The L Word

I’ve been watching The L Word. I missed this whole era. I’m not sure what I was doing exactly. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was spending a lot of time doing my wife. I know, I know. This is not that kind of a blog. Except it totally is because we’re talking about The L Word and well, you’ve either seen it or you can imagine the general content of a show about lesbians. Thank goodness for netflix because I had no idea how much wild sex I was missing.

Obviously, the show is not about sex. But there is a lot of it. And all the sex with all the women makes me wonder if I was doing it wrong at the turn of the century. I mean, falling madly in love with my wife aside, I think probably my primary problem is that I just used the term turn of the century and I enjoyed it. But other than that, I’m not entirely certain how one comes to have this particular L Word experience.

There are lots of reasons why it wasn’t my life. I mean, I can’t imagine The L Word in DC. Or in the government. And I’m pretty sure the closest I ever got to this level of lesbian dramatics was giving my ex the car so that she would move out already. I spared you some profanity there. You’re welcome. I was looking for it in 1998 but I was too early or too young or too delicate. My sensibilities, that is. It took a long time to be who I was inside outside.

And so I’m watching The L Word in fascination and a little bit in envy. A large group of close knit friends? With a much bigger set of friends to have sex with? Lots of beautiful girls? Come on. And sadly, I’m too old for my own personal L Word. There are people who have this though, right? I’ll just keep watching because huh. And wow. And, well, it’s a pity. I’d have been good at that shit.

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She Looks Just Like You

The other day while we were at the doctor, I slipped right into a pool of delusion and fell flat on my face.  For a moment, I forgot that we aren’t like everyone else.  That my family isn’t normal, that we’re unexpected, that we need explanation.

Instead of our usual doctor, we saw the on-duty physician whom we’d never met before.  I could tell you a lot of things about what he looked like and who he appeared to be but it doesn’t really matter since none of those things should make a difference.  When he walked into the office for the appointment with RR and I, I didn’t automatically jump to introduce my wife.  For a moment, I forgot that my family needs to come with instructions.

D was holding the baby throughout the appointment and, although I had a momentary flash of maybe I should clarify that we’re a family, I was riding on our previous positive experiences with our regular doctor and assumed that D holding the baby would convey enough relationship.  The doctor was very kind to our child, even picking her up to console her during a crying jag.  And then, as he handed her to me, he said, “Maybe some time with Mommy will help.”  For a moment, I didn’t know which mommy he meant.  But I promise you, he didn’t mean D.

I felt the pit of my stomach drop just then, as he completely invalidated her parenthood in one tiny statement.  I suspect had he read RR’s chart carefully or had I introduced us all he would have handled the situation differently.  Regardless, the unexpected weight of his implication is still hanging around here cluttering up our breathing room.  I’m not sure what prompted his assumption – maybe I said that I was her mother?  Maybe because she has my fair skin tone?  Maybe because we were both sick?  For one single moment, I hated our differentness.

Since then, I’ve had my own invalidating experience – a woman in the grocery store assumed RR was my sister’s daughter leaving me to clarify awkwardly as the woman stood there, possibly skeptically.  In that case, it was a simple mistake and not a judgement about my core identity but it still stung.  I feel a little as if we’ve learned our lesson (whatever that is) and that we shouldn’t assume that other people see us as we see us.  I also feel, unfortunately, that they’d rather not see us as we see us: a family, in love, normal.

To be fair, I’ve also had mistakes in my favor, “Oh, she looks just like you!”  And, for a moment, I wished she did.

 

I Feel like Making…Noise

This baby can sleep like the dead.  When she wants to.  Frankly, I could bang pots and pans – do, actually – outside her door and she’ll sleep blissfully through.  Dog barking?  Pshaw!  She’s in the Land of Nod.  Gunfire?  Helicopters?  Avalanches (yes, we live in a dangerous and unpredictable state of mind neighborhood)?  Cloud nine.  Eleven even.  Then there are the times when she doesn’t want to.  The time when a quiet knock on the door of the neighboring house will result in blasting screams from her crib.  Not to mention the sound of our screen door opening, the dog woofing, the cat purring, the wings of angels silently fluttering.  She’ll let you know how she feels about that racket and she doesn’t like it, NO SIR.

Ever the risk takers, we’ve been sleeping with her in our room since she was born.  I did have to shun her to the other side of the bed at the beginning – not because I was waking her but because she was waking me.  Now she sleeps over there, blissfully unfazed by my sleep talking, sleep scolding, sleep walking and other general sleep antics.  I’m a fun one, hoo boy.  But I’m not here to talk about sleep shenanigans.  At least, not my own.  The point is, she sleeps soundly for the first half of the night and she does that in our room.  The other thing happening in our room is…us.  Our sex drives have slipped back into sync.  Well, it happened for a fleeting moment.  And, during those moments, we’ve had a very nice time.  A not totally quiet time.  And that baby, bless her heart, SLEPT RIGHT THROUGH IT.

And that’s great.  Cause I don’t intend to slip back into marital complacency.  But what if we wanted to make noise?  You know, actually sudden sounds?  Sounds that are less like ooh baby right there and more like…something else?  Some of you must have been through this and have excellent tips to share.  Certainly, we’ll banish her to her room.  But we’re talking about a brick house with wooden floors and the unfortunate ability to transmit noise like a whispering gallery from rafter corners to basement cobwebs.  My only solution so far is to sidle up next to the HVAC system and have at it while the thing blows full blast.  And you know that’s incredibly hot.  I mean, just read that s sentence again.  I used the word HVAC.  Don’t you want to get down RIGHT NOW?

In an effort to protect your eyes (my own don’t need it, I assure you) I switched the comments for this post over so you can post anonymously and so that I can see them before/if they post.   I’ll pretend you don’t know me and you pretend I don’t know you.  Please tell me if you have any suggestions shy of getting a sitter.  We’re not that into threesomes.  😉

Don’t Bully Me

As a child, my mom had to do a fair amount of confidence building when I got bullied.  She had to work to break down some who-know-where-I-got-it-probably-from-her sense of needing to be liked (she managed it).  In first grade, a terrible child named Michelle Wells shoved me into a locker.  By the way, Michelle Wells’, if you all got here by googling your name, shame on all of you for not hunting your name-twin down and dropping her into a well. I’m sure my mother did all the appropriate school things (or probably she didn’t) and she told me that Michelle Wells was just jealous.  Remember that, since it’s her go-to phrase.

When I got a little older, a girl named Angela Delvecchio made fun of me in the pool for kicking faster than my teammates.  If I ever took a break, she’d ask the unspeakable question, “Did your battery run out?”  Well, it was the jeering tone, not the words.  My mother told me she was just jealous and she was probably right.  In sixth grade, an awful twin named Erica Smoot wanted to fight me on the playground.  I have no idea why.  Erica & Angela, are you here?  Explain yourselves! My mother gave me a tip or two on fighting (yes, she did) and told me…well, you’ve got it figured out by now.

Thankfully, I never internalized the jealousy thing (imagine how unbearable that would make me as an adult) but I did eventually learn to stand up for myself.  Probably that very day in sixth grade when I stared Erica Smoot down.  I eventually did all the lovely teenage things, sampled all the lovely teenage heights and slipped into the idyllic college world bully-free.  Well, there was one incident with an apple and a cute girl named Lara Andren but I think I deserved it.  Laras, spread the vindication among your kind. There have been other bullies, bosses mostly, but I’ve pretty much perfected standing up for myself.  Expecting a child has suddenly made that abundantly clear.

The OB clinic we visit is terrific.  The docs are nice, reception is friendly, we feel welcome and in good hands.  Dr. Georgardo is the standout asshole.  Our anti-gay radar has whistled and our dickhead siren has roared and I have used language not suitable for a lady.  Repeatedly.  Even so, the clinic tries to schedule us (and everyone else) to see him.  That should have tipped us off right then.  After some pleading with reception last visit, we finally learned how to avoid the “well, everyone else is just so booked” excuse.

I nicely asked one of the docs to give permission to schedule a few weeks out and then we approached reception armed with the chart.  It felt like a secret password.  Success!  Sort of…the very first appointment we tried to schedule, reception offered only Dr. Georgardo saying, “well, everyone else is just so booked”.  But we were on to them.  I softly explained that while we really thought all the doctors were more than capable, and we’d be happy to have any of them deliver Vegas, even Georgardo, we didn’t feel he was comfortable with us as a couple and we would really appreciate being scheduled with someone else.  And so she did.  And so I rocked. And there was no bullying.  Not from me.  Not from them.  And it was awesome.

Skipped to the end?  Don’t try to boss me.  I am nice.  That doctor is an asshat.  And we’re free from him for now.

Yet.

It’s amazing to me how much we don’t know about being pregnant.  We haven’t got any real idea of what’s happening and what we should and shouldn’t be doing.  It seems like there should be a mandatory appointment the instant you find out you’re pregnant to set you on the right path.  Probably too early, I know.  This has left me with two options.  The internet and books.

You all are super.  No really, tremendous.  I’m sure everything you say is right and true and practically so perfect as to be encased in gold.  And by this, I don’t mean you personally.  I mean the you of wikianswers.  You know those people.  The ones who will tell you anything you want to hear.  Everyone knows the internet is an authority in every situation, right?  That said, as a librarian I feel a little responsibility to actually research what’s out there.  I know.  Scandalous.  But there’s just so much information and I’m too overwhelmed to look at it all.

There are libraries though, and bookstores, and people have written books, right?  And those people have had their words edited by other people who might actually know what they’re talking about.  In most cases.  Or, actually, in no cases at all.  Okay, so I don’t know that they’re completely wrong.  I don’t know that because I’m not reading what they’re writing.  I can’t make myself do it.

First, it’s difficult to actually get to the section of pregnancy books in the bookstore.  They’ve put it in the back, against the children’s section, blocked by several comfy couches.  This is not a logical place for these books.  Put them by health, or anatomy,  or self-help for that matter.  There’s not a ton of reason to put it next to that creepy children’s bat.

Second, these books are written for someone who’s not me.  In fact, they aren’t written for practically anyone.  Wait, unless you’re thin, white, American, married, straight, and feminine, aren’t you?  Right, then, read on.  But first, make sure you’re the stereotype of those things.  Make sure you wear pink, like to look pretty, assume that a size 12 is enormous, eat only salads, meatloaf and chicken soup (well, and saltines for that nausea!), frigid, and love your hubby of insert-a-respectable-number-of-years here.  Seriously, the first time I looked at the selection, I was so offended I haven’t been able to articulate my anger.

Some women are married to other women.  Some women are single.  Those women may actually be happy about those choices.

Not every woman carried their baby like Angelina Jolie with a tiny frame and giant bump.  Some of us are round, tall, big-boned, curvy, and wear sizes we may or may not want to shout out to the world.  Isn’t it enough that designers don’t design for bigger women so we can’t find maternity clothes?  Or that we’re faced with our weight constantly, disapproving doctor standing by?  Do we need others who are supposed to be helping to make disparaging remarks about weight and shape at the biggest time of our lives?

We don’t all wear lipstick and flowers.  Already we’re stumped by fluffy, frilly, flowy maternity clothes with feminine scooped necks, tiny sleeves and pretty colors.  Or black, because we all know that women who don’t want to wear body hugging clothes must want to hide in black as much as possible.  Some of us wear boxers.  Some of us can’t imagine a girly life.

How about inserting a recipe that isn’t for “American” fare?  What is that anyway?  Some of us eat “exotic” food.  Cook “ethnically”.  How about considering other foods besides saltines for nausea?  Are there no other types of crackery foods?  The lists of food in these books don’t ever mention the huge range of culturally diverse foods. Can we eat them?  Tell me, is that thousand year old egg going to kill my child?

And while we’re on the topic.  Can we stop assuming I come from a long line of culturally blended middle-Americans who wear Levis and Hanes (you know what I mean), and talk loudly and patriotically while bringing devilled eggs to every 4th of July fireworks?

By the way, I also do not need a man to take care of me.  Can you believe one of these books actually said that I’m sensitive and have a long memory so the man should give me extra attention (“consider spooning and cuddling”) in order to ensure I’ll be kind and considerate.  After all, my hormones make me a bitch, don’t they?  Oh, and I don’t have orgasms.  Sex is about banging into the cervix, is something I don’t like to do even when I’m not pregnant, and isn’t about pleasure.  But I’m sure I’ll put out if you spoon me.

Let’s not forget that I’m not even carrying our child.  There’s nothing written expressly for me.  There are lots of things that look like they’re written for me, but the bookstore and library don’t carry them.  Thanks for the extra dose of alienation.  I wasn’t feeling marginalized enough.

I know that’s a lot, but I’m happy to tell someone.  And I was serious, I really like you.  I want to cast a bronze statue of you.  And, I promise I’ve checked a ton of books out of the library and am reading them with an open mind.  I haven’t combusted yet.

Yet.

Just Order and Click Submit

In all the delight of picking a donor, I overlooked the idea that a bodily fluid would be winging its way to us in some delivery person’s satchel.  Not bad, right?  Like bottling a few tears.  Or, that sweat you flick away at the gym.  Or, scraping the inside of your vagina, slipping it into a plastic pouch and saving it for later.  More like that really.

Not so pleasant when you think about it.  And I didn’t, not really.  I didn’t consider that some guy was scraping his vagina into a plastic pouch.  Well, you know what I mean.

It’s not the actual fluid that’s a problem I guess, just the idea of it.  We’re lesbians, aren’t we?  Isn’t this supposed to be the golden nectar?  The magic solution that results in another family member?  I think I’m supposed to be delighted that we suddenly are in possession of the holy grail.  Instead, I admit that I’m a little unsettled.  That’s my wife’s business you’re fiddling around with.  If anyone is going to fiddle here, it should be me right?

I’m beginning to see why men strut around crowing when they knock someone up.  They did something.  They put a little fluid inside a warm, wet place and it bloomed.  They’re practically master bloody gardeners.  Me, I’m just a bystander.  I haven’t rooted anything.  Sprayed any gorgeous juices.  Watered the seed.

God, that was terrible.  I’m sorry.

So I admit, every time she updates me on the whereabouts (here, in storage) of the donor’s sperm, I get a little queasy inside.  It’s less of something to get over and more of something to get accustomed to, I guess.  I assume we’ll be at this a few times and if I keep turning green every time she mentions the tracking number she’s might wonder if I’m having second thoughts.  And I’m not.

The First Visit

Getting pregnant seems almost too easy.  So far, each step has fallen into place more quickly than I could have imagined.  Even nature is cooperating.

The fertility clinic was a different doctor’s experience for me.  The waiting room was exceptionally pleasant (though every Martha Jefferson-associated waiting room I’ve been in has been pleasant) and the receptionists were kind.  As someone who dreads office visits and shakes at the sign of a white coat, it was a good way to ease into things.

Though we didn’t wait long, we had a string of interesting companions in the waiting area.  A forty-something woman accompanied by a teenager.  Three separate couples ranging from “Honey, your sperm is broken!” to giggling romantic “Aw baby, anything you do is just right *kiss kiss*”.  A woman alone who clearly knew the ropes.  Us.

I think we’re a pretty obvious lesbian couple.  We sit too close, whisper too gently.  We touch and smile at each other.  We look like a couple.  Maybe it isn’t obvious to folks for whom the world is very straight, but I think we’re wearing billboards if you only just look.  Even so, we were treated as well as anyone else by reception, other clients and the doctor.  Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise, but it still is.  We’re still in Virginia.  We’re still in rural Virginia.

I also appreciated the frank can-do attitude of the doctor.  After a brief series of medical questions, he recommended some simple tests to make sure no obvious complication were lurking out there.  To me, that means weeks added on (not to mention my gut-twisting of paranoia about tests) but the doctor managed it as a blip on the radar.  We’re still full steam ahead.  Then he said something which I thought at the time was jest. “It’s almost too easy.”  And it has been.

So far, these folks have been more prepared, more efficient and more capably confident than any other physician’s office I’ve ever been to.  Insurance is kicking in where necessary because they did the legwork.  They made appointments for us, have answered every question we had and have been practically cheery while doing it.  They have sucked the stress right out of this sterile, medical attempt at conception.  Now the hard part.

matter of fact, easy as pie, “too easy”, friendlier than other doctors, waiting room?