Holy. Heck.

Since the insemination extravaganza, D hasn’t felt pregnant. With her first pregnancy, she felt pregnant within a few days, so we didn’t feel optimistic. At 8DPO, which is when we had a positive HPT with J, we did a FRER and it was starkly negative. I said “maybe it’s too early” but really, I was sure we were out, and moved on to thinking about the logistics of next month’s attempts. (That same day, Di had a few minutes of cramping  – the only unusual thing she’s felt in the last ten days.) Last night, we talked about Di testing again today, at 10DPO. But she forgot and peed in the morning, so we didn’t test until this evening. I still didn’t feel terrible optimistic. I have a baby shower to go to tomorrow for a good friend, and I picked up some adorable wool socks that I wasn’t sure whether to give to her with the gift or keep for our own future baby. In my head today, I did some silly bargaining. “If D is pregnant, friend can have the socks. If D is not pregnant, I can keep the socks.” (I think I just wanted to feel like not a jerk for keeping the socks when we don’t have a newborn/soon-to-be newborn.)

And so we tested. With not particularly concentrated pee, in the evening. And got this:

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We hugged. J bolted over and hugged with us, which she does every single time we hug. We all beamed at each other. Please stick, little bean. We’d like another person for our dorky family hugs.

 

I made it.

Well, I survived a week (okay, 6 days) of solo parenting. It was nowhere near as bad as I expected, but I did really miss my wife. And showering alone. And cooking without being heckled by the baby. The reason it wasn’t as bad as I expected is because this baby of ours SLEPT. Like, through the night – and I don’t mean the whole 5 hours in the early evening crap that supposedly counts as ‘sleeping through the night’, I mean from 11pm till 5am – and once, far longer. I can’t tell you how long or it will never ever happen again. Even saying this much is tempting fate.

And meanwhile, in a far away time zone, my wife hung out with our friend/donor and inseminated herself every day for 5 days. She didn’t do that much else while she was there because she was super sick (in fact she thinks her ear drum may have ruptured on the flight home). We chatted on FaceTime at least once a day, and J handled her absence much more gracefully than I did. It was a good reminder of how much I love my wife – sometimes I feel like parenting eclipses our relationship, but I missed my wife more than my co-parent. It was a good feeling to have – not to NEED her back because solo parenting was killing me, but to want her back.

We’re pretty sure the timing was right. She got a positive OPK yesterday – a true, dark positive for the first time ever – and her cervix was lower this morning. So I feel like we have a pretty decent chance, though I am trying not to get too too excited about the possibility of a potential scorpio baby because, well, getting the timing right doesn’t mean that you get a baby.

J is so much fun these days, I should really do an update about her rather than just talking about trying to make another baby. This morning, J tried to make my phone work to call her mama, and managed to activate Siri on my iPhone. J said “Mama. Mama?” Siri responded “I don’t know who your mother is. In fact, I don’t know who you are.” I was in the kitchen making lunch and overheard this, and it cracked me up. On a completely unrelated note, last night J nearly had a total meltdown because she wanted her iguana pyjamas on. She kept muttering “iguana” and pulling at her PJ shirt until I realized what she was talking about. The toddlerhood forecast is looking a bit stormy, but also so, so fun.

 

And she’s off.

Tomorrow, my wife flies to Europe to try to get pregnant. There were several points at which we thought this might not happen. First we thought maybe she’d ovulate too early (her saliva microscope has been showing ferning for a few days, but we figure her CM is probably a better indicator, anyway). Then, KD’s partner’s grandfather died, and KD thought he might be going to the funeral in another city (funeral isn’t for weeks, though). Then the next day, my grandmother died (I barely knew her) and we weren’t sure when that funeral would be (also weeks). And finally, J, D, and I all have colds, and KD works in a hospital, so my wife offered to cancel her flight (he said no worries).

But. It is happening. Tomorrow, my wife is actually leaving the country without us. And we think the timing is probably going to be right, this month. Which is good, but of course is hardly a guarantee. And it seems like so much effort, so many resources, to put into something with a relatively low chance of success. So while I’d like to be mostly hopeful, I vacillate between hopeful and pessimistic, and also extremely stressed about being left behind (is J going to cry for her mama the whole time? Am I going to crack under pressure and be disappointed in my parenting?). I spend time trying to figure out a back up plan for future cycles (none seems that realistic. Then again, neither does flying to Germany every month). I also spend some time resenting the fact that I can’t get my wife pregnant (something I thought would never bother me much, but does – not for the genetics, but for the ease). So much wallowing. It doesn’t help that I’m premenstrual, have a cold, and our sick baby woke us up at least hourly last night because she can’t breathe very well. She’s also cutting three teeth. Also, did I mention my wife will be away for her own birthday? Let’s just end this pity party right here.

 

Regrouping (and flying around the world in pursuit of sperm.)

So, D isn’t pregnant. Which isn’t much of a surprise, considering we only did one insemination and we weren’t sure about the timing, but it’s still disappointing – especially considering that our donor lives 6000km away.

We inseminated on the day 11 of D’s cycle. From day 9 until day 12, she got progressively darker lines on the OPKs, and then on day 13 they went really, really light. We thought, hey, great, maybe we got the timing right after all. But after inseminating it’s difficult to monitor CM (and also neither of us really wanted to meddle around in there) so for a couple of days it went unchecked. She kept doing OPKS, which had darker lines than on day 13, but not as dark as on day 11 and 12. Then on day 16, she had a lot of egg white cervical mucous. We flew home on day 17 (24+ hours of travel so she didn’t check her cervix or CM during that time, or do any OPKs), and when she checked her cervix on day 18 it was high but her CM was no longer fertile-quality. So we think maybe she ovulated on day 17/18 – which would be 6 days after inseminating. Which means basically no chance of conception, and also D just didn’t feel pregnant – with J, her body started to change even before we got a positive test at 8DPO. Because we’re a little silly, D still did a few pregnancy tests, including one of the ridiculously overpriced first response ones. And seeing that blank test is so… I mean, it’s like you’re getting rejected by the universe. I had no idea that it’d feel so crappy, and I know that is ridiculous and that this is our first failed cycle and that this could take ages. But… I saw a shooting star, and there was a full moon right after we inseminated, and a monarch flew over us while we were swimming in the ocean for the first time, and a chia seed sprouted in the door well of the shower. These felt like signs, and I think I’m going to have to stop thinking about stuff like that if I want to not lose my mind while we try to conceive.

So now? We are on to our second cycle. And D is flying to Germany next week, and staying for what amounts to 6 days including travel. Flying to Germany costs about the same amount as doing two in-clinic IUIs, but takes a whole lot longer. She’ll be able to try between cycle day 13 and 16, as many times as KD is willing, which should be a good window as long as Di ovulates between day 14 and 18. Assuming she’s ovulating. Yikes, TTC is so stressful. Which is news to, oh, probably no one who reads my blog.

But maybe the hardest part is that my person will be away, for 6 days. It’ll be D’s first time away from J for more than 8 hours. It’ll be my first time alone with J for more than 8 hours. And D and I haven’t spent a night apart for at least 5 years. I’m so nervous about all of it, and not thrilled about not being there for the inseminations. But we’d really like to make this work, as absurd as it seems to fly so far for, what, a 20-30% chance at getting pregnant? We’re thinking we’ll try this 2 or 3 times and then reconsider our options if it doesn’t work out. I really don’t care about our kids being (and I hate the term) ‘full’ genetic siblings, but if it’s possible I’d prefer them both to have KD as their donor.

Also also, I’ll be flying solo as both daytime and nighttime parent, and I’m a little afraid that I’m going to feel like a total failure by the end of the week. Or by the second day. I joked to D that I might message her with “stop! don’t depress the plunger! I can’t do two kids after all!” Hopefully that seems funny and no kind of prophetic in retrospect.

 

 

 

Project Sapling 2.0

So we did it. This might be all too much information if you’re the squeamish sort. If not, read on for a detailed account of our first attempt at making baby #2.

At our meet up with KD’s family, while everyone was out in the garden, KD snuck off to the bathroom in a sleep out at his mom’s house. Then when he was done, D, J and I swapped places with him. D got down on the bathroom floor, J played with her dog figurines on the toilet seat, and I used a syringe (from children’s tylenol, ha) to draw the sperm out of the Soft Cup. Then I inserted it, depressed the plunger, and inserted the Soft Cup with the dregs of the sperm (well, semen, but the sperm part is kind of the most important).  Then D hung out on the bathroom floor by herself for half an hour, trying to help things along and also replying to some emails. Who knows whether KDs family noticed her absence, or what they thought.

Our timing was not that great, but I think we’ve still got a chance. It Was cycle day eleven. We think D’s been ovulating around day 14, but have just been charting CM and OPKs, so not totally sure, and since it has only been three cycles since her period returned her cycle has been a bit unpredictable). D didn’t have EWCM – it was more watery, with just a tiny bit of stretch. She hasn’t had a positive OPK, but I don’t think she had one when J was conceived, either – so she’s going to keep testing to see if the line gets stronger or more faint. We only have limited phone internet right now, which is a relief because it stops me from relentlessly googling stuff about the chance of conception under various conditions. It doesn’t really matter whether she’s 10% likely or 30% likely, because she’ll either get 100% pregnant or 0% pregnant. Now we just have to wait. While I keep trying to tell myself that whatever happens will be alright, I want so much for this to work. And so I am throwing my whole self into hoping, hoping for a little spark to happen and to grow, grow, grow into a new family member for us.

The other night, while I was staring, awestruck, at the spectacular NZ night sky, I saw a shooting star – not out of the corner of my eye, but exactly where I was looking. And while it seems so hokey to say that it felt like a sign, I did feel as if it was meant for me. A sign, if nothing else, that I was in the right place. And for the last few days, I have felt that – that I am where I should be. It’s a good feeling, and one that I think I’ve been missing for a little while, as we shift from place to place.

I want to write more about meeting KDs family because there’s a lot to say, but I will say that it was a really great experience and I am so glad that we did it.

(Also also – we are off to meet Pepibebe and family today! Woo hoo!)

10 things on a Sunday

1. December was a long, long month. We arrived in NZ on the 2nd (and surprisingly, the flight was okay/not that much worse than a regular 32 hour journey). Then we spent 2 weeks dealing with a really nasty gastro bug and also, an ear infection (she had been signing pain and pointing at her ears, but we thought she was just telling us about how they had hurt on the flight – in retrospect her ear was probably infected then). And teething. Molars. All whilst acclimating to an 18 hour time difference. J developed a fear of the bathroom after her horror-movie-like pooping and vomiting. Then there was a lot of family drama about Christmas – D’s grandmother tried to organize a Christmas celebration when my in-laws were still working, and things got ugly, and it was sort of left up to D and me to sort things out. D and I bickered, J didn’t sleep (and still isn’t sleeping for shit, I think it’s maybe an early 18 month sleep regression). Then I pinched a nerve in my neck, which is only now fixing itself, and I could barely lift J for a couple of weeks. When we arrived at out cottage on Christmas day, we discovered that the flood in the bathroom had not been repaired (it was supposed to be finished the week before) and there was exposed asbestos. So really, December kind of sucked, overall.

2. There were, however, some really great parts. J loved D’s parent’s farm. She’s really into animals. She loved being outside and was constantly bringing us out hats and shoes so that we’d take her out. We picked grapefruit, oranges, mandarins, and lemons from trees that D’s great grandmother planted, and visited the neighbour’s horse. We spent time at the beach, in a sheltered basin that was perfect for splashing and chasing crabs.

3. J is learning and growing so quickly. She uses over a hundred words and learns new ones literally every day. More and more, she uses two word sentences, often commands – “cat up”, “off sock”, “apple more”. She also says “all done” after she’s used the potty, and when passing us clothes pegs has started saying “another one” – those are some of my favourite sentences. When we went to the aquarium, she said “shark”, “turtle”, “penguin”, and tried to say “sting ray”, and she’s really into saying new people’s names. Her attention span is still uncanny, which makes her a pretty easy toddler – though she still has her moments, mostly if we discontinue her raisin supply or some such cruelty. Several people have told us that she seems much older than she is, which I think is probably true, but also people seem to expect her to act younger than her age because she’s short. She’s 29.5 inches, and weighs around 21 lbs and a bit (haven’t weighed her in a few weeks, but I don’t think she’s much heavier).

4. Potty learning took a step back for a couple weeks due to the aforementioned bathroom phobia, but once we were up here at the cottage she was back to mostly using the potty. In fact, she seems to have decided to only use it at night, too, which is really kind of a pain but I guess it’s our fault. She wakes at 11pm and 5-6am, and either tells us she needs to go or cries until we take her. So right now she’s been dry for 48 hours. I wouldn’t exactly say she’s done with toilet learning, as we have a big role in getting her dressed and undressed and taking her to the bathroom every hour/hour and a half, but we are in no rush. She’s only 16 months.

5. Tomorrow and the next day, we are meeting up with our friend/donor and his family (partner, each of their respective daughters, and his parents and their partners). His mother listed J as her granddaughter on her Facebook profile, and said she was the “daughter of her son, __.” I have complicated feelings about this, but I didn’t want to admit I was Facebook stalking her so it hasn’t been talked about with KD. I have no idea how this is going to go tomorrow, but hopefully well?

6. Somewhat miraculously, it seems that D will likely ovulate later this week. Guess what that means? We’re going to try to get her pregnant. Her cycle has been a bit irregular, so it may be too early (maybe 2 days before ovulation, or maybe as many as 5). But we’re going to try, and I’m excited and nervous and we don’t even have a plan as to when we’re going to do this or where.

7. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to announce that we were going to try to conceive because of being a somewhat superstitious and private animal, but it felt selfish not to, when I so much enjoy reading other people’s stories of trying to conceive.

8. Also, we’re ridiculously lucky that J was a one hit wonder, and I doubt we’ll be that lucky twice (though of course, I am hoping so hard that we are.) I may die/lose my mind during the two week wait, and if it doesn’t work I am probably going to have Feelings that I want to write about, so I thought I’d give y’all a heads up.

9. We have 10 more days here in NZ, then we are going back to Canada. Why are we going back to Canada in mid-January when we don’t have to? Who does that? D works from home for two and a half more months.

10. That said, I miss home. And my cat. And organic produce (even if it isn’t local because we live on an iceberg). And snow. (But only a little.)

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Air travel, potty learning, and a bit of an update

I haven’t posted in ages. I keep meaning to do some sort of update, but there is so much more to say now that J is older and doing all kinds of exciting things, and I can’t decide what to write about. And more importantly, I just haven’t had time. We’ve just done our bi-annual move from our warm-season abode into our apartment in the city (in my mom and step-dad’s house), and are preparing to go to New Zealand for 7 weeks. Meanwhile, D is working on two academic editing contracts (one of her two jobs that allows us to escape for the winter – the ‘pro’ side of precarious contract/seasonal employment) and J has unequivocally dropped down to a single nap. I’ve been simultaneously unpacking and packing and also trying not to cry about the dystopian disaster that is the U.S. election; it’s not my country, but my heart hurts nonetheless, for all of the Americans that I care about and also for the world in which my kid is going to grow up.

And so, an update in bullets, which is the best I can do:

  • We aren’t going to be able to try to get pregnant on this trip – the timing is just off. It sucks that it isn’t going to work, but J is cutting molars and I feel okay about waiting before enlisting for more sleep deprivation.
  • J will be 15 months in 9 days. She is running, walking backward, turing in circles, doing somersaults, climbing, testing limits, having meltdowns, hitting and occasionally biting when she’s upset, and using well over 50 words and a few two-word phrases. She’s very into animals, dinosaur figures, books (she’ll sit for half and hour to listen to stories), music, being outside, being chased, and food. She calls us ‘mama’ and ‘mum mum’ but if she is calling us from the other room, she uses our first names – probably in imitation of us.
  • She’ll eat anything, and often eats the same thing as us which makes things easier. Despite eating like a horse, she’s still on the small side (28.5 inches and just over 20 pounds) which makes sense given that D and KD are both small. Quite a lot of her 6-12 month clothing still fits her, and her feet are just growing into size 5 shoes.
  • Yesterday, J fed the cat. She walked over to the food tin, opened it, scooped out the food, and put it in the cat’s dish. This is so representative of how things seem to go with her – she surprised us all the time by doing things we had no idea she could do. She tried to feed the cat a couple more times. They are clearly in cahoots.
  • J is close to using the potty consistently. Some days, she only uses the potty; some days, she wets her training pants once or twice. I’m still kind of surprised that this happened. We were getting her to sit on the potty from about 8 months to help with constipation, but then suddenly she started peeing on it. Around 13 months, she started hiding to poo, and then coming to tell us that she’d pooped. Now, she’ll often tell us that she has to use the potty by saying  ‘puh’ (potty) or ‘poo’, or by taking herself to the potty. She still needs help with her clothing, but it’s quite nice having so much less diaper laundry to deal with. I thought the move into town would through things off, but it hasn’t – she seems to want to stick with this, but we’re trying to be neutral about it because she is so young and we don’t want to pressure her. We’ll see how she does after the flight to NZ. We’ll be taking both training pants and diapers, just in case. And ‘Everyone Poops’, her favourite bathroom reading material.
  • We leave for NZ in 9 days. We are packing plenty of snacks, toys, books, and changes of clothes. This flight is always rough for me (the fixed position and lack of sleep exacerbate my chronic pain and leave me very sore for days, and the jet lag doesn’t help) and I’m really anxious about doing this with a toddler. Usually I take a sedative but I don’t feel comfortable doing that with J there. If anyone has any tips on how to survive 24+ hours of travelling with a toddler, I’m all ears. I have no idea how she’ll handle it, but I am wary. J’s never even been on a long car trip. We don’t do screen time other than Skype, but may make an exception on the flight and let her watch… something? I don’t even know what’s out there, really. Any recommendations?

That’s all I’ve got. Going to try to drink my tea before my wee one wakes up.