What Makes a Baby – Part 2

What Makes a Baby – Part 1 can be found here

Conversations about what makes a baby with Carter took a bit of a turn one day. I’ve always felt that you need to be open and honest with kids but to really make sure you are just answering the questions they ask rather than tying in all the little things that are over their head. I felt like What Makes a Baby was pretty good about giving the right amount of information and giving those great opportunities to give more information when appropriate. We didn’t add in too much information at first. One day when reading we got to the part “Some bodies have eggs, some bodies do not” and Carter exclaimed “I HAVE AN EGG!!!”. I said to him that no, he doesn’t have an egg. I told him that me and mama and even baby Dylan have eggs but he does not. He was more upset about this than I was expecting. He cried out “but I do! I do have an egg!!!!!” Finally when he calmed down we talked about the fact that he has sperm while the rest of us have eggs and then moved on.

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A week or so later when the book was requested again we got to the part about “who helped bring together the sperm and the egg that made you?” and Carter thought about it for a second and said “Mommy and Mama have eggs, who has sperm?”

I told him that our friends helped us get sperm thinking it would end the conversation but he persisted asking if they had sperm. “No, they don’t have sperm but they brought it to us from their friend who does.”

“BUT WHO HAS SPERM?!?!?!”

And then we coined the name Donor Dude. Donor Dude has sperm and shared it with us because we didn’t have any and we wanted to make a baby.

This should be sufficient for a 2 year old right? Not.

Questions persisted for days. “Who is Donor Dude?” “Why does Donor Dude have Sperm” “Did the sperm take a streetcar?”

Some questions we could answer easily some where more complicated (mostly because we just weren’t ready or prepared). Mostly this was an eye opening time where we started to realize that he understood more than we expected him to. He was putting two and two together by realizing that there is another person involved in the creation of him and his sister (though we had always been honest that it was a community effort he realized there was a sperm person and he was curious).

Fair enough.

After a bit of discussion, and maybe a drink, Daniela and I decided to send Donor Dude an email and ask him if he was interested in meeting us and the kids. He had said he was open to it throughout the process but I guess we had thought it would happen further down the road. (there is more to this that isn’t worth getting into right now)

Perhaps the drink that led to the conversation that led to the email...

Perhaps the drink that led to the conversation that led to the email…

We emailed him on Friday night and then we waited. I was first excited, then nervous, then a bit sick to my stomach that we had crossed a line with him and I didn’t want to taint what had been a perfect experience for us thus far.

Monday morning I woke up to a response that couldn’t have made me happier. He seemed happy (and maybe excited) by the idea of meeting us and the kids. He suggested a date that worked for us and we suggested a location and then there it was in our calendar.

Roughly two weeks later we headed to Riverdale Farm which is a park in the city that Carter adores because of the animals tractors. We got their early and had lunch and the kids played in the splash pad and then Andrew walked over to us. Introductions were made. We told Carter that Andrew was Donor Dude and then we went to get the kids dried off and ready to head into the actual farm. Dylan, still in a swimsuit and somehow covered in mud walked over and demanded to be picked up by Andrew and much to her delight he obliged. Dylan is generally pretty outgoing and interested in people but even this caught me off guard a bit.

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We walked over to the farm and checked out the chickens and the turkeys and the pigs. Carter was in a particularly silly mood and was singing songs about pigs and asking Donor Dude (DD) to go from one animal to the next quickly. I mostly just watched as my normally shy child seemed to warm up to a stranger so quickly and Dylan toddled around as she always does. I looked for similarities and differences between the kids and him as I would assume is only natural. Mostly I was amazed at how comfortable DD seemed in a relatively bizarre situation with total strangers.

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We chatted. I was probably far too nosy. The kids snacked and talked and fought for attention. It was a surreal experience. I was nervous about how Daniela might be feeling but much to my happiness she seemed comfortable and happy that we had made this decision which was probably much harder for her than me. After a couple hours it was evident Dylan needed a nap and it was time to go home. Carter chose not to give him a hug good by but as soon as DD had headed on his way there was a bit of a melt down that Carter did in fact want to give him a hug but it was too late for that day.

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This experience seems to have answered Carter’s questions about who Donor Dude is. He hasn’t asked more about it and when he does ask anything he is now content with the answer “Andrew”.

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The experience was strange for me but overall good. I’m glad he is cool, I’m glad I like him, and I’m glad he seems like a guy I want in my kid’s life. I think the hardest part is knowing how to work him (if he wants) into our lives in a way that makes sense and keeps everyone comfortable. Its not the type of relationship that can happen organically but I also don’t want it to feel strategic. I feel so fortunate to be in this situation and to have a now open donor that my kids can get to know as closely as they want but I feel grossly underprepared for this. I’m not sure where my comfort is, I’m not sure where I should push my comfort in the interest of what is best for the kids, I’m not sure what is my kids curiosity and what is mine and I guess I don’t know what is normal.

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I think the other problem is the “dad” word. Carter asks about dads a lot. There have been times when he has called and insisted that Daniela is daddy. We think this is probably coming from other people having Mommies and Daddies and I am Mommy so she must be Daddy. I always want to say that my kids do not have a dad and my feelings are that they should never think of DD as their Dad. Period. As someone who is adopted though, Daniela thinks it is unfair to deprive the kids of the easiest label there is for DD. I think if they call him anything other than Andrew it should just be DD. I suppose these are all conversations you have with people before embarking on an open donation but when you evolve into an open donation after the fact there are a lot more feelings involved.

ETA: When Andrew first responded to “the email” he asked if we had heard of What Makes a Baby. How awesome is he?

When you least expect it.

When you’re trying to get pregnant and having no luck, people love to say “it’ll happen when you least expect it.”  I usually didn’t entertain these with the discussion that it would be a pretty difficult discussion with my wife if I were to get pregnant without trying.  I just found myself annoyed all the time with people.  Part of me needed to talk about everything and part of me was sick of talking about it.

We started trying to make a baby in January 2011.  Over the course of 12 months we did 4 medicated cycles of IUI with sperm-bank sperm, 1 unmedicated cycle of IUI with sperm-bank sperm, 1 round of IVF with sperm-bank sperm and then our friend called me.  “I think I know someone.”

We had wanted to use an unknown/known fresh donor before we got started.  We had asked a few guys we knew that had at one point or another said they would be interested in donating to us.  While all the guys were initially for it, after discussions and consideration they decided they weren’t comfortable with it.  After being a 4-time egg donor I was sure Karma would get me back but that didn’t seem to be the case.  We asked all our friends if they knew anyone who would do it either as a known donor or anonymously with a third-party picking up and delivering.  Lots of friends were sure they knew someone who would.  No one did.

After the failed IVF cycle I was deflated.  I had such little hope.  When my friend called saying she think she knew someone I wasn’t even close to optimistic.  I was sure it wouldn’t come to fruition.  But she was insistent that he was up for it.  I gave her my non-identifying email address and he emailed me from an emailed from an account with the name Jahn Dough.  I appreciated the humour.  His emails were thoughtful, he asked good questions, he was comfortable with what we were looking for and we had a great character reference from our friend.  We decided to go for it.

Our first insemination was on Monday, February 20th.  He pointed out how fitting it was because it was Family Day (Provincial Holiday in Ontario).  I wasn’t super hopeful but I was excited.

No luck the first month.  We tried twice during the next cycle. No luck.

The third cycle we had two booked.  I was using ovulation test strips that weren’t really showing anything but we went ahead with it.  2 days after the second insemination I decided to use a strip again and it came back positive (really late ovulation).  I emailed donor dude and asked him if he happened to be free that night.  He said sure and our friend went to pick it up that night.

A few days later there was pain.  No, not implantation cramping (if that really exists).  It was jaw pain.  I thought maybe i had pulled a muscle in my neck that was pinching a nerve running into my jaw.  Someone asked me about my wisdom teeth and I proudly said they had plenty of room.  I went to my phsyiotherapist and got acupuncture. No help.  I went to my massage therapist the next day in even more pain and she did inter-oral massage.  No help.  I took muscle relaxers and I tried to wait it out.  I made it less then 48 hours and I finally realized there was a chance it was a tooth issue.  I called my dentist crying (literally).  She squeezed me into her lunch hour (if you want a recommendation of a dentist in toronto, I’ve got one).  She took a look and then did some x-rays.  My wisdom tooth broke at the root.  It had to come out.  She told me to just get them all done because while there was room, they would likely all end up having issues.  

I was referred to an emergency oral surgeon and I ran directly there.  He did more x-rays and he told me there was no way he was taking them out without putting me under which meant he couldn’t do it that day and he had no time for me the next day.  Two more days of extreme pain.  He gave me a prescription for tylenol with codeine.  It didn’t work well but offered some relief so I went ahead and took it.  

I went in for the wisdom tooth removal on a Friday morning.  It was two days before my expected day 1 and I knew they would ask “is there any chance you’re pregnant” so I took a test before going in.  Negative. No surprise there.

I got put under had them ripped out and felt instant relief.  In my drugged up state I was apparently crying and telling Daniela that she would be beautiful pregnant and it was okay if she started trying.  

I felt like I had lost a week of my life with all that pain and I had fallen behind at work.  I didn’t get my period when I expected to and I thought nothing of it because I figured maybe drugs would effect that.  I had a little bit of spotting on my day 2 so I thought it was coming.  It wasn’t.  I grew frustrated that it wasn’t coming because I wanted to try again and I hated the delay.

By the time I was 4 days late my pants were tighter then they should have been.  I was blotted and my period hadn’t even started yet! Gah!

I mentioned my frustration to our roommate at the time and she told me I should just take a test.

It was the faintest positive I had ever seen.  I didn’t even think it counted.

Later that day after a run with Daniela she told me to use one of the better tests.  It was a faint positive but a little less faint then the last.  I didn’t even get my hopes up surprisingly but we decided we would run to the fertility clinic that we had previously used the next morning and see if they would do a blood test.

Sure enough I was pregnant.

I guess even in my case it can happen when you least expect it.

 

Weekends

Weekends are so much more valuable now that I’m back at work.  Working opposite schedules of my wife all week means that the only times we see each other are Thursday for dinner before she heads into work and Saturday and Sunday.  Our family time is limited to just two days a week.  I’m happy to say that we’ve taken advantage of this as much as possible.  We try to make sure we can enjoy every moment of it.  We try to minimize time in the car and to maximize time laughing together.

This past weekend it was time to go apple picking.  We met up with one of Daniela’s cousins and poked around in the pumpkins and got donuts and french fries.

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Pumpkin Pickin’

Then, just the three of us hit up the Orchard.  There is something so amazing when it’s just the three of us.

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Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE seeing people.  I love all the people we have in our lives but when we are just our little family there is magic.  There is no stress and no need to explain things.  There is just to moms who love each other dearly and a little man who enjoys being the centre of attention.  When we are alone, we can do anything.  We are not bound by social norms, we are not quiet nor do we feel the need to talk.  Things are so much more organic when it’s just us.

I’m beyond exhausted being back at work with a new job and a baby who doesn’t yet sleep through the night.  I feel like I’m constantly fighting sickness (right now I’m pretty sure I’m losing) and my muscles ache all the time.  All that aside, my life is amazing.  I’ve never been happier.  I’m so proud of us for adapting to this together.  I’m so glad my wife has time with Carter to play and watch him grow.  I’m so glad I have alone time with Carter after work so that there is nothing distracting me from him.  I did not know how badly this is the life I wanted.

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This is what they mean by apple picking right?