Category Archives: ttc

Guess what’s in our dining room…

The above is a tank, or dewar, of you will. Inside this tank, we’ve got sperm on ice. This is our first ever frozen sperm, and it’s an exciting sight indeed.

The sperm showed up two days early, so if I have a freak early ovulation, we’ll be prepared. It’s good to be prepared. Also in stock are a fresh pack of ovulation tests, our very own speculum provided by our midwife, and a whole lot of excitement because, my friends, we are sperming up this week!

Today is CD10. My typical ovulation date in the past was day fifteen. It could come as early as day thirteen or wait as long as day 17. All I know is it’s on its way and the sperm is here and we are oh so ready.

Last night, our neighbor came over, and we created and blessed a new house altar dedicated solely to our new TTC efforts. You can see it below:

Of note on the altar are

  • the lavendar candle we always use to symbolize our future child,
  • a moonstone egg (perhaps the most obvious–and fabulous–fertility symbol one might muster up),
  • stones (both gemstones and river/ocean stones) that J and I have collected throughout our years together (these are surrounding the lavendar candle),
  • a rune symbolizing masculine energy and fertility (we thought some balance might be in order),
  • rose petals from our wedding this past June,
  • a prayer shawl blessed by Ammachi (a guru who embodies the divine mother from whom I received darshan–a type of blessing in the form of a hug–before I met J).

There are other altar staples as well–salt water in a bowl that was my great-grandmother’s, a big chunk of amethyst crystal, marigolds, sage, extra candles, and so on.  It feels so good to have this here, to be focusing our energies on creating our baby in such a fresh, new, positive way.

We’re also shifting our focus a little to see if it changes how we cope with this process. We obviously want a baby, and this has always been our focus, but for now we’re looking torward me being pregnant–looking more toward our immediate future. J keeps telling me how beautiful I will be when I’m pregnant, and I keep dreaming about how it will feel. Instead of thinking so much about that baby-shaped hole in our lives, we’re imagining how great it will be when I have a big giant belly full of baby when I officiate our friends’ wedding in July or how annoying and amusing it will be to be stifling nausea  and fatigue when I’m trying to grade final exams in December. Yes, these are the things I am looking forward to, these are the things that are driving us forward and keeping big grins across our faces tonight.

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Filed under Pregnancy, sperm, ttc

intoxicating

I just placed our order for our first ever vial of frozen donor sperm. We’re only ordering one this time around for financial reasons, but it seemed to work out perfectly. Our first choice of donors had run out, and for our second choice, there was only one IUI vial left. We took it. Somehow, that seemed right. Maybe it’s the only one we’ll need (I can hope, right?), or maybe we’ll have to switch to a different donor next time. All I know is we’ve got the goods coming to our house in ten days. Ten days. That’s nothing compared to the six months we’ve been waiting to start this up again.

I haven’t had this feeling of giddy anticipation about this whole process in a very long time. It has been so difficult to imagine having hope or excitement, and yet I do again. We don’t know how long it will take, but we have a plan to keep going this way until we’re pregnant or we can’t afford to take this route anymore. It feels so good to have a clear plan, to know that we’re using a tried and true method, and to have some fucking control for a change.

Our neighbor friend has been sending me affirmations about hope. She did a tarot reading for me, and it’s all full of hope. She drew three cards, and here’s the summary she emailed me:

The first one:  You have money worries on your mind, and you have to let that go.  It said that you can’t give up hope too soon.  And to keep yourself healthy. 
 
The second one: Appreciation, and that someone will offer assistance and helpful advice.  I am thinking your midwife???  Could be…
 
The third and final: Your patience, honesty, kindness and loyalty are rewarded. 
I haven’t dipped into divination tools in a long time, but this was nice to see. I’m thinking it’s time to start lighting candles again, to put gemstones in my pockets, to pull out the runes and see what they have to say (I really am a witch at heart). If nothing else, they’ll help me pass the time and maybe even throw some extra hope my way. Our midwife is encouraging us to light candles for the insemination, to raise energy and make our intentions known. She really is good for me, for us. She is bringing back that side of me that wants to call on the goddess/universe/magic to make this happen. So we will be setting up our baby altar again and drawing our baby’s soul toward us in as many ways as we can.
I am still cautious. I am very realistic about the slim chances involved in this first cycle working, and J and I are prepared to deal with the letdown should it come, to take the steps toward the second cycle, and the third and fourth and…oh, I hope it doesn’t take that long. But you get the picture. I know what sort of ride we may have ahead of us. But today, I’m clinging to this excitement because it feels so damn good to be drunk on hope.

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Filed under midwife, sperm, ttc, witchiness

game on

I started spotting tonight.

Just after I noticed the spotting, I happened to check my email and heard from the cryobank. Our fear had been that we would have to pay a dewar deposit, which would have been bad news. Very bad news. We would have been out this cycle.

The news from the email: no deposit required.

We will order sperm on Friday. We will inseminate in approximately two weeks.

Reproducing Genius Phase II has officially begun, and tears are streaming down my face. Holy shit! This break is officially over!

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Filed under cryobank, good news, sperm, ttc

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

Last Wasted Egg?

I’m overflowing with fertile signs right now, which means one thing: this is my last spent egg before we get started again.  We’ve got all the paperwork in (again), and with any luck, it will go through without a hitch (ha!). Believe it or not, I’m finally starting to get excited about this.

Next week we have our midwife appointment, and that too is thrilling to me. I can’t wait to see what she’s like in person and to feel another surge of positivity. (Who is this person occupying my head?)

I haven’t been temping. I can’t foce myself to wake up and stick a thermometer in my mouth at 5am (which is what I would have to do for any accuracy due to my early morning teaching schedule). I did it for a year, and I’m tired of it. I’ll do it again next month, I suppose, but I’m feeling whiny about it. Do I have to temp? J keeps scolding me, but I’m thinking I want to toss my thermometer out the window and never look back. I’m feeling like taking chances, like I don’t want to be bound to gazing at charts; they only lead to unhealthy obsessive behavior in me. Will someone give me permission not to temp? Please?

Tonight my mom comes for a brief visit, and Saturday we go to see some very dear friends of ours from Humboldt in their new place in a new town. We get to see where their wedding will be–where I will officiate my very first wedding–but more than anything, we get some time with people who have known us for ages, people with whom we can discuss annoying students, unresponsive and apathetic classes, as well as baby plans, homesickness, and all the rest.

Meanwhile, J is in a paper-grading marathon, and I’ve got to clean. First, though, I’m going for a walk. It’s a beautiful fall day, and I need to be out in it.

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Filed under BBT, friends, ovulation, ttc

dreaded paperwork

I don’t know what it is, but every time J and I try to sign up with a sperm bank, something is amiss with our paperwork. Yes, we follow directions. Hell, I’m meticulous to a fault, but every time, something is wrong. Something is missing. This time, they want to know the departments we teach in and we have to use a different witness. What will it be next? Perhaps I’ll need to take a new driver’s license photo, or maybe my signature will need to be more legible (good luck with that!). Holy hell. Why does every fucking step in this process have to include hitches?

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Filed under sperm, ttc

how did i get here?

Last night I had a minor meltdown of sorts. We had sent off our paperwork to the spermbank, and J was feeling quite hopeful and excited. In fact, she’s been getting really excited that we’re nearing the end of our break. I had to tell her that I was having a hard time getting there. The last year and a half have worn me down so much, and I’m frankly a bit scared to jump back in, spend a bunch of money, get our hopes up, and be disappointed time and time again.

Of course, she was disappointed to find out how negative I was feeling about it all. I’ve gone to some ugly places in my mind lately, and one ought not share those ugly places with one’s hopeful partner. Such sharing has a way of squashing one’s partner’s enthusiasm. I felt like shit about that. I still do.

So today I’m trying to turn myself around. I heard back from our midwife, and we’re arranging pre-IUI meeting with her in the coming weeks. This is good. Perhaps once we meet with her, I’ll feel more hopeful.

Yet, there’s this big part of me that says, “Yeah, right.” I want to be excited for my break to be over. I want to be eager to start this again. And I see all of your lovely comments about how excited you are for us, and I stare at them wondering how this can possibly be exciting anymore. I wonder how we could possibly ever be one of those couples who sees a second line on a pregnancy test or has to think about where their birth will take place.

But I have to find a way to get back to a place where I can at least look forward to this, even if the “h” word isn’t attainable just yet.

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Filed under fear, The Long Break, ttc

fragmented baby thoughts

There was a baby in our house last night. In fact, I was here with a baby by myself for a few hours. I watched my neighbor’s five-month-old. This baby likes me a lot; she loves to stare at me, smile at me, and chew on my hands, so we enjoyed having a few hours to stare and smile and make funny faces at each other, and she enjoyed chewing on my hands. J and I like having a baby in our house. It seems right to have a child here and oddly empty when they leave.

We have started the donor selection process at the cryobank we’ve chosen. J spent an hour or so this morning making a ranked list of donors she likes, which made me happy. I love it when she gets to play an active role in all of this. Now we just have to send in the paperwork and hope we get everything right.

I’m waiting to hear back from our midwife on cost for IUI. I’m still hoping she’ll be reasonable.

It seems like everyone in TTC/lesbian mom blogland (with the exception of a few of us stragglers) is pregnant or has a child now. I have no ill feelings toward all of you who are growing your babies and/or watching them grow now on the outside–believe me, I’m thrilled for every last one of you; it’s just feeling lonely here in the land of the childless.

I cried once when the baby was over last night. I stared at her wishing I knew what it was like to have a baby of my own. I quickly made myself stop crying because I didn’t want to upset her, but her presence made that feeling of absence, that baby ache, all the more poignant. It used to be that I could get a baby fix from other people’s babies. Now holding other people’s babies just makes me feel a little more sad about our own situation.

I am finishing up my second to last period before this break is over. One more visit from the crimson tide, and then we’re on to OPKs and EWCM and, for the first time ever, IUI. I’m being a good girl and taking my vitamins and my fish oil. I’m doing pilates to strengthen my core, losing weight, drinking water, and even limiting my wine consumption (that’s a tough one when it’s harvest time in wine country). I hope all of this means I’ll be rewarded for my good behavior.

J and I are taking a trip to Tahoe at the beginning of my next cycle. She’s optimistic that this will be our last hurrah before I’m pregnant. I don’t know what to think, but I’m excited to go to Tahoe with my lovely wife.

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Filed under babies, Ramblings, ttc

scene from our living room

J came over to me today as I was sitting in my chair, sat on the ottoman in front of me, made me put down the computer, and then she looked into my eyes. “It’s time,” she said earnestly.

“Time for what?” I asked. I had no idea what she was talking about. I had been in another world–a world of student emails and political blogs and ugly headlines.

“Time to start planning for our baby again. I want you to start temping. We need to get our paperwork settled with the sperm bank. We need to pick out a donor.”

My eyes welled up with tears as she continued to look intently at me, and she said, “Only one more wasted egg, baby. Just a little bit longer, and we can make our family.”

I took a deep breath and inhaled hope, possibility, and relief.

Yes, it’s time.

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Filed under ttc

babies, babies everywhere

We’ve had opportunities to spend a lot of time with babies lately. Our neighbor has a lovely little girl who is four or five months old, and she smiles everytime she sees me and J. We spent last weekend at my parents’ place, and we all babysat my two-month-old neice for a day and a half while my sister worked (look for a password protected post on this soon). We haven’t had babies this present in our lives in a long time, and while it’s nice, it’s making me long for this feeling we used to have.

Before J and I started down this path of making our family, we would sit and baby watch at the farmer’s market and tiptoe through the baby section at department stores with this feeling I can only describe as a craving. We WANTED a baby of our own, and any time we could spend with babies was a religious experience. Baby clothes were sacred. We didn’t have many babies around us in our academic world, and when we did have time with them, it was brief. As a result, babies resembled celebrities to us; we were their biggest fans.

I have to say, as painful as it could be sometimes, I loved that feeling. It propelled me forward through weightloss and healthy lifestyle choices. It gave me crazy hope and reminded me what all of this was for. As you can see, I’m speaking in the past tense. I don’t have that same feeling anymore, and I miss it.

Instead, I have this weird numbness when I see babies. Sure, they’re cute, and I love being with them. It’s great to see J with them, but I don’t have that crazed baby fan feeling. I can see baby clothes and I don’t even come close to melting into a pile of goo. This is not to say that I’ve lost my desire to have a child. Perhaps I’ve gotten to a point that it’s not so much about a baby but about a family, and I can’t help but think that’s far more healthy. It’s more long-term, holistic even.

But I’ve been feeling lately, as I snuggle these two different baby girls and watch them grow that I wish I could have that same enthusiasm–that naive eagerness to hold a baby in my arms. It infuriates me that this process takes that away and replaces it with things like anxiety, depression, and desperation. What’s odd is that I’m in none of those places right now. I’m in a place of near apathy, and that feels dangerous. This break hasn’t turned into the healthfest I imagined it to be. I’ve not lost weight, not made any major psychological growth, and while there are glimmers of hope when we think of new possibilities and techniques, it typically fades quickly to be replaced with more mundane everyday thoughts.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not in a bad place. I’m just missing those old feelings and missing the woman I used to be. Is there any chance of finding her again?

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Filed under childlessness, niece, ttc