Our Spotlight on The Next Family

Our family has been featured on The Next Family’s Spotlight series! Check it out here!! 😃

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Quit Clucking Around: There’s A Bigger Issue Here

It seems that everywhere you look these days someone is either criticizing or cheering on Chick-fil-A for their statements regarding gay marriage. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I don’t think that anyone should have a right to tell someone not to express theirs. After all, we do live in America, the land of free speech. However, I think it’s a little ridiculous that a fast food chain has to even take a stand on gay rights in the first place. But that’s okay – perhaps it is just a catalyst by which the issues of inequality facing Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) Americans will be brought to light. It is already causing quite a ruckus across our country as voices on both sides of the issue are shouting from the rooftops. In a nutshell, it has everyone talking and believe it or not, that’s a good thing. If President Obama didn’t make a big enough waves with his proclamation of support for the LGBT community in May 2012, Chick-fil-A has followed up with a tsunami that is catching everyone’s attention.

I was raised in a Christian household and taught that homosexuality was wrong and warranted an eternity in Hell if you didn’t repent and change your ways. My great-grandmother was a lesbian and my grandmother and I would pray for her to find Jesus and be saved from her sin. These memories from my childhood still stay with me today. Unfortunately this also delayed my coming out. It wasn’t until I met my first girlfriend that I finally felt complete and secure in who I was. I know it sounds cheesy but it is true – it was like fireworks from day one with her and I felt real and comfortable for the first time. Finally, at 21, I had figured out what was missing in my life and recognized a truth I had battled with since childhood – I am a lesbian, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

Four and a half years later, we enjoy many of the same things as straight couples such as getting married and sharing a last name, having joint bank accounts, and now, expecting our first child together. Unfortunately, while all of those things are wonderful, it doesn’t mean we are treated fairly or equally by any stretch of the imagination. Our marriage is invalid not only in our home state of Florida, but also in the eyes of our Federal government, despite our marriage being performed and recognized by Washington, D.C. It comes down to something as simple as having to check the box for “single” on our tax returns because we can’t file our taxes as married or even married-filing-separately. There are more complex issues, too. We can be refused visitation rights at a hospital unless we have legal documents in place, and sometimes even that isn’t good enough. Since my wife is carrying our child, my name can’t be put on the birth certificate unless I adopt my own child. God forbid anything were to happen to my wife before I adopt, because if she were to die, the courts could take my child and give him or her to my wife’s next of kin instead of me. We have to have powers of attorney, wills, health care directives, and guardianship agreements just to attempt to cover only a percentage of the rights granted with a heterosexual marriage, rights that are given freely and automatically and with no extra hoops to jump through. In order to attempt to protect ourselves and our growing family, we have to take far too many extra legal steps. The sad part is that even unmarried heterosexual couples have more rights than we do in some cases.

Since the birth of this country, Americans have risen to the occasion and fought for the equal treatment of all citizens. It took hundreds of years for women to have the right to vote. It took hundreds of years for African Americans to enjoy freedom. The LGBT community is no different, so get ready. We are history in the making. We are the next civil rights movement. One day our children will learn about these times in history class. Our children will not only learn why they have the right to vote and why they are free, but also why they have the right to love whoever they want. Trying to prevent that future from happening is shameful.

It is idiotic to disagree that denying the LGBT community their rights as Americans and as humans is wrong. It’s not right how many extra steps we must take and how much money we must spend to legally protect our families. It’s not right how people think we are less deserving of the same rights and freedoms just because we love women, or men, or both. It’s not right how many hate crimes are carried out against our youth because they are attracted to someone of the same gender or don’t identify as the gender they were born. It’s not right that who we are as people somehow means we are not entitled to the rights drafted in our own Declaration of Independence, the very foundation on which this country was formed: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” To those who oppose LGBT equality – just who do you think you are? How can you believe that you have the power to deny us our human rights?

So thank you, Chick-fil-A, for bringing to the forefront of American consciousness the fact that unequal treatment is still a reality. I didn’t write this letter in order to influence people to boycott Chick-fil-A. I didn’t write this to promote President Obama’s re-election. I didn’t write this in order to belittle anyone’s beliefs or right to those beliefs. I didn’t write this to further some “gay agenda”. I wrote this because it is what I felt in my heart was the right thing to do. I wrote this for all of those like me who long for the day when equality is not just a distant dream. I wrote this for my friends, my family, and my fellow LGBT’s. I wrote this for those who maybe couldn’t find the words to say it themselves. I wrote this to make people think of something other than themselves and the rights they take for granted every single day. I wrote this for those who have experienced the hatred and ignorance firsthand. I wrote this for those who came before me and for those that will come after. I wrote this for me, for my wife, and for our unborn child. I wrote this so that one day, someone who reads this can make a change in the world. This is not just an American issue, this is a human issue. Every single human being deserves the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, whatever form that happiness may take.

Our Wedding Book

I love freebies! So when TheKnot.com sent me an email saying that if I rated 5 wedding vendors they’d give me a free Shutterfly photo book, I jumped on it! J’s sister had a super cute Shutterfly book made of pictures she took in 2011 and I loved it, so I was really excited to get one of our own. Its been a work in progress but tonight we finally finished it up and ordered our hard copy for ourselves. I’m so excited!

I couldn’t get the slideshow to post into the blog correctly, but you can click the picture below and it will take you right to it. We wanted to share with all of you and we hope you enjoy!

 

Click Here to View Our Wedding Book!

OMG! OMG! OMG!!!

Let me start off this post by saying that we are so excited to FINALLY share this exciting news…WE’RE GOING TO BE MOMS!

This past Saturday (June 2) marked two weeks since our insemination. After the negative test at 8 days after, J was very apprehensive when it came to testing again. She had resolved NOT to test until the actual blood test today, but I had other plans.

Due to the negative test last weekend (May 27), we knew that the HCG shot was out of her system, so there was no chance of a false positive on that front. At 7:00 in the morning on Saturday, she woke me up as I requested to let me know she had to pee. So she goes into the bathroom, does her part with the test, and hands me the stick and tells me to look because she just can’t bear to see another “no”. I set it on the vanity and walked away for literally less than a minute. When I came back to check, she finished up and went back in the bedroom and I looked at the test, half-hoping/half-fearing what the outcome would be.

“Baby, you might want to check this out.” I said to her, my facial expression surely a mix of emotions.

“Why?” she says, as she comes in from the bedroom and catches a glimpse of my facial expression in the mirror.

“I think there’s a plus sign here!” I say as I point at the stick.

Sure enough, as the time went on (all within the appropriate testing timeframe of course) the line got a little darker. It was still faint, but not to the point where we had to use a magnifying glass to see that yes, there was a big fat POSITIVE there. We looked at each other in disbelief, which I know probably sounds really funny coming from two lesbians who obviously have been actively trying to get pregnant. We got dressed, grabbed a coffee (decaf!) at Starbucks and breakfast from Chick-fil-A and braved Wal-Mart first thing in the morning to go buy more tests. We grabbed a ClearBlue digital test as well as some Equate that I had read were pretty reliable (thank you, http://www.peeonastick.com!) By the time we got home it had only been two hours but thanks to the coffee J could muster up a pee for another test, this time the digital one.

The answer: PREGNANT.

There it was, the word we have been hoping and praying for, working toward and dealing with so much for the past year. Our journey to pregnancy looked like it had come to completion, the next phase being the 9-month journey toward meeting our little one face-to-face.

For the hell of it, I made her take another test that night. There is something so awesome about seeing the plus sign, the two lines, the words PREGNANT displayed for us to have some tangible confirmation that YES our baby is in there! Finally!

I made her take another test Sunday morning and night too. I just wanted to make sure the plus was still there damn it!

image

Sunday on left, Saturday on right

It is so unreal feeling and I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet for either of us. But all those times yelling “Hello in there!” and “Hi Babies!” at J’s stomach has not fallen on deaf ears (undeveloped ones, yes!) but ears-in-the-future nonetheless.

We told our parents in person, as we wanted them to be the first to know. We bought both sets of parents a card addressed to Mom & Dad. When you read the card, the outside said: “It has never been a question of “if”, but a matter of “when”…” On the inside it continued: “…and now is the time. Congratulations” On her parents’ card we wrote in below “Congratulations” “Nana + Papa” and on my parents’ card “Grandma + Grandpa”. Both sets of parents were so shocked and excited! J’s dad was the first to read their card and his eyes got big as saucers as he gasped and handed the card to her mom. Then her mom read it and started crying she was so happy. My parents were in the pool when I handed them their card and my mom was super stoked and was all “That is so cool!” and my dad read it from over her shoulder and couldn’t believe the news. My dad was excited too because he could finally give us the booties he bought on our New Orleans trip in February, which he had said he wouldn’t do until a little one was on its way.

The decision to share the news on the blog was not an easy one, actually. Naturally we were worried since it is still a very real possibility that complications could arise this early in the pregnancy, and we would hate to break all of your hearts along with our own if that were to happen. We are praying for a happy and healthy 9 months that’s for sure! There was also the factor that at the end of this month we are having a party in celebration of our wedding and we thought that would be a perfect time to share with all of our families at once, but in reality there is no way we could have ever held it in for that long after so many of you have followed and are so invested in our journey via this blog. We wanted to share the news with you all as soon as we felt comfortable, which is now, after the results of the blood test, which came back very positive. The doctor’s office said that so far everything looked great and scheduled J for her second round of bloodwork on Wednesday morning to check her HCG and progesterone levels to make sure they are increasing as they should. YAY!

After so many months of waiting and hoping and praying and rubbing statues and worrying that it just would never happen…FINALLY we are on the road to parenthood.

Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement and wisdom, advice and well-wishes, and trust me – we’ll be keeping you posted as we go!

Love,

B & J (& baby(ies) too!)

Wife and Wife

Let me start off with an apology for our three-week hiatus from the blog! Man oh man have we been busy, preparing for our trip and dealing with finishing up the Spring semester at school. Now that we have finally caught a break and have a moment to breathe, I can finally share all of the wonderful things that have been on my mind, waiting for me to have a chance to write them down!

As you may remember, our last visit to the fertility doctor did not go as well as we would have hoped. J still had the cyst on her right ovary and we are (not so) patiently waiting for the start of her May cycle to see if it has completely gone away yet so that we can start trying again. We’ll more than likely know either way in the next week or so, and we are both hoping for some good news this time! Now that our schedule has cleared up some with the trip for our wedding being over and school finally coming to an end for the semester, I feel like we are both prepared and ready to focus on the baby-making journey with full investment once again. Plus, it just feels right knowing that now that we are married, we’re doing things in the order we have always wanted to.

That’s not to say that we don’t still get frustrated or feel down about our whole hiatus. Its been two months now and it seems like an eternity! J keeps getting upset that we have to pay our $200 copay just to go get the ultrasound to find out that it’s a no-go each cycle, but I keep reminding her that at least its not $900 to just go ahead with it all and have a close-to-zero chance of it even working. I’d rather spend the $200 than the $900 any day. And when I get frustrated that it hasn’t happened yet, she just reminds me that we’ve only had one try at the doctor’s office so far…technically due to her not ovulating, the first three tries at home really just shouldn’t count. So then I make her feel better about the money, and she makes me feel better about the time. We are in the same boat, just at different ends it seems. But at least we have each other.

So…we are still waiting and I’ll be sure to update the blog once we find out if we are a go or no-go again as soon as we know. I know that you all haven’t forgotten about us and I assure you we have been thinking of all of our readers and wanting to fill you in (we just haven’t had the time!).

Now onto the news I’m sure you are all wanting to hear, THE WEDDING!

Let me start off by saying that this was the most amazing vacation and time of my life! It is our first “big” vacation, meaning that while we’ve taken a road trip before from Sunny Florida to Hot-As-Hell Atlanta, this was our first trip utilizing the services of aircraft. Now, not to sound like a paid endorsement, but JetBlue was phenomenal. If we can help it, we will never fly another airline again! The experience and service were just exemplary, and it was only the beginning of a wonderful weekend.

We flew into DC the Thursday before our wedding on a night flight. While the flight was perfect and without a hitch, the ride from the airport to the hotel in the shuttle was…less than normal. Every stoplight we hit, the shuttle would die. Literally! Right there in the middle of the road. Good thing it was nighttime or we could have had some serious trouble. Not only that, but we met a cousin of the (now) Ambassador to Panama sitting in front of us on the shuttle and she was super nice! She was in town for her cousin’s inauguration…you never know who you’re going to meet on your travels 🙂

Once we got to the hotel, we were surprised! Not only was it GORGEOUS but J’s mom had so graciously called the hotel ahead of time and set up a beautiful snack tray with healthy snacks and fruit and cheese along with sparkling apple cider (since we don’t drink) in our room for us which was WONDERFUL. After the flight we were definitely hungry and it hit the spot!

The next morning we ordered room service for breakfast so we wouldn’t have to go try to find food on the morning of our big day. It arrived and was most excellent! See!

After breakfast we got dressed, primped, and beautified for our special event. We color coordinated so that we would match without being identical twins (geez we hear that comment enough as it is!) and set out to Tiffany’s office (she is the wonderful lady who filed our marriage application for us and also performed our ceremony in her lovely office). She was more than kind and for a change, we felt genuinely accepted for who we were and the fact that we were just two girls madly in love. Our ceremony was beautiful and we read our personal vows together. Of course we videotaped the entire thing to show our families and despite the garbage truck coming toward the end of our ceremony, it was perfect. I couldn’t have been happier with how everything turned out, and it was a fantastic beginning to our day. 🙂

After the ceremony we took a cab back to the hotel and had a mini photo shoot in the garden across the street. The sun was shining but the wind was freezing! We finally moved inside and took more pictures, making sure to get plenty of great shots to remember the day.

The rest of the day was spent having lunch at the Hard Rock and visiting the National Mall so that we could see all of the monuments and especially so that J could see the Lincoln Memorial. Last time she had visited DC in middle school she hadn’t had the chance to see him and he is her favorite President. So this time we made sure to visit him and it was great. See how happy she is? I love this woman!

We didn’t do much on our wedding day, but we just spent quality time together and had a blast doing the little things. We ended up being so tired from walking around all day that we ordered room service again that night for dinner and it was equally as amazing as breakfast. Unfortunately we were both so famished that we dug right in and didn’t take a picture! Trust us, our filet mignon was top notch and well worth it!

When Saturday came along we were both so sad to leave DC. I was so glad that the weather was beautiful for us on our trip and that we had such a great time. It was the perfect beginning to our lives together as wife and wife!

So, there you have it, the synopsis of our wedding weekend…I hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed sharing our special day with all of you. As always, we are so grateful for all of your love and support and now with our wedding bands and marriage certificate in hand, I feel like we are more united, more solid, and more secure in not only our relationship but every aspect of our lives. I only hope to add the excitement of planning for a new addition to our family to our plate soon! But for now, I’m just happy living life and waiting to see what comes next, knowing that my beautiful wife is standing by my side, for better or worse. 🙂

Love,

-Mrs. & Mrs. B & J

Rub-A-Dub

You may or may not know that J’s favorite President is Abraham Lincoln. She loves him! So whilst searching for something on Google the other day, I stumbled across this quote by him:

“Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

How fitting, especially for our current situation! I shared this with her and we both really appreciated it. Its true, after all.

So in the spirit of clearing our minds and letting our discouragement fade, we met up with J’s high school friends at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Orlando yesterday.When you first walk into the lobby, on your right is a TV playing a looped story about these two African fertility statues. And on each side of the TV are the statues themselves, a man on the right and a woman holding a baby on the left. They were SO cool.

The instructions are that you place your hands on each one, rub on and caress them, think positive thoughts. Move onto the next one and do the same. Then touch them together and welcome your child into your life and thank them for their positive, fertile energy, and finish by giving each of them a hug.

Let the rubbing ensue!

It may sound hokey, but it was such a surreal experience. One of J’s friends cried as she was touching them. J felt the energy inside of them, alive and humming. I just felt such a peace and ease wash over me as I stood there also (and then I rubbed on J’s belly to give her my extra fertility vibes!!) All-in-all it was an overwhelming (but in a good way) experience. We stood there for a while and watched woman after woman come through and do the process. J’s friend said a woman came up to them that had seen them in Mexico and pointed to her daughter and said “That’s why she’s here!” The video said 13 of the 13 original women who touched them at the Ripley’s Headquarters became pregnant within the next couple of months. So far over 2,000 confirmed pregnancies have resulted after women have touched these statues.

So far, I’m liking those odds. 🙂

J’s next doctor’s appointment is on Tuesday. Wish us luck that there are no cysts so we can proceed with this cycle.

-B

J & the Fertility Statues @ Ripley's

What’s In A Name?

A lot, actually! J and I believe in the power of names, and therefore have given a lot of thought to what we would like to name our future child(ren). This is something we have thought about for a long time…anytime the topic of children and a family comes up. Now with a maybe-baby in her womb, we’ve finally narrowed it down to a name for a boy and a name for a girl. Of course, we have no news yet on whether or not we have a yes or no this time, but these two weeks are finally cut down to only two more days until the blood pregnancy test on Friday…fingers crossed!

Anyway, we have picked out our names for our future little one(s). We’ve had the girl’s first name for a while but couldn’t find a middle name to do what we wanted. We really liked one name (to be after someone in J’s family per tradition) but not by itself…so we thought about it and finally came up with a combined name that we both really like. The point of the name being that it means “Elegant & entirely successful”. Winner!

Now, everyone would say we won’t have a boy because OH MY whatever shall anyone do?! There are all these GIRLS in the family!

Regardless, we have chosen a boy’s name and we WANT to have a boy (although it really doesn’t matter to us). For this name we liked it a long time ago but it seemed too popular. Too generic. So we tried spelling it different and we really liked it but we just weren’t sure. So all weekend we were discussing the names we were thinking about. We have been pretty certain about the girl name, so we were debating the boy name. Even after all our discussion we still weren’t sure. We felt empty, incomplete. We wanted to have the names ready so that if there is a little one in there, we had a name ready for it. Okay, now you’re thinking we’re insane. But that’s okay, if you know either of us you know we can be a little OCD. Just let us have our fun!

So we had been discussing the name and just weren’t sure about it. So we asked God to give us a sign! Funny things always happen when you do that…

We’re at J’s parents’ house and we’re talking about travelling. So J’s dad gets all excited talking about South Dakota. He’s going on and on and finally is like “Oh I have a map! Let me show you!” J and I just shrugged our shoulders and waited for him to get the map. He comes back and is talking about the Native Americans and forests and all this stuff about South Dakota and we’re looking at all the funny names on the map. And then, we see a county with the first name we’ve been thinking about. Right next to it is another county, which is the middle name we’ve been thinking about. What are the odds?! And if that wasn’t enough, the county next to that was Todd. Yep, Todd. Like, our donor’s name is Todd.

I know not everyone believes in God or kismet or fate or destiny, and that’s okay, because we do. And I think we got a sign right there. We looked at each other right then and said “I guess that’s the name.” And that was it. His meaning: “God is gracious, blessed one”

That night on the way home, we couldn’t help but be so impressed by the moon. J has a pull toward the moon anyway (being a werewolf and all…inside joke!) and no lie – it looked pregnant. It was so big and round and beautiful! Another funny thing, J was really drawn to a tiger’s eye when we picked up the spiritual stones for fertility – and the tiger’s eye is tied to the moon. Incidentally it is also tied to Capricorn which is from December 21 until January 19. If J gets pregnant next cycle instead of this one, her due date would be in Capricorn. Coincidence? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I bet you are all waiting with bated breath (ok maybe not!) for me to tell you the names we finally ended up with. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you but we are waiting until after we definitely know if there’s anybody in there whether it be this time or next. Hopefully it will come sooner rather than later, but at least we feel comforted knowing that whenever our little one decides to make a home with us, that we have a name for him or her. We are waiting with open hearts and arms for our turn to be Mamas (yeah, that’s what we’ve decided we would like to be called…of course he/she may decide on something entirely different!)

So I wish I had something further to share with you, but right now we’re just impatiently waiting for Friday…I’ll see you all then. 🙂

-B

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