My journey to becoming a mama through IUI

And so here we are, Mommy, Baba and Kid, figuring it out as we go along.

My journey to becoming a mama through IUI

I come from a large, robust family; lots of siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, a veritable menagerie of personalities. Our kind of wild rumpus is not for everyone, but I wouldn't change it for the world. That said, I wondered if I would ever have—or want—a brood of my own.

Then, 11 years ago, on my first day in a new city, I met the woman who would eventually be my wife and travel with me down the path to parenthood. This was a road less traveled, at least for a while. Like most couples, we wanted to be more settled, have a house, save some money. We wanted to be at the right place at the right time before we started our family. And like most couples, we quickly realized there isn't a perfect time to have a kid, and the more you analyze the concept, the scarier it gets.

I eventually took a job at a liberal arts university that brought us from bustling metropolis to small rural town. The living here was affordable, we were closer to our families and the whole town resembled the cover of a vintage “Welcome To (Wherever)!" postcard. We felt as ready as we could to finally start our family.

Now what?

We're two women, so traditional conception was off the table. We looked into local adoption and found a woman who'd been running a small but successful (and affordable) agency for the last few decades. She was great to work with, our adoption classes were informative and surprisingly supportive (especially since we were the only same-sex couple in the class) and we were, overall, optimistic. The problem was, this woman had never placed a same-sex couple before.

After months with no leads, I realized she was presenting us like a caveat: “So, I just need to tell you this is a lesbian couple" instead of “Here's a loving, stable, two-income home who would be a perfect fit…oh, and they're both women." I wondered, if we were any other kind of family, would you still word it that way? What if we were much older or ethnically diverse? What if we had a weight problem that affected our mobility or a chronic health issue? Would you still issue a warning shot to prospective birth parents?

Even though I tried to educate our agency advisor, we felt defeated. Meetings with lawyers and adoption false-starts left us further stalled. Larger agencies were costly—upwards of $30,000 in-state and close to $50,000 for international adoptions. It was starting to get overwhelming, both emotionally and financially, not to mention the risk of having the adoption fall through at the last minute, a fear we knew was real.

It took lunch with a friend of ours to bring a change of perspective.

She was a former lawyer, so we wanted to ask for her help with adoption options. But as a parent of a lovely little girl with a partner of her own, she asked, “Have you ever considered having the baby yourselves?" Truthfully, my partner and I always felt strongly about wanting to adopt, so having a biological child never really presented as an option. But we were at a crossroad, and after that lunch, our next steps were clear: we would try to get pregnant.

The next months were filled with rigorous research into sperm banks and calls to insurance companies about fertility coverage. We decided that my partner would get pregnant because a) she was older than me by a few years and b) I wasn't sure I was the carrying kind. I saw myself as more of the “hand-holding, chore-doing, 2am supermarket run for ice cream" part of the equation.

We settled on California Cryobank because they got great reviews and, as a perk, provided a “celebrity look-a-like" option. This means you can search for donors by what celeb the staff thinks he most resembled. While our advanced search was based more on health background, biological make-up and personality traits, I will say that our chosen dude was a cross between Jude Law and Jesse Spencer from the show “House."

Once selecting our lucky donor vials, we forged ahead with IUI, or artificial insemination. This is the most non-invasive of all the fertility procedures and is most commonly referred to as “the turkey baster." While much more scientific than that, it still took four tries for us to finally see the two blue lines (we were told the average IUI success rate, without issue, can be up to 20% or 1 out of 5 tries).

And so the next chapter of our lives began. To share our fertility exploration and pregnancy journey with family and friends, we started our first blog called “The Littlest C," which captured the joys and the freak-outs that come with impending parenthood.

Two and half years ago this month, my wife gave birth to our beautiful little boy. Due to a serious complication called meconium aspiration, our boy spent the first two weeks of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, which is a whole other story. Thankfully, we were able to take him home three days before Christmas, and from that moment on, life took on new meaning.

My wife and I were just like any other parents—thrilled, exhausted and generally dazed and confused. All the books we read, all the research we did and all the advice gathering during pregnancy was quickly rendered obsolete once this indecipherable newborn came along. Fussy, hungry, sick or tired—who could tell?

We were in the trenches and the only way out was through. Eventually, the fog lifted and we started to get a handle on this parenting thing.

Today, our boy is everything we could ever want (and then some)—funny, smart, compassionate, feisty, opinionated, sensitive and fun. Our family dynamic has evolved over time and my wife and I found the roles that best suited us. Our son calls her Mommy, but to him, I am Baba—a sort of mother-father hybrid. Early on, we realized that for him—and for me—the Mama thing just didn't work. So we settled on Baba, which means “warm caregiver or protector" and is used by some members of the LGBT community to denote parent.

And so here we are, Mommy, Baba and Kid, figuring it out as we go along. As parents to a toddler, we're dealing with all the usual suspects—potty training, temper tantrums, independence—and some unique to our situation (this year is the first in which we'll be celebrating both Mother's Day and Father's Day (aka, National Baba Appreciation). It may have taken us a while to get here, but this road is one I never, ever regret taking.

We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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What went viral this week: Pregnant Disney Princesses + an airline nightmare

Now, more than ever, we need to hear those good news stories.

Vanessa Firme/Instagram

Last week was a week.

We lost a legal and cultural icon with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and deadly wildfires continue to blaze on the West Coast. Now, more than ever, we need to see creativity, kindness and compassion in our world—we need to hear those "good news" stories, but we also need to see the headlines that show us how and why the world needs to change .

And right now both kinds of stories are going viral.

Here are the viral stories you need to read right now:

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