Place Love

May 10, 2010

This morning I go in for the sonogram to see how big my follicles are. I wonder if I’ll get any feedback about the number of eggs in general? If the follicle is a good size, I’ll get a shot to make it drop and come back tomorrow for an IUI. And the next day for another one, even though Dr. Hugs already said that he doesnt like to do two IUIs in one cycle because, “it only increases your chances by about blah blah percent.” Dr. Hugs is on an island right now. He doesnt get a say.

Also, I added a cycle day ticker at the bottom of the homepage. This cycle day ticker’s for you, LPC.

I’ve been in a twitchy mood lately. Quiet, furtive, otherly. I really want to leave this place and I really want 3,000 dollars to fall out of the sky in order to make it happen. Awhile ago, when Wifebian and I were hashing out the meaning of love and life as it was between us, she observed that maybe I like to fall in love so much because I’m depressed and isnt love is a fan-fucking-tastic anti-depressant? I mean, dont get me wrong. I didnt spend my twenties falling in out of love every two weeks, I wasnt recklessness, but I definitely bent over backwards for love. I’ve had the honor of falling head over heels four times and all of them involved crossing many, many state lines. Specifically, the ones between Maryland, New York, Washington, D.C., California, Utah, and Florida. Just my lousy luck, I guess, but I never shirked from my responsibility to go boldly forth in the name of love, to get on that Greyhound or rent that Ryder.

Now that I am married, I hopefully wont be falling in love again (because, well, wouldnt that be a disaster) but what is it that I can fall in love with, I ask myself? I mean, I agree. Falling in love seems to really do it for me, surely getting married isnt the end of the falling in love.

I know motherhood will do it. But I think finding a place will do it, too. Finding the final apartment, in that one city, in that one state, where I will really just stay. I want to fall in love with the place I live. But somehow, in spite of being married, and therefore, ostensibly settled down, I still find myself in the moving business. In the four years I’ve been with Wifebian, I have moved six times, gracing four states with my presence. I have lived in D.C., the homebase I love, and Virginia  (which I swore up and down I would never do), and I have lived, well, here. And there are two unmentionable, unfathomable heres, states I never even took the time to swear about not living in because who ever thought I would have to?

I want to go some place and I want to stay there. For fucking ever. I want to love it and I want to take care of it. I want to attend city council meetings and block parties. I want to sweep my front step and pick up other people’s dog poop. I want to have an opinion about stoplights and I want to adopt a highway. “Yes, I will donate an extra $25.00 to have my name engraved on that brick,” I will say. I want the address on my checks to match the address on my license. I want to infest the nooks and crannies of my house with layer upon layer of my creepy, crawly memories. I want to douse the sidewalks with stories. I want every building to have a story and most of the faces to register recognition when they see me coming. I want to start something, or at least become a part of something, and I want all the people I’m in it with to come to my funeral. I want one city, one neighborhood, one house, to be mine from now on. I want my kid to say, “I was born here,” and have an accent while they say it.

And in my youthful exuberance I thought D.C. might be that place. I had most of my good stories there, and my mother’s and father’s, too. That was one of the great things about that DC, my history and my parents’ histories were everywhere I was. He got arrested in an the alley behind the Manhattan laundry building. They met in Georgetown.  And there’s where their stories start to make mine. She stood in the parking lot of a GW building with a young me and decided not to apply for a doctorate program. Me and him driving past the Pepsi bottling company on the way back to Maryland.

I was a tour guide in DC one summer. Being a tour guide in DC was awesome. To have the history of our nation in all of its blackness and whiteness and wars mingling with my own family’s history, as well as the registry of public places in which I had sex during my early twenties was like an ice cream sundae! So many sprinkles and cherries! SO MUCH FUDGE. But the place for me, the adult place, isnt DC. What self-respecting middle class white liberal can afford to raise a family there? (Cue zombie voice, raise arms parallel to the floor.) Middle-class white liberal must buy house. Must buy house. Buy house. Hauwsssss.

So. I need to find a place to love and take care of and a place that will love and take care of me . . . and I wonder if that place isnt Baltimore. Being a native Marylander, it is, after all, my birthright. And there is some family history. My mom says that my grandparents had a dry cleaning store on St. Paul Street and my mom got a certificate at JHU (instead of that PhD from GW). I have a very dear friend there, who I believe in my heart is never going to leave. And my company has offices there, plus there are lots of positions there with the National Health Service Corps. Baltimore has a dab of history and a spot of friendship and a job prospect or two, which is enough to get started. In fact, one of my fondest memories of my dad is picking up my first interstate love from the bus station in Baltimore. (I was 16 and I had met him on the internet.) My dad took me to pick him up and suggested that we cross the street so we could be warmer on the sunny side. Having grown up in the suburbs, I didnt know that about city streets and I just thought to myself, “That is so smart!” and thought my dad was so savvy.

I mean, I can make it work. Baltimore has place personality for miles. I could play place games like letterboxing and foursquare for days in that little city. And while I have always thought of it as D.C.’s annoying little sister and I never imaged I would deign to set up shop there, I am considering it. I started a Baltimorean category on the blogroll. I troll Craigslist. I daydream.

Baltimore, however, is Wifebian’s last choice ever. Although she is nonetheless mostly willing, the other night, when she came home from visiting her sister’s new baby, she put a moratorium on all Baltimore-talk. She couldnt bear the thought of ever leaving this place, this place I do not love, this clean, conservative, southern place that is the shining birthplace of her first-ever most precious niece, for some place as dirty and busted as Baltimore. Yesterday morning we had to cry about it all a little. Today, we are getting together the infinite paperwork for the licenses.

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Cycle Day 1

April 28, 2010

My period came today. At 9 am. Which is 7 hours after I took the pregnancy test that came back so clearly negative.

Neither Wifebian nor I could sleep last night. I woke up from a dream, heard her rustling and said something like, “Are you awake, too?” We finally sighed the collective “fuck-it”, tested negative and went back to bed. Until 6:30.

The dream that woke me was of me peeing on a pregnancy test. Except, the pregnancy test looked like a maxi pad. And when I peed, I peed my period. And I moved the little pad around between my fingers, trying to see the lines through the blood.

I havent had such prescient dreaming since my father relapsed in drug and alcohol addiction. (“Into drug and alcohol addiction” — you can tell I havent sloughed off my social worker hat for the day, yet.)

My dad and my baby. That, I can dream about.

I am still feeling some of that strange indigestion and very hungriness. I wonder if some valiant spermatozoa didnt ricochet off of some beefy egg and send some H sparks and C sparks and G sparks into my blood stream. And through to my brain.

I was on the phone today, with some triage nurse, asking if it wasnt too late to talk about Clomid and triggers shots and sonograms. They said they would call me back. But I missed the call because I was in a meeting.

I teared up listing to the message, “This is so and so calling from such and such. When you return the call, please ask for triage.”

This is not who I wanted to be.

I was going to be so fertile!

But that’s OK. It’s like in high school when I thought that you could listen to the Cure or Morrissey, but you had to pick one or the other. Or in college when I thought California was filled with crunchy nutballs and I was just so East Coast.

Sometimes my thinking is very black and white and I cling to arbitrary distinctions based on uninformed opinions.

I didnt want to be this person who has to talk to doctors because I am very healthy. I didnt want to be this person who took fertility drugs because look at these hips. I didnt want to be this person who wants children because I am not that kind of woman.

But this cycle, with the weird symptoms, the ones that led me to believe I was pregnant, brought me so close to my caring. I am now old enough to know that when I start to care about something, I should take a minute. Be vulnerable. And enjoy it.

So I did.

And now, I think I may have crossed some sort of line. Into caring. This is something I care about.

Surely, you saw this coming from a mile away.

What with my history.

My favorite part about drinking during the day is two beers in, when the leaves on the trees get so green they shimmer.

Mother Business

October 20, 2009

Yesterday, I met a new client. He has a genetic disorder and a difficult social history, which has led to a number of  medical, behavioral, learning, social, occupational and speech problems. If I were to really do justice to the breadth and depth of his flaws, if I were to describe his physical appearance or things that have happened to him, I would come closer to his identity than I am comfortable with, so unique and fantastic is his constellation of differences. But, within five minutes of meeting him and his guardian, they were mine. Their problems were mine and their possibilities. And everything good or great about their habits or personalities was something special just for me. I have a thing for underdogs and outsiders. I attach quickly.

Tonight, I was listening to two foster parents describe their challenges with one of their foster kids. When he got to their house a few years ago, he deficated and urinated daily, sometimes at school, sometimes at home, sometimes during the day and sometimes at night. But now, he only wets the bed nightly. I found myself thinking, I want that kid. And I pictured me and the Wifebian banding together against such a disgusting, scary problem and how much fun it would be to research and make little charts and think about the problem and cheer one another on. (Notice my daydream did not include doing the laundry).

Then, I think about having kids and ask myself, “What if?” What if a fetus I carried was diagnosed with some physical or genetic defect? My first instinct is to say that I would abort the fetus. But, then, I reflect on the amazing capabilities I demonstrate in my professional life and think, “Of course I could do it.” The other what if goes a little something like, “What if my teenagers steps beyond moody and into suspensions, arrests, drugs, rages?” I think, oh that wouldnt happen to me, but genetics are not on my side when it comes to raising a biological adolescent. I’ve noticed the contradiction though, in the sense that I look forward to the challenge of parenting very difficult foster kids, but that I would really, really like to bear a biological child as beautiful, smart and promising as I fancy myself to be.

Sometimes, I try to imagine what I would do if I was an unpoliticized heterosexual woman being told that my “baby” was “deformed”. Would I “refuse to kill my unborn child”? Would I cling to some concept of “destiny”, some understanding of my egg and my husband’s sperm uniting to create a “soul” and “keep the baby”? Would I wither or recoil faced with the idea of bearing “an ugly, slobbering, dumb kid”?

As it is, I am a queer, politicized social worker to special needs children. I understand every moment of this conception, pregnancy and birth to be weighted with a million choices that Wifebian and I get to make. I believe in disability rights and honestly see the common practice of aborting fetuses with physical and genetic abnormalities as a kind of genocide. I also believe entirely in a woman’s right to an abortion on demand. But, finally, I know that I could not only handle parenting a kid with that kind of diagnosis, but thrive from the challenge of it.

Writing all of this out really brings to mind the moms keeping two blogs in particular and I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to do justice to them and acknowledge that they are living the lives I am currently just imagining.

I don’t have any conclusions about what I would or wouldnt do, what we are and arent capable of, just a little more clarity on the position I’m putting myself in with all this mother business. This weekend, Wifebian signed us up to attend an orientation to foster care at the local DSS. We will be leaving three days after the orientation for sunny San Francisco, where we will be inseminating for the first time.

November’s gonna be deep.