musings and rantings of a blue state non bio mom

the real-life adventures of me, my partner, and our journey through ivf-enabled same sex TWIN motherhood (with not so infrequent rantings about politics in general).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

US MEDIA: Tolerance Unwelcome Here....

OK, it's been a while since I've ranted, but I feel one coming on.

It seems like liberal, tolerant religion is just too...well, tolerant...for our so-called liberal media. While they'll run the hate-filled dross produced by bigots like Focus on the Family, this ad is just way to risque for them. The major networks have all refused to air the following advertisement, which the United Church of Christ is sponsoring:

God Is Still Speaking: The Ad the Networks Don't Want You to See

The ad will run on cable (probably not Faux news, or is it Shlocks news?) but on CNN and other cable networks. Still, what are they afraid of? That too much tolerance and inclusiveness in society will somehow do in the American way?

Anyway, watch the ad, pass it on, and complain to ABC.


Monday, March 27, 2006

First Signs O' Spring

It's finally spring like around here. After a few really warm (nearly 80 degree days) we plunged once more into the depths of winter (damn that groundhog!). That lasted, as predicted, what was probably another 6 weeks (felt like longer). Finally, today was lovely. The tomatos and cukes and other assorted seeds that are sprouting in their little tray spent the day outside and I took a nice long walk (running errands, alas, but still a walk). If I wasn't so behind on EVERYTHING (how did I manage to get six weeks behind in four? That's better than Stalin's purported First Five Year Plan), I'd be thrilled.

So, it's off to work now. But here's my image of spring for your enjoyment. The sad reality is that most everything else is grey and messy--some green stalks of bulbs sprouting but other than a crocus or two and one lone daffodil, this is pretty much it right now!



Saturday, March 25, 2006

weekend update

...or should I say weekly update?

Sorry about the hiatus; it's been a hectic week. Since I've last left off we have:

1. met with our OB
2. consulted with prenatal genetics diagnosis counselors
3. made an appointment with the nutritionist recommended by our OB
4. got to the point where Non Bio Mom (that's me) reacquired her jeans and Bio Mom moved on to maternity jeans

First things first.

The OB seems great---not only did she do a thorough exam on Bio Mom but she was also sensitive to the fact that we are in Ultrasound withdrawal and spent a ton of time talking with both of us. Happily, no one at all at the hospital so far has acted in any way other than to suggest that I am also the parent of these future kids. I guess that's in part due to the fact that we are hardly the tip of the gay-by boom in this urban metropolis, but I still appreciate the sensitivity of the hospital staff to this particular issue. Anyway, the OB also seemed sensitive to the multiple nature of this pregnancy and set us up for a meeting with a nutritionist and a cervical length ultrasound (I do hope they film more than the cervix; as alluring as I am sure Bio Mom's cervix is, it's the kids I want to see!). This happens in a couple of weeks, when I hear the kids will be about 5 inches long and weigh a few ounces apiece.

We also heard both heart beats on the doppler during our visit---that was super cool. They were each in the 140s or so and sounded quite distinct from one another, no doubt because one is anterior and one is posterior. The former (I think) sounded more distinct, and the latter more like it was underwater (makes sense since it was blocked by amniotic fluid). But very cool.

Anyway, on Friday, we met with the genetics counselor to talk about testing. All of the blood tests pretty much are out (quad screen, etc) because the levels come back elevated with twins. This leaves the CVS and Amnio options---the former is done a lot earlier than the latter but both take about 2 weeks for results with the lab that Bio Mom's insurance uses. CVS has a 1% chance of resulting in miscarriage, whereas amnio has only a half of a percent chance. Bio Mom is 35 and amnio is considered something to which one should give thought after 35 with a singleton but after 33 wtih twins. I probably would have gone ahead and scheduled an amnio were it my body, but Bio Mom is a bit more hesitant and frankly, in this case, she trumps me (and I am happy with that). However, we agreed that if anything turns up at the 20 week anatomy scan, we should proceed with the amnio.

This, of course, raises several interesting issues, the most important being: What do we do and how do we handle things if there is a problem picked up by the amnio? Bio Mom is not sure how she feels. I am pretty sure how I feel: were we to have one special needs kid (and some of the trisomy possibilities and spina bifida issues reviewed with us seem quite alarming, frankly), my sense is that we would end up not being terribly good parents for either of the kids. One reason, frankly, for CVS is that you find out about some problems a lot earlier than you do with amnio and hence my sense is that qualms about reduction would probably be less distinct than if you are in week 21. But nevertheless, that's where i stand and hopefully we won't have to make any decisions about these sorts of things and everything will be fine. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Speaking of which: our absolutely fantastic next door neighbors (have I expressed how lucky we are to live where we do?) who just had a baby (coming up on three weeks now) had some hard times this week. Mom was bleeding profusely and either because she did not express sufficient urgency or because her doctors were less than on top of things, she ended up with a raging infection. It seems that they never removed all of the placenta. Then, to make things worse, her milk ducts got plugged up and perhaps because of that or because of some other problem, she has a boob infection (one breast is way inflamed, painful, etc and hopefully doesn't contain abcesses). She had fevers from Monday until today that ranged from 102-104 and that the antibiotics she was on were not bringing down. Fortunately, they switched drugs on Thursday and things are beginning to improve, and happily the doctors (who no doubt were nervous about a law suit) pushed to get her back onto the maternity wward so that her baby could be with her. The whole thing was pretty tough, though, even if things are improving at this point.

Anyway, not much else. No time to rant about politics tonight (though I am sure that there is plenty to complain about on that front).

And from now on, I will try to be more faithful!


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Every Sperm is Sacred

My morning blogroll uncovered this hugely progressive development:

House GOP Bans County Health Clinics From Providing Birth Control

Seems that the House of fine state of Missouri, in an effort to turn back the clock and return us to the days prior to Griswold v. Connecticut, has voted 96-59 to delete the funding for contraception and infertility treatments after Rep. Susan Phillips told lawmakers that anti-abortion groups such as Missouri Right to Life were opposed to the spending.

As near as I can tell, this decision is informed by the following impeccable logic: life begins at ejaculation, not fertilization. (Unless of course you are infertile. That's apparently a different story, no doubt one infused with the panic that perhaps someone other than straight married folks--perhaps someone like me and BioMom--might seek out fertility treatments).
Thus, from now on, clinics can't even mention contraception. How enlightened.

And, naturally, that very same enlightened institution--the Catholic Church--that has come out against gays and lesbians adopting unwanted, unintended babies in places like Massachusetts and now California--supports this legislation because it means that the upstanding citizens of Missouri no longer have to challenge their ethical and moral beliefs by supporting clinics that help women avoid unintended pregnancies. Great.

Time to wake up, America!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Kids Are Alright!

Well, we're just back from the RE and they look fine. They're measuring on schedule (4.9 and 5.8 centimeters, or thereabouts) and their yolk sacs are fine. They moved around a whole lot less than last week (BioMom was a bit worried about this) but I pointed out that the ultrasound machine at the RE's office is a lot less sensitive than the one at the hospital (yet probably a lot more sensitive than the one at the regular OB's office). There was no pooling of blood detected by the ultrasound tech (and we had the nice one--the one who did NOT mistake me for BioMom's mother--is it my fault that I look my age and she looks twelve?) (But he's also nice because he actually is sensitive to the fact that inserting a dildocam and moving it around a lot just might be a tad bit painful for women, esp pregnant ones who woke up feeling nauseous). Anyway, the spotting remains unexplained, but I hope it stops happening. The kids should not be worrying their moms so much already. There is plenty of time for that.

I really like the REs. It's true that they don't really deal with people who are relatively advanced in pregnancy (as our RE pointed out, she never gets to see ultrasounds of babies that big) but they are really supportive and totally interested in how we're doing. I think it would be unfair for me to conclude that our OBs are not (especially since we've yet to formally meet them, and they did call us back both times really quickly), but right now, I'm a bit guarded. Anyway, I'll keep y'all posted on this, since we are scheduled for our first OB appointment on Friday and maybe then we'll have more answers about the intermittent spotting---like, is it related to a soft cervix, a burrowing placenta, or something else entirely (or nothing at all---which is what gets concluded in the majority of cases. It's amazing how little we really know about the human body, and particularly about the pregnant human body).

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for the support that all of you have been giving us. Hopefully this is the end of the worrisome bleeding.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Too worried to rant about politics...

or even check the latest news. Bio Mom started spotting again yesterday--this time brownish (which my somewhat exhaustive web survey suggests is a good thing, because the blood is old). No cramping, but she feels like crap, generally. Of course this has me very anxious. BioMom called the OB (the one we haven't met yet, since our first appointment is not until this Friday) who basically said 'stop worrying, we'll see you on Friday.' No more ultrasounds at hospitals for us: since things were good last week, we have to assume that a. things are still good or b. it's too late to doing anything if things are no longer good with the peanuts. Not terribly reassuring, really. We then called the RE who will have us in for an ultrasound tomorrow morning (GO RE's OFFICE!). So let's keep our fingers crossed! Hopefully we'll know more tomorrow, and hopefully what we know will be good news.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Scariest Campaign Commercial I've Ever Seen...

Vernon Robinson is an African American running for office in North Carolina whose promises include a return to traditional values and never to "go native." One presumes he means restoring power to the Klan, refurbishing all of those "coloured only" water fountains, as well as attacks on gays, 'aliens' and radical judges features in this commercial:

Vernon Robinson's sick commercial

This is a pretty amazing video (and hats off to Pam's House Blend and Crooks and Liars for posting it). One wonders how soon before whomever owns the rights to The Twilight Zone and Leave it To Beaver sue the pants off of this bozo.

If you are in North Carolina district where Robinson is running or know anyone who does, PLEASE mobilize against the scary guy. But the reason I'm crossposting this is that this is unfortunately indicative of the scare politics of the right. I guess they're right--gays who marry and Ten Commandments controversies really *are* so much more important issues than extending health care, educating our population, upholding civil liberties and constitutional values and other really insignificant stuff like that....


Friday, March 10, 2006

Cutting off one's nose to spite the children

Just had to vent about this article:

Catholic Charities Halt Adoptions Over Issue Involving Gays

It's amazing to me how much of a sham 'the culture of life' folks are. Because a handful of the folks adopting hard-to-adopt kids through the Catholic Charities just happen to be gay, the Church is ending all adoptions in Massachusetts. How ridiculous! Is it really that much better to let kids languish in the system without adequate parental care and love than it is to allow kids to join stable, loving families that just happen to be composed of same sex partners? Honestly.

Friday Pet Blogging

This was the only picture of Boo (aka Bailey Boo), the world's most expensive Shar-pei. Right now, she's draped over the couch (two legs hanging down) kind of chilling and looks much cuter than she does in this particular picture. (Also, our hallway is no longer a medley of band-aid peach and navy surplus lime green and is instead a textural Ralph Lauren sandstone complemented by a high-gloss white, which is a vast improvement). Anyway, Bailey costs us a few hundred dollars a month in a good month and considerably more than that in a bad month. Not to mention the fact that she hogs the bed (she used to hog the full bed; now she hogs the queen sized bed. I suspect that if we ever decided we could fit a king size bed up the narrow staircase -- or airlifted one in -- that she'd manage to hog that one, too). But she is worth every hard earned penny because she's a totally sweet (if fearsome to strangers) dog and we love her. Hopefully she won't feel too displaced by the babies.

On other notes: Happy Belated International Women's Day. I've been dressed down by one of my real-life friends (who now lives in Peru) a couple of days ago for forgetting to mention this -- as she rightfully pointed out, my feminist credentials are in danger of being withdrawn. So, this is for you Marie!

Otherwise: I want to blog my response to Trans America (which I thought was very good and I really think both Dolly and Felicity Huffman deserved rewards for their song and role, respectively) but am way too tired to do that right now. So more on this topic later.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Situational Science in our Post-Reality-Based-World

Courtesy of Doonesbury. I have nothing to add to this except for a few, deep reality-based sighs.

Click below for the original URL:

Wednesday Morning Wonderings

Why can't people just do what they feel passionate about in life? I teach college and, when I ask them what they intend to do with their lives once they've finished school (an admittedly awful question to be asked), most of my students answer: "I am going to law school" or "I will go into business." When I ask them why, they respond that they have no idea what else to do with their lives and this is their default position because it seems respectable and lucrative.

Then I ask them a better question: What are you passionate about? If there were no constraints, what would you really want to do in life?" The student who just left my office said "I've always wanted to be a chef. I'd really like to go to cooking school. But I need to make money, and if I'm going to be a chef, why I am here (at high powered but not too high powered liberal arts institution that costs big bucks)?" The answer to his last question is pretty simple for me: to get an education (chefs are better chefs when they've read Marx, right?). But then again I am not paying the big bucks. But it does make me wonder: wouldn't we be better off embracing our dreams than embracing some ideal money-making-career that we hate?

I hope that I can raise my kids this way: learn because you love to learn, and do something in life about which you are passionate. And if the two things are connected, great. If not, just be a well-read carpenter (god knows I need more bookshelves), or plumber, or chef, or whatever your heart guides you to be.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tuesday Morning Musings and Rantings

This morning, I don't have to be up and out early (we have a field trip today and I've engineered it so that I get to stay home and not travel 2.5 hours by train and foot to work, which is, sadly, the normal routine. That should be fun later on when I have to get twins up, fed, dressed, and out of the house...)

Anyhoo, that lets me get to my early morning blog check earlier. And several blog entries today give me pause.

First, there's this: Gay Prevention Programs Hurt Teens

Now, this article on the harm the Gay Prevention wingnut movement does to teens provokes several sentiments in me simultaneously. First, there's outrage. Pure and simple. And pain. And an awful sense of identification with those poor kids. I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish community---my family wasn't terribly religious per se, but all of my friends were and this was the dominant strain at my school. One might even call it an "orthodoxy" were one a sociologist (ha!). Anyway, there was no room for gay or lesbian identity--that was deviant and bad and had to be trained out of you (in fact, years subsequent to graduating high school, I came across an article written by my least favorite teacher, who permanently turned me off to algebra, calc, and other math related subjects, discussing how a gay teen at my yeshivah turned to him and his advice was that the kid get reprogrammed). So my heart goes out for these kids, because they feel totally alone in the world and if they are growing up in a less urban environment than the one in which I live, or if they are situated in a highly religious community, and subject to intolerance on a daily basis, then things are even worse. Even the most urbanized, cool, kid no doubt has trouble dealing with all the new sexual feelings (of whatever inclination) that washes over his or her body for the first time in his or her life. But when this new sexual feeling is directed at an object that's deemed utterly repulsive, and that turns you into a monster who is deviant, then what? Makes the higher gay and lesbian teenage suicide rate seem explicable, but not acceptable.

Second issue this raises, in a totally other direction: what if my kids (MY KIDS!!! MY GOD that's what they are!) end up embracing other kinds of identities that I don't entirely approve of (or openly disapprove of). I remember, some time right around the awful 2004 election, Dan Savage (I think) wrote an op-ed in the NY Times about the likely possibility that gaybies end up becoming Right Wingers. Wow. Don't know how I'll handle that. Any advice?

On an entirely other topic, there's this article on South Dakota's governor banning nearly all abortions and threatening doctors with up to five year sentences should they continue to perform the procedure: South Dakota Governor Bans Most Abortions

On the one hand, it's hard to imagine choosing to abort a fetus once you've actually seen one up close and personal (like yesterday). But the thing of it is this: note my use of the verb "choose." Having a child, or not having a child, is a choice. It's not something that others should legislate for you, one way or another. It should be a woman's decision, and one ideally made along with those close to her--her partner, her family more generally, as long as they are supportive of her. But it's her body (god knows the woman upstairs is going through a whole hell of a lot of uncomfortable somatic changes---peeing, eating, nauseous constantly---because she is carrying around a couple of fetuses). So, no matter what my experience of seeing fetuses waving (and they are not really waving since brain waves haven't quite developed, and even if I can see them they cannot possibly see me since their eyes have yet to develop), my sentiments on this matter are pretty clearcut. Not to mention that, if the right wing gets its way here, guess what: Lesbians won't be able to choose to use ART to get pregnant, either (see Indiana's recent attempts to ban ART for any woman not married to a man who has her husband's consent).

Monday, March 06, 2006

Twins: Ultrasound pictures just shy of 10 weeks

Well, Bio Mom and I had a bit of a scare last night when Bio Mom spotted a tiny bit. We called the OB office (we've yet to actually see a genuine OB because we were discharged from our Reproductive Endocrinologist last week and are in pregnancy limbo right now). The very helpful doc on call called us back in the middle of Dolly Parton's Oscar performance (surely some sort of omen) and let us know that we could get an ultrasound done today. Phew. We were in withdrawal anyway; turns out we're ultrasound junkies and going almost three weeks without pics of the wee ones was killing us.

It's easy to be blase about this all now that there's no problem, but I was really afraid we had lost one.

Anyway, they are both fine: they measure normal range size for their ages (just a day shy of 10 weeks since LMP) and their hearts are each beating at 160 bpm. Lovely. One of them even waved at us (sort of).

And so, for your enjoyment, here are the pics:

Take A Walk on the Dark Side

This just in from Media Matters (a great website about truth in media):

Fox at the Oscars: Homosexuality among the "darker themes this year"

While introducing a segment on the 78th Annual Academy Awards on the March 5 edition of Fox News' Fox News Live, anchor Gregg Jarrett noted that the films nominated in the Best Picture category dealt with themes such as "homosexuality; homicide bombings; political assassinations," and that Hollywood was "going with a lot of darker themes this year." As Jarrett spoke, onscreen text read: "Hollywood walks on the darker side." (On principle, I won't link to Fox---but you can find it for yourself if you feel like it!)


It comforts me no end to know that cuddling with my lover and admitting that we are a couple is right up there with lobbing IEDs, shooting vice presidents (oops: did I mean being SHOT by vice presidents? Well, either way...), and the like. Phew. I was beginning to feel like my love life was being normalized or something.

Happy post Oscars!


Saturday, March 04, 2006

One word: Frightening. I'm actually not sure who's more frightening of the two of em. Enjoy.

news from the fine state of New Jersey

I have a love hate relationship with New Jersey. On the one hand, as a New Yorker and now as a Philadelphian, New Jersey has always seemed to be the armpit in the middle. Not to mention the fact that it has no media markets, no truly important urban centers (always significant for this not-really-driving-urbanite) and too many strip malls per capita for my comfort and a reputation for big mall hair, to boot. On the other hand there is a lot to recommend the state: it's where my wife hails from (we even used Tom Wait's "Jersey Girl" as our recessional at the commitment ceremony), liberal alcohol purchasing laws (PA has a ridiculous state system; I don't mind the state taxes but I do resent that you cannot purchase things from vineyards with whom the state does not do business), better public schools, and bluer politics.

So, this just in from the Asbury Park News: Court withholds decision on lesbian couple's request for parental rights. Now the title seems ominous, but that the judge hasn't rendered a negative decision is pretty good. Here's a link to the whole article:

The substance of the matter is that a non-bio mom is petitioning to be included on the birth certificate of her and her partner's child, conceived through artificial insemination. The basis of the argument is that, if men get listed on the birth certificates of children conceived by their wives through AI using Donor Sperm, then why not list lesbian partners as parents in the same way, therefore bypassing the costs and delays involved in Second Parent Adoption? Don't get me wrong: I am all for second-parent adoption (sure beats the limbo status of not being able to adopt). But it takes time (in Philly 3 months at least, and in other parts of my less than truly blue state much longer because it involves home visits etc; each county determines criteria for second parent adoption and less than liberal counties like Lancaster have included a lot of hoops through which to jump), and it takes money (cheapest, in the thousands and can run much more than this). Meanwhile, should anything happen to me, the wee ones will not collect my Social Security (until such time as our Government decides to abolish it and send old folks to icebergs in the Arctic...oops, forgot that those are melting; I guess out to sea, then). And I might have troubles with visitation rights, etc. Not to mention the rhetorical importance of being recognized immediately as a family, which is what we will be.

Anyway, will be interesting to see what happens in New Jersey. I cannot believe I am saying this, but if they do okay this: I want my kids to be born there. I might even move there!

BSNBM very own blog...this time for real

My efforts at procrastination continue. Rather than read the material I was crazy enough to assign this week, I am blogging. Mostly out of frustration. I love commenting on other folks' blogs but can't publish them easily without a blog of my own (who knew that we needed more than 50 pounds and a room to be truly self sufficient?). So here I am. Blogging this.

In the future, this will be useful for a couple of important reasons:

1. My lovely wife is upstairs gestating our twins (to be born in early fall, to coincide rather crazily with the start of the school year) and we will want to get the two of them blogging from day one.

2. The pregnancy is wonderful but so far its somatic impact is pretty wretched. Or should I say retched?. This weeks' adventure: what smells/tastes/food/thoughts of food/descriptions of food etc will promote wretching, gagging and heaving? So far it seems the kids hate anything that has a smell, taste, or description. Fun.

3. I'd love to have a record of the good times and the bad.

Anyway, welcome to my pathetic tiny blog and I hope to add more interesting stuff later!

Blue State Non Bio Mom (BSNBM)