Saturday, May 23, 2009

My day of reckoning...

Everyone has a day of reckoning...

...It seems that mine was yesterday (Friday, 5/22/09).

Unlike President Clinton, I can't say "I didn't inhale", and my colleagues from FCI will be the first to attest to my (in)ability to drink copiously. Did any of these "youthful indiscretions" (aka bad decisions) damage any of my sperm (a.k.a., "little men", "fighting men", "troopers", or "soldiers")? After all, being gay, I never thought they would really be of any particular use to me (it's not like I'm heading off to war and need troopers, right, everyone knows Cubans are pacifists)?!?!

So it was with great hesitation and serious contemplation that the 2nd Potato and I headed out to the Clinic yesterday to complete our FDA required tests, since technically speaking, the FDA views us as sperm donors for this process. Now, if the FDA can't do anything to prevent/monitor salmonella in peanuts, broccolli, or hamburger, how am I supposed to trust their conclusions re my sperm?!?

Nightmares that ended in "... sorry Potato #1, but your sperm has salmonella, so we can't allow you to reproduce..." followed by the sounds of news trucks camping out in our front lawn waiting for a statement, kept waking me up in the middle of the night Thursday...

To ease my concerns, the folks at the Clinic conducted all of their tests quickly, and happily informed me that my little men are fine - better than fine, in fact! It seems that my troopers are ready to fight and conquer England (well, maybe not England, but certainly France, right? I mean, according to certain history books, they are pretty good at welcoming invaders, no?)! But rest assured that I've given the troops orders to stand down for a few weeks until they are really needed - people of England (and France) need not be afraid and can relax!! Of course the 2nd Potato's troopers are fine too, and we can finally relax.

The next step is the results of our blood work, which should be completed by the middle of next week. Once we get over that hurdle, the "official time line" gets created!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

I didn't inherit the laborer gene!

You're either part of the problem or part of the solution, right?

We've chosen to be a part of the soluition by starting our own garden! Given the lousy quality of our soil, farmer Potato (err, I mean the 2nd Potato) decided that we should build a "raised garden", to which I just looked at him blankly and asked if it would be like the one the Giant had in Jack and the Beanstalk? "Exactly" he sighed.

So, the 2nd Potato set about to design a "raised garden" like his father and his father before him did, with a pencil and paper. His layout was for an 8' x 8' x 1' garden with four rows of companion plants...
"You have to allow for enough space between the rows"", he said.
"Of course, I replied, giants have big feet!"
"Right" he sighed....
Additional considerations re our "raised garden" include:
  1. We have a groundhog, commonly referred to as a woodchuck, or Chuck. Chuck took up residence on our property years ago, keeping to himself, and to the edges of the grass line. Chuck would probably like our "raised garden" a little too much, so we have to keep that in mind, pointed out the 2nd Potato. Now, I'm all about share and share alike, but since Chuck doesn't really have anything to share with us, I would tend to agree with the 2nd Potato.
  2. We don't have a truck, van, or other vehicle with a large bed/trunk. So, we will need to be creative in how we get the materials for said "raised garden" from wherever one gets such materials to the house.
  3. Farmer Potato, err, I mean the 2nd Potato, doesn't seem to think I know how to build a box?!?
Okay, so for those of you that don't know me, please don't let me handsome mug suggest that my body was built for labor - it wasn't. In fact, growing up, I wasn't even allowed to wear jeans, because as grandma would point out " seas come mierda chico, que no eres un campesino, ponte pantalones como un hombre!" which essentially translates into "... you're not a laborer, put on slacks like a man!" As a result, I don't think I ever even owned a pair of jeans until I was in my 30s...

So, anyhow, I got out my own paper and pencil to layout how to build a box... Granted, it isn't really a box... it is just four sides of a box - no top or bottom... though technically, it will have chicken wire on bottom to keep Chuck from digging his way in. One trip to the local Home Depot later (along with one nasty conversation with a very unhelpful customer service lady, who makes me wonder why we even bother ever going there), and we had our materials: four 8' x 12" boards (cut into 4' lengths so that they fit into a vehicle), some nails, and some connecting and corner braces (technically, Simpson Strong Ties). We assembled the 4' pieces into 8' pieces with the connecting braces, connected everything together with corner braces, and then added the chicken wire to what became the bottom of the box, and voila - we built a box!! A local garden supply company delivered some great quality loam today, and after laying down some weed blocker, we shoveled the dirt into the box, and now we have a great box of dirt - er, I mean "raised garden"!

So, I am now under the influence of Advil Migraine, in the hopes it will help with my bad case of laborer aches and pains! My back aches, my triceps ache, my hands ache, my thighs ache - I ache all over! Damn, now that I think about it, I think grandma had a great point! Maybe I just misunderstood... maybe she meant to say that I don't have the genes to be a laborer, instead of the jeans? ;)

Anyhow, sometime this week, the 2nd Potato will probably put some netting up (to prevent the nefarious squirrels, rabbits, and deer from gaining access to our "raised garden"), and plant the seedlings we started weeks ago (and have been waiting for the DEA to come banging down our door in a case of mistaken seedlings)! With any luck, we should be able to enjoy a versatile cornucopia of "raised garden" stuff like tomatos, squash, peas, greenbeans, and various herbs.

Yay - we have a garden!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Just what is a "Great Dad"?

Someone recently told me that they were sure I'd " a great dad." I asked them how can they be so sure, to which they replied "I'm sure you'll do a great job, just like your dad did with you!" I smiled, said "Gee, Thanks, I guess I never thought of it that way!"... and then started thinking...

And thinking... and thinking... and thinking... I love my dad, and think I have a good relationship with him - though admittedly not as good as I'd like to have - and lots of family and friends insist that I will be a "great dad" but...

The reality of the situation is that the Cuban Revolution wreaked chaos on my family, just as it did to so many others. As a result, when I was 18 months old, my father was unable to migrate with the rest of my family as we left Cuba to come to the United States on our raft of tires (okay, I'm embelishing here - there was no tire raft, we actually flew over on a plane - but as I writer, isn't that a liberty allowed to me?)... Because of the politics of the situation, my dad wound up stuck in Cuba for years, during which time he remarried and raised two daughters.

Now, I'm not trying to cry "poor me" by any means - after all, I had the opportunity to grow up here in the "Land of the Free" surrounded by my mom, grandparents, and other close family members (how many people actually knew their great grandparents? I did!)... My family did a great job raising me, imparting a strong sense of ethics and hard work. Between my grandfather and uncle/godfather, it's not like I lacked any fatherly figures, but they weren't my dad...

I never did have anyone show me how to toss a ball, cast a fishing reel, ride a bike, recognize a birch tree, track a deer, or do any of those things that Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Good Parenting, or any of those fatherhood websites say you're supposed to do with your kids... Though I do know how to spot deer droppings, and a robin's egg (thanks to the 2nd Potato)... Gee, I hope these things will come as natural as typing on a keyboard does!

So, just what makes a "great dad"? For that matter, what makes a "good dad"? I don't know how to toss a ball, cast a fishing reel, recognize a birch tree, track a deer, or do any of those things yet! Geez, I just learned how to ride a bike two years ago!

Wow - what pressure!!... I'm hoping some of this just comes naturally, and think I'm going to just focus on being a dad - which is going to be TOTALLY NEW, takes a little pressure off, and might be easier!

So to help me figure out what to do, I decided to invest in two books (I know, I know... but I'm hoping they can help)!!
  1. The New Father - A Dad's Guide to the First Year (2nd Edition), by Armin A. Brott
  2. Your Baby's First Year week by week (2nd Edition), by Glade B. Curtis and Judith Schuler

Both books seem great, and I think we'll try to blog weekly about how the tater tots compare against the week by week book!

Wow - I can't believe we're going to be dads!!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Tentative" Schedule

So it looks like we are one step closer to making this real now - we have a "tentative" schedule!

Susie and Jane have already completed their "workups" and the focus is now on the Potatoes' "workups!" Since Potato #1 has to take 5/22/09 off as a furlough day (unpaid day off), the Potatoes have scheduled the drive to the Clinic to complete our "workup" on 5/22!!

Once our "workup" is finalized (takes about a week for all results), Suzie and Jane begin their six-week med cycle, and a more detailed and "formal" schedule will be created. Based on the "tentative" schedule, it looks like we could be pregnant by August, with babies due in May!

YAY!! :)

Gee, is it time to get nervous yet?!? Naaaaaah... we'll wait until we are pregnant! In the meantime, I think we need to avoid watching any TLC or Discovery shows re "primordial dwarves", "giant syndrome" or anything else along those lines....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nurses and there a difference?

We went to visit our goddaughter last night at the hospital, bringing one of her sisters and staying late to make sure we all got a chance to visit. When we entered the ICU where she is, everyone was very quiet and polite. As we walked around the corridors looking for her room number, the rooms have large sliding glass doors for monitoring, and one of them was open and there was a toddler style bed with toys all around it and a nurse attending to the patient. Further down, we find our goddaughters room, we enter a small nurse office before entering the room. The nurse was very polite and caring, she explained why we had to enter through her office and double doors to get into the room. After we entered, we see tubes and computer screens and see her lying in the middle of it. The nurse attended to everything around us, never once asking us to move or bumping us out of the way.

She's 16 years old, not a clue what's wrong with her, she's in an induced coma while waiting for biopsy results due at the end of this week. Here lies a girl with messed up hair and no makeup on, tubes out of her mouth, her smile is gone, in a "window" as if on "display"...a most uncomfortable and unflattering image. -Yet she is getting the best care and as we walked in her mother and sister are holding her hands and caressing her feet, just to let her know she's not alone. Her mom has not left her side since she entered the hospital, knowing how fearful she is of needles and hospitals and such. She sleeps in the same room as her daughter, right near her, she notices everything. The temperature wasn't right, there was no music, so she addressed it with the nurse and they changed it to be more comfortable for the patient and the mom!

I guess the point of this story is I don't see a HUGE difference between a nurse and a mom, they both look out for the patient, whether it is one they've loved from birth, or one they've just gotten to know and is lying there in a coma expecting them to help them feel better.

I just hope I can be half the "mom" or parent this woman is to her youngest child and that I could act so selfless and defiant of my own needs to assure my children have the best care.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Man "bags"...

I was talking with the other potato about diaper bags and we'd both noticed how many diaper bags are geared towards women .... or on stage drag queen accessories. Not that there is anything wrong with drag queen accessories, but how many pink, frilly, shiny "pleather" quilted bags with shiny faux gold buckles can one guy carry?! Most of my family live in northern NH, so carrying that around would definitely get me shot at, hunting season or not. It seemed the more we looked, the more feminine they looked and the more pricey they got.

We decided we'd sit down and figure out what we wanted out of a diaper bag and search for something more mannish...a "man" bag! Now I'm not talking cammo with a gun rack that tucks into a side pocket or a bag that holds a six pack of beer and ice, just something less winnie-the-pooh'ish. We both are a bit geekie, the other potato is more so than myself. That would mean we'd want something that holds a cell phone without getting applesauce on it, that can hold a laptop without getting baby powder sprinkled on the keyboard, and that would be a somewhat neutral color. When he first mentioned carrying a laptop, I had to laugh! -Are you serious? Carry a laptop with diapers and a "binkie"...can they do that?! Well, apparently they do! I found this great looking diaper bag online, that holds diapers and a laptop...I almost fainted. I attached the link so you can all see it for yourselves.

It would appear they have many geek items, for adults and baby alike! -How exciting!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The nursery room...

So I've been thinking about the nursery for a while and I realized I don't want our nursery to look like something out of a magazine or a showroom. Now that may sound selfish to some, but really the nursery is for the comfort of the parents with of course accommodations for the babies. -But by and large, it is going to be for those long nights of crying babies and the big potato is gonna want some comfort! :) That is not to say that the changing table is going to double as a sports bar and the "painting" on the wall doubles as a flat screen TV, or that the ceiling fan will be used for jerry-springer-like acrobatics and wild moments around a pole. that I put it that way...but NO, no I won't do that!

As I'd thought about a theme, which apparently is still all the rage, I decided to go against the grain; no strawberry shortcake, no flying barnyard animals and over sized butterflies, no ginormous rats or cats with striped hats, no such thing at all will be put upon the wall (catch the Dr. Seuss'ish way I said that?). I've looked and looked and looked at countless manifestations of nursery propaganda and it was all too commercial for me. I wanted something that said unique, fun, meaningful, but most of all that the children would be surrounded by family. Yes, you guessed it, the theme of the nursery will be "family".

Now you might be wondering to yourself how on earth will farting Uncle Clarence and belching Bertha contribute to a "good night's sleep" for the babies?! From afar! I've asked several family members to contribute stories of their upbringing to be shared with our children. Now nothing that will contribute to the delinquency of our sweet lil babies, but some stories that might be filled with more moral fiber than wretched abandon! When all those stories are received, I will sit down and create a children's book of these stories and the other potato will help me in making the book(s) bilingual, adding and subtracting as necessary to make the story fit for a child without taking away from the actual story itself. I will also add drawings and pictures as necessary to help in creating the depth of each story. Other ways that I've asked them to contribute is by giving me titles of their favorite childhood books, so that we may place them in the nursery and read them to our children. Even further contribution will be done by placing a genealogy tree in their room, with pictures and names and dates of course. I've also had an idea of advice that my relatives have or were told to them as they grew up, that we might be able to put up in their room on the walls in fun colored frames or painted on the walls in certain areas. -Nothing that will put them into therapy of course, but wholesome, honest one-liner advice from family. Lastly donations from our family to the room, such as a baby blanket that was handed down from a relative (which a special someone is already doing...thank you Gabby!) or other family-hand-me-downs that we would be able to put in the room. I will also be designing and sewing curtains for the room as well as minimally painting their room. This is not to say that cuddly teddy bears and toys won't be in there as well. I want our children to know their roots. With stories from both potatoes family members it will allow the children to get to know family members that have passed on or are simply too far away. I want to make their room special with family influence, but it will also have accents of colors and fun things that will enable the room to easily transition to adolescence and beyond. -Besides, who wants a strawberry-shortcake themed room when they turn 16? (Sorry potato #1!)

Having children is like running a marathon...

So it has been some time since we've posted, but rest assured we've not abandoned our readers! With one potatoes work increasing and the other potatoes school coming near an end, it's crunch time.

A little birdie, we'll call her Lisa, had mentioned a marathon that she and her daughter signed up for this fall in the area. She is walking a half marathon to just help get her into better shape. As I pondered the last time I ran (nearly 20 yrs ago), I thought if she can do it, why can't I?! I'm not as young and foolish as I used to be, so that means I'm older and wiser and should be able to tackle this "project" like any other. The sensibility of getting into better shape certainly seems realistic considering twins running around for years to come!

So I signed up for the Bay State Marathon in October. I had no idea what to do to start prepping for this marathon, as I'd never ran one before in my life. Did I say run the full marathon? -Yes, I did! Isn't that crazy! I didn't know what stretches to do or which set of leg warmers to use or if my "walkman" would still work after all these many questions! As I did my research I find out that there are so many older adults running marathons and there is a ton of information out there from diet to apparel (leg warmers are out, just so you know!) to which stretch can put you in the running and which stretch can put you in the hospital (good to know!).

I'm very excited to be running a marathon, some have told me that having children is like running a marathon. My one inspiration (or two!) in getting up at 5:30am on a Saturday morning and running 6 miles is the idea that I will be physically ready (at least somewhat) to be able to address the needs of my children. It's one thing to be financially ready and emotionally sound, but what about physically ready for the task? I feel running a real marathon will be a stepping stone to running a life-long marathon with raising children. - Exhausting, yet satisfying!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Updates, Updates, Updates...

Okay, so I've completely slacked on posting any updates lately. But, then again, so has my better half, so maybe I can get away with just half the blame?!?

Anyhow... to be fair... there really isn't that much to provide as an update...

Have I mentioned the amount of paperwork involved in this process? In order to get the correct contracts in place with everyone, there are lots of questions and answers that need to be memorialized in contracts. Contract with the Agency, contract with the surrogate (carrier), contract with the egg donor, contract with the Clinic, etc.

As of Friday (5/1/09), all of the contracts are D-O-N-E! YAY!!!

Susie starts her medications within a week to stimulate egg production. Jane's process starts out with various exams prior to the start of her medications within a week too. The 2nd Potato and I start our own medical exams within a couple of weeks.

At this time, it looks like we could be pregnant within 6-12 weeks! I expect that within the next few weeks there should be a timline established by the Clinic.

In the meantime, we continue to scour through FreeCycle to gather stuff for the kids!