100 Days, 365 Days

One year ago today, at 1:00PM a sperm and an egg met for a tango and Hazel was created. Today she is one hundred days old, or three months, two weeks and two days old. Or three-hundred and sixty-five days old. However you choose to see it, today is a milestone. She is sleeping on my chest as a write this because last night she hardly slept at all. I still can't believe she is here.

Getting pregnant was not easy for me. I never thought it would be. We began fertility treatments the same month we moved into our new house, one week before Christmas 2006. It was not easy. I lost friends who did not seem to understand what a difficult process it was. Rifts were formed in relationships after so many insensitive comments were made. I told everyone what was going on, because being infertile is nothing to be ashamed of, and its easy to feel so much shame. I had these horrible, intrusive, painful procedures and I pounded my body with carcinogenic drugs that made me bloated, aggressive, depressed, tired and it didn't work. I felt so alone because so few people understood.

My doctor wanted to move on to "the big guns" as he called it and I started to inject myself nightly with absurd doses of artificial hormones that made every muscle scream in pain, made my head pound with a migraine that wouldn't go away and made me so weak and tired that I couldn't climb the stairs. I bloated more. I cried and cried and felt sorry for myself because no one else did. Every morning I had to drive fifty miles round-trip to the clinic at 6:00am for blood draws. My arms were bruised, my belly sore from the hormone injections. After my blood draw, I would go to my office, meet with my clients, run support groups and go on with my day feeling like I just wanted to lay down and die. People said, "You just need to relax," and "A lot of women who wait as long as you did can't get pregnant," "I'm not really ready for you to have a baby anyway," "Having a baby is just like getting another dog," and I would just stare at them, wondering how they could be so rude, so ignorant, so insensitive. Worst of all, my supposed "best friend" just stopped talking to me. When you face a personal crisis, you really see peoples true colors. On the other hand, people who I never expected, totally stepped up and amazed me with their compassion, understanding and humor. Thank the gods for the people who without even trying managed to say just the right thing at just the right time and they probably didn't even know that they did it.

So in exactly 39 minutes from now is the anniversary of when I nervously staggered into the doctors office in Reading. Kevin came in to tell me that there were 1.4 million sperm loaded up in the catheter. I gave him a high-five. Dr. Weiss and four nurses performed the IUI and it was pretty uneventful. It wasn't a high point of my life. After I lay there for ten minutes, I drove home and watched daytime television with my feet up.

Two weeks later I was sitting at my office, waiting for the call with results from my pregnancy test. They were supposed to call my cell phone in the late afternoon like they usually did, so I was caught off guard when my office phone rang around 11am. Janel was there with me when I found out that I was pregnant, sitting at my desk in the North Shore Rape Crisis Center where I worked. She was the perfect mama to share the moment with. I called Jamie to tell him, and he actually dropped the phone. Thus began Ms. Donovan's Wild Ride through pregnancy. The first trimester was scary, not knowing if Hazel was going to choose to stick around or not. But she did, and we got through it. I hated being pregnant, and I would go through labor a thousand times before I had to be pregnant again, but everything was worth it when I finally got to meet my silly, perfect daughter. Plus, I can use everything I had to go through to get pregnant with her for the best guilt-trip of all time.


Hazel Meatball

I love this group of pictures! I feel like this is one of the few times that Hazel was unaware of the camera and we truly captured who she is. In particular, the group of pictures at the bottom with her smiling and laughing...that is Hazel Meatball! She has been "standing", bearing all of her weight on her legs, laughing, smiling, giggling, cooing, SCREECHING, "talking" and just oozing this silly personality. She is full of googly-eyed stares and nose-crinkling grins. And the thighs! THE THIGHS!

Blowing bubbles.

"So big!"

Drunken stagger.

Knees giving out!

The most adorable cottage-cheese thighs.

The usual look the camera gets.

Fourteen weeks and Pictures Galore

Hazel's beach romper for her first day at Crane Beach over Memorial Day weekend.
A vision in terrycloth.

More carseat. Look at the toes!

Memorial Day Parade! Very well attended.

Lots to look at.

A sleepy little chunk.

I am so thrilled by these chunky little thighs. Every night that Hazel goes to bed with her thighs intact is a miracle because it takes all my strength to not take a bite out of each one.

Another hike in the woods on a beautiful morning.

Look at Hazel sitting in her Bumbo seat that Corleigh gave her! She can sit up for a good five minutes or so before she slums to one side and lets out a wail.


What a nice dress to chew on.

More koi hat.

I had to sneak this one in. I love my dogs.

Our new sunhat. The same facial expression we got with the snowsuit.

Doing yardwork in our jammies, early in the morning with dad.



Friends Adventures

My friend Jaymee, and her husband Matt (called Kenya by me) have been friends of mine since I was sixteen. They are incredible, loving people and Jaymee in particular has been so supportive of me over the years. She has simply got to be one of the most big-hearted people I have ever known.
Jaymee has the same issues with infertility that I had, but was not fortunate to have all of the ART (assisted reproductive technology) work for her the way it worked for me. I was lucky, as most of it seems to be a total crap shoot and has more to do with factors that no one understands than it has to do with Medical Science. Anyway, no one deserves to be a mama more than Jaymee. I know that she is going to be the most cuddly, loving, responsive, happy mama there is. It's just a matter of time.
So Jaymee and Kenya are travelling a new road: Surrogacy! It's exciting and scary and certainly New Frontier for her and the thousands of other parents out there who choose this route. Because she has found such a lack of information out there, and even some agencies that are all too willing to take advantage of people aching for a baby of their own, she has started a blog about her process. I know that it will prove to be enlightening and interesting reading, and I also know that anyone that gets to know Jaymee and Kenya (even if it's just through their blog) will fall in love with them, too. You can read about their experience here. Check in often, and I hope that you feel as honored to be a part of their lives as I do.


Aching Heart

Please keep mama Summer in your heart. She is mourning the loss of her beautiful son, Lincoln Ozias who was born on February 6th 2008. He passed away on Wednesday morning at 3:30am with his parents by his side. Please send your love and comfort to Summer and her husband, who loved Lincoln well.

If anyone would like to donate to a fund that we have started in Lincoln's name, there is an account at Paypal that we opened for that purpose. You can donate to the email address summerandlincoln AT gmail DOT com when you are prompted. Thank you.

UPDATE: We have stopped collecting donations and sent the money to Summer. I am so proud to say that we raised over $1,900 for the Rider family. Go, Mamas go! It's a small comfort I know, but it's all we knew how to do. Lincoln Rider will always be remembered by us all, and we were honored that he was a part of our lives.


A Civic Minded Baby

Hazel had her first Ipswich Town Meeting on Tuesday, and it was quite an affair. We stayed until about 11:30pm and there were still several more points of business to attend to. Hazel voted in favor of the Prop 2 1/2 Override and in favor of the new Wind Turbine that will be built at the end of Town Farm Road. This town is going to be the first in the region to harness wind power. "Cut Carbon Emissions, Not Schools!" She fits right in in this tiny, beautiful, progressive, rural town. I'm so thrilled that she gets to grow up in such an amazingly gorgeous little place with the best quality of life in the state. The community here is so tight and it really feels like Mayberry USA but with a phenomenal beach. Lucky kid.

So it looks like the override is going to pass, which is an awesome thing. Almost no one is opposed to it because the high quality if the schools in Ipswich are such a priority in the culture here. I'm so glad that Hazel is going to be in a district that values the arts as much as test scores, and I'm glad that most of the town seems to be on the same page. We're also so excited about our new wind turbine!!! How cool is that?

Anyway, Hazel had her first playdate with her new BFF Magnolia on Wednesday. Noli is three weeks younger than Hazel, but despite the age difference, they already have a lot in common; they both like to fuss and eat. We mostly sat around Laurie and Noli's house, had lunch, talked about stuff and took breaks from eating to poop. We attepted to go out for a walk because it was such a beautiful day and all the flowers and horses were out in peoples yards, but Noli was verry fussy for some reason and as soon as she relaxed, Hazel decided that it as her turn to be a pill box. Overall, we had a wonderful time! It was so nice to get out and about, to see other human beings, and to pass the time with a couple of cool women instead of Oprah and "Dr." Phil. Here are a couple of pictures Laurie sent of the BFF's whooping it up together.

Flipbook of Hazel in her Koi Hat


Birth Photos

Maybe Mother's Day has me all weepy, or maybe Hazel's Three Month Birthday tomorow has me all emotional or whatever. Maybe it's because I just found out that my friend Steve (my first boyfriend ever!) just had a daughter named Sofia Louise and I know just what he is feeling right now. All I know is that I had a sudden urge to revisit my birth phtos, and I realized that I had never posted them on the blog. I think that I considered them private property when they were first taken, but now with a little bit of distance I just want to show them off. I'm sure that not everyone will think they are as beautiful as I do, but I sure am proud as hell whenever I see what I did. I still can't believe the whole thing happened. It was easily the best moment of my life and I've never felt so transformed as I did in THIS MOMENT. I hope that other people are as amazed by this as I am, and I hope that when Hazel is old enough to understand whats going on in these pictures that she is proud of me, too.

Hazel's first picture. I can only imagine what she is experiencing one second out of the womb. She is probably mostly just cold.
I love this picture because my midwife Teri looks so happy and proud, too. Hazel is front and center, and Jamie and I are both seeing her for the first time. I love my hands reaching out.
Jamie reaching for his daughter.

"Ohmigod this isn't real!" were my first words. It felt like a dream.

I love that Jamie and Hazel are holding hands.

And Hazel's first kiss. My favorite picture. It charms me to know that no matter where Hazel ends up in her life, no matter what dirtbag boys she runs around with, that her first kiss will always be from a man who truly loves her more than anything.

The first moments with Jamie and our doula, Lorryn who got me to breathe.

While they were sewing me together again, the lights were so bright and all I could think was that it must have really been bugging her.

Settling in as a family.

Hazel being snuggled.

Soon after this moment, three of the four grandparents practically assaulted a nurse and kicked in the door to the room. I have to say that I'm still not happy about the disruption as it was totally unexpected and not something that I had planned for. I was half-dead, freshly stitched up like the Bride of Frankenstein and was not in a fighting mood. I think that the next time I do this birth thing, I'm going to crawl off into the woods with Teri and Lorryn and not tell anyone where I'm going!

So that was twelve weeks ago today. In some ways it seems as though it was a moment ago, and sometimes it was a lifetime ago. Someday I'll write out the whole birth story for Hazel. I remember it so clearly and in excruciating detail. Easily the most bad-ass thing I've ever done.