11 months later.

I don’t turn on my computer anymore.

Honestly, most of the time, I don’t even know where it is.  Balanced on a high surface, maybe.  Or buried under a pile of picture books.  Or serving as a coaster for the glass of water that I poured and then forgot.  Please don’t take this as a complaint: it isn’t.   It’s just to say that I spend most of my time these days catering to the demands of a very short and demanding roommate  (“Park! “ “Swing!” “Milk!”  “Play!”  “Monkey!”  “Food!”  “Sushi!”)  Please don’t take this as a complaint either: her demands are accompanied by hugs, a sticky cheek squished into mine, giddiness when I walk through the door.  No, I’m not here to complain.  Just to tell you why I haven’t written a post in 11 months.

I’ve been too busy.  Too tired.  Too happy.

I’m not sorry.

I am sorry, though, that you know so much about Bingo’s conception, gestation, birth, infancy even, but so little about Bingo herself.  Here’s what I want you to know:

Bingo is doing so well.  She’s 19 months now, and undeniably a toddler. I called her a baby until the word felt ridiculous counterpoised against her undeniably larger self. She spoke (and signed) early, walked late.  Her first word was “up”, said with arms reaching into the air. So many words have followed.  Her first ‘sentence’ was “No, mommy, no!”   Many of her joys and sorrows are the same as they were at eight months: she loves animals, books, and the park.  She still loves food, though sushi, cheese, bread, pizza and pasta have replaced carrots and bananas as her favourites.  Her favourite people are her mommies, followed closely by a host of baby friends, suitably entertaining adults, and a stuffed monkey.  Her list of baby sorrows is still short: having her face wiped, the word “no” (uttered by anybody other than her), nutrients, sleep.

Though you saw photos of Bingo as a fetus on an ultrasound and as wrinkly newborn, I’m not going to share photos of her here and now.   She is too much herself now, and the internet is too wide.  So imagine light brown hair, caught in a haphazard ponytail or falling across large dark eyes.  Imagine a small, wrinkled nose, and a dimple on a round cheek.  Imagine feet tripping over themselves, outstretched arms, a small body propelling itself forward, powered by curiosity and delight.  We are never still these days, and I don’t turn on my computer anymore.

A snapshot of eight months.

So here I am again, as I am about once a month, beginning a new blog post.  As I usually do when I begin these posts, I feel contrite about my absense and determined to be more present.  There are so many things I want to say about everything happening in your lives– so many comments that I want to make on your posts, so many congratulations and comisserations I want to offer.  Please know that I am reading and following– that I care about what is happening and think about you as I go about my days.  It’s just that I usually read your posts on the small screen of my phone, around 3am when my eyes are heavy and my fingers are clumsy, so I don’t comment.

There are also so many posts that I want to write.  I want to tell you about feelings of queerness in queer and parenting communities alike, about donor siblings, about visitors, about no longer blogging anonymously, about everything.  But right now, as I wonder how many minutes I have until I hear the baby’s cries over the monitor, I just want to tell you about her. Continue reading

Bingo- a birth story.

Somehow, Bingo is six months old. I want to write a post about her transformation from squishy newborn to funny, active little person, but right now I’m painfully aware of both my overall failure to blog and my specific failure to blog about Bingo’s birth. I’ll begin with the latter in an attempt to remedy the former. Still following? Good!

Bingo’s birth story was mostly written at the time of the event, time- stamped updates typed into my phone by me and then, later, by Sea.  If you don’t want to read it, here is the summary:

After the contractions brought about by induction #1– cervical gel- tapered off, induction #2- pitocin- went ahead as scheduled, beginning on November 21st. Labor was long, painful, and scary at times. It culminated in two hours of pushing, followed by a caesarean after I spiked a fever and labor stalled. Of course, what it really culminated in was the birth of the fabulous Bingo. This end product- and the care/love of Sea, our friends, and our fabulous midwives- make this a happy story, even though, at the time, a lot of it felt like anything but.

And here is the long version, written on November 21st and 22nd, 2013.

Continue reading

Today.

(Yesterday, now.)

I text my friends to wish them a happy due date, telling them that I’m excited for them.  Text sent, I go and look in the mirror.

The wrinkled t-shirt I pulled out of the pile of unfolded laundry in our room is even more wrinkled after a restless night. Its front is stained with milk: in the next 10 minutes its shoulder will also be covered in spit up. Under my stained shirt, my stomach is stretched in a way that still feels unfamiliar.  The stretchmarks are always a surprise.  I look tired, and my hair is too long. I try to think when I last had a haircut, I can’t remember. I try to think about when I might go for another haircut, and I can’t imagine. I’m pulled away from my pathetic reflection by the sounds of a stirring baby: the same sounds that pulled me away from my bed no fewer than four times the previous night.

I go into the baby’s room. Picture-perfect before she was born, a basket of unfolded laundry now sits in the middle and books are flung across the floor. I turn off the humidifier and the white noise machine, mechanisms necessary for sleep. I’m greeted by a smiling baby. She is kicking happily in the center of her crib, surrounded by a small ocean’s worth of spit up. Despite yesterday’s bath, she smells like sour milk. I pick her up, and immediately realize that she has pooed out the sides and up the back of her diaper. Again. 

After the first of the day’s three outfit changes, I have breakfast while I feed the baby.  This, in itself, is a feat: I’ve eaten cookies or nothing more mornings than I care to admit.  Today I balance my bowl of cereal in the hand partially pinned under the baby’s head, and try not to drip milk onto her clean outfit.  I eat lefthanded, a newly acquired skill.  While I eat, I think about my friends, awaiting the arrival of their any-day-now baby.  I think of our own anticipation in November, and the days that followed.  Even remembering, I feel overwhelmed by the exhaustion and the pain.  I think about the long labor that ended in a c-section, about how I could barely turn or pull myself to sitting afterwards, about how my body leaked and bled.  I think about the night when Bingo cried constantly, and all of the tears (both hers and mine) that came both before and after.  I think about how I really had no idea, and how often I still don’t.  And I think about my friends, and how some of these things might still be ahead.

And then I’m pulled back to the here and now, mostly because the baby has managed to sink her elbow into my bowl of cereal despite my breakfast gymnastics.  Finished eating, she turns her head and smiles up at me.  In the past five and a half months, she’s transformed from a fragile newborn into a sturdy (and pudgy!) child.  I think now about all of the things she does.  She rolls, and sits (sort of), and wrinkles her nose when she laughs.  She has likes and dislikes, favorite toys and games.  After an absence (no matter how short), she greets me or Sea with an enthusiasm that radiates through her entire body.  She is more herself every day, and I am more myself with her.  As exhausting and chaotic as these days sometimes still are, they are palpably different from those first overwhelming weeks when I found myself wondering– more than once– what we had done.  These days are different, filled with more with joy than fear.  I am wrinkled, I am exhausted, I am happy.  And I am excited for my friends.

Sick day.

Anybody who knows me can tell you that I am not very good at being still.

Before having a baby, I would head from one meeting, activity, or gathering with friends to the next, raising my hand to volunteer far more often than I should have. If I got sick, I would drag myself into work, sneezing and dripping as I went. My coworkers would cover their mouths and glare, rightfully annoyed at the person bringing in the germs.

It should come as no surprise then, that I have created a post-baby schedule almost as busy as the one that existed before. I have signed up for song groups and reading circles, playgroups and educational sessions. I make muffins to bring to gatherings in the houses of my new parent friends, and travel across the city to see my non-parent friends with Bingo strapped to a carrier on my chest.

Last night, we woke up at 2am to the sounds of Bingo sniffing and coughing pitifully in the cosleeper by our bed. By 6am, she was tossing fitfully and too congested to sleep. As Sea showered, I sat with the poor baby in the steamy bathroom and held her as she finally dozed off. As the sun rose, I lay with her in bed and watched her sleep, still coughing and sniffling. I thought about our plans for the day: a friend to meet, a playgroup to go to, a meeting to attend. I thought about how I could still go. How hard could it be to wipe the baby’s face, get us both dressed, and power through? That is, after all, how I operate. But then I asked myself who I would be doing that for. Not for the baby , certainly. Not even for the people I had planned to see. I would be doing it only for me.

So I stayed in bed. We’ve spent today reading, playing, and singing songs, but mainly just staying cozied into the warmest corners of our house. I’m not going to lie: I’m feeling a little twitchy. Next week, when the sniffles have hopefully subsided, we’ll resume normal activity. But for today, I’m choosing to be grateful for the slowed pace and quiet moments of our first sick day.

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A year in the making.

A year ago today, a fluish Sea and I set out to the fertility clinic on a cold morning.

We stopped to help a man named Tom who had collapsed on the pavement, before heading into the building that had housed our three previous attempts at babymaking. With the aid of an app, I pointed myself towards Mecca and took a sip of holy water before following the ever-rushed Dr. Text into a clinic room. As Call Me Maybe played over the radio and we talked about conception stories, Dr. Text performed our fourth IUI and first try with our second donor.

A year later, I’ve seen Tom once, walking across the same pavement where he fell. Dr. Text has moved back to his home country. Call Me Maybe has been replaced on radio stations by more popular songs. The holy water sits at the back of a cupboard, in case of future need. And Sea and I sit in our warm home on a quiet evening, with our 12 week old daughter sleeping beside us.

What a year it has been.

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