Monthly Archives: November 2013

Traditions

The holidays are hard. They became increasingly hard for us when we moved 3000 miles away from our families but I think they were hard there, too. We were torn between when we should see each parent and didn’t take a lot of time to think about what we wanted our holidays to look like, instead just went through the motions of what we needed to do.

When we moved, we started to think about our own traditions. Now that we have been in our new town for four years we have developed some that belong to us. We have traditions about how we get our christmas tree and buying a new ornament every year and filling our christmas stockings. But while we have developed some traditions each year our holidays have looked different. We have gone to different friend’s houses or had different people at ours. We don’t have set Thanksgiving or Christmas plans and while we always have a nice time we struggle to define our family traditions.

Our best friends are mad at us. One of our best friends is mad at me. We went to their house yesterday for Thanksgiving and it was mildly awkward. I don’t really know why she is mad. I know what it centers around but I don’t really know what the actual issue is. I found this out Wednesday. It was too late to really change Thanksgiving plans but as a result of this we were uninvited at the last minute to an event today – one of their family traditions that we have joined in the past. A family tradition that I had hoped was ours as well as I consider them our extended family here.

I’m not mad that she is mad at me. I find some of the ways it is being handled to be irritating but people have the right to feel how they feel. I am sad about the loss of stability. This is the first year that we have done the same thing for Thanksgiving two years in a row. Traditions between our family and theirs have blended in many ways and I liked having a stable extended family unit. It may be an overreaction on my part (I mean, what is a family holiday without drama?) but I now feel the fine tune our own traditions and hold tight my small family unit.

This is a bit complicated around Christmas. This is where we have the most traditions that are solely ours but it is also what will change the most when we have a child. When we have a child we do not plan to celebrate Christmas. We want to keep many of the traditions alive but center them around Solstice. Neither of us are religious and we have a hard time with having family traditions center around a religious holiday. We don’t do this now, though, so we will have a drastic shift around this when we have a child. This will have a lot of complications – first explaining it to our families, then reworking and figuring out new traditions, and then at some point explaining to our child why we do not celebrate a holiday their friends and family celebrate. We already know we’ll spend a lot of time listening to The Christians and the Pagans.

Our roommate, K, brought up something I know to be true when talking about this last night. She said that our child will not know what our traditions are until they are a few years old. I know we have time to fine tune these things and figure out what works for us but I want them to know these traditions were always there. I think about the pictures I have of me, year after year, sitting under the Christmas tree with my siblings and cousins at my aunt’s house on Christmas day. Many pictures are from before I remember but I know my family traditions were in place long before I was in the picture. Now we’re grown and live in different states and I don’t see my family for the holidays. I talk to my mom on facetime and call my dad but sometimes don’t even talk to my siblings on Christmas. When I think about these things I realize that the desire for family traditions isn’t completely about what I want for a child but something for me and Pot, too. So today I decided that our day after Thanksgiving tradition involves spending the day in pajamas watching bad made for tv Christmas movies and working on crafting our niece’s and nephew’s holiday gifts . And as for Christmas – we’ll keep building our traditions. They may shift as our family grows but no matter what they’ll center around our family and years from now we can sit and look at pictures and see the continuum and recognize the traditions and know they are ours.

Demons

Trying to get pregnant is not bringing out the best in me. After 5 failed attempts I feel like I am fighting major demons that normally lie dormant.

I find myself judging others who get pregnant. Most are not worthy of it for one reason or another. It may be that I don’t think their relationship is solid, or they do not have enough stability, or they are too young. Whatever the reason, I deem them unfit to carry a child. In reality, I work in a field where I see people get pregnant under horrible circumstances regularly. I know that as I see people get pregnant now, whether that is in real life or on a forum or blog, chances are it is something they wanted as badly as I do. That alone should point to the fact that they’ll be okay and should make me excited for them but it doesn’t. Instead I just think about how it should be me.

One of my best friends, L, told me today that a mutual friend is pregnant. She has been trying for a long time. She has wanted a baby as long as I have known her (which is close to ten years). I think it’s great but can’t feel excited for her. I am fearful that one of my two close friends who are trying will get pregnant and I won’t feel excited for them. I don’t know that what I feel is jealousy but instead superiority. It’s not a flattering side of me.

Another struggle I have is with myself. I am not now, and never have been, a petite person. I have taken to blaming myself for not being pregnant. My weight, my lack of exercise, my eating habits. In reality, I know that none of these things are that bad. My weight isn’t terrible, I could be a bit more active, and overall I eat well. But when my period shows up I start to question everything in my life. Unfortunately, that just puts me into a deeper hole of self-doubt. It’s really unfair that women find out they are not pregnant when their period comes. It makes me an emotional mess. I take pride in the way I think about my body. While I am not small size I am happy with myself and “imperfections” that I have. This is becoming harder to maintain as the pregnancy tests keep coming back negative.

I’m having a hard time relating to other people. The only people I feel comfortable talking to is other people who are trying because I know they feel a lot of these things too. I know they feel the jealousy and the self-doubt and depression. A lot of people know we are trying but I don’t want to talk about it anymore while on the other hand it is all I want to talk about. I feel like people can’t relate and they really have no idea how hard this process is. I had no idea how hard this process is. L recently told me that trying to get pregnant was worse than child birth. I don’t know for sure but can believe that is true.

Things might be worse now because of the holidays. I have a lot of traditions I want to incorporate into our life with child and it seems less likely that in 2014 we’ll have a baby in our arms over the holidays. I feel a huge divide between me and my family. My mom doesn’t know that we are trying to get pregnant and I feel awkward keeping this secret when she asks how things are going. I didn’t come out as a lesbian until my first three year relationship ended. I felt the strains on relationships in my life during that period and this is starting to feel similar. At first it wasn’t an issue but as trying to conceive because an indefinite process I feel more uncomfortable keeping it from people while at the same time more confidant that I don’t want more people to know.

I know these are things that others trying to conceive are feeling and I know I am not alone in my fight of my demons. I maintain some hope that the end result will be good and am a big believer that things happen for a reason and when it is our time it will be the right time. Logically, I know I things are fine and people have tried longer than this and that it will come. But today, in my current head space, it seems that the only light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

Community Part 2

While trying to conceive I have found a lot of support in the online community. While I have friends who tried to get pregnant many years ago and gave us some tips and friends trying to get pregnant now with different levels of medical intervention, I have found the forum set up by my sperm bank to be the biggest resource. Many folks on the forum are trying to conceive at home without a doctor like we are and when I ask a question I get a range of answers back quickly. I’ve seen some drama take place there but for the most part, it is a good online forum.

 They forum has a board for folks trying to get pregnant, one for pregnant folks and those with newborns, and one focused on parenting. I’ve often wondered what use I would have in this board once we get pregnant. The people range from those with mainstream parenting styles to the extremely crunchy. While I think some of the folks on the parenting side I would really like I think others I wouldn’t care for. I assumed that I would use the forum less once I got pregnant but still look at it and see if there was anything interesting.

 But this month things changed. For the past four cycles we have only picked donors who would want no communication with any child conceived with their sperm. This felt safe for us and we don’t want the donor in our or our child’s life so it makes sense. The more we talked about it, though, the more this didn’t feel like the right decision. We don’t want a donor with open communication because it feels safe FOR US. But the donor is not ours, it is our child’s. Picking a donor with open communication does not mean that they can contact you and does not mean that your child has to have any relationship with them. It simply means that when our child turns 18 they will have the option of contacting their donor. Maybe. Donors can change their mind on this so while a donor is open now they may not be down the road. There is no guarantee that the donor will respond if our child contacts him and no guarantee that the donor will still be open to communicating with our child but choosing an open donor is the only thing we can do to give our child a chance at that conversation if they want it. Will that possibly be a hurtful experience for us, especially Pot who does not have a biological connection to our child? – Yes, but I don’t think that hurt is going to undo that 18 years the came before it.

 After making this decision the forum became a stranger place for me. Some users are open about what donor they are using and some are not. The folks who are using donors with open communication are often more open on the forum about what donor they picked. Many choose to have friendships with other folks who had children with the same donor. I know at least three women on the forum are currently pregnant with the donor we are using.

 One of the reasons we have wanted to know very little about our donor is because our child will be our child. We don’t want to look at our child and see attributes that belong to this man we do not know. Neither of us thinks that biology plays the biggest role in who we are. Yes, we are both a lot like our parents but I don’t think the fact that my mom, sister, aunt, and I all consider trail mix to be only peanuts, m and m’s, and raisins to be a something that was biologically passed down. I don’t want to strongly believe that my child likes something because the donor likes something. I want my child to constantly surprise me with their interests and personality. Additionally, I do not want to birth a child, hold it in my arms, and try to pick our features that belong to a man I have never met and never will. I want to hold my child and look at Pot and have my mind at ease knowing our family ends there.

 As these women on the forum prepare to birth children by this donor I wonder if I will leave this community behind. I am a pretty nosy person so I worry that I will look at these babies and examine their features and look for the commonalities that belong to this man. I worry that people will see a picture of my child and know who the donor is without me telling them. I worry people will assign our child as a member of their community without my permission. I worry that I will read a post in 6 years that talks about their children’s favorite books and see my child reflected in their posts. The switch to an open donor and the knowledge that these families exists is a jarring reminder that our child has this other part that is not ours but is theirs. While that is something I expect to be confronted with throughout their life I find myself trying to keep a protective eye on this family of mine that is not yet created. I want so badly to hold on our child as long as I can and know that they are nothing more than ours.

Community Part 1

I love the town I live in and being part of this community. When we go to different things in town I think about what traditions I want for a child – what annual events we will attend and what activities we’ll do as a family. Because we do not yet have a child I like to think that we’ll have one of those well behaved fun kids that manage well at adult focused events and we can live a life that does not only exist of play dates and eating pizza at the really bad pizza place that has a play room. I want our family to be seen. I want people in town to know our child and I want to be able to merge my current life with my future life. I have a bit of social anxiety and don’t really love large crowds. I recently told Pot I thought we should throw a Christmas party but then remembered I don’t like parties. Or other people. This is something that I hope I can hide from my child. I hope they can learn to be comfortable in any environment and be free and not know there is panic under my skin.

We are lucky to live in an extremely liberal town. This has it’s benefits and drawbacks. The benefit is that our child will not stand out with two moms and will be usually treated like any other child and we will be treated like any other parents. I’ve complained since we moved here that there is no lesbian specific (or gay specific for that matter) place in town. We’re from the midwest. We like our lesbian bars kind of sketchy with no windows. There is no lesbian bar here and it is often hard to find places where lesbians gather. Luckily, there is a lesbian mom group in town. We have friends who are part of it and we’ll go hang out with them when baby comes. I think the highest number of lesbians we have had together at one time since moving here is 6. It’s been four years. It’s nice to know that by having a child we can reconnect with that aspect of our community more.

The downfall to living in a extremely liberal town is that I sometimes feel things are contest of who is the biggest hippie. This is worse with parents. I’ve seen it happen with parents I know that I now struggle to connect with. While in the midwest we would have been considered “crunchy” for planning to have a home birth, make our own baby food, and cloth diaper here we are mainstream. I fear judgement for the things we don’t plan to do that are considered very normal in parenting circles here – for example we don’t want to co-sleep and we plan to occasionally tell our child “No”.

I’ve watched the divide develop between us as non-parents and our friends as parents in recent years. I’ve watched the different relationships between our parenting friends here and our parenting friends in the midwest. Our midwest friends do a lot of things I may not do as a parent but I don’t feel as if they have fundamentally changed. Our relationships with them have changed as most do over time but I do not feel our connection is different because they are parents and we are not. I’ve watched friends here become parents and seen things changed. I’ve heard them tell me that I couldn’t understand how it feels to hear your child cry because I am not a parent. I have seen our relationship change and felt no longer welcome as part of their lives because I do not have a child.

We have friends with children and without. We have friends who want children and who don’t. I’m eager to embrace parts of our community that are for parents and children even though I worry we will be regarded as too mainstream. I have a lot of hope in the lesbian mom group to be a safe space – I’ve always found that the common ground of lesbianism trumps all differences – at least for a short while until the drama starts. But I worry about alienating my non parent friends. I want to keep my community and while I want it to evolve, I dread it not staying the same.

New plan

After a great visit with the doctor we ordered sperm and were ready to go. We had a plan. I’d get a positive on the ovulation kit, we’d call the doctor, and we’d go in the next day to get the insemination.

As is the story with our journey to pregnancy, things have not gone as planned. Judging from when I normally ovulate I thought I’d ovulate Thursday or Friday. This month we switched brands of ovulation predictor kits because I felt that I was showing positive too early and have trouble telling if the two lines on the stick are the same color. Unlike pregnancy tests where even a faint hint of a second line is a positive ovulation prediction kits want you to tell if the two lines are the exact same color. This proved challenging for me. Pot often asks me after I get dressed in the morning and think things match if I am colorblind -these tests are really making me wonder. The new test confirmed my suspicion. I got a positive today, on day 12, instead of day 10.

Here’s where we run into major problems. We called the doctor’s office yesterday and spoke with our doctor’s nurse. We knew our doctor would be out of town this weekend but found out yesterday that one of the other doctors who does iuis is out of town as well. There is one other doctor who does them will be around this weekend but the nurse couldn’t get ahold of her. She told me they probably couldn’t make it happen this time.

On one hand I am ANNOYED. We have a tank of sperm sitting in our living room and are ready to go. I wish the doctor would have been more realistic with us from the start (although I think she didn’t really know). But on the other hand, we just keep moving. We have two options – send the vial back or inseminate on our own. We are picking option two. The problem is that we didn’t order any insemination supplies meaning we need to scramble today to get a syringe and a catheter. Fingers crossed we have good luck at the farm store this afternoon so we can inseminate tonight (tonight instead of the morning due to dog sitting a morning needy pup) and begin what, pray to the goddess, is our last two week wait.

Relief

Well, I wish we would have met with the doctor months ago. After the worst doctor appointment ever we went today and had an amazing experience.

The doctor was great. She was laid back and very open and I didn’t cry. We can continue using our same sperm bank and in the end it will cost us less than we are paying now. She recommends only using one vial a cycle (currently we are using two) which will save us $300. It is $210 for her to do the IUI. She will come in on weekends and work around our schedule and my ovulation. If she can’t, her business partner will.

Beyond that, she doesn’t suggest doing a lot of medical intervention now. We are doing no ultrasounds, no meds. Just me, Pot, the doctor, and a vial of sperm from a stranger. Perfect.

We will talk later about a plan for what to do if this doesn’t work. She said normally she suggests trying 6 months to a year. Since we tried at home we might only try three tries with her before looking at the next medical intervention.

I feel so relieved. We have a plan and an inexpensive one at that. In celebration I am buying new boots and ordering sperm.