Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Nearly met everyone

After going seeing my parents, sister and her family over the Easter weekend I dropped my family off at my sister-in-laws on my way home. I'd only planned to drop them off and not stopped but my hospitable sister-in-law invited me in for a coffee so I stopped briefly.

Last Saturday evening just after I'd finished dinner the phone rang and it was my son. He wanted to know if I was happy to meet up half way between our home and his Aunts when I picked him and his mum up. His Gran had suggested that she bring them half way as it would be neutral ground and she could meet Jenna. The only caveats that were put on things were that I didn't wear a skirt or dress.

I had no problem with not wearing a skirt or dress as I'd planned to wear jeans and a top.

Sunday morning arrived and it was a bright, sunny day. It was also a bit cold.

I took my time getting ready, showering and the rest of my preparations took a little while. Deciding on what foundation to wear was my biggest issue. With blue skies I wasn't sure whether my normal liquid foundation would survive if the weather became really hot so I decided to risk my new mineral foundation. It had survived an evening out the other day so I thought it might survive a day out, besides if it got really hot and it survived then it might just survive a trip to the gym.

With make-up sorted I turned to clothes. A new pair of jeans, bought with some of the money I received for my birthday, and my pink, Grizzly tee-shirt (the Grizzly is a 20 mile cross country race that takes place at Seaton in Devon early in the year which I took part in a couple of years ago. A pair of low heeled boots completed the outfit.

As it was cold I slipped on a cardigan with the intention of stopping off at Matalan to pick up a unisex jacket to wear instead.

With nearly two hours until I had to be at the meeting place I set off so I could make a couple of stops on the way. I managed to find a jacket at Matalan and then set off to meet up with everyone.

The journey was uneventful and I arrived at the Little Chef about a minute before the others. I was just about to swap the cardigan for the jacket when they arrived so I abandoned that idea and left it in the car. They'd all seen what I was wearing so there was no point in wearing the jacket.

We moved my family's luggage into our car and then made our way into the Little Chef to have some lunch.

We all sat there, we talked about various family matters and a bit about my job. I know that people weren't comfortable with it but my in-laws made an effort. Only time will tell how well they do adapt to it. A couple of times I was referred to by my old name, which is not surprising as its how my wife refers to me on the phone when talking with her family.

With lunch completed we made our way back to the car and said our goodbyes.

I've not heard anything about what my mother-in-law thought. I'm sure that I'll find out in due course. I did, however, discover that my sister-in-law said that seeing me wasn't as bad as she'd expected. I've no idea what it was she was expecting but whatever it was then it was either outrageous or badly applied make-up and horrible fashion sense.

So with sister-in-law, mother-in-law and wife's step-dad out of the way that just leaves my brother-in-law, who is still not ready to meet me, and my father-in-law, who has been seriously ill and we're visiting with me going back to a more masculine look (hair pulled back, male or androgynous clothes and a tinted moisturiser).

Brother-in-law will meet me when he's ready but I'm not going to compromise for him.

Father-in-law, well we'll see how things progress with his illness. At some point he might have to meet me as I am now because it wont be possible to hide any changes to my appearance. However, it may be that he never sees me as I am now, only time will tell.

I was expecting the experience of meeting mother-in-law to be a lot worse than it was. Its a relief to get that meeting over and done with. We'll see how things pan out there though when we're not on neutral ground with the youngsters around.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

And so we meet

Over the Easter weekend we went to Wales to stay with my parents. My sister, her husband and the twins were going to be staying as well.

We've done this before but not since I transitioned 3 months ago. We'd tried to go down and stay in February at half term so that my son could spend the week with his cousins but due to him being unwell at the time had called that trip off. This trip also coincided with my birthday so we were determined to get there.

We'd planned to go up on the Thursday but as with any plans that we make my son woke up Thursday morning and sounded like he was going down with a really heavy cold. We decided that we'd leave travelling to Wales until the Friday so that he had a day to get over the cold or for it to get sufficiently worse that we'd not be going anywhere. In the past we've ended up with him in hospital at my parents because he's spiked a high fever between us leaving home and arriving in Wales and also paid A&E a visit at 3am as it was the only place that we could get Calpol when he developed a temperature in the middle of the night.

I'd made plans for the Thursday as it was and so I spent the day treating myself to a visit to the hairdresser to get my hair coloured and trimmed, and then a visit to the salon for a facial.

Friday morning we packed the car and set off for Wales.

We arrived at lunchtime and my parents got to finally see Jenna in the flesh for the first time.

They took my new appearance in their stride and things were no different to previous visits.

Mum and Dad have seen pictures of me. I sent them some last year so they would know what to expect. I wasn't sure that they'd have kept them as I told them if they could keep them or get rid of them as they wanted. Over the weekend Mum let slip that they still had the pictures.

As it was my birthday but also the first time that they had seen me as Jenna I decided that we'd stay in and I'd do a buffet for us.

My sister and her family had been due to arrive at lunchtime but got delayed and in the end didn't set off until lunchtime. By the time they arrived it was early evening and the buffet was nearly ready.

My sister had seen pictures of me and so she was partially prepared for seeing Jenna properly for the first time. My brother-in-law hadn't seen any pictures. He took everything in his stride. He's been a real surprise because of how well he has dealt with all this. Over the weekend we had a couple of chats about treatment and things which he instigated.

The twins are young enough that they will adapt to the changes easier than everyone else. Lottie was her usual shy self when she arrived but did come out of her shell over the weekend enough to chatter to me at a couple of points. By the end of the weekend though she only wanted to cuddle to her parents and seemed to have a cold coming on.

Jess wasn't at all well over the weekend. She's got some problems with her health which flare up every 3 weeks. The doctors have yet to identify what is wrong and in some cases don't even seem to be trying to work out why she is vomiting, sleeping and stops going to the toilet for several days. As luck would have it we hit the third week of her cycle and all she did over the weekend was sleep. She hardly ate anything and a couple of times brought back up what little she'd drunk and eaten. I did manage to have her snuggled to me while she was sleeping at one point.

Saturday my sister had arranged for Mum and her to go to a spa for the morning. I took on driving duties and after paying a visit to Asda beforehand to pick up some bits and pieces, the first time that I'd been anywhere as Jenna with Mum and Sis,  we headed up towards the Brecon Beacons and the village where the spa was located.

I dropped them off and then headed back to my parents.

On the way I stopped off at the cemetery to visit my grandparents grave. I've not been there for a while and I wanted to tidy the grave up if it needed it and also spend a bit of time alone. I'm glad that I did as I found their gravestone had fallen over. There wasn't a lot I could do to put it back in place as the metal rods that had fixed it to the base had snapped through. When I picked Mum up from the spa I took her to the cemetery so that she could see the grave. She's been in touch with the council since and they are going to sort out the gravestone as its their responsibility. They had replaced the original gravestone after the bodies of my grandparents had been exhumed as part of an investigation into improper burials at the cemetery back in the early 80s.

When I got back from the cemetery I ended up popping in to the house next door where one of my oldest friends lives. We've not had the chance to have a proper chat for ages so this was a good opportunity to catch up.

Mum had told her about me and so she was prepared for it. We chatted for nearly an hour over coffee and caught up on a few things. Next time I'm at my parents I'm going to have to make the time for us to catch up properly.

Saturday afternoon we had to pop to Asda once again. This time the place was really busy. Being in the store on a Saturday afternoon didn't phase me until I got to the tills to pay for the shopping. Of all the times for their tills to stop accepting card payments Easter Saturday is not the best time. Fortunately my Sister and I had enough cash on us to pay for the shopping. I dread to think what it was like in there after we left though with so many people trying to pay for their shopping and having to do so with cash.

I got a couple of stares from people as we were leaving but I ignored them.

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful. We stayed at Mum and Dad's because the twins weren't up to going to the cinema as originally planned.

It was great to see everyone and to get them seeing me for the first time since I transitioned out of the way.

Everybody tried their best to get names and gender references right. I got called a mixture of things, Jenna, J (which is what we've agreed they can call me while their getting used to it) and also my old male name (when people forgot). I also had a mixed bag of he and she references.

I'm not sure that my parents are ever going to refer to me exclusively as Jenna or she but then its only been a few months so time will tell.

Monday we left my parents and I took the family to stay with my sister-in-law. It was a nice drive there without the usual bank holiday traffic. We'd rung to let them know when we were going to arrive as my brother-in-law had said that he wasn't ready to see me as Jenna and so was going to make himself scarce.

My plan had been to arrive, empty the car of the family's luggage and then head off home without stopping for too long. The plan changed when my sister-in-law being her usual hospitable self offered me a coffee. I stayed long enough for an amicable chat and then headed for home and a peaceful week all to myself.


Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Yesterday I had my latest appointment at The Laurels gender clinic. I had everything planned. It was to be a family trip because its Easter holidays. Everyone was told that they had to be ready to leave the house at 8 to make sure that we got to Exeter by 9:30 for my appointment.

Oh the best laid plans...

As I was putting on my make-up I hear the words "you do know that you appointment is at 9 o'clock." What! My diary says 9:30. The letter from the clinic confirming my appointment had a different time and I'd not noticed. Its an hours drive from home to Exeter. Things are going to be really tight.

I rushed through applying my make-up, grabbed my bag and a coat and we were out the door. It was 10 past 8. I switched on the Satnav and it said that we'd arrive at 10 past 9. With nothing that I could do without seriously breaking the speed limit to get us there on time we enjoyed the drive.

Just before 9 we rang the clinic to let them know that I'd be a bit late and they were fine about it.

We arrived at the car park, left the car and made our way outside. It was a nice day, overcast but not raining as forecast in the weather reports. I sent the family off into Exeter for a couple of hours with instructions to see if they could find somewhere for us to have lunch. With them heading in one direction I went in the other and made it to the clinic only slightly late.

Things were pretty relaxed and I made myself a drink before going in with S my counselor. We chatted about how things were going for the remainder of my appointment and then I went to see the doctor.

Doctor Dean asked me a few questions, one of which completely threw me. He asked me how I was getting on with the hormones. All I could do was look at him blankly and then tell him that I wasn't on hormones.

It would seem that my GP was supposed to prescribe me hormones. The blood tests I'd had were to confirm levels but didn't require me to wait until they had been done for hormones to be prescribed. Doctor Dean told me that I should go back to my GP and ask for a prescription for hormones.

After leaving the clinic I met up with the family and after a quick wander around Debenhams we went to Pizza Express for lunch.

The service there was really good until we'd finished our lunch and were about to pay for it. One of the waiters then undid all of their good work. On two occasions while dealing with us he called me, just loud enough for me to be unsure if I'd heard correctly or not, "sir". I couldn't be sure that is what he said but after we'd left the restaurant my other half asked me if he'd called me sir so I'm pretty sure that I heard correctly. Its only the second time that has happened to me and I'm not positive about the first time it happened.

When we got back from Exeter I tried to make an appointment with my GP but she wasn't available. However, I managed to remedy that today and after explaining things to her I finally received a prescription for estrogen. Tomorrow after nearly 45 years on this Earth I will begin taking hormones to help me be that one step closer to being who I should have been when I was born.