Monday, February 24, 2014

Babies

I'm not someone who thinks all babies are adorable. Most babies look like a cross between Winston Churchill and a potato. If you have doubts about the cuteness of your baby, I'm not the girl you want to show off newborn photos. I'm a pretty good faker--I'll smile and nod, but I also have to admit that I remarked to my husband during church yesterday that the Callun's new baby looks like Chris Farley. In the best possible way, of course.

This isn't really my fault. My mom recalls that her first thoughts after delivering my sister were, "I've just given birth to E.T.!" She and my dad often remarked that as a baby, minus a gold hoop earring, I was pretty much a dead ringer for Mr. Clean.

I'll admit, there are some darn cute babies out there. I'll see a photo occasionally and really admit--that is a beautiful baby. However, those seem to be fewer and far between all the many babies that look like John Malkovich.

My best friend Emma gave birth to her long-awaited baby a few weeks ago. When I was visiting her a month ago, Emma shoved a scary 3-D ultrasound photo in my hands. "Lilee, I am so nervous for this kid. It already has my nose!" Emma's nose isn't that bad--though it is a noticeable family trait. And on a baby, it's a little unfortunate.

Her baby looks like a baby. He isn't hideous or anything, but not especially cute either. He looks like a newborn. And a little like Patrick Stewart.

The unfortunate part is that she gave him a really terrible name. When visiting her the last time, we talked about names. She and her husband didn't know the gender of the baby until he was born, and apparently they were pulling for a girl since they agreed on a girl name, but not for a boy.

Of course Emma's lived with a pretty common name her whole life. I get not wanting your kid to have the same name as a classmate, or his entire class, but they really just made up a name. And I think a word. And dang it, sometimes you just want to be able to a get a toothbrush/pencil/souvenir key chain with your name on it!

I suppose I'm only writing this because I'm in the middle of a bitterly long two-week wait. Bobby has his state tournament this weekend, so I'll be chaperoning the girls team. There's a huge overlap between the girls on the basketball team and my volleyball team, so I don't mind spending a few nights in a hotel catching up with the girls. Except that my period is scheduled to show up on Saturday.

Who knows? Maybe this is my month with no period and a baby instead. Maybe that's just wishful thinking. As crazy as wishing for a baby that doesn't resemble Mike Ehrmantraut.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait

I'm almost positive I ovulated yesterday. This morning, my BBT was a huge jump higher from earlier this week, and I had so much cervical mucous last night I could have... I'm not going to finish that metaphor. It was going nowhere good.

Of course it's good news to know that I CAN ovulate, though I'm kind of feeling like this cycle was a bust--despite how perfect my ovulation symptoms seemed. We didn't have sex yesterday. We both worked late and then had to quick shovel the driveway. Then Bobby had a game. When we got home, it was close to 9:30. I figured out I was probably ovulating (crazy amount of cervical mucous), but Bobby wasn't in the mood.

I think his words were: "I guess we could, if we really have to."

Swoon. The man's a poet, I tell ya.

 I don't blame him though (okay, I do a little. I asked him if he thought he could at least wank it into a turkey baster. He did not.). We're both still exhausted and recovering from the tournament over the weekend, plus working on our kitchen yesterday (remodel is ALMOST done!).

I wasn't exactly in the mood to seduce him either. I really just wanted to go to sleep, but I thought we could have powered through because I was so sure of the timing.

We did have sex on Sunday, two days ago. Hopefully there were still some suave sperm just chilling at the bar, waiting for the egg to saunter in with her stilettos, pearls, and red lipstick. I know that sperm can live up in there for up to 72 hours...though I seriously doubt that's my case. I mean, what part of this has been easy? There's no way my body is going to be the kind, compassionate environment that provides a comfy stool to host some sperm while they sip martinis and wait for the egg (not actually sure why I keep imagining this scenario as a bar. That's weird. I'll stop now.).

I should be more excited about the fact that I ovulated. This is the most confident I've been in two years. But it's hard to get excited about my body doing something it should be doing all on its own. If Patty and Selma would put down their cigarettes for a moment and realize what time of the month it is, they could get their act together and send an egg on down. But I definitely don't trust them with that kind of responsibility.

Maybe I'm way off. Maybe I still suck at charting my temperature and I actually ovulated several days ago. Maybe the cervical mucous was...something else. Maybe I'm, once again, setting myself up to be disappointed.

Either way, this is going to be a freaking long two week wait.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine

Well, friends, it's 11:00 p.m. on Valentine's Day. And where am I? Spending the night alone in a sketchy road-side hotel in Anoka, MN. Not exactly the romantic evening of my dreams.

It's okay. I'm catching up on your blogs, nursing my loneliness with the chocolate my husband thoughtfully picked up for me today, and watching really terrible late-night local TV.

Bobby's basketball team won their game this afternoon--sort of shock; no one (including Bobby) expected to pull out the win. I stayed with the team at the gym until 9:45, then made the trek to my hotel for the night. I do this mostly so I can wash their jerseys. To the boys, I'm sort of a "Coach Mom"-- since I also have to remind them to eat, and I do all of the ankle-taping, nose-bleed stuffing, and ice-pack scavenging on the sideline as well. I check them for concussions and sneak them contraband Advil, when they're really only supposed to get Tylenol. Tonight the paper airplane I folded took 2nd place in the halftime contest. I beat all of the boys on our team and only lost to the coach of another. I told them I was good--and in the end, they literally bowed to me and admitted my airplane-folding superiority. They're good kids.

Bobby and I were able to manage a quickie at home before leaving for the tournament (so despite the dares and peer pressure in the comments on my last post, we do not need to sneak away to the ball room, janitor's closet, or equipment storage this weekend--though it would have been fun). I'm not positive I ovulated today, but I'm hoping so. It would be kind of sweet to conceive on Valentine's Day, I guess (although we probably wouldn't tell the kid they were conceived during some afternoon delight before rushing off to chaperone a tournament...that's a little less sweet). I was worried Bobby wouldn't be able to perform under the pressure, especially since he was distracted about getting everything packed. But he was a champ, as always.

So, here I am, a little lonely, but also grateful to have a bed while Bobby will be sleeping on an air mattress on the tile floor of a classroom. I'm trying to make the best of these surroundings--this whole hotel smells like pot and there's definitely two teenagers having sex in the room next to me.

Oh well...someone should get lucky tonight. I hope all of you are getting some love too, and maybe even making babies!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Husband

I should be ovulating this week. Should being the key word. As in, if my body had regular, 28-30 day cycles, I should be ovulating this week. In reality, I have no idea what's going inside my crazy ovaries. What I do know is that we're baby dancing now while we can, and I'm going to force my husband to have morning sex with me on Valentine's Day.

Not really in a romantic way, but because he's coaching a basketball tournament the 14th-15th. I'm going to the tournament (like a good coach's wife), but I'm not adventurous enough to sneak away mid-tournament into a classroom or janitor's closet for a quickie. So Friday morning it is, and hopefully we catch the magic egg (or something science-y like that).

I'm not a big Valentine's Day girl, so I'm not too upset about this arrangement, but I do wish we could have at least gone on a date. Or watched Netflix in our sweatpants and ordered pizza. Something a little more special than jointly yelling at, cheering for, herding, feeding, and keeping track of twelve high school boys.

Last night, Bobby had an away game. As usual, I went with him and we rode the bus. The boys and girls basketball teams travel together, and Bobby and I always sit together in the middle of the bus, dividing the two teams (we went to high school together, we are well aware of the kinds of trouble kids can get into on a bus!). On the way home, Bobby was the center of attention. Both boys and girls gathered around the seat we were in and just listened to him. He told them stories, jokes, did impressions, and generally made everyone cry with laughter for the entire hour-long bus ride.

I kept looking at him, and he'd catch my gaze mid-sentence. We'd share this special look, probably missed by all the students around us. I just kept thinking "I am so lucky to have this guy." I honestly feel privileged to be his wife. He's funny and smart, but he's also kind and good. And he's amazing with his team. Which meant the inevitable guilt pangs that followed: he'd make a damn good dad.

Several boys on his team don't have good dads; they're either absent, or busy, or just lousy at it. We hear them scream at their son after a bad game, belittling him until he feels worthless. I know Bobby feels an incredible responsibility to these boys in particular. Since his parents divorced when he was still a toddler, and his mom didn't remarry until later, Bobby grew up mostly without a dad around. He had some amazing coaches and teachers in his life that were able to fill a tiny bit of that hole. Bobby tries so hard to be that for his guys as well. And I know they appreciate it. I was looking for something on his phone a few nights ago and saw a string of texts from one of the boys on his team--a boy with a rough home life and a pretty sucky dad. He was genuinely thanking Bobby for keeping him after practice one day to work on some things and talk about some struggles. He said Bobby was a great coach and he appreciated how hard he made them work and how much he cared.

I couldn't help smiling as I read. That's my husband.

We've often discussed that maybe we're not meant to have a baby right now because we already have 23 kids who need us. Sure, they aren't technically "ours," but we constantly refer to them as "the kids" or "my girls" and "my guys." We didn't get to have them during the snuggly baby times or the cute toddler years, but we do get the tremendous opportunity to mentor them during some of the most formative years of their lives. We will never really make up for some of these kids' terrible home lives or sucky parents, but we can try to at least support them and love them until they can get out of that environment. I've made it known to all my girls that they can can call me (and should!) if they're out late, hurt, in trouble, or find themselves in a sketchy situation. We will provide them a ride home or a safe place to stay. I encourage them to not get into those kind of situations, but if they do, we are a safe place. We will be there if they're afraid to call or go home. We won't judge them, and we will help them.

I've been researching foster care and adoption a lot--not as infertility treatments but because we both realized how much we can do for older kids. We're likely to not be approved to take care of older kids (since we're only in our mid-20s ourselves), but we've found ourselves advocating for the kids we coach--why not for other kids too?

Husbands are often left out of this infertility world--we joke about their jizzing in a cup in a "Gentlemen's Room" and their difficulty in giving us shots and feeling removed from the whole process. But I wonder if  last night on the bus, or during any of the other hundreds of times we've been surrounded by these kids vying for our attention and approval, if Bobby's really been thinking about how much he wishes he was a dad like I do--or if he realizes just how much he's changing the world for these kids.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hawaii

Well, friends. I'm going to Hawaii.

Kind of.

It's also time to talk about my birthday.

Don't worry, those two thoughts are sort of connected--I'm just struggling to start this post adequately.

On Sunday, I turned 26. What an odd age to be. I mean, it's not really. Not any odder than any other age, I suppose. But it still feels...odd.

Let me explain. Last year when I turned 25, I went through a crisis. For the first time, I really felt old. It's not like I thought I was elderly, or a senior citizen or anything, it was just the first age I really felt like an adult. I know 18 was supposed to do that, but I was halfway through my senior year of high school. I lived with my parents who still controlled my life. 18 wasn't very monumental. When I turned 21, I was halfway through my junior year of college. My birthday was on a Thursday. I didn't even drink. I was living in an on-campus apartment and very much still under the authority of the university. It wasn't as freeing as I would have hoped.

But 25 hit me hard. When you tell strangers you're 25, it's generally expected that you have your life together. You should be done with college, settled into some sort of stable job, and (at least in my Midwest culture) married or moving in that direction. I had all of those things. In fact, we owned two vehicles debt-free, plus we owned our own home. But 25 felt like it was time to really settle down. It was time to be responsible, stop running to Dairy Queen twice a day during the Buy 1 Get 1 for 99 cents Blizzard Special, start meal planning and shopping responsibly, start actually purchasing our own household necessities instead of running to my parents' house to borrow their stuff ALL THE TIME.

On my 25th birthday, I was disappointed that I felt like I hadn't accomplished everything I wanted to by the time I was 25. By 25, I felt like I should have spent time traveling and writing--seeing places like Rio de Janeiro, Seattle, Rome, and Greece. I should have finished my MFA in Creative Writing or gone to law school. I should have walked the Atlantic City Boardwalk, gambled in Vegas, swam in the Gulf of Mexico. I should have graffitied a train, bought a Coach purse, camped in the back of a pickup truck under the stars, and smoked a really great Cuban.

And I felt like I hadn't done these things, and now I never would because I was 25. I was a grown up, and I was going to settle down.

Because by the time I was 26, surely I would have a baby.

I lay in our bed in the middle of the afternoon on Saturday, February 1, the day before my 26th birthday, and pouted. Bobby lay next to me, brushing the hair from my eyes, wondering why his wife was a depressed blob, burrowing deeper under our comforter. I didn't put it into words, but I was so, so sad. He thought I was just frustrated that my birthday plans with my friends were falling through (they couldn't find a sitter--insult to injury). He asked what I really wanted to do on my birthday.

"I want to be in Hawaii."

"Okay..."

"I want to be warm. I want to be far away. I want to do something I've never done before."

We talked for awhile, looking at each other sideways, soaking in the warmth of the sunshine through our windows. The fact that I really, truly believed I would have at least one baby before I was 26 was weighing so heavily on my heart.

"Next year, we'll go to Hawaii," Bobby said.

"What?"

"For your birthday. If we don't have a baby next year by February, we'll go to Hawaii."

Well, there you have it, friends. I'm going to Hawaii next year on my birthday. Or I will have a baby. That's what I call a birthday wish win-win.