Hello Pumpkin

Kingston Grey Carson McLeod was born the evening of October 27th at the wee size of 10lbs 3oz. Both mommies are doing great and like most new parents deprived of sleep, we are deliriously in love.

❤️❤️❤️

Birth Story

This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And Allia and I got through it together – with amazing coaching from Laura, our doula, and Mariah the midwife, plus Kathleen who arrives for the pushing.

No epidural available until hour 13, after three days of pre-labour; laboured from 6 am-noon at home with Laura joining us at 9 am. We went to the hospital at 12:15 and was already 7 cm. Surprising, given how chill I was about the contractions. Things progressed and I was handling it like a champ until right before 10 cm. The pain and nervousness, plus exhaustion started to ge to me, but we took it as part of our journey and tried to approach it from a ‘if this is how it has to go, alright’ mindset. However, I stayed at 9 cm for hours and he was stuck. Finally one of the anesthesiologists was available. Got the epidural at about 7 pm, which worked on half my body only… then pushed out this ten pounder in an hour. Allia was so amazing and I still can’t believe it happened. He is two days old, not even, and I can’t believe he came out of my body – except for how sore I feel.

He did skin to skin right away. We sang three little birds to him. I saw him coming in the mirror. It was insane and scary and vital. He went straight for the latch. We stayed skin to skin for an hour and they brought in a specialist to stitch me up. Three second degree tears. And the stay was also because of my hemorrhage post-partum and his size, to watch his glucose, etc.

He is so chill and very snuggly. He is already out of newborn sized clothes.

Last night was so rough – the cluster feeding, engorgement and super stressed nipples. Plus a diapered lady-region that feels like an instalment of Star Wars was filmed down there – replete with battles and light sabres tearing through the galaxy.

For delivery room and power doula, midwife and spouse team highlights… more later.

Ready set go.

I feel this incredible buzz of excitement as I walked back to my car. A nurse named Maya has just given me a shot of overdrill, with love she says. She said it was staying, but after having me cough and count backwards from 100, I hardly felt a thing,; it might be because I’ve already given birth to a 10 pound baby, and I consider myself to be quite a tough cookie. Or it might be because I’m super excited. We’ve done a round of cycle monitoring, and everything looks ideal for a frozen embryo transfer… here we go baby number two. The most exciting part for me right now, aside from having stats that all look like we are on the right path, is that the transfer is booked for exactly 2 years from the date that Kingston was conceived. What are the odds? I feel like it’s a good sign. I am cautiously optimistic, which, I think is how it always has to go when you’re dealing with the human body and odds like these. We have fried frozen embryos but I feel a certain sense of excitement and like my body is aligned, ready for this. I wonder if because of the circumstances around our first pregnancies with my wife, I didn’t ever let myself be as hopeful as my personality tends to be when we tried for our first. Maybe this time, knowing that my body can do this I will let myself feel all the feelings. High and low. Right now, so high.  

Maya said I look like One of those strong women from the 1940s, Rosie the riveter,; I am dressing the part. I didn’t even realize until we left the house together that Kingston and I are matching. Red is my power color, with little zebra prints on my hair band, and he is in buffalo check – my little Canadian lumberjack.

Stats: Ready to book. Ovidril. Report. Follicle at 20 mm. ExActly. 854 estrogen level. Close to surge LH IS AT 12. Surge is more than 20. A shot today won’t compromise. lining is 14 ( need more than 7). Transfer needs full bladder. Three glasses of water one hour before. 3 cups of water. Transfer on Tuesday. Start endometrin tomorrow night. Thursday pm. Then Friday start three per day. All the way until pregnancy test. 12 days after transfer. And take endometrin morning of transfer. Tuesday transfer time: 11 am on Tuesday. Arrive ten 10 Before transfer.

And this is me and my first babe. Just snuggling and enjoying some milk.

2 Become 3

These were our last photos as a duo… I took them a few days before he arrived . Bring on the newest member of our crew!!!

Now he has been with us for a whole year! We can hardly believe it. The bursting sensation, as your heart explodes with love is so beautiful that it is, in some ways, painful. I can hardly bear it – I love him so. I have found a patience in myself that I never knew existed. Perhaps it’s because all my tired frustration is deflected onto my partner?

For the next little while I’ll be going back through drafts of things I never published, but meant to – to comment on whether these things still feel the same and whether time has given me more perspective.

From here, it looks pretty blissful.

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Day in, Day Out

Had a party last night. A clothing swap. On a Wednesday. Raucous laughter, Pol Roger, … doesn’t mean he isn’t still waking up at 3 am and then starting our day at 6. I was thinking about it yesterday, as I marvelled at how quickly the house gets into a state of total chaos, and how seemingly every dish in my house is dirty… while the dishwasher sits, clean but not yet unloaded. How is it possible to feel so busy, but also feel like I just get reset to back zero each day, instead of getting more things on my to-do list done? I had the ridiculous idea that I’d get all these projects done in my ‘free time’ now that I wasn’t working full time and was instead home with an infant.

What does a typical day look like?

6 am – In bed for a morning feed.

6:15 cuddle in bed and play before we all get up (practice standing, sing)

6:30 leave him with my wife so I can brush teeth, put on clothes and deoderant

6:45 practice walking with his walker, and my legs, sit on the kitchen floor while I blow bubbles, making my coffee

7 am – put in a baking pan pancake for breakfast, cut up watermelon and veggies to roast for our lunch, using the over while it’s hot

7:20 cuddle after some unexplained tears; open this page and decide to document our day

7:24 – serve up breakfast and eat with him. Watermelon, formula in cereal with banana and apple, some strips of pancake. Coffee for me.

7:50 – clean up breakfast, try to unload the dishwasher, take roasted veggies out to cool.

7:55-9:30 – drive my wife to the train to go to work, take baby with me for a quick grocery shop. Come home, get a second coffee while kiddo plays and chases me around. Put away groceries. Take him upstairs to diaper change, read a few books, nurse and put him down for nap number one. Once he is asleep, put in a load of laundry, get dressed, sunscreen and makeup. Hair in a bun. Pack the diaper bag. Drink my coffee and update this list. Put the soup stock together in a pot with the roasted veggies on low. Plan lunch. Send a few texts to make afternoon plans.

9:30 – Make a to-do list for the day; check email (with that same coffee). Answer some marketplace messages (I’m looking for size 6 shoes for his monster feet).

10 am – make some calls and wait on hold with phone reps to do some returns and customer service stuff. Eat a cupcake and drink a big glass of water. Look at real estate listings (because obviously now is the easiest time to plan a move).

10:30 – unload dishwasher and reload to avoid yesterday’s end of day disaster:

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10:40 – hang load of laundry to dry. Get baby up from nap. Change diaper, dress him, load into the car and get to drop-in centre just a bit late.

11-12pm Babies on the Move drop-in class at the Early On centre. Water table, snacks, sensory bins, hula hoops, ribbons, pom poms, parachute, bubbles!!!

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12:10 – nurse him and chat with another mom.

12:25 – Go to pick up some size 6 and 7 shoes from someone on FB Marketplace. Prepping for little Mister’s big feet!

12:40 – Get to my friend’s place for a play date. Walked through her neighbourhood then down to the creek and through the forest.

1:30 – Sit in the grass and nurse our kiddos. Play on the swings. Walk back.

2 pm – Get back in the car and drive home. Baby falls asleep for 45 minutes. Yay! Go through the drivethru and get Beyond Meat and egg breakfast sandwiches. Get one to share with baby later on.

2:55 – Sitting in car reading and eating. Let him wake up while we are parked at home.

3pm -3:30 – Lunch (he nurses so often that our meal timing is sometimes off). Egg, English muffin, beyond meat patty, homemade veggie soup, peas and pear puree. Some cucumber.

3:30 – up to his room for a diaper change and to put away laundry in his room. Reorganize his shoes. He pulls all his diapers out and we put them all away.

3:45 – strip off my top and decide to abandon sitting up nursing – this was the most lovely, intimate and cuddly moment of the day. He is so energized and cuddly, exploring, funny and silly; I let him climb all over me, nursing, popping off, climbing the pillows, wrestling, practicing standing by pulling up on the head board, climbing on me, doing fake body slams into the duvet, airplanes, and letting him explore, nurse and play. He does this amazingly cute thing where he will drink, then lie back, arching his back across me with a big open mouth grin and his head hanging down, like a deep back bend.

4:15 – Get dressed again. Get water for us both. Go for a walk around the block.

4:45 – visit with our neighbours. One of the daughters of our neighbour sat with us on the porch, talking and playing with him. Other neighbours came to the porch to talk with us. K played with a small ball and would put it into my hand, offer it to someone else, took off the little girl’s shoe, put the ball in, looked for it.

We spent a lot of time just letting him explore.

5:25 – Back inside to let him play independently on his mat while I prepped dinner. Just a small sweet potato puree, cheese, crackers, watermelon, some cheese pizza (of mine). A prune squeezie. Will clean this up later.

6:00 – Sat on the couch and let him climb on me, look out the window, play (not unsupervised) with the blinds, looking at the world. Read two books.

6:30 – Nursed him (trying a different order here, rather than right before bed).

6:55 – Walked out to the street to meet my wife who was getting home from work. Handed him off for her to do bath time, story and bedtime.

7:25 – He is asleep

Came back to type this out, send some emails, have a glass of wine. Make plans for tomorrow. I’m pretty tired. But so many sweet memories from today. Sometimes it feels like every day is my favourite. Other times it feels like they drag. Today was a good day.

 

 

 

 

It Hurts

I have always been quite proud of how tough I am. Not ‘for a girl’ … for anyone. I’m usually able to persevere mentally and physically when things are hard. Broken foot? No problem, I’ll finish that 3 minute competitive dance routine and wait til I’m off stage to cry. Pregnancy? I’ll feel like maybe going to the hospital at 7 cm and even then, we will be surprised at how far along I am based on how I’m handling the pain.

But now this. It is 12 months post-partum and since about the third month I feel like I have arthritis in my hands, wrists and ankles. My feet ache. It’s worse than when I was pregnant.

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Tired and new to this. Flashback to our trip to Mexico when he was just 2.5 months old.

So I Googled. This came up:

“I too have been suffering from this pain. I am now 6mo. pp and it started around 2 mos. pp. It was 100 times worse in the mornings. I couldn’t walk and going down the stairs put me in tears. It was in my feet, hands and wrists and ankles and I would have some localized swelling and bruising. I would have to take a lot of Tylenol (allergic to anti-inflammatories) before I went to work and I would still suffer though daily activities. Just like everyone else the doctors didn’t know what to say or do. Told me it was because I’m breast feeding that my nutrients are being depleted. I decided to continue to breast feed. My pain lessened after a couple months but I still have pain till this day. Now it’s just in my feet and hands and not as severe. It’s bittersweet to see that others have the same thing although know one has found any relief other than waiting it out. I just wanted to say I am another sufferer and hope doctors realize that this is an issue.”

It is a huge relief to know that the weird, mysterious things we experience don’t happen just to us. What other things don’t they tell you about how life will change? What can we do to avoid the shocks to the system of pushing out a human and growing into a mother?

What symptoms have you experienced that you didn’t anticipate, as a mother, during, post or in the parenting journey?

In and out

Our son has officially been outside of my body longer than inside. It took so much to get you here. These are just the leftover drugs, syringes, swaps, and vials. There were months of trials and monitoring; more early morning doctors visits to take blood samples and do ultrasounds than I can count. Planning, hoping, worrying, dreaming. More worry and tears. More hopes and dreams. Lots of holding my breath. Months of waiting. And then you were real. We couldn’t be more in love. #ttc #lesbianparents #invitro #twomoms🌈 #cleodcar #samelove #samesexparents

Out And Proud

Saw a lovely post from a teacher who speaks about coming out, after marrying her wife.

He roost reminded me why I came out and keep coming out each year, each semester, in each new class. Being out in my classroom is one of the most valuable lessons and teachable moments I have to offer. It shows closeted kids or those with queer family that it’s possible to live a beautiful, rich and happy life; to be a professional; to be respected and successful as a queer person.

What else motivates me to be out in my classroom? It provides visibility and hope to kids and a learning opportunity about the diversity within our community. So many important steps towards inclusion and acceptance begin with the risk of being seen. For many it is about knowing someone and having that relationship spark the curiosity to question what we have learned or previously taken as truth. It’s hard to bear hatred or intolerance when you have a face to put to the name, whatever the marginalized group or person may be. I am their teacher. Someone they know and care about. Someone who has modelled caring and for respect for all the things that make them who they are. I actively teach anti-oppression and critical thinking about diversity, myth-busting the rhetoric that too frequently is used to promote intolerance.

If it’s safe to do so… come on out. Our kids need to see you there.

International Breastfeeding Week

It doesn’t always look or feel like this. Breastfeeding was a rough go at the start. Knowing I felt supported and able to stop if it had been more than I could handle was key to keeping my sanity with low milk supply and a baby with tongue tie. Whatever a parent chooses, their love and care for this child makes THEM the best person to decide whether nursing is the best option for their family. My big push has been to normalize nursing in my life and community. Kids gotta eat. #internationalbreastfeedingweek2019

Cheers to all the places I’ve nursed this little sucker.

Mexico, Jamaica, Toronto – Canada, from restaurants to museums and beaches. This growing boy is my most precious creation and feeding him should never be a source of shame.