How my wife’s deceased mother is helping us conceive a second child

Recently, my wife’s father decided to sell the family home. He has let his daughters know that anything they don’t take home will be pitched, so my wife and her sister have spent some long day’s going through their old family home.

My wife’s mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer just a couple of months before we met (so about 10.5 years ago now), and she battled for 4 years before passing away. She spent most of those 4 years in their home, and had a hospital bed in the family room near the end. She acquired a lot of medical supplies during that time, and a lot of it was shoved in the basement after she passed away. While my wife was sorting the family’s old stuff and looking for sentimental items to save from the dump, she found a box of sterile specimen cups and a box of sterile 10cc syringes.

One needs both of those things to make a baby using at-home artificial-insemination, and both of those things are awkward and slow to collect through pharmacies (you can get one at a time without inviting questions…).

And that is how my wife’s mother is helping us in our journey to conceive her second grandchild, even after she’s gone. I think she’d giggle about it if she knew. ❤️

Fertility tracking

I have re-downloaded Fertility Friend, the ovulation charting app that helped us to inseminate efficiently the first time. I tried taking my temperature this morning for fertility tracking, but the battery was dead in my basal thermometer. I’m surprised I even kept it after we made one baby and deciding we were one-and-done. I bought a new battery and plan to start charting temps asap, but it’s very different this time around. In case you haven’t used temperature charting before, the rules are simple but tough to follow: take your temp IMMEDIATELY upon waking, at the same time every day, and put your daily temp on a graph to watch for the rise in temperature associated with ovulating. These days, I sometimes wake up in my bed, sometimes in Avery’s, sometimes at 5am, sometimes at 7am, and I’m up through the night, too. I don’t think I can depend on just temping.

So today I bought the digital ovulation monitor that I used last time for our actual inseminations. It’s a $50 device that comes with 10 ovulation tests, and it’s another $40 to get all the refill test strips I would hopefully need throughout our next round of TTC. It’s expensive, but what I like about it is that it distinguishes between the days leading up to ovulation and the actual day before ovulation (when the lutenizing hormone peaks). It’s really, really handy for the at home inseminating families who don’t have ultrasounds or meds to guide them. When I got the hang it of it last time, I was able to give our donor several days notice for the upcoming ovulation/insemination. And it’s better than temping for me these days, with the #momlife that I wasn’t living last time we conceived.

So that’s where we are with TTC right now. We’re tracking my cycles, and planning a get-together with our donor and his wife for early in the new year to talk about it. We hang out with them a lot, but always with kids in tow, which doesn’t give us the space to talk about making babies… This time we’re coordinating a childless double date, and I’m excited for multiple reasons!

Ready for a newborn again

I was going into this baby #2 thing a little reluctantly. I still felt overwhelmed by my first year and a half as a mother and couldn’t imagine doing it all over again. I was totally content with my one, perfect child. But my wife wanted another baby, and I wanted to give that to her. I knew I would love another baby and wouldn’t regret it, but I also knew it would be HARD.

But then I weaned my toddler from breastfeeding and suddenly I find myself CRAVING a baby again. It’s amazing what hormone changes can do to your mindset.

We’re still pretty distant from starting the process. My wife is going to give me the signal when she’s ready for an IVF consultation. We have talked about which clinic to use, but haven’t chosen one yet. When we do finally get that consultation appointment, we would move ahead with the process (because IVF is government funded in Ontario (so thankful), there’s a wait list and we’d want to get on that list pronto). However, there’s also a chance the the consultation will scare my wife off of reciprocal IVF altogether, in which case we’d wait a while and do things the way we did to make Avery – at home. It’s still all very much up in the air as to when we start and what method we’ll use. We haven’t even spoken to our donor about it.

I can feel myself getting antcy now. It all feels so familiar…

Countdown to TTC for baby #2: our timeline

My wife has started reminding me with increasing frequency that she wants another kid, and although we talk about it as something way down the road (“some day…”), there are a lot of moving pieces in our timeline and I think we need to be clear about all of the variables.

We’re still not planning to have another baby until I’ve finished my PhD, gotten a job, and have worked at that job long enough to be eligible for maternity leave. But the shortest estimated end-date for my PhD is about one year from today, and you only need to work about 3 months (600 hours) to qualify for maternity leave in my province. If I were lucky and got a job just a couple of months out of school, we could technically be birthing baby #2 a year and a half from now (*HARD GULP* – did not realize the shortest timeline was so short…).

And now for the longest (more realistic) timeline estimate. I would very much like to have baby #2 before I’m 35 – I already feel limited by my age when I’m too tired or stiff to keep up with my toddler (*side note: not all 35 year olds feel as old as I do and plenty of moms older than 35 can keep up with toddlers just fine). I’ll be 35 in July 2020. It takes 10 months to grow a baby from conception; therefore, I’d like to be working on conceiving baby #2 by early next fall (2019), which also happens to be about the time I hope to be starting a job. Yikes – when I lay it out like that we’re really cutting it close to the start of my future career. Sorry, future employer. And let’s hope I can actually find a job right away…

If we follow through on our plan for reciprocal IVF, it takes time to go through the planning, appointments, plus the 6-month sperm quarantine for a known donor. Let’s work backwards to see when we need to start the ball rolling:

June 2020 – Have baby #2. I’ll be about to turn 35, and Avery will be about to turn 4.

October 2019 – Conceive baby #2.

March 2019 – Put our donor’s sperm on ice and wait 6 months for him to get re-tested for STIs. Following testing, IVF can be done.

September 2018 – Start talking to our donor about going through the more intensive donor process for IVF, start researching reciprocal IVF.

So it looks like I have about 6 more carefree months before TTC research consumes my brain again! And I thought I was consumed by research on at-home insemination…. IVF is a whole new ballgame that I never thought I’d have to learn about. Maybe I can convince my wife to take the lead on research this time.

*Edit to say that I got my age wrong in the above calculations… I will be 32 this summer, not 33. Sheesh. So add a year to the longest possible timeline.

Definitely pregnant

We bought two more brands of test to confirm the results we got yesterday…


I am finally starting to believe it.

Here is how the whole thing went down…

Christmas Eve we spent at my sister-in-law’s house. My period was due that day, so every time I went to the bathroom my heart would race with fear that it would arrive… As the day turned into evening and my period hadn’t arrived yet, it became more and more difficult to suppress the excitement. That night neither my wife nor I slept very well… I was awake most of the night with light pms-like cramps, worrying like crazy that my period was on its way, just a little late.

In the morning, Christmas morning, it took all of the courage I could summon to get up and go to the bathroom. No period. I peed in a cup. Still no period. When my wife got up a few minutes later we cracked open our box of tests and dipped. I went back to bed and felt certain it would be bad news. When my wife walked back to the bathroom to check, she could see the strong plus sign from the hallway. We spent the next few minutes in shock…

Then we brought the test to bed with us and cuddled and let the nervous excitement wash over us.

We told our immediate families and best friends right away. We told my parents in person because we were going to see them that day. We wrapped the test like a Christmas present and told them to open it first. My dad saw it first and said “is it a toothbrush?” Clearly he wasn’t familiar with the brand name Clear Blue. Then my mom shrieked and cried and my dad wasn’t long to get what was going on. Later in the day my mom kept warning us that it is super early and we shouldn’t get too excited, but I say Fuck That.

During the TTC part of our journey I was a negative Nelly. I was pessimistic and full of dread and concern. And it wasn’t pleasant. I couldn’t see the light at end of the tunnel until it smacked me in the face. There is a light there, no matter what path you end up on. So I want to do this pregnancy thing differently. I want to let myself be excited. I want to let myself dream and plan for the future. If miscarriage happens, we will deal with it when we have to. But if this pregnancy is the one, if this sticks, I want to enjoy every minute of it.

We are 4 weeks pregnant. Our baby is the size of a Poppy seed. Wow. Just, wow.

TTC Cycle 3 updates

I have no updates worthy of a blog post, but I’m starting to obsess so I’m going to write about all the nothing that has been going on.

It is 11DPO. I have had no symptoms. I probably could have imagined some symptoms if I really wanted to, but I have learned that most of the sensations I think are symptoms are sensations I get all the time but don’t make anything of if I’m not looking for something to cling to…

I am trying to prepare myself for a Christmas Eve BFN. I think we should take a test in the morning of Christmas Eve so I don’t have to deal with the surprise of AF while we are with family for dinner that night. And although I really don’t want to let myself get excited, testing in the morning COULD mean that we would be able to share good news with family.

Although this post probably sounds pretty negative, I am actually feeling a lot better than I was during my last post. I think I have successfully lowered my expectations enough to reduce the intensity of the disappointment that would come from a Christmas BFN. Last month I was really convinced that I was pregnant. That was rough. I have learned to protect myself.

However, as the days past ovulation tick by, it is getting harder and harder to keep my mind from wandering to “what if”…