Monthly Archives: February 2015
Today we got the boy’s birth certificate and I cried.
There it was, clear as day, parent and parent. We honestly moved to Oregon five and a half years ago for this moment.
We always knew we wanted a child. I don’t think either of us knew until we met each other but it was decided upon 8 and a half years ago we’d do this together. When Lesley was applying to grad school we knew she wanted to go here and upon acceptance one of the deciding factors for Oregon over Michigan (where we’re from) was our rights, specifically to both appear on a child’s birth certificate.
And here we are- two legal parents. I’ve been struggling because Lesley is a better mom. She just is. She’s more patient. More understanding of his needs. She can get him to sleep instantly where I cannot. She is more fun and nicer to me than I am to her. I don’t feel bad- I’m glad my son has such an amazing mom- I just wish I could do better. None of this is news- I always knew she’d be a better parent than me. I always knew she was cut out for this in ways I never will be.
I know having Gus is on the list of best things I’ve ever done but I know that the top of that list holds making Lesley a mom. I’m not going to lie, it feels damn good for the government to recognize her as one.
Right now I’m in bed with my baby asleep next to the bed. Kitty 1 is on my feet, kitty 2 is under the covers next to me. Dog is across the room fast asleep. Lesley will join us all when she gets home from hockey.
There is laundry to be done. Floors to be swept. Dishes to wash. I just set my alarm for 5:15 am. None of this matters. Right now life is perfect.
Lesley’s dad and stepmom are here. It’s a bit awkward to have your boobs out all the time in front of your father-in-law. I felt weird about this until I remembered the first time we met.
Lesley’s dad is a member of a men’s only hunting and fishing club. They own land with a few private houses (that can only be owned by men) and a club house. Only men are allowed in the club house except each member gets one weekend a year for their family to use it. We always got Lesley’s family weekend and filled the clubhouse with lesbians and our friend Josh.
The first family weekend was about 6 weeks after we started dating. The group had planned to go and I joined. Her dad lived on the property at that time so came down at some point to check on us. There I was, meeting my new girlfriend’s dad for the first time, head shaved, wearing a see through white tank top (no bra), sitting on her lap, both really high.
Maybe I should have thought about the future. Here I am, 8.5 years later, breastfeeding his grandson while he makes me pancakes.
I’ve mentioned before that we are taking a parenting class. It is more of a group than a class – we talk about different topics but it’s not really about how to parent.
Two weeks ago we did an activity in this class where the group was split: Moms and Dads. Our facilitator was great – she split us into three groups, two mom groups and one dad groups. Lesley and I were in separate groups as we did the activity. THe activity asked us to talk about things we appreciate about our partner and things we miss from prebaby life. At the end of ten minutes we got together and shared with the group.
As we drove home we talked about the activity. Lesley said that she felt kind of out of place in the mom group. Both mom groups had similar answers to the question of things we appreciate about our partner – we appreciate when our partner gets up with baby at night at and when they do ANYTHING without being asked. The dad group was more that their partner supports them in pursuing their outside hobbies. Lesley’s group had that one listed, too, upon Lesley’s suggestion. Lesley said that next time she might opt to be in the dad group.
There was talk at our last group meeting about a daddy beer night where the daddies decided to get together for beer. One dad came over to us and told us that either one of us or both of us were welcome to come. Though our group’s Facebook page there was talk that there should be a mommies’ night. Lesley and I paused – what do we do? She decided that she would go to daddy beer night (and campaign for it to be “nongestational parent beer night”) as “I don’t need to sit around here while y’all talk about your boobs”. I offered to host mommy night, she found a place for her and August to go, and I started pumping after bedtime.
Last night was mommies night and as I type Lesley is off at daddy beer night. I’ll admit I was nervous leading up to the night. This is the first time this group of women has really hung out. Maybe it is my midwest upbringing but I constantly feel like I am waiting for people to discriminate against us. While I did not expect hostility from this group I did wonder if everyone would have a glass of wine and start to ask me the dreaded questions – the things I figure they really want to know about lesbian parents. But there was nothing. It was fun and I found like I could really have conversations with them. Two different moms commented that they also like games on our game shelf (bonanza and ticket to ride), mom’s commented about how they also like our favorite artists (nikki mclure and brian andreas). The mom I like the best (who Lesley and I both think is the pretty one) also wants her son to play hockey. We talked about birth and breastfeeding and our lives and it was fun. I honestly never considered that this night might be fun.
I really wanted to connect with other LGBT families once we had a baby. I still do. I wanted to find families like ours to talk to and talk through challenges with. We are very lucky that we have a handful of those families. We joined this parenting class because we’ve heard such good things. This is where everyone in town has met their baby friends. I went into it hoping to meet some people and am surprised how much I like them. They are all very different than us. Very straight. Mostly very mainstream. But I find that I fit in there more than I expected. For the last 13 years my main identity has been as a dyke. Not just a lesbian, a dyke. Out, loud, shaved head, second wave feminist, Ferron listening dyke. And last night I realized for the first time that now my main identity is a mom. I wouldn’t change a single thing.
My day centers around milk math. At work it is constantly on my mind: When do I pump? How much did I pump? How much has he eaten today.
Today looked like this:
Running late for work, got here at 8:45.
Meeting at 9, client here at 10.
Client leaves, pump at 11. (7.5 ounces)
Pump again at 1:15. (4 ounces)
Pump again at 3:15. (amount to be determined, hoping for 4 ounces)
Leave at 5.
Today is a short day so ounce wise I get less. 3 days a week I am in at 7 – I tend to get at least 10 ounces from those morning pumps.
Gus is eating about 16 ounces a day while I am at work. I send him whatever I pump the day before and normally there is some left over. Until this week.
Monday our sitter thought a bottle smelled off so she dumped it and used a frozen bag. (I appreciate this.) Tuesday he ate more than expected at the sitter in the morning and Lesley used a freezer bag (and I fed him at lunch). Today who knows. He was sent with somewhere round 18 ounces and out sitter has milk in her freezer so we’ll find out when we pick him up.
Overall, I have been storing milk so we are fine. We have around 50 ounces stored and I have donated around 100 ounces. but this is the first week where we have used frozen milk and not had stuff left over at the end of each day. And now I can’t stop thinking about it. I started taking fennugreek to help up supply and am considering adding extra pumps (before work or immediately once I get home). As it stands, I have some plans without him Friday night (for the first time, more on that later) and am pumping after he goes to bed for night milk. So I have a decision to make – do I want to pump 5 times a day?
No one likes pumping. It is terrible and not fun and I really don’t like doing it. But exclusively breast feeding is the right choice for our family. So I sit here, multiple times a day, with sheets of paper covering the window in my office door and I pump. I pump and I do the milk math and hope he has enough to eat tomorrow and that at the end of the week there’s a little extra to put aside for another babe.