MJ Squarepants – Our Third Trimester in Reaction GIFs

baby

We had another ultrasound today to check on the size of the baby and to make sure she had enough amniotic fluid. It turns out she’s only 5lbs 12oz right now, which is shocking. She moves around and takes up all the room of a much bigger baby. Here are some examples of what it’s like.

MJ’s reaction when we are trying to sleep

spongebob can't sleep

MJ’s reaction when the doctor tries to listen to her heart beat

patrick gets kicked 

MJ’s reaction when I rub MDL’s belly

patrick dances

MJ’s reaction when MDL eats ice cream

squidward dances ballet

MJ’s reaction when MDL and I are trying to cuddle

spongebob does a squiggly dance

MJ’s reaction when a car alarm goes off nearby

spongebob hides in bed scared

MJ’s reaction when it’s time to go to the bathroom for the third time in one night

spongebob laughs evilly

MJ’s reaction when MDL eats jello

spongebob does a happy dance

MJ’s reaction when someone other than me wants to feel her kick

spongebob buries himself in the sand

Never Send a Polar Bear to Do a Nurse’s Job

baby

MDL is now at 35 weeks, and the baby is coming soon. I’m not worried about MJ, that little wiggle worm is just fine. MDL is not doing quite as well.

She works overnights in a hospital where she’s not able to sit down and take the breaks she is legally entitled to. They are consistently understaffed, and need at least another nurse each night. They also don’t have enough nursing techs or secretaries, which gives more work for the nurses to do.

MDL has been doing things she is medically not supposed to be doing (like lifting adult women) for much longer than she is not supposed to be doing them (12 hour shifts) and she can’t do it anymore. She is in a lot of physical pain from overexerting herself, and she is having tons of Braxton-Hicks contractions. They’re not progressing into actual baby-having contractions, but they hurt a lot.

Today she is calling to organize the start of her leave for the baby (which is all unnecessarily complicated!). She feels like she is letting people down.

But that’s not true. She’s working much harder than any of us are at home right now. (If I can remember to do both writing time and math on a hot day like today it’s kind of a miracle. I think I was supposed to be a polar bear.) And when she is home, she’s still working.

MDL is officially nesting right now, which means it’s time for all the most awful cleaning jobs to be done. The other day she decided we had to scrub the dining room floor, so she got out the Murphy’s Oil Soap and the big scrub brush. However, she hadn’t really started with a plan, and instead was pouring things all over the floor and trying to scrub them. I kicked her out, got a bucket, and started work, when all of a sudden I realized she was now in the kitchen, scrubbing the floor with a towel and all purpose cleaner. Thankfully, after she finished that she took a break for a little while.

This is just how nesting is. Nesting is not reasonable.

I’m hoping that when she’s off work, we can have more relaxing time, and plan those big jobs into the day instead of doing things randomly all at once. We don’t have too much left to do to get ready for the baby, but you never know. New things to be cleaned pop up all the time.

A Whole Bunch of Updates

baby, fatherhood, kids

Updates on Birthdays

It has been Gemini birthday time for the past few weeks. Half the family (including extended family) are Geminis. As a Sagittarius, I am incredibly outnumbered.

Updates on Father’s Day

The kids and I spent the day chillin in the basement playing SNES. Then we had pizza for dinner. MDL gave me a really nice lime cologne. I managed to spill it all over myself and smelled like the most fabulous old man for days. Good times. (Good limes?)

BCat wanted to buy a Darth Vader Father’s Day card for BDad. Do the card companies know that Darth Vader is a bad guy who killed his wife, abandoned his children, and later cut off his son’s hand in a lightsaber fight?

BCat knows. BCat has a sick sense of humor sometimes.

Updates on My Garden

While there are no tomatoes yet, the tomato plants are looking amazing. They’re in giant pots and I’ve been taking them inside during the rain storms so they don’t get uprooted. There are three carrots in a pot which have survived. Everything I planted in the ground is dead. Good thing we’re signed up for a CSA in the summer. We have lots of potted herbs, though.

Updates on This Blog

I changed the look of the blog, it matches the look of my twitter and facebook better now. That was a serious pain in the ass.

Updates on the Baby

The baby is doing just fine. We picked a name for her, so from now on I will refer to her here as MJ (not drug or Spiderman related!). She is upside down, very active, and constantly hiccuping, so she’s pretty normal. MDL is having some Braxton-Hicks contractions, so that sucks, but is also normal.

We have a tour of the hospital and a new sibling class scheduled. Our hospital bags are packed and ready to go.

We had an amazing dinosaur-pirate baby shower, thank you to everyone who came, and thank you to my sister for organizing everything. We now have everything we need.

This is really happening.

The Dad Gotham Deserves

fatherhood, kids

“We used to have a dad named BDad. Then he left, so we got a new dad named Max.”

The way D2 tells the story, family members are sorta like car parts. When one stops working how you want it to, you throw it out and get a new one. That’s not really what happened, but he was only three when all this started, so I can understand how he could see it that way. It’s not like he remembers too much from that time, anyway.

He sort of remembers the first time he met me, when I was picking up the family from the shop after their car broke down. He got so excited he ran into the road to greet me and give me a hug. What he doesn’t remember is that it was the first and last hug I would get from him for months after that, during which I could maybe get a hi5 on a good day.

He doesn’t remember refusing to talk to me when he was in a bad mood for a few months, until he could see that I was a trustworthy grown up and not going to make fun of him for being a grump.

He doesn’t remember refusing to say goodnight to me the first fifty or so times I was there at bedtime.

These are good boundaries for a kid to have with a new person. A kid does not need to hug unknown grown ups on demand. A kid does not need to trust every grown up they meet. A kid does not need to accept random people into their bedtime rituals. It took a long time for D2 to be open and affectionate with me, but when he was, it was because I had earned it.

I earned it by being honest with the kids. By listening to and accepting their feelings when something came up, especially when BDad stopped coming around. I earned it by sitting in the bathroom reading books with a grumpy blond kid who refused to poop on the potty, and by cleaning deodorant off his teeth when a game of “smell this!” went horribly wrong, and by teaching him how to read in spite of himself.

If I dropped off the face of the Earth for two years, I would expect to have to do it all again (hopefully with less poop the second time around, since they would be older). It doesn’t matter if it was because I was kidnapped by aliens, held in jail for a crime I didn’t commit, stranded on an island, in a coma, whatever. That doesn’t matter to kids. All they know is that you’re not there, and they can’t do anything to change that. Kids are not responsible for maintaining relationships with adults.

The kids have been trying to sort out this “two dads” issue. For a while, D2 maintained that BDad was their “real dad” and I was the “other dad” or “second dad.” BCat said no, since I do all the work, I get to be the “real dad,” and since BDad essentially quit the family he has to be the “old dad.” BigD doesn’t get into the argument, but he was the first one to stop calling BDad “Daddy.”

MDL and I have tried to explain that some kids can just have one mom and two dads and that is okay. They know some kids that have two moms, and that makes sense to them, but apparently the idea of two dads was super out there. However, no amount of persuasion will convince these kids that BDad and I can both be their dad.

Recently, D2 has since changed his mind and joined BCat’s team. All of them now call BDad by his first name, though not usually to his face, since he expressed that it upsets him.

We try to have as many helpful, emotionally healthy, supportive grown ups in the kids’ lives as possible. My parents see the kids frequently. We have a handful of friends who come over for holidays and the kids’ parties and will email back and forth so the kids can practice writing and typing. They need all the adults on their side they can get. I am not trying to cut BDad out of their lives.

I think it would be great if he could live in the same city as us and see them once a week. They could do regular things, like go to the park or the library, instead of shoving four weeks worth of fun into a two hour outing. It would be amazing if he tried to do a lesson with them for school, any subject. Those kids deserve all the benefits of having two dads.

But really, they’re right. They’re not stupid, and a handful of fun every few weeks isn’t fooling them. The kids don’t actually have two dads. They could have, but effectively, they don’t, and that hurts them.

There’s nothing we can do to change that. I’m in no position to try a “man to man” type pep talk. On the kids’ part, no amount of crying, persuading, or nasty emails (which BCat has sent a few times) is going to make one bit of difference. Maybe BDad will come around. Probably not. The only thing I can do is continue to be a good example.

But it doesn’t mean they don’t need him, too.

 

Inappropriately Rude Answers to Inappropriately Personal Questions

baby, gender

I’ve been away from the computer for a while for a few reasons. We had a busy Easter week, I accidentally broke my computer (and MDL’s computer, too, oops), and the biggest reason, we had some pregnancy complications. Everyone is okay now, but we had to deal with a good number of medical professionals in that time, and it is exhausting. MDL and I made a list of some questions we have been asked, some we are dreading being asked, and the answers we wish we could give people.

  • How did you conceive? It was pretty easy. Would you like a reenactment?
  • Who is the real father? I am. I am also the real Slim Shady.
  • You’re transgender? Have you had the surgery? I am also very interested in your genitals. Please show them to me now.
  • What is the baby going to call you? She’s going to call me Daddy. You can’t call me that, though. It’s kind of personal.
  • Are you going to tell the baby [you’re trans/it’s not really yours/etc.]? No, I would prefer the baby to find out by going through some old papers one day and then feel really, really sad and/or bitter.
  • What if it gets confused? Babies get confused all the time. It’s our job as parents to teach them important lessons, like “No, your toes are not food.” Once they’ve got that down, they can learn anything.
  • You two look so young! You have how many already? There used to be six. We ate a few. It keeps the rest of them on good behavior.
  • Was this on purpose? No, MDL is a big skanky ho and cheated on me with some boy because she is secretly a straight and I cannot fulfill her needs. Alternatively, no, it was an accident, because I am soooo manly I grew sperms.
  • Who do the other children think you are? A robot magician who breathes fire. Because I am.
All your inappropriately personal questions answered. Spaceship van.

I designed these nifty business cards to hand to people, but MDL said that would not be helpful.

I know perfectly well that MDL’s chart has NURSE AT [REDACTED] HOSPITAL stuck to the front of it, and when they find out my mom was a labor and delivery nurse, that will be on there too, and nobody who sees that will say anything rude to us. Still though, we will see a lot of people between now and August, and not everyone is as professional as they should be.

I would like to be able to talk to my friends about this pregnancy without them feeling weird. But there is a difference between actually asking questions to learn something about our experience and passing a judgement. For the most part, these questions start with an answer.

  • How did you conceive? Obviously not the normal way.
  • Who is the real father? It’s not really your baby.
  • You’re transgender? Have you had the surgery? This is literally the only thing I want to know about you, freak show.
  • What is the baby going to call you? You’re not really the dad, so it shouldn’t call you that.
  • Are you going to tell the baby [you’re trans/it’s not really yours/etc.]? If you don’t, that’s lying, but why would you want your baby to know that?
  • What if it gets confused? As an adult I can’t even wrap my head around this! How can you expect a child to?
  • You two look so young! You have how many already? Stop having kids already omg.
  • Was this on purpose? Obviously not, I bet MDL is a big skanky ho and cheated on you with some boy because she is secretly a straight and you cannot fulfill her needs.
  • Who do the other children think you are? Cuz you’re not their dad either, duh.

So if you’re one of our friends, you probably don’t think those things, and it’s okay to ask questions. However, if you’re a stranger, this isn’t really appropriate conversation anyway, whether or not you’re secretly judging us. Our friends and family have been really supportive, and we’re really thankful. Unfortunately, it makes it that much worse when we have to leave our bubble.

Keep Your Microaggressions Off My Baby

baby, gender

Other than the baby, we have three kids. They are all very different. BCat is sarcastic, but BigD doesn’t really get jokes. BCat is shy, but D2 loves talking to grownups, even if he doesn’t know them. This is how the mail man, the Wegmans cashier, and maybe three waitresses knew MDL was pregnant before any of our friends and family. BigD loves to play in the mud, but D2 would change his clothes four times a day if he decided they were too dirty.

They are even different in their similarities. They all love to build, but each has a different preferred medium. BCat is always making some sort of airplane out of Legos. BigD likes to build sound systems out of cardboard, and if they were real he would have all the parts to function, too. D2 likes hammering nails into things, whether or not it’s actually making something.

They all like music, but have talents in different areas. BCat played the cello for a while, and was very good for that length of time. Unfortunately, anxiety got in the way and we had to stop lessons, but I’m hoping for an eventual return. BigD loves percussion, although he can’t carry a tune in a bucket. He has had very little formal training, but he can read rhythms very well. D2 loves his guitar, even if he doesn’t like to practice his lesson material.

They have some pretty big similarities, too. They all love to run around and be outside, and they are all complete wimps if it’s too cold. They all love to eat, although it’s mostly tacos, pizza, and Chinese food. All three of them are very, very stubborn.

I don’t know what the new baby is going to be like. Circumstances will start this kid out with a lot of differences from the older three: different dad, different extended family, different hometown, different educational beginning.

The baby also gets a different assigned sex at birth. According to our ultrasound last week, the baby is a girl.

baby sonogram

Check out that squiggly brain.

I don’t want any of these things to mean she is treated differently than the other kids.

Yes, technically BCat, BigD, and D2 are my step kids, but our lives don’t function that way. They were very little when I came into their lives, and since their bio dad ditched for two y

ears (only to mysteriously return recently, but that’s another post), I’ve effectively been their father for quite some time. No, I don’t have any legal rights to them, but that’s only because children can only currently have two legal parents, and their bio dad isn’t going to give them up.

We are one family. Two grownups, four kids, two cats, and hopefully a dog or two when we get our own house. Origins have nothing to do with it.

And neither does gender.

We spent a very long time being “the family with three boys,” which is a concept that makes people in general pretty horrified. “Ohhh that must be so hard for you! Don’t you wish you had a girl? How do you deal with all the trucks, guns, and rocket ships???!!!” Now I’m expecting a good bit of “Aren’t you so glad to get relief from all the tractors, wrestling, and motorcycles?! Now you can go out and buy dolls, ponies, and pink Legos!!!!!!”

As a feminist, and as a trans person, I don’t want to deal with all this bullshit. We already have pink Legos. All the kids fight over who gets to use them. BigD is already in love with dance music. D2 is already as vain and fashion conscious as a high school girl. While I’m not going to declare any of the kids gay right now, I would not expect the baby to have the first boyfriend in the family. Things are not going to be that different.

While I am not trying to go all Baby X on the poor thing, I don’t see any need to have the baby constrained by all these gendered expectations. Seeing the baby’s ovaries on the ultrasound does not give any insight into her likes and dislikes, temperament, or personality.

I understand that I am more sensitive to gendered interactions than most people, and not everybody sees the way they treat others as gendered. But it is real, and the social pressure is real. No matter what I do, someone, somewhere, is going to try to get my daughter to act like a lady, whether or not what she is doing is socially appropriate for her age. Someone else will want to know why I would let her wear that, no matter what it is. Someone else will try to get her to settle down with a nice man, without taking into consideration her sexual orientation or her views on settling down at that point in her life.

These are not big examples. These are everyday judgments that I am certain will happen all the time, no matter what kind of person she turns out to be. While I have no idea who that person is, I know she doesn’t need that.

sonogram hand

This little hand will be able to hold many different colors of Legos.

But there are some things I can tell you about her already. All her organs are inside her body. This isn’t something anybody ever asks when they hear you got an ultrasound, but it’s pretty important. We got to see her brain, her intestines, and all four chambers of her heart, and it was really cool. Unfortunately, they didn’t print us a picture of that, apparently most parents don’t want it. She showed us all her fingers and toes, too, ten of each.

She is very active, and we can already tell she’s going to be a real wiggler. She swam her way around the entire uterus in the 15 minutes we were at the appointment, and as soon as MDL could feel the baby move, we realized she never stops.

She loves Chinese food, like her older siblings, and she loves fish, unlike them. She will start dancing if she even hears you talk about sushi.

She loves music. She dances to most kinds of music, and will sometimes only quiet down with a lullaby.

I’m sure she’ll be just as stubborn as the rest of us, too.

You guys put what in the where?

baby, gender

So I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Max, trans guys can’t get anyone pregnant. Just how did this happen?”

Well I have two answers for two different groups of people.

Short answer for people who don’t actually care and are just trying to feel inferior in their biological superiority of being able to have children “naturally” blah blah aren’t you special etc: I am a wizard and I grew sperms. Fuck you.

Longer answer for people who actually care and/or are in a similar situation: MDL and I used intravaginal insemination at home with a known donor. It’s a lot less technical than it sounds, and purposefully so. I just like the big words.

Your typical, socially accepted LGBT let’s-make-a-baby narrative involves going to the doctor, having to answer a lot of questions about your health, lifestyle, and intentions, taking fertility drugs whether or not you actually need them, poring over pictures in the sperm database with starry eyes, lying on a table with a paper sheet while the doctor does his thing, and somehow not caring about the sheer invasiveness of the entire experience.

Basically, we’ve had enough experiences with doctors in various of areas medicine that we decided we didn’t need some shit head with a God complex ordering us around. We didn’t need to be told MDL was too fat to conceive (she’s not, but she is also not within the narrow guidelines expected by fertility doctors), we didn’t need any unnecessary drugs thrown in our faces by someone who has never taken them and doesn’t understand the side effects, we didn’t need our high fat/low carb/sushi loving eating habits judged by someone who has never actually studied nutrition. Too much of medicine, especially in women’s health, is based on tradition and has nothing to do with science. As a nurse in women’s health, MDL knows exactly what we would be going through. She sees the process women are put through every day at work. It is the epitome of patriarchy controlling women’s bodies. We are Not Into That.

And we really didn’t need to pay thousands of dollars to conceive. So many people have the privilege to do this in their homes for free, without drugs, without supervision, without judgment, while actually having fun, and we weren’t about to let being queer take that away from us. MDL had success conceiving without medical intervention three times before and there wasn’t any reason to believe it wouldn’t work. She drank FertiliTea and tracked her ovulation for a while. We did look into sperm banks, but we had an offer from a friend for free semen without trying to steal the baby later, so we went for it.

This was not necessarily the most legally sound decision, and I know people who have had these types of agreements go wrong. This is not something I would put out as a blanket recommendation to everyone. However, this was the right decision for us. Our donor is very close to our family. He visits frequently and we are updated on his life. We know for sure what he looks like, what his personality is like, what his family is like, and we can ask any medical questions at any point. This child will be able to have a relationship with him and won’t have any “where did I come from?” questions that can’t be answered. We are very privileged to have someone like this in our lives, as some people are forced to use a sperm bank. This was a purposeful decision, and after weighing our different options, nothing else felt right.

Anyway, there was no turkey baster involved, and it’s crude of you to ask that, people in the first group. The semen was ejaculated into an Instead disposable menstrual cup and my partner inserted it into her vagina. We left it there for a while, whatever was recommended by people who make recommendations on these things, I forget. And during that time, we did what everyone else does when they are trying to conceive. Which was good, because the semen gave MDL cramps that needed to be relieved.

And then the next day we did it again, just to make sure. Somehow, we were lucky enough that this one cycle was all it took. (Also, we still have some extra FertiliTea, if anyone needs it!)

TL;DR It was pretty much the same as everyone else. Sorry to disappoint you.

This post is not actually about my van.

baby, kids
2014 Black Honda Odyssey

This thing is like a space ship inside.

So I have some exciting news. We are going to have a baby. It’s due in August. We’ve been doing so many things to prepare for the baby (like buying an awesome new van) we sort of neglected to tell people. We’ve had an ultrasound already, but it was so long ago that the baby doesn’t look like a blob anymore and posting it would be silly. Actual baby looking picture will follow in a few weeks.

In other news, D2 is also pregnant. He decided he is going to have twins, so he’s just a little more pregnant than you, mmkay? This came up when he learned that being pregnant means you get to reserve foods for the baby and not share them, and figured it was the best way to get a hold of Mommy’s applesauce.