Heads up!

Our friends L and K came by before heading off to the east coast for the holidays and brought Darwin two toys – a rattle (somehow we got this far without *any* rattles!) and a prop-up mirror with toys on it. Tummy time is suddenly REALLY FUN! She spent somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes staring at herself and kicking before she scooted into a face plant.



Filling in the blanks

Now that it has been a year since our successful cycle, I have decided to play “catch up” on this blog in a new way. I’ll keep updating with regular what’s happening today posts, but I’m going to add in ‘a year ago’ posts as a way to document our journey. I’ll try to post one for each month. I wish I had thought of that in September, but I suppose I was otherwise occupied…anyway, here we go!

December: To back track a little further, a year and a few weeks ago I had my LMP (last menstrual period for those not in the know). December 2nd. MamaLee was in Ireland doing her thesis research, while living with one of my best friends and her son in Cork. I was jealous, but decided that I would make the best of the time and did an almost whole house purge. I cleaned, painted, walked the dog, played with our friends’ kids, and generally stayed busy. I also had the most regular cycle I’d had since I started tracking a year earlier.

If you don’t want details on how I conceived, stop here.  I benefited enough from reading about other success stories that I feel obliged to share ours.

We used a known donor who happens to be a good friend (best luck ever with that one!), so when I told him I thought I might ovulate at the right time this cycle, we hung out and had beers and watched tv while I painted the bedroom, I walked the dog, he gave me his part of the pie and headed home while I did an at-home insemination all on my lonesome. Details include: a specimen cup, an oral medication syringe without the tip, pre seed lube, and vitex starting at the last day of my period.

The two week wait began on December 16th. For me it was kind of a two-and-a-half-week wait since MamaLee wanted me to wait until she got home from Ireland on the night of the 1st. Fair enough, not wanting to hear about your impending parenthood via Facebook messages.

Christmas was lovely, spent with local friends and family, but I was preoccupied. Sometime between Christmas and New Years I had dinner at the house of some good friends who knew we were trying to conceive, and at that point I was thoroughly convinced that I was pregnant. I said so, because I was so excited, but also because I knew that I would be so devastated if I weren’t that I would want them to know and perhaps help scrape me off the floor.

New Years Eve I spent with the high school youth at my Unitarian Universalist fellowship (I’m an advisor) for an overnight. I spent the night feeling crampy and woke up several times from dreams about miscarriages. That was the last overnight I did with them.

I’ll dip briefly into January since it would be cruel to stop there. I’m a planner. I was already struggling not to pee every hour, but for accuracy those dang home pregnancy tests said I had to wait 4 hours. Or do it first thing in the morning. I was three days late already (for all my crazy cycle stuff my luteal phase was ALWAYS 14 days long) which merely solidified my certainty. I wasn’t going to wait until the next morning. So I figured out where I could stop to pee on the way to pick up MamaLee so that I could test the moment I got home. There was a rest stop at just the right place on the highway.

Picking up MamaLee after a six week absence was awesome. It was enhanced by the fact that I was now certain I was pregnant. I remember getting home and dashing to the bathroom to take two tests (neither of which I have a photo, boo). Both were positive in about 10 seconds. Leah cried and I was very happy to be proven correct in my belief that I was growing a little poppy seed.

Turning corners

After my last update we had one final bit of sadness to get through before we could move on. My great aunt, my Tante Connie, passed away on the 14th at the age of 92. She was the last of her four siblings. She would have loved to meet Darwin. Family was everything to her. I remember when I was 11 or 12 I flew from Maine to California to spend a week with her (and her dog and 6 cats – all of whom slept with me at night). We went to Yosemite, Sutter’s Mill, and I even got to try my hand at panning for gold in one of her friend’s rivers. It was a wonderful time. The things we remember are so funny sometimes. We got a lemon pepper chicken from the store at the start of the week and ate delicious chicken sandwiches all week long. Be free Tante Connie, your legacy lives on in your nieces and nephews, and great nieces and great nephews.

On the other side of the difficult period for now, we’re all feeling much better with only residual coughs to get cleared up. Darwin went back to see her wonderful caretaker yesterday and it was very neat to realize just how much she has changed in the last two-and-a-half weeks. She enjoys sitting (propped up of course) and has gained pretty good control over her head. Toys are now fascinating and she will grab and squeeze and wave her toys around, and even manages to gum them sometimes.

A rough week

It’s amazing how quickly things can snowball in such a short amount of time. I could spend a lot of time complaining about how this week went, but I’m going to try to just list all the difficulties we faced, send it out into the interwebs, and let it go. Some of this is super disgusting, so if you have a weak stomach, feel free to skip this post…

On Monday, MamaLee got sick with a low-grade fever/cold. This is after I had been sick with a cold all week last week (and it continues).

On Tuesday, our cat Mouse peed blood. This required a trip to the vet that we couldn’t get into until Thursday afternoon. Since she’s a girl, and has a history of UTI’s, we weren’t too worried, but for the expense and getting her in.

On Wednesday, Darwin had caught MamaLee’s cold and had been up most of the night. A sick 3 month old is so very sad.

On Thursday morning, MamaLee defended her thesis, which meant up at 6:30 after not sleeping again with the baby. MamaLee defended successfully (bright spot)! Then went home and found that the soup she had left on the stove was now, quite literally, all over the kitchen. The dog, Scout, even managed to get it on the ceiling. With sick baby in tow, and a cold herself, she cleaned up as much of that as she could, then cleaned up the cat vomit in the bathroom before collecting Mouse for her appointment. She then picked me up from work and off to the vet. The vet was great, recommending symptomatic care and if that didn’t clear it up, testing her pee. We thought we were lucky to be off the hook with vet bills, until we got home. And saw the bloody vomit. All over the hallway. Our 2nd cat, Uke, was also sick. Called the vet, got an appointment for 12 the following day. At this point I realized I had not slept for more than an hour at a time in over 48 hours. I believe I passed out on the bed by 8pm. MamaLee’s oldest sister, Aunt Morgan, arrived (bright spot!) while I was passed out.

On Friday morning Darwin had slept better, but woke up coughing and sneezing and wheezing a bit. Called the pediatrician. Appointment for 1 pm. In checking my phone I found out that my great aunt, who has been in declining health for years, will probably not live more than another few days. Went to work briefly. Came back, packed up a very angry kitty, and very sneezy baby, and a feverish wife. Vet is running behind by 30 minutes due to emergencies. I take Darwin to the pediatrician while my wife stays with the cat. Two hours later, Darwin has been cleared as having a cold (also now in the 96th percentile for height at 25 inches, and 97th for head circumference at 42 cm), and the cat has been given fluids, anti-nausea medication, and had a blood draw.

Which brings us to today. Today the vet called to let us know that my cat is not currently dying. She may have mild pancreatitis, or hyperthyroidism, and appears to be a bit anorexic. Other than the thyroid, it is likely that there may have been food poisoning. Her kidneys (the main worry) are not failing. Hurray! Darwin slept again last night. We’re all still sick. And I’m writing this while waiting for my program complete its current simulation so that I can keep working. I love the fact that I can work on Saturday to make up for days like yesterday.

The end of the fourth trimester

Working on outgrowing the car seat

Working on outgrowing the car seat

We have officially exited the world of trimesters, and what an amazing three months it has been!

Darwin is a whopping 15 lbs, 7.5 oz, which is precisely double her birth weight. Her eyes remain the prettiest shade of blue imaginable, and (thank goodness) we have nothing to report on the tooth front.


She enjoys sucking on her fists, smiling at the ridiculous lengths her mom’s will go to for a grin, and studying board books like a pro. Dislikes include pacifiers (we were so hopeful for that one brief success…), waking up alone in her rock’n’play, car rides after 5 pm, and letting MamaRae sleep for more than two hours at a time (I suspect the actual dislike here is going more than 2 hours without eating – note the weight gain…).

This week I learned to tie the moby wrap (holy cow why didn’t I learn that one first!?) and my back is very grateful. Darwin likes it about 3/4ths of the time, and I like the fact that I can get her in and out easily. With a kid this big anything that makes holding her easier is a major win.

Sleeping in the Moby

Sleeping in the Moby

In other news, tomorrow MamaLee defends herMaster’s thesis (on home birth in Ireland!), so it’s an early night for me. If I start now I might get 6 or 7 hours of sleep in!

Looking back

Tomorrow Darwin will be three months old. Tomorrow I will write about her weight, all the cute things she’s doing now, and what life is like with a three month old. But tonight I want to reflect back a bit and think about things that worked for us and things that didn’t work for us; things that annoyed or frustrated me, and things that were the most helpful/useful. I do a lot of “in-the-moment” writing, and a little perspective can totally change the way I view things.

Things that work(ed):

Co-sleeping. This was a life-saver with a baby who likes to nurse every 1-3 hours throughout the night. It allowed me to rest, even if I wasn’t always able to sleep, during those first few weeks. More importantly, it created some of my favorite moments, like the memory I have of waking up in the middle of the night to Darwin’s eyes, glittering in the slight of the lava lamp (best nightlight ever).

Using disposable diapers at night (thanks friend – you know who you are!). Darwin is a prolific maker of pee, which means that the whole “check the diaper every 2 hours” during the day is usually “change the diaper every hour or two” – if that. In our house, “I just changed her” means nothing. At night, with cloth diapers, this is untenable. Disposables allow me to get 3 hours (or every few weeks, *4* hours) of consecutive sleep at least once a night, most nights. Hail to the great plastic masses.

Having a video monitor. Best option ever. Not only can I babygaze to my heart’s content, but I can tell when fussing requires attention, or will pass.

Sleepers. Anything going over her head for the first 2-3 weeks resulted in prolonged, red-faced shrieking. Sleepers were easiest to put on her and to change in the middle of the night. Sleep sacks were a close second, but only when wide enough to pull up over her body rather than tug over her head.

Joint baths. I’ve had experiences with young babies hating baths. Darwin thinks they are amazing. Joint baths FTW. (Never been pooped on yet…)

A good stroller. I thought I would wear the Bug all the time. Who needs a stroller? Um, this mama, who had an epidural which, at 6 weeks resulted in adhesions, making babywearing rough for several weeks. What also helped fix that situation was the…

Moby wrap. So much fabric to learn to tie. So worth it. Seriously, with a kid who is growing as fast as this one, having a way to carry her that doesn’t destroy my back is a must. ❤ my Moby. I wish I had learned how to use it earlier.

The Rock’n’Play. Well, she has about outgrown it now, but it’s been great as a by-the-bed sleeper when we’re still up working (or blogging). Must have for new parents.

Things that fail(ed):

Eating dairy, brassicas, or beans. Seriously awful. Any of these delicious foods send Darwin into nights of kicking, screaming, 30-minute sleep fits. Sweet relief that I can control her not-colic.

Reusable nursing pads. Yeah, the milk just shot through the pads. After soaking through several shirts I found the Lansinoh disposable pads. Guilt at another thing to throw out was assuaged by not dripping on my desk at work.

Bottles. Darwin hates bottles. She will eventually take them, but what do women do whose babies just flat out refuse?

Things that annoy(ed) me:

Our pediatrician’s assistant.

Being told “just wait until…” as a negative thing. I prepared myself for the worst given all the horror stories out there. Turns out life with an infant is great overall. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Being asked if I’m sleeping by anyone other than other new parents. Seriously. If you can’t commiserate right now, I don’t want to think about it.

Things that were/are helpful/useful:

People understanding that I will forget things on a regular basis for a bit, even when they’re in my calendar, and when I do remember…

Forgiveness for being late. Sometimes it’s because the baby pooped the second her car seat was buckled, sometimes I’m just moving a little slower than intended.

Food. Oh friends, all the food <3.

My mom. She doesn’t read this blog, so I can say here: most amazing gift ever.

My dad. I don’t think he reads this blog so I can also say here: most amazing gift ever.

In summary of the last two: living close to my parents.

There’s more, and I may start a series of these posts over time, but now I have to put in another hour of work time before snuggling in to bed for the night.