More than a dog mom

I call this look, ‘more than a dog mom!’

The dogs get a walk daily, weather permitting. Determined to still be able to do this once the twiblings come, I found a hands-free double leash from Riddick’s Products.

It has an adjustable waist strap for human, although I may end up putting one side over my shoulder if I find it hits on the baby bump too much. Each leash is a bungee to limit the tug factor on human, which is nice. I attached their Gentle Leader Headcollars, which are always attached to their leashes anyway so they don’t pull me too hard during a walk.

So, my hope for the future as a dog mom and mom-to-be of twiblings is to be able to take the whole clan for a walk – Dogs safe and attached to me while my hands are free to push a double stroller. *Insert bicep muscle emoji here*


Pregnancy updates:

Tina is 39 weeks along with Baby V and we are ready knowing she could come at any time!

I’m 27 weeks along and thankful to have a discomfort-free pregnancy so far. I passed my glucose screening and baby boy appears to be growing right on track.

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Twibling nursery

We decided to paint the nursery Brave Purple by Sherwin Williams when we thought we were only having our baby girl. When we found out we were having a little boy we wanted them to share a room and thought there would be no need to change the paint color. Our biggest problem was where to place two cribs in a room competing with a large closet, two windows, built in shelving, and a door to a bathroom.

Ultimately we had to block the door to the jack and jill bathroom with one of the cribs.

Crib
She wants that stuffed animal.
Closet is full of clothes!
Glider, nightstand, toy bin

Stacks of cloth diapers ready for action.

Dresser with changing top
Dudsberry creepin’

The art we plan to put on the walls will be personalized, so those are to come!

Vegetarian protein

I have been vegetarian for several years now and make a conscious effort to consume enough protein. Especially being pregnant I know I have to make sure I’m getting enough protein for the growing baby, which can be a challenge. At the beginning of my pregnancy I made a list of snacks and foods that I like which would give me protein. As someone who has limited cooking skills and tends to go from content to HANGRY in a matter of minutes, I stuck this list on my fridge and have been referencing it ever since.

For my fellow vegetarians or anyone looking to get more protein in their diet:

  • Peanut butter granola – I eat this every morning and never get sick of it. I should really buy it by the case.
  • Poached egg on toast
  • Lentils and cheese on nachos – Kind of Mexican, right?
  • Peanut butter on toast or bread – I used to eat this daily for lunch until I got pregnant
  • Apple with dip – My lunch lately. Dip is one part peanut butter, one part greek yogurt, and half part honey.
  • Fake BLT – This fake bacon is better than the real thing!
  • Nuts
  • Protein bar – A daily staple for me. Chocolate salted caramel is my favorite!
  • Peanut butter and jelly on crackers – Like I said, I have limited cooking skills!
  • Canned chili – The only kind I will eat, just heat on stove.
  • Black bean tacos – Now this is more of a complicated meal for me.
  • Smoothie with peanut butter or protein powder
  • Greek yogurt – Must be greek for the extra protein.
  • Egg salad sandwich
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Black bean soup – Homemade, but only once in a great while when I’m feeling confident in my cooking skills.
  • Cottage cheese – Although I haven’t felt like eating this during pregnancy AT ALL.
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich, toasted. If it was good enough for Elvis, it’s good enough for me.

It was meant to be

We were driving home from the embryo transfer October 2017 when Tina turned around in the car and asked me, “What if you get pregnant now?

I looked at her like she had 3 eyes.

To me this was such an impossibility. Not even on my radar.

“Well,” I replied, counting the impossibilities on my fingers, ” First I would actually have to ovulate. Then, my lining would somehow have to be thick enough to allow an embryo to implant. THEN if all that happens, odds are that I would miscarry again after miscarrying five other embryos previously.”

I was 100% confident in my answer.

Now that we are both pregnant at the same time, I feel as if it was meant to happen.

I continue to have no regrets.

As our surrogacy pregnancy is nearing the end,  I know this experience will be something Tina will feel good about for the rest of her life.

I have been reflecting on aspects of our life that have allowed Tom and I to be successful in this journey.

  • We moved to the metro Ann Arbor area where we have access to some of the best doctors in the state and allowed me to cross paths with Tina.
  • My husband and I are in medical fields which have allowed us to more easily understand the medical background of infertility.
  • I make decisions easily, and during fertility treatments there can be difficult decisions to make.
  • I have a flexible job, which has helped with the many doctor appointments and surgeries I have had.
  • During my third pregnancy I attended a small informational meeting where the presenter was a mother who had used a surrogate for both of her children. I was pregnant with triplets and didn’t think I would ever need a surrogate, but yet something told me to be there and gather information.

Perhaps the only way we could have had a daughter is through Tina.

Perhaps all along I was meant to carry THIS baby boy.

I finally feel as if I can look back and say, this is how it was meant to be.

Summer reading

I recently finished Little Fires Everywhere  by Celeste Ng and was shocked that it included aspects of infertility, recurrent loss, adoption, abortion, and even surrogacy. Highly recommended to someone looking for a good book to dive into this summer! I listened to the audiobook version which was enjoyable and only made the novel more addicting.

Has anyone else read it?

Motherly instincts, part 2

Motherly instincts, part 1 here.

I was recently taking my dogs for a walk (hah, it always starts this way) one evening through our subdivision. It was warm and we were enjoying a brisk pace when suddenly, 3 houses ahead, I saw and heard a commotion.

A mama duck was quacking loudly while flapping her arms around. Several baby ducks surrounded her in a flurry. Within pouncing distance there was a housecat, eyeing the baby ducks.

I took a second to take in the scene and then lurched forward with my dogs, ready to help this mama duck. As we got closer I could tell the cat had turned his attention away from the ducks and toward my dogs. The mama duck continued quacking, sounding to her little ones to follow her to safety. She started crossing the street and the majority of her babies were headed in the same direction.

I was focusing on my dogs and making sure they weren’t going to pounce on any of the baby “chikins” either. (We always refer to anything close to chicken meat as “chikin” in the presence of the dogs as we imagine that is how they would pronounce it.)

In the process of keeping the dogs the appropriate distance away from the baby ducks while still trying to be a threatening presence to the cat, I realized there was one baby duck that was not following his mom at all. Instead he was following me and the dogs every time we would scoot back a few feet.

“No ducky, you are supposed to follow your mommy!” I said out loud to the duck while simultaneously swearing at my unfortunate circumstance.

I briefly glanced behind me to see the owner of the neighboring house standing in his front yard watching this spectacle.

The duck kept hopping toward my dogs and I kept backing them away.

“Did the cat attack the duck?” The guy asked me.

“I think so,” I replied, distracted.

“Ducky, go follow your mommy!” My attention back on the mission.

The dog leashes were wrapped around my hands and wrists in a mess. I dropped the poop bag I was carrying by accident and yelled to the guy watching, “I’ll be back for that bag!”

I pulled my dogs bit by bit into the street in the direction the mama duck had gone, baiting the baby duck to follow.

“We have to get you to your mommy!”

A family rode by on their bikes and a little boy exclaimed, “Look mom, those dogs are afraid of that baby duck!”

No little boy, not even close.

The baby duck continued to follow my dogs across the street and down a sidewalk flanked by the fronts of houses on each side. I was amazed at how quickly this ducky could move with just his little hopping. He didn’t even seem tired!

We reached the end the sidewalk after going past several houses with no mama duck in sight. Across the street from us now was a big park, crowded with families. Here I was… sweaty, 20 weeks pregnant, and looking frantic. I considered for a brief second yelling out to the people in the park, “Did anyone just see some ducks walk by?”

But I didn’t. Because I’m slightly less crazy than that.

I decided to leave the baby duck where it was, hoping the mama duck was nearby and would come back for it. The baby duck was quacking so I figured if we left maybe the mama duck would come rescue her baby.

I left with my dogs in a hurry back to the house where I dropped the poop bag. The homeowner was still outside.

“Did you find the mama duck?” he asked.

“No,” I said frowning.

“Those ducks have nested in our bushes for three years now, but this is the first time they have had babies,” he told me.

“No!” I exclaimed. Stab to the heart. If only this guy knew how much I empathized with the mama duck at that moment.

“Yeah,” he continued. “We think the father duck is dead because we saw a male duck that had gotten run over by a car a little further down the street.”

“No!” I said again. Another stab to the heart. “Well, I hope that little guy makes it,” I said to the guy before continuing on our walk.

I replayed the scene in my head over and over the rest of our walk, wondering if I had done the right thing.

Situations like this would only happen to me.

Sex reveals

I had thought about how to reveal the sex of our baby for months, if not years.

It bothered me that “gender reveals” were prevalent when parents were not revealing the gender of their child, but more accurately the sex of their child.

It bothered me that during the gender reveals, parents would use distinctions like pink for girl and blue for boy. Bows for girl and baseballs for boy. Etc.

Who decided that pink is a girl color and blue is a boy color?!

Why are baseballs not for girls?!

I knew I had to do something different. I wanted to do it for our baby. I wanted to spread the message.

I had also known for years that I wouldn’t reveal the sex of our baby until the baby shower. If people knew ahead of time we would probably receive items that were either pink or blue, and I would have to fight the urge to shake my head.

At our rainbow themed baby shower a couple of weeks ago I took a minute to address our guests in a historical schoolhouse with the reveal as follows:

“You may or may not have noticed that on the invitation we wrote that we were going to reveal the sex of the baby. It’s important to me, actually to all 3 of us (looked at my husband and Tina, our gestational carrier) the difference between gender and sex. It’s not the same. Gender is what a person identifies as. Sex is the reproductive anatomy one is born with.

In the social media era when ‘gender reveals’ are the norm, I didn’t want it to matter so much. What’s important is that we have made it this far!

So pink or blue, touchdown or tutus, rifles or ruffles…

These are all gender norms and I’m not going to push a gender norm on anyone, especially my own child before they are even out of the womb!

I personally hate the color pink! Blue is my favorite color.

If a girl wants to go fishing, that’s ok. If a boy wants to carry around a baby doll, then he’s going to make a great dad someday.

So, I had to think of a way to let everyone know the sex of our baby without using gender… and without it looking like a bachelor or bachelorette party in here.

That being said, the answer has been on your tables the entire time.”

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Strewn on the tables were the top parts of acorns, the nuts missing. It took our guests a minute to realize these were NOT nuts and what that meant. Appropriately, I think it was my friend who has a trans sister who finally yelled out, “It’s a girl!”

There were many people who strongly believed this child was a boy, so there was much surprise in the room.

Two weeks later I had my anatomy ultrasound for Baby OMG, and this time there were ‘nuts.’

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We are thrilled to be welcoming a baby girl and a baby boy to our family this year.

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