Archive for February, 2010

Missing Dad

Three months ago today I lost my father. Every Friday since then has been difficult (even though it’s a good thing to die on a Friday for a Jew). I’m not crying nearly as much anymore, but I haven’t stopped longing for him and shaking my head at times with disbelief that I’ll never see him or hear from him again.

My thoughts of him give me strength as K and I go through this process of procreation. My dad was a huge fan of K and our relationship. He never doubted our commitment and loved K for her beauty and smarts. Not every lesbo gets a dad like that.

I do get a bit weak in the knees when I think about our future kid not knowing my dad personally, and that I have to rely on my poor memory and storytelling skills to bring him to life for him/her(them). I had one terrific grandfather in my daily life for 11 years; I can’t believe our kid won’t have my dad around for even a day.

Does it help that it’s another cold, wet, and dreary day in the Northwest? Not one single bit. But, like I do most Fridays, I’ll pick myself up and start baking… this time challah AND hamentashen! My dad was a big fan of the pastry, and though I can’t eat mine with coffee the way he loved to, I will enjoy one in his honor.

Chillax!

If you know me, you know that “stress” is one of my main action verbs. (It’s true even if you don’t know me.) I found that as the days went by with no word from E2, I was stressing more and more about what to do next.

I ovulate in a few days and there will be no sperm around. Since we didn’t want this to happen again, we decided to return a hesitant but desperate gaze to the sperm banks this weekend (we looked at banks when we started this process a couple of years ago). A decision made. And wouldn’t you know it? We get a call from E2. It’s as if mama Universe was waiting for us to give up.

The last time we heard from E2, he told us that he recently had a cyst removed or something, but that he’d be able to get all the testing done in time for this cycle. Then he disappeared. And, now that it’s too late, he calls and says he’s ready to work.

Our initial instinct was to say (with a Beyonce attitude), “Uh uh!” But then a calmer refrain—“better late than never”—wiggled its way into our damning position. So I called him back last night. It was the first time I talked to him since we met. I asked him if the 3 of us could get together tomorrow to resituate (not a word?) and see where we’re all “at.” He started apologizing right away, as if I’d said, “We want to get together tomorrow to publicly flog you.” He explained that yesterday was the first day he’d left his house and been off pain meds. Now, I’ve had a cyst removed, snap snap. Methinks this was a different animal altogether. I wish he had explained what was happening and hadn’t told us that he thought he could get it done this month. It would’ve saved us from so much stress when we didn’t hear from him about getting his lab orders, etc.

This might be a good point at which to mention the fact that I am taking a meditation workshop. I have resisted meditation for so long; but this class is not about the Buddha or “aum”ing. So far, I’ve been working on noticing when things aren’t bears. Not enough money for mortgage? Not a bear charging at me. No sperm to get pregnant? Not a bear wanting to eviscerate me. You get the idea.

So, with my relaxation toolbelt bulging with conscious breathing and body scanning techniques, I will go meet with E2 tomorrow and hope for the best.

(Oh, dear god, can we trust him? What if he doesn’t communicate again?
Wait, I’ve got this… Not a bear!)

The Long and Winding Road

People like to joke that it should be easy for us to find sperm. Just go to a bar and find a drunk guy, right? It seems funny because it’s true; really, though, it’s disgusting.

So what are the real alternatives?

The sperm banks, at $500 a vial, are quite cost prohibitive. They also provide frozen sperm, which is not as potent as fresh and therefore less likely to work as well. The few good things about it are: you know the stuff is clean because it’s been quarantined for 6 months and thoroughly tested; you don’t need a sperm donor contract because the donor is anonymous; and you know that once you’ve paid for it, the sperm is available when you need it.

Another alternative, which we decided to try, is looking for a local known donor who would be willing to agree and sign off on everything we want. We thought we’d found our guy—actually two guys, since we had a first and second choice. But within the past few days, these options seem to have dematerialized.

It’s that last reason of why sperm banks are good: You know you’ve got it when you need it. We have been trying to get a hold of our first choice guy to no avail. We liked him so much and can’t understand why he is not responding to our emails and phone message. We are not hounding or badgering; we’ve simply said we’re hoping he’s okay, but that we need to talk. My next ovulation is this weekend, and, unless he got his stuff and his blood tested today, there’s no way in hell we’re going to get it done. It’s so disappointing because we got the lab orders for him and we had the contract rewritten for him specifically. Now he’s awol?

Our second choice seems like a more responsible guy, even though we didn’t “like” him as much. This means he’s not the kind of guy you’d find at our dinner parties. I wonder now why that was so important in our choice considering the whole idea was to not have the donor in our lives. We emailed him to see if he was still interested since it looks like our first choice might be a flake. Well, he wrote back (which is a plus), but he said he’s planning to move to Korea to teach English in April.

Do we try to get things ready to work with him for the following ovulation—pay for all the testing and another contract—even though we may get only one try? Do we give our first choice a chance/time to resurface and explain? Can I handle going through the search for another donor all over again? Do we max out a credit card trying with frozen goods?

I’m dizzy and need to get out of the car.

Jew Gotta Be Kidding Me! or What’s In a Name?

Before our lovely doctor left town, she gave us the lab form our donor will need to get all his tests. That lab order now has the wrong name on it and is missing a crucial blood test.

How did this happen? It’s the kids these days.

That’s my theory, anyway. I think that E2 didn’t realize that we might want to know his real last name (rather than his “punk” name) before paying to have a new contract drawn up. He also didn’t realize that a donor should disclose whether he’s a freakin’ Ashkenazi Jew or not. Thankfully, when I heard his actual name, I put Jew and nose together and got… Tay-sachs! His is such a post sexuality, post gender, post religion, (post critical thinking?) generation.

I shouldn’t rag on E2 too much (“rag” just gave away my generation, huh?). We picked him for reasons that still exist. I know I’m just wigging (that’s right) because of the known/stranger donor thing. There’s so much trust involved in using the fluids of a stranger, and I’m just feeling a tad untrusting when these “little” things pop up.

Of course, with all the worrying I do, I realize I wouldn’t have to divulge my religious heritage either.

Donor, the Second

You’re probably thinking, “What will these perfectly lovely ladies do now that their donor, E1, is done donating?” Well, the answer should be obvious: E2!

When we realized that our past try was our last try with E1, we (actually, K) posted an ad on a certain website looking for a “healthy young man to help us start a family.”

Surprisingly (and a huge relief), we received a lot of really nice responses. I have little faith in humanity (and yes, I still want to bring a child into the world), so I was blown away by the sincerity and lack of homophobia.

We came up with a list of questions (our version of a sperm bank donor questionnaire) and sent it to the most viable candidates. What makes a viable candidate, you ask? For us, it was important that the guy understood what we were asking for without us having to spell it out for him. For example, we did not send our questions to the respondent who asked, “How do you plan to do this without sex?” We also favored men in their 20s over late teens and 30s/40s (ageism is nothing when you’re entrenched in pure eugenics). We narrowed our choices down to 5, communicated that we wanted to meet them, and then narrowed down to 3, whom we actually met.

We decided to meet them (separately, of course) at my favorite tea place. We liked the first guy we met right off. It turned out that he’s gay like us! (My “dar” died when we left the Bay Area, I guess.) We’ve been waiting to have him get tested until we knew for sure I wasn’t pregnant this time.

Well, we know now (boy, do I know), but we’re having some trouble getting in touch with him. Bad sign? We’re hoping to try again in less than 2 weeks, but he’d need to get tested, we’d have to get and like the results, and then we’d all have to sign a new donor agreement. Somewhere in there, he would have a lawyer look at the contract as well. Is it ridiculous to think we can get this done on time? Especially if we can’t establish good communication? Oy.

My Bloody Valentine

Guess what the universe gave me for Valentine’s Day? A drop in basal body temperature and cramps! (I swear, if it weren’t for self-pity and sarcasm, I don’t know what I’d do.)

A couple days ago I had a little spotting, so rather than accept the fact that this happens every month a few days before my period begins, I spent way too long on the internet researching implantation bleeding. If I could just find that one miracle article that made everything sound right, I for sure would be pregnant instead of so obviously (face breaking out) headed for menstruation.

Alas.

The trick now is not to let myself think that there is something “wrong” with me. An acupuncturist has told me that I have low blood volume (do I have an inhospitable uterine lining?). I’ve had autoimmune issues throughout my life (does my body attack everything it encounters–including sperm?). And here’s the emotional kicker: Do I not deserve to get pregnant (because I’m a big lesbo and an affront to “natural” procreation)? Yeah, PMS can bring out the internalized homophobia in the best of us.

So with a hot water bottle tucked awkwardly in the elastic waistline of my 1993 UofA sweatpants, I will go forth into the Day of Love and await the blood.

In Case You’re Wondering

I realized after I announced the birth of my blog to my Facebook world that I may have opened a can of worms (not the red wigglers I love in my garden, but the unfortunate kind in gross movie scenes).

Because two of my favorite pastimes are avoiding confrontation and simultaneously saving myself and others time, I encourage you to follow the two links below if you find yourself wondering about things I haven’t (yet, possibly) come out and said.

List of questions 1

List of questions 2

Have I scared you off?

Reading the Signs

I’m nauseated. And I hate that this means nothing.

At random points in the past few days, I’ve felt like I needed to vomit (sorry for the graphic discussion, but me thinks it will only get graph-ickier). I’ve also been voraciously hungry. At the same time, my boobs are not big and heavy, I think I have cramps, and there’s a stomach bug going around.

We inseminated only 9 days ago, so the egg, if fertilized, probably hasn’t even implanted yet. I recognize that I am making myself crazy with this. But at least there’s only 6 days to go before I get my period (or don’t!).

And what does it mean to see pregnant women everywhere? (That’s right, I’ll be the Haley Joel Osment in M. Night Shyamalan’s new thriller The Sick Sense.) I just got back from our local health food market and Trader Joe’s, so you know my eyes are burning.

A ran into a friend yesterday who told me she recently miscarried. She also commented on the phenomenon of the ubiquitous bellies. Is it a good sign or a bad sign? More importantly, are my jealous stares harming them in any way? If so, I need to start shopping blindfolded.

Bodyworkaholic

I can now add structural integration (Rolfing) to the long list of things I’ve put my body through in a highly expensive attempt to be as healthy and strong as possible for pregnancy and motherhood.

I had always heard that Rolfing hurt like a late-night beating in the alley outside a bar. But the session I just got home from was more like receiving the gentle manipulations of a skilled dance partner. The guy with the hands took my extensive history of bodily misfunctions (I know it’s not a word) and then looked and felt around to see where things were stuck. Did you know that your stomach could get stuck to your back? Or that your arteries could get tight? Handsy knew anatomy like the back of his…  nope, not gonna do it.

While I was spewing my litany of body complaints, I realized that I have been at this gig for years (hmm, since K was in massage school… interesting!). I’ve had countless Swedish, Thai, and Shiatsu massages; I’ve been to several acupuncturists; I’m a regualr at the chiropractor; I’ve done multiple rounds of PT; I’ve plugged my nose and taken drawers full of nasty herbs (Western and Chinese); I even saw a guy once who waved his hands behind my back and said that I was now healed of any trauma caused by my brother’s childhood bullying (what?!).

Did I mention the latest craze? Denying my body! I’ve been off gluten for 6 months now. I no longer consume caffeine, lactose, soda, or cane sugar.

I’m constantly asked whether any of these things have made me “feel better.” No? I don’t know? Yes? It’s the weirdest thing because I’ve never experienced anything like a “recovery” and so I don’t recognize any significant changes. I try to explain that people tend to notice when things hurt or are uncomfortable, so the fact that I’m not noticing any particularly “better” feelings is probably a good thing, sorta.

Will I keep writing the checks (because you know that my state medical insurance doesn’t cover these “alternative” practices)? Will we continue to sacrifice pleasures like clothes from this century in order to try things that may lead to the relief of unwanted symptoms? The holes in my socks will tell you.

The Waiting Game

This is the thing about everyone knowing that you’re trying to get pregnant. People say, “Good luck!” but it’s already decided. Right now my egg is either fertilized, or it is so not. There’s no luck or wishes or prayers or vitamins that can change what is or is not the truth right now in my uterus. And yet… for the next 10 days or so, I have no clue. It’s the meanest kind of Vegas game possible.

The first time we tried, back in May of ’09, everything seemed so perfectly planned. We hit the right dates with the insemination. My wife made a beautiful alter on top of the dresser with poems and photos—including a photo of my mom very pregnant with me in her stylin’ ’70s bathing suit. Our donor brought games to play and, since the weather was perfect, we went to a street fair. There was a makeshift booth where some rascals were taking black&white photos with a Polaroid. They took one of us but gave it to us for free because there was some “weird sun spot or something” in it. It was clear to me, my wife, and E1 (donor friend) that the glowing orb which emanates with E1 and blooms in the kiss between my wife and I is the spirit of the baby being made that very instant in my womb.

This time, it was much colder and rainier, E1 was here for 36 hours, and that romantic feeling of “rightness” was nowhere around. My superstitious self thinks: so maybe since I was so sure I was pregnant last time and I wasn’t, this time I’m not sure so I must be! Um… yeah. That’s the kind of logic that suffuses these two weeks of waiting. Logic and luck. Works every time.


(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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