Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mama Mades



This is a pair of booties that I made for our little bean. They were the second pair of booties I ever made. I didn't have the guage figured out well and they are teeny tiny. Both fit pretty much in the palm of my hand, so I suppose they will probably only fit the bean for the first week or two, but I don't mind. His little toes will need to stay warm.



I learned to make hats last winter and these are from then. Two are small, and one is slightly bigger. Having a baby in Canada in January, I imagine he'll be wearing hats a lot.



I don't know where I got the idea to make a sock monkey hat, but onceit was in my head it was too cute to ignore, so I adapted my basic hat pattern, adding a pom-pom and ear flaps. Jen wants me to add on monkey ears, so I still have to do that. The thumbless mittens I made up. I think it'll look very cute when he's wearing a plain white onesie and these handmades. Be on the lookout for pictures. ;)



Leftover sock monkey wool got make into a larger sized hat and some booties.



More leftover wool into a stripey hat. I like stripes.



Finally some matching mama-baby hats. I made the big hat for myself last spring and had just enough left over for a baby hat. We'll look cute on our walks together.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

This year Christmas will be a little different for us, since we can't travel to the States to visit Jen's family.


Like usual, we will go to my mom's later today for Christmas Eve and celebrate with my family there. This year we will spend the night. We've been invited to my cousins' house for dinner on Christmas Day and will see them, my Aunt and Uncle and my Nana there. Boxing day Jen's parents will drive up to spend a couple of days with us. So far we have no plans for New Year's Eve, and hope to keep it relatively quiet. It should be a nice holiday week. I'm looking forward to some low-key time with Jen and our family.

Every year that we've lived together, Jen and I have added a Santa to our collection. Here they all are, the most recent one is at the bottom.









Hope everyone enjoys their holidays. Best wishes for the new year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ultrasound Update

Our secondary midwife called again yesterday (our primary midwife is on holiday through the end of the month). She wanted to let us know that she's referring us to the "high risk" ultrasound clinic. Not exactly reassuring, but she did go on to explain that the technicians there are allowed to discuss results as they see them, so we won't have to wait and wonder how the bean is doing. I told her that we are getting anxious about having so many ultrasounds, but she indicated that they wouldn't recommend them unless they thought they were necessary and said we could talk about the risks involved at our appointment on Monday. Their concern is IUGR -Intrauterine Growth Restriction and that the baby is SGA -Small for Gestational Age. I'm still not sure another ultrasound is the right thing to do, but if we didn't do it and then there were a big problem that could have been detected I know I would regret it. *Sigh.* Jen seems a lot bigger this week, so my hope is that they'll do the fundal height measurement and say we don't need to have another ultrasound, although my feeling is that even if she is measuring bigger, they'll still send us for the ultrasound. I guess we'll see on Monday.

Movement

Just a short video I took last night of the baby moving around... watch for him around 30 seconds in and then again right near the end. He's pretty active, especially in the evenings when Jen is relaxing on the couch. (And after she's had some jellybeans! ;) )

video

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Favourite Website!

Jen and I have been having a somewhat difficult time coming up with a short list of names. There's one name that we've been leaning heavily towards, a few that we both like a lot, and then some others that either I like or she likes, but we don't agree on. We aren't going to make any final decisions until we meet our little guy, but we do want to have a list of maybe 5 names or so that we would strongly consider. We tend to always look at the same few names... that is, until yesterday when I found this awesome website called Nymbler. You type in your favourite names and it throws back suggestions on other names you might like. Then, when you click on the name it tells you it's origin, meaning, rank in terms of popularity, etc. SO COOL!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ultrasound Results

So, we went to the ultrasound clinic again on Tuesday so that they could check on the size of the bean. He's still measuring small. Actually, he went from being in the 20th percentile at our previous appointment, to being in the 15th percentile at this one. Because of that, they did a biophysical profile measuring things like muscle tone, movement, breathing movements, the amount of amniotic fluid, and umbilical artery flow. All those results came back fine, but they still indicated that they want us to come back for another ultrasound in two weeks. We're not thrilled with having to go in for so many ultrasounds. We're sort of debating whether we want to do any more actually. Hopefully Jen and baby have a bit of a growth spurt over the next few weeks and it becomes a non-issue.

I just checked Jen's baby book and she weighed 6lbs, 10oz at birth and was 20 inches long, which is on the lower side of average. I guess it shouldn't be that unexpected that our baby might be on the smallish side too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More Concerns

So, it's been a while since I last posted. (I won't count the one I just put up, because that was actually something I had drafted about a month ago and then kind of forgot about until just now.) Things have been busy here. We've been doing a lot of preparation for the bean's arrival and I have to say, I think we are close to being ready... or at least as ready as we're going to be!

I'm feeling a little bit anxious about his arrival. I am still overjoyed that we are having a baby and excited to meet him, but I'm concerned about how we will manage once he's here. I worried that Jen will suffer from post-partum depression and I won't know how to help her if she does. I'm also concerned that I will be overwhelmed and stressed out and possibly become depressed. I wonder if this is how many dads feel. I've never really heard any guys talk about it.

I'm planning on taking the first two weeks following the birth off of work, so that Jen and I can both be at home. I actually need to call today and see if I can take the time as parental leave (and get some money from the government) or if I will have to take it as unpaid emergency leave. Either way, I will take the time. Being a kindergarten teacher, I anticipate that I won't have the energy or patience necessary to do my job well during that transition time, but any longer than two weeks away would be too disruptive to my class.

Jen will take the 17 weeks of maternity leave, and follow with the 35 weeks of parental leave allowed by the government. (Or 33 if my two weeks count as parental leave.) I am SO glad that she will be able to take the full year. I know so many parents go back to work after just six weeks, but I can't imagine how difficult it must be for them.

Jen's mom is also going to come down for at least one week after I return to work to help out. I'm sure my mom and sister will also be around to help, but having Jen's mom here for a full week will be great.

I guess the only other news of significance is that we had a follow-up ultrasound to check on the bean's kidneys and everything came back clear. However, he was measuring in the 20th percentile, which is a little small, and Jen's belly hasn't been measuring bigger the past few appointments so yesterday our midwife said to book another ultrasound to make sure that his growth is on-target. Jen's kind of upset about it because people keep telling her how small she looks and it's really getting on her nerves. She was very slim before getting pregnant and is also long-waisted, so I think that contributes a lot to her not appearing huge, but when you compare pictures of week 4 to week 32 there is a BIG difference. The midwife said those two things in combination with the fact that the baby is already sitting very low might be why she's measuring small, so hopefully there is no reason for concern. I love seeing the bean, but I'm tired of worrying about things being wrong. Hopefully this will be the last ultrasound. We go in this afternoon.

The Other Mother

Somewhat surprisingly to me, one of the questions I haven't been asked much is what the baby is going to call us. It's been a discussion around here since before we were truly planning to have a baby. Neither of us has an ethnic background who's name for "Mom" we want to use. We could go the whole "Mommy Allie"/"Mommy Jenny" route, but how long before the "Mommy" gets dropped and the kids are just calling us by our first names? I don't really like that. I'd be okay with being Mama to Jen's Mom or Mommy... but again, I'm concerned that Mama is a name that's too babyish for an older child to call their mom. So, names are still up in the air.

On a related note, I've been reading a some books about lesbian mothers and have a few others on my bookshelf.

Two that I've read are Confessions of the Other Mother: Non-biological Lesbian Mothers Tell All and Who's Your Daddy? I thought both were good... sometimes funny, sometimes thought-provoking. Both were fairly quick reads.

Some others I'm hoping to get a look at before the bean gets here are Don't call me daddy : a lesbian mom on sperm donors, not being pregnant, and the ups and downs of being the other mother (currently on hold and the library) and Families Like Mine, Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is (on my bookshelf).

So, mommies, what do your little ones call you?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Baby Shower, Take Two

We had our second (local) baby shower last weekend. My sister and a friend from high school co-hosted. We included guys this time because my cousins really wanted to be there, one of my oldest friends is transgendered and we wanted him there, and a lot of our other friends are in couples so we thought it would be nice to be inclusive. The guys were totally into it! A lot of them had never been to a baby shower before so I think they had a a lot of fun.

Again, we got so spoiled. We are well on our way to being prepared for our little guy's arrival. I think the only two things we really NEED still are a crib matress and a glider for the nursery. Not too bad with two months to go!

Here are pictures of the cake my aunt made and the cupcakes my sister made:





Talented ladies that they are, both also gave handmade gifts for our little boy. The green hat and mitts are from my sister and the white hat and mitts and bunting bag with star hat and booties are from my aunt.







We're so lucky to be able to wrap our baby up in items made with love just for him.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Baby Showers and Laundry Mishaps

Last weekend we drove to the States because Jen's mom was throwing us a baby shower. It was a quick trip there and back (we arrived at 1am on Saturday morning, and left at about 2pm on Sunday afternoon) but we had a really nice time. A lot of Jen's family was there, as well as some friends of the family and friends of ours, including my best friend who flew in from Boston for the event. I felt a little bit overwhelmed, but also very lucky that we have so many loving and supportive people in our lives.



We came home with a trunk FULL of baby gear. The two big items that we really wanted and received as gifts were a co-sleeper (from Jen's parents) and a Medela Breast Pump (group gift from Jen's other relatives). We also received receiving blankets, onesies, sleepers, outfits, toys, bottles, a few baby carriers, a nursing pillow, and a gorgeous handmade blanket among other things.

Yesterday I was trying to be productive and get all of the clothes and blankets and whatnot washed and put away, so I threw some of the stuff into the laundry with a blanket. Even though I put it through on a cold cycle, and even though I was careful to separate anything I thought might bleed, something bled all over the new baby stuff. I was so mad at myself. I was up until 1am soaking things in Oxiclean and rinsing them trying to get things back to their correct colour. I was able to get some of the stains out, but most of stuff that was white is now a more "organic cotton" colour. I'm about to go downstairs again now to try to give things one last rinse in the machine. I'm not as upset as I was yesterday, but I'm still upset. Jen reminded me that the baby's going to spit up all over most of it anyway, but I'll be able to forgive him for that a lot more easily than I can forgive myself.

Anyway, off to do laundry... Again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It Gets Better

I'm sure many of you have read about the recent epidemic of teens, some gay and some perceived to be gay, who have been bullied to the point where they have decided to take their lives. It's been in the media a lot lately. So has news of Dan Savage's "It Gets Better Project", but I think it's worth mentioning again.

Dan Savage, asked gay men and women to post videos on YouTube talking to younger gay men and women about times when they had been harassed for being gay, and share one simple message with them: IT GETS BETTER. I think this is a brilliant step in promoting support and encouragement to marginalized youth.

You can go here to watch some of the bravest and most inspirational testimonies you'll ever see.

My technical skills are not the best, and although I would like to contribute, I have not yet done so. However, I will say this: I am glad I am here. I remember feeling completely helpless after being kicked out of my home for being gay. For months I felt hollow. I didn't know how I would survive --and there were times I didn't want to. But I am glad I did. As I said in my previous post I have a lot to be thankful for. It does get better.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Giving Thanks

Today was a rough day at work. Actually, it's been a bit of a rough week. I've been feeling very overwhelmed and under supported in many ways and then something came up today that sent me into a depressed state where I am not only questioning what I can be doing to change things at work, but if the place I am working is the right place for me at all. Not a good feeling.

But, rather than focus on the negative, as can be so easy to do, I thought I would try to find some things I am thankful for in my everyday life. (This past Monday was Thanksgiving in Canada, so the thought of thankfulness has been on my mind.)

1. I am thankful for by loving and caring wife.
2. I am thankful for our baby who will be born in just a few more months.
3. I am thankful for my family, both birth family and my in-laws who I adore.
4. I am thankful to be healthy.
5. I am thankful for all of the amazing friends I have.
6. I am thankful for my cat. She has such a good disposition and is wonderfully cuddly and cute.
7. I am thankful to have a nice home.
8. I am thankful to have a job in which I feel I have the potential to positively influence peoples' lives.
9. I am thankful that I have the resources to have a comfortable life and that I do not need to worry about my basic needs being met.
10. I am thankful to have hobbies that I enjoy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Etsy Finds

I woke up early this morning. I really didn't want to get up, but I was tossing and turning for a couple of hours and was starting to worry that I'd wake up Jen if I didn't just get out of bed. So, I've been up since about 5:30am. I crocheted the bean a little red and white striped hat while the cat kept me company. Then I did some ironing. Then some online banking. Jen got up while I was poking around online and we made some breakfast. She's working on a course she's taking now, so I thought I'd take the chance to update the blog with some of those Etsy finds I was talking about the other day.

CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES


birdyboots


bostonbeanies


CritterJitters


thesittingtree


threekittensknitting


woolybaby

TOYS


robinandmould


mikebtoys


isabellsumbrella


littlesaplingstoys


birdandlittlebird


luvlugurumi

ART


joojoo


sloeginfizz


junecraft


sarahjanestudio


naokosstoop


kikiandpolly

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quick Update

Things are chugging along more or less as usual right now.

I'm a teacher and am now back to my regular work schedule after having the summer off and am still adjusting a little bit. So far I'm enjoying the new year. I seem to have a nice group of students and am looking forward to when we're settled into a routine as right now things still feel somewhat, well, unsettled.

We had a midwife appointment again last week and things are looking pretty good with the bean. We did get some abnormal test results (again) on our last ultrasound. This time it showed a small sac growing off of one of the kidneys. Our midwife reassured us that this is not uncommon and it usually resolves before birth, and if not then, shortly after. The most common side effect is UTIs and often babies born with this problem are put onto antibiotics right after birth to try to prevent this from happening. We really aren't too concerned, but we will be going in for another ultrasound in about a month to check on how things are progressing. I'm hoping it's a non-issue by then.

We picked up some more (used) MotherEase cloth diapers and a small assortment of diaper covers. Someone had them listed on Craigslist and we ended up getting them for a great price. I was telling one of my co-workers about having to go pick them up and she offered to bring me in some covers she's done with now that her kids are all potty-trained, so we got even more covers from her. They aren't all in the best shape, but I think it's nice to have the assortment.

A couple of things regarding cloth diapers. One, so many people I've spoken to and blogs I've read have talked about how CDing a newborn is so hard because you're so tired and they're so little and such poop so often, so I think we will plan on having some small disposable diapers for the first few weeks. Two, I have decided that covers with snaps wear MUCH better than covers with Velcro/hook and loop closures. I totally get that Velcro is quick and easy and probably lets you adjust to your baby's size a bit better, but I hate the way it seems to get the diapers all pilled and rolls and gets threads caught in it. I think we'll try to get covers with snaps when possible so that they stay in better condition for a longer amount of time.

I've had to restrain myself from looking at too much baby stuff (clothes/toys) online because so much of it is so cute and I want to get it for our little guy but I know it's not likely we'll need it, so I'm trying to hold back. I do hope to do an update at some point with some of the adorable items I've found on Etsy. If I give in, it's likely to be from something on there. :)

My laptop battery is dying so I guess that's about it for now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cloth Diapers

This post isn't going to be what I had intended it to be: a well-researched post listing the pros and cons of various cloth diaper options and seeking out real-life opinions and responses to said research. The real-life opinions are still very much welcome, but I haven't done the research I intended to.

Jen and I decided that despite my mother-in-laws strong favouritisim towards disposables (she cloth diapered but LOVED it when she would get disposables as a gift), we would like to try cloth diapering. Both of us hate the idea of filling a landfill with thousands of our child's diapers. We create enough garbage as it is, if we can reduce the amount by cloth diapering our child, we will try it. Not to mention that cloth diapering is supposedly less expensive and also better for the child in terms of being better for their skin and eventually toilet training.

My sister, who is a bit of a modern-day hippie, was pleased to hear that we were going to try to give cloth diapering a go. She hasn't had children but is very pro cloth diapering. Perhaps needless to say, there's a whole other story to this, but she had a good stash of cloth diapers that she was willing to give us. So we now have:
-11 unbleached MotherEase diapers
-6 bleached MotherEase diapers
-10 waterproof Kushies all-in-ones
-15 cotton Kushies all-in-ones
-3 Kushies covers
-1 gDiaper cover
-2 packages of gDiaper refills
-1 roll of flushable liners
-12 prefolds
All but four of the waterproof Kushies are from her.


It's a good start, but we know we're going to need to increase our stash, and the big question now is, with what? I think we'll definitely buy some MotherEase covers since we have quite a few of their diapers. We've also looked at Bummis, BumGenius, Thirsties, MonkeyDoodlez and gDiapers. I've read some not-so-great reviews of gDiapers so as much as I think they are super-cute and really WANT to like them, I'm quite hesitant. MonkeyDoodlez seem similar to gDiapers, so I'm not so sure about them either. My guess is that we'll end up with at least some of each of the other three options. I like that Thirsties appear to come in smaller sizes (for newborns), and Bummis offers a starter pack that seems quite good, and BumGenius are all-in-ones which seems like it might be easier than the prefolds. There's also Bumkins and about 100 other options out there though, so I really don't know.

Anyone with cloth diapering experience who wants to throw their two cents in would be more than welcome to right now!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Two More Articles

I came across these articles while searching the internet for cloth diaper options. They're about same-sex and lesbian parenting, not cloth diapering, but I thought people looking at this blog might be interested. More on cloth diapering later...


No Harm From Having Same-Sex Parents Researcher Shows

An international research study has shown there is no disadvantage to having same-sex parents verses opposite-sex ones.

Some groups have long claimed that children need one male and one female parent in order to be emotionally adjusted. This new research shows that the quality of parenting has far more to do than the gender of parents for raising children. Sociologists from the University of California looked at 81 different studies on families and found no differences in children raised by a variety of parents. The researchers, Stacey and Timothy Biblarz, spent 5 years looking over the data before coming to this conclusion.

“Children being raised by same-gender parents, on most all of the measures that we care about, self-esteem, school performance, social adjustment and so on, seem to be doing just fine and, in most cases, are statistically indistinguishable from kids raised by married moms and dads on these measures,” Biblarz says.

This research not only looks at same-sex couples and how they parent, but also at single parents who raise their children alone. Again, quality of parenting counts more towards raising healthy children.
–Summer, Staff Writer
Source: http://www.growingyourbaby.com/2010/01/26/no-harm-from-having-same-sex-parents-researcher-shows/


Study: Kids of Same-Sex Moms Do Better Than Peers

Two researchers from the US and Amsterdam combined to do the first ever study on children of same-sex moms. The results shocked many as it revealed that these children scored far higher than children of straight parents on many different levels.

Researchers Nanette Gartrell, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, and Henry Bos, a behavioral scientist at the University of Amsterdam, tracked children who were raised by same-sex moms. Following the children from birth through adolescence, the researchers wanted to see how different children raised in two-mother families would be in social development. Previous studies had found no differences, though these studies often included the children of parents who had came out as lesbians later in life. For this study, the researchers wanted parents that identified as homosexual from the start.

While in areas of development and social behavior the two groups of children scored very similarly, the researchers were shocked to find major differences in other areas. Children raised by same-sex moms scored much better than those in traditional families when it came to of self-esteem and confidence. These children also did better academically, and had lower levels of reported behavioral problems.

“We simply expected to find no difference in psychological adjustment between adolescents reared in lesbian families and the normative sample of age-matched controls,” says Gartrell. “I was surprised to find that on some measures we found higher levels of [psychological] competency and lower levels of behavioral problems. It wasn’t something I anticipated.”

Of the children from same-sex parents, nearly half had reported teasing, ostracism or discrimination based on their parents. When the children were surveyed at age 10 there was some higher levels of stress due to these problems, however by age 17 the stress levels were average.

“Obviously there are some factors that may include family support and changes in education about appreciation for diversity that may be helping young people to come to a better place despite these experiences,” says Gartrell.

The researchers are not certain as to why the children of same-sex moms score better, but they think it has something to do with the negative discrimination these families face. Gartrell believes that same-sex parents make parenting a higher priority because they are aware that their children will face stigmatization. These parents may also be more likely to actively discuss topics such as tolerance and discrimination with their children.

“They are very involved in their children’s lives,” she says of the lesbian parents. “And that is a great recipe for healthy outcomes for children. Being present, having good communication, being there in their schools, finding out what is going on in their schools and various aspects of the children’s lives is very, very important.”

More research is being planned for the future, and the researchers hope to collect data on two father families next.
–Summer, staff writer
Source: http://www.growingyourbaby.com/2010/06/10/study-kids-of-same-sex-moms-do-better-than-peers/

Monday, August 23, 2010

In the Clear

The ultrasound results came back clear. THANK GOODNESS! Our baby appears to be healthy and developing normally. It also appears to be a boy!

Before we even started fertility treatments I was quite sure that we would have a boy. Then once Jen was a few months pregnant, I thought, "Oh my, what if it's a girl and here I've been thinking boy, boy, boy?" And from that point on I started thinking of our baby as a little girl. So, when we got these ultrasound results I was thrown for a bit of a loop. (As were most people we've told -it seems almost everyone thought we were having a girl.) We were cautioned that it is a little early to tell, and have an ultrasound scheduled at the beginning of Septmeber that is typically the one where you find out the sex, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to change.

I'm excited to know the sex, but also a little bit nervous about having a boy. What do I know about being a boy? Will he have good male role-models in his life? Will he grow up happy and well-adjusted? (A concern no matter what the sex.) I hope we're good mamas to our little guy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Anxiety-causing News

I didn't plan on updating this soon, but we got a call from our midwife today. She had just got in our second set of bloodwork from the genetic screening we did and there was an abnormal result. Jen's alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels came back slightly high (2.38 vs. 2.30) which may indicate a neural tube defect, specifically spina bifida. She said that that level indicates a 1/631 chance of the baby having spina bifida. From what I was able to find out online, normal chances are about 1/1000. I'm trying not to worry, but spina bifida sort of runs in Jen's family. She had an uncle who died shortly after birth who had it, and also has a cousin with it.

The plan now is to go in for another ultrasound at the end of this week. I think they'll be able to see the baby's spine and determine if it does have spina bifida.

I cried after hanging up the phone and just kept repeating, "Please don't let our baby be sick." I then proceeded to look up information online and was somewhat able to convince myself not to worry... too much... at least not yet.

From what I read Jen did everything she could to prevent this. She took prenatal vitamins with folic acid in them before conceiving, and then took additional folic acid suppliments during the first month or two. She's been eating a lot of breads and leafy greens and eggs all of which are also supposed to contain folic acid.

This is going to be a difficult week.

I keep thinking of the last ultrasound and how excited we were to see the bean moving all around and how everything seemed so wonderful and amazing.

I really hope our baby is okay.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Update

Things here are going well. We've been really busy the past few weeks, but there hasn't been much new baby-wise to report on. We've had our second appointment with the midwife where we got to listen to the bean's heartbeat, which was pretty cool. Our next appointment is towards the end of this month and at the beginning of September we have another ultrasound where we'll find out whether we're having a boy or a girl. (Yes we're finding out, and yes, we're telling people. I know people who prefer it to be a surprise, but we're both impatient and want to know!) Jen's starting to show a little bit and we even picked up some maternity clothes recently, which was a good thing, because her old pants are definitely NOT fitting her anymore!

We've done a couple more road trips. A couple of weekends ago we drove out of town to visit my mom and see her new house. She used to live in a herritage home that had some really beautiful features, so we were sure we'd like the new place as much, but we actually liked it even more. The layout is great and even though it's not as impressive, it has a homier feel than her other place did. We could definitely picture spending Christmas and holidays there and having kids running around and whatnot. Last weekend we went to see Jen's family again since her brother and his family were visiting from overseas and we really wanted to see our nephew and meet our neice (who's almost a year and a half). We could not believe how big they were! It's too bad we don't get to see them more often. They are just so adorable. Then, this past weekend we drove just across the border to see our favourite band play. It was a lot of fun. The show was good and we got to go backstage and hang out with the band afterwards which was really nice. They were really happy to hear that Jen is pregnant and even asked if they could be "Aunties" to the bean, which I thought was very cute, and of course agreed to. :)

Now we're home, but still farily busy for the rest of the summer. There's visiting to do and barbeques to go to before September starts. I'll try to update if there's anything new going on.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

First Baby Picture

We went in this morning for some (optional but routine) genetic screening. As a result we got to watch The Bean move all around for about half an hour while the ultrasound tech took various measurements and screencaps/photos. It was so amazing! I could not stop smiling. In fact, I'm smiling just thinking about it. The Bean was not too co-operative in terms of positioning in such a way that the tech could get good measurements, but I think that meant we got to watch for longer, so I was okay with it! Maybe my favourite part was when The Bean appeared to be sucking on his/her toe. Too cute!

Here's our first baby picture:


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Interesting Article: Are Father's Necessary?

My father-in-law passed along his copy of The Atlantic to us because he thought we'd find the cover story interesting. This one section, in particular, stood out to me:

On average, lesbian parents spend more time with their children than fathers do. They rate disputes with their children as less frequent than do hetero couples, and describe co-parenting more compatibly and with greater satisfaction. Their kids perceive their parents to be more available and dependable than do the children of heteros. They also discuss more emotional issues with their parents. They have fewer behavioral problems, and show more interest in and try harder at school.

According to Stacey and Biblarz, "Two women who chose to become parents together seemed to provide a double dose of a middle-class 'feminine' approach to parenting.” And, they conclude, “based strictly on the published science, one could argue that two women parent better on average than a woman and a man, or at least than a woman and man with a traditional division of family labor.”

-From The Atlantic, July/August 2010
Are Father's Necessary? by Pamela Paul

I find the first part of the article encouraging. As for the second part, Jen and I have often discussed how glad we are that we're able to avoid traditional gender expectations, particularly around household division of labour. For the most part we take turns doing different tasks, depending on how each of us is feeling that day. I imagine it will be much the same once we have a child. Anyway, I just found it interesting and thought I would share.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thrifty Finds

We're back from our trip to see Jen's family. We had a very nice, low-key holiday. We were able to get together with a number of family members and friends while we were away and share our good news with them. Everyone seemed very excited. We had to fight hard with my wife's grandmother to convince her to let us call family members living further away. (In the end we actually compromised, and we called family that we're closer with while she called some of the others.)

So, in some of the baby excitement, we’ve started trying to find some basics. First one of my co-workers who is moving overseas offered us some of his children’s belongings that they weren’t going to be taking with them in the move. Then one of Jen’s ex co-workers who doesn’t plan on having any more children did the same. We also hit up some garage sales both in our hometown and when we went to visit my partner’s parents and did verywell finding essentials like bibs, onesies, sleepers, little outfits at amazing prices.

Items we found here.

Items we found at Jen's parents'.

I also found a bunting snowsuit on Craigslist and some more clothes being given away on a Yahoo! group.

I’m really pleased with what we’ve been able to get at such reasonable prices. (So far we've spent under $50.) I’ve washed and ironed everything we've brought home, and if I do say so myself, it all looks fantastic! Our little Bean is going to be set! Not to mention all the items that were given to us like a BabyBjorn, umbrella stroller, JollyJumper, car seat for when The Bean is older etc. and, items that have been bought for us, including some very cute little onesies an awesome infant car seat from Grandma and Grandpa.

I’d have to say the biggest challenge so far has been trying to find clothing items that are gender-neutral. We won’t be able to find out the sex of the baby for a while yet, but we will once it’s possible. It’s too bad that so much of what’s made for babies seems so gender-specific, but I am still very happy with our finds.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

First Ultrasound

Just over a week ago, on June 4th, we had our first ultrasound at the fertility clinic.

The ultrasound confirmed the pregnancy. An ultrasound tech was in the room with us, and afterwards one of the clinic's doctors met with us to discuss the results. It was a little bit difficult trying to figure out what everything was on the ultrasound. I knew I wasn't really supposed to, but I did ask the tech a few questions. I could tell where the embryo was and, when the view was correct, I could see the heartbeat. (I confirmed with the tech that that's what I was seeing.) Seeing the heartbeat made me tear up a little bit. I felt a little bit bad that Jen wasn't able to see it at the same time as me, but later on the ultrasound tech moved the screen so that she could see too. The tech didn't print an image for us. She seemed to think we'd be back soon-ish and that a picture of what we saw that day wouldn't really be as interesting as one from a few weeks down the line.

The doctor told us that the ultrasound indicated a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. The embryo is implanted in a good place (i.e. it is not an ectopic pregnancy). The heartrate was supposed to be over 110bpm, and was 140. And the size, 1.17cm, indicated that the embryo was 7w2d old. (A little different from our other calculations, but for now, we am sticking with our original age and due date predictions, just for simplicity's sake.) The doctor said that since everything looked good he was okay with not seeing us again, but that if we wanted to we could always book another ultrasound or appointment. We have our first appointment with our midwife at the end of June, so decided we wouldn't make any other appointments at the clinic unless we became concerned about something and wanted to come in to make sure everything was okay.

Since the ultrasound we have told many more people about the pregnancy.

Before the people who knew were:
-my in-laws
-my twin sister
-my best friend (who was visiting us when we took the positive home test)
-our friend, who we had considered as a donor
-Jen's old co-worker/close friend
-one of my co-workers, and later my boss
-two of Jen's co-workers, and later her boss and his wife
-some friends and the owner of the martial arts gym where Jen instructs and I train
(Goodness! That seems like a lot of people!)

Now we've told:
-my mom, dad, brother, Nana, and two cousins
-the rest of my co-workers

We will tell the rest of Jen's family when we go down to visit them at the end of the month. Following that we'll probably tell everyone. We should be at about 12 weeks by then, which seems like a good time to start sharing the news with anyone who doesn't already know.

The past few weeks we've been spending a good bit of time looking through "The Pregnancy Bible", which we bought around the time we started trying to conceive, and "The Pregnancy Journal" which Jen's old co-worker sent to us when she found out we were pregnant. We've also signed up for weekly email updates from babycentre.ca that show what's happening each week. All three have been great resources.

Oh, and finally, we've started calling our baby "The Bean", or just "Bean" for short.

We're feeling pretty good around here. (Minus Jen's constantly queasy stomach, but I'll save talking about that for another time, perhaps.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Good News***

It feels like I've been waiting AGES to post this... I decided I'd make myself wait until six weeks, just to be on the safe(r) side. We're pregnant! Words cannot describe how happy I am. Of course, there's also a good bit of anxiety mixed in there too. I think/hope that after tweleve weeks that will start to fade a bit.

Here's "The Story". I wrote it about two weeks ago, after the clinic and our GP had confirmed things.

As we walked into the building, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that this time it was going to work. I bit my tongue. I didn’t want Jen to feel any added pressure. Just as I was thinking all this out in my mind, she turned to me and said, “I think this time it’s going to work.” I looked at her and told her, “Me too.”

Friday, ten days after the insemination, Jen took a home pregnancy test. She didn’t even tell me until the next day. It had come out negative.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. We drove out of the city to take my mom out for lunch. When we got back there was a message from our good friend, who we had considered using as a donor, on the machine.

Here's a transcription of his message:
“Hey you two, this is [your friend] calling, it’s ah, quarter after nine here, Sunday morning. I had a vision this week. I had a very clear vision that you all are going to have a baby very soon. If you’re not preggers already, don’t worry, it’s going to happen very soon. It came to me like the wind. It just blew through my bones as I was walking down the street. So, just hang in there. It’s all going to happen. It’s been confirmed! The angels have spoken! I am the messenger. Oh lordy, I need to have a cup of coffee... wake myself up here. Anyways, I have some clients coming soon, I had a half hour here, or forty five minutes actually, I thought I’d try and catch up with you guys. So hope you’re having a great day, and we’ll talk soon. Alright, take care. Bye bye”

Monday morning I got up and started getting ready. Jen followed me into the bathroom. She had another test with her. We both watched for the results. A horizontal blue line showed up. Not surprised, I went into the kitchen to make my tea. Moments later, she came out of the bathroom holding the pregnancy test. Her eyes were wide as she brought it over to me. “It’s faint, but there’s another line! I think I’m pregnant!” I looked, she was right, there was another line, blue and vertical. Faint, but distinctly there. I hugged her. She was pregnant!

Tuesday she went back to the clinic for the follow-up blood work. Our expectations from the day before were confirmed.

Our doctor told us that she is four week pregnant. Our baby is due January 21st, 2011.



PHOTO

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Having a Baby: Priceless

One of the big questions we had when we began this process was how much it was going to cost. We have decent paying jobs and modest savings, but we needed to make some decisions about what we could afford. We didn’t want to go this route, but by way of example, IVF at $10,000+ an attempt would not be an option for us.

Here is a breakdown of the costs we have incurred:

One-time administration fee: $150
Sperm, eight samples (bulk price): $3800
Storage for three years: $675

Personal Profile, three: $20 USD each
Lifetime Photo series (2 photos): $25 USD

Psychiatrist visit (mandatory): $350*

Cycle Monitoring Fee: $40/cycle
Shipping: $105/cycle
IUI fee: $25/insemination

Acupuncture: $75/visit, 2 visits/insemination*

Progesterone: $75, $274.67*, $265.09*

Parking: ~$30/cycle
Home Pregnancy Tests: ~$10 each, 2 tests/insemination

Items that are starred (*) are covered, in part, by the supplemental insurance I have through work. Also, all the costs are not mandatory. We don't have to do cycle monitoring through the clinic, but feel it makes sense to do so. Likewise, the acupuncture is optional, but we've heard it can help and feel it's worthwhile. We don't have to order profiles or photos or take home pregnancy tests, but want to. And so on...

In total, I think after five attempts, it's cost about $8000, about $1500 of which has been reimbursed by supplemental insurance. Of course, with each attempt, the cost increases, but in the end it will all be more than worthwhile.

It reminds me of those MasterCard commercials.

Having a baby: Priceless.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Three Months?!

Oh my! I cannot believe it's been nearly three months since I last updated. I've thought about updating often, but I guess there have been a few things holding me back. #1. Time. #2. What to write about. #3. I'm still trying to decide whether I want to be blogging about this. I first decided to start blogging just to kind of keep track of what we're going through not only for our own purposes, but also in case there was anyone out there who was going through something similar and could benefit from us sharing our experiences. But then I start to wonder if that's self-indulgent, thinking that someone would be interested in our experiences. I've also found a number of other blogs since starting this one so a little bit I think there's resources and networks and whatnot out there already... no one needs us to do this. I'm still not 100% decided. I guess I'll continue for now and if I decide to stop, I can always stop.

The other thing that's been holding me back a bit is trying to decide what degree of information about myself and my family to be "out there". Do I disclose what city we live in? Our names? I feel like in part I'm writing this because I want people to be able to relate, but at the same time I don't necessarily want my co-workers or neighbours to be reading it. Actually, I haven't even told my wife that I started a blog yet. Not that I think she'll mind. I'm just kind of hesitant about the whole thing still.

Anyway, with that said, I will update about what we've been going through the past few months.

As I mentioned before, we did our first insemination attempt in November. It was unsuccessful. The fertility clinic we go to was closed over the winter holidays, so we didn't go in that month. January my wife ovulated early, so we didn't do an insemination that month either. February we had another unsuccessful attempt. We are now about a week into waiting to find out whether our March attempt was successful or not. My wife is somewhat convinced she will be able to tell right away whether it has "worked" or not, so I think she is not so optimistic about this month's results. I, on the other hand, think that I will wait until we've at least done a home pregnancy test before giving up hope. (Not that she's given up hope completely.)

We did have an appointment with our fertility doctor today. She called us in a little unexpectedly. Since we've had three attepts, we wondered if she wanted to meet with us so she could push some drugs on us. We both have a suspicion that the clinic wants good stats so they will start pushing the drugs if things aren't happening naturally. Fortunately that was not the case. The doctor's concern is that there have been a few months where my wife has ovulated early and even though all the numbers come back looking great on, say, day 8 or 9, that the follicle (egg) might not be mature enough when she does ovulate. She explained that we could go the route of taking very low doses of drugs to delay ovulation another day or two, but that she wouldn't really recommend that right now. What she wanted us to consider was not doing insemination attempts before day 10 if my wife were to ovulate early again. We're trying to avoid using drugs to help in the process because we would like to decrease the chance of multiples, but were agreeable to putting off inseminations for any months she ovulates early. So we're good for now. Hopefully the early ovulations have just been sort of one-off things and we don't have to think about this again, but I guess if they become a pattern we will reevaluate.

Right now this is the monthly process we're going through:
Day 1 -call clinic to notify them that my wife has started her cycle
Day 3 -go in in morning for blood work and full-bladder ultrasound to measure her hormone levels and follicle size
Day 8 -go in in morning for blood work and empty bladder ultrasound
-continue this until follicle has reached appropriate size (1.8mm or larger) and hormone levels (estradiol and luteinizing hormone) have spiked signaling ovulation
-on day that this happens go in at noon for IUI
-start progestrone treatments (the first time we didn't use any, then we used a twice-daily supository, and now are using Crinone, a once-daily supository, which I think we will stick with on any future attempts)
-two weeks following IUI go in in morning for bloodwork/pregnancy test

I guess that's enough of an update for now. I will try to post again soon(er).