Much to my surprise, it never ends.

I really thought the Age of Overly Personal and Quite Inappropriate Questions about our Reproductive Status was over.

We’re an obviously same-sex couple now. The only people who misgender Prawn now are people who knew her before and are totally oblivious, and people who are just being assholes. She’s even post-op. No sperm makers up in this business anymore.

I celebrated the last day of my twenties by taking the last pregnancy test in the drawer. I’ll never see another BFN. I’m free!

Except now perfect strangers think it’s okay to ask us if we adopted. Or which one of us carried. Or where we got the sperm. I never thought we would need a cover story for Tatoe’s origins. It’s all very superhero like.:)

Hosting the Pain Olympics

When we were in the trenches, I was always aware that no matter how much our situation sucked it could be worse.

Sure, I had some trouble conceiving and no resources for treatments. But I was able to throw myself into other people’s blogs. The writers were a great source of support. And the community is so focused on details that I was able to find a cohort of women with my issues, see what had worked for them, and steal it to use with black market medications.

Sure, I had a few losses. But they were all early losses. And I have a 20% live birth rate! Where one out of five is (maybe?) preferable to two out of ten.

Sure, I had a rough pregnancy. But the issues cleared up after birth.

Sure, I had a terrible labor and delivery. But I took home a Real Live Baby, soon to turn 4.

Sure, I couldn’t fully breastfeed Tatoe. But he got a bit.

My comparative luck might have made me a bit too optimistic. I started to think that these were all just little hurdles. That I could totally do it all again, no problem. Give me black market Clomid and a few months on bed rest and we’d totally have baby number two.

Facing the reality of the end of our childbearing days when my husband became my wife was hard. Seriously hard. I didn’t think it could get worse, reproductively speaking, and I’m still deep in denial. But I was wrong. Gender dysphoria is a bitch. She wants so badly to have another child. And she wants to carry it. It’s not the “unlikely” and “difficult” odds I had. It’s literally impossible. Zero hope. We’ve got our own Pain Olympics, and we’ve got a winner.

Eleven days

Her birthday present was a trip to the endocrinologist.  She began HRT the next day. Today is eleven days on hormones.

The effects charts say that loss of fertility occurs any time between three weeks and six months. Less time if she had low testosterone before, which was the case.

This shouldn’t bother me. I am the primary reason there will be no more babies, after all. But to have to invite infertility into our lives when we previously spent time, money, and heartache fighting it just feels fundamentally wrong.

brain dump

Tatoe is three. A big boy now. He’s growing up so fast. He loves to run and play with the bigger kids at the park and at tumbling classes, but he also loves to gently lead around the smaller kids. He begs us for a baby brother. It’s heartbreaking.

My IUD failed in April. True to my reproductive history, I began miscarrying while waiting for the beta results. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about having another baby since then.

This time it doesn’t matter how many fertility drugs I buy from shady websites, though. Very soon I won’t be the only infertile partner in our marriage anymore. Prawn came out as a trans woman several months ago.* We’re still happy together. But she’s going to be starting hormones soon and that will render her infertile.

Getting pregnant now isn’t an option. I’ve been diagnosed with a neurological disorder, the cure for which is a drug that creates severe birth defects, and which I have to continue for the next year. Banking sperm isn’t really an option. It’s a waste of money considering that I’m medically advised against attempting pregnancy again. Adoption is almost certainly off the table with a trans partner.

I had always held a tiny ghost of a hope that there would somehow be another miracle. The jackboots of reality strike again.

*Strange fact: Tatoe knew first. I was helping him with his pronoun confusion. I explained that you use “he” and “him” for boys but “she” and “her” for girls. Then I was quizzing him on which pronouns to use for which people. “What’s Mommy?” “She a girl!” “What’s Tatoe?” “I a boy!” “What’s Grandma?” “She a girl!” “What’s Daddy?” “…Um… both?” I didn’t know yet that he was correct.

Tatoe saved the day.

Or rather, his food allergies did. Never thought I’d be grateful for anaphylaxis, that’s for sure!

Mom’s court date was Thursday and we were all nervous. Prawn took the day off work at both places to stay home with Tatoe while I went to wok and Mom went to court. None of us knew if she’d come home or not since the jail time would be at the judge’s discretion. The people in line before her were all going down hard. I had sent with her a letter for the judge begging him to please take into consideration in her sentencing that she takes care of a toddler with severe food allergies on the days she’s not scheduled at her job. I explained anaphylactic reactions, how hard it is to read food labels, and that Tatoe comes standard with Benadryl and two Epipens.

Result? She just has to pay back the court-appointed lawyer (about $125) and her driver’s license was suspended for 30 days but with work-related driving privileges. It’ll cost $70 to get it back next month. But she’s not in jail! Happy dance!

My new job is great. i love the work. And hello, health insurance for all of us!

Just one tiny thing. It’s been eighteen months since Tatoe was born, and about sixteen months since I admitted to myself that there will be no more babies, ever. I now have — wait for it — infertility coverage. It’s incredibly limited coverage ($3000 toward diagnosis and treatment, and another $3000 in fertility drugs), but the very idea of having it and not using it Is Driving Me Bonkers. I keep having to remind myself that while it was totally worth risking it all for one child, I cannot risk leaving Tatoe motherless should the next pregnancy resemble the previous one.

If I make it past the probationary period and they decide to keep me on, I’m thinking a gastric bypass may be in my future instead. Gotta use the crap out of what they offer, right?:)

What’s up

I have been seriously overwhelmed the past few months. I keep meaning to check in and not doing it.

What’s up with Tatoe?

Well, he’s almost 18 months old. Sometimes I swear that all the baby is gone from him. He walks, he talks, he knows what he wants and when he wants it.

He still sleeps with us. In the mornings he wakes up quietly, sits up in bed, leans over your face, and then wakes you up with a loud and joyous “Hi!” It’s ridiculously adorable. And way better than the days when he thought a full-fist nipple grab & twist was the best way to wake the parental units.

Never mind children’s programming that might have some educational value. He loves commercials and one of the most recognizable words in his vocabulary is Spongebob. He’ll grab the remote and turn on the TV, then flick through the channels while quietly repeating “Spuh-bahh?”

We finally trimmed his bangs on Tuesday. We’d been putting it off for a long time. First we were hoping they’d grow long enough to tuck behind his ears. They did, but wouldn’t stay. He refused a clip or a ponytail. We kept putting it off because he tried to grab the scissor blades at every attempt. But when he started choking on his hair we had to bite the bullet. My mom held his arms down while I clipped. We should have held his head instead. He headbutted the scissors while I was making the first cut across. He was fine, but the cut was terribly angled and uneven. I had to level it off at the shortest part and now he looks like a long-haired member of the Lollipop Guild. For the sake of his future self, I elected not to share the newest photos.:)ImageImageImage


What’s up with Prawn?

Prawn’s work situation went to hell. The day after he got a promotion to assistant manager the manager quit. So Prawn got all of the work with none of the pay, and it left only two guys to cover all the hours the store was open. They brought in a terrible person (seriously, a lying racist with virtually no product knowledge) from out of state to be the new manager instead of offering Prawn the job he’d been doing for two months.

The fallout from the new manager’s business practices made a long term employee walk out the door, and the new manager never works a full shift. Ever. That left Prawn to do the manager job without getting paid for it still, plus covering for the lack of help.

So Prawn got a second job and cut his hours at the store. The new job is within walking distance of our house, which is important because he still doesn’t know how to drive. He’s part time at both places and we’re waiting for his hours at the new job to increase so he can leave the original store.

Also we had DRAAAAAMAAAAA trying to get a copy of Prawn’s birth certificate, so he could get an ID, so he could start that new job. We’re 1500 miles from where he was born, so getting a copy in person the easy way wasn’t an option. He let his ID expire because he couldn’t find his birth certificate. Then he couldn’t order his birth certificate because he didn’t have a valid ID. I had to use my ID and a copy of our marriage certificate and get a form notarized saying I was legally allowed to request a copy. They told me the paperwork was bad six. effing. times. before finally accepting the seventh submission, minutes before my filing deadline was up and I’d have had to pay an additional $54 to try again. 

What’s up with your mom?

We still all live together. Tatoe loves Grandma more than anyone else. But my mom is in some hot water. We’ve been scraping by on our three incomes, but we make just barely too much to qualify for most assistance. She couldn’t afford an eye exam or new glasses so she’s had the old ones for four years. She can’t see out of them anymore, which became apparent when she checked an ID before selling beer at work one night and thought it read “1983” when it in fact read “1993”. It was a sting. She’s facing jail time, a hefty fine, and the suspension of her drivers license. We won’t know anything until January when she goes to court.

What’s up with me?

I got in a car accident on Sunday. I made it all the way home in a snowstorm, only to slip on the ice as I tried to get into our driveway. I ended up hopping the curb, running over our mailbox, and stopping in the front yard. My seatbelt didn’t seem to do much, and I ended up with a mild concussion and a hurt back. We had to have the car towed to the repair shop. Luckily the damage was minor and the repair was less than $150. Also luckily I had just paid the insurance premium for the next 6 months so they couldn’t raise it on me right away.:) But I still missed a night’s work (read: a night’s pay). We had to pay for the tow out of pocket and wait for reimbursement. There will be medical bills coming. And holy crap, do you know what a mailbox costs these days?! 

We had A Situation at my work also. The person they hired to do my job while I was on bed rest while I was pregnant is still there. She’s either lazy, incompetent, or both because 19 months after she was hired I still have to correct her paperwork regularly. Nobody else likes her either, for various reasons. I’ve been looking for a day job for about a year, which my employers knew because I warned them they might be receiving calls for reference checks. When I heard that several of my coworkers were also looking for work and citing this woman as the reason they would be leaving, I decided to warn my boss about it because she has to cover all the open shifts. Her husband, who owns the hotel, got mad when I refused to tell him who else was looking for work. He told me he was going to list my job and fire me as soon as someone applied for it.

Joke’s on him. A month later, it turns out nobody wants to work 10-hour night shifts every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There have been no applicants. I, on the other hand, applied for a job in state government one Monday. They called me that Wednesday for an interview Friday and hired me the Tuesday after the interview. My two weeks notice is up this Wednesday and I start the new job on Thursday. So he’s stuck with four kids, no wife available to help (because we were short staffed before I left so she’s either at work or sleeping to prepare for another night shift), and his holiday plans ruined because she can’t leave town while there are shifts to be covered. Take that, asshole.:)

My mom is available to take care of Tatoe during the day Mondays through Thursdays (at least unless she ends up in jail), and my aunt has a small home daycare he’s going to on Fridays. Prawn might have to quit the old job sooner than planned because I’ll be at work and my mom won’t have a drivers license to take him to work. My new job is more hours and pays more per hour. But that means we’re going to lose eligibility for the state-funded children’s health insurance. So by the time I add Prawn and Tatoe to my health insurance and pay for Tatoe’s daycare, we’re going to be just about even with my old income. And if Prawn has to quit one job we’ll be behind, especially after Mom’s case comes up. I would really, really like to stop worrying about money for a while. I can’t, and I haven’t wanted to whine about it here so I’ve stayed away. But I wanted to let the world know I’m not dead, just on radio silence.

The Past

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