Category Archives: insemination

transitional funk

Funny things happen around here when school lets out and we suddenly have time on our hands. J and I go through transition shock. We have moments of utter bliss when we are elated to have so much time together, and then we have moments of endless bickering over what to cook for dinner or which photograph we should include in our holiday cards (or whether we should send the damn things at all). But then we go back to this blissed out place where we’re listening to jazz and doing crafts, and gazing at each other as we enjoy the quiet moments. The constant up and down, though, can be more than a little confusing and exhausting.

We have come to expect this transition time because it inevitably happens at the beginning of both winter and summer breaks. I even mentioned it beforehand this time so that we could try to avoid it. I seem to be the problem here, though. I go into these cranky spells, become the ugly-control-freak T, and I pick fights. I turn into this bossy, obstinate child. It’s not pretty.

Yesterday, I was in fine obnoxious child form, and J pulled an egg out of the fridge and attempted to break it over my head to illustrate just how ridiculous I had gotten with my fight-picking and power struggles. It ended up being a hard-boiled egg. I still laughed heartily–we both did–as I held my head. Moments like this have been saving us the past few days.

I really need to pull myself together so that we can get on with enjoying our break. J tried to help me through this today pointing out that perhaps I’m vying for power over these little things because I have none over things like my impending lack of job, our endless baby-making journey, my crazy family, and so on. Yep, that would be both of us right now. We’re so psycho-babble-cliche, it’s not even funny. (Well, it is when you see us devolve into food-throwing and giggling.)

We did manage to snap out of it for some time with Pops. Last time he was pink. This time he was yellow. That makes me think it was a different sample, maybe better and full of super sperm. While we still are not trying IUI on our own, we did opt for speculum use this time around. J had never seen a cervix, so we looked at some bad diagrams first (the Brill book has some really ridiculous shit), and then a photo. When it came time to inseminate, she propped me up, got the speculum in (it was a little pinchy, but honestly it didn’t matter–besides, what is this process without the discomfort?), and lo and behold, she found my cervix right away. Before I knew it, she had gotten the sperm to its target, and we were in the eleventh two-week-wait. My period is due New Year’s Eve. Obviously we’re hoping for a positive start to the New Year. If not, then I suppose we’ll have all the more reason to drink a lot of champagne. I can’t bear to think of it.

Honestly, we have both been pretty detached from all of it this time around. The box in which the sperm arrives is nearly three feet tall, and its presence in our home has become almost commonplace. I’m surprised I haven’t set cups of tea on it yet or that the cats haven’t made permanent perches out of it. I think we’re both fairly afraid to feel much of anything about this, so all of our dealings with it are matter-of-fact now. I miss the excitement we used to have around it; I miss all of that hope that came with it. I suppose if I really search, there are glimmers of it lingering. I know J has it because she’s been talking about babies since before we woke up this morning, and maybe she’s holding onto it for the both of us. I can handle that.

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Filed under insemination, transitions, Uncategorized

between a rock and an anemic bank account

J and I have had a rather frustrating morning figuring out what to do. I have been in contact with the midwife, and she really wants to help us, but she also has three women with due dates the week before and the week of my next ovulation. Obviously births come first for her, so it’s highly likely we would be left to take care of things on our own once again. So while we both wanted to go with IUI, while your comments were so very much in line with what we had hoped for this cycle, I just don’t think it’s going to work. I don’t think we can deal with the uncertainty.

It seems that any time J and I try to depend on someone else to help us with this process, we get screwed. About two years ago, our first potential known donor actually offered–through a friend of ours–to be our donor without our prompting. He was a long-time friend, someone we cared for and someone who would have been great as a donor. When we sat down and had a discussion with him, he was 90% sure he would say yes. We asked him to get back to us within a month, and then he never did. In fact, we have never heard from him again, nor have the friends we have in common. That set us back a few months. Then I found our other known donor who was hundreds of miles away. Mr. G was a great guy, willing to pay for shipping and all, but he was very much into creating his own sperm shippers. He wasn’t great about checking his messages, so we either had dead sperm or late sperm for all eight attempts with him. Even when he started using Bio.Tranz, he still couldn’t seem to ship it on time. Granted, some of this had to do with a lack of weekend or Monday Fed.Ex service, but still… We proceeded with him for almost a year and obviously had no success.

So we moved on to the frozen goods, knowing we could at least depend on those to arrive on time and viable. We were happy to have at least that amount of control over this process. Then I had the idea to go with a midwife for IUI, and again, we were let down when at the last minute she still didn’t have her supplies and hadn’t finished the training she had intended to pursue through a friend of hers. And again, we were left in the lurch.

Needless to say, we have some trust issues when it comes to having people help us with any part of this process. We don’t have a good track record thus far with any of these people, and we’re feeling more than a little lost. I feel like I keep writing the same shit over again. We keep revisiting the same kinds of problems, and it makes me think we’re better off sticking to this on our own.

Our biggest problem right now is finances. I’m so sick of our financial situation dictating how effective our inseminations will be. Buying sperm is already a hardship. Adding medical assistance to that means cutting corners elsewhere in our lives. I know some probably believe this is irresponsible of us, that we shouldn’t be attempting to have a child if we can’t afford to do all of this the “right” way. We have friends who are rather wealthy who believe we’re going about this all wrong–that we should have the perfect jobs and own a home before we ever proceed with this further. But we’re not getting any younger. The pain of being childless is not weakening any. If anything, the urgency is mounting with each month that goes by. We simply cannot wait to be ideally financially stable to pursue our desire to be parents, and yet I know that if we were financially solvent, this would be so much easier. That simply isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Not in our professions. Not living in the Bay Area. It just seems so fucking unfair that this process is easiest for those who have the extra funds or the space on their credit cards or the super-deluxe health insurance that amazingly covers lesbian fertility treatments (all ours will cover is a tubal ligation–like that will do us any good). And I know it still isn’t easy even for those who are well off, but it slays me that we can’t even really consider an RE or meds. It’s not that I want to go that route; it’s just that I wish we had more options, and we don’t. I just can’t help but think that had we more financial resources, we would have our baby by now.

When we first moved here, we met up with two lesbian couples who were trying to get pregnant, and we left the gathering feeling like shit because they were each spending over a thousand dollars a month on this. They laughed when we mentioned our methods with Mr. G when he was using Bio.Tranz to ship. Laughed. It was the first time that we realized that becoming a pregnant lesbian may have much more to do with one’s economic status than we might like, and that we were most certainly in the wrong tax bracket.

To us, this process is complicated by so many things. We have the usual lesbian problem with our lack of access to sperm, but I’m so tired of all of these other frustrations. And yet, and yet, and yet…There really is nothing we can do but to continue biting the TTC bullet and doing what is within our power to make our baby dreams happen. I am reminded, however, that there is no end to the disappointment and feelings of unfairness along the way.  I hate to feel this way. I feel like such a complainer. I don’t feel like a victim, and I don’t want to sound like one. I’m just tired of life being so damn hard for us, and I think it is important that I acknowledge why it is. Alas, such is life here at Reproducing Genius.

I guess it’s time to order sperm.

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Filed under childlessness, finances, insemination, midwife, Mr. G

the best laid plans

Oh, where do I begin?

After yesterday’s post, we waited throughout the day, our anticipation building. I was distracted as I taught. J couldn’t get any work done at home. It was just one of those days when we had a singular focus and it didn’t have anything to do with our students. We were both so excited and hopeful that our new plan was finally going into action.

Our midwife, C, told us in the morning that she would call after her last appointment of the night to let us know what she was able to find as far as catheters go. We waited and waited. I had a beer. We had dinner. We watched some television. I started to fall asleep on the sofa with a cat or two. Then the phone finally rang. At 9:45. C was on the other end, and she was telling me in my groggy state that there was no catheter.

Um.

She then related to me advice from her OB friend:

1. We just needed to get the sperm on the cervix.

2. We could use a turkey baster.

I nearly dropped the phone. C was going to come to our house with some kind of modified turkey baster to do an IVI–and too late at that. As any TTCer knows, turkey basters are wasteful and problematic even when you’re working with fresh sperm, but when you’ve got half a teaspoon of frozen that cost hundreds of dollars? Let’s just say it would have been laughable had tears not been streaming down my face. I thanked her for her efforts, let her know that with the frozen sperm and IVI, we needed to act much more quickly, and worked on stifling my tears. She wished us well, told us she would have the supplies should we need her next time, but that she hoped our baby spirit was on its way to us. She’s lovely; she really is. She’s just not prepared.

When I got off the phone, J was furious, and I was starting to cry. Because we weren’t doing IUI anymore, we needed to get this done now, and we were completely unprepared. We both calmed down, and I began rummaging through our bathroom trying to find a needle-less syringe that didn’t exist. By now, it was after 10:00pm. No pharmacies/drug stores were open. Think, T. Think! I remembered Safe.way had a pharmacy, so we piled into the car and wandered the aisles of the grocery store until finally we found the syringe. We also found a bottle of wine.

It took awhile for me to get into a place where we could do this. I just wasn’t prepared mentally or emotionally for the old fashioned inseminations. This time was supposed to be so much better; we were supposed to be increasing our chances. Oh, I was in a bad space. I wavered between crying and thinking–trying to figure out if there was anything else we could do to up our odds.

Finally, we got out some gloves, snipped the zip tie holding the top on the dewar, and pulled out our vial of sperm. I knew there wouldn’t be nearly as much as we had in the past, but neither of us was prepared for the teeny-tiny amount. J was particularly surprised and forlorn.

We went to bed with our glasses of wine, tried to get the syringe as close to my cervix as possible and depressed the plunger the centimeter it needed to go to get the stuff where it needed to go. In the past, we always made sure that this was done amidst some intimacy so that I could have an orgasm. Last night that wasn’t working though, even with our very best vibrator. All I could do was cry and lie there with my hips propped up while J tried to comfort me. And I rotated (rotisserie chicken style).  I was able to rotate. But the orgasm eluded me.

And that is how our long, long break ended. Today we both woke up feeling like it didn’t even happen. It was all so weird and surreal and so unlike what we had planned. But we did do it, and we had two really great things going for us: viable sperm and timing. During Reproducing Genius Phase 1, one of those crucial items was always missing, and more often than not, both were (hence the lack of baby after a year of trying). I’d say our chances have increased dramatically, despite our loss of plans, despite our disappointments and the strangely sad insemination. Still, I’m not sure where that giddiness and hope went.

But here we are, rubbing our eyes and stumbling into our first two week wait in half a year. I’m sure it will hit me soon, right?

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Filed under insemination, midwife, sperm, ttc, TWW

the meeting

We met our midwife yesterday. J and I are still floating a bit from the experience. It was wonderful. She was wonderful.

It took forever to get to her place. She lives about an hour from us in this beautiful rural location amidst rolling hills covered wtih vineyards, and her office is in a building on her property. When we turned into her driveway and got out of our car, she was walking out of her garden holding a handful of spearmint. She came up to both of us, reached out to shake my hand, and held it with both of her hands as she looked into my eyes telling me how lovely it was to meet me. She did the same with J, then introduced us to her apprentice, her client who was just leaving, and her client’s little girl.

As they left, her apprentice asked us to take off our shoes and invited us in. The “office” is a big living room with pillows and comfy chairs and sofas and pregnancy and birth art everywhere. We were surrounded in goddesses, casts of pregnant bellies, paintings of mother goddesses giving birth. It was cozy and beautiful and empowering. Her apprentice asked us to sit wherever we liked and offered us tea and spearmint water. We gladly accepted. C came in and snuggled up on one of the sofas and invited her apprentice over to sit and cuddle with her.

I should take a moment to describe the midwife: C. C is 62 but honestly looks about ten years younger. She has long silver wavy hair, which she ties back on the top. She is somewhat short, and thin, and she wears long skirts and flowing clothes.  When she smiles, her eyes twinkle, and when she looks at people, she seems to look beyond any guards they might have up; she looks straight at people’s beings.  She is a crone, and she looks like the crone archetype.

After everyone was settled, we sat in each other’s presence for a moment drinking our tea and making small talk. C would ask us questions about our lives, and then asked us if we had questions. I looked to J to ask the majority of the questions. I wanted her to feel more part of this than she did in the past. The whole coversation was easy, organic. J asked how the IUI would work, and C explained the process. At one point she asked if either of us had ever looked at our cervix. When we both replied that we hadn’t, she pulled out a speculum for each of us to take home so that we could cervix-gaze at our leisure. (J later told me that she has no interest in her cervix and does not intend to look at it. I told her that was fine as long as she had some interest in mine. She does, so all is well in cervix land.)

We knew before that C had only done one insemination in the past, but she has wanted for quite some time to be able to provide IUI for those who ask. She has for ages been involved in feminist and gay rights activism (she told us she and her husband only got married when it looked like marriage would be legalized for gay folk in California, and they toasted Gavin Newsome at their wedding), and she wanted to be able to help out women like us. C has a midwife friend who will be training her to do IUIs, so she talked about her for a bit and let us know that if we wanted to work with her instead we could. J said, “No, we want to work with you!”

A smile broadened across C’s face, and she said, “Good! Because I really want to do this for you! I’m so excited about this.” I think I teared up a little when this happened. I proceeded to tell C that when I found her website that I knew we had to work with her, that we needed to know her, and I told her I dreamt of meeting her. She smiled knowingly and said, “It’s so important to listen to your dreams. We can learn a lot from them.”

We discussed a few more details. C had finally researched what she would charge us, which was one of our hugest concerns (as you all know). The final answer: $150. If that’s not a bargain–a downright gift–I don’t know what is.

We continued meandering through conversation. C and J talked about their parents’ deaths. We discovered that she too was an English major in college (her poetry about birth is stunning), that she’s an ordained minister. We talked about our dreams to have children. C even asked if we had names picked out (we do) and asked if we would share them (we did), and it was utterly beautiful. C talked a little about her philosophies about pregnancy and birth too: she discourages unnecessary ultrasounds, promotes home birth, and, well, my foggy brain can’t remember the rest right now. We did tell her that should we get pregnant, we would like to talk with her about being our midwife, and again that beautiful soft smile crept across her face. “Of course,” she said. She’s a lovely woman.

An hour zipped by, and it was soon time to leave (I still had to teach my final class of the day), and she told us to take some apples (from her trees), and offered to get us some spearmint, which we unfortunately had to decline because we weren’t going home for a few hours. She gave us both a warm hug, told us again how excited she was to be working with us, and sent us on our way. J and I left full of hope and peace and eagerness to get all of this started. We were lifted up in a way we have never been through all of this.

J took me out for sushi after I taught my class, and we reflected on the appointment, how her home reminded us of Humboldt, how she reminded us of the best of that place, of home. We kept talking about it all when we came home, dreaming about our child, knowing that somehow this woman was going to help us bring him/her into the world.

We feel like this marks the beginning of the end of our break, the restoration of hope in a new and reassuring form, the beginning of Reproducing Genius Phase 2.

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Filed under insemination, J, midwife, new beginnings, The Long Break, ttc

goodness

One cohesive topic seems a hardship for me today, so rather than writing stilted prose, I’ve made a list–a list of good things:

  1. We have crosshairs. It appears that I ovulated on Saturday, making for some damn good timing for the insemination.
  2. Hope has returned to Haus der ReproducingGenius.
  3. J and I are going for a picnic today. I will be drinking a single glass of wine. Maybe it will be my last for a number of months.
  4. We’re going to see this travelling Picasso pottery exhibit today, and J doesn’t know.
  5. Farmer’s Market is tonight, and there will be strawberries. Strawberries that are the sweetest of sweet things. Strawberries that are probably being picked right now.
  6. J is applying for jobs at this very moment. She is ready to get out into the world again. This is tricky for me because I like having her home, but I also like the confidence she has when she has work. Plus, she’s a people person, and while I’m perfectly content sitting at home reading a book or communing with invisible friends, she needs to associate with others–real life others–to feel herself. I sense that she will be doing that soon (and bringing in a steady income again).
  7. It’s going to be 88 degrees today. We are gearing up to a 100-degree day on Thursday. I’m kind of thrilled at the thought of intense heat. I mean, I hate it, but this is my first spring/summer living in crazy heat in many years, and somehow the newness of that is invigorating. Where we used to live, the low 70s were our summer temps. This was when shorts were worn by those who wear them (I hate shorts, but I’ll do skirts, dresses, and the like).
  8. Our finances have improved over the last week. We’re still on a strict budget, but some much-needed money has finally come through making breathing a bit easier until J finds her dream job (or something like it).
  9. I finally found some allergy meds that work for me (and they are apparently TTC-safe). The fifty sequential sneezes that were happening at least ten times a day were really draining me and making it impossible for me to go outside. I haven’t taken meds in a long time because none of them were working for me anymore–even the strongest of the Rx variety. Now some of the OTC brands are working. This makes me very happy.
  10. I had a crazy surge in readers yesterday. Welcome! Why not let me know who you are? I promise not to embarass you in public.

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Filed under insemination, lists, ovulation, Ramblings

bad sleeper

I’m typing with giant bags under my eyes. I had the worst night’s sleep last night. We stayed up in a daze wathing Ren.o911, and all the while, I was nonchalantly drinking iced tea. Caffeinated iced tea. For a smart person, I can be fairly stupid.

We used the last of our swimmers as I went to bed (Instead method this time because somehow we scraped my girly bits with the syringe earlier. Ow.), and then I proceeded to try to sleep.

This was fruitless.

I laid there thinking about what I needed to do in the morning to prepare for my visiting family and the baby blessing. When I finally slept, I had dreams about the prep work. Every hour or two, I would just wake up. Each time, I had difficulty going back to sleep. Damn, I was restless. J tried to comfort me a few times to get me back to sleep, but apparently I was wiggling too much, so she had to let me go to my side of the bed. I felt like I needed to be swaddled.

So now, I’m up, and I’m exhausted, and I’ve got to put in a couple of hours at work before I can prep anything, but then I have to go-go-go all day. Ugh. Lesson learned: no iced tea before bed.

We’re officially lodged in the TWW now. Please, Goddess, let it pass quickly.

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Filed under insemination, sleep, ttc

finally

We got our sperm. It arrived about half an hour after I wrote my post–three hours late. On top of the tardiness, there was a sticker on the package that said “Keep Frozen.” It had not been kept cold. The icepacks inside were cool, but the goods were not as cold as they should have been. I’m hoping the buffer that Bio.Tranz uses kept the little guys alive.  I want to harm FedEx. (And SHG, if you’re reading, it’s on–let’s get the bastards!)

Soooo, we used some and are saving some for later tonight. I’m so utterly baffled about what’s going on with my body though. When will I ovulate? Will it ever show up on these stupid OPKs I got because I was too cheap to buy the good ones? Only time will tell. I’m going to try to be hopeful.

Tonight, J and I have to focus on getting ready for family to visit. It seems my brother and his girlfriend will be coming to participate in the baby welcoming festivities as well. I’m beginning to wonder if we planned ahead well enough. Tonight, there’s a cake to bake, a house to clean, shopping to do, and so much more. Ugh. I’ll have much to report after the weekend is over, I’m sure.

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Filed under insemination, ovulation, sperm, ttc

swimmers

Fertility signs seem to be creeping in as the week progresses, so we’ve asked Mr. G for a Friday shipment. I’ll probably O on Saturday like last time, so timing won’t be too bad, especially if we save a little for Saturday morning.

I don’t think I mentioned that I was an idiot last month. Yes, I was. A big one. While reviewing some chapters in Stephanie Brill’s wonderful book, and all of her tips on insemination, I had a forehead-smacking moment. “Avoid swimming for twenty-four hours after insemination.” I went swimming on the day of our insemination. In a chlorinated pool. I think we killed the sperm last month. It’s not like it was right afterward, but it certainly wasn’t a full day–not even twelve hours. It was more like three or four. I’m really not this stupid. It was just hot out, and having recently moved from the land of no-outdoor-swimming-pools-because-it will-never-in-one’s-life-be-warm-enough-to-swim-outdoors, I never really thought about the dangers of swimming; it wasn’t part of my reality. Now I live in a climate that gets downright hot, and swimming has become a necessity to keep this cold climate gal from suffering heat stroke when it’s 80. Still, what was I thinking? Clearly, I wasn’t. Clearly, I was thinking, I need to cool down. I need to pass the time before my cruise. I need to be an idiot. Needless to say, I won’t be swimming this time, despite the heatwave that is due to hit us this weekend. Instead, I’ll dangle my toes in the water and think about making our baby. (See below–and Rachel’s comment–for update.)

My sister will be here this weekend, as will my mom. We’re holding our little baby welcoming soirée and engaging in some fun and relaxing girl activities. Mostly sis is excited to swim because she’s terribly uncomfortable with just over a month to go before she pops, but she also loves coming here because this is where she lived when she was a young, independent, confident woman. She doesn’t know we’ll be having a pregnant belly photo shoot, which I think will be the highlight. Seeing her will be good. We probably won’t see her again until the baby is born. I can’t believe my sister is going to be a mom in a month.

 

Hopefully, as we hold our niece for the first time, J and I will be biting our tongues to keep from sharing that we’re pregnant too. A girl can dream, can’t she? 

**ETA: Thank you, Rachel at Highway TTC for permission to unsmack my head and for the really great information. You’re right: while Brill can offer some great advice, I do typically take her with a grain of salt. I’ll continue to do so. 

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Filed under family, insemination, sperm, stupidity

It’s official

J here. I know, I know, I rarely post, but that’s because T’s so good at it that I just don’t need to. Today, though, T started spotting, so she’s on the couch feeling a bit low, and I thought I’d deliver the news.

It sucks for both of us. We both attach so much hope to each attempt. This will be the month we tell ourselves, and we actually believe it for a while. Then comes the wait, and then comes her period, and the let down does not get easier, Ladies, it just doesn’t. We just want it so bad.

For me, I try to be very positive and hopeful and supportive during each step of the process because I want this just as much as my wife does, but I don’t have my body invested in it, but my heart, oh yes, always is invested. It’s hard, though. T’s little sis is preggers, about to have a baby in a few months, and I just can’t help but be jealous. I wish it was us; I really do. I’m working on those feelings, though it’s taking me some time.

So we’ll keep trying, hoping, and staying positive, but today is a downer, and I just wanted to pass that along.

Thanks for reading.

J

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Filed under insemination

here we go again

Our two-week wait has officially commenced. My temperature dipped nicely yesterday and is up a few tenths of a degree today. It appears I’ve probably ovulated. I never did get my positive OPK; I ran out of them on Friday and opted not to buy anymore. I just thought I’d wing it. Everything else was lined up perfectly, and I’ve been known to ovulate on the same day as my positive tests before, so I’m assuming that’s what would have happened.

We had two inseminations on Friday (the day before O, it would seem). One was mid-day, and one was at night before bed, allowing me plenty of hours to stay still atop my pillow stack. Had we thought the stuff would stay viable, we probably would have split it all into thirds and had another yesterday morning because we had a lot of it this time. I said something to Mr. G about the increased volume, and he informed us that the sample consisted of two donations plus the buffer. I guess he was busy on Thursday! If BioTranz does indeed work, we likely had ourselves a whole slough of swimmers. At any rate, we felt that getting the little guys into my body would give them a better chance of surviving their journey.

My timing was different this time around too. We have been inseminating late a lot, and other times, we’ve done this on ovulation day. Clearly, none of this has worked (although we think this might have been a result of poor shipping techniques as well). This also may be because once the positive OPK pops up, my egg often drops rather quickly. This time, we’re hoping that by catching it a few hours earlier we may have more success. I really hope so, but I’m going to try to ignore it all this week. Right. Yes. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.

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Filed under insemination, ovulation, sperm, ttc, TWW