Big Announcement…and What’s Coming Up for Mostly YA Lit!

July 7, 2017 / 42 Comments / Blogging Life, Personal

myal-baby-announcement-no-wordsYes, it’s true. I’m so excited to let you guys know that I’m pregnant! Evan and I are expecting a baby in December!

It’s been a wild and long journey to get to this point. The whole process of getting pregnant took us over two years, a lot of heartache, tears, love, support, and science. More on that in a second if you’re interested.

You may have noticed that things have been quieter on Mostly YA Lit in the last few months (or you might not have, in which case, please carry on). That’s definitely because the first trimester of being pregnant was SO. FREAKING. EXHAUSTING.

I was lucky to not have morning sickness, but even without it, the complete and utter fatigue walloped me every single day of those first three months. Instead of eating lunch, I would go nap in our building’s quiet room. I would come home and just head straight to bed. And reading and writing? It was a chore just to keep my eyes open past 8pm.

So yeah, it’s been a bit quiet around here, and I expect that the quiet will continue as things move forward from pregnancy to being a new mom. I’m super excited, but also cognizant that this blog will probably change from a couple posts weekly to a couple of posts monthly.

For now, you’ll still see reviews of new and upcoming releases, from YA to middle grade to adult romance and some bookish fun. But come September or October, I’m slowing the blog down a bit and hoping to have more time to deal with third trimester tiredness, as well as reading some of the books that have been on my shelf forever.

I hope you’ll still be with me as Evan and I start this new chapter of our lives. To make sure you don’t miss a post, head over to the sidebar and plug your email in to get new posts delivered to your inbox. And if you’re interested in hearing my thoughts on baby stuff as well as book stuff, feel free to follow and contact me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr! I’m so glad to be able to talk about this on social media!

Finally, if you or someone you know is going through their own fertility journey, and you think it might be helpful, I’ve detailed Evan’s and my journey below (click on the blue bar to access it). It’s a long and very personal post, so feel free to skip it.

Pregnancy: The Hard Way

Before It All Started…

It’s wacky, but Evan’s and my journey to getting pregnant started before we even got engaged, when we were talking about marriage. Evan has always wanted kids, and I was on the fence for a long, long time.

For me, kids had always been a take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing. I was never opposed to them, I just never really had that yearning to bring up a child of my own. It was something I could see as a possibility, but then, I also always wanted to live in London, to live in New York, to work for the UN (I actually did do two of those things). I’m a girl with a lot of wanderlust, and Evan is a guy who learned to enjoy travel with me, but is just as happy being home.

It all came to head when I spent a lot of time with Evan’s older sister’s kids and realized that I not only liked kids and got along with them, but that I could possibly want them. But only, I reasoned, if I could have them with Evan. In every other relationship I’ve been in, I could never, ever imagine having a child – but Evan’s patience, humour, sense, and playfulness just made me certain that we would have an amazing child together. I could see not only how great a dad he would be, but that together, we could actually create a special person.

In the Beginning

Fast-forward a few years. We’d been married for about a year and a half before I told Evan I was ready to start trying for a baby. I’d been thinking about it for awhile, and I was always convinced that 33 was a good age to have a kid.

After six months of trying, we started wondering whether we should do some initial testing. I thought it was probably too early, having heard that we needed to be trying for at least a year before talking to a doctor. But Evan mentioned it to his doctor, and he got a referral to do initial testing at a sperm bank. That was in July 2015.

A few weeks later, we were told that Evan’s sperm count was low and he was being referred to a urologist. That same week, Evan’s younger sister, who already had a daughter, told us that she was pregnant for the second time in two years.

We were SO happy for her – it was exciting to be getting a new niece, and we loved our current niece and nephews so much already. But that said…it did sting a bit. It was my first taste of pregnancy jealousy, and the fact that she already had a daughter made me a bit frustrated. But I reasoned with myself that that was probably a normal reaction, and that whatever we had to deal with, I was certain we could get through this quickly.

Try, Try Again

Evan met with the urologist a few months later. At the same time, I was referred to a fertility clinic at the same hospital where Evan’s urologist was. Our first appointment there was in October 2015. Because it was such a long wait, my family doctor suggested that I get a few tests done as well. Basically, these tests were to ensure that everything was working normally on both sides.

By the time we met with our fertility doctor, we’d had a battery of testing done – some of which was invasive and painful. After meeting with our fertility doctor and looking over our tests, she ordered MORE rounds of testing.

There were moments of complete uncertainty. Because we were at the beginning of our fertility issues, we needed to try to rule out everything. Between August 2015 and March 2016, I remember feeling like one or both of us were at a lab or the clinic every single week.

And some of the tests showed varied results. At one point, I was told by a nurse that it looked like my Fallopian tubes were blocked, which meant that any hope we had of a simple procedure like IUI (intrauterine insemination) would be out of the question. My fertility doctor, luckily, looked at the test and immediately suggested another test that would say for sure whether they were blocked. They weren’t. Phew.

The tests confirmed that for the most part, I was good to go. However, despite months of banking, we couldn’t produce useable sperm. By the end of April, we had conclusive evidence that we would not be able to conceive naturally.

There were so many times during this point where I would see people around me getting pregnant, or with their kids, and just feel exhausted. I would wonder why it was so easy for other people to get pregnant, and for us it had to be a big thing, a chore. And a thing that would probably cost us financially and emotionally.

The Hardest Part

In order to extract useable sperm, Evan’s urologist recommended a pretty major surgery to us, set for the end of May 2016.

I don’t think I knew quite how painful or invasive it was going to be. Evan’s surgery was done in a hospital right beside my office, so I was able to go down during lunch, before he was released. It was the first time I’ve seen my husband that sick or in that much pain. I immediately realized I needed to be home with him to ensure he was okay. His parents were with us, but it was just…crappy.

We were able to get the results of the test the next day. Evan called in and was told that nothing was useable. He had essentially done the surgery for nothing, and we realized that this meant we would not be able to have a baby together.

I don’t even know how to tell you or talk about how devastated we were. We spent the next few days in complete shock and mourning. Even though we had always talked about adoption for a third child or something, the reality that we literally could not have a baby that was biologically ours wrecked us. Especially because Evan has ALWAYS wanted kids, and I knew I didn’t want anyone else to be the father of my child.

Exploring Other Options

Over the next few weeks and months, as we adjusted to our new reality, we had discussions with friends and family, and explored donor insemination with our doctors. Before we were allowed to go forward with it, we actually had to meet with a social worker who discussed all of the attitudes, consequences, and other issues of having a child through donor insemination.

This is probably one of the weirdest parts of this journey. Discussions of half-sisters and brothers, quarter-aunts, whether there was stigma…the ramifications of having a kid with a sperm donor were more than we expected.

Even weirder was choosing the donor sperm. When we first logged into a bank, we discovered a whole slew of information about each of the guys who had donated. No full photos of the current guys, but everything from slices of pictures of an eye, an ear, a hand; to audio interviews, to likes and dislikes and behaviors were listed. It was like looking at a menu for the attributes that you wanted in your ideal kid.

We probably looked at around 50 guys, and listened to around 20 interviews. Right away, there was one guy who had the most amazing interview and essay. He was musical, like Evan, and had thought about being a lawyer or engineer. He had several kids of his own, and seemed like such a caring, wonderful guy that we knew he was our pick.

I did my first IUI in December 2016. It was a simple, super-fast procedure. It probably took no more than 15 minutes, and wasn’t really uncomfortable. I was grateful for that. More frustrating was the two-week wait to go get a pregnancy blood test.

The first time didn’t work out and we discussed the possibility of switching donors. Even though we liked the donor we’d chosen, we’d looked at the site for the bank, and it looked his most recent samples were earmarked only for IVF – meaning that the samples might not be as potent as they could be.

After finding another donor – a nice, younger guy who sounded creative and interested in a lot of Evan’s tastes (he also happened to have features more like Evan’s), we went in again in January. No go.

By this time, the stress and expense of donor insemination was starting to weigh on us. The monthly anticipation and cost, followed by the let-down – and the disappointments of the last few years were hard to take. We took a month off.

In March, I went in again. A week later, I started to feel super exhausted. Another week went by and my period didn’t show up. Two days later, a blood test showed that I was pregnant.

The joy, relief, and heartache we experienced was overwhelming. We were so excited, but also still mourning our biology, and frankly, I was terrified that I was going to lose the baby. Up until I got my first ultrasound at six weeks, I just couldn’t believe that it had happened, or that I wasn’t going to miscarry.

It’s a feeling that has stayed with me, though it’s dissipated significantly as I’ve moved into the second trimester. We’re so happy to be having this baby, but also so cognizant of how lucky we are.

Final Thoughts

One of the first things that came to mind during this process was nature vs nurture. While at the beginning, we balked a bit at donor insemination, there is no doubt now that we are this baby’s parents. Biology means a little, but I know that our parenting will mean much more. While we chose an open donor (one who is open to being contacted when the child is 18) and we are also planning to be very open about our child’s biology from the start, we know that this child is going to be our pride, joy, and a part of the family we’re creating together.

I know this has been a long post, but we really wanted to share this experience with those of you who might need it. We weren’t super share-y about all of this at the beginning, because, frankly, it was too overwhelming to know where to begin. We have been incredibly lucky to have support from our family and friends throughout this entire time – from people who have experienced fertility issues, to people who just held our hands while we cried.

So I wanted to let anyone out there know that if they are experiencing fertility issues, Evan and I are happy to discuss with you or be resources for you. It’s been a wild ride for us, but I think it has really made us stronger as a couple, and more ready than ever to become parents. Please feel free to contact us here, by email, or on any of my social media platforms.

And if you’re interested from a YA perspective, I also wanted to mention Natasha Friend’s The Other F-WordI read it this spring, and it looks at two kids who were born from the same donor, and what happens when they decide to meet and start talking to their other half siblings. I think Friend did a really great job on the research for this – it’s a unique look at coming-of-age, and I admit that it helped me a lot on my own journey.

Finally, I wanted to say that here in Canada, there isn’t that much selection for sperm and egg donation (I’m not exactly sure how it is in the US or other places around the world). That’s partly because compensation isn’t permitted in Canada. But we wanted to let people know that it’s very, VERY much appreciated, and if you are willing to do so, there are several banks that you can donate to. It’s a great public service, I don’t think it’s too complicated, and it goes without saying that without it, Evan and I would not be having a baby. I’ve linked to a few sites here if you are interested:

In Canada:

ReproMed Ltd
Outreach Health Services
Can-Am Cryoservices Corporation

Overseas:
Xytex
FairFax Cryobank
NW Cryobank
Seattle Sperm Bank
European Sperm Bank

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So guys, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! If you’re a reader…are there any specific books I have to read before the end of the year? If you’re a parent, what advice do you have for me? If you’ve read our story and care to share, happy to hear any comments or thoughts.

love, tiff


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42 responses to “Big Announcement…and What’s Coming Up for Mostly YA Lit!

    • Thank you so much, Bella! And congrats on graduating high school! I’m glad you have more time to read now. BTW (still reading your blog), did you listen to and love the new Haim? I’m really enjoying it…

  1. AHHHH congrats Tiff!! So happy for you guys!

    1) soooo glad you didn’t have any of the morning sickness to deal with because it’s terrible and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But that first trimester tiredness is no joke right?? I couldn’t believe how exhausted I was! I would come home from work and pass out and STILL want to go to bed at 8. Which I was always the type of person if I took a nap after work I would NEVER be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

    2) Thanks for sharing your journey! I know there are probably others out there who need hope right now and I’m sure your story has helped. One of my best friends just had her baby (thanks to IVF) after years of infertility issues and I know how up and down it all was so extra hugs to you!!

    Always here to talk all things pregnancy with you should you need bc if I’ve learned anything in these past 9 months is that PREGNANCY IS WEIRD SOMETIMES haha. I was thankful to have my gfs to talk with and ask questions to.

    • JAMIE! I am so excited for your baby to come! Crossing my fingers it’s an easy birth!

      I’ve been following your blog and prepping myself for all the crazy changes you keep talking about. PREGNANCY IS WEIRD. I text my best friends all the time just with, holy crap, why are my boobs so sore? How do you sleep on your side all night? What is with all the weird dreams?!?!

      First trimester was so so tiring. I’m so glad I’m in second now. I’m still tired, but it’s like, manageable now. I’m kinda not looking forward to third trimester body changes.

      So glad for your friend that she had her baby! It’s SO hard. I know we got lucky with a relatively short period of time, and figuring out what we needed to do. I’m never this personal on my blog, but Evan and I felt like we couldn’t let people know – especially people who are going through the same thing – without talking about it. I really, really hope it helps people to talk about it.

  2. So many congratulations to you and Evan! Your story is so touching and through all the trials it’s so amazing to see how happy you both are and I’ll be sending all the positive vibes from down here in WI!

  3. Sandy S.

    Congrats! That’s exciting news. What an incredible journey you have taken and are about to take together. My only advice to you is enjoy it!! As you know there will be bumps along the way, times where you will be frustrated, but oh, the joy and fun you will have. No one is perfect, enjoy your own journey!!

  4. Jenn S

    You guys. First off… congrats. Second…thank you for sharing your story. It’s an amazing and inspirational one. You went through so much in such a short time but I’m so happy that your little one is well on its way. So much more awareness and sharing needs to be done on fertility issues. So many people struggle but often they feel like they’re alone. You’re going to be such great parents and baby is so lucky to have been so loved and wanted from the start!

    • Thanks, Jenn! It definitely helped us to have people around who could guide us a bit on the infertility stuff. It’s really been a ride. I’m also glad I’m hearing from people now who are in the middle of it. I think it does help to share.

  5. CONGRATS, Tiff! While I completely understand needing to slow down on Mostly YA Lit, I look forward to whatever you do have planned and hope to see you around. Wishing you and your husband all the best in this new journey. 🙂

  6. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads

    I knew I should have waited until this evening to read this, but I couldn’t wait and now I’m openly weeping on the train. This is such a beautiful post, and I’m so awed by your strength and bravery in sharing it! My first trimester was just like yours — no morning sickness but soooooo tired! My new office has a nap room, and I so wish I could have experienced this wonder while pregnant! I hope that the rest of your pregnancy is smooth sailing and sending you all the warm wishes for your beautiful growing family!

    • Thank you SO much, Melissa! I see your posts about your son, and motherhood looks like such a joy for you. I’m excited to experience the same.

      Sorry for the tears. I really, really did not set out to make people cry, just hoping that other potential parents feel like they’re not alone.

      Omg, the quiet room at my office was, like, the savior of my first trimester. I swear I was snoring in there, and I was not even embarrassed. Gotta do what you gotta do. =p

  7. That is SO WONDERFUL!!! Congratulations!!! It’s really amazing that you shared your journey with us!
    I definitely understand the pregnancy jealousy — it’s something I’m dealing with currently. But I’m trying to be patient!
    But I can’t wait to follow with you on your journey of pregnancy! 😀

    • Thank you so much, Rosie! Ugh, the pregnancy jealousy is so sucky because it’s not like you’re not happy for other people, you just want your own! I hope things go well for you. I’m going to try to keep people updated with what’s happening, without annoying people, I hope? It’s kind of exciting and simultaneously not really at all. Mostly just kind of crazy physical.

  8. Hilda

    Congratulations you two!!! Huge HUG!! I’m so happy for you. I can’t wait to see if your book recommendations start to include children’s books. I bet you will have great recommendations. I’m talking about this from experience. I don’t have kids but I do have an 18 month old nephew and my goodreads book reviews include lots of baby/toddler books now. I’m always looking for a new book to take to him. I found out I love children’s books. Anyway, back to you. My goodness I can’t wait to hear about your new life as a mommy. Your perspective in books might change too. I can’t wait to see what you have to say and will cherish the post because they’re will be less and because I know you’ll be tired but still posting. I’m so happy for you both!! I feel like I’m a part of this amazing journey. Please keep posting even if it’s random thoughts.

    • Hilda, thanks so much for reading and being such a supporter. I’m definitely going to try to keep posting, even if it’s sporadic. I’ve already noticed that my perspective on books has changed a lot even in the last year or so – first with this journey, and second, with the baby/kids books. I have a lot of faves already from my own nieces and nephews. I’m kind of bad at reviewing them, but I do end up reading a lot of them. Maybe I’ll try a feature and see how it goes. Thanks for the idea!

  9. Congratulations! I wish you and baby all the best. I enjoy reading your blog posts but understand that taking care of yourself and new family is top priority.

  10. Oh my goodness, congratulations!! What a whirlwind. I am so happy for you!

    I have been through the heartbreak and stress of infertility (though our journey is ongoing), and I’m so sorry you had to experience that too. It’s funny that when I was your TBTB Secret Santa, we were going through some of the same things, but didn’t know it. So strange how life works. I wish you, Evan, and the baby the very best. Thank you for sharing your story. <3

    • Thank you so much, Maggie. Wishing you all the best on your journey, too. I know how hard it is! And yeah, it’s crazy how quiet we all are about infertility issues. Please let me know if you have any questions.

      • Thanks! I will. I think we are pretty much done with treatment though. We exhausted all of the options that we felt comfortable with, and after years of treatment off and on, I just couldn’t do it any more. From here, we may eventually pursue adoption, but for now we are trying to find a way to be positive as a permanently childless couple. I have always wanted to be a mom, so I don’t really know how to think about the future from here. This month marks four years since we started trying, so I’m extra bummed. I do blog about it periodically, because I find writing cathartic.

        Sorry, I probably said way too much for a blog comment! I overshare about infertility a lot. I feel really passionate about ending the stigma around it. 😛

        • There’s no way you could possibly overshare about infertility with me. I get it. It’s so important to talk about it. It was really, really hard for us to deal with the fact that we weren’t going to be able to have a child who was biologically related to us. We struggled for months with it.

          I hope you’re hearing from some good people about all the options. It does help to write about it.

          I hope whatever you do decide, you find some peace. I think we’ll always see adoption as an option for us as well, especially since Evan works with a children’s aid society here.

  11. I am so happy to see this news! And I am glad you are sharing your infertility story. It affects 1 in 7, I think. It’s common but there’s such a huge stigma and silence surrounding it. The more people talk about and normalize it, the better. My sister in law and her husband are facing this now and none of the IUI treatments they are doing are working. They found out Tuesday that the double IUI did not work. I find it heartbreaking and feel a little guilt too, because my baby was a happy unplanned surprise. I am hoping that maybe when they try IVF that it may work out for them. As for your child, when they get here and you give birth, you’re going to just be overpowered by this feeling of love for them. It’s just this unconditional love like you would not believe. I am excited for you and your husband to experience that.

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