Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Stupid Questions, Stupid Answers

There are many people out there in the world who I believe are simply a social skill waiting to happen. We've told many people about my pregnancy, even though our doctor told us to wait until we were out of the range of possibility for a miscarriage (but please! How do you keep something like this a secret for 10 weeks!). Most people's responses are pretty typical: "Congratulations!" or "That's wonderful! Are you excited?" But every now and then someone says, "I assume this is wanted?"

What's with that??????????

And from more than one person.

So, the sperm donor and I compiled this list of possible responses:

1. Well, not by us, but it is wanted by the nice Asian couple who plans to purchase the baby after birth.

2. Anyone who wants one is welcome to bid thousands of dollars on eBay for the use of my uterus.

3. We were tired of collecting of cats so we thought we would try another species.

4. The aliens will return to fetch it in April.

5. Not for the purpose of procreation specifically. We are testing a new parasite technology.

Sigh. Some people...

On a more serious and far less stupid note, I've been watching coverage of hurricane Katrina. It's hard to pull away from it. I almost feel guilty for sitting here in my comfortable home, excited about bringing my unborn child into it. I donated, because I feel so helpless but felt compelled to do something. Many of us take our qualities of life for granted. In certain areas of Louisiana and Mississippi tonight, there is no quality of life.

But, for those of you who vomit in the face of overwhelming news coverage, here's Foamy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

If We Can Name A Cat, Then...

The sperm donor and I have adopted four cats during the course of our relationship. Fortunately, we are both cat people. I had cats when I was little, and the sperm donor had the demon feline seed living in his garage (ask to see the scars!). I don't even remember how we set out on this adventure of finding the most unique names for these felines, but with each one we adopted the challenge seemed larger.

It all started many years ago with Hou Zi. The sperm donor and I were very excited because our landlord had finally relented and allowed us to have a cat in the apartment, as long as she didn't tear up the place and we kept it clean. Hou Zi is the Monkey King in Chinese mythology, but I don't remember how we discovered that (this cat is so old that we didn't have internet access yet). We wanted to name her after a monkey because the day we picked her out at the shelter, she proceeded to climb up the sperm donor's body and perch on his shoulder. She continues to travel across the room from piece of furniture to piece of furniture as though swinging on vines, instead of taking a leisurely stroll along the floor. Her name has not provided us with many nicknames, though. She is often referred to as "The Queen", of course because she is the oldest. Sometimes I call her brain damaged because she chewed through an electric cord many years ago; she didn't have any whiskers for a while and now she has this funny twitch.

Much to Hou Zi's dislike, we decided to adopt another cat a few years later. The sperm donor and I had just moved into our first home. My grandmother had died about that time and I thought a new cat would assuage my grief. I was reading the newspaper before we made our way to the animal shelter, and read an article about a province in Egypt called El Minya. I don't remember what the article was specifically about, but I thought, "Minya. What a pretty name for a cat!" And so our little black and white wonder was named Minya. I don't think anyone has ever called her Minya though, as she quickly adopted the nickname Minnie. Sometimes she is Skinny Minnie. Sometimes she is Round Minnie. Right now she is Itchy Minnie because of some strange allergy our vet has yet to identify.

A couple of years later, we discovered Tookie at a local bar. He would beg for french fries from customers, so we decided to give him a nice home. Tookie was a nickname for a very long Urdu name given to him by a friend from Pakistan. The long version of his name was supposed to mean "little black chin" because little Tookie had the most darling chin. Our Pakistani friend was later absconded by his mother for not knowing his Urdu anatomy very well; apparently, he had named Tookie after his ankle. Tookie had many other nicknames as well. His Terminator name was "The Tookinator." His Gladiator name was "Tookus Maximus." His WWF name was "The Took." Sweet Tookie died of kidney failure at a young age. His picture sits on our mantle, next to his little urn and the footprint the staff at our vet's office made for us. I tried to take his picture down off the mantle after Christmas this year, but I just couldn't do it. He is still very much a part of our little cat family.

We got Manu about a year ago. Manu is, of course, named after my favorite NBA player, Manu Ginobili. Unfortunately for all of us, he also thinks he is Manu Ginobili. He runs around the house at top speed, and has recently learned how to turn on a light switch located several feet above the floor. Manu has a little white triangle-shaped patch of fur on his chest, resembling a Superman shield, which, of course, has allowed him the nickname of Super Manu. Sometimes, I call him Shmanu. His other nickname reminds me of a "Get Fuzzy" cartoon in which the little dog is introducing another dog to the rest of his friends; the second dog says, "Oh, you can just call me 'OFF THE F#?>%& COUNTER!' Everybody else does." That's Manu's nickname too.

My point in all this rambling this: if the sperm donor and I can successfully provide our beloved pets with original and memorable names, then how hard can it be to name our baby? It seems the biggest challenge of all. For the cat, the name is something they audibly recognize, a familiar sound which merits an ear twitch. For us though, our name is the center of our identity, a label for the essence of who we are. A name can command so much: attention, affection, authority, power, neglect. A name can trigger a memory. A name can be rejected. A name can be adored. Sometimes a nickname can have more of an effect than a given name. I was called Nissan for several years, after the car manufacturer (however, my best friend's father, in his attempt to be unique, insisted on calling me Toyota). I have always wondered about people who legally change their name at some point in life, apart from marriage. What's that about? Is it a reflection of the disdain towards the people who gave the name? Does it reflect a lifestyle change? The power is clearly in the name.

I want my child to have a name he or she can be proud of, a name about which my child says, "Gee. Mom and Dad did a good job picking this one." I was an adult before I could say that about my own name.

We're open to suggestions.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Wait A Minute...That's Not Right

I worded that whole miscarriage statistic wrong. I realized it a couple of nights ago during one of my many middle-of-the-night pees. I have a 40% chance of having a miscarriage, most likely during the first trimester. That's just me. That's not compared to other women. I remembered during that pee that the doctor said that it is 40% for each pregnancy. Still kind of freaky.

But it all seems to be proceeding normally. But this up a bunch of times in the middle of the night to pee? That I can do without.


Friday, August 19, 2005

The First Check-Up

The sperm donor and I went to our first prenatal check-up yesterday. There has got to be a study done by JAMA or something that can provide a percentage of what patients hear compared to how much physicians say! Even if this woman had said one word per minute, I still may have not digested it all. So many things...when I will have ultrasounds...will I need an amnio...what to to exercise (apparently this is NOT the time to start training for a marathon) often I need to see the doctor...can we still have sex (this was actually the first thing she said)...and the dreaded word, miscarriage. Had no idea the rate was so high...40% of pregnancies result in miscarriage!! Which really kind of freaked me out.

We walked out of the office, me holding all of my little appointment cards and my information sheets, the sperm donor holding all of my vitamin samples, and I just started to cry. We had been so shocked and stunned that I had gotten pregnant so quickly that I suddenly just started to digest it all, right there in front of the elevator. And I was scared. Was?? Am. I'm a good person - I eat right, I exercise, I take care of myself. I'm not a crack whore. I'm not living a reckless lifestyle (well, not anymore...). I have a wonderful, amazing, lovable man in the sperm donor. And all I want, more than anything in the world right now, is a healthy baby. So, here I sit - the person with the inclination to control everything, suddenly finding out just how much is beyond my control.

Everyone is so excited. I told my boss today, and she was thrilled. My mother bought her own copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting, so she would know what I'm going through, even though she has done this herself before. She found some little Winnie the Pooh prints, wants to go to the children's bookstore in the city where she lives (in addition to football geek, I'm also come from a family of bookworms). I long to feel that kind of excitement.

Good thing I go to therapy.

I like Aidan as a boy name. It's Celtic for fire. Sperm donor likes Celtic things

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Countdown Begins... April 17, 2006. That's a lot of days to count. I'm confident I can't count that high.

What's funny is that one website estimated my due date as April 15. That's not gonna work: "I love you! Happy Birthday and thanks for being my dependent so I can get some credit on my income tax!! Want some cake??"


How I Feel Today - A Stunning Narrative buy birthday present for friend...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...ah, man, she wanted some ice cream
cuddle with sperm donor, probably fall asleep on his chest and drool...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...feed cats...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

That's in response to everyone asking, "How do you feel??" Oh - and I'm not nauseous.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Names I Really Just Don't Like - Chapter 1

The sperm donor REALLY likes the name Damon. Damon is a nice name, and actually flows quite well with our ethnic, I-don't-have-a-damn-clue-how-to-pronounce-this-so-I'm-going-to-botch-it-up last name. In fact, according to Lunatic Girlfriend's Google game (which is really fun to do with the names of all of your friends!), Damon is "front and center," Damon is "greek for 'constant one'," and Damon is "a warm hunk." Funny - I think those all may have applied to Matt Damon.

My dislike for the name Damon reaches all the way back to the first grade. I know what you're thinking: "Boy, that chick has some issues." Yes. Anyway, when I was in the first grade, I had the chicken pox. I remember it quite vividly, because I was ill with the dreaded pox over the Thanksgiving holiday. I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving. For many years, my family would travel to a different city to visit my grandmother and aunt, and have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother's house. When I was a kid, the football teams for the University of Texas and Texas A&M would duke out their ultimate rivalry on the actual Thanksgiving Day, not on the day after like they do now. We would ALWAYS watch this game. My grandfather, who died when I was about 3, was an Aggie from A&M. He was even in the Corps, and we have a photo of him with all of his siblings in which he is wearing his Corps uniform. Needless to say, my grandmother was a little partial to those Aggies. My mother, however, graduated from the University of Texas, and my father was a professor there (and, I might proudly add, their king supreme band geek). I made my first limestone Bevo sculpture before the age of ten. So, there was the intense rivalry being played out on my grandmother's tiny TV sets (one in the kitchen for the cooks, one in the living room for me and my dad) and the fun rivalry right there in my grandmother's home.

This is, by the way, how I became a football geek.

I remember that Thanksgiving, the one in the first grade. I was miserable. I remember the fever. I remember how itchy I was. I remember that nothing tasted good and nothing seemed like any fun. I remember my mother taking care of me. I remember wanting to go to my own home, and sleep in my own bed.

When I was in the first grade, we had the little rectangular desks, the ones where you sat on one side of the desk, according to which hand you could write with, and all of your books, pens, rulers, crayons, etc. went on the other side. My elementary school teachers were notorious for pushing these desks into little groups of four or five instead of the traditional rows. I remember always being upset because my friends would be in different clusters of desks. Across from me, in my little cluster of desks, in that fall season of first grade, sat Damon. Damon had the chicken pox right before Thanksgiving. I remember he was absent for several days, then, upon his return, he was covered with all of the little scabs, the remnants of the dreaded pox. Unfortunately for me, he wasn't cured.

I have tried over the years to have a little sympathy/empathy for little Damon. Perhaps he insisted on going back to school because he was bored and missed playing with his friends. Perhaps he had a working mother, who simply was not able to take more time off work to be with her sick son, back in the days before the FMLA. Perhaps our teacher called his parents and threatened to flunk him since he had missed so many days (although I doubt that seriously. Mrs. E. was always very nice). Maybe his parents just thought he was well.

No matter the reason, how could I possibly name my child Damon??? Again, nice name. But the repeated trauma of remembering the chicken pox every time I call my child's name is more than I can imagine. It's a little closer to PTSD than I'm willing to get.

Sorry, Sperm Donor. I love you anyway.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Don't Use Meth...I Think It Might Be Bad For You (A PSA)

Newsweek published an article this week about methamphetamines, entitled "America's Most Dangerous Drug." Apparently, meth is pretty popular these days. Meth used to just be popular in rural areas in this country which is no surprise. The sperm donor grew up in somewhat of a rural area of the Texas panhandle and he used to say there wasn't anything else to do but "drink and fuck." So I guess they needed some more exciting entertainment. Remember how cocaine was in the 1970s and 1980s? When it was cool to do a line in a nightclub? Al Pacino surrounded by mountains of the stuff? That's meth now.

In my line of work (which perhaps someday I'll be appropriately inspired to write about), I see a lot of people who are meth users. Meth hasn't reached top popularity yet where I live; it's still second to marijuana and cocaine. Thank goodness there is intervention now before it reaches epic proportions because the stuff makes you nuts. Really. I mean if you weren't schizophrenic before you started using meth, you will be. Remember those commercials? "Here's your brain. Here's your brain on drugs." With meth, you take the same egg, but instead of breaking it into a clean frying pan, you crack onto a regular city street. From there, you scramble it with everything that is on the road: broken asphalt, gravel, glass from the accident one week ago, and a little dog poo. Perhaps your neighbor just attempted to replace every automotive liquid to man and flooded the street with the likes of oil, transmission fluid, and antifreeze. So scramble that in too. When you're all done, soak the whole mess into a syringe, then inject it directly into your brain.

The results are astounding! It's fun at first. But then you talk and it doesn't make sense to anyone but you - you sound absolutely crazy (check out neologisms). You've got a lot of energy and you talk real fast, and, boy, are you getting skinny! But then you start to get real ugly, because meth ages you real fast. You hallucinate, you start feeling bugs crawl on you. Scratching at them isn't enough; you have to get them and dissect them like you did in biology class, but on your own arm. And your skin starts to melt off (more on that later). Then you get paranoid, so paranoid that it seems really important to purchase a surveillance system for your house, especially if you live in BFE (because your neighbors who live 5 miles away are watching you...). But then you get bored, and you decide to take the surveillance system down and analyze its component parts; it is now in a thousand pieces, lying next to the pieces of the microwave, the TV, and the stereo. In the same place where you may have abandoned your family, unless, of course, they are using meth with you.

Some people make meth in their own homes, aka the meth lab. Law enforcement officials are very concerned about meth labs for an assortment of reasons, including that they explode. The people who make meth often store some pretty combustible materials in their back yards, so, unfortunately, their house may not be the only one that explodes. It is no wonder why these things blow up like they do - it's really hard to cook when you are high. Anyone who has ever had pot-induced munchies knows this - it's really hard to concentrate on the 14-course meal you know you can eat. Of course, anyone who is waiting to use the meth is in the house when the house explodes in dramatic fashion. If they don't die instantly, they will have third degree burns on a large portion of their body (remember skin melting off?). And they won't have health insurance, because they lost the good job they had just a few months ago because of some conspiracy which really translates into a mess of meth-related consequences. Then the community gets really pissed, because their ultra-expensive hospital bills are passed on, indirectly and unwillingly, to a whole bunch of tax payers.

According to Newsweek, our government is fighting the wrong drug war: "The Bush administration has made marijuana the major focus of its anti-drug efforts, both because there are so many users (an estimated 15 million Americans) and because it considers pot a 'gateway' to the use of harder substances." Interesting. Check out these statistics: 70% of local law enforcement agencies said "robberies or burglaries have increased because of meth, as have domestic violence, assaults, and identity theft; 40 percent of child-welfare officials reported an increase in out-of-home placements last year due to meth." So, lets fight marijuana. Because there are thousands of people behind bars for using marijuana, and clearly we have millions more to prosecute. Because pot smokers are really.........what? Dangerous? Violent? Desperate? Reckless? When was the last time you read a newspaper article about an assault in which the perpetrator was using marijuana at the time? As my friend, Poodle, has said many times, "You will never hear about someone murdering another human being while he was stoned."

So what's my point? I don't know; make your own. Don't be a NIMBY. Don't use drugs. Know when your kid is. The other kids are learning how to do it from somewhere.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Nissa is getting bigger

One of my friends (who affectionately referred to herself earlier today as Lunatic Girlfriend) sent me a fun email yesterday. Certainly many have tried this. You enter "(your name) is" onto Google for an instant ego trip (God help me if you need further directions on that). Anyway, one of the results that popped up was "Nissa is getting bigger." Which I thought was fitting, considering the positive pregnancy test that entered my existence last weekend. Other coincidentally true results included "Nissa is 'The Classy' seductress of passion and pure pleasure, but without the tag or baggage" and "Nissa is absolutely straight forward and honest. There is no artifice or pretension to this woman. She's hot and sexy and she knows it..." Unfortunately, Nissa is no longer "active in local bar activities."

The sperm donor and I did the pregnancy test on Sunday. I assumed it would be positive because I had experienced no PMS when I was supposed to and my boobs were suddenly the size of cantelopes. Oh - and we had been engaging in unprotected sex. I originally thought about waiting to do the test until I was four or five days late, but I had this dream (correction: nightmare) in which the word "Not" kept flashing on and off on the digital display, thus producing the ambiguous result of "Pregnant. Not Pregnant. Pregnant. Not Pregnant." I'm all for ambiguous genetalia and ambiguous roadsigns, but on that Sunday morning I was not a huge fan of the ambiguous pregnancy test. I told the sperm donor that I would rather be scared about being pregnant than be scared about whether or not I was at all.

The sperm donor thought it unusual that I directed him into the bathroom to be present for the momentous occasion. He's like, "What? You want me to watch you pee?" Yes. And, apparently it's pretty amusing to watch your spousal unit squat awkardly over a toilet, attempting to aim a small strip of paper into a stream of pee (it amazes me that men don't seem to comprehend how difficult it is for a woman to pee in a cup). Laughter aside, the little digital display only said "Pregnant." And it stayed "Pregnant". And that is how I became a dear in the headlights...the sperm donor's idea.

Read at will. Comment at will. I'm not going anywhere for at least nine months.