Monthly Archives: August 2013

Try. Wait. Repeat.

Attempt to conceive number 2 took place this weekend. Sperm arrived, sperm was used, now we wait.

I already feel out of luck this round. Timing seemed off and things seemed different. I know the is vague but I assure you that is for your benefit. I’m not counting us out and am hoping for the best but I can already tell this waiting period will be easier. Maybe it is because I have already looked up all the information I can on the internet but I am able to focus on other things and wait it out.

I can tell that the longer this process goes on the more soul crushing it will be. Month two and I have pretty much given up hope. We’ll keep going and keep trying but I wonder how things will be month after month. I felt that I would be calmer and less optimistic but will this hopelessness be a pattern? If it does take us six months or more to get pregnant how will I feel then?

There are positive rays shining through. I’ll have less stress and anxiety and will hopefully be less sad when not pregnant and maybe more excited when I am. I knew what I was signing up for with this process but I think everyone holds out to that hope that they will get pregnant the first time. I’ve moved past hope and onto real. We will keep trying. We will keep waiting.

Advertisements

Ethics

While researching how to answer people’s questions about the donor Pot came across some troubling information. (Thanks, internet!) She found groups of adult children of anonymous sperm donors discussing how it is unfair to children to use an anonymous donor. These young adults are pissed. There is a documentary made (I’m guessing more than one but I didn’t look too hard) and in the reviews for the documentary people (including prominent feminists) referred to this as a human rights violation.

As people who are using an anonymous donor that had us panicked. Is what we are doing a huge ethical problem? We thought about this group of people and who they represent. First, donor conceived children who aren’t pissed aren’t necessarily going to take to the internet to talk about it. Second, most of these people were in their young twenties. We broke them down into two groups and addressed concerns of both.

Group one: people who were raised in a heterosexual household. These parents would have used a donor for a variety of fertility issues. I’m not sure how heterosexual households handle telling children they came from a donor but I can get a kid being upset if they grow up thinking they have a biological connection to someone only to find out later they don’t. I respect people’s choices concerning telling their kid no matter what they are and didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about this group of folks.

The second group of folks is queer families. I think that in some ways queer families have it a bit easier in this regard because at some point your kid takes a sex ed class and figures some things out. But how are donor conceived children in queer families hurt? Looking at the age of the people voicing these concerns I wonder what their lives have been like. How hard it was to grow up in the early 90’s with same sex parents. I also wonder how hard it was to be asked questions about being donor conceived and to exist in a world where people have little understanding of that. I am so grateful to the families that came before us but can’t imagine their struggles trying to find answers to the same questions we struggle with. In a different time, or even the same time in a different place, I can get why these children would be upset.

I think about our life and our community. There are huge advantages to living in a hippy town – I doubt there will be many people our child interacts with who have not met a donor child. We live in a wonderful and supportive community and while I am sure our child will get questions I am also sure that they will have support from their family, friends and teachers. They will be loved and supported.

I think about our family, both biological and chosen. I think about how excited their grandparents will be to know them. I think about the aunts and uncles they will have near and far and they kids they will grow up with, many of whom exist in queer families. I think about the talks we will have and the communication that we want to flow through our home. I know that they will have questions and I know that they may be angry but I also know they will have so much support. In the end I ask: Is it an ethics violation to have a child who is so fiercely loved?

The questions

We got the questions last night. We went to a friends’ house for dinner and let them in on our attempts to get pregnant. They have a toddler and we were some of the first people to know they were pregnant. They’ve been waiting for us to get pregnant but we hadn’t seen them in a while and hadn’t told them we were trying. Honestly, we aren’t really planning on telling anyone else we are trying but I am a terrible secret keeper and tend to tell people all the time. Hence the gang of two growing to three to five to seven to eight to now ten. I know my faults – secret keeping tops the list.

They are very excited and as a heterosexual couple had questions. The questions that we have been dreading. On one hand, I totally understand the curiousity and in a way feel it is my duty to inform people how picking a sperm donor works. Unless you are really looking for one I don’t think many people would know the process. They asked how we picked one and I answered those questions. In general terms, we looked at family health history, CMV status, and an anonymous donor. We settled on one without glasses because I wear glasses but didn’t pay much attention to the other info. Our friend asked what kind of info is given and I told her that you can get some basic stuff and pay for more if you want it. She asked if the basic stuff included a physical description and I told her it did. Maybe that opened the door to it – I don’t know – but her next question was what color hair and eyes did the donor have. This was where I realized I need to draw a line.

I can talk about the process and I can talk about the criteria that was important to us but I am not comfortable answering those questions. I dodged it by telling her I didn’t know (I do) but realized that I am not prepared for these questions. We are not prepared for these questions. I talked with Pot afterwards and she said I answered more than we agreed upon but that was fine and I was free to say what I wanted. The problem is that I don’t want to give that information but am not too sure how to explain that. When the questions get personal is it okay to say, “We’re not interested in discussing that”? Will we be labeled as smug for not giving close friends, family members, and complete strangers this information?

This is something we really need to figure out. We’re going to have a conversation about what we want to share and don’t want to share and how to draw that line. Maybe until that is decided I should keep my mouth shut.

Grounded

We are officially not pregnant. Honestly, by the time my period started it was a bit of a relief. The waiting period was long and emotional and now we can just move on to what is next. Our next shipment of sperm gets delivered next Friday and we’ll get ready to try again.

Currently nine people (besides us) know we are trying to get pregnant. These nine people are close friends of ours who are very supportive. Four of those nine people are two of our close couple friends who are also working on getting pregnant so having that support is really great. Having the support of those who have been there, those who will  be there, and those who are just here, now, for us, has been great.

But it is also hard having these people know. It’s hard because they are so encouraging. That sounds terrible but about half of these people were vocally optimistic that we would get pregnant the first try. In reality, it could take months. In reality, it could take years. In reality, it could never happen. But we need to be prepared for a long haul. We need to be prepared to change shorts to sweaters and still not be pregnant. In the meantime we need to enjoy each other and our friends and our family. While I hope that the waiting period gets easier as months pass I don’t expect it will. Hopefully we get pregnant quickly but I need to be grounded in the reality that we might not. I need my supports to voice that reality and be there to support us month after month and rejoice with us when it is our time. I love their enthusiasm and encouragement and want them to keep that up but also know that they will be there month after month and be honest with me about this process. While their support is amazing, I need it to be rooted in reality. I need help keeping grounded when excitment gets the best of me and help staying positive on days where I can’t do that on my own. 

But now, I mainly just want a glass of wine.

Tests

My last post/whine was a snapshot of a very hopeful me. I was CONVINCED I was pregnant with the waiting period still ticking along. That changed quickly. Shortly after posting that I became convinced I was not pregnant. This was devastating – to the point I sat crying at my desk at work.

I came to terms with it though and yesterday took a home pregnancy test. It was negative. I could still be pregnant and it not show up yet – I am supposed to start my period on Wednesday so that will really tell me if I am or not. I still do not think I am. I feel no different – in fact, I feel better than I did in the first week after insemination.

This first round has been a rollercoaster of emotions. While I expect to not be pregnant I find myself fine with that. I feel ready to move to the next round as a calmer, more emotionally stable person.

Whines

I am pretty convinced I am pregnant. While that sounds awesome this is really not where I wanted to be. Do I want to get pregnant first try? Absolutely! Do I want to be convinced I am pregnant by day 7 of a 12 day waiting period? No. I have been telling myself that I would have a good sense of whether or not I was pregnant by the end of the first week. Now I am here and don’t know how I will make it another week before finding out.

I had some cramping last night that could be implantation cramping – when the zygote sets up a home in your uterus. I know the early pregnancy symptoms and am slowing checking them off the list in my head. I’ve honestly tried hard not to but this wait is just so terrible.

I know we should get pregnant in the first six months and know that there is a 20% chance of getting pregnant month one. Logically, I know this is probably not it. I posted a question on the forum set up by the sperm bank and a lot of lovely ladies talked me down some about how this could be it or it could be nothing. I’m trying hard to stay grounded during this wait.

The idea of having this wait every month is pretty much the worst thing I can imagine. I know that sound over dramatic but I really hate this. Now that I reread this post is one big whine – only one more week to go.

Waiting

This waiting game is terrible. I just can’t even begin to explain it. I really did think I would be calm and relaxed about this which is odd since I can’t remember the last time I was calm and relaxed about anything.

In some ways I think it gets easier every day and in some ways I think harder. It is easier now, four days past insemination, to get my mind on other things but I also know step by step what should be happening and look for signs of that. If I am pregnant, the fertilized egg should be in or arriving in my uterus now. At 6 to 7 days everything should implant into my uterus. This is when a lot of women notice something is up because there is cramping or spotting. I am trying hard not to imagine symptoms so knowing this might happen is kind of killing me. I’ve felt nauseous since the insemination but that could be anything, including nerves.

While we wait we try to keep our mind off things. Before insemination we started watching The West Wing (for the third time) and will finish season 2 tonight. There are still five more seasons to go so that will get us through this waiting game easily. We won’t test until the 13th – a week and a day to go.

While The West Wing is helping the wait time I can tell you what is not helping: the internet. If I could tell you the number of times a day I google “earliest signs of pregnancy”… Also, Pot and I made an Amazon wish list of baby items last night. While a super fantastic activity, maybe not great for the anticipation.

I’m curious to see how this waiting period changes from month to month (of course, if more that one month is needed). As someone who is already more anxious than most people I wonder if I will calm down as times and tries go by or if each month it will be this excruciating. I’m not entertaining the possibility that as the months go by this will get worse.

Round One

So round one is complete. We got to UPS early in the morning on Thursday, picked up our package, and were ready to go.

The whole experience was exciting and surreal. For those who don’t know, it goes like this: The sperm is in a tank of liquid nitrogen. You open it and, with gloves on, pull out a long metal stick with a vial attached. (See picture.) You let the vial first crystallize then thaw, then bring it up to your body temperature by carrying it around for a bit, then inseminate. The whole process from pulling it out to finishing insemination was under a half hour which really surprised me as I was expecting it to take longer. We inseminated in the morning, went to work, and inseminated with the second vial in the evening after work before Pot’s softball game. (We figured that is good lesbian luck.)

Like scientists, y'all.

Like scientists, y’all.

Now we wait. I thought this would be a simple thing and I could remain calm. That went out the window about a half hour after insemination. After reading things on a forum I lightly use I thought, “I will NOT go as nuts as these folks.” Lie. So we wait two weeks. We inseminated on the first, my period is suppose to start the 14th. We’re trying to hold out for the 13th to test. In the meantime, I am trying hard not to take things as a sign. A stomach ache could be fertilization and implantation or it could be the fact I ate bean burritos three days in a row. I feel a bit nauseous, but do I or do I just want to? I think as the days go by I will lose hope a bit and maybe not be as anxious. I talked to my best friend yesterday – she has a one year old conceived by a donor. She just laughed and said that it will suck every month and there isn’t much I can do to help it.

It helps that Pot is not much for speculation. When I try to get her to guess about tv show story lines (Who do you think is the killer? Will they love it or list it?) she always says, “Maybe if you wait and watch the show you’ll find out.” I guess that is what we do now -wait and watch the show and find out.