I Became a Mother Again: The Birth Story of Little B

After Rider was born, I had every intention of writing down his birth story, but never followed through. When I was nearing the end with him, I found it intensely soothing to read other women’s stories about how they brought babies into the world. Every story was unique, but the truth about each was that the women telling them would never be the same. People say you forget a lot about pregnancy and delivery – that somehow your mind shuts out all the details and you fall into the same ignorant bliss in which you lived prior to the whole experience. To some degree, that might be true. Those feelings and emotions, however, can never be lost.

This story is mine. And, as my beautiful wife Jamie likes to remind me, I like to take my time with my stories. I wrote this from my heart and, mostly, I wrote it for me. I hope these words help me to preserve the collection of feelings, facts, emotions, details, and moments. I hope I never truly forget this day. For on this day, I became a mother again.

Sunday March 12, 2017

6:42 AM: Rider hadn’t slept past six in weeks so I was overjoyed when I woke up and saw the time. I realized, however, that what had awoken me was some cramping. I got up to use the restroom and tried to analyze a little further what I was feeling. Having already experienced labor, I knew the cramps weren’t contractions – they were more of a constant feeling than a “rolling” one. I was one day past my due date, so technically, she could come anytime. But I was convinced that this was going to go the same way as last time: induction at 41 weeks, birth at 41 weeks and 1 day. I’ll fully admit that I was in complete denial that labor was on its way.

By the time I returned to bed, I could already hear Rider stirring. Jamie was awake so I told her about the cramping. She said she’d get Rider up and dressed, and that I should stay in bed – I didn’t argue. I tried to close my eyes and go back to sleep, but the cramping continued, so I decided to shower. If this really was happening today, I wanted to be damn sure I had one last hot shower before going to the hospital.

7:09 AM: As I got out of the shower and walked around the side of our bed, I felt my first real contraction. I always describe them like little hills – I could feel the pain coming in low, slowly getting more intense; I could feel the peak, the highest point of the pain; and I could feel it slowly lessen, and fade away. This first one was mild – certainly nothing like the sharp contractions I remember from the end of my labor with Rider. At this point, I started to come to grips with the fact that Baby Girl was on her way.

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I had Jamie bring me my camera so I could take final shots of my belly. I had had an idea months prior to document my labor from my perspective. I have these beautiful images in my mind of the moments after Rider was born: the look on Jamie’s face as she gazed at him for the first time; the smile on our doctor’s face as she wrapped Jamie in a giant hug; even the true knot that was in Rider’s chord, a reminder of what a miracle he truly is. All of these images are there in my mind, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capture similar moments for real this second time around.

Jamie and I decided to text her parents at this point. Our Sunday tradition is to meet at the diner down the street for breakfast, but we obviously weren’t going to make it that day. They grabbed coffee and headed to our place. Jamie got started on making us pancakes, and I got comfortable on the recliner in the living room. The whole time I was moving around after that first contraction, I hadn’t felt much else. But as soon as I settled down, they started to come in more often, and with a little more intensity. By 8:30 AM, I had felt two or three more, only about 8 minutes apart. They were still “mild” by my standards, but I wasn’t talking through them. I would just close my eyes and breathe in and out slowly. I never took a birth class or anything, but it’s what I felt like I needed to do.

8:53 AM: Because it was Sunday, we didn’t want to bother our doctor unless this was real. Since Jamie works in medicine, she fully understands how frustrating it is to be on-call and get ridiculous phone calls about non-emergent problems. I wouldn’t be that patient. However, we were starting to think that NOT calling, was just negligent at this point, so got my phone. I reached her answering service, explained the situation, and waited for a call back.

This is where I mention how much I ABSOLUTELY ADORE our doctor. She is one tough woman and exactly the kind of doctor I need. Jamie and I lovingly refer to her as “The Trunch” after the Miss Trunchbull from the movie Matilda because she could be her sister. Despite our reference to a not-so-loving character, however, she’s wonderfully sweet and soft-spoken. She’s all business when she needs to be, and all smiles when I need her to be. I am obsessed with this woman.

When I got the call back, I explained the contractions and she suggested we head into the hospital to get checked. We finished up some final things around the house, gave the Grandparents instructions for taking care of the crazy toddler for the next day or two, and headed to the hospital, which is only a few minutes away. As we pulled out of the driveway, I started to doubt that this was real. I started to think that I had made a big stink of nothing, and that I was going to be one of those woman that’s just experiencing false labor and that they were going to send me right home. By the time we were pulling into the parking garage, however, I was having a pretty intense contraction that, for me, fully confirmed labor was underway.

10:11 AM: We were led into a small room in the triage center where they got me in a gown and hooked up to a monitor that tracked my contractions and the baby’s heart-rate. I could still feel contractions, but the timing was erratic and unpredictable. Jamie pointed out to me on the monitor which line was me and which line was Baby Girl.

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A doctor came in to check me for dilation and stated that I was only about 2 or 3 cm (10 being the goal).

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The monitor must have been quite convincing, though, because the next thing I knew, they were putting a hospital bracelet on me, a coaching bracelet on Jamie, and calling for a room on the labor and delivery floor. It was go time.

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11:37 AM: We settled into our room just before Doc arrived with a giant smile and a plan. There was a huge storm set to cloak the entire tri-state area in [what could have been] feet of snow Monday night and all day Tuesday. She wanted us home before it hit (and we couldn’t agree more) so she would break my water to get labor moving. If all went well, we’d have this baby out soon, and be home by dinner the next day!


When Doc broke by water, however, she found that there was meconium, the dark “first poop” of an infant, meaning the baby had had a bowel movement in the womb. This can be dangerous for newborns because it could lead to meconium aspiration syndrome if the baby inhales it during or immediately after birth. She told us that she’d have to have the pediatrician close by after delivery and that they’d have to clear the baby’s airways right away to prevent aspiration.
After Doc left the room, Jamie and I started to set the stage for labor, for we had learned a few things from our first time through this rodeo. First of all, we brought a little hand-held paper fan. I was sweating out *what felt like* every drop of water when I was in labor with Rider, so we got the fan out and ready. Jamie helped herself to wash cloths and a small basin from the supply closet – I had gotten sick all over myself every other contraction last time, so we wanted to be ready. I also had Jamie add some inspiration to my labor board. A lightning bolt: to remind me of Harry Potter, a bad-ass survivor. The Origin of Love face: a reminder of the power Jamie and I hold as a couple (and how even the gods are scared of our strength and defiance). And the words “Take some sky”: a message from my father to breathe, be in this moment, you got this.


12:14 PM: Labor started progressing pretty quickly after my water was broken. I was mostly laboring on my left side at that point, gripping the side of the bed or Jamie’s hand during my contractions. As with Rider, most of my labor pain was in my back. They say it all depends on the position of the baby, but all I know is that back labor is so not fun. My contractions seemed to linger just a bit longer than the monitor would indicate. Jamie would talk me through each one: “Ok, one is coming in….great job, baby. Keep breathing. Almost at the peak. Now it’s fading…you’re doing great. Almost done…” I would listen to her words and would imagine floating on a wave. The beginning of the contraction would lead me up the wave. I could look out and see the ocean from the top and that would comfort me at the height of the contraction. Then, I could hear Jamie leading me back down. I would count on that time between waves to recover each time. But the pain in my back would stay long into that rest period, making the time between contractions feel so much smaller.


Doc walked in just as I was at the peak of a contraction. When I came back down, she commented on my breathing: “Wow, awesome job. You’re a professional!” It made me feel like a rockstar. Then, she casually asked if I had eaten breakfast. I rambled on about how Jamie had made us pancakes and how I wanted to be sure that I ate something in case it was my last meal for a while. She laughed, left the room, and I had no reason to think anything of it. But Jamie, on the other hand…Jamie knows why doctors ask these questions, because she’s the one usually asking them.

“Uh-oh,” she had said. “That’s not good.”

What? Why not?”

“She wants to know if you’ve eaten because she’s considering a c-section. I think she’s worried about the baby’s heart-rate.”

For the last two hours, I hadn’t paid much attention to the line on the monitor that tracked our little girl’s heart-rate. I was just focused on me. I glanced up and saw that her heart-rate was consistently jumping each time I had a contraction. It scared me. All at once, fear hit me that everything was wrong.

In that moment, I knew I needed to take some sky….and refocus.

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One of the reasons I love my wife so much is that she always seems to know exactly what I need at very crucial times. Without any conversation about it, we breathed together. We refocused. Between each contraction, she would remind me to stay steady. During each, she would speak calmly, helping me to zero in my energy, to aim it toward those never-ending waves of pain that were coming more rapidly now. It was working. Baby Girl’s heart-rate was slowly coming back into the safe zone. That is where we stayed. Deep inhale through the nose, long exhale through the mouth. Eyes closed.

Take.

Some.

Sky.

1:07 PM: One of the nurses came in and had me change positions to encourage labor further. She told me to sit on the edge of the labor and delivery bed so that my feet were planted on the part of the bed that drops down. It was certainly not a comfortable position, but it worked to move things along. In that time, Doc came to sit with us and started asking us questions about our lives. Even though I was sitting there in an awkward position, breathing through contractions every few minutes, it was wonderful to just get to chat. Jamie even shared with her some pictures of our wedding, Day of the Dead themed with a fully choreographed flash mob scene!

But before, long, I was so longer able to participate in the conversation. My contractions were speeding up, and the pain was nearing its height – the level I remember from the end of labor with Rider. I had started to moan with my exhale – a deep “oh” from way back in my throat – to help stabilize me during the pain. I used each exhale to visualize the baby making her way lower and lower. It’s an exercise I’ve used most of my life as a pitcher, and now it was going to help me give birth.


1:44 PM: Throughout my labor to this point, I had kept my camera in my hand, snapping pictures whenever something caught my eye that I wanted to document. At 1:44, I took one last picture of my view of my belly, and handed my camera to Jamie. I needed all of my strength focused on Baby Girl.

The nurse rolled me onto my right side and pulled out a giant “peanut ball”. It looked just like a therapy ball, but in the shape of a peanut! She put it between my knees and said that it would help open up my hips and pelvis to keep the baby moving to where she needed to be. Well, this thing worked like a freakin charm, because just one contraction later, I was feeling the pressure.

And I mean PRESSURE. When I was in labor with Rider, I remember getting to a point at the end where I felt like I couldn’t NOT push. Basically, my body was forcing me to “bear down”, a sensation that I couldn’t stop.

I was still on my side when it started and Doc was standing at the foot of my bed. “Are you pushing?” she asked, sounding pretty shocked. I wasn’t able to answer right away. All of my energy was focused on breathing through and trying not to push (which is a feeling unlike any other and one that I don’t think I will ever be able to properly explain). I finally choked out, “I’m trying NOT to.” It felt like only seconds later, another contraction hit, and this time, I felt that familiar burn of what they call “the ring of fire”. Baby Girl was crowning. I closed my eyes to focus – I would only open them one time, just briefly, before she arrived.

Again, I was fighting not to push. I could sense the room around me preparing for delivery, but I don’t recall anyone giving me any actual instructions yet. So I stayed on my side, eyes closed, straddling a giant peanut, stutter-breathing through pain and pressure. I tried to say, “crowing!” to Jamie, but the word came out all garbled.

“What did she say?” I heard Doc ask Jamie.

“I have no idea,” Jamie responded. “Babe, what was that?”

“Pain….” I finally got out. More stutters to fight pushing. “Pain-like-crowning!” Now they got it. Baby Girl was coming.

I was flipped onto my back. Eyes still closed. They checked that my cervix was fully dilated and I was given permission to push with the contractions. They pulled out handle bars on the sides of the bed and leg-holders where I could rest my legs between pushes.

Eyes still closed.

My first push was a complete waste. I thought my body would remember how to properly push from last time, but I could feel that I wasn’t doing it right. Jamie was at my right side, reminding me that I could do this. The nurses were there instructing me to focus my energy toward the baby.

Eyes still closed.

I took some little breaths, raised my hands to my armpits, and pushed them back down past my hips and toward my knees, repeating this another couple of times. I felt like Mr. Miyagi and I might have looked really silly, but I could feel the energy in my body change. I was ready to push again.

Eyes still closed.

The second push was money. That “ring of fire” pain grew more intense, and I knew I was doing it right. It was at this point last time that I felt fear. I remember pulling back on the push, suddenly afraid of what pushing a baby out would feel like. Not this time. I was ready for that fear this time, and instead of pulling back, I pushed straight through it. Baby Girl would be here in just minutes.

This is Jamie’s favorite part of the story (up to the point that she got to see our little girl, that is), and one of the reasons why we adore our OB so much. I heard Doc speaking to me about the next push. I still had my eyes closed, breathing slowly, and was concentrating on what she was saying. But she needed more.

“Cali. CALI. Look at me,” she said sternly, but calmly. I opened my eyes for the first time since that first tinge of crowning. It took my eyes a moment to adjust, but then I locked my stare with Doc’s. She was completely calm, but I could tell that she really needed me to HEAR what she was about to say.

“After you push her head out, you are going to hear me say ‘STOP.’ I need you to stop pushing at that point so I can clear her airways. Do you hear me?” I gave her a firm nod, still looking her right in the eyes so she knew I understood. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this moment was proof that our OB is, flat-out, our hero. Because of the meconium, our little girl’s airways needed to be cleared immediately to avoid aspiration; it was crucial for her safety. Doc conveyed this with just a look and a few strong words. Again I say it – HERO.

I closed my eyes and found my focus once more. It took two more pushes before I heard Doc tell me to stop. Baby Girl’s head was out. It was almost over.

3:08 PM: Just before the next contraction came, I heard Doc tell me to give one more strong push. When I could sense the wave coming in, I gave it my all and felt, in a giant rush, our little girl come out.


My eyes SHOT open immediately to find Jamie to my right. “CAMERA!” I shouted. She snapped out of her adorable gaze at our daughter, grabbed my camera off the table, and handed it to me. I started snapping frantically, afraid I would miss something.


Doc had told us that once she got the chord cut, Baby Girl would have to go immediately to the warmer to be looked over by the pediatrician.

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I didn’t worry about framing the pictures perfectly, or getting the lighting right. I just point-and-clicked my way through the next several minutes. Doc walked our little girl to the warmer and returned to the foot of my bed to continue to tend to me. That is when she looked up at us with a giant grin and asked, “So? What’s her name?”

Jamie and I had decided to keep Baby Girl’s name a secret (even from our families) until she was born. This was the first time we were going to say it. We both looked at each other with huge smiles, and then back at Doc. “Birdie,” we said in unison. Doc’s grin got even bigger. “My nickname was Bird as a kid,” she said with a beautiful air of nostalgia. The moment was perfect.

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Jamie made her way over to the warmer once the pediatrician had checked on Birdie’s breathing, and I’m sure dozens of over things.


As the nurses and hospital staff bustled around, all at once cleaning up the room, assisting Doc, recording information, and tending to Birdie, Jamie stood beside the warmer and bonded with our daughter for the first time.


I tried to capture the magic of those moments with pictures, but the feeling in my heart will always just be mine to cherish. She is one incredible Mother, and my perfect partner, and watching her gaze into the eyes of our daughter in that delivery room, I could feel that our family was complete.


* * * * *

Looking at these photographs now gives me such joy. That sense of accomplishment that flooded me just after the birth of both of our children comes rushing back. I hope on the days that I am doubting myself, or my body, I can pull myself back to the strength of those days, and remember what a powerful being I really am.

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Pride Baby

I had every intention throughout my pregnancy to blog away about all things school, gay and baby. Obviously that did not exactly happen, considering I am just days from my due date and writing for the first time since my post from insemination day! I’m convinced that my amazing cousin, over at The Merfett, is part Christmas Elf the way she’s been able to post consistent updates throughout her pregnancy, all while raising a toddler! To quote Rebel Wilson in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, “She’s like a magical pregnancy unicorn.”

Anyway, I did want to at least share a few milestones from the last few months. I’m just sitting around waiting for this baby to show up…so I got time!

1. The Announcement

We were right around 13 weeks along for Christmas so it was perfect timing to announce to our families. Our parents and sisters knew ahead of time, but all of our extended family got the good news around the Christmas dinner table (which means a Mexican feast in my family and Irish coffees in Jamie’s family).

Of course in this day and age, nothing is official until it hits social media, so we had been preparing an extra special video announcement to share with our hive mind. Now, if you’ve seen posts about our wedding like this one or this one, you know that we aren’t really into following tradition. Many of the baby announcements we’ve seen are totally adorable – but they just aren’t “us”. So, we decided to combine our thirst for originality with our obsession with Drag culture (as evident in this previous post) to create the most unique baby announcement we’ve ever seen! Over the course of several weeks, we had some of our favorite Drag Queens help us spill the beans. I put together a little montage and we posted it on New Year’s Day!

2. The Reveal

We went in for our “anatomy scan” on February 6th. This was the scan that would tell us the sex of the baby.

Lou Henry Hoover (Drag Boylesque Performer) & Jinkx Monsoon (Super Star Drag Queen and Fairy God-Mother)

Lou Henry Hoover (Drag Boylesque Performer) & Jinkx Monsoon (Super Star Drag Queen and Fairy God-Mother)

Weeks before, we were visiting with one of Jamie’s aunts and she asked if we were planning on doing a “reveal party with little cupcakes”. I responded with an eye roll and said, “Ugh, that does’t sound like us at all. If we do anything, it’ll be something we get to smash open with a bat.” Jamie overheard and that was it – she had a plan. “A piñata!!” she had screamed. “We can fill it with colored liquor bottles and smash it open!” And I kid you not, that’s what we did.

Jamie’s parents were out of town that weekend so we scheduled the party (just close family and friends) for Saturday February 14th. At the anatomy scan the week before, I had had the technician write the sex on a piece of paper and I took it with me in an envelope. I ordered a piñata online (a rainbow one, of course) and we tasked our close friend, Kim, with going to the liquor store to buy the correct colored bottles. Even though we consider ourselves to be quite “gender progressive” and don’t agree with the automatic assignment of certain colors with specific sexes and/or genders, we decided to go with the classic pink and blue just to make it visibly obvious for the smashing of the piñata. Kim was the only person (other than the ultra sound tech) that knew the sex of our baby before the party and she held fast like a champ!

Wearing her Vaudevillains shirt (the same one we wore for the “Swim Meet“), Jamie smashed open that piñata and little blue bottles of alcohol came raining down. Like, literally raining – she broke several all over the place!

It's a BOY!

It’s a BOY!

3. The Baby Shower

One Friday night in August, Jamie and I were at our favorite Drag Show in New York City. The show is called “Distorted Diznee” and features four Queens that take all of the classic Disney characters and songs – and just f*@# ’em up! It is hilarity unmatched in any other show (click here for tickets if you’re anywhere close to NYC)!

Anyway, Jamie and I had an epiphany – we weren’t even pregnant yet, but we decided that if we did a baby shower, it had to be hosted by those four Queens. We spoke with them that night about the idea and started the planning for our “Distorted Baby Shower”. Our invites warned that it was going to be very different from any other shower – and it sure was!! The girls put on an unforgettable show for us and we were so unbelievably grateful.

Bootsie Lefaris

Bootsie Lefaris


Pixie Aventura

Pixie Aventura


Brenda Dharling

Brenda Dharling


Holly Dae

Holly Dae


Us with Baby Rio's "Distorted Aunts"

Us with Baby Rio’s “Distorted Aunts”

4. The Nursery:

When coming up with how we wanted to design the nursery, we decided to go with inspiration from an unexpected source – a musical about a transgendered rockstar from East Berlin. As I mentioned in this post from last year, we are huge fans of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and especially of the song “Origin of Love” written for the musical by Stephen Trask. I have always been into art and painting and took on the monumental task of designing a floor to ceiling, wall to wall mural for the baby’s room. I started with little images I conjured from “Origin of Love”, but then began adding references to works of literature like “The Giving Tree”, “Le Petit Prince”, and “The Alchemist”, as well as the nursery rhyme “Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod”.  I got my ideas onto paper first, then began to pencil it onto the walls. Jamie and I started in March and worked little by little for the last few months. I finally put the finishing touches on the room just last week and I am so proud of the whole thing.

"Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe…"

“Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe…”


"The Giving Tree"

“The Giving Tree”


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Sun, Moon, Earth and Asteroid B-612

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5. Pride Baby

So here I wait, 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant, with Pride celebrations happening all around. It totally fits that he’s due for Pride. He’ll be raised by two loving mothers, with a respect for the world around him. He’ll be taught to be accepting and open-minded. He’ll see the love that was poured over him before he was even born and know that just because one chooses to walk a different path than the rest, doesn’t mean that person is any less. And that’s truly what Pride is all about.

Swim Meet!

Tuesday October 7, 2014

9:52 AM: They show me to a big room at the end of the hallway and instruct me, like all the other days, to strip everything waist down and put the sheet over my legs. I wish Jamie was here. She just texted me that she’s only about 5 minutes away, but I wish she was here now. I always feel so awkward. I am slowly losing all sense of privacy when it comes to my body – during these baby-making months I guess I just have to throw inhibitions aside…but that doesn’t make it any less weird.

I finally get all set. I grab my phone and my glasses from my bag and sit down on the giant reclining table. The nurse left a few papers for me to read over so I start to read. The more I sit in this quiet room, the more I feel the anxiety creeping over me. It starts to feel like I am in front of a huge crowd, about to give a major speech. I need to breathe.

Only a few minutes go by before I hear Jamie’s laughter in the hallway. I instantly feel myself calm down. She walks in with the nurse, a huge smile across her face. She’s wearing the same shirt I am – Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales in caricature form as “The Vaudevillains”. Jinkx is our favorite inspiration. She and Major Scales are such positive people and it’s that kind of positive energy we need with us today.

The nurse leaves for a bit and tells us that they’ll all be in soon for the big show. Jamie and I sit, giggling like silly school girls and listening to music (like Jinkx’s “What About Debbie?” and “Song to Come Home To”). Even in an awkward situation like this, Jamie can calm me right down.

Spermy TBT

10:13 AM: A small knock at the door says that the crew is here and this is going to happen! One of our docs comes in with some other assistants (who knows what their medical titles are – for laypeople like me basically anyone in a white coat is a doctor). They show us paperwork on our “specimen” and confirm with us all sorts of details. They also tell us that we have 15 million spermies in our vial! Let’s do some swimming!

They get me in my stirrups – a-thank-you – and get Duckie (as I refer to Mr. Speculum) into place. That took a while but long story short, it worked out. Meanwhile, Jamie is playing our favorite past-time tune of late: Duran Duran’s “Rio”. We recently became obsessed with the song after the drag queen Dina Martina performed it as part of her show. She is a hysterical drag personality and every time I hear that song now I can’t help but smile ear to ear. I’m not able to dance as I lay awkwardly on the table, but I’m pretending that I am spinning around our house belting the lyrics. Even the nurses in the room are chiming in, “Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand…”

They finally do all they need to do to get the little swimmers where they need to be. As they narrate the release of the sperm, I instruct the entire room to close their eyes and visualize the opening scenes of “Look Who’s Talking” because visualization is important. They all laugh and we sing the Beach Boys to make it feel more genuine. If I have to, I’ll get Bruce Willis in here….

10:24 AM: I’m told to remain reclined for the next 10 minutes. Everyone clears out and Jamie and I are left alone to continue our lip-syncing party. We closed out with listening to every song from the “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” soundtrack, making certain that the first possible moments of our possible future baby include the greatest songs ever written.

So now the wait begins. In 15 days, we could be freakin’ pregnant!!!!

 

Hedwig

Spermy En Route

Friday September 12, 2014

We ordered “Spermy” today! It is unbelievable how much it costs to order a bunch of stuff that typically ends up at the bottom of a hamper. Ick.

So, basically there is a cost per vial, about 800 bucks, and a cost for storage at the California Cryobank. As any good business in Capitalist America, they offer a storage deal if you buy in bulk. We ended up getting 5 vials, which comes with one year of storage for free. It may be that we need all 5 and more. It might end up that we need just one. It’s all so exciting! It’s crazy to think that in just one month I could be pregnant. It’s scary to think that we are only at the beginning of what could turn out to be a very long process. I have friends that tried for months, spending more than $15,000, before they conceived. I know another couple that conceived the first try. And still another that endured two second-trimester miscarriages in 3 years.

In my favorite book, The Alchemist, Paolo Coelho says, “When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I have to believe with all my heart that this is true.

The Alchemist

* * * * *

Monday October 6, 2014

Tomorrow is the “Swim Meet”! We’ve been back into the doc’s a every morning for monitoring since last Friday. They do a scan to be sure the egg(s) are developing properly and blood work to keep an eye on ovulation. Today, I got the call that we are a go! In about 2 hours from now, Jamie will need to jab me in the bum with a needle to induce ovulation. We are scheduled to check in at the office tomorrow at 9:30 AM and around 10 I’ll be in stirrups!

The journey from here could go a number of different ways, but I have to say, I have a good feeling about this. As much as I am trying to avoid getting my hopes up, I can’t help but be positive. At the end of the day, the only thing I have any control over is my attitude. I figure, by sending out as much positive energy into the universe as I have to offer, it can’t possibly be a bad thing.

Bottoms up!

* * * * *

Uterus in Charge

Tuesday August 19, 2014

My uterus is holding me hostage. I foolishly thought that I could spend the whole summer trying to get pregnant and perhaps have a bun in the oven by the end of September. With all of the tests and procedures, time just keeps ticking away and I feel like I am waiting for a train that only shows up every 30 days.

When I went for my initial consult with Dr. F, he told me that I’d have to get a dye test to be sure my fallopian tubes were open and traffic was moving properly through them. Unfortunately, this test must be done between days 6 and 11 of my cycle. Since that initial consult took place on day 13, I had to wait. In addition, I knew I’d be out of town visiting my family during this month’s crucial time frame, so I was afraid I’d have to wait again. Dr. F had a better plan – he put me on birth control while I was away. I know it sounds counter-intuitive – birth control to try and get pregnant – but he explained that the pill would [insert fancy medical mumbo jumbo here] so I could get the test when I returned.

So today was the day.

They gave me some antibiotics that I started last night and pain meds to take right before the procedure. When I checked in, I was given a set of thick hospital socks, two blue gowns and a papery bonnet to put on. I didn’t really think I was that nervous but the way all of the nurses and medical assistants were buzzing all around me got me a little worked up.

The procedure was certainly not fun. A typical gyno visit is bad enough, but for this test they also put a “balloon” of dye up there. It makes me cringe as I remember the feeling. Once the dye was released, they showed me on the x-ray how it was filling up the tubes. Honestly I was in no mood to care at that point, but the news I got was good: no issues.

So, one more step complete. My next visit isn’t for another two weeks – more waiting. Let’s hope my uterus gets along with the calendar.

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Friday September 5, 2014

We had another consult with Dr. F today and got a better idea of our timeline. Again, it’s all about what my damn uterus is deciding to do so it’s basically a waiting game.

My next cycle should start around September 21st or so. On day 3 I’ll have to go in for blood work. On day 5 I start the fertility meds and somewhere around day 10 Jamie will stab me with a shot to induce ovulation. The next day, perhaps Wednesday October 1st, will be what we’ll call the “Swim Meet” and all the fun will begin…

We also had a conversation today about insurance. We found out that there’s a possibility my insurance won’t cover the insemination. Basically, since I have no proof that I’m infertile, my insurance company may come back and tell us that we’ll have to fund the first few attempts on our own before they cover anything. This infuriates me – especially with all the progress we’ve made to receive the same rights and treatment as traditional couples.

Here’s how I see it: If a heterosexual couple has made several unsuccessful attempts to conceive naturally with the equipment they were given at birth, they would be eligible for treatments covered by their insurance. Jamie and I, a homosexual couple, have been unable to conceive a child with the equipment we were given at birth (duh), so shouldn’t we be eligible for those same treatments?! In the 8 years I have been working full-time and paying into my benefits, I have never needed more than an MRI. Now, more than ever, I truly need my insurance to come through for me and my future family. I guess we’ll have to see how it all plays out.

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Sitting on Secrets

 

Auntie

August 15, 2014

We took a trip back to California this week to visit my family. It has been insanely difficult to keep all of our progress a secret. I found it the hardest around my sister. She has been the one that has been the most excited about the prospect of nieces and nephews. A few years ago, she got especially obsessed and would text me at least once a week with messages like, “Pregnant yet?” or “Baby on the way?” or “Pee on a stick lately?”

I can’t wait for the day that I get to tell her yes. I’ve known for years how we’ll make the announcement. She’ll receive an unexpected package in the mail one day that includes an envelope, a DVD and a wrapped gift. The DVD will say “WATCH ME FIRST”. When she puts in the DVD it’ll come up with us sitting on the couch. We’ll start with some corny intro and finally get to the good part of showing her the ultrasound photo. Then, we’ll tell her that she can open the envelope and the gift. Inside the envelope will be her own copy of the ultrasound and the gift will be a onesie that says something adorable like, “My Aunt Heidi Rules” for her to put on the baby the first time they meet. It’ll be epic.

It’s possible that I won’t be able to conceive – and I have tried to prepare myself for that. It’s possible that we’ll have to announce that we’re becoming Mommies in a different way. But we will one day be Mommies. I just know it. And my sister will make one hell of an Aunt.

Tuesdays with Spermy

Monday July 14, 2014

Today was my first consult! Unfortunately, Jamie had to work so I was on my own. Dr. F is super cool and he had a Med Student with him that’s gay! The two of us sat for a while after the consult chatting about our lives. He and his partner are readying for the baby saga as well, although their process is way more challenging. At least I have an oven – all they have is the flour for the batter.

The consult was exciting. Dr. F basically walked me through the entire process – which includes far more than just squirting some swimmers and crossing our fingers. I have weeks of tests, treatments, meds, and shots to look forward to before we get to do the “fun” part. He also showed me a chart with the probability of conception based on the method. Essentially there are 5 tiers:

  1. Regular birds and bees method (lowest conception rate)
  2. Insemination
  3. Oral fertility + insemination
  4. Fertility shots + insemination
  5. In Vitro with all they can possibly throw at you! (highest conception rate)

It’s a lot to take in. We want the best possible chance, with the fewest possible attempts so we think we’ll being doing Tier 3. Send the good vibes!

* * * * *

Thursday July 17, 2014

One of the options on the California Cryo website is to buy an extended profile of your donor that includes baby pictures! Jamie got home from work today and we both sat on the couch snuggled up, excited to look through our pick’s pics! As if a sign from the universe, the first picture that popped up, I kid you not, looked EXACTLY like Jamie’s baby picture. We pulled up one of her to do a side-by-side and they could be twins!! We were giddy reading through some of the personality tests and interviews that came with the extended profile. I want to remember that moment always. It was utterly beautiful.

* * * * *

Spermy

Thursday July 24, 2014

One of the requirements of receiving the kind of fertility treatments that we will need is to see a psychiatrist. Sounds completely screwed up, but it actually wasn’t a totally terrible experience. The doc we saw was very cool and we had some fun chatting with her. At one point the conversation went a little like this:

Doc: So what have you decided to tell your future children about their father?

Me: Well, for starters, we have decided that we don’t really like the term “father”. Maybe we’ll decide on a nick-name for him – instead of always saying “Sperm Donor”.

Doc: How about “Spermy”?

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