Finding Baby Daddy

Friday July 11, 2014

When it comes to picking a donor, Jamie and I have a simple philosophy – find the male version of her. Somewhere out there, a guy that has Jamie’s sweet demeanor, Irish heritage, and love of sports decided to go through the long process of becoming a sperm donor – and we need to find him.

We signed up for an account on California Cryo and found out that you can basically look through a catalog of men! We also found out how serious the process of being a sperm donor really is. It’s not like the typical notion about a dude needing money for beer so he spent a few minutes looking at dirty magazines and now he’s going to father a bunch of kids. In fact, it appears to be harder to donate sperm than it is to get into an Ivy League school. The California Crybank website states, “Potential sperm donors must first meet our basic requirements before they are even considered for our qualification process. If they do enter our qualification process, they are subjected to extensive screening – the end result of which admits less than 1% of all applicants.” The website describes interviews, personality tests, and even artistic expressions each donor must complete so they can build an accurate profile. In fact, we will know more about our donor’s family history than our own!

Jamie has been pre-screening donors, intent on finding the one that calls out. We both decided that we wanted an “open donor”, meaning someone that agreed they can be contacted once the children reach the ages of 18. We do not want our kids to feel that we kept them from finding out about their birth papi. J also selected traits that she has: Minimum height of 6 feet, Irish, Blond or brunette, athletic, blue eyes. Jamie’s eyes are actually very unique – she has one ice blue eye, and one half brown, half blue. That is the one thing I wish beyond wishing that we could find in a donor. But alas…..

Anyway, Jamie came home today from work crazy with excitement screaming, “I FOUND OUR DADDY!!!!!” As I cooked dinner, she read the profile of the donor we are going to use. It was exhilarating to know that we were actually having a conversation about half of our future kids! This made it feel so real and even though we are far, far away from actually making a baby, I can’t help but think that today is a major milestone along the way.

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The whole time we were looking for our donor, I thought of Ellen DeGeneres (Kal) and Sharon Stone (Fran) in “If These Walls Could Talk 2″….

Kal: I’m freaking out.

Fran: About what?

Kal: I don’t have sperm. That’s why I’m freaking out. I don’t have sperm. And I am forced to keep looking at pages and pages of potential sperm…because I can’t give you the baby.

Fran: So…

Kal: So we’ll never know what that would be like…if just by our love, if just by one night of our love that we accidentally get pregnant. If we had that kind of luck, we could say, “Look what we did” out of our love.

But we can’t do that, so now we have to look at sperm…and pick the guy that’s closest to me that has blue eyes and blond hair. I don’t care anymore. I don’t care.

Is his sperm gonna be different ’cause he’s an electrical engineer than the guy that works at a hardware store? That has a little red vest? What’s wrong with that? ‘Interests: Hiking’. He walks. Wow. That’s special. You must be a special guy.

Our kid is gonna be a great kid. Because we’re gonna raise it with such respect. And we’re gonna teach it so many positive things and tell it that it can be anything it wants to be. And it can grow up to be anything and everything because it’s a beautiful child. And it’s an individual, and that’s all that matters.

Am I right?

Fran: Yes, you are right.

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So Here I Am

Oh boy – I have been completely out of touch with the blog world these last few months. It’s been one of those spells where I say, “Today I’ll sit down and write!” And then it doesn’t happen.

I do, however, have a pretty awesome excuse – I’m PREGNANT! I have actually been writing throughout these last several months and have many queued posts to share now. So tune in for my journey through fertility (TMI excluded) that begins with a lot of awkward questions and ends with the best baby announcement ever!!

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Wednesday August 20, 2014

I have a secret. Jamie and I have been going through the steps to become Mommies – and no one knows! We have talked about kids for years openly with our families and all of our close friends know that we want to go through fertility treatments to try and have kids. Lately, we’ve even been more open about our timeline, saying that 2014 was going to be the Year of the Baby. But when it came down to actually going to appointments, picking a donor, and scheduling inseminations, we decided to keep it all to ourselves for a few reasons.

First of all, it keeps the whole experience really personal. I mean there’s already more people in the room than usual, so why not keep it need-to-know? And second, we don’t want any pressure. All of the curiosity and questions could seriously put a damper on our little operation. We want it to be real when we go announcing.

Anyway, I decided that all of the steps along the way can be very exciting, a little scary, and too important not to document. So here goes nothing….

* * * * *

Tuesday July 8, 2014

I had a relatively awkward conversation today. Being the terrible little lesbian that I am, it’s been a while since I visited the gyno. I talked to a few friends about suggestions and finally ended up making some phone calls. As the phone was ringing, I began to realize that I had no idea what I wanted to say.

“I want to have a gay baby.”

“Can you shoot sperm up into me?”

“Do you have a Lesbian Department?”

Ugh.

The rings continued and I racked my brain for how to begin – and then it was too late.

“Dr. Ghat’s office, how can I help you?” came a greeting from a woman. I stuttered through my introduction and finally choked out, “I’d like to make an appointment because I’m ready to start the process of getting pregnant.” Awkward, much?

She explained that the office was booked for new patients for several months, but that she would schedule me anyway and would call if there was a cancellation sooner.

As it turned out, there wasn’t an appointment available until November. I began to wonder what was so special about this doctor that he was booked for months – did he have access to Johnny Depp’s sperm, or something? I reluctantly made the appointment just in case I wasn’t able to find someone else – what do I know about gyno availability?

Then the weird happened. The nice woman on the phone added, “But if you get pregnant before November, be sure to give us a call so we can get you an appointment.” She started to say more when I cut her off with, “I’m a lesbian.”

Why did this have to be so weird? I decided to be more up-front in the next conversation to avoid any confusion. I did some research online for places to go and made a few more calls, starting each with an introduction followed by, “My wife and I are ready to have a baby.”

Finally came the office of Dr. F. They were pleasant, understanding, and got me an appointment for next week. Winner!

So here I am. Finished with the very first step in a long journey. I have no idea what to expect. I can talk to friends that went through it all I want, but this experience is mine. Mine to love. Mine to fear. And mine to share with the greatest partner this universe could offer.

 

My Religion Was Written By Stephen Trask

I was raised on the teachings of the Christian Bible – I attended Youth Group and went away to Bible Study Camp and memorized scripture – but it has been a long time since I felt like a Christian. It’s not that I’ve disowned the faith, but I consider myself more of a multi-cultural sponge – a tie-dyed shirt soaking up the color. I do teach Culture, after all. I enjoy picking through ancient legends and myths to piece together my perfect Faith. And as a Lesbian, I find myself grasping at any culture or artistic creation that paints me as just a normal member of a working society – not an outcast, sinner, or disease.

And that’s how I found the words that make the most sense to me – The Origin of Love.

Stephen Trask wrote the music and lyrics to a musical entitled “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” in 1998. That show was made into a movie in 2001 by the original writer and star John Cameron Mitchell. Together, these two men made magic. The show is a beautifully designed piece of self-discovery and internal dialogue that seems to speak to my soul. Hedwig, a transgender rock-star from East Berlin, sings a song early in the show called “The Origin of Love” and steals the audience’s heart from that point forward.

When the earth was still flat,
And the clouds made of fire,
And mountains stretched up to the sky
Sometimes higher,
Folks roamed the earth
Like big rolling kegs.
They had two sets of arms.
They had two sets of legs.
They had two faces peering
Out of one giant head,
So they could watch all around them
As they talked, while they read.
And they never knew nothing of Love.
It was before the Origin of Love.
The Origin of Love.

Big Rolling Kegs

And there was three sexes then:
One that looked like two men
Glued up back to back,
They called the Children of the Sun.
And similar in shape and girth
Was the Children of the Earth.
They looked like two girls
Rolled up in one.
And the Children of the Moon
Was like a fork stuck on a spoon.
They was part Sun, part Earth,
Part Daughter, part Son.
The Origin of Love

Zeus Said No

Now the gods grew quite scared
Of our strength and defiance.
And Thor said,
‘I’m gonna kill ’em all
With my hammer,
Like I killed the giants.’
But Zeus said, ‘No.
You better let me
Use my lightening, like scissors,
Like I cut the legs off the whales,
Dinosaurs into lizards.’
And then he grabbed up some bolts
He let out a laugh,
Said, ‘I’ll split them right down the middle,
Gonna cut ’em right up in half.’
And the storm clouds gathered above
Into great balls of fire.

And then fire
Shot down from the sky in bolts,
Like shining blades of a knife.
And it ripped
Right through the flesh
Of the Children of the Sun
And the Moon
And the Earth.

Scatter Us Away

And some Indian god
Sewed the wound up to a hole,
Pulled it around to our belly
To remind us the price we paid.
And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
Gathered up a big storm,
To blow a hurricane.
To scatter us away.
The flood of wind and rain.
The sea of tidal waves.
To wash us all away.
And if we don’t behave,
They’ll cut us down again.
We’ll be hoppin’ round on one foot,
And looking through one eye.

Deny Me and Be Doomed

Last time I saw you,
We’d just split in two.
You was looking at me,
I was looking at you.
You had a way so familiar
I could not recognize,
Cause you had blood on your face,
I had blood in my eyes.
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine.

That’s the pain
That cuts a straight line
Down through the heart,
We called it Love.

We wrapped our arms around each other,
Trying to shove ourselves back together.
We was making Love,
Making Love.
It was a cold dark evening
Such a long time ago,
When by the mighty hand of Jove,
It was the sad story
How we became
Lonely two-legged creatures.
It’s the story of
The Origin of Love.

That’s the Origin of Love.

Origin of Love

Hedwig then says, “It is clear that I must find my other half. But is it a he or a she? What would this person look like? And were we really separated forcibly? Or did he just run off with the good stuff?”

Beautiful.

Vows 11.29.13

On November 29, 2013 I married my Soul Mate. I mean “Soul Mate” as literally as someone can possibly take it. If anyone were to express to me that they do not believe in Soul Mates, I might kindly respond with, “Well, then you haven’t had the chance of witnessing it yet.”

Our Wedding was everything we wanted it to be. It certainly wasn’t the kind of Wedding most people dream up – but to us it was absolutely perfect. Neither of us can think of a single thing that went wrong all night. Frequently during the reception, we stole small conversations with each other, pausing to take in the Beauty of our friends and loved ones all there to celebrate and support us. The room was so full of Love…I can still feel it.

We chose to write our own vows, selecting works of Music and Literature to quote. I read mine a hundred times before the ceremony, trying to prepare myself enough so I wouldn’t cry. But the words are so powerful, so true, and so meaningful…my voice quivered and cracked throughout the whole thing. I have heard some people say that their whole ceremony is a blur – not mine. I am so lucky to have every moment tucked away in my memory. I hope those emotions I had standing up there holding Jamie’s hands are as strong in 50 years as they were that day.

I am still flying sky high…

“I have chosen most of my vows from my favorite book, The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho.  The book is about a journey to discover dreams and fulfill life’s desires. I know without a doubt that that is what we are doing here today. This is my Personal Legend. You, J, are my treasure.

“In the book Coelho says, ‘If you can concentrate only on the present, you’ll be happy – you’ll see that there are stars in the Heavens. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.’ I feel that way each day I am with you, and vow to do so the rest of our lives.

“There are people in the World that don’t believe in the love we share. ‘But maybe people who [feel] that way never learned the universal language. Because when you know that language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.’

 “’Cause I understand you, we see eye to eye/ Like a double rainbow in the sky/ And wherever you go, so will I/ Cause a double rainbow is hard to find’*”

*From Katy Perry’s song “Double Rainbow” from her new album Prism

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Macabre meets Elegance…on a Budget

WARNING: This is one of those nerdy “Do It Yourself” posts. I can’t help it – I’m damn proud of my work and now I want to share! 🙂

As I detailed in a previous post “Let’s Give Em Something to Talk About“, Jamie and I are planning on having the kind of wedding that has people talking for years. Our hope, although not our motivation, is to surprise and wow people all through the night. Our motivation is simple – do us. Every detail of this day has been hand-constucted (and I do mean hand constructed) by us, for us. I decided pretty early on that I was going to make everything the for the wedding myself*. I am pretty crafty (and VERY thrifty) so it worked out. I quickly became one of those “DIY Brides” one might see all over the internet, although I consider myself in a separate category since I never once looked at a Bridal Magazine nor did I ever sign up for Pinterest. 😉 “Doing it myself “also helped our budget significantly, which was a major bonus since we are paying for this shindig on our own.

Even though we really didn’t get serious about planning the wedding until we booked the venue back in March, we had slowly been creating our vision over the course of the last 10 years. It is that vision that has been coming to life these last few months….and IT. IS. BEAUTIFUL.

Since our theme is “Day of the Dead” (which totally speaks to our cultural interests and lifestyle) we have been challenged with finding the perfect combination of Macabre and Elegance. We both agreed we wanted the theme to come across clearly, without looking too much like a Halloween Party. I, however, am obsessed with all things Halloween so I couldn’t help but get inspiration from the classic Halloween Tree for our center pieces.

This is a typical Halloween Tree

Being from California, I thought it might be really cool to work in Manzanita, a plant native to desert regions of California, Arizona, Nevada and other similar regions. It has that Halloween Tree look so it worked perfectly.

Here’s some manzanita growing wild in California.

I went online and found a place in California that shipped the branches wrapped in string to preserve them. When they arrived, I cut the ropes off and let them sit.

They looked like this

Even though the umber look of the raw branches looks amazing, we decided we wanted them black so I laid them out on plastic and spray painted them.

Painted black

I then casted the branches in plaster using a throw-away plastic cup and Plaster of Paris. The throw-away cup was key so I could just cut it away after the plaster dried.

Cup is key

I bought little glass vases at the dollar store and, once the plaster was dry and free-standing, I placed it in the vase. In order to cover up the ugly plaster, we came up with the idea of using sand. It reminded me of summer camp as a kid when the counselors would give you a weird looking bottle, googgly eyes and 5 different colors of sand. All of those strange Google-Eyed-Sand-Creatures are probably in my Mom’s attic somewhere. But at least I got some practice for this! Our color scheme is Black and White with Cranberry accents throughout so we chose black and cranberry sand:

Step 4

Next I got to work on decorating them. I ordered crystals online and bought black wire thread from a crafts store. I threaded over 600 crystals over the course of about 2 weeks, but since I was off for the summer, it was really fun and almost soothing. I also decided to make paper flowers. The images below look a lot more like pink or red, but it’s really black and cranberry.

Made using a punch-out

Finally, I went online and ordered a bunch of black butterflies to add to the branches. They turned out so cute!

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I’m finding that working on all of these little projects (I also made a photo booth, all 9 bouquets, the guest book and the table assignments) has made me so proud of this wedding. Of course, I would have been proud of what it stands for no matter what, but since my own, hand-made touch is on everything- things that Jamie and I cooked up in our creative brains – it makes the day so much more personal. If not a single person at the wedding comments on the intricately painted cake-topper, the handmade photo booth, or the one-of-a-kind guest book, it won’t upset me. Because each time I catch a glimpse of those things in the background of pictures, or each time I remember that night, I hope I’ll also recall the heart and energy put into creating it all. And that is the whole point.

*If you’d like information on prices, where I ordered my supplies, or specific how-to’s just  shoot me an email at thatlesbianteacher@yahoo.com.

Towards Moonlight

From “The Morning After” Episode of The Fosters on ABC Family

Last Tuesday night my mother, Jenna, comes into the house

I’m sitting in the living room with my other mom, Kelly

Jenna asks us if we could take a drive with her

So we all get in the car

And as we drive, silence creeps along like the cracks of a frozen lake

Our hearts begin to thud slowly…off-beat

And I wonder and then I know

And I didn’t imagine it would end like this

I didn’t imagine an ending at all

But if they were going to tell me about the divorce, what a way to do it

I sit in the back seat and think about how lucky we were to have had this family

Their 20 years of marriage

My 15 with them

I remember all of us driving miles out in the high way until I fell asleep in the back seat

I don’t want this life to end

Jenna starts to talk

She tells me that our car is just 13 miles away from reaching 100,000 miles now

I wonder if this is part of the divorce speech or just a distraction

I feel angry

They should just say it

She tells me the reason we took this ride is so that we could all be there to reach 100,000 miles together as the people who matter in our life

Slowly I realize that this isn’t a break up ride or a divorce ride or a separation ride

This is a 100,000 mile ride

We’re in the car and we’re driving on a Tuesday night

And we’re 99,987 miles in

We stop for onion rings and sundaes

Keep driving, 99,993 miles – Stevie Nicks

99,997 miles – Elton John

When we get to 99,999 miles we hold hands, blast Melissa Etheridge and sing Lucky at the top of our lungs

There are too many reasons that my Mamas found love in each other’s presence

There are too many moments when we are unbreakable and this moment we are one family

Constructing road as we go

Burning bridges behind us

Adding mileage like graceful aging

Driving in our car towards moonlight…

Performed by Garrett, a friend of the Foster family. I didn’t really like the character Garrett until this poem. It’s like he captured a “real family” moment. And showed how a “real family” doesn’t have to be defined just one way.

Let’s Give Em Something to Talk About

It’s been 10 years, 4 months and 23 days since Jamie and I began our dance through this life. We have graduated college, started careers, bought a house and rescued a dog. Marriage has been a topic of conversation for a few years now, but we finally got serious about it last Spring and set our day for November of this year. We live in a state that hasn’t yet legalized same-sex marriage, but we are determined to have the wedding day of our dreams.

To us, this is our wedding, like it is to any straight couple that has ever married. When I make calls to the DJ, the hotel, the shuttle….I am just one of two brides planning her big day. I sometimes forget that it isn’t exactly the norm. I forget that most people assume Bride and Groom when they hear “Wedding”. It doesn’t upset me – I understand the world I live in. I just sometimes forget that I am still a queer peg in a round hole.

I do often yearn for a world that does’t jump to conclusions about sexual orientation – one where gay couples don’t feel so out-of-place in the normal family settings. But, I have to say, planning a Lesbian Wedding has pretty much given us carte-blanche to do as we please!

From friends at work I hear, “My Mother made me this,” and “My mother-in-law never would have allowed that.” I hear people discuss the “proper” RSVP method, the “accepted” way of organizing the ceremony, and the “formal” feel all weddings must have. It all kind of makes me sick. I get so frustrated thinking that there’s some invisible force writing how everyone’s wedding should play out. Isn’t that why we dream about it for so long – so we can make it our day?

Jamie and I have said a big “screw you” to all the typical wedding crap and have had an absolute blast with it. We are making the day about us and the life we have built together. We completely pulled apart the usual format and rewrote it. Since we are already a non-traditional couple, why not go the full distance and give them all a ceremony and reception that’ll keep them talking? Our wedding, will without a doubt, be an experience for our guests. It’s taken us 10 years, 4 months and 23 days to get to where we are and there is no way we are going to start blending in now.

 

Our cake topper – We kind of have a thing for Dia de los Muertos