4 Weeks to GO!! (Week 36)

Holy crap.

In just 4 short weeks (potentially less) we are going to have a BABY.

I think I just freaked out!

But seriously, has time flown by or what? I feel like just yesterday we were talking about writing a blog about our trying to conceive experience, and now we’re mere weeks away from having an actual child in our arms.

Fun facts about the 36th week:

  • Baby is as big as a papaya, measuring anywhere from 17-almost 19 inches and weighing in at an impressive 4-almost 6 pounds!
  • If baby came out right now, she would likely need little support and would be just fine (thank goodness!)
  • Baby is head down and preparing for birth (verified by an ultrasound yesterday)
  • Mom Holly is ready to get this baby outta here!

Immediately following our final baby shower (the next day in fact), we ran out with our cash, gift cards and baby registry completion coupons and bought everything else we need that we didn’t get from the showers for baby H. It was so much fun, and I totally felt like it was a bonding experience for us because we got to talk through things together and laugh about the funny stuff we saw. It was a good day. Over the weekend we bought the real last thing: The Chair. Now all I need to do is put it together and put the finishing touches on that room and it’ll be ready for baby whenever she decides to make her appearance.

Yesterday, as a I mentioned earlier, we had the 36 week OB appointment. When I arrived, slightly (not) late, they were taking Holly’s blood pressure for the 3rd time and soon did a 4th. Apparently, her blood pressure was high. When we saw our usual OB/Midwife Angela, we talked through the things Holly had been experiencing throughout the last two weeks, as per usual, and a few of the things she said set off warning flags for Angela, on top of the high blood pressure, for pregnancy induced hypertension or preeclampsia. She assured us that it wasn’t a big deal, that we would just go and have Holly do a non-stress test where they would monitor the baby, and go from there. When pressed further, she explained that if the non-stress test or NST was troubling, they would probably send us to Labor and Delivery (L&D) and we might be talking about induction in the near future.

Slightly nervous, we went down to antepartum testing and Holly sat on a gurney while they hooked her up to monitors and kept track of the baby’s heartbeat and fetal movement for around an hour. During that time, they checked her blood pressure again and it came back normal. Of course after that, baby girl was being a stubborn baby about moving for them and Holly had to suck down some juice and cold water to motivate her. In the end, it turned out to be nothing on that end, and they checked her amniotic fluid to make sure it was all good, which it was. We left and went down stairs to get her blood drawn for further testing and then we were done.

It sounds like more of an ordeal now that I type it out, and I was pretty anxious about it, but I’m glad that baby and wifey are alright. The good news is Angela also said Holly is already 1cm dilated and her cervix is thinning nicely, which are signs that she won’t go to 42 weeks, a thing Holly was definitely not interested in! Hopefully in the next couple weeks I’ll be on here (briefly) to report the birth of our beautiful daughter and the ginger color of her hair. Of course, if anything that’s more fun happens before week 37, I’ll be sure to update.

Baby Shower to the 2nd Power

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Doesn’t she look so enthused?! Truth be told, this picture was taken the day after our LAST baby shower, and one week after the first, so she should look exhausted! I think she just looks positively radiant.

Yes, you read that last part right, we had 2 baby showers. I’d love to say that I was super diligent taking pictures at both of them, but sadly my work was mediocre at the first and virtually non-existent at the second. That said, we had such a great time!

So here’s a quick recap of both showers, for those who weren’t able to attend (or just want to look back fondly):

Shower 1

  • Who threw it: My parents
  • What we ate: Super cute owl veggie tray (pic below), delicious croissant sandwiches and pinwheels courtesy of Costco, caprice sticks and SIXLETTS!
  • What we did: Color the Letter for baby’s future alphabet book, what’s in your purse, measure the belly, wishes for baby cards, and of course “Don’t cross your legs/Don’t say baby”.
  • Cool stuff we got: An awesome Diaper Bouquet courtesy of Christine (also pictured below), assorted adorable clothes, two awesome gift baskets full of baby goodies from Anatt/Hannah and Debbie, the worlds largest gift bag full of things from Tammy, a hand crocheted blanket from Holly’s aunt Angela, a handmade quilt from my grandma Janice, and so many more cute and wonderful things from our friends and family.
  • How thankful we are: SO THANKFUL. Everyone was so kind and generous and we can’t thank you all enough for your support.

Shower 2

  • Who threw it: Christy, Alex and Corey with the help of Anatt and Kathy as well.
  • What we ate: Croissant sandwiches and pinwheels, BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP, meatballs, veggies, other delicious snacks.
  • What we did: What’s in the Diaper, Guess that Baby Food, don’t cross your legs, Labor or Porn, Beer belly or Pregnant belly, Guess how many (bubble gum and skittles).
  • Cool stuff we got: So many CUTE CLOTHES, not one, not two but 3 hand made (crochet and knit) blankets for baby girl, several adorable books for our sweetheart and many more sweet and thoughtful gifts from our friends.
  • How thankful we are: Can I say SO THANKFUL again?

 

Seriously, Holly and I can’t thank any and everyone who attended our showers or sent gifts to help us prepare for our sweetie. We are so grateful to have so many wonderful people that are as excited about our baby girl as we are! We also want to thank those who threw our showers, my parents, Christy, Corey, Alex, Anatt, Kathy and anyone else we might have forgotten that played a part in our showers. You all made us feel so loved, so supported, and so valued, and we can’t thank you enough for that.

Next to come: Week 36 and the final 4 week countdown!

 

7 Weeks Left!

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First off, I think this whole fruits and veggies estimate of baby’s size is inaccurate. Size of a squash this week? I’ve seen some tiny squash at the store, but I’ve also watched this baby roll all over Holly’s belly so I know she is far from that small. I guess its all “averages” and “perspective”.

Technically we’re 33 weeks already, but I started school recently, so of course I’m a little behind. So with that, baby is the size of celery, 17-18 inches and 4-5 lbs, give or take a bit. This weekend is our first of two baby showers, put on by my wonderful mother and her friend from work Lee. We are excited to see everyone and celebrate our little girl with the family/family-friends closest to us.

The last few weeks have been pretty hectic. As I said, I started school, on top of that full time job, and its been pretty jarring getting back into the flow of things. On the bright, and slightly sad side, Holly’s last day of work is tomorrow! Sweet Ella is starting her first day of pre-school on Friday, now that she’s two (tomorrow) whole years old, and Holly is all too ready to sit down a little more often instead of chasing after a toddler. That said, as with every transition from being with a family to no longer being with them, we’re both a little bummed that we won’t be seeing that sweet little face as often anymore. We do have some super fun girl time to look forward two in October, which is nice and I know for one I’m excited about those.

Beyond those super big changes, we’ve been on every-two-week doctor’s appointments since week 28. They’ve been pretty boring, except for hearing baby’s heartbeat and measuring her growth, not a lot goes on there. The more exciting ones start in a few weeks toward the end of the month when we go to every-week appointments for the last 4 weeks until our little one arrives.

The final countdown has begun, and to be honest its a little terrifying. 7 weeks isn’t nearly long enough in my mind for us to actually be ready for this baby. Actually, last night Holly and I talked about if we felt ready or not. Frankly, I don’t think there will ever be a ready. I think the best thing parents can do is just prepare in any way they know how, have the baby showers, go to the doctors appointments and birth classes, learn everything they need to know and then the rest is just on-the-job training. Being “ready” is this concept that society tries to impress upon you to make you buy things, take even more classes, read more books, and still at the end of all of it, there’s no guarantee that you won’t mess up a few times. I take comfort in the fact that I have been fortunate enough to spend time with lots of different little ones at a variety of ages and feel pretty comfortable with the idea of having a child of my own. The rest will just happen, and I’m sure we will be more than capable of rolling with the punches and learning together as we go.

Super fun additions to this pregnancy, this week, have been acid reflux, combined with amazingly strong heartburn, probably from baby wiggling all over that stomach and making the acids take a road trip. I feel so bad for Holly, because at this point the pregnancy symptoms aren’t nearly as fun as they have been, and she’s so uncomfortable all the time, it just sucks. Luckily, that 7 week countdown is ever present in both our minds as we barrel toward our due date with wide, terrified eyes and excited hearts.

If you aren’t attending our shower, I will be doing a recap next week (or possibly Sunday) of all the antics and fun. We wish we could celebrate with everyone, but we know that distance and time make it hard for everyone we love to be there. However, we know you, like us, love our little one already and we’re excited for you to meet her in a few short weeks.

Our Donor, Fun Facts About Choosing

Being gay, Holly and I have had a different conception experience from most heterosexual friends or co-workers we have, which is both cool and daunting. It’s cool because we have a little bit more of a story to tell, but it was daunting at the time because we didn’t have more than one set of friends that had done it the way we were planning, through IUI by using a sperm donor, and that made the whole thing so unknown. What’s cool about living in 2016 is the internet can tell you a lot about things like IUI, or IVF, or other conception opportunities, but all the research I did personally came up with a distinct heterowash to it. That is to say, many of the perspectives were of heterosexual parents with fertility issues, and as our Reproductive Endochronologist Dr. Kumar said at our first consultation with him, the only fertility issue we have is that we don’t have one half of the reproduction tools.

Enter California Cryobank, which is the largest sperm back in the United States and popular from coast-to-coast. Now, you might ask, how does one select a sperm donor with which to make a baby. Its really like shopping online, but for a person’s sperm and not for food items. But really, the process is pretty much the same. Holly and I sat down one night last November and talked about what we were looking for in a donor. We decided we were looking for someone with our shared heritage, European with some Swedish, French, maybe even Scottish or Irish in them (strictly for the red hair), who was taller than I am, but not a 50 foot giant, with a math smart brain (something we both lack) and overall clean family genetic history. We thought this was not a lot to ask, though you might think the opposite, but when we plugged these wants into California Cryo’s search options, there were a flood of choices that popped up. I think we combed through their donors for three weeks at least, looking for just the right one and going back and forth on a few. We narrowed it down to a list of 3 each and then swapped to see our other’s chosen donors and discuss why.

For me, this is the funny part, because naturally you’d think I would look for a donor like myself, because I wouldn’t be the biological parent of our child so I would likely want someone who is like me to make sure my “me-ness” is represented. Wrong. I found 3 wonderful donors that were exactly like Holly, but in man form. We both found that pretty funny, and still do. Finally we settled on a donor, with red hair, calculus level math skills and a dry sense of humor like my own. Best of all, his mom is a teacher, and so is his sister, much like the teacher I want to be, which was a bonus plus 10 points. In January, when we had finally decided to pull the trigger on this IUI business, we did all the pre-tests and what not with our RE’s office through Kaiser and then called to order our little swimmers. Of course you all know we didn’t succeed with the first IUI, but with the second, same donor, we did.

Funny things about this donor, he has two daughters of his own, so it was almost perfect for Holly because she wanted a girl from the jump, even following a Chinese calendar for insemination so that we would be sure to get one (looks like it worked). Also, and this is a little creepy but in a good way, his childhood pictures look like they could be related to me. When you purchase the childhood pictures option from California Cryo, you get one early, one middle and one late childhood, toddler, elementary and early middle school ish. He has a whole mess of freckles and my shade of red hair in all three, but its the facial features that really match. His toddler picture, up next to mine is eerily similar, which is wicked in the grand scheme of things, because this baby will likely have some of my features as represented through our donor.

Since there’s always a down side to things, here’s the things I didn’t like about choosing a donor through California Cryobank:

  • The “membership” packages they offer, with access to things like baby pictures, extended family history, writing samples, voice recordings, are only 90 days and are EXPENSIVE, especially if you don’t want to hear your donors voice or see his shitty (or wonderful) handwriting.We opted for ala carte choices that best fit us, but to each their own.
  • Every year they have a promo code that lowers the price of these membership things, and of course when we were looking to get one, no existing promo codes worked and they hadn’t come out with this year’s one yet. Word to the wise, get pregnant in not January.
  • We only bought the one vial per-time of our donor’s sperm for each IUI, because it was a lot of money to buy and store and we just didn’t have it at that time (and figured we wouldn’t need it because they would have more vials). Suddenly he became quite popular and now there’s nothing left, so that sucks but maybe advice for the future: BUY IN BULK.
  • Relating to the point above, they now have a financing option to help families buy more at once and store, through monthly payments. Would have gone with that if we had known it was an option.

Cool things about California Cryobank are that they offer a donor matching service, where they can match a donor to your partner, or husband, or ideal mate, so that you get the best match for you and your family, of course for a higher fee. They also list celebrity look alikes for each donor, which can be comical when you don’t always recognize the name and then google the name, find the picture and laugh because of who it is. Worthwhile experience there. We also liked that once you register a pregnancy with them, they will notify you if more vials for your donor become available, and you can also participate in the donor sibling registry, which lets you have the opportunity to connect with half siblings that used your donor all over the country (world?).

As this was a lot of information, I’ll let you all digest that. But know, if you have any questions, curiosities or just wonderings about this process, please feel free to get in touch with us. There’s a contact page somewhere on this blog, and we’d love to share more of our experience with you if it helps you gain understanding of how to go about this yourself. That’s the whole point of starting this blog for me, so that other queer families don’t have to go through the struggle to find information like we did. If we can do that, then its all worth it in my book.

Next time we’ll cover: Granny activities and other things you do when your spouse is pregnant. See you then!

Third Trimester Catch-up

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I kind of suck at this blog thing, but in the weeks to come, as I go back to work and school, oddly enough I promise I’ll do better. Its been 3 ish weeks since I last updated the world on this glorious pregnancy, so lets do a little catch up and see what’s been going on the last little bit here.

I went to Oregon! My Aunt Stephanie was getting married, and then so was our family friend Lissa, so I headed up to the greenest state I’ve seen in a while to participate in the joyousness of love and marriage. It was gorgeous, I wish I could articulate in this blog exactly how much, but it made me envious of everyone that lived there because my home state is a disgusting shade of dying yellow-brown almost all the time now.

Before I can really wrap up exactly how beautiful and wonderful that little 4 day weekend trip to Oregon was, I must mention my tumultuous pathway to arriving there, though. I’m sure many of you followed along on Facebook as my flight was delayed, then delayed more, then cancelled outright on Thursday night. You may have even been awake with me as I finally got on stand-by to a flight to Sacramento that would “hopefully” also get me on stand-by to a flight to Portland, which ended up taking off at almost 11pm that night ( I arrived at the airport at 5:30). Heck, you might have even followed my adventure from my live Facebooking/Tweeting while using my awesome and free (because they felt bad) Southwest Wifi as I didn’t even set technical feet in Sacramento, and was then whisked away to Portland, arriving there at 2:30 am. I am so fortunate my glorious parents were willing and flexible enough to keep up with me the whole time and drive the hour from Salem, where we were actually staying, to Portland and back to pick me up, thus making them saints in my book. We finally blew into Salem around 3:30, where I promptly took a shower to rinse the awful flight experience off and then crashed hard.

Whew! That was exhausting just to relive.

But now that we’re done with that: Steph and Mike’s wedding was so sweet. Aunt Laura had found a waterfall about an hour from Salem in this large park of waterfalls, beautiful as you can imagine, and they were married by a clergy member in front of the waterfall and 97% of our immediate family. The next night, my parents and I went to a wedding for our family friend Lissa, which was also very sweet, very rustic and we all had a grand old time. The day after that I shot back to LA after spending an adventurous afternoon with my cousins and brother in Portland sampling beer and nabbing some awesome donuts from Voodoo Donuts. I wish I had gotten a picture, but they were truly as good as I had heard.

The weekend after we got back and the final week of July, I embarked, with the help of a few friends, on painting my brother’s former room, now becoming the nursery for our beautiful baby girl. Here are some fun “process” shots of that adventure.

That bottom one there is my wonderful friend and Gamma Rho Lambda sorority sister Noelle doing a stellar paint job outer edge of the door. She really came through in a pinch for me, as did Anatt, who came just after Noelle left and stayed until that evening helping me put the finishing touches. All in all, it took 3 total days, once I edged, painted and touched up the room (several times). One thing I took from the whole experience, Frog Tape is the best, cleanest edge for painting tape I’ve ever used in my life. Highly recommended. The walls are a light gray, with a darker gray accent, nice and neutral for the eventual time when we leave my parents house and they’ve got that room as an extra once again (instead of having it pink).

Later on that week, while Holly was on vacation, we took a trip down to our friendly neighborhood Ikea store to pick up some baby furniture.

The left one is the crib mattress we “stole from a woman walking down the street” as I put it. In truth, Holly’s amazing bosses have actually held onto this mattress for us since their youngest ditched the crib for a big girl bed several months ago. They rock for keeping it, and as a result we have one less thing to buy! On the right is us escaping with our haul. As we were loading the car, I was struggling to lift the heavier items and Holly, although she was doing her best to help, has a big baby bump that complicates that effort. Some nice stranger man came up to us and asked if we wanted help and then proceeded to aide our loading process. I was so grateful I couldn’t stop thanking him as he walked away. Good thing there are decent people out there.

Three days later, most of the furniture got assembled and I’m saving those pictures for our final finished baby room post in a few weeks (because it isn’t quite done yet).

Yesterday, Holly had her 28 week check-up with our OB who is surprisingly (not that surprising) pregnant now herself, how cool! At first they couldn’t find a heartbeat with the fetal doppler (though the heard a kick really loudly!), so they brought in the portable ultrasound machine and we got our first look at Baby Hutchings in 8 weeks. No pictures, sadly, but we saw one good sized head and a cute little smooshy body. Baby is head down already, though she might not stay that way because she still has plenty of room to move. Doctor also gave Holly the go-ahead to attempt to get off Zofran (the anti-nausea meds), though she doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to, but with a 5:30am wake-up call every day to take her pill, I’m assuming she might want to.

Fun facts about the 28th week of pregnancy:

  • We are finally in the 3rd Trimester, 11 ish weeks to go!
  • Baby is the size of an eggplant, or a bowl of cereal, weighing in at just shy of 3 lbs and measuring at almost 15 inches long.
  • She’s fattening up, which is good because right now she’d look really wrinkly if she came out, so in this case fat is good. In fact, her weight will triple (or more) before her birth.

Mommy (Holly) is reporting being tired, out of breath often, lots of pressure in her lower abdomen as baby remains head down, and more times with swollen feet than not these days. However, the good news is baby is growing and maturing right on target and the doctors seem pleased with that. We are going to schedule our 3D ultrasound sometime in the next couple weeks, before my work and school really have a chance to get into full swing, so those will be fun pictures we’ll have soon.

I go back to work on Monday😦 which is both sad and exciting. I can’t wait to see my kids and my co-workers, but I am also going to miss spending almost every day with Holly and sweet little Ella. I’m sure in a few months I’ll get over it because Holly’ll be done working and I’ll be nervously awaiting that water to break and our baby to make her appearance.

Anyway, lets wrap up this wrap up with a teaser for next blog. The title is going to be “Our Donor, Fun Facts About Choosing”. Bet you can’t wait for that one huh? Until next time.

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Happy Last Alone Birthday Honey!

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To my beautiful wife on your 28th birthday:

I know that I’m leaving tonight, and that’s no fun, but I hope you enjoyed our Daglas and Cupids dinner last night, and I hope you won’t be too sad while I’m gone. This birthday seems so much more special than all the ones before, simply because its the last one either of us will be just us, before we become parents. It’s crazy to think that this time last year we were just kicking around the idea of a baby, and that it seemed so much more far off in the future than it ended up becoming.

Seeing you pregnant and full of that little dumpling of ours just brings so much joy to my heart. So does this adorable picture of your honorarily adopted nanny kids and you on your birthday. Although this birthday may not be the funnest or the most adventurous or exciting, just remember, every other one will be a brand new experience and therefore greater than each one that comes before.

I love you so much and am so in awe of your strength every day as you carry that child, and I can’t wait to see what a wonderful mother you will become alongside me.

Happy last birthday alone baby! I love you!

Week 25: Cauliflower Love Child

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When I was a kid and my parents would trip us out to Ojai or Ventura to visit our family friends Bill and Laura, whenever we would pass fields my dad would exclaim loudly: That’s Rutabaga! I never understood if he was saying an actual vegetable name, or if he was just screwing around. Now, at 28, I realize he was speaking of real things.

This week, baby is the size of a rutabaga, which is a type of Swedish turnip (more info here). For us normal humans that don’t spend time hanging out with rutabaga folk, baby is the size of a cauliflower this week. Only two more weeks till the 3rd trimester! How exciting! During this week, baby is about 14-ish inches long and between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds. Crazy! What’s even crazier is baby is moving around so much and kicking so hard we can often see it on the outside of Holly’s tummy. She’ll just be sitting there and then WHAM and a tremor floats across her belly, its actually pretty cool to watch. Baby Hutchings loves hearing about my day and often will kick in my direction when I wiggle on down there to tell her about the great fun I had practically right next to her all day long.

She is also doing somersaults all over mommy’s uterus and just wiggling like crazy. This week, at our 25 week check-up when the doctor checked the heart beat with the fetal doppler, we actually got to hear her having hiccups. Holly said now that she knows what to feel/listen for, she’ll be able to notice them more often, which is exciting for me because maybe I will too.

In non-baby news, I am leaving tomorrow, on Holly’s birthday for Oregon to celebrate my Aunt’s wedding. Though the trip should be fun (and short), I have this weird issue with being so far from my wife and unborn baby. I wonder if that will change or intensify as the due date gets closer, I guess we’ll see. Next update will be from week 26!! See you then🙂