Nanit Celebrates All Families
In honor of Pride Month, we’re featuring first time Nanit mamas Crystal & Marissa. They share their journey to parenthood – attempting to get pregnant via IVF during a pandemic AND becoming first time parents as an LGBTQ+ couple. Read their story for parenting tips they wish they would’ve known, the highs and lows of being first time moms, and so much more.
How did you and your partner meet?
Marissa and I met at a college pub about 10 years ago in New York City and have been inseparable ever since. Our individual friend groups coordinated the meeting and we spent the evening dancing the night away!
Tell us about your journey to parenthood.
Our journey in becoming parents was a long one considering we conceived our baby via reciprocal IVF. With myself having a plethora of medical issues, we chose to use my egg and have Marissa as the carrier. We used an anonymous donor from a sperm bank after months of looking over profiles and medical histories of donors. Turns out, it is extremely difficult to settle on a donor! As anyone going through IVF, both Marissa and I spent months on medication, administering injections, endless doctor visits, bloodwork, procedures, etc. We tried to make the best of our journey but as the pandemic approached in early 2020, we paused our treatments, delaying our process for quite a few months. We were left wondering if 2020 would be the year for us. Eventually, we resumed and got pregnant on our first transfer. We love that our first child was conceived this way as he has a little bit of both of us.
How did you feel while preparing for your baby’s arrival?
Marissa and I felt excited, overwhelmed, and anxious about becoming parents. We were nervous about retaining the endless amount of information that is out there online. We attended several classes through our local hospital, visited baby stores, and spoke with friends and family about their birth/parenting experiences. Doing all of this during the pandemic was not easy. We decided to not have a baby shower and opted for online invites to participate in our registry. We also hired a doula for extra assistance and nerves began to take over as the birth was quickly approaching.
What do you wish you would have known before becoming a parent?
We would’ve told ourselves to breathe. No parent knows it all. No ONE style of parenting is better than the other. We will learn, adapt, and transition into being awesome parents with time. Also, do not listen to all of the criticism that other parents might have for you in those first weeks. Listen to your gut and know that it is okay to cry! Also, learning more about baby blues and hormone shifts are something that we wish we would have researched more.
Highs and lows of becoming a first time parent?
We have so many more highs than lows but let’s start with the lows. Those first hours of having our child were frightening. Our birth experience was awesome, however our baby experienced some scary things while in postpartum, causing him to go to the NICU. While we were without our baby for just a few hours, those hours felt like days and we were in agony. It was during those hours that we realized what parenting truly was. We wanted nothing more than to have our baby back in our arms. The baby was fine and given right back to us after a few tests but nonetheless, still extremely upsetting. Upon bringing baby home, we were clueless on what was normal, and what wasn’t. Was 10 minutes of crying too long? Is he hurting or in pain? How can we tell what is wrong? Marissa experienced baby blues for about 2.5 weeks and me, being the other parent– tried to assist and be there for her without judgement or question. We googled A LOT, communicated with our pediatrician and doula and learned more about our baby’s cues and needs. Also, heading back to work after 12 weeks is NOT fun. As for the highs, it has been so exciting to watch our baby hit new milestones. Our baby loves bath time, playing peek-a-boo, lullabies in Spanish, finding his hands, flipping, etc. These small gestures and smiles bring us SO much joy. We could lay around and play with him for hours. We cannot wait (we can totally wait) for him to grow and show us more of that shining personality.
What’s life like as a LGBTQ+ parent?
Being an LGBTQ+ parent comes with a significant amount of judgement and questions. We understand that most people are not educated on LGBTQ+ parenting, or even IVF for that matter. As we told people and family that we were pregnant, some were confused or questioned the lack of having a “father” in our home. Knowing that for the rest of our lives, we will have to explain our lifestyle to school staff, colleagues, and other parents is just the tip of the iceberg. We would like other families to know-especially those that are not in the LGBTQ+ spectrum-there are many different types of families, and we’re all just trying to give our children the best life possible. Whether the home has two mothers, fathers, one mother, father, or PARENT, we all deserve the same respect and space to raise a child. Our goal is to educate anyone that we know or come in contact with that our family is really the same as any other.
The best parenting advice you’ve received?
You may never quite have it ‘all together’ and that is okay. Sometimes when parenting becomes frustrating or takes a toll on your mental health – talk to someone. Ask for help.
As first time parents, our Nanit baby monitor has really eased our anxiety. We have been able to manage our household while also being able to watch our baby from anywhere. The setup was extremely easy, the quality, color video, and night vision is awesome. We love the notifications for sound and movement and use it in conjunction with the Nanit Breathing Band to ease our worries. Our favorite feature is the background audio. This allows us to browse social media, respond to emails, and do other things on our device while still being able to hear our baby. We also love that Nanit connects to our Amazon Echo Show which is in our kitchen. If we are tied up on phone calls, I can just ask “Alexa” to show us the baby’s crib. We would highly recommend Nanit to other first time parents looking for peace of mind.