The heart is a muscle the size of a fist

It’s been 11 days since the United States elected a narcissistic fascist. Less than 2 weeks. When we had our first ultrasound to look at Tiny, Obama was still the president. No time at all.

And yet, those 11 days have brought even more calamity than I anticipated. Between November 9th and January 19th, I managed to steel some resolve and also deny the reality of a Trump presidency. I didn’t see this coming. I was devastated and shocked after the election but I also somehow believed maybe it would ‘all be ok.’

It’s not ok.

I don’t need to list the insanity happening; all of you know and care deeply about these things too. So I won’t tell you that.

I’ll tell you that I currently vascillate between a paralyzing anxiety that fills my entire chest with heavy dread and a buoyant hope for the ways I see people resisting. On Sunday night I lay awake thinking of all the terror that could come from Steve Bannon sitting at DJT’s right hand, an actual white supremecist nationalist fucking NAZI sitting on the security council. I thought about martial law, civil war, coup d’etats. Am I being hyperbolic? Maybe. Also, maybe not.

Then I see thousands of people appear at a moment’s notice at airports across the country to protest the xenophobic executive order and its horrific implementation, and I think maybe things will not descend into the darkness I imagine in the middle of the night.

But I’m scared, because there is so much. How do we stay informed, stay mad, stay hopeful, stay engaged? When horror is being lobbed out daily, how can you keep up and keep fighting? I don’t know. I guess we have to figure that out together.

We are showing up however we can, whenever we can. And Ansel is bringing joy and hope to my heart, something I am grateful for daily. Last night he held my hand while we ate dinner and jumped on the bed and kissed my mouth holding my face in his hands. I don’t know what I’d do without him. But I think he’s feeling the anxiety too. Last night he wouldn’t go back to sleep from 2am to 4am, not until I eventually put him in our bed. He screamed going to the sitter, which he’s never done before. He’s such a sensitive little love, how could he not pick up on all of this?

The good news, though, is this:

Today, we saw Tiny move their flippered feet and hands, dancing like mad in L’s uterus. They waved and danced, over and over. Tiny is in there and alive and in a few more months there will be another human being to love in our family. Maybe this is foolish? Of course it is. But we do it anyway. Your heart is a muscle the size of your fist – keep loving, keep fighting.

And here’s some pictures to cheer you up as well. From the toddler antifa block and some more cutesy announcement photos we had taken (we’ll go public following the results of next week’s cffDNA test) and today’s ultrasound:



I KNOW I misspelled fascism . . .sorry. 😦






Thicker than water

We’ve started telling people about Tiny. Not the world, not Facebook, but our parents and some of the closer family members. And each time we have told someone, they have asked:

“Did you use the same donor as Ansel?”

It’s a question we expected, and we weren’t sure how to answer. Initially, we just awkwardly answered.

“No. We used an anonymous donor this time.” and, if they pushed, “It’s a complicated story, it was a difficult decision.”

It was a difficult decision, as you may remember. Ultimately, we decided the ‘pros’ on the anonymous donor list outweighed the deep emotional experience of wanting to use BFF and wanting our children to have a biological connection to one another. It was made further complex by knowing that – as it stands now – we are planning to have 3 children and, again, if things go as planned now, two of them would be biologically “full” siblings and one would not be (ie: we are planning to use one of the frozen embryos from my IVF cycle for #3) We each had to deal with a variety of feelings about the situation, even though we felt like it was the best decision.

And ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Because we believe that biology is not what creates a family. Its a fundamental belief, right? It really has to be, when you’re queers building a family. So if we really legitimately believe that, we can’t get hung up on those pieces. We have to behave in accordance with what we believe, and what we believe is that our children are related because we are their parents, and we are their parents no matter whose DNA they share or whose uterus grew them.

Once we got clear for ourselves with this, it followed that the question about donors stopped feeling awkward and started feeling offensive. Obviously, no one intends to be hurtful but, regardless, asking two parents about the biological make up of their children IS an offensive question.

In retrospect, we wish we would have kept the details of how we conceived Ansel more private. We shared almost every detail with almost anyone who asked – for a lot of reasons including wanting to connect with people, wanting to normalize alternative conception stories, and wanting to process our experience. But ultimately, it meant that lots of people who don’t have the skill or understanding about how to be thoughtful or sensitive with this information had it, and those people also feel more at ease asking us these details now.

We’ve decided that, moving forward, if anyone asks about Tiny’s donor, we are going to let them know that the question itself is problematic because it assumes we are not both Tiny’s parents, and it is not relevant information for them. We might also include something about feeling differently now about sharing this information than we did with Ansel. My guess is that people will end the conversation at that point and make their own assumptions. If they press us, we’ll likely answer honestly, but I don’t think many folks will continue the conversation. It feels hard to make this decision because it’s likely to alienate some people, but it also feels important to be consistent with our own understanding of our family, as well as maintaining some of the privacy we gave up with Ansel.

How do you handle questions about how you built your family, especially when you might want to both keep sensitive information in your control AND want to make stories like ours more normal and less scary?

Both Sides + Dreaming of Tiny

It’s really very special to be able to share an experience with someone you love, especially when that experience is as personal and deeply weird as pregnancy. It’s also sort of a mind-fuck.

I’m only a few weeks into my NGP adventure, but I’ve already dedicated a lot of time to thinking about the simultaneous joys and frustrations of being a two uterus family who uses both those uteri to carry children for their family. It’s basically impossible not to remember and compare this experience to my pregnancy with Ansel, even though there are certainly a lot of differences. I’m trying my hardest to use this to our mutual benefit and not let it make things any more complicated. Mostly, it’s working.

L is in the trenches of the first trimester – smack dab in the center of exhaustion and nausea. Thus far, she’s staved off actual vomiting and is mostly just vaguely sick all day long. Like me, it’s the exhaustion that seems to be taking the greatest toll. Of course, this is only further complicated by the fact that we now have a toddler who is exhausting in his own right – whether its middle of the night wake ups or unreasonable clingyness or tantrums without cause. She’s his primary caretaker during the day most of the week which has both pros and cons for the first trimester pregnant person. On the upside, he naps every day – usually for 2-3 hours – which means she can often nap as well. On the downside, he does things like take giant dumps or play so hard he vomits after eating – not so good for someone with a newly heightened sense of smell and razor sharp gag reflex.

L was an amazing partner when I was pregnant. Early on, she took over the task of making most of our shared meals because I was just too exhausted to care (or I was taking a post work nap) and even though I razzed her about needing to expand her culinary repertoire, it was amazing to watch her step up. I have been trying to do the same, to the extent I can. As previously mentioned, the addition of another small human to our dynamic makes things slightly more complicated. Also, unlike when I was pregnant, when we were both working full time jobs outside of our home, L is now mostly home with A and I am working full time. This logistic reality has shifted the economics of our house since moving, but this newest wrench has shifted them again.

And this is where I am very grateful that I was in a very similar spot to L, a few years ago. I think it would be much harder for me to be an understanding and empathetic partner if I didn’t know intimately how crippling and out of control the exhaustion of early pregnancy is. L mentioned that she finally understood why I went to bed at 8pm those nights, in a way she hadn’t understood before. Without this shared experience, I think it would be easy to become resentful and frustrated by this temporary shift of tasks and responsibility. Anytime I feel a bit of frustration creeping up, I remember falling asleep at my desk after 10+ hours of sleep and remember how nice it was that my fabulous partner gave me the space to be an exhausted pregnant person for a few months, and I’m able to summon the compassion and energy reserves that I need.

I don’t want this to come across as some huge pat on the back. Actually, I’m admitting that without firsthand knowledge I would be a real dick. Yet another reason I am so thankful to be hella gay. Yes, I would totally choose it, kthxbye.

In other news . . .I had a dream about Tiny last night.

In the dream, L had given birth but I wasn’t there. I don’t know why, just that (in the dream) I had a really good reason for missing the event and that dream-L didn’t agree that it was a good reason (understandably, I can’t really imagine what would be a good excuse?) Anyway, when I finally met Tiny after labor, I found:

  1. Tiny was a girl.
  2. Tiny had blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin
  3. Despite this, I “knew” (in that way you know things in dreams even though you have no evidence for that knowledge) that we had somehow discovered that Tiny’s donor was African-American.
  4. L told me that Tiny weighed 7lbs 3oz at birth but I visually observed Tiny to be small toddler size and thought L might be crazy or just confused.

Definitely the most troubling thing to dream-me was that my partner seemed to be so confused about the giant child she’d just birthed. But also, Tiny was like, sitting up and very developmentally advanced for an hours old infant and this was also concerning. Less concerning was the ‘knowledge’ about her donor, though dream-me did mention to dream-L that we should maybe sue the sperm bank when we got a chance (?!)

So, that was weird.

Monday is our first midwife appointment. I’ll be giving approximately 10 condom demonstrations to 16 year olds between now and then to keep me occupied. #irony


(almost) 22 months + Sundry

I was hoping to be more focused in my update and just talk about Ansel and his incredible development + personality but, alas, things never work out quite that easily! I’ve managed to accumulate a little more that I’d like to update about in addition to my incredibly adorable toddler.

But, why don’t I start with him?15724918_10154244039451864_7790460037642346718_o.jpg

Ansel will be 22 months old next Wednesday – right around the corner from 2! Since we got home from spending the holidays in Denver, he seems to have really ramped up in a lot of different developmental ways. I owe this in part to the intensive time he spent with his older cousin, picking up mannerisms and ways of playing.

  • He has a LOT of words and is starting to form two word sentences. He’s still behind the ball a little on the verbal stuff, and I’m still having some feelz about it. But, he is talking. Lots of new words every day, repeating things all the time. But I don’t really feel like the ‘explosion’ that everyone talks about has quite happened. It’s picking up, for sure, but maybe in part because his annunciation is so garbled, it’s hard to feel like there was a huge sudden increase?
  • He has started mimicking us a LOT more. Last week I was scratching L’s back and he came up and started to scratch her back as well. Today I convinced him to wear his winter hat (an ongoing battle at our house) by putting mine on – he demanded to wear it after that. If we make something (like coffee) then he wants to make it. Yesterday he wanted to walk one of the dogs all by himself (something you can do when your 6 year old, 75 pound bulldog plods at a glacial/toddler pace more than walking)15822850_10154251441506864_4546673926256581460_n.jpg
  • He’s started to be more creative and imaginative in his play. He finds things and ‘pretends’ they are other things. He makes sounds for all of his vehicles and has them go places and interact with one another. He pretends to eat and drink things from his kitchen instead of just throwing them from one place to another. He is into dressing up and pretending to hose everything (and everyone) down. 15871612_10154268076406864_2441418061594392898_n.jpg
  • He wants to read approximately 1,564,895 books each night. Or, sometimes, the same book 5,097 times. He’s REALLY into books.
  • He’s figured out how to climb INTO his crib although not yet how to climb OUT of it.
  • He also figured out the mattress is bouncy and fun to jump on. (um, when did you switch to a toddler bed and how did you make the decision to?!?) 15800549_10154881909774419_9079011435008613100_o.jpg
  • He can legit count to three, although he still only really pronounces “2” very clearly.
  • He has strong feelings about: what to wear, what to eat, what to watch, what to play with.
  • He’s eating like a full grown man. Except when he is not eating at all. Are toddlers like snakes? Do they just need one giant chicken nugget every 4 days?!
  • He can identify when he has pooped. That’s about as far along into potty learning as we’ve gotten, but we have plans to have him off the diapers by the time Tiny arrives. Fingers crossed.
  • He is so sweet and very kind. He asks for hugs and will put his hand gently on my face and stroke it. He also has gotten super into twisting my nipple really hard so I’ve had to really put my foot down about having access to the opposite boob when nursing.
  • He still LOVES nursing, but the length of time he spends in each nursing session seems to be getting shorter. I still have 0 idea when he’ll decide to wean but I’ve gotten clearer about what I need in the interim so I’m feeling good about going strong until whenever that might be.


Ugh, I thought there was more but now I can’t remember it! So, maybe I’ll keep adding? He’s so amazing, basically. And he also makes me feel crazy, but I think that’s his job?

In other news . . .

Ansel picked up a nasty cough and cold with a fever this past weekend, which left him hacking up gross and so so snotty. Even with baby vicks + cool mist humidifier + nose frida + ibuprofen he was struggling to sleep more than an hour at a go unless someone (well, me) was holding/rocking him. This meant I got almost no sleep on Saturday or Sunday night, what sleep I did get was sparse, interrupted and/or in a rocking chair. On Monday I had to teach birth control at a high school (January is a busy month, when all the schools want a health educator to come in and teach their sex ed classes, so the next three weeks are almost all teaching) and found out after arriving at 7:30am that there was a 2 hour delay for weather. I ended up having to condense my 50 minute lesson into 20 minutes, readjust my schedule, and also teach with a sub (instead of a regular classroom teacher) in one of the classes. So, basically I deserve a gold star for getting through Monday, and an extra one for not losing my shit at the group of boys who were trying everything in their 15 year old arsenal to get me to blush. We added some hylan.ds cold and mucous night time homeopathic stuff on Monday night which (along with just getting well!) helped him sleep longer stretches on Monday night and again last night. Of course, L being hit with the freight train of exhaustion known as the first trimester has not made this experience any easier. So, gold stars all around!

I’m feeling the anxiety about the upcoming ultrasound on Monday. Ansel is going to the sitter so we’ll have time to celebrate (or, if things don’t go well – which I don’t anticipate but, you know, is always a possibility) some space to have those feelings. I think we are both looking forward to having some additional confirmation that something is going on in there! But, I’m clearly confident enough to have started a (hidden) pinterest board, so . . .

The Murky Unknown (5w6d)

As is usually the case in very early pregnancy, and even more so when the peppercorn sized tadpole is not in your uterus, there isn’t a whole lot to report on right now. L continues to have quite a bit of nausea and cramping, and this week had a couple of days where she felt intensely emotional, but there isn’t a lot else happening. According to the app I downloaded, it’s likely that Tiny’s little heart started beating – or will quite soon – and that they have the beginnings of a lot of their future important organs. So, probably it’s a lot more exciting for Tiny right now than Tiny’s moms.

We did some research and asking around about possible care providers and, based on some overwhelming recommendations, made a decision to go with a hospital based midwife practice in town. This is pretty similar to what we chose for Ansel/Seafoam’s prenatal care, so at least right now, it seems familiar. We booked an appointment with them for 8w2d – just a week after our ultrasound with the fertility clinic. They sent a huge packet of materials to bring filled out to the appointment, including a bunch of information about first trimester screening.

This is not familiar to us. For a few reasons:

  • BFF and I both had pretty extensive genetic screening prior to the IVF cycle, as that’s protocol for the Colorado Clinic (hereafter, CC) And so we knew neither of us were carriers for any of the big genetic issues.
  • We chose to do the CCS testing on our embryos, which effectively ruled out any chromosomal abnormalities that might show up.
  • I was 32 when Ansel was conceived and 33 when he was born, so did not fall into “Advanced Maternal Age” guidelines.

But, none of this is true this go-around. We had planned to have testing done on embryos, but since there was no IVF, there was also no chromosomal testing. Because we opted for the CCS testing of embryos, we were advised to forgo the genetic testing on L (which makes way more sense than the way CC does it!) although we do have additional information on the donor from the bank – so, that’s pretty helpful for ruling out a lot of things, although not all of them. Finally, L is 36 an so qualifies as “Advanced Maternal Age” and thus is both at higher risk for chromosomal abnormalities and complications.

All of this was vaguely on my radar, but absolutely came into much clearer focus with the arrival of the paperwork. I forgot how much more confident we could be with my pregnancy – how nonchalant we were about announcing it – ON FACEBOOK! – at just 9 weeks! Of course, there was always a chance of miscarriage – nothing rules that out entirely – but it was so much lower. And the risk of other, more complex issues – like down syndrome – weren’t on the table at all.

So, today I called our insurance to get information about coverage for the various first trimester screening tests and their associated costs. Once again, I am grateful for our amazing insurance coverage, which has the same benefit level for all of the various tests we can choose from. And while the more a test costs overall, the more our portion would be (we pay 15% co-insurance for pretty much everything, with a very low out of pocket max – $2500 for our whole family to be exact. The deductible, already met and carried over thanks to something called a 4th quarter carryover policy that I didn’t know existed – has already been met for 2017!) It’s still amazing coverage.

So, we are going to have the Informaseq test done – a maternal blood test that uses “cell free DNA” to test for the 3 most common aneuploidy conditions with a very high confidence rate (still not diagnostic, but the most accurate the clinic we are going to offers.) Because the test also includes analysis of the sex chromosomes, we’ll also get a pretty sure answer about Tiny’s chromosomal sex. They can do the informaseq anytime after 10w – coming right up!  Because the test doesn’t evaluate neural tube defects, we’ll also have a 12-14w NT scan – something I also didn’t have, since again, it wasn’t necessary.

I feel excited, but also super nervous. I keep reminding myself that we have no reason to be concerned, really. Except, of course, we do. I mean, of course, that L is “older” (yesterday I teased her about her aged and infirm eggs) which DOES actually increase risk of trisomies. For Down’s syndrome, it increases quite a bit – 1/360 at 35 vs. 1/1100 at 25.  And I think this might be the most terrifying prospect for me – much more than the chance of miscarriage. The idea that we might be faced not with a tragedy beyond our control (though, don’t get me wrong God/Universe/whatever – I’m not inviting that either) but with a horrifying and difficult decision to make. In the case of some trisomies, the decision is pretty straightforward*– survival rates are incredibly low, there is clear pain or abysmal quality of life for children who do live to birth or early infancy, there is a high risk of stillbirth. But T21 feels a little different. The variation in quality of life is huge. People with T21 can live long, reasonably healthy and engaged lives. And some don’t, at all. Regardless, it would require a huge shift in our lives. And while I believe deeply that all people should be able to get abortions for whatever reasons (yes – even lots of them, yes even as ‘birth control’ yes even late term, yes . . .) that doesn’t mean I don’t have complex feelings about terminations based on physical or mental ability, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t struggle intensely if faced with that decision.

I’m hoping we won’t have to face it. Despite being at higher risk than others, the statistics are still very much in favor of it not being the case. And besides, borrowing worry won’t do a damn bit of good right now. Right now, we are pregnant. Right now, things are good. This is the moment we are living, so we might as well stay here.

I’m going to start separating out posts about Tiny from those about Ansel. It feels like too much ground to cover. So, I’m hoping in the next few days to update you about the developmental explosion we’ve had over here and how things are progressing with la premiere gayby.



*For us, anyway. I understand that there are folks for whom the idea of terminating a pregnancy under (almost) any circumstances is just not an option.