Update: It’s happening….
October 20, 2010
Sorry for not posting in a loooonnngggg while. When I logged on I could not believe my last post was over 7 months ago. I originally started this blog as a personal therapy tool for me; as well as to share my experience as a mom with a transgendered child. I know I have let a bunch of you down who had been following this post. I apologize for my absence, but want to continue the updates at a more regular interval. There has been so much that has gone on in the last several months to say the least and I have been a little overwhelmed. But I’m passionate about sharing my family’s story if it might help someone else in the same situation, and especially Jamie’s story, because it is heading towards a success story as unconventional as her childhood has been.
The last several months we have seen some “changes” to the family and I will try to give as full and open an update as I can. I will likely be bouncing all over the place.
Not sure where to start…
Since my last post, we were considering letting Jamie end her school year early. Our therapist advised us against that, since we were so close to the end. I was praying for the end of the school year to come as fast as it could.
Jamie totally understood the decision, its not like she pressured us in any way. She has always been a great student (straight a’s), and has continued to do really well. But I knew she was struggling, putting on the “boy” facade everyday.
As we got closer to the end of April, I was letting her grow her hair out, so that helped a little.
At that time she hit her 3 month mark since starting hormone therapy. We had an endocrinologist appointment in April, and another physical. Obviously we have continued the lupron therapy, and with the added medication, her estrogen levels were increasing, and as such female puberty was starting for Jamie. The good news for Jamie, the doctor had assured us she will have a normal puberty, as if she was born a female. As I have mentioned in previous posts, she has not had any male pubertal impact whatsoever. Even though she had just turned 16, she was physically like a 12 year old girl starting puberty. Similar to Aly. (Lucky me two girls in the same household going thru puberty 🙂 )
She had a good physical, was very healthy. She had put on 6 lb. since her physical in feb; the doctor had said due primarily to the estrogen. You could tell at that time her face was getting fuller – more feminine, and starting to get a little rounder around the backside. She felt fine.
At that time the next big decision was when we were going to increase Jamie’s estrogen to a more aggressive dosage. The proposal would be in May, which her therapist was supporting. The doctor said that’s when things will accelerate physically from there.
I’ve let Jamie know, that all of the private things she wants to discuss with her doctors and therapist, I totally respect her privacy and won’t invade that. But I also wanted to let her know that there is no question that is out of bounds about her emerging puberty. I got the sense that she was not nervous at all, and is very comfortable and excited about as she says “being the person I always meant to be.” She is very determined.
It’s the same conversation I’ve had with Aly, especially once she starts getting her period and stuff, I want her to know I’ll be there. But the conversation is a little different with Jamie.
Puberty was no picnic for me, as I had no sister and only brothers around the house.
Aly and Jamie have been are getting very close. Since I’ve never had a sister, it’s neat to see that relationship develop. Aly is so open-minded, she is not set back by any of this. She is sooo supportive of Jamie.
Sometimes with both Aly and Drew, I don’t want Jamie’s situation to consume the energy and attention of the house that gets to the point where they feel neglected. But I’ve wondered with Aly, if she feels a little intruded on with some of the mom and daughter stuff. But she is doing great, and is loving the sister relationship with Jamie. More on that later…
Easter 2010 is when I went into my funk – BAD.
I know I might seem real pollyanish when it has to Jamie. I love my child, and would do anything for any one of my children. Since I got divorced, I’ve had to deal with my ex’s misgivings, my family and friends, Drew. Am I doing the right thing as a parent? I really started to question everything.
When I came back from those doctor visits, it was unbelievable, but things are happening. We are just not talking about it anymore.
What do I mean? As a mother of a TG child, you just try to come to terms with all of this the best you can. I didn’t understand any of it, and was pretty naive to the whole transgender concept. Sure you see it on the talk shows and read about it I guess, but I never knew anyone who dealt with it personally or with someone in their family. Sixteen years ago I gave birth to this beautiful little boy, and a little over a year later, a second little boy, and had all of these visions of these boys growing up into talented young men with families of their own.
I stood there at that point, with raising both boys exactly the same from birth, it’s amazing how different a life they are heading too. My little boy was becoming a girl, and would eventually grow up to be a woman. It’s crazy.
I was depressed, second guessing everything. I was looking at old pictures, especially Drew and Jamie when they were younger. What did I do wrong?
It took a lot of support from my therapist to get me through this time, I was seeing her almost every week.
Easter was a big day for Jamie. As always we were going go to church, and then have a big dinner at my parents house. But this year Jamie wanted it to be her coming out party with relatives. I gave them all a head’s up, both my brothers, their wives and their kids were going to be there, plus a few of my aunts and uncles were going to be there.
I thought she would be a little hesitant but she was all in.
“Mom I want to buy a dress!!”
Now for me as a little girl, I loved getting dressed up on Easter. My mom and I would go shopping and it was a big deal. It was always a big event, taking pictures with my brothers and father, and wearing Easter hats and all. I have tried to keep that tradition with Aly, although she has always resisted any hat wearing, but I can always manage to get her dressed up. You can always tell how much that hurt Jamie in the past, and I always encouraged him to wear his suit, or dockers and a sweater. He was always miserable at these family events. It kills me thinking about it now.
It was time to allow her to spread her wings a little.
So Jamie, Aly and myself headed out “dress” shopping.
I thought Jamie might have felt uncomfortable going in and out of dressing rooms trying on dresses, so I told her we can pick something out and return it. But she said she was fine. Her confidence always surprises me.
Dress shopping with Aly and Jamie was pretty surreal. We headed out to a mall in New Jersey so Jamie wouldn’t see anyone from school. They have a few departments stores and a couple of clothing stores within the mall.
I remember starting in Macy’s, and I don’t know if they both had something in mind, but saw nothing there, even to try on. I suggested to both of them, to not limit themselves to just dresses, a cute skirt and top would look real nice too. They wanted a new dress.
We hit another couple of stores within the mall, express, forever 21, nothing…
Jackpot, JC Penney’s had the styles they were after. They hit the racks.
I was impressed with what they were picking out, something I had to assess is Jamie is 16, Aly is 12. Jamie is looking for something more mature, but so is Aly. Which is natural, but it’s not apples to apples. I was hoping and encouraging Jamie to pick out something conservative, since this will be many of her relatives seeing dressed as a female. Which Jamie responded, “I know, that’s why it is so hard choosing, I want the right thing.”
She had no problems going in and out the dressing room, even asking the salesgirl a question, her and Aly were bouncing off of each other. My job was easy, just stand back.
I remember watching the both of them, just thinking about how good kids they both were. But watching Jamie, again it was hitting me hard. Things are happening…
Aly found hers first, a cute blueish floral sundress. She looked real cute.
Jamie found hers around the corner, it was a daisy dress, with yellow trim, with a yellow short jacket on top. She said she felt it would be more comfortable in it (without a bosom), to wear a jacket. It was a good choice, and very cute coloring with her blonde hairpiece.
We crossed that hurdle….a few hours later 🙂
Don’t they make normal junior dressy shoes anymore? Curse that Lady GaGa…
Jamie wanted something with a heel, and I said no, stick to flats. They both found some dressy shoes that matched their dresses, that wasn’t too crazy.
Ok we’re all set..NO
Aly wanted tights for her dress, so we headed over to that section. We picked out a pair for her.
Jamie wanted to wear pantyhose with her dress. Yikes, again surreal moment.
Now I know it’s a big moment for her, and she wanted to do it up, but standing there, explaining colors and styles trying to match her skin color, because her dress needed a nude color, was at first uncomfortable – but fine.
Tough time for me….I couldn’t shake it. I just remember thinking about what her dad was going to say.
Easter came, and when relatives saw her, they all said they can’t believe that 1) how incredible and feminine she looks and 2) how happy she is.
My sister in-law told me that she always worried about Jamie because how sad he seemed all the time. she can’t believe how confident she is.
Jamie was beamin from ear to ear all day. The first she ever felt comfortable at a family event. She would always tag along with Drew and the male cousins, now hung out with me, Aly, my mom and my sister in-laws.
She acted like a lady all day, her and Aly. Crossed her legs, and knew how to wear a dress. Where did that come from?
Easter was a big success and moment for Jamie. Then back to school, she was miserable.
My ex was wrapped up in his girlfriend, and Drew’s baseball season. Drew had a huge freshman year, making it to varsity by the end of the year. I was very proud of him. His Dad has always gotten wrapped up in Drew’s athletics, and fairness to him tried hard with Jamie, coaching their little league teams. Jamie never had the interest.
Drew is sports crazy, and very driven to succeed.
I don’t know if my ex was giving up his fight with Jamie, but was less combative. I know Jamie was getting positive support from my ex’s girlfriend, so I’m sure that helped. It’s crazy where support can come from. I know he still disapproves about any of this, I just had hoped that Jamie would retain a relationship with her dad. I know she gets jealous sometimes of Aly’s and her dad’s relationship.
Since most weekends that the kids were with their dad, was weekends at Drew’s games. Jamie would just come home with me. I felt bad for her.
School was getting increasingly hard for her.
I was seeing a therapists almost weekly as well. The end of the school year was dark times in our household. You can tell Jamie was depressed going to school everyday, and I think Drew was excited to have practice or games everyday so he did not have to be home, which made me sad. After school Aly and Jamie would just disappear to their rooms and listen to music, play with clothes and makeup.
In some ways I was starting to feel for Aly. Jamie has now become not only her sister, but her best friend. Aly did not bring many friends home (Drew for that matter) anymore. She was still dancing a couple of nights a week, but they hang out and do homework until bedtime.
I was concerned in how healthy that was Jamie too, being 4 years older than Aly.
May came and Jamie’s follow-up with her endocrinologist. We had several therapy sessions prior, and this was a big step because we were going to up Jamie’s estrogen shots to more aggressive levels. This time I got no argument from ex, he gave his consent. What no drama?? 🙂 Nope.
The doctors explained everything to Jamie, and she was sooo excited. We were only a month from the end of school as well. She got the more aggressive shots.
Over the next month or so physically Jamie was doing great, her doctors appointments had gone really well. Since I saw Jamie everyday it was hard to say I notice anything extremely different about her physically. She has started getting some swelling in the chest area, and by the time school was closing we were getting weather in the 80’s for the first time. So she was careful to wear an undershirt under a baggy shirt (she was wearing everything baggy) with her school clothes. She was aware that they are growing and self-conscious in her boy mode at school.
Her physical weight hadn’t changed much from the prior visit, but we did have to buy her a bigger pair of boy jeans because they were starting to get tight. So she was starting to thin out on top, and filling out a little on bottom.
You could notice her face getting more feminine, I noticed it especially around the eyes.
I would ask her if she was ok, and how did she feel other than the obvious? She noticed her skin was becoming very soft, but I notice a general overall softening of her. I especially notice it when she is wearing boys clothes, she looks like a girl.
Her hair was s growing out, we have fixed it a little here and there, but she was looking to grow it out one length.
Jamie did not have many friends at school, so people must wonder what’s going on, but I think with the hair growing out and the baggy clothes, Drew says she was of getting away with a skater look. Which I guess was working for her. Thankfully she never got teased or harassed by anyone. I know Drew looks out for her. Drew keeps me up on that too, but her safety kept me up (still does) at night.
School ended without any incidents and we made it.
Summer was not one day old, when Jamie wanted to shed anything male from her life. We gave it all away. She was as they say in the community “Full-time.”
This was a pivotal moment for me, as I stating with my blues over the last several months previous. This was happening…No more hiding, no more duality for my child, no more fighting and bickering from my ex. I was coming out of my funk.
Aly, Jamie and I did a bunch of clothes shopping for summer shorts, tops, skirts and shoes of the like. The other thing that was apparent was boobs, she was developing. Yikes!!
Bra shopping with Jamie was interesting, another surreal moment. For me, I don’t go cheap on bras. Nothing worse than a bad bra. I am a Victoria Secret girl for all of my bras and panties, they are the most comfortable and durable out there. This is no commercial. We went top shelf (no pun intended) and splurged at VS. Aly is going to be there in no time as well.
Late July Jamie had another physical and endo appointment. This time they upped her meds to her normal dose that she will be on until surgery. She made it.
All of her tests came back great, nothing abnormal other than the doctor wanted her to get more active. She started to get up with me before I got ready for work, and did some workout videos with me. She was a shy over 5’2 now and almost 120 lbs.
Aly has actually passed her a little in height.
The summer was uneventful for both Aly and Jamie, since I had to work all summer. Drew was playing on some summer baseball team, then headed right into football camp. So he was gone most of the summer.
Their dad vacationed with his girlfriend down in Ocean City in August, but only Aly and Drew went. They both took friends. I was a little concerned that when I told him Jamie wasn’t going, he only said “Ok.”
Jamie and her father are drifting apart.
Things were getting so routine during the summer, I kind of forgot the main reason why Jamie did not want to go to the shore with her father.
She did not have or feel comfortable yet wearing a bathing suit. Oh yeah??
I told her, “why don’t we go get you one?” She said she didn’t feel comfortable yet, putting one on in the store.
So I told her to try some of mine on, and if she liked it, she could have it or know what to buy. I have both two pieces and one pieces. Suprisingly she tried on the one pieces.
I know in one of my way earlier posts, a lot of the TG women on here explained to me about the art “tucking”, and obviously Jamie is doing that normally. But being a bathing suit, wasn’t sure what to expect.
When she came out of the bathroom, I started crying. I could not believe how grown up she looked, how shapely she had become. MY GOD!! She’s arriving. I did not ask her how, but she could easily pass it off.
So I told her when her father had Aly and Drew, “why don’t we go to a shore location just me and you for the weekend?” She was excited.
This way she can get beach acquainted in her new attire. I told her all women have trepidation going on the beach, so that’s normal.
We headed to a quieter beach on the jersey shore. My friend has a beach house, with only local access, so I know it would not be dripping with people. Especially in late August.
I could not tell you how long it’s been when Jamie and I were alone with each other, away from home for a long period of time. Probably not since was a newborn before Drew was born.
We packed all of our stuff and were off. The drive over there was a couple of hours with traffic. Which gave us a lot of quality time to talk. It was great. She is sooo happy, and I am so proud of her. We talked mostly about life, and the upcoming school year (she is going to be home schooled by my mom.)
Looking over at her, I know I have been using the word feminine a lot, I can’t believe how feminine she is. Voice, mannerisms, everything. But to me she was looking pretty, and maturing. She is thriving.
I’m happy, she’s happy.
We got there later that night, and just hung out watching TV and fell asleep. It’s a cute two bedroom cottage in Lavalette.
The next day she was up before me, all dressed in her suit and cover-up. By now she has her own long hair, she straightens it, and was in a pony tail. She looked cute.
I wanted to get her comfortable, so I sent her out to the corner store to grab some drinks and chips for the cooler.
We packed our cooler, bags, radio, blankets, chairs, so on…and headed up to the beach. It’s too long to walk, and a nightmare finding a spot. But we got one.
After several trips back and forth from the car, we got settled. We have this small little cooler that we put our drinks in, that has these wheels on the bottom of them. It easy to move from the car to the steps, but it was comical watching Jamie and I try to maneuver this thing to our spot.
We are both extremely white from the non-exposure all summer, applied some 37 spf suntan lotion 🙂 and kind of stayed under an umbrella.
I wanted to encourage her to get off the blanket, and get comfortable, so I asked her to come with me into the water. She was like “NO, please”. So I started walking towards the beach, and then in 10 seconds she scampered behind me. The UNVEILING!! lol
We got our toes in the water, but you can tell she was looking everywhere nervously. I kept telling her relax, she was fine.
We got all the way in, and she got dove into the water and we were both in the wake of the waves.
I could tell Jamie was just wondering around, taking it all in. Then all of a sudden, tears were flowing big time. I kept asking her “what’s the matter honey?”
She’s like “I DON’T KNOW, BUT I’M SO HAPPY”. I gave her a huge hug. I know it was a big moment for her.
So we went over the hurdle and she survived. When we were laying on the towels, I could tell her eyes were wondering behind her sunglasses in the same pattern some boys her age were walking back and forth.
I asked her if she has been noticing boys more. She said “big time.” We both laughed. She said she has a big crush on one of Drews friends who comes to he house sometimes. “He’s sooo cute.”
I know it has to be tough for her, that’s the next bridge way down in the future to cross.
So for the next couple of hours we both picked out who we thought were the cutest boys for her, and the cutest men for me. She actually has good taste and a good eye.
The next day got a lot easier, we had some nice walks on the boardwalks, and talks at dinner. Quality mother-daughter time. We got some beach time in on Sunday and drove home in our beach clothes.
Great weekend I think for both of us. Becoming less surreal. More normal. It’s good.
When we got home, Aly and Drew beat us. They could tell by our now reddish skin tone we went somewhere beach related. I could tell Aly was a little disappointed.
All three of us, Jamie, Aly and I were talking at the kitchen table about our weeks and weekends. Drew was at the refrigerator kind out of eye shot, when Aly asked Jamie to show her – her bathing suit. Jamie took her cover-up off, and spun around, and kiddingly struck a pose – now all confidence. Aly was ooo la la lahing, but I could see out of the corner of my eye you can tell Drew was uncomfortable at the sight.
In 1998 when I was pregnant with Aly, I was the odd one out. I had two boys, a husband, two male dogs. I grew up with two brothers, and I swore that Aly was going to be another boy. I thought I was destined a household full of testosterone until Aly came along. At that time I had not suspected anything with Jamie yet.
Looking at Drew right there, I actually knew how he felt. Except he is the odd one out in a house of girls. I feel bad for him, I know he would move in with his father in a heart beat, but his father travels so much – he is hardly home.
I know I have said this before, but it becomes more compelling as time goes on. Before Jamie started lupron therapy, Drew and Jamie were roughly the same size and build. Granted Drew was all boy in actions, but still the same size and very close as brothers.
Now Jamie is 5’2 120 lbs and now with the full estrogen treatment is starting to really fill out as a female.
Drew on the other hand is growing like crazy, almost 6’2 close to 200 lbs, and solid muscle from all of the working out and weight lifting for football. He is starting varsity tight end as a sophomore. We are so proud of him. He is starting to shape up as a man. When I hug him, I can’t get over how solid he is.
I was cracking myself up when I asked him to get the cooler from the car when we got home, the same one that Jamie and I struggled with that was still full of our stuff, he just hoisted it on his shoulder and brought it to the backyard.
They are both going into completely different directions, I hope develop and keep a relationship.
Aly always hugs Drew after his game when he does something well, Jamie is starting to do that as a sisterly gesture.
I am really proud of him, he seems really focused and is enjoying what he’s doing.
School started uneventfully for Drew and Aly, with Drew being a Sophomore and Aly going into seventh grade. They got in a groove pretty fast. I talked about Drew and football, doing awesome. Aly is planning to try out for cheering this year when basketball comes around, on top of her dance schedule.
Jamie I’m driving to my mother’s everyday. My dad had set up an area of their house dedicated to school and learning. They have internet connections where she takes tests, my mother is involved in every aspect of her curriculum.
I can’t say enough how much I appreciate my mom and dad getting involved and following thru on this. As a condition, my mom did not want Jamie coming over there “in her sweatpants, and she needs to be committed to it.” She has been. Although how wonder how sustainable it is.
It’s a short term approach to get thru this year. Jamie wants to keep it up until college, but she is missing connections with kids her own age and people in general. We may want to try to get her into another school somehow, out of this area. I could not afford a private school.
We are discussing a job for her, maybe something afternoon where people don’t know her at all. Even if it is a McDonalds or something.
As I write this in Mid-October, physically Jamie is doing great, I’m in awe of her strength and courage to go thru all of this. She is seeing her therapist regularly, and she has another physical/endo appointment coming up in November.
I know this has been an exhaustive update, but once I started I could not stop. I hope everyone is doing well. Love, Dana