4 Months

I’m painfully exhausted. That is the biggest thing to report. I get a great night of sleep and then feel exhausted 3 hours after waking up. I’ve started to feel quite a bit of movement which is a few weeks earlier than I did with Carter. I’ve also been having little muscle twitches in my abdomen.

My boobs are sore. I do not remember this being such a constant feeling last time but that could just be a failed memory. My belly is bigger although I’ve gained less than 5lbs which is wild to me. I’m attributing it to bring more active than last time because it is for sure not because of my eating.
We have an ultrasound in about a week and a half and I assume the will confirm my feelings that we are getting another little boy! Daniela is holding out hope for a girl though.

I’m not uncomfortable at all yet. I had a massage the other day and spent a full hour lying on my stomach. I couldn’t do that at 10 weeks pregnant the first time around!

I can’t wait until the kicks are stronger.

20140216-140307.jpg

1 Month

20140216-140159.jpg

2 Months

20140216-140332.jpg

3 Months

20140216-140340.jpg

4 Months

I think this is my final month of wearing this shirt for a photo unless I want them to start getting ridiculous.

My son has a brother.

My little boy will have a little baby sibling this summer.  He will be a big brother and I will get to witness the ups and downs of their relationship from the start.  They will share a room and toys and our attention.  They may be best friends, or not.  They will have similarities and they will have differences and I will catch myself comparing and contrasting them daily I’m sure.

7755_765027053089_1862318838_n

The thing is, there is another one.  There is a little boy out there that is their half-brother that they may never meet.  He is nearly 5 years old now and the only glimpse of him I’ve had is a phone picture of a phone picture when he was about 6 months old in a snowsuit.  I know very little about him aside from the fact that he has parents that wanted him more than anything.  I donated my eggs to them in 2008.  They know quite a lot about me, I know nothing about them.

I was 22 when I embarked on this journey.  After years of interest in the idea of egg donation I saw a classified ad in a local publication of a couple looking for egg donor.  I matched their expectations of being Caucasian with dark hair and light eyes.  I am tall and university educated with an array of interests and I’m healthy with a long line of healthy family.  I went for the preliminary health screening and questioning at the couple’s clinic and then was moved along for a info session and psychological screening.  Nothing phased me much but I think back on the screening often now.

I was asked a question that didn’t seem to matter at the time: How would you feel if you donated to this couple and they had a child and then you were unable to conceive in the future?  At the “mature” age of 22 I had no interest in having biological children.  I was already married and my wife wanted children but we were both comfortable with the idea of adoption or she would carry.  At 22 I was quick to respond that this was not an issue for me; having biological children was not important.

A funny thing happened during that donation cycle.  While my body was pumped full of hormones and many follicles in my ovaries matured for the purpose of giving another woman an chance to be a mother, part of me changed as well.  For the first time in my life I had a desire to be pregnant.  I started to think about carrying a child and being a mother in a very different way.  Dialogue began between my wife and I and our plans for future parenthood took a different path.  She was relieved that I would be interested in carrying because while she was willing it wasn’t top on her list of interest.  I donated 4 more times in the next few years and in those years my desire to bare children solidified.  I wanted a baby with my genes.

At 26 we embarked on journey to conceive.  We had decided to use one of the clinics/doctors that I had done a donation cycle with and we made our picks from a sperm bank.  We decided to go ahead and do medicated cycles because we figured it would increase chances and be more cost efficient (fertility drugs are covered by my benefits plan).  We did 6 IUI cycles (5 of which were medicated).  At the end of this the doctor had no clue why it wasn’t taking.  I responded well to the drugs, I had high quality eggs, I was young.  There was no answer but there were a couple options.  We could continue on the road we were taking or we could try IVF.  I wasn’t scared of IVF because I had been through the worst of the procedure as a donor.  We decided to go for it.  It failed…for some unexplained reason.  It was at this point that my mind was racing.  I feared exactly what I had discredited just a few years ago.  What if there was a biological child out there from my eggs but I would never have the option of raising a biological child?  What if it was the fact that I had helped another couple that I couldn’t help myself?  Why wasn’t Karma on my side?

Shortly after the failed attempt we were successful at home with a “fresh donation” from a friend of a friend and self-insemination.  I don’t have to necessarily worry about those worries and questions anymore but I have different ones.  No part of me regrets the decision I made to be an egg donor but I regret how I went about it and the contract I locked myself into.  I regret not requesting an open donation.  I did not understand the gravity of my decisions; I believed I was mature and now I look back and feel like I was just a kid.  This psychological screening checked in on a me I can no longer relate to and the impact of egg donation on my life is tremendously different than I anticipated it being.

I will compare my children and notice their similarities forever and at this point I wonder if I will ever stop wondering about the little boy out there.  I wonder if I will get over my curiosity about his personality and facial expressions.  Will he face similar challenges to my own children? Will he excel in the same areas? When the child is older he has access to my information (if his parents share it with him) and he could get in touch with me.  My questions may be answered some day but there is an equal chance I will never know and my children will have missed out on the opportunity to know this person that has half of the same genes.1459748_10151725559797493_379809758_n (1)

Sometimes I can’t keep up with myself.

It’s been a wild few weeks.

Taking on a new job so soon after returning to work was something I was feeling great about and I really am still happy that I did it but I’m exhausted.  I love using skills that have been lying dormant in my toolbox of competencies for so long.  I love all the reading and I love that people are interested in what I have to say.  I am however, exhausted.  I think about work a lot and I spend time after I get Carter tucked into bed trying to get ahead before the next day (or really, trying to catch up).  My time for blogging has been so minimal, but so much has happened.  I guess this will just have to be my recap.

Carter’s First Halloween:

Carter celebrated his first halloween with his favourite girl.  Daniela and I had intentions of having him as a raccoon and we would be a green (compost) bin and a garbage bag.  In the end, we had a raccoon with two regular human moms.  Good enough.  Violet was a mouse which was most appropriate.  We tortured them through a photo shoot earlier in the month when it was a little warmer and the leaves were beautiful.  Carter was not really interested in participating and complained to Violet about the whole deal.

Image

Looking like two little old women.

After a few hundred photos we gave them a bit of a chance to just hang out and stand up, which is all they really wanted to do and despite being placed further apart Carter moved closer to Violet and she turned into him to create the worlds cutest picture.

Image

Just a moment to themselves.

Potty

I had no interest elimination communication.  I thought it was ridiculous and a waste of time.  Our neighbour who has a three year old son has been overly generous in giving us all the hand-me-downs.  When her son finished potty training this summer he told her they should give Carter his potties because he is a baby.  My neighbour was a little embarrassed to pass them along but asked if I would mind if they could do it symbolically if we didn’t want them.  Well that was just silly, of course we took them.  I am all about hand-me-downs on most things!  Well, Carter was showing that he understood what “tinkle” was each night when I was telling him to tinkle as he was getting out of the tub.  I thought I would bring up a potty just for him to get used to and the first time I put him on it I told him to tinkle and sure enough he did.  A couple days of that and he poo’d as well.  He goes almost immediately when we put him on and it’s nice to have just a few less dirty diapers to deal with.  I have no interest in him being potty trained this early but when it’s easy, it’s great to let him figure it out.

photo (5)

Light reading.

Teeth

This was by far the worst weekend we’ve had in a while although when I look back on it it was really just some tough periods of it.  We had some really great moments too.  His molars are working their way through and he goes through episodes where he can’t stop screaming.  He clutches at his face.  He wiggles and yells while we hold him and shrieks when we put him down.  He won’t let anything near his mouth and it’s just terrible.  He couldn’t sleep Saturday night and was up until almost 1am.  I had been very concerned about day-lights saving but that was apparently a naive worry.  Yesterday afternoon there was just nothing we could do to make him feel better.

photo (7)

I should clarify that he is covered in beet juice here.

Eating

Carter loves food.  He eats more than I do.  He has decided he is pretty much over bottles.  He has one before bed and occasionally he has one during the day.  I was a little concerned about it but the doctor and the naturopath both said that as long as we are giving him a balanced diet it’s okay.  It’s a lot of fun to see him enjoy food and I find that I’m doing a much better job of meal planning for Daniela and I when I also have to make sure that I have food for him.  I love giving him new things and seeing him choose what he would like to eat from the options on his tray.  His favourite snack is roasted seaweed and he will never turn down oranges.

Baths

In September Carter got fifth disease which is a pretty boring virus with a fever for a few days and a rash that he didn’t seem bothered by but looked pretty gross.  The rash has been sticking around and he’s had dry scaly red cheeks that wouldn’t go away.  I asked the doctor the other day at his 9 month appointment and she said I need to stop bathing him everyday (She said I should only do once a week for now).  This was heartbreaking.  There is nothing better than bath time.  I stuck to it and we are seeing a lot of improvement but I miss the time that he is so happy.   I miss splashing with him while he giggles.  Last night after the brutal teething afternoon (and beet juice) I decided he deserved a bath.  It was the most peaceful part of the day.  He babbled on and played with his toys and laughed as I poured water over his head.  I’ll try to continue to cut back but I think they are necessary on the hard days.

photo (8)Me Time

I went out on Saturday night to a friend’s house party.  I haven’t been out for an event without Daniela or Carter since he was born.  I wasn’t all that excited about going and kind of just wanted to relax but I knew I should go.  It proved itself to be a good choice both because Carter screamed the whole time and because I had a really good time with some coworkers.  It was nice to be myself in a social situation and not have any distractions.  I think we all need a little time to regroup.

 

Exhausted.

This was a far too busy week.

I had no updates because I had no computer and I debated updating tonight because I’m so tired but I figure I have a little in me.  I interviewed for and was offered a new job this week which is very exciting and very stressful.  I’ve only been back at work two weeks and I am settling back in a bit and now I’m going to be in a completely different position.  It’s an incredible opportunity to do what I have wanted to do so I will not complain but I may be completely drained.

Carter had a great week.  He’s suddenly grown up so much.  He has been much more agreeable during the days, he is enjoying his nanny and he loves his time with his Mama while I’m at work.  He’s learning all sorts of new tricks and pulling himself up and crawling around.  He is always on a mission to do something.  He spends much more time entertained by things without fussing or growing frustrated.  It’s fantastic!  We brought him to a baby shower on Saturday where he hung out for over two hours.  He charmed everyone, he ate an entire sandwich, he crawled around a bit and he played with a water bottle for about 20 minutes straight.  He was in a great mood and was just so easy.  He’s growing independent and crawling away from me instead of into my lap.  It’s a strange combination of feeling proud and feeling a little heartbroken.

Image

Night times have not been so good.  He has been waking up crying throughout the night for the past week and then a few nights ago he figured out how to pull himself up in bed.  While the pride on his face is adorable, it also means that bedtime has gotten rough.  It’s pretty hard to fall asleep when you are standing and no matter how many times I lay him down he just climbs right back up.  It took 2 hours to get him down last night.

Image

Carter’s new food that he loves is “pancakes”.  I had come across the idea in many places but never tried the two ingredient pancakes but on Saturday morning when i wasn’t sure what to give him I thought I’d give it a shot!  One banana and 2 eggs mushed together and you’ve got your batter.  It really couldn’t be any easier!  Carter smooshes them into his mouth as quickly as possible.  I love when I find something he likes!

Image

I think the saddest part of my week was when I was talking to Daniela about her experience at the drop-in.  I brought Carter to play at the drop-ins on a regular basis.  Daniela went to one she had never been to before that is just for babies under a year and was excited for the circle time.  Unfortunately she was met with a “daddy-bashing”.  In her words, everyone was talking about their partners as though they were incompetent parents.  Her discomfort made her feel like I must be there talking about her like that which just broke my heart.  I’m not going to lie, sometimes we all have to vent out our partners but I would never hang her out to be an incompetent parent.  There is obviously no one else I trust as much with my son and I hate that even for a second she would internalize that and think the I thought so poorly of her.

First Real Weekend

This past weekend was my first real weekend in 8 months! Weekends became synonymous with being busy and having to visit with friends and family but this weekend we reserved for ourselves!  We didn’t make any plans out of the city which means the world to me.

Despite the cranky days Carter had been having, he woke up Saturday in a perfect mood!

blog25We went to the 519 (The city’s queer community centre) for a drop-in play time and carter crawled around reaching for different toys.  He was enamored with the man that was running the programming.  He has always had a thing for facial hair but this was above and beyond.  He ate a ton of snacks while we were there and enjoyed the circle time songs!  Just before we left he settled in with Mama to read a book.

Reading with Mama

Reading with Mama

We went grocery shopping and hung out with our pup and Carter was just so happy the whole time.  He babbled on and on about everything.  Saturday was one of the best days I’ve ever had with him.  A friends dog was staying with us for the night and Carter LOVES this dog (Pencil).  I would say that Pencil loves Carter.  Pencil came up for bedtime activities and Carter was thrilled.  After playing on the bed and reading some books I put Carter and Pencil into the crib and they played together for a while until they both fell asleep.

Snug with a Pug

Snug with a Pug

It was the icing on the cake for a wonderful day!

Sunday was equally awesome with hanging out with a friend from high school.  Carter was a charmer and ate half of my brunch!  He can eat!!

Carter and Kat at Brunch

Carter and Kat at Brunch

My favourite thing is that Carter now is okay to fall asleep somewhere and be transferred into his bed.  This is far better for me because we can just lie in bed together playing until he just shuts his eyes peacefully instead of him getting upset when he gets put in the crib and struggling until he falls asleep.  I really value this time each night with him.  Nothing compares to the feeling of the weight of a sleeping child.

Asleep in my arms.

Asleep in my arms.

I hope every weekend is half this wonderful!

 

 

I survived.

I survived my first week of work.  I was spoiled with pictures sent to me all day and even a drop by visit during one of my lunch breaks.  Carter was all down hill after the first day.  He really gave Sarah a hard time the vast majority of the time.  He seems to be teething but I don’t know for sure.  He absolutely has a cold though.  Poor guy is all stuffed up.

Squeezing out a smile for Sarah

Squeezing out a smile for Sarah

It’s really not as bad as I thought it would be.  I miss him terribly but I’m able to focus on work.  I’m able to listen to CBC radio and I feel like I’m finally hearing the news for the first time in 9 months.  I have conversations with people that aren’t either all about my baby or constantly interrupted by said baby.  It’s actually kind of nice.  I can’t believe I’m saying that.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  If I could be home, I’d be home in a second but I have to make the best of it.

Putting in some hours at the office

Putting in some hours at the office

I’ve enjoyed making dinner for Carter and sitting down to watch him eat followed by bath time.  These are two of my favourite things.  Watching him enjoy food is really exciting and bath time has been his favourite since he was born.  On the days of constant fuss, I have given him multiple baths just for a break from it.

blog20

Hanging out in the tub!

He’s getting more and more interested in foods.  I can put piles of different things on his tray and he will try each one of them before he mixes them all together.  He stuffs his little mouth like a hamster sometimes and this week the result has been a big mess when he sneezes.  He cooperates with the spoon if I’m feeding him something that requires a spoon (yogurt, oatmeal, chopped spinach).

Working the spoon in the least efficient way possible.

Working the spoon in the least efficient way possible.

Bed times have been hard.  He has decided that 6:30 is a reasonable time to hit the hay the past few nights.  This means I get very little time with him.  After his bath I rub him down in coconut oil and sing to him and then read a few books.  He loves playing with the blinds next to the bed that is in his room.  While I know I should just put him in the crib and let him get to sleep, I’ve been lying there with him and letting him play himself to sleep and then I lie there a little longer as he’s tucked into my arm.  It’s just not enough time.

Night night!

Night night!

This week has been huge for me.  I’ve accepted that I can do this, and so can he.  Even though it was a tough week for him, I know he can survive without me.  He’s a champ.

Let me count the ways…

…that I am the luckiest.

1) I have an utterly fantastic wife who has loved me for over 7 years.
2) I live in a fantastic city full of everything that is wonderful.
3) I have the greatest son in the world who makes each day better than the last.
4) I spent the last 8 months off from work (paid) and get to return to my exact same job tomorrow with no punishment.
5) I have amazing friends that have supported my family in all sorts of ways from helping us get pregnant to caring for and loving our child.  One of the greatest ways this is demonstrated is by my fantastic friend Sarah who is taking the week off work to take care of my son this week.  

Yes, you read that correctly.  She is taking vacation time to come to my house for 8 hours a day and cuddle and play with my son (although I’m sure there will be dirty diapers and crying in there as well).

While Daniela and I will generally be working opposite schedules and only will need a nanny in the afternoon this week is different because of course my first week back has to be more complicated.  Daniela has to work days which leaves no one home from 8:30-4:30.  When I was stressing out about this Sarah stepped in and said that not only would she help us out but that she would LOVE to help us out.  Just today she sent a message saying “And then so begins the happiest week of my life and the worst of yours”.  She may have been exaggerating on both sides of that but I think she will have some fun and I think I will have a lot of trouble.  I also think that this will be much easier on Carter than being with his new nanny (more on that later) for such long hours rather than with someone he knows very well.

Image

Sarah has been so good to us from the moment we met her.  She LOVES babies and her wife is pregnant right now with their first who is due on my birthday!  She has been an incredible friend to me through my pregnancy and early motherhood and swooned over cloth diapers and baby clothes and anything else I’m staring at online.  She is a wealth of knowledge and always helps me through the rough times (she made me lactation cookies when I was struggling with producing milk).  She knows everything about great baby books and helped us with Carter’s library.  I don’t want to continue bragging about how good a friend I have but I do want to just say how lucky we are to have someone who will make this week as easy on us as possible.  

Image