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”


IMG_5792

Sun, Moon, Earth and Asteroid B-612

IMG_5636 IMG_5635

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.

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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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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”?

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.