She had a baby!

Hello! Erin here, just coming out of the postpartum haze. Little Junior is just over four months old now and he’s pretty much the best baby ever. Smiling like crazy and generally sleeping… a bit…

Since we spent most of our time over the last year talking about my pregnancy, its only appropriate that I share the grande finale. After all efforts to have a natural birth in a local birthing centre, I didn’t go into labour… Yes you heard me, no labour. Crazy right?! I mean in some ways, awesome cuz I didn’t experience some of the horrible pain of contractions, just mild teasers. However it meant that after being a week overdue, Junior had to come out of my belly.

At my 41 week midwife appointment I mentioned there was some funny liquid just dripping slightly down my leg that morning. And if you don’t remember, I puked and peed my pants at one point, so this didn’t seem like a big deal. The midwives being the amazing health professionals that they are had to be thorough. They did a swab test for “ferning” which is literally looking for cells shaped like fern. These unique cells are only in amniotic fluid. Turns out that little dribble had some ferns… so off the hospital I went! We had a 24 hour window to deliver once there is a membrane rupture (aka water breaking).  So they did their best to chemically induce labour, the whole time monitoring Junior who was quite content.

Finally we had to throw in the towel cuz there was zero dilation of my cervix. The doctor gave me a choice, but it was pretty clear I needed to have a c section to avoid risk of infection. This was hands down the scariest moment of my life. Despite amazing doctors, midwives, and my awesome friend Kelly by my side, I still had to hold back the urge to bolt when they were sticking a needle into my spine while I was sitting up. Then they strapped me down on a table and put a sheet like a curtain right at my shoulders. Not the birth experience I’d dreamed of, but who gets that really. 

Since I was strapped down I couldn’t hold Junior right away or even see him when he came out of my abdomen. All I heard was the midwives say “is that red hair?” and Kelly poked her head over to tell me he was adorable. I love Kelly and my midwives, but all I could think was, give me my goddamn baby!

We shared a beautiful moment when a cleaned up little bundle was given to Kelly so she could stick him down her shirt and do “skin to skin” which is the recommended contact at birth. Kelly told me he had my ears haha. Finally when I could speak, I asked for him and the little guy whipped his head around to look for me. That hasn’t changed. Junior definitely knows his mom. He is a joy, most of the time, and has brought even more love into our house. Looking forward to sharing more of our antics soon!

Bittersweet Blessing

Queer single mom Kelly here. There so much to be grateful for in this world. So much love and care and compassion just waiting for someone to reach for it. I am grateful for this journey, I am so grateful that Erin and I found a place to create a new kind of family together. I am so grateful for the peace she felt with her decision to try and become a single mother, and I am absolutely at peace with my decision to sell the house that was literally falling down around me and make a new home with a second parent figure for my child.

These are the rewards that have come after surmounting a long period of struggle. I can remember the evening Ben and I were over for dinner at Erin’s basement apartment when the thought first occurred to us, we have lived together before, you have a kid, I want a kid and we both want some help. Wouldn’t it be great to share the cooking and the shopping and the bills with someone else?

The financial realities of living in Toronto make co-habitation a sure win. However it wasn’t until shortly before the move in date with our new situation imminent when Erin asked me how I was feeling about things, that I burst into tears and told her how relieved it was to not be alone anymore. Single parenting is hard work and it is a real challenge to see the beauty and joy of it when it’s not what I chose.

These are the good things life has yielded from that foundation of the shitty end of life. As we were getting ready to finish taping our last podcast I was feeling unsettled. Celebrating all the hard work we had done and the hours that we put in to this project (the most accrued during the editing of our very generous producer) was definitely fantastic aspect of the process. However there were some nagging emotions I had to unpack. It is true that I have embraced life as it is but along this particular ride I also have to acknowledge the pain of what I’ve lost.

I became a widow when I was 34 years old and my son was only 19 months. It was a very brief illness leading up to the death of my wife and none of us were prepared for that. I have struggled to try and talk to Ben about Kara and it is only now at the age of seven it is really starting to sink in how much he has lost as well. The joys of living with another adult do mostly make me feel supported and understood but there are nights where I just want to shut myself in my apartment with my pain and try and move through the weight losing a spouse.

Kara has become a hot button topic with Ben and it has gotten to the point where he knows he can pull the emotional strings of his mother who can become a puppet in the wake of his loss. Just the one phrase “I miss mama” creates an emotional collapse in me and he sees it. He really is coming to understand the significance of not ever having known or felt or heard his other mother, however he also uses it to stall going to bed or cleaning up his toys. Whether it is genuine or put on, as a parent I can show him that I am grieving but I am still the adult and must handle it as the situation requires.

The sanity preserving benefit of our living situation is, once he is in bed, I can go downstairs and tell Erin what happened and have a good cry with her arm around my shoulders. I did not choose to lose Kara, I did not choose to become a single mother but I did choose to put myself in a situation where I could receive more mental, emotional and physical support, and I am grateful because that is what family is all about.

 

Happy Anniversary!

Hello everyone! Erin here. So excited to be posting on our one year anniversary of Fashioning Families. That’s right, one year ago on Valentines day Kelly and I launched our first blog post. I had no idea I’d be 18 weeks pregnant at that point. Such a wonderful development. And today I go for an ultrasound to hopefully find out the gender of the little munchkin! Sorry, you’re going to have to wait to hear the news a little while longer.

Today I thought I’d update everyone on the experience thus far. There are so many milestones in this whole process. Hopefully we can support each other as we continue on this awesome journey.

First trimester was energy zap central. One of my dear friends said she “was a zombie for 3 months” and I can definitely relate. Just getting back and forth to work was a struggle. One day I actually couldn’t walk the 3-5 mins to the subway and had to call a ride to take me home. Was pretty surreal. And that other thing, the nausea. I wasn’t too sick, just when I ate too much too fast and my slower digestive system couldn’t keep up like before. But oh the carbs! I ate them day and night to keep my stomach from turning. The result: 15lbs gained in 12 weeks!

Now that I’m well into the second trimester (which starts around 14 weeks), I’m feeling more like myself. There was actually a night when I came home around 14 weeks where I noticed “hey, I don’t want to go straight to bed!” and it was glorious. The nausea has died down, and so has the weight gain. I’m around 18lbs gained now, which the midwife says is a-ok! However the belly is definitely showing and I’ve been into maternity pants for over a month. FYI, they are super comfy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third time’s a charm!

Hey All! Erin here.

Its been a busy few months for Kelly and I! We moved into the same house. That’s right, Kelly and I are co-owners of a multi-unit house where we each have our own space. More on that later 😉

We’ve also been working on our podcast, stay tuned in 2018 for more updates!

And last but not least….. I’M PREGNANT!!!

The “little clump” as I’ve affectionately called her/him is now just over 9 weeks and canofficially be called a fetus.

On October 21, 2017 I went in for my third IUI. This time was different. I did not take Clomid, a drug that stimulates follicle production in the ovaries, with the side effect of thinning your uterine lining. So you may have more mature eggs, but not such a cushy landing pad.

I had one mature follicle, twice the amount of uterine lining as the other IUIs, and I decided to use the same donor I had originally picked in the first IUI.

The first time I had a sample of 28 million sperm (they are looking for 10 million so it was definitely enough!). The sample from that same donor this time yielded only 8 million sperm. I was disappointed, but still hopeful.

It felt right this time. Things were in place. As a good friend said “the baby knew you were home”.

So here we are! At the 6 week ultrasound we even got to see a strong flickering heartbeat on the monitor. And now the search for a midwife, planning, and all that jazz.

So phase one is complete… insemination!

Now on to phase two… pregnancy!

See you soon!

Strike Two

Erin here. Its official, my uterine lining is shedding and I’ve shed a few tears. No pregnancy this time. I think its important to share the humour but also the real struggles of this process. Honestly its awesome, and it sucks!

 

I feel like I’m a bit of a trail blazer and that can be both frustrating and isolating. All my straight friends who want to get pregnant have male partners who can deposit sperm on the regular. I get one shot. Mind you, its a medically supervised super shot… but its just one shot. And its an expensive shot, >$1200 each time. Now I’m not starting a pity party, cuz my queer friends are in the same boat as me, and I know there are plenty of people, queer and straight alike who suffer from infertility. And that sucks too. Let’s all give each other a big virtual hug!

I am so incredibly lucky to have my good friend Kelly. In many ways she provides the support I would otherwise get from a partner. She even sits beside me and does reiki while I’m getting shot up with sperm!

Single parents and prospective single parents, its tough to do this alone! We all need someone who is gonna tell us that everything is going to be ok. And I know it will be ok, one way or another, but its been a tough week.

Big hugs!

Day 25

Hello Friends! Erin Here.

Its been a while since we posted, but as some of you have seen on our instagram… things are happening!

I was inseminated on my cycle day 14, which was Friday June 23rd. This was a big week! It was my birthday on Wednesday and that same night Kelly and I signed papers to co-own a triplex! We will be each be living in apartments and are very excited to share our experiences as we move into communal living! More to come!

Check out the message on the calendar Kelly gave me for that day:

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Today is cycle day 25. Normally I’d been antsy to check in and see if I’m preggers… but there is a more somber tone to the day for me and I’ve decided to wait for my period and share this with you.

Eleven years ago on this day, also a Tuesday, I sat by my father’s side in a hospital room while he passed away. It was a life changing day for me, as I’m sure you can imagine. I’ve often been accused of being “just like your father”, usually when I’m late, silly, charismatic, and the centre of attention. He was a larger than life musician and I miss him deeply. I really hope I will pass on his genes to another little musician… but only time will tell.

Today I am being gentle with myself, as you do when grief is in your face. Both Kelly and I have lost our fathers. Its something that deepens our bond with each other. I am reminded even more today how grateful I am for her, and all of my wonderful friends and family who support me.

Please enjoy today!fullsizeoutput_157

Welcome back to Self-Care!

Hello All, Erin and Kelly here. Its been a month since Erin’s last post, but don’t fret! We’ve still be hard at work setting up the podcast and coming up with ideas for the blog.

In the meantime… we wanted to post about the topic that just kept coming up all month until we addressed it: SELF-CARE

Kelly: How many times do we have to remind ourselves that we are in charge of our own lives?  This week I went over Erin’s house to tape a podcast about self-care and there wasn’t any actual self-care going on for either of us.

 

So we decided that we needed to practice before we preached!

The universe has a way of reminding us that we committed to actually making things better not just busier. Who knew that when you were going to be taping a podcast you just end up moving furniture around? I had just happened upon a new free table in my neighbourhood to put in front of a carpet and create a new yoga space. Erin said “I need one too, but there is no room!”

Erin: We moved every piece of furniture in my livingroom around… it turned out that just one change (moving the TV, no surprise!) fixed the entire problem. Better, not busier, ok right I get it now!

I smile every day now when I look at the space even before I do yoga. Talk about small changes adding a large dose of positivity into life!

Kelly: The trick is to we were allow ourselves to be honest and say: I can’t handle this right now so what are we gonna do about it? It actually gave us energy, and when it was all done we both stepped back and breathed a hearty sigh of relief.

Self care works.

Moving forward

Hi there, Erin here!

I took a little bit of a hiatus from the blog for a few weeks. I decided to take this month off
of cycle monitoring at the clinic and just live my life for a while. Its been a bit of a roller coaster and I’ve been in and out of that clinic monthly for nearly a year now.

In the meantime we had Kelly’s lovely son’s birthday! He will turn 6 years old on Wednesday. Oh how time flies! I remember holding him at the hospital when he was less than 24 hours old with two proud mom’s looking over at me. Such a special moment!

At the birthday party I was getting congratulations from our friends. I was a bit taken aback and my response was “oh it was negative, there’s nothing to congratulate yet” but I was wrong. I made a big step and they were giving me love and support. I will be a mom, but this part of the journey is about me taking charge of my life.

As I was on the table being inseminated, I got the call for an amazing job offer! This job will provide the stability I was seeking for my future. I used to value travel and adventure over stability, but now the scales are balanced a little differently.

Putting the steps in motion to become a parent, even if it didn’t turn out this time, brought me awesome rewards.

Set those intentions, take the risks, the universe has your back!

The Verdict

Hello Again, Erin here.

I caved on Friday morning and did a pregnancy test. Friday was day 24 in my cycle, approximately 4 days before I’m due to get my period. Early days, but the First Response package promised 96% accuracy. Minutes later the answer: Negative.

Saturday morning I had a quick visit to the clinic to have blood taken, then the real wait began. Blood tests are true confirmation. They can detect a trace of the hCG hormone in the body that is stimulated by implantation. Home pregnancy tests check the level of hCG in the urine, which takes time to build up.

I went home, made myself a half decaf espresso with steamed milk, and turned on a movie. Into the Forest, a disaster film about two sisters who learn to survive on their own in their isolated woodland home after a massive power outage. Safe right? No babies or pregnancy reminders…wrong! I really hoped the test was positive.

Just before I took my dog out for a walk I got the call.

NEGATIVE

It hung in the air. I felt like I was in a bit of a fog for the rest of the day. Didn’t want to talk about it with anyone. But the questions came in, and little by  little, it helped. So many people care. My mom called, my brother sent me the most kind text message “We’re sorry. We love you.” And I got a three-way hug (and wine) from my girlfriends that eve.

I’m lucky to have so many amazing people in my life. I’m ready to be a mom. It will happen. But its still ok to be sad right now.