will she be present, excitedly waiting in the waiting room with Erikka’s parents on the day that we deliver our beautiful baby?

Who knows.  I hope so.  But I always am prepared for the reality that she might not EVER come around to decide that THIS is all the family that she has, so she should make the most of every moment with us.  I guess we’ll see, huh?

My Kid Turned 11…and Into An Alien

I guess I have gotten used to most of the boy’s behavior over time (this is the recently-turned-11-year-old).  But it seems like in the last two weeks, his defiance has become markedly clear.  It’s like he turned 11 and decided it was time to amp it up a bit….or something like that.  I find myself arguing with him over simple things:  taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning his room, putting his clean laundry away.  I tell him to do something, he gives me crap; I tell him again, he defiantly looks at me like “I’m not gonna do it.”  I tell him a third time, growing increasingly angry – he gives me crap.  Ugh.  I finally get mad, have to threaten to ground him and take every fun thing out of his room (but what am I gonna DO with all of that crap if I take it away???), and he finally and SLOWLY does what I told him to do half an hour earlier.  THIS is an every day, everything…thing.

Now, I will share that the boy DOES have an impulse control problem.  He has severe ADHD, and was diagnosed at age four; yes, he takes the same dose of medication that I do.  Most of the “trouble” that he gets into occurs early in the morning, before anyone else is up and he hasn’t had his meds; or in the afternoon, when his all-day meds have worn off, and he hasn’t had his afternoon one.  For all of you who are reading this and scoffing at the fact that he has to take these meds twice per day, don’t send me hate mail or comments about other things that I should be doing – save your breath.  I’ve done it all, I’ve tried it all – and in THIS case, THIS kid needs the medication.  As one pediatric behaviorist explained to me a long time ago, it is a motor issue for my boy; there is a glitch with the motor control center in his brain, and that is why he has the inability to keep still or control his impulses.  This is why he is exhausted at the end of every day, and has to have about ten hours of sleep each night – his body is literally wearing him out.  But some of his recent behavior, while some of it is impulsiveness, some of it is just brain fartedness (yes, I just made that word up).

Aside from the general defiance against helping out around the house with his basic list of chores, there has also been an issue with sneaking food.  Yes, sneaking food.  It is always first thing in the morning, before we have gotten up and moving around.  He is an early riser – very much like his dad – and gets up, goes into the kitchen, and helps himself to ice cream (for one example), if he sees that we have some.  Here’s the brain fart:  he takes the pint of ice cream, chows down over half of it, and then puts it back as if we would never notice that most of it is gone.  Really son?

He also will try to “sneak” TV.  Always first thing in the morning, he will go out to the den and turn on cartoons – something he is NOT supposed to do on school days, because he won’t get ready on time.  But he does, and when he hears one of us coming out of the bedroom, he will quickly grab the remote and turn it off.  The problem with this (for HIM), is that the TV makes a little chime whenever you turn it on or off.  So even if I’m not in the room, I can hear that little chime when he turns it off….BUSTED!  The routine is regular….I bust him, yell at him, and he swears he won’t do it again; and then the next day it is the same thing.  We have now gone to hiding the remote at night before we go to bed.  I’m not kidding.

One of his latest brain farty stunts was a doozy, leaving me sitting in my Jeep saying out loud, to myself, “MY kid???  MY kid did that???  Oh. my. God.”  I get a phone call while I’m in the grocery store, but I didn’t hear it; I got a voicemail and was sitting in the Jeep listening to it.  “This is Ms. H (the principal at the boy’s school).  There is no emergency, but I would really like to talk to you before the end of school today.”  Well crap.  What has he done.  He NEVER gets into trouble at school, he gets straight A’s….what has he done.  I felt like I was in trouble with the principal as I called back to find out what was up.  Once on the phone with Ms. H, who knows our family somewhat, she began to explain to me that she had the boy and his friend sitting in front of her, and she was very disappointed in them both.  They had heard a word from a kid, and they were dared to call another kid this name.  The N-WORD.  You can imagine how mortified that I was as this sweet lady (whom I respect deeply) said the word as she explained to me that MY kid had said this to another kid.  She put him on the phone, and I asked him, “Where did you hear that word – you KNOW you didn’t hear it HERE! (he heard it from a classmate)  Did you KNOW that it was bad when you said it? (yes)  Did you KNOW that it was WRONG when you said it? (yes)  Did you KNOW that it was hurtful when you said it? (yes)  Who did you say it to? (W)  Uh huh.  Is W black, by any chance?  (yes)  OHMYGOD!  Then it’s TWICE as bad!!  I cannot believe that you did this.  I am very disappointed.  We will discuss this when you get home.”  I. was. MORTIFIED.  So I told the principal that I just couldn’t believe it, and she said, “I know!  I was shocked that he participated!”  I also told her that he had said that he heard it from a classmate, and I think it would be a good idea for her to have a chat with the kid who said it; she agreed.  Turns out that they pulled in the kid that the two boys had heard it from, and he said he heard it from kid #4; they pulled that kid in, and he had heard it from his aunt, at home.  Nice.  And THIS, my friends, is why we watch what we say around our children.  Duh.  That was on Friday of last week.  When he got home from school, after revealing that he didn’t even really know what the N-word meant, we went to the public library and checked out some books for him to read – I decided that education was the best way to deal with the ignorance that was behind the word.  I explained the best that I could – but I found that it is difficult to explain hate and racism to an 11 year old, on their level, in a way that they could understand.  Hate and racism is complicated, when trying to explain where it comes from and why.  We checked out The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, Ruby Bridges, and a couple of fiction stories about a slave in New York during the Revolutionary War.  He has spent days reading these, and is now getting a glimpse of how and when that word was used; at times very matter-of-factly.  He has discovered that it isn’t something that HE would have liked to have been called, and I’m hoping that he is seeing some of the ugliness that the word carries with it.

And his very latest brain fartedness??  Just this morning.  My alarm went off at 6:15 AM, and I was about to go make sure he was awake when my wife said that she had already been out there, and he was up and in his room with the light on.  So I hit snooze and got up when it went off again at 6:30 AM.  I went to go check on him, and he wasn’t in his room.  He wasn’t in the bathroom, nor the den.  I searched the house and he was nowhere to be found.  I went back to his room and realized that his shoes were gone, as was his backpack.  Did I mention that it was 6:30 AM???  I went into freak-out mode, and ran back into the bedroom grabbing jeans, a jacket, a ball cap, and slip on shoes.  I took off in my Jeep to the school, where surely he would be (for whatever reason).  Nope.  Nowhere to be found, in the still-dark and fairly cold morning.  I then went from freak-out mode to panic mode – do I call the police?  do I call his dad?  Ohmygod my kid is MISSING.  I drove back home, but went to the front of the house, rather than back down the alley to the back.  After I get out of the Jeep, nearly in tears, I look and see him standing on the sidewalk of his friend’s house two doors down.  Now it’s only 6:42 AM, and I’m standing on our front walk like a crazy person, “Get down here, NOW!”  He comes back, telling me, “What?  I just wanted to leave early so I have time to read when I get to school.”  He’s looking at me like I’m the crazy one, because surely it is no big deal that he just left for school early, right?  Oye.

My kid turned 11, and then turned into an alien.

Could the UFO that came and took him please return him a normal, non-defiant, obedient and sweet kid?  That’d be great, thanks.