Archive for December, 2008

spilled milk.

so i just sat down to pump for the first time today in the quiet privacy room at work, and i opened my pump bag to find…yesterday’s milk–all 14 ounces of it–staring up at me. it had been sitting out since 6 o’clock last night. needless to say: it had gone bad. with bitter tears sitting on my eyelids, i dumped the whole bagful down the drain. what took a good cumulative hour to extract from my body disappeared in mere seconds.

my reaction to this unfortunate event was a moment of rage: rage for the fact that i am working and pumping, instead of being at home and breastfeeding my child; rage for how scattered i feel every moment of every day, which led to me forgetting to refrigerate the milk in the first place; rage for how i feel control over anything in my life further slipping from my grasp. rage turned to anxiety. anxiety became shallow breathing. and so i sat in the privacy room for twenty minutes, replenishing jude’s food supply and simultaneously talking myself down from the proverbial ledge.

i do this a lot anymore, the talking myself down thing. i walk through my day with a clenched jaw, and it takes very little to set off the rage. pets and clutter and finances are just a few culprits. i keep the raging to myself most of the time, choosing instead to mutter motherfucker under my breath, and try to move on. because i know better. i know that i am sweating the small stuff. but the rage and anxiety (and might i add my inability to fall asleep without my heart first racing for awhile) are clearly symptoms of something bigger: i’m not doing so well.

so there it is. after 15 months antidepressant-free, i am not doing so well. anxiety is a big part of my bipolar 2 diagnosis, along with depression. (thus far,) the depression has been kept in check by my responsibilities toward my partner and daughter. i confessed to my therapist recently that, if it weren’t for h & jude, i would have spiraled downward sooner. i would stay in bed a lot more often. instead, i suck it up, suck it in, and move forward. forward forward.

writing this post is exhausting. i am so numb with exertion. i am tired. tired of the wall between myself and my world. i poke holes, and life trickles in like sunlight through closed blinds, but it’s not enough. i miss the mindful me, the one fully capable of engaging. if i can convolute the metaphor of depression further, i feel like i am on a 5 second delay in conversation, in connection. even with my baby. and then i cry.

i cry over spilt milk.

i have prescriptions for prozac and klonopin burning a hole in my wallet, but, as i’ve also told my therapist, i haven’t been ready. i know that i can take the klonopin at night, before bed, after nursing jude. it takes 6 hours to leave my system. i can make it work with breastfeeding. and i know that prozac is the safest/longest studied antidepressant on the market for pregnancy and breastfeeding.

i should fill these prescriptions. i should.

pride held me back for awhile. after all, i flourished without drugs during my pregnancy. postpartum depression never really hit me after giving birth. i was medication-free and managing my bipolar like a champ! …until i wasn’t anymore.

h reminds me that i did not fail at anything. my chemistry is fucked up, end of story. and yet, my depression and anxiety feels a lot like failure.

failure is to continue down this path when i have tools to help me. failure is unnecessarily missing out on mindful connection with my fambly.

and so i present my new years resolution: i’m going back on meds. i want to greet 2009, in all its challenges and glories, as a more whole person.

and with that, i am leaving work early, and going to snuggle my girls.
thanks for hanging in with such a downer of a post.

note to self: don’t forget to refrigerate milk.

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one of these days, i will sit down and write a proper post, because there are many words, many stories, brewing inside of me. it’s a bit dizzying to keep everything to myself. i forget what i was going to say, and everything is happening so quickly now that if i don’t commit it all to paper, i feel like i’m missing my life.

in the meantime, however, here’s a meme that i’ve seen a lot of places, but most recently at all & sundry. feel free to play along!

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
-was pregnant
-bought a house
-gave birth
-became a mom

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
i don’t remember. i was too nauseated to make resolutions. this year? put down the cookies, pick up the free weights.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
my own vag did. she still doesn’t like to talk about it.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
thankfully not.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
more financial stability, and perhaps a flatter stomach.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
january 14: we found out we were having a girl sparky
february 13: we closed on our house
june 18: jude was born!
october 26: i turned 30.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
aforementioned jude.

9. What was your biggest failure?
not being more financially responsible.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
massive bronchitis/sinus infection without the benefit of fabulous drugs.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
a baby! (well, we paid for jude’s adoption.) also, a new lens.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
h, who is the best co-mom there ever was, and her labor partnering abilities are unparalleled.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
our dog clem, who is very unhappy with the existence of the baby.

14. Where did most of your money go?
house. baby. unpaid maternity leave.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
aside from the baby i keep blabbering on about? the election! digital cable! turning 30!

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
the whole bon iver record.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? wash.
b) thinner or fatter? thinner!
c) richer or poorer? poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
savoring the days of just me and h, with all our free time before we had a baby.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
feeling guilty about things i cannot control

20. How did you spend Christmas?
at home with h and uncle g, jude, our friend t, jude’s gabby. h cooked a fabulous meal, and surprisingly, no one drank to excess!

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
ever deeply with my h.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
daily show and colbert, natch. also got really into dexter, which inspired some effed up dreams.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
i am not a hater, but i came pretty close with mccain.

24. What was the best book you read?
mama day.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
ooo bon iver, as you may recall. also of note, fleet foxes, she & him, vampire weekend, & yael naim.

26. What did you want and get?
bpa-free nalgene, laid, and a mostly drama-free labor and birth experience. (not in any particular order.)

27. What did you want and not get?
an ipod touch.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
it didn’t come out this year, but i really enjoyed waitress this year.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
i enjoyed my new firepit with friends, including big jude. and, as i said before, i was 30.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
happier finances and more time to write. the ipod touch would’ve been nice too.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

32. What kept you sane?
dried mangoes, which also kept me regular.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
stephen colbert.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
prop 8 and all its equally outrageous siblings in ar, az, and fl.

35. Who did you miss?
my mother.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
one judith marguerite.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
one should probably have stable income before having a baby. jobhunting with a newborn is just wrong and impossible.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“And when you write a poem
I know the words
I know the sounds
Before you write it down
When you wear your clothes
I wear them too
I wear your shoes
And your jacket too
I always knew you
In your mothers arms”
–sufjan stevens’ “vito’s ordination song”

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merry christmas, baby.

i am very proud to say that i uploaded this video less than a month after christmas. i’m offering you something almost…timely.

enjoy my blurry squealer!

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six months.

dear jude,

six whole days ago, you turned six months old. that’s half a year, girl. half.a.year. i am having a hard time processing this reality, because wasn’t it just yesterday that you arrived? or wait. haven’t you always been here? was there ever a time in my life that i did not know you? unfathomable.

once again i am belated in my letter to you, and you can blame that on my job. it’s been overtime city for me, and so my days begin and end with you and i snuggled together in bed. guess why that is, my beloved daughter? yep, you’re right: you refuse to sleep in your crib. you will nap alone in your moms’ bed, as long as i nurse you to sleep. but you refuse to either fall asleep or stay asleep in your crib. once upon a time (i.e. until last week) a tight swaddle seemed to make crib sleep happen for you. but now? you’re over it. with a vengeance. with a loud, red faced, deafening wail of a vengeance.

otherwise, jude, you are a delight. on december 12, you were adopted by your mama h. we began this process back in march, when you were a 7 month old fetus in my belly, and you kicked and rolled as we signed wills and background checks, etc. on the day of your adoption, you were pleased with the dress and leggings mama h chose for you, and you were downright delighted by the array of toys sitting in front of the judge. i think you missed the moment in which you were officially adopted. we missed it too, because you were all but climbing out of mama h’s arms to choose your toy memento of the occasion: a beanie koala, which the judge mistakenly referred to as an elephant (on account of its greyness, presumably).

so. you are adopted and loved and protected under the law. glory be. in the future, i know we will look back upon this time with disbelief over the hurdles we had to clear in order to be a family. surely, we will be protected with equal rights. families like ours will officially be No Big Deal.

i am rushed to finish this letter to you, my love, and i apologize for that. suffice it to say you are growing like a crazy woman. if you weigh 25 lbs, it would be no shock. you are solid. and independent. you can stand and hold yourself up against the edge of the bathtub, the couch, etc. you rock back and forth on hands and knees, trying to crawl, but only moving backwards. this angers you to no end. for you are goal-oriented, and backwards motion is the ultimate fail for you. you seem to want to bypass crawling altogether, and spend more energy on hands and feet than hands and knees. your mothers are nervous. so are your pets.

it’s christmas eve, jude. your world is about to be rocked with pretty packages full of presents and blinking lights and tipsy parents with flushed faces. we cannot wait to share the joy of the day with you. i hope that your first christmas seeps into your soul as a happy, peaceful foundation for the traditions we are beginning together. we’re a messy, silly bunch, but we adore you, and so unbelievably happy that you are here. welcome to christmas, my girl. you are the end of our advent.


rockin the ergo.
fishface finally captured.
future blackmail.
happy happy in a hat.

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…i leave you with a photo of what we do all day every day right now.

can't fight the teether.

my work world is beyond insane at the moment, so regular posting will resume shortly…i hope!

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on friday morning, we shuffled around the house in pajamas, overtired after jude kept us up most of the night. we brewed a large pot of coffee, and threw on some wrinkled business casual wear. i remembered, at the last minute, to brush my hair, and hastily fastened it into ponytail. jude, happily, enjoyed being hoisted into a pair of leggings for the first time. and then we were off! off to the county courthouse downtown for h’s adoption of our daughter.

of course, we were running late. and of course, h’s mum was stopped by security on account of the scissors she had in her purse. inexplicably, the security guard then proceeded to pretend to stab herself repeatedly in the stomach, so as to demonstrate the lethal power of sewing scissors. she fake-stabbed h’s mum too. we were dumbfounded. but late. so we just shrugged and moved on.

we were a grand group in the little courtroom: aside from h, h’s mum, jude, and me, we had other supporters in the forms of uncle g, gabby & pop pop, grandmas m & n, and my friend r, who happened to be in town from LA. h & i were so grateful that the majority of our witnesses were relatives of our donor. isn’t that amazing? m & n are a wonderful older lesbian couple who have lived in small town texas through decades of discrimination. and here they were, bearing witness to the law recognizing h as jude’s legal parent. n said later to h, “we paved the way fr this”. we’re not sure whether she meant her gay rights work, or her long presence in the lives of uncle g’s parents (making them so embracing of our “alternative” family). but in either case, we are grateful.

the adoption itself took about 30 seconds. there was no gavel, no raising of our right hands. none of that pomp. the judge simply cooed at jude and signed a paper. jude got to pick a stuffed animal as a token of her adoption. she chose a beanie koala. next thing we knew, we were posing with our lawyer and the judge, as camera after camera snapped shots.

(below is one captured by my camera, but unfortunately it was way underexposed. and so i went crazy with post-processing exposure. it’s not so flattering of any of us, but there we are: fambly.)

we are fambly.

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tickle monster

enjoy the video sent to me by schmelen yesterday at work.

of note:
1. the kick ass sitty-uppyness
2. the adorable onesie that h made for little j.
3. propellerhands.

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little miss propeller hands is totally stoked about being adopted by mama h tomorrow.

judith propeller hands.

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yesterday was a rough day, after a succession of rough days. the world was heavy on my shoulders as i returned home from work, and i had visions of checking out and going to bed early, essentially skipping jude bonding time. however, i was welcomed home by a joyful baby, smiling shyly at me while wildly waving her arms like propellers. and my h gave me loving kisses, and told me that dinner was ready: sesame chicken, asparagus, udon noodles, and sugar snap peas. needless to say, i stayed awake.

lately, j has been obsessed with cups. if you are holding one, she would like to hold it, please. if there is one sitting in her immediate reaching radius, she will lunge like a drunk for a flask. consequently, we have become quite vigilant about keeping her away from mugs full of hot tasty beverages. (i’m talking about YOU, mulled wine. mmm.) we’ve taught jude the sign for ‘hot’, but she doesn’t seem to care much. she all but shrugs and continues to reach. she has no time for such concepts as heat. for there are cups to be grabbed, damnit.

but i digress.

to counteract the cup obsession, we purchased some (bpa-free, thanks) sippy cups, in which we put water for jude’s sipping pleasure. she quickly figured out the suck-to-obtain-beverage concept immediately, but was pretty convinced we’d just given her a modified bottle. could we just gives her sips of our water from our cups, instead? it’s a messy endeavor, but she’s a pretty good sipper. last night, she obliterated the last vestiges of my bad mood by grabbing her sippy cup with both hands and bringing it to her mouth, effectively taking her first unassisted drink of water.

i gushed with pride.

soon after, i took hilariously adorable photos of my big, big girl bouncing around in just a glittery tutu that mama h purchased at the bullseye store. i think we may have a poorly coordinated ballerina on our hands. photos are forthcoming sometime soon.

we went to bed way too late last night. oh but we discovered the secret to a better-sleeping baby: the swaddle. seriously, how did we forget the fact that our child loves to be swaddled? i think the concept fell out of our brains right around the time jude started eating solids. we have a big, nearly crawling baby now. you can’t swaddle one of those, can you? OH, BUT YOU CAN! and we have. and she SLEEPS. for about 4 hours in her own crib. then back to bed with us for a middle of the night snack. and then back into her crib again! h has slept in our bed, spooned by me, for three nights in a row now. i would totally do a happy dance, but i’d have to hold my boobs down.

so, with a freshly swaddled baby snuggled between us, h read a chapter from harry potter, and i nursed. despite the fact that it is december, we slept with our windows open last night. for it was almost 70 degrees. and windy. a cold front is en route as i type now, but this was pure open window weather. bliss.

jude woke us up just before sunrise, and our bedroom smelled like indian summer. like stolen warm moments belonging to another season. jude cooed and smiled and sighed, and i told h that, when she grows up, i hope she remembers the smells and sounds and feels of an open-window night. and i hope that a feeling of warm safety takes her over, just like it did me this morning.

non-sequitur: here is a photo of the squishy baby in the throes of teething sadness.
sad, teething baby.

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a holiday idea.

when i lived in nashville, i was a member of a little episcopal chapel called st augustine’s, on the campus of vanderbilt university. i found deep, lasting community in my time at st augustine’s. it was the place where i found firm footing while navigating the rough waters of coming out in the bible belt. the congregation were equal parts granola nashvillians and recovering prostitutes and addicts. my priest was a fiery woman called becca stevens, whom i love very much. she preached a gospel that would cause the staunchest atheist to say “amen”. love and serve, love and serve: that was the message i received every week. and i believed this gospel, because i watched her live it.

so i’m about to refer you to a link, with a longish story i wrote as an assignment for a class in my senior year of college: will you indulge me and read it? for it tells the story of one such former prostitute, of magdalene house, and of thistle farms. and it is the lead up to me asking you: will you consider doing some of your holiday shopping with thistle farms? you will never feel so proud of smelling so good.

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