Sunday, March 27, 2011

Anticipation is keeping me waiting...

It has been twelve days since our IUI and the air is thick with anticipation. Our nurse told us to wait two weeks before taking a pregnancy test, as if we'd have no problem waiting fourteen long days before we knew the outcome of all our time, hard work and money. Are we going to get pregnant on the first try? Does anyone? What if we have to start all over again?

It certainly has given me plenty of time to read up on my hopefully impending pregnancy. We literally have two big stacks of books that have been given to us by other formerly preggo mommies-to-be. The books are all the same; sappy intro about the wonders of mommyhood, chapter about habits you'll have to change, chapter about symptoms, chapter about the weeks of development, chapter about honest and actual infertility, and all sorts of innuendos about you and your fantastic husband and what he should be doing to help support healthy pregnancies. My partner looked online for a book on the lesbian pregnancy experience, but she found only one or two, and neither of which pertained to our insanely, outrageously  normal situation. Apparently all hopefully preggo lesbos are either single or in an uprooted, unhappy, unstable relationship.

The weird symptoms I felt at first (you know, all the usual pregnancy symptoms....nausea, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, achy boobs....) were in full on preggo stage for the first 48 hours after the IUI, but then faded to nothing. I feel totally normal. Is that normal? The one thing that I still feel is ridiculous thirstiness. It's as if I've morphed into a camel and I'm heading into the desert for a 1,000 mile race and will be without water for weeks. I literally can't drink enough of it.

The rest of my drinking habits have changed as well. Coffee, my first true love, has become something I drink now only once a day, one cup of half regular, half decaf. If I'm feeling saucy, perhaps a cup of decaf in the afternoon. And liquor, my second true love, has become something of a distant memory. I am so missing my one cape coder or one gin and tonic after work that I practically have the shakes.

As for my third true love, she is getting rather mushy and gushy about the probability of baby on the first try. Not that there's anything wrong with positive thinking or hope, but my partner has literally gone from 'don't talk to me about it, I don't want to get my hopes up' to '***sigh***I think you're pregnant...' as she loving looks into my eyes, in a mater of 12 days.

We have two more days to wait, but then again my period wouldn't start again until 5 or 6 days from now, so maybe we have longer to wait. We bought a pregnancy test today......anticipation for a few more days. Keep your fingers crossed....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lesbians, meet your daddy.

Our sperm came from the west coast. Their website at California Cryobank was wonderful; lots of diverse specimens to select from. Not surprisingly, they were all very young, mostly college or graduate students, and all shared a love for the ocean. Ahh yes, they all surfed or scuba dived or sailed, no matter their eye or hair or skin color. A bunch of true California guys.

Our donor was, at the time of his deposit, in graduate school studying science and was a chiropractor professionally. Olive complexion with thick, brown hair, with a smaller stature at 5'9", and a fairly slim body type. A well rounded person, he had a love for travel, music and animals. We thought he was perfect.

The day I called to book his flight to Dartmouth I was reminded of the last several scenes in 'If these walls could talk' when Ellen's character is going to the sperm bank to get their vial. It was this huge canister with all these big red letter's all over it stating 'this side up' and 'hazardous materials'. Nitrogen to help keep the sperm cold. I remember laughing as she seat-belted it into the front seat of her car, as if it were a little person. It was so big and awkward. And that's why I didn't even flinch when the lady at the sperm bank calmly told me that it would be $175 to ship my vial to New Hampshire. Fine. A small price to pay, honestly.

And then the big day arrived; the day we met our donor for the first time. The actual vial, found somewhere lost in that giant canister, was about the size of an electrical fuse, maybe just a touch bigger. The numbers on the vial matched the donor number we had ordered. And so we were good to go.....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Yes please, I'd like to make a withdrawal.

I don't know if I should be freaking out or what, but my partner and I just had our first IUI yesterday. I might be jinxing it, but I already feel nauseous and it hasn't even been 24 hours. Hmmm....I must just be anxious, or maybe I caught a bug from the hospital yesterday.....called pregnant???!!!

Intro-Uterine-Insemination, as they call it, is done as soon as your Leutanizing Hormone (LH) levels have risen, indicating ovulation. A catheter is inserted directly into your uterus to deliver the package. Insemination, as I call it, sounds like something you learn about while studying to be a dairy farmer. The word just sounds like something you do to a giant herd of heifers to me. But yes, that literally is what it is; inseminating... with sperm from an unknown donor from thousands of miles away.

After many long nights of my girlfriend searching through different sperm banks, we finally decided to use the California Cryobank. She was amazingly diligent in her search efforts for the right bank. The website had to be perfect; user friendly and full of lots of information about the donors. I have to admit, from that point, I sort of let her roll with the sperm selection. She would ask me to sit with her and plan and pick, but I couldn't get over the dart-throwing sensation I felt. How could I prodict the outcome? And it's so cold, the act of looking through all these donors like their super-valuable sperm is on the auction block. It's like a dating website for sperm, these websites. There was no sense of personability throughout this process, or at least wasn't for me. Literally, you sign on to the website, and the first thing you notice is a pop-up stating, 'Donor #12345 is back! Supplies are limited!'

And how do they determine cost for these pricely, little vials? Some sperm was much cheaper than others (and I'm talking from the same website!) There was probably a couple hundred dollars of variation. Can you imagine the poor guy who figures out which donor number he is, then proceeds to get on the website only to find that he has cheap sperm? HA! THAT must feel good. I think it's based on number of successful pregnancies. So basically, supply and demand ladies. Get in line. First come, first served.

Many months into our serch for the golden sperm, my partner created something of a short list that we then went through together. It was so much less overwhelming for me to have five or six 'girlfriend pre-approved' options, as opposed to hundreds to search through aimlessly. After much deliberation about saving on shipping costs and having more than one child, we finally decided to buy only one vial, one chance. Perhaps it's all we need right now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm an Infertile Lesbian...thank you, Captain Obvious.

It's true. Neither my partner or I have sperm. There hasn't been an Immaculate Conception yet, and all of our efforts to reproduce have ended up with no results. Finally we decided to contact help.

We started our research about a year ago at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. We had heard such good things about their program that we didn't even look into any options in Boston. That day I called them to make an appointment, I will admit, I was nervous. I dialed the main line to the hospital, knowing that I would get an opperator who would then connect me to the right person. The phone answered, 'Thank you for calling Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, how may I direct your call?' I said, 'Yes, my partner and I are looking for information on pregnancy.' At first, the lady didn't hear me correctly and asked me to repeat myself. So I refraised, 'My partner and I are trying to get pregnant and looking for information.' She then said, 'Oh, I'll connect you to the Infertility Department.' Infertility? Is that what this is considered? So our lack of sperm makes us infertle? As if I weren't already a little shaky on the phone, now the infertility person answered the phone. 'Infertility, this is so-and-so, how can I help you?' I repeated my reason for calling and her first question was, 'When was the date of your last period?'. I felt stupid and replied, 'I'm not sure.' She asked, 'What do you mean, aren't you pregnant?' Finally I realized that we were both confused, so I slowed down my nervous voice and explained that I am a big dyke who has never had sex with a man and is not planning on it anytime soon. HA! Not exactly, but I was a bit clearer, louder and slower this time. Sort of as if I were talking to a really old, hard-of-hearing nurse lady. Now that we were both on the same page, I calmed down and made an appointment for the following week to come up and meet the doctors and nurses who would help us gain some fertility.

What's funny is that durring our initial meeting they made us feel as if they had zillions of lesbian couples currently inseminating in this very department. I understand that there are people using this hospital's services who actual can be considered infertile, but perhaps a more PC department name would bode better for my ego. Something like 'Pregnancy Assistance'...yeah. That would make everyone feel better, not just us demented lesbians who are already ashamed of our lack of sperm.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's a big, straight world people

Dear average, intelligent, coupled lesbian,

My partner and I did not decide yesterday to get pregnant. As a matter of fact, we are well on our way to becoming preggo. Just this morning I tested my ovulation for the second time this cycle. We anxiously awaited the 2-3 minutes until the test was complete. But no, today is not the day. However, today is the day I decided to start this blog. I have noticed many aspects of our journey to baby that are so ridiculously and blatantly heterosexual that we literally look at each other and laugh out loud.

What really frosted my gay cake and inspired me to write was reading the directions to our ovulation kit. Like many gay couples, we bought a leading brand kit at a leading chain drug store. We were sure to buy the really expensive, digital one in hopes that it was the best choice. Here is a brief synopsis of the instructions in my words:

Step 1: Start your period and count that day as 'Day 1' of your cycle.
Step 2: Count each day until you get to day 11 or 12 of your cycle.
Step 3: Test your tinkle.
Step 4: If your test kit reads just a circle, throw it out and try again tomorrow. If your test kit reads a smiley face in the circle, congratulations! You're ovulating! Now go home quick and bang your husband.

I was so carefully reading each and every little instruction until I got to that last step and realized that this major, national brand kit literally thought that everyone reading their instructions was straight. How could that possibly be? In the heterosexual world, people just have sex and then have kids. It's so easy and straight-forward. If that were my case, we'd have 10 kids by now. Jeez.....

I mentioned to my best friend, who happens to be a nurse, that we had started 'tinkling on sticks'. He got really upset and said 'you're pregnant?!' thinking that I had left him out of this huge, important process of my life. I said, 'no, we're testing my ovulation.' Now, my best friend is a happily married, straight man with two kids. And he's a nurse professionally. He knows how the process of reproduction works. 'Oh, I must have slept through that class...' was his response, to which of course we both chuckled. My point is that no normal, healthy heterosexual couple uses these expensive ovulation kits unless necessary, and the really successfully re-productive may not even know they exist. But every single lesbian who wants to get pregnant does know and will continue to use them for all time. Why would this company assume I am going home to have intercourse to reproduce?

Let me reassure you all right now, I am not out to be a crazy, feminist, straight-folk hating dyke. I am out to share my joy, humor, challenges and confusions of pregnancy as a lesbian. After all, we must laugh in order to get anywhere in this world. And it's a big, straight world people.