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.

* * * * *

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”?

* * * * *

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!!

* * * * *

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.