An unconventional journey through assisted reproductive technology (and hopefully pregnancy and parenthood.)

About Me

My photo
They say 30's are the new 20's. My wife and I have been together for over a decade now. We both work in the fast paced world of academia. Our state (and recently all others across the country) have finally allowed all marriage so we made that happen October 2014.

I'm a pretty big nerd, I'll be the first to admit. I love video games (yes, as a girl and yes, at my age). I have lots of other nerd hobbies and since I was unceremoniously banned from RuneScape, I've been playing Civilization and Skyrim. My real first nerd love is Magic the Gathering. 10,000 cards and growing, but that's an expensive hobby when you have two babies.

I have other grown-up interests too, especially reading. I like reading so much I have 3 Kindles and I also used to be a martial artist (one belt away from black belt. I'll finish someday.)

But now I've got twins and I have a feeling a lot of those hobbies are going to change.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

11 & 12 Months

Nathan is 19 pounds and Charlie is 20 pounds.

Although I had the entire month of November off and every opportunity of properly doing their 11 month update, it just never happened. I guess I forgot how busy we get around the holidays. Plus we had some family issues that consumed most of my time. I don't know. But here's what's been going on and where we go from here.

Both babies are pretty well on developmentally. Even though we never thought Charlie would even crawl, she is now pulling herself up as well as her brother. Plus she actually practices her balance by raising her hands and then falling back. Nathan just kind of randomly wobbles there. I don't think he understands balance. Both can use the push-walker toy so they will probably be walking on their own soon.

Both are getting more teeth. Poor Charlie got all four of her molars like within a week. That had to be hell. Nathan has one coming in but it's hard to tell because they really don't like you looking in their mouths. And Charlie hates having her teeth brushed. In January my insurance is changing and forcing me to carry them on dental/vision as well as medical so they will probably go visit the dentist for the first time.

Neither are really talking yet, but they make all kinds of sounds. Charlie has been making a "baa baaa baaaow" sound. We're not sure where she's going with it. We don't think it's baba like bottle because we don't call them babas. The best hypothesis we have is she might be saying baby because we call her baby girl a lot. Or it could be nothing. Nathan makes a lot of yells and shrieks and grunts. We call them yeti noises because he got a pair of yeti pajamas for Christmas.

Both are off of formula now and onto just whole milk and they eat pretty much everything. Well, Charlie will eat anything. Nathan is still a reluctant eater but he will eat eventually.

Christmas was really good, though we were all sick. Babies' first cold and fever. We celebrated their birthday on Christmas eve but next year we probably won't be able to do that. They will understand Santa Claus so it will be back to Christmas morning for the family. I don't know if they will understand birthdays by then or if we can combine them one more year. We'll see, I guess. They got a lot of great new toys and clothes but not so much that I feel like they were spoiled. There are a lot of adults in the family and just them for kids so the adults drew names for each other and everyone bought for the babies. It worked well and I think that's how we'll do it in the future.

I'm actually typing this on the 28th, their birthday but I probably won't post until after the doctor's appointment on the 29th. But I'm sitting here imagining this time last year. I woke up, went to the store and watched football and wrote long range lesson plans for most of the day, never dreaming that Charlie was plotting her escape. Now one year later there are two little noisy people playing on their activity table. I don't know if this year has gone fast or slow. It feels like I just blinked and here we are, but at the same time this has also felt like the longest year of my life. Like everything in life there has been good and not so good.

I think going into the second year I have a more realistic idea of what we're in for. We really had no idea last year. All of the parenting classes, nothing really prepared us. We actually saw a parenting class at Babies R Us a few weeks ago and I laughed internally. But hey, I'm sure some of them will have the fairy tale pregnancy, birth and babies they dream of. Good for them. And for others that don't, maybe they will read something like my blog and realize that they're not crazy after all.

Speaking of which, it's unlikely that I will do monthly updates anymore. I know that the dozen of you will be heartbroken. I'll still post major things like walking and talking and stuff like that. If you really think you'll miss me that much you can email me and I'll add you on Facebook. Otherwise, I'll be around once in a while. Thanks for reading and going on this adventure with us.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

10 Months

Both babies are doing well. They are about 18 pounds now so we bought some new convertible car seats. They were getting too big for the ones we had before but the new ones were pretty expensive so we only got two instead of four to have them in both cars.

They're both sleeping pretty well at night now. Charlie sleeps pretty much the entire night, but Nathan still gets up three or four times. He wakes up and panics either because he doesn't have his chewie or because he doesn't remember where he is or whatever. All it usually takes is a pat on the back and he will roll over and go back to sleep. I feel like he's going to be the one to crawl into bed with us at night.

They are both eating pretty much whatever we eat. We're still avoiding nuts and fish, but everything else is fair game. We've even gone a couple of places and ordered from the kids' menu for them, which is fun. Charlie will try and eat pretty much everything. Nathan, not so much. Most of the time when he tries something new, he spits it out. Usually if you give it to him a couple of times he will eventually eat it. But most of the time he would rather just eat Cheerios. That boy loves his Cheerios.

They're both in 12 month clothes now so we rotated their wardrobe again. They've got some cute stuff we bought a while ago and forgot about. They've got a bunch of 12 month stuff so we've been buying 18 month, but everything in stores right now is for winter and it will be summer when they're 18 months.

Nathan is pulling himself up and cruising along the furniture now. We anchored our bookshelves and TV stand because I'm sure he's going to be a climber, once he figures out how to do that. Charlie still isn't crawling, but she's trying. She gets into the position, but doesn't quite know what to do with her arms and legs. She might just go straight to walking since she can pull herself up too and the doctor says there's no physical reason she's not crawling.

We're looking forward to their first Thanksgiving and Christmas. We haven't had little kids in the family for Christmas since my cousin and I were little, which was quite a while ago.

Friday, October 9, 2015

9 Months
18 pounds, 7 ounces and 18 pounds, 5 ounces

The weather is finally starting to cool off and we have been able to go for more walks. They used to hate riding in the stroller but now they love it. We walk around a mile around the neighborhood and Nathan usually doesn't make it the whole way without falling asleep. But now that winter is coming it will be getting dark sooner so I'm not sure how our walks will fit in with our bedtime routine.

Nathan is finally mobile. He mastered the art of a combination of crawling and scooting across the floor. It gets him where he wants to go. Charlotte still has zero interest in crawling but the doctor said that there's nothing physically wrong. She just doesn't want to. That's my girl.

Both are sitting up like champion sitters. Charlotte has surprisingly good posture for a baby. We bought them some new toys they have to sit up to play with.

Between the crawling and new teeth there were some sleepless nights this month. But we've also gotten them out of sleep sacks and into regular pajamas, which are pretty adorable. I feel bad that they're not allowed to have blankets because I feel weird sleeping without a blanket. I actually burrito myself under two blankets. But they don't seem to mind. Our winters don't get that cold anyway and their bedroom stays pretty warm since it's above the garage so I guess they'll be ok.

Nathan has learned to point to things. I'm not sure if the pointing has any meaning to him yet because he will point at anything. In fact, in his first crawling video he actually stops to point to a stray piece of cat litter on the floor. Thanks, buddy. I'm sure when you're old enough to vacuum, the floor will be spotless.

Work continues to keep us busy for the week and we try to enjoy the weekends as best as we can.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

8 Months
No doctor's appointment this month so I have no ideas as to sizes or anything. If I had to guess I'd say they're both close to 20 pounds now. But that could just be what they feel like when I'm carrying them up and down the stairs.

This month has been a busy one. We went on a couple of trips for the end of summer. The babies are pretty good travelers right now. But the main thing that has been keeping us busy is we both had to go back to work this month. Yes, August brings a new school year and the first time back in a classroom for the wife since last December.

One of the first things people asked us both when we went back to work is "Where are the babies?" I'm always tempted to tell people we left them at home with the cats but in this day and age you never know who is going to overhear a joke and take it seriously. We have Grandma and Great Aunt watching them while we're at work. If we didn't, one of us would probably have to quit and just stay at home because day care would have been upwards of $2,000 a month for both of them. We don't even pay that much for our mortgage, so I'm glad we have people to help us there. Our friends with the baby just a few months younger than ours have to use day care and their kid caught a cold within the first week. The babies seem to be doing fine with it but I've read that they're coming to the age where they're going to start really panicking when we leave so I guess we have that to look forward to.

The babies are really growing up. Nathan is so close to crawling and he wants it so badly. He gets so mad when he can't get to a toy he wants. Crawling is going to happen any day for him. I think Charlotte could crawl if she wanted to, but she is really not interested. She's like "You carry me and you like it." Both are eating a variety of solids and really only take bottles before bed at night and when they first get up in the morning. Both are getting some new teeth. You can kind of see Charlie's top choppers in the picture. Nathan is getting the two teeth to the side of those so he is going to look like a little vampire when they come in. They actually got their first cold too and I have no idea how. Could have been anywhere, I guess. Nathan woke up with a super runny nose that we attributed to teething, but then Charlotte got it too and we both woke up with sore throats. It was balls, but at least it was the week before school and not the first week.

We've got a pretty good routine for them with eating, playing and sleeping. That was one of my goals before I went back to work, to get them on a good routine. I think it makes it easier for the people that have to watch them. They go down for naps really easy and they sleep pretty well most nights. I guess technically they sleep through the night because they sleep until after midnight, but they still like to get up a few of times in the early morning hours. Sometimes it's because they lost their chewie and panic. Sometimes they roll over and panic. It usually doesn't take too much to get them to go back to sleep but they sometimes want to get up super early and play. And color me crazy, but I'm just not in the mood to play at 4:30.

Friday, August 7, 2015

7 Months
Never a dull moment with one baby, let alone two.

They have really been getting along with their solid foods. It's been interesting seeing what they will eat. Nathan will eat pretty much anything, while Charlotte is much pickier. Her food has to be absolutely smooth, which has been tricky since we've been trying to make a lot of their food. Sometimes we have to put her food through the Vitamix to get to a smoothness acceptable to Princess.

Nathan has finally got his first two choppers coming in. One day there was nothing and the next day they were there. Charlotte's are almost all the way in and we've been brushing them with her practice toothpaste.

Both babies can roll both ways now, back to front and front to back. We were still swaddling them at night, which is not good now that they can roll. Once I finished work for the summer we decided we needed to get them on some better sleep habits. We used a book called the Sleep Easy Solution. I won't bore you with details. You can read it if you want. Anyway, it took about a week to get them both out of the pods and swaddles and into just a plain sleep sack and in their own cribs. No bottles either. That was pretty miraculous. They usually sleep really well now for the first part of the night and don't start waking up until around 3:00. It's a start anyway.

In addition to eating healthier, the wife and I decided to get back to the gym. We had to switch because they one we were at before didn't have anywhere we could put the babies, but the new one has a playroom that takes them as young as 6 weeks. They even get their own gym card. They don't feed or diaper them, they come get you for that or if they cry for more than 15 minutes and there is a 2 hour limit but it works out well. I haven't made it a full hour without having to go get them, but it's a start too. We've seen a trainer and going to a lot of classes. We both want the babies to grow up knowing about and appreciating healthy eating and living.

As the summer winds down we have a couple of trips planned and then it's back to work for both of us in August. Thankfully we have family that will watch the babies as daycare is about $1,000 a month per baby and we simply don't have those kinds of funds.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

6 months
Nathan has finally passed Charlotte in weight by an ounce (16 pounds and 15 pounds, 15 ounces) but Charlotte keeps the length advantage by half an inch (25 inches and 24.5 inches).

This month the babies mainly continued their work from last month. Both are getting better at eating and now they can try some more interesting foods. We don't have to wait 3 days before introducing new foods. And we can start having them try what we eat. And because of this both of us have decided to really start eating healthy because babies can't have animal cookies and potato chips for dinner.

Both are rolling from front to back well and are really close to flipping from back to front. Once this happens we aren't supposed to swaddle them anymore, which means we're in for some long nights. Baby girl simply won't sleep unswaddled. Nate Dogg might be able to handle it, though. Speaking of sleep, both have moved into their own cribs in their own room. We didn't set up the baby monitors because one thing we've heard repeatedly is not to run to every little cry. They need to start learning how to soothe themselves, especially when going to sleep.

We've found that they both love music. During the day they love listening to and watching Teddy Rock. At night we found a bunch of real songs made into lullabies. It's pretty funny to put your baby to bed to the lullaby version of Big Pimpin or Evenflow.

The babies have been enjoying their summer at the pool. When you live in a climate as hot as it is here, that's your best bet in the summer. Either that or just stay inside. I think since we've gotten them to love baths so much, that's why they like the pool. At the rec center they have a really great activity pool and it's only $4 for the day.

I've got about a month of vacation before I have to go back to work. We're planning a trip at the end of July and I've got a bunch of appointments. Our neighbor friends who had the baby 3 months after us have been looking at day care and they're going to have to drop about $1,000 a month when they have to go back to work. And there is no twin discount anywhere we've seen. So we're both glad our family will be watching them until they're old enough to go to pre-k with me. Ugh, that's a lot of money.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

5 Months
This month has been pretty eventful in the world of baby. They started on their first solid foods. When we tell people that, a lot are surprised that they start so young. We were at first, but they are doing great. Charlotte didn't take to it at first, but both have made it through orange vegetables now. Nathan had a reaction to pumpkin, we think. They both love sweet potato and squash. And they tolerate carrots.They're eating green vegetables now. Charlotte loved avocado and Nathan hated it, which makes me think he must have been switched at the hospital. Next they will eat fruits and at 6 months they can have the level 2 food pouches, which are much more interesting.

Nathan got his first haircut this month. His hair was getting out of control, especially on the sides. And his bangs were going to be getting in his eyes soon. We expected a major tantrum, but he was a little charmer. Thank goodness. Charlotte doesn't have enough hair to hold a clip-on bow, let alone warrant a haircut.

Speaking of little man, he discovered his wiener this month too. It's pretty funny, though I wish he didn't stare at us while he tugs on it. It's a little weird.

Now that the weather is warming up, we were able to spend some time in the baby pool in the backyard. They both really enjoyed it.

Both babies are really moving their hands now. They can grab things and they love to grab my hair. Nathan loves to put his left index finger in his mouth. I don't know if he's chewing on the finger to feeling the inside of his mouth or what. Charlotte's colic pretty much stopped out of nowhere. She's a normal baby now. Still a little high strung, but she has more adorable moments now. Nathan is going through a super clingy phase. Both of them prefer us to other people, but Nathan freaks out if one of us isn't in his direct line of vision or holding him. They're at the age where they're supposed to start learning how to self-soothe but it's hard letting them cry it out.

This month marks 1 year since the transfer. And almost exactly on that day...we got a bill from the fertility clinic for the past year of embryo storage. I had been expecting it. Only 1 year was included with the IVF package we paid for, so we had to pay for this past extra year. That was a shock, but what really threw us was that we had to decide if we wanted to continue to store the remaining embryos. We know we don't want any more kids. Some people are like "oh, you will when they're older" and maybe we might wish for more little ones in a moment of insanity. But in reality, we both feel that our family is complete.

We had decided back when we started that we wanted the remaining embryos to be donated to the clinic for research. The only way I would have considered donating them to another person is if it was one of my good friends, but that didn't turn out to be possible. So we had sign the consent for them to be thawed, used and destroyed. I didn't think it would bother me, but it kind of did. Not because either of us are like anti-abortion or "life begins at conception" or anything like that. We know it's just tissue. But it's like the end of a very long and emotional journey. Plus, those little fuckers have cost us near $40K and to think that they're just going to be destroyed kind of stings. But we're working through it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

4 Months
At the 4 month appointment Charlotte is 13 pounds, 11 ounces and 23.75 inches. Nathhan is 13 pounds, 1 ounce and 23.25 inches. They're starting solids starting with rice cereal gradually increasing in thickness. Once they master eating with a spoon, we can start orange vegetables. They did well with their second round of immunizations, though Charlotte's a little feverish now. Both are healthy and on track developmentally. Nathan's crossed eye is normal for now. We are going to start teaching them to focus their attention on toys in front of them and help them build their muscles by sitting up.

I have been on vacation for most of this month so I was able to spend a lot more time with the babies. They change so much, so quickly. Before Nathan was our relaxed and patient baby. Now he has discovered his hands and feet and he is having a hard time coping with them, I guess. Most of the time he is still really happy and smiley (though we can't get him to smile in pictures for anything). But he is also having some tantrums now that make Charlotte look like chill. It's so hard to calm him down once he gets really upset. Charlotte is still pretty cranky too, but she has really calmed down. I don't know if it's because she's older now or because we've been giving her this stuff called Colic Calm, but she is happy more of the day now.

Both are starting to use their little baby voices. When they're in good moods, they oooh and aaah and smile and it's actually really cute. As I mentioned Nathan discovered his hands and he loves putting them in his mouth now. I think Charlotte has discovered her hands too, but she's not making as big of a deal out of it as Nathan. Both can support their own weight when practice standing, though they have no sense of balance yet.

Charlotte - the happiest baby burrito
west of the Mississippi
Both are sleeping a lot better now. We've got a bedtime routine that has them in bed, usually asleep, in less than an hour. It's pretty amazing. Charlotte has to have a bottle to sleep, but once she is out she will sleep for 5-6 hours before getting up again. And then once she has a new bottle, she goes right back to sleep but after that initial block she is usually up every hour until it's time to wake up. Nathan crashes pretty quickly when we put him to bed but he won't sleep as long. Maybe 3 hours, but he doesn't get up as often as Charlotte. And if he gets up and has one of his tantrums, he won't go back to sleep unless he is in the swing. Both are so different it's hard to get myself into a good sleep routine, but the good part is that they really don't wake each other up. Weird. They sleep in these sleep sack swaddles and when we unzip them they do their morning stretch.

We spent a lot of time driving around this vacation. For the most part the babies will sleep in the car. And when they're sleeping, they're not screaming. So we drove and drove any place we could think of. Last week we actually took a 750 mile (each way) road trip just to get out of town and go do something. The babies did great as long as I was in the back with them to tend to them.

I've been going to doctors while I was on break. I'm still pretty depressed and they're trying me on different medications, but none of them seem to be working well. One helped me sleep, but bade me want to kill myself. The newest one gives me such a stomach ache, I don't even want to take it. But I'll keep trying to figure out something because I'm not getting better. I really hope my kids don't inherit this, but depression runs in the family.

I'm still having a hard time being a mom. I take care of them, but I don't fit into the mom role. I've actually stopped going to our mothers of multiple meetings. I just don't feel like I fit in with them anymore. Actually, we went to a barbecue at a friend's house and I fit in more with the dads in the backyard at the grill than with the moms inside. I don't really like to think that I'm adopting a stereotypical lesbian 'dad' role. Whatever it is, it's going to be unique and it's probably going to take me a while to figure it out.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

3 Months

We're moving right along in the world of time and babies. It's really starting to blur together but here are some of the main things from this month.

We didn't have a 3 month appointment with the doctor so we weighed and measured them ourselves, so it might not be 100% accurate. Both weighed in at 12 pounds, 11 ounces. Charlotte is 23 inches and Nathan 22.

They're in 3-6 month clothes now but they can still wear some 0-3 month clothes too. It depends on the brand. We've found that Circo brand from Target runs large, which is odd because Target's clothes tend to run small, in my opinion. Carter's on the other hand run way small.

Nathan is still pretty chill, but he has definitely found his voice this month. He does not like to go to bed at night. He tantrums for about 5 minutes and then he's fast asleep. Same when he wakes up to eat. He wants to get up and play so he cries, but he does fall back asleep. He is usually first up in the morning and once he sees someone he puts on his charming smile and it's time to get up.

Charlotte still has issues with crying. Some days it's not bad and others makes you question if there is a God. But when she is in a good mood, she is the sweetest thing and so adorable. She loves having her picture taken. I don't know how she even knows what a camera is, but when one comes out she smiles. This month she learned to scream so that will be fun for everyone.

Both are awake for longer periods during the day and doing more things. Nathan loves Baby Einstein and Charlotte loves to be bounced in this vibrating bouncer chair. They are both starting to spend time in their big bed and they both love to watch the mobile.

I'm on vacation for the next three weeks so I'm looking forward to spending time with them. I miss so much when I'm at work all day.

Monday, March 2, 2015

2 Months

Although it has been such a short time, these little ones are changing so much. Already they barely even resemble their first pictures. They are both 10 pounds now and Charlotte only has an inch on her brother at 22 inches and Nathan 21 inches, They both got a bunch of immunizations at the doctor today, but they took them like little champs.

This month has been similar to last month in most ways. Caring for them is still very hard. And now I've been back at work for 3 weeks. When I had to go back, my wife stayed with them alone for the first two days but it is just too much. It is a two person job so now Grandma comes over during the day while I'm at work. She's been wonderful and we're so thankful that we have her.

We got the loft furnished so it's like an upstairs living room now. It is pretty sweet and that's where we've set up shop. It's much easier than hauling baby gear up and down stairs every day. It's a pretty good size so when they start crawling they'll have plenty to explore, which is good because downstairs we have ceramic tile and that would not be fun to crawl on. Another nice thing about that is our bedroom is a bedroom again.

Besides getting bigger, the babies' personalities is really starting to show. Charlotte has been a princess from day 1, but it's really more than that. She just wants to be held, to feel close to someone. My mom says she is so much like I was when I was a baby, which is crazy because I have a very different personality now. I like to think I'm more like Nathan. He is still much calmer but he's also better at self-entertaining and self-soothing. Both still cry a lot and sleep still isn't the greatest. But we're trying some things and it's not as bad as it was before, most nights.

They have both outgrown most of their newborn size clothes and are now in 0-3 month. It's nice to have some new outfits. We passed on most of Nathan's clothes to friends that are having a boy in April and we're going to just donate Charlotte's. We're not having any more and we're only hanging on to a couple of outfits that have sentimental value. We dress them every day even if we're not going anywhere, which is pretty rare that we don't go at least one place. At night they're wearing sleep sacks with wraps and that has helped them to sleep.

They're both starting to smile and not just because of gas (although they are both champion farters). Nathan will smile up a storm when you have him on your chest for tummy time. He is also starting to coo when he lifts his head and looks at you. He is already making motions like he wants to crawl. He's a little beast. Charlotte can lift her head just as well, but she does not enjoy tummy time the way Nathan does. She also doesn't coo as much, but she did smile at me when I got home from work one day. It was really sweet.

They have both been able to breastfeed better too. They can latch now, despite us giving them pacifiers. If anyone is pregnant and taking classes, beware of preachy lactation nurses. The class we went to made it seem like if we ever gave them a pacifier or used the wrong bottle or gave them formula at all, they would NEVER be able to breastfeed. Well, the bottles they told us to get suck balls. They leaked and were a pain in the ass to wash and put together. So we scrapped them and went with the Playtex ones the doctor suggested. Charlotte loves her pacifier and Nathan likes it when he's falling asleep. And they've been on about 50% formula. All this and they are able to breastfeed just fine now. Though with two of them it's just easier to pump and put it in bottles for them. Especially for Charlotte because she eats so slowly.

But as it turns out, we've decided not to breastfeed anymore. It was just too hard and too much pressure pumping for two babies. They got a good 2 months of breastfeeding and we're both fine with that.

As for the adults, my wife is doing much better. She is feeling better and looking great. We did a mile walk this month. We normally do the 5K, but this year that wasn't an option since the babies are still too young for the jogging stroller. I'm barely holding it together, though. I've been seeing my therapist weekly, so she must really think I'm a hot lava mess because before the babies it was every 3 weeks. She really wants me to see a doctor about medication to even out my mood but I haven't been able to get a appointment until the middle of March. Every day is a struggle and the struggle is real.

On the plus side, I only have one more month of work until my next vacation so there's that to look forward to. I feel like I miss so much when I'm at work. I've actually been taking Mondays off anyway to spend more time with them. I should have gotten those days off anyway, they really did me wrong shortening my leave. So I'm taking as many days as I can until vacation and then we'll see where we're at.