Monthly Archives: September 2011

Oh the Places We Will Go!

As seen this week on TheNextFamily.com (9/21/2011):

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

We are getting closer and closer to the day that we will meet our baby girl, and the baby crap –er, stuff –just keeps piling up!  Onesies and jammies and diapers, oh my!  We spent a couple of hours in the nursery yesterday putting things away (it is shaping up to be an awesome Dr. Seuss room), unwrapping towels and blankies, and wondering where in the world is all of this stuff going to go?!  This past weekend was our third baby shower, and the fourth (and final) is this upcoming weekend.  I think that we now have enough adorable, ruffly little pink outfits to clothe all of the Gosslyn babies, along with some of Octomom’s as well!  Seriously, I don’t think that our child will ever wear the same outfit twice – in fact, I’m thinking that we’re going to need to change her clothes two or three times per day to get them all in once!  Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means complaining – we have been so incredibly blessed, and I am overwhelmed daily by the outpouring of love, support, and gifts from our friends and family.  The closer that we get – six weeks out now – the more anxious that I am to meet this wondrous little creature who has been doing somersaults inside of my wife for all of these months.  Today we went to the specialist and got some new ultrasound pics, and it just amazes me how we can actually get a glimpse inside of her little private world of the womb.  We could see hair on her head, and little fat rolls on her back, and very chubby cheeks on either side of her tiny, little pouty lips!  She will soon be here, and everything in our lives will change forever…but in a wonderful, stupendous way!

We will also meet this week with some friends who had their baby last December, just before Christmas.  They are a year ahead of us, and have pointed us in the direction of doctors and such, and have now completed the second-parent adoption process in Texas.  This is the portion of the story that I have been looking forward to the least – having to adopt my own child in a state that refuses to recognize not only my marriage, but my relationship.  We had heard that we would have to travel to San Antonio in order to assure that an adoption will be granted, with rumors of Dallas area judges being hit-or-miss on whether or not they will allow gay men or women to adopt this way.  It was a thrill and pleasant surprise to hear that our friends opted to forge ahead with their adoption in Dallas, and it was granted without an issue; so I look forward to meeting with them, as well as my BFF and attorney, to find out and get started on the process.  I still get angry that I will have to adopt this child, my daughter, of whom I have been a mommy to since the moment she was conceived; but I will do what I must in order to secure things legally to make sure that she is mine.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.  

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

There is so much to do, and so little time left.  I will soon stop working at my part-time job, and be back home in order to concentrate on my photography and other ventures, while we wait anxiously for the baby to arrive.  The caesarean is booked and scheduled for November 1st, barring any unforeseen complications.  We went today and got our stroller and play yard, and will order the high chair online – those things that we don’t necessarily need right away, but HAD to get once we realized that they were being clearanced out at the baby stores.  Ohhhh here we go…life with a new baby.  It’s about to get even MORE interesting than before!

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

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What Will it Take?

As seen this week on TheNextFamily.com (9/14/11):

This past Sunday was the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001.  Facebook blew up the closer that it got with messages of remembrance and “never forget” admonishments.  At one point it seemed a bit redundant to see the words “Never Forget” over and over – how in the world could anyone in this generation EVER forget the horrible events that happened that day?  I would be scarce to find any, I imagine.  But I digress.

So we were driving, that Sunday, to have brunch with one of our close friends for her birthday.  We chose to go and celebrate this day with her because of her birth, rather than stay glued to the sadness that clogged the TV and airwaves with a constant influx of reminders and visuals.  Before we left for brunch, Erikka started telling me about a professor that she had in college who said that “every generation has a cohesive event that brings them together…except for this one [meaning those of her age].”  This lecture was given before 9/11.  This lecture was given before Hurricane Katrina occurred in New Orleans.  So at the time, she was correct; but then those events happened, and she remained correct by the truth of her words.

This got me to thinking about major “cohesive” events that have occurred throughout history for different generations, and what it might mean for this baby girl that we are about to have.  I would hope and pray that she never has to deal with a national tragedy, but sigh when I think that it is highly likely that she will.  I wonder what it was like for the generations before us.  I wonder how, without the age of technology that we have, did they come together for a united cause?

For my parents’ generation, the major cohesive event was probably Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.  Whenever I would talk to my mom or any of her friends about it, every single one of them could tell their own unique story about where they were, what they were doing, who they were with, and how they reacted.  One might think that the Vietnam War would have united most folks, but in reality it left a country very divided. 

For my grandparents’ generation, the major cohesive event was probably World War II; specifically the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The country was shocked and in horror as the Japanese dared to come onto our waters and bomb our ships and harbors.  People came together like they had never known, and cheered as FDR issued an order for war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed.  Men enlisted and went to war in both the Pacific and European theaters, while women went to work in factories, flew shuttle planes, and formed baseball leagues to keep the folks back home entertained.  I remember telling my students, when I taught History, that everything happens for a reason, and every event has a ripple effect that goes on for generations after it.  My grandfather was in the Navy during World War II, and worked on an aircraft carrier that was based out of Pearl Harbor.  Fortunately for him, and probably for a lot of other grandfathers-to-be that day, all of the aircraft carriers were out of the harbor and either at sea or in other ports; and this was specifically what the Japanese were coming to bomb.  When the students looked at me with that puzzled look of, “What’s your point?” I would then explain that Pearl Harbor occurred on December 7, 1941.  After the attack my grandfather was sent home on leave; my mother was born on November 25, 1942.  Had his aircraft carrier been in the harbor, it likely would have been blown up and he could have very easily died; and thus my mother would not have been born 11 months or so later; and thus I would not have been born in 1970.  A ripple effect.  These major cohesive events have long lasting consequences that many have no idea are even present.  And for people of Jewish descent during my grandparents’ generation?  They had a huge event – the Holocaust.  It SHOULD have brought anybody who was human together in a cohesive way, but it didn’t seem to have that effect on people like most believe that it should.  But that is a whole other blog in and of itself.

So now here we are, ten years after one of the most terrifying days that I can remember in my lifetime.  I didn’t sleep well for weeks afterward, and I lived in fear of bombs and of air travel.  Yes, I know exactly where I was when I learned of what happened – I can tell you the exact intersection and traffic light I sat frozen at when I heard it on the radio, when I noticed that there were NO planes flying overhead for the first time in my life.  I can also remember the way that this country came together in the days and months that followed this horrible tragedy.  For the first time ever, it didn’t matter if someone was black or white, Catholic or Baptist, gay or straight.  We were Americans first.  I would bet money that after the events of 9/11, nobody cared if Ben who worked in the North tower was married to Tom, or if he was gay for that matter.  The only thing that mattered THAT day was that thousands of innocent lives were lost, and not one of them was more important than any other.  Every person was counted and mourned for WHO they were:  someone’s son, daughter, husband, wife, partner, friend, father, mother.  Why does it have to take something as horrible as the events of 9/11 to make our country see each other as people just like themselves?  What made that sensation of “we’re in it together” go away?  That was the America that I was so proud to live in.  Years later, it would be that way again when Hurricane Katrina wiped out the city of New Orleans.  This “cohesive event” would capture us again, bring us together, and draw us closer.  People lending a hand, sharing their homes with strangers and other families, offering help however they could.

So this makes me wonder, for our baby girl who will be here sooner than we’re probably ready for: what will be that cohesive event for HER generation?  What is it going to take to bring this country together as one again?  A country that is so divided in politics, in religion, in race even still, and in treating every citizen equally and respectfully…what will it take?

Sympathy Pregnancy Brain??

As seen this week on TheNextFamily.com (9/7/2011):

I’m one of those people who is always thinking about…something.  And mind you, my thinking is often very scattered and random, given that I have the ADHD pretty bad and have been without medication for it for a while now.  I remember having this when I was pregnant before, this “pregnancy brain”, but am I now having some kind of weird sympathy pregnancy brain??

There are always plenty of things going through my brain at any given time, which can sometimes be fascinating and thought-provoking; other times it is a chaotic mess!  Since the beginning of this pregnancy, many of my thoughts have been those of “Oh my God I’m going to be a mom again…of a BABY!” or “Man I am SO old to be starting all over again!”  But then right behind those thoughts are those that tell me that it’s all going to be wonderful, and we will soon have this beautiful baby girl here and will be taking care of her together.

I’ve noticed, over the past year or so, that we have become the homebody, boring couple among the large circle of friends that we have shared our lives with these past several years.  We haven’t seen, in a very long time, many of those who we used to spend a lot of time with prior to preparing for pregnancy and parenthood.  Months before we took the steps to actually try for a pregnancy, we went on a hardcore diet that involved no alcohol or junk food in order to lose weight and get healthier.  This limited our going out to eat and/or drink, and consequently REALLY limited our somewhat small social life as well.  Once we got pregnant, we really felt a noticeable isolation from our friends who either had no children, or who had children that were already older or grown.  Fortunately for us, we really love each other’s company – because lately, that’s all we spend our time with.  Does this happen to everyone?  Is this a strange, new phenomenon that I wasn’t aware of the last two times I had babies?  I guess because I was younger when each of the boys were born it was different – my friends were also having babies or had young kids.  But this time it is totally different.  Most of the time we are okay with staying home and not doing things with other people, but other times it seems kind of lonely and doesn’t feel nice to think that your friends don’t want to hang out anymore.  The intellectual part of my random brain KNOWS that as life moves and goes on, people change, situations change, friends grow apart and paths lead them in different directions; sometimes the heart just doesn’t like to accept that.

Another random thought that goes through my mind is worrying about all of the crap that we apparently need for this baby, and that we DON’T have!  We have had two baby showers thus far and gotten a truckload of stuff, and have two more showers on the books for later on this month.  The nursery is covered up with baby clothes of all sizes and styles, and this child will be able to wear a different outfit every day and not repeat for months and months, if not the first year!  We’ve purchased (and finally put together) the crib, dresser, bookshelf, and recliner/glider.  We’ve been given the ever-important Diaper Genie, as well as many, many other little accessories that are of the utmost importance.  But as I survey everything, I’m thinking that there are SO many more things that one MUST have for baby that we are still lacking…yikes!  I think back to when Nicholas was born, 20 years ago, and that I didn’t have even HALF the crap that this baby will have; and 11 years ago when I had Noah, he didn’t even have his own nursery because he shared a room with his older brother.  Things are certainly different now, and our baby girl will have her own room with every luxury that a baby could want or need.

Most of all, I am constantly thinking about how loved this baby will be.  She will have two moms that wanted her more than anything, and how we nurtured her so consciously every day while she was growing and preparing to join us here.  She will have two big brothers who cannot wait to meet her.  She will have grandparents, some biological and some chosen, along with a myriad of aunties and uncles who also cannot wait to meet her.  But my hope for her, more than ever, is that she will have a world that is more equal today than it was when her brother Noah was born, more than when her brother Nicholas was born, and most certainly more than when her mommies were born.  I pray that she never has to worry about being treated equal because she is a girl.  I pray that not only is she never bullied because of who she is, who her parents are, or what she looks like, but that she never has to deal with it with a friend either.  I pray that she will have every opportunity for equality and fairness in her education and ultimately in her career path.

These are the random thoughts today.  THIS is my stream of consciousness.

Sugar and Spice…Not Always So Nice!

As seen LAST week on TheNextFamily.com (8/31/2011):

So life as we know it is changing all the time, and it has been no different with a pregnancy and the knowledge of a daughter on the way.  It’s happening way faster than I anticipated!  Doctors’ appointments have been good, and ultrasounds have been plentiful – which is awesome!

Fairly early on, Erikka did the glucose tolerance test, and failed it miserably, thus earning a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.  For those of you who aren’t in the know about these things, this is a form of diabetes that occurs solely during pregnancy and goes away after the birth.  When a woman has this type, however, it increases her chances of having regular diabetes later on.  So needless to say, we have been taking the diagnosis seriously, and I have been supporting her by changing my diet as well.  Diabetes runs prevalent in my own family, and I have been borderline for several years myself. (Did I mention that I had gestational diabetes with BOTH of my boys?)  At first we began to adjust our diets in small ways, eating less sugar and only slightly less carbs.  We visited a dietician, and they allowed her about a week or two to attempt to bring her sugar levels down with diet; when that didn’t happen, they put her on meds.  After about a week or so, they doubled her dose; and after another week or so, they doubled her dose again.  I argued that they really weren’t giving her much time to correct the situation, and got a polite lecture about the necessity and urgency to get her sugars under control for the sake of the baby.  They were soon threatening insulin, which I thought was pretty drastic.  After all, I had had gestational diabetes, TWICE, and there was not so much panic going on as there is now.  I was told to eat better – that was pretty much it.  I didn’t have to prick my finger and check my blood fifteen times a day, and I didn’t have to worry about every morsel that passed through my lips.  Now granted, I was 21 when I had Nicholas and 29 when I had Noah; Erikka is 35 and in the medical world considered “advanced maternal age”.  But come on people, really?

Meanwhile, I, too, had a doctor’s appointment with a new doctor to start handling my blood pressure.  She wanted to run some tests to check my basic levels, including my glucose.  I had been asked by my other doctor previously (like, two years ago) to take a glucose tolerance test, but had refused because I did not want a possible diagnosis of diabetes or even pre-diabetes.  Needless to say, this time around, my levels were high and indicated the inevitable:  diabetes.  Sheesh.  I am trying to support my wife and go through this pregnancy with her as much as I can, but THIS is getting ridiculous!  So I was also put on medication, the same as Erikka–awwww, how sweet.  We’re both pricking our fingers four or more times per day, depending on how the numbers are.  We’re eating a thousand times better, having discovered that carbs are our enemy. We are eating virtually carb-free and are actually losing weight.  Anything that we have to do to avoid the dreaded insulin!  I think that the hardest part for me is giving up Coke.  I have been a hardcore addict since I was in elementary school, and as an adult I drank them daily.  This has been harder than giving up smoking or drinking!  But, unfortunately for me, this condition isn’t going to go away when the baby is born like it will for Erikka.  Hopefully I can reverse it with huge, permanent changes in my diet; my goal is to do so and be off meds by this time next year.

So we’re trucking along, watching our carbs and sugar and trying to be two good mommies.  Erikka is going to the OB/GYN every week, and to the specialist every third week.  Today’s visit to the specialist wasn’t as fun as they usually are; baby hid her face from us during all of the sonograms, and the doctor said that the time has come and insulin is now needed.  That’s a little scary and we are definitely apprehensive, but we feel like we must do it for the sake of our baby girl.  She is measuring long, with big feet and big head, and even some little chubby rolls on her back that showed up on the ultrasound!  (We also saw that she has hair!)  This afternoon, Erikka will pick up her insulin and syringes, and tonight she will begin a daily ritual of shots.  We hope that it will slow down baby’s growth a bit so that she’s not a giant baby that doesn’t fit into any of the adorably cute newborn outfits that we have been receiving!  But seriously, we don’t want there to be any stress on baby due to high glucose levels; and I don’t want any more stress on my wife’s body than she already has in housing and delivering our baby.  And it’s getting closer – less than nine weeks now!  The time has gone by very quickly, and we still have so much to do!  And for those baby showers?  The OB/GYN said to eat the cake and enjoy the food…just don’t test our sugar right away!