Posts Tagged ‘parenthood’

Ambulances and Terror

2015-01-24

You know that feeling when you are about 5 minutes from and your wife texts you and says “I really hope you are close to home!”?
I do.
I think she’s really tired or the dog needs to go out.

You know that feeling when you pull into your apartment complex and see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles?
I do.
I think what’s all this then?

You know that feeling when you pull up to your building and see an ambulance parked in front of it with all their emergency lights going?
I do.
I think “hm, I wonder what’s happened to one of our neighbors?”

You know that feeling when you try to park at the entrance of the building but can’t because of the ambulance is parked directly where you normally park?
I do.
I think, nawwwwww, it couldn’t be our apartment their visiting. I’m married to super mom who would never let anything happen to our boy.

You know that slow creeping panic that takes over as you turn off the car and get out?
I do.
I think but what if……that text…..no, It couldn’t be…….

You know that feeling as your walk towards the breezeway leading to your apartment and it starts to turn into a frantic run?
I do.
I think no, no, no, no, no, don’t let it be us!!!!!

You know that feeling as you turn the corner of the breezeway and see the front door of your apartment standing wide open?
I do.
I think only oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!!!!

You know that sweeping feeling of relief mixed with tears when your wife comes out right as you get to the door, smiling, with smiling baby in her arms, and Dog on a leash and looks at you and says “oh good, you’re home. You can take the dog out.”
I do.
I think…………oh thank God.

You know that feeling when your wife looks at you and asks “what’s wrong? You look like you’re going to pass out” then looks over your shoulder asks “what’s going on? Why is there is an ambulance here?”
I do.
I’m still thinking…..oh thank God.

You know that feeling when your wife sees the tears swelled up in your eyes, looks back at the ambulance, smiles consolingly and says “….oh….you thought…..oh no…… the text too…..oh no….. You thought?”
I do.

On Inlaws

2014-07-16

We are rapidly approaching our trip to Tennessee to see my Mom, Sister, Aunts, and other relatives. It’s times like these that I am reminded just how different my and my wife’s family are from one another. I grew up in a household where any objections to a particular action was a gauntlet thrown down for a verbal duel. No only means no when you’ve reiterated it at least five times and after being told at least four different ways your objections could be overcome. This was certainly how wife’s family operates. I think this often means my family is seen as pushy and argumentative. My wife is frequently telling me “do you have to argue everything to death?!”

The fact that I see that as a good and actually enjoyable thing further iterates this the environment I was raised in. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong but it is family. My wife’s family and likely her culture (she’s Norwegian) couldn’t be further from my own. I won’t be as presumptuous as to describe how I think her family is because I wasn’t raised in that environment. It would only be dime store psychiatry for me to do so. I will say only say that based on what I’ve experienced everyone spends an enormous amount of energy trying to anticipate what everybody else really wants but is too modest or shy to say. Reading between the lines isn’t a hobby it is a full time job. I apologize in advance to my wife if I’m completely off base but it is my perception.

This trip is making me nervous. My Mother’s suggestion of buying denim shorts was countered with my explaining how his Michelin Man Vanilla Tootsie Roll legs need more stretchable material. That was promptly foiled by an explanation from my Mom of how we could get them just big enough that his thighs would be OK. That was enough to get the exasperated hand throwing in the air from my wife. After the call I was lectured by my wife about how my Mother never knows when to take no for an answer and how she feels she’ll really have to set some boundaries with my family.

I don’t disparage my wife for feeling this way. I really don’t. I don’t think she’s being unreasonable. I just think she’s different and realize she was raised In a different family environment. Not better, not worse, just different. I don’t think my Mom was being unreasonable or different either. She was just being Mom.

When my wife asked me if I would support her “boundary setting” I responded with a definite yes, That’s my job as her husband. She’s the Mother of my child and my role is to support her whether I understand these “offenses” or not. I trust my wife and her instincts. Could it cause friction with my own family? Yes. But I have confidence in my ability to handle it if it arises. I have confidence in my family also to accept my wife’s parenting style. Above all else I have confidence in my wife that she will always do what she believes in her heart is the absolute right thing to do with our child even if I don’t understand how denim shorts could be such big deal.

Our Beating Gummi Bear

2013-06-26

It was spectacular. I have seen the Grand Canyon, the Mona Lisa, the tropical waters of Okinawa, the mountains of Norway, the canals of Copenhagen, the medieval churches of Riga, and so many other sights. None can hold a candle to the beauty and miracle I saw today.

Today I saw my child for the first time. He was a blur on the ultra sound screen. His silhouette barely the outline of a Gummi bear. His heart beating ever so rapidly. Working so hard to grow.it is one thing to see a line on a pregnancy test, it’s another to see a dark fluid filled sac, but it is a different planet on which you see the vague outline of baby whose arm and leg buds are starting to sprout and know that is part of you and your wife. There is a euphoria and a reality in see that thin transparent skin and seeing the heart pound furiously. That heartbeat makes it so real.

That heartbeat also makes it terrifying. We never saw our last child who left us after only 6 weeks. This time we’ve seen her. We know that it’s real. We know it is trying to grow. I don’t know if I could bare losing this one. I know I would have too. I know somewhere deep down I would make it through but it’s a thought so terrifying I can barely speak it. I don’t want to focus on the negative though.

The image of that itty bitty life and that itty bitty heart pounding away is something I will never in my life forget.

My Father’s Legacy

2013-06-22

We are 230 days and counting. It’s amazing how quickly the time is passing by. A little anxiety here trying to speculate all the things we need to do. Everything from converting the guest bedroom to a nursery, buying all the needed cribs, strollers, etc. I was thinking about working on a to-do list today but got suckered into watching Battlestar Galactica today. Yes, I’m a nerd. No apologies here. My wife’s morning sickness is still going strong but she’s learning better how to eat around it. She’s now eating whenever she’s not feeling sick just so she can keep something down. Her big cravings now are beef (of course well done) and carbs. The only off key cravings she’s had so far were yesterday when she wanted Indian samosas so bad she was ready to run to the nearest Indian restaurant.

This week I’ve been mulling over the question, what kind of father will I be? I have such mixed feelings about this. Will I be Cliff Huxtable, Ward Cleaver, or Darth Vader? I don’t know. I look at my father and grandfather and I’m a little concerned. Both were alcoholics, as am I. I don’t mean the kind of raging abusive alcoholic father they often show on TV. I mean the scared insecure need a constant buzz to interact with people and the world alcoholics. Rarely falling down drunk but perpetually having to finish off a beer before leaving the house and avoiding any social functions without alcohol. Not mean or intentionally abusive. I just mean neglectful in that fearful self absorbed way. My father to this day is as two dimensional as Ward Cleaver. Everything is fine, we don’t talk about bad things, or any real emotions. We never confront, ever. Then there is the narcism. Year before last I to,d him “Dad, we had a miscarriage.” His response? “I’m sorry. That’s terrible. Did you hear my new answering machine message? It’s really funny.”

I’m just trying to be open here and put my thoughts into words. I don’t hate either of them. I love them and all their faults. I truly believe they were both the best fathers they knew how to be. In my heart of hearts I truly believe that if they knew better or if they weren’t so scared of the world they would have they would have done the things other fathers do. They’re only human. They did (and do) the best they know how.

I gave up my resentment of my father and his failings many years ago. I had a lot of rage towards him because I felt he didn’t care enough about me to teach me to be a real man. He didn’t teach me to how to have freinds, talk to girls, be confident, play sports or (what i though all real men do) work on cars. That’s a big deal to a 19 year old boy who is in the Marines to cover his own fear and inadequacy. When I was 22 (still in the Marines in Japan) I got sober. With that came the shocking realization that my father was indeed actually only human. With it, the knowledge that in his own alcoholic, narcissistic, inadequate, and fearful way he tried his best to be a father. He may not have been the father I wanted him to be but he was the only father he could be. Today, I love him despite his failings because I recognize them for what they are. They are proof of his mortality and humanity. They make him beautiful.

Do I wish my own father had been more involved with me, more confident, less fearful of new things and people? Yes. But not as much for my sake as his. I think of the decades of life he’s missed out on because of his fear, alcoholism, and inadequacies. He’s missed out on the richness and fullness of life. I tried to share that with him. I tried to give him insight into my world and my inner peace. The year before last his drinking got worse and I convinced him to go to 90 AA meetings with me in 90 days. We did. Two days after that I went to a meeting I knew he would be attending. He was there. Drunk. Drunk at an AA meeting. He’s only human. As an alcoholic myself I understand him better than he knows. I don’t resent him for it. I pity him. I pity him because I desperately wanted to show him there’s another way of life. A wanted to give a piece of my serenity. He just wasn’t ready.

So based on my family history what kind of father will I be? A perfect father? No. A “better” father? I don’t know. Like my father and my father’s father I will only be the best father I know how to be, I only hope that one day my son or daughter looks at me and knows that despite all my own personal failings I really did try.

Planning on my long run tomorrow. After my botched long run last week I will be taking my training plan more seriously and alternating extending my distance and cutting back my distance on my long runs each week. Tomorrow will be a cut back long run. I ran a short three miles yesterday just so I can still feel that all this slower longer distance running isn’t mucking up my speed. It went well and I was within a minute of my 3 mile PR which is excellent since I run on a very hilly course meaning my next organized 5k should result in a new PR because organized runs are often on flatter courses. The problem is there is a lack of organized 5k’s here over the summer because it gets so hot. I’m still keeping my eyes open.

Kicking my wife in defense

2013-06-21

We are officially in week 7 of our pregnancy and heading into week 8. My wife’s morning sickness is definitely getting stronger. It’s transitioned from mild nausea and rare vomiting to continual nausea and more frequent vomiting. We are keeping her on the BRAT plan. Or something like that. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. Simple and bland. The cravings have started. For her it’s all about burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, and potatoes. Sounds like my little baby likes carbs and proteins. She hasn’t had any totally bizarre craving yet (but its early).

Last night I kicked my wife. Hard. It wasn’t my fault though. It was a black dog trying to eat my baby. The baby that’s still in my wife you ask? Yes. It was a dream. I dreamed I was walking down the sidewalk with our new baby swaddled in my arms when a black dog came up, bared its teeth, and lunged at the baby in my arms. My father-to-be instincts kicked in and I tried to kick it as hard as I could. No one’s going to hurt my baby.

Of course my valiant defense of my baby in my head resulted in a scream from my wife’s I kicked her pretty hard in the shin. Her scream woke me up just enough to say matter of factly “sorry, for kicking you but a dog was trying to bite our baby.” Then promptly fell back asleep immediately.

Luckily my wife realizes I would never kick her intentionally. She let it go (phew). It’s astounding to me that this little thing in my wife’s tummy (tummy sounds cuter than uterus) has already managed to work it’s way into my head and my subconscious. Already my thoughts and focus are so geared towards this new life that I can’t escape it even in my sleep. Equally amazing is how enraged and desperate I was to protect it, him, her, the baby. It’s really is astounding.

On a running note a friend of mine sent me some other half marathon training plans that are based on distances and duration based runs. Thank goodness. I’ll be starting it next week. I’ve got one of those color run 5k’s coming up at the end of this month. I hardly count it as a real race though since 1. It’s not timed and 2. There are a large contingent of my coworkers who are participating. All but 1 or 2 are not regular runners so I think it’ll be more fun based than competition based. It will still be a lot of fun.

Go Spurs Go.

Yeah for Puking!

2013-06-09

My wife texted me yesterday with “I puked! yeah!!!”. If that sounds odd its because her after years of struggling with infertility and having survived a miscarriage it really is a good sign. It means her symptoms are getting stronger. She has had waves of nausea but yesterday was the first day she actually threw up. She is excited about it because last time, during the miscarriage pregnancy, her symptoms were minimal. The throwing up, hopefully, means the pregnancy is stronger this time.

We want to make sure we have an attitude of gratitude. When people who haven’t struggled with infertility complain about their pregnancy symptoms or their kids they don’t always realize that some people would give almost anything to experience that stuff. It’s not their fault. They have a right to complain. They just don’t understand.

Last night we went to World Market to get plenty of ginger chews to help with the nausea. We also got Nyakers pepparkakor. They are Swedish ginger cookies. For my money the best ginger cookies in the world. My wife grew up eating ginger and ginger cookies as a snack. She’s from Norway. We also giddily looked at things that might be good for the nursery. Oh my God, we’re going to have a nursery. That sounds so weird to say aloud. You know it’s been 9 days since we tested positive and there hasn’t been a day (and nearly an hour) that has passed that we haven’t both looked at each other and said “I can’t believe it!”

My long run yesterday was stellar. I used the Cliff Shot Blocks and made sure to get the caffeinated ones this time. In my post the other day I mentioned I wasn’t sure if the energy chews were working. Well I definitely felt the difference yesterday. It helped too that it was a cool 64 degrees, clear as a bell, and low humidity. The best part of all, other runners. Normally on my Saturday long runs I might pass 2-4 other runners. Yesterday one of the subdivisions must have been organizing some kind of community run because about a mile out from my turnaround a waterfall of runners can pouring out of a subdivision. Big, small, young, old, there was a little of everything. I LOVE running when there other runners. That’s why I love races so much. I love seeing there faces, I love seeing the effort, I love feeling that connection and bond to them. I especially love seeing the beginners. I love living vicariously through them and remembering those first miles and that sense of accomplishment when they transition from sedentary to active. I can’t count the number of times I looked in the mirror beaming and said “I did it. I ran today.” When I see someone who is starting to get active I get to feel that all over again. That’s why I love beginners (and running in general).

The weirdest thing

2013-06-05

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted. Things have changed….ALOT! During the past 3 years or so we’ve been through multiple failed IUI cycles. We’ve been through a failed IVF cycle. Then of course the miscarriage. We’ve watched the insurance and fertility money just whittle away to nothing. We seem to have had more downs than ups. After the failed IVF and the exhaustion of fertility financing we decided to take some time to focus on ourselves. Well, that’s what we said anyway.

The reality is, full disclosure, that our fertility clinic miscalculated the insurance coverage so we were left with.a $5k bill from them. We’ve struggled to pay it off. We’re not destitute but we are impulsive and not very good with money. The financial side of things did give us a bona file chance to get our emotional batteries recharged. I started running and have lost close to 60 lbs. my wife started her own healthy journey and has lost 40. Physically we’re in a much better place. I’m thinking of doing my first half marathon in November and she was thinking about the Disney Princess half marathon in February. Getting fit physically has given us a much better outlook on life. It’s given us confidence and a sense of purpose. It grounds us and connects us. We just feel right. Except for the absence of a child.

During the last year or so we just haven’t talked about it. It’s been the pink elephant in the room. We both desperately want children. We both know what we need to do have one. But neither one of us seem to want to talk about it. We talk about running and fitness and future races. We talk about how good (well better) we look and how much better we feel. We talk about planning vacations around races and about the future. But not about children.

We didn’t give up. We still timed ovulation cycles and did the “baby dance” (that’s means sex for the uninitiated) faithfully and with the diligence of a Spartan being marched off to face an unstoppable force. More than once I heard “climb on and do your business”. We did it because that’s what couples struggling with infertility do. We knew with her PCOS and our history of failed cycles under medical supervision the chances we’d get pregnant we’re infinitesimal. But we did what we had to so we could to hold onto that one thin microscopic thread of hope. At least we could say we were doing something.

But every once in a great while something unexpected happens. Something miraculous. Sometimes life will surprise you. Sometimes God likes to sneak up on you and whisper in your here “See, I really was listening.” Well, He punked us good. On Friday my wife tested positive. She’s pregnant. Somehow we’ve given a gift. A special child. The doctors and tens of thousands of dollars couldn’t do it. But somehow there is a seed of life.

A new chapter and a new focus is beginning.

The Road to Daddyhood

2011-07-12

I want to be a Dad. I really want to be Dad.

I’m 41. I’m married. I don’t have kids. If you are my age or older (and you don’t have kids) you’ve learned to roll your eyes and bite your tongue every time someone asks you “Any kids? Why not” or grrrrrrr “What are you waiting for?”. I’ve been called a DINK (double income no kids) half a dozen times. It’s at the same time funny, tiring, embarrassing, and yes, painful.

If you’ve struggled with infertility you  know how I, no “We”, feel. I know there are a lot of women who blog about their struggles with infertility. There aren’t as many men that blog about those struggles.

Since I am so long winded and verbose who better than I to share the very blunt, direct, and brutally honest feelings of a man going through these struggles. If there are other men who are already blogging about this then please please leave their blog addresses in the comments below. Let me know I’m not alone.

At 41 (and my wife at 33) we’ve managed to live in denial for long enough that we woke up recently and said “holy crap, a baby is not going to magically fall into our hands.”  I feel like we woke up with a biological clock that is wired to 20 tons of TNT. Not to say, my wife is explosive, she’s not (well not usually). But what I’m trying to say is like a college student who realizes at 11 PM that a forgotten term paper is due the next morning, so my wife and I realizing how quickly time is running out.

There are medical issues. My wife has PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome). That’s not to say it’s all because of her condition. We won’t know for sure until 2 weeks from now if it is her, me, or both of us. If you don’t know about PCOS look it up. Its a very common Endocrinol disorder. It grows “little chocolate chips” on my wife’s ovaries. At least that’s how her endocrinologist described it to her once. “But they aren’t really chocolate chips” her doctor added. Really? As if my wife really needed confirmation  the Keebler Elves weren’t sneaking into her kooch and hiding their secret stash.

Medical issues weren’t the only thing our way. There was also our arch enemy….the one true betrayer…..The Great P.

Procrastination.

Our own fault. Yes, I know. There were appointments we didn’t keep. Medications we didn’t taken the way we were supposed to. I’m not pointing fingers. It wasn’t only her medications or appointments. It was mine too. We lived on the daydream of adoption for over a year. We found a terrific organization. We got excited. Took the first couple of steps. Then managed to procrastinate until (because of my age) we slid past the age limit for that organization. Adoption is still in our future. We both do sincerely want to adopt.

I just feel like the door is quickly closing on the biological option. Its countdown time.

If it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen. I’m OK with that. I just want to be able to say we’ve done everything we could. We tried everything we tried.

So hopefully the posts in the following days will share the funny, blunt, embarrassing, sad, and true experiences as she and I work towards resolving our fertility issues. Come along with us. Wont’t you?