Archive for March, 2010

The Results Are IN

We have millions upon millions of normal swimmers!

I’ve got two hours until people arrive and way too much to do still, but I don’t care!

I just got off the phone with E2, who is very excited. He said, “You’re going to make  a great baby.”

Happy Passover!!!

Balls in the Air

I’m writing from a living room transformed into dining hall. Late into the night, K and I took apart, moved, reassembled, and repositioned tables until we managed to assure 15 viable seats for tonight’s Passover seder. Earlier in the day, I made gluten-free matzah for the first time. Today I tackle GF matzah balls!

Speaking of which, today is also the day E2 gets his semen retested. This time he knew exactly when to “do his thing” to get the best results. I cannot express how much I hope the results are best. We still haven’t narrowed down a frozen donor, I’m not looking forward to charging up $1000 for a couple of vials, and I so prefer using the fresh and local goods whose DNA I can actually see (E2 is pretty darn cute). My pre-Passover wish (which I just made up ’cause I’m pretty sure Jews don’t get to make wishes on a holiday like it’s a birthday cake) is for millions and millions of normal looking, fast moving swimmers.

On a side note… I got my hair cut yesterday. I was convinced that growing it out so that I could put it back in a ponytail for birth and postpartum was an excellent idea. I was planning to get a cut that would make the growing-out process less unbearable. I decided to go to a real stylist (I usually go to the cheap, punk barbershop where you get what you pay for). I plead my case to her, but the stylist firmly disagreed, citing her own pregnancy experience. “At some point, you’re going to feel ugly, fat, and…” She picked up a chuck of my natural gray hair and added, “…old.” She convinced me to let her make it cute (i.e. short). The offer I couldn’t refuse? She said that I could come in every 4-6 weeks for a trim for only $10 until the baby (she knows we’re trying but not preggers yet) is 1 year old.

The coolest thing about the visit was when, having finished, she said, “You see, now that you’ve shown how flexible you are, you’re going to get pregnant!” So, even if I can’t count on my wishes, maybe I can count on the soothsaying of a hairstylist.

$o $ucky

Holy hell.

My money sun must be setting in my moon’s arse house today, astrologically speaking. I know we all have money problems, especially now. I’m sorry for what I’m about to spew, and thanks for understanding…

Our pup, Lyra, is at the animal hospital getting over $800 worth of testing after another episode of upset belly/hunger strike. She’s been to the same vet for similar problems a half dozen times over the past two years. This time, supposedly, we’ll get to the bottom of it (I think they meant the bottom of our reserves).

Just now, I got a call from E2, who I am meeting tomorrow with a check for his new sperm analysis (to happen Monday). He said that he received a bill for $400 from the lab where he took the first test. WHAT!? We were told it was $84, which we paid for with our credit card over the phone. A friend told us that it cost her around $500 to get donors tested, and we just assumed our first lab was really cheap—especially since they effed it all up by not giving E2 the pretest instructions, thereby rendering the results (yes, the $400 results) useless.

I can’t think of a credit card that can handle all this. We have registration with the sperm banks to pay for and vials of frozen sperm to buy. I want to cry, but I’m in public. Hey, I can give up completely in public! I’m already slumped over my laptop; giving up probably looks like that but a little paler.

Pink Is the Loneliest Color

I got a strong pink line on the ovulation pee stick today. Right on schedule. I should be jumping up and down, calling our local donor to come over, and getting basted. But, sadly, this egg, too, shall pass.

I did talk to E2 today, however. He’s all registered to get retested next Monday (for a pretty penny!). In the meantime, I’ve had my fertility hormones retested (still good) and have learned that I am not a Tay-sachs carrier.

In case E2’s numbers are still poor, K and I have narrowed our frozen picks down to 3. We have no idea what these guys look like, and none of them have a sparkling clean family health history. But, once we register and pay for it, we know we’ll get the sperm (cold as it is). Deciding which of the 3 to go with is our next step.

I can’t believe it’s the end of March 2010 already. I can’t believe I’m not having a baby this year. So universal fairies, as much as I don’t necessarily want a Capricorn baby (no offense to anyone), I better be thrilled when I see pink this time next month!

It’s Been Broughten

It’s funny; the laboratories of the world (or Portland) think they can stop me now.

With all of our efforts thwarted by ridiculousness, life is starting to feel like a goofball comedy. First, E2 doesn’t get the instructions before his sperm analysis. The results come back terrible and possibly bunk. Our doctor suggested we call that lab to get a refund. We did, and they said it was the doctor’s responsibility to tell E2 the pretest info. What’s ridiculous is that the lab faxed our doc the instructions after E2 came and went (so to speak).

So we decided to get him retested (because we’re desperate for his count and motility to be magically and drastically better than what it probably is). We asked him to call and make an appointment with the fancy lab up on the hill (where our fancy research hospital is). They had him on hold forever and then told him he needed a doctor’s orders. When we learned about this, I called the lab to find out exactly how they want the doctor’s order delivered (I’m finally realizing that you have to ask all imaginable questions up front to avoid extra steps). After two calls of being on hold forever, I was able to have them fax the form to my doc, who immediately faxed it back to them. I called E2 and said, “Now, young lad. Now you can call and make that appointment!” Well, he just called to say that the lab wasn’t satisfied with the info our doc faxed back and so “No appointment for you!” (a la Soup Nazi).

I’m seriously getting fed up. Who’s pulling these strings?

I know, I know. Those of you with kids are thinking, “Dealing with health situations with a kid is only going to be more frustrating, so you better just get used to it.”

But I’m not bitching about false starts here. I’m bitching about false whatever comes before there’s even a glimmer of a start!

My resolution: I’m just going to look at every stupid little challenge as a herculean challenge from mama universe and start carrying around a shield and sword and wear a pointy metal bra and laugh! I’ll laugh in the face of every unnecessary time-consuming and frustrating ounce of bulldoo flung our way, all the while singing operatically, “Bring it!”

Beggers, Choosers

There has got to be a support group for this effort! Maybe a Spermless Anonymous or Eugenicists R Us.

As I reported last week, E2 had no swimmers. It turns out that the lab did not give him the pretest info: no ejac. within 48 hours, but no longer than 5 days without ejac’ing. That’s kind of important information, no? So, it’s been recommended by our fertility friend that he get tested again. I wish I could say I am hopeful about the next set of results. Regardless, he won’t get tested for at least another week, so we’re still no-go for a try this month.

As I also reported, we decided to sign up with the sperm banks and go for frozen until we either get pregnant, find another local donor, or go broke. I don’t know how many of you have had the unique pleasure of searching sperm bank donor databases, but our experience goes something like this:

“Jesus, I feel like a genetic engineer, choosing eye and hair color…and SKIN color! Gee, honey, what do you think of an olive baby?”

“Seriously, 5’7″? Who are they kidding?”

“What the hell is CMV? If it’s not important, why are they telling us if the guy tested positive for it? Great, I’m gonna get some freak disease and die. Enjoy the baby.”

“Is 265 lbs on a 6’2″ guy considered fat? What if it’s all muscle? Oh, it says here that he’s an introvert. We don’t want a large introvert baby, do we?”

“This guy’s paternal grandfather had a heart attack; we so don’t want him. I know both my grandfathers died of heart problems. That’s why we don’t need more!”

“Seriously, 20/200 vision? Who are they kidding?”

“I know I had acne as a teen. Hell, I still get acne. But we’re in a position to choose, and I don’t want his sperm if he had acne!”

“There are too many choices. What if we wipe out any guy born in the ’70s? It’s arbitrary, but what else can we do? We’ve already wiped out the competitive athletes.”

So this is how it goes. We usually stop when I say, “I don’t even want to do this! This is not how I want to get pregnant.” Then we get some dessert and watch Ugly Betty.

Not Even Bronze Medalists

Well, crap. The report: No Olympian swimmers.

I’m feeling disappointed, dismayed, and generally dissed by mama universe.

E2’s count and motility were off-the-chart low.

How did we find a healthy 25-year-old male with few, tired sperm? Is it a talent we can bottle and sell?

Sorry, I’m definitely in a pity party this morning. Cramps and two weeks away from another no-go ovulation. Crap.

K and I talked about it, and we think we’re going to go the maxing-out-of-the-credit-card route (did I mention that our fridge is making broken-fridge sounds?). Frozen sperm, here we come! We’ll do it until we’re pregnant or we find a  known donor with sperm that swim (through that particular website again, I assume).

I need another word for crap. Any suggestions?

Counting to Three

To get my fertility hormones (re)tested, I need to get a particular blood test on day 3 of my period. I didn’t realize until this point in my life, some 23 years after my first period, that I have no clue how to count days!

I just learned from my beautiful doctor that I should count from the first day I have to use a pad overnight.

Isn’t it remarkable how many things we don’t know that are, in fact, random and subjective but decided upon by people at some point and therefore what we need to know?

For another example, I recently learned that you count a baby’s due date from the first day of the period prior to getting pregnant. I would’ve assumed we count from conception (but I guess it’s not everybody who knows exactly when that is).

So, how many more of these knowledge tidbits are out there?

A Mother’s Work…

I grew up with the assumption that I would have a career and be a working-away-from-home mother. It was a given, just like getting married and having children. The fact that my childhood goal of a hetero marriage and a first child by age 24 didn’t happen should have prepared me for other plan changes.

For instance, I took as my first career working in the publishing industry. When I didn’t feel a passion for it, I decided to go to grad school for poetry (how romantic!) and sign away my future child’s college funds to Sallie Mae. Luckily, I got a wife out of that deal, but the air in the tires of this poetess has been let out (who knew there is no career in poeting?) After stints as a reporter and working in the environmental nonprofit world, I thought, “Wow, I really don’t like people!” The inevitable conclusion? A career in plants, of course. Well, my foray into the community college landscape design program came to a halt with my father’s passing, and now—though I still love me some plants—all I want to do is make a baby and be a mom.

My BFF (with her son in a kid's playroom at a local cafe) has a full-time job and career as an online high school English teacher. She is passionate about her work and her son. It's a beautiful thing.

A year ago I got a part-time job working for an online university teaching English composition. It brings in some money, and the best part (besides having no “boss”) is that I can do it at any time of the day from anywhere there’s internet. Yes, that means in my PJs on the couch or at my favorite tea house listening to awesome music. It is a job I want to hold on to because it seems ideal for a new mother (or even a morning-sick pregnant gal). When I’m not working, I actually enjoy doing some shopping, cooking, and other housewifey things.

The downside (because there always is with Debbie Downer over here): Besides the stress of not bringing in enough dough, I have the guilt of 1) not having a passion for this work either, 2) not having a career like I was supposed to—coming out of my particular educational background, and 3) not knowing what my passion is so I could at least pursue something for a career.

Is it enough to want to be a part-time, work-from-home mom? Have I lost my street cred as a “modern woman”?

Neurosis and Neuroplasticity

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been investigating meditation as a means of stress relief but also mind changing. In addition to the class I’m taking, I’ve been doing some reading. One thing I came across gives me pause: based on a dozen or so studies, there’s a 70% chance that you can predict a child’s “issues” based on the mother’s (I am very broadly paraphrasing here). However, studies in neuroplasticity  show that this is not a genetic thing; things can change upstairs.

I don’t think it’s very adult to blame one’s adult issues on one’s parents or caretakers. But it is important to know what things we bring with us as a parent— what comes from genes and what we experienced as a child that does not have to be repeated. I’ve been so worried about the fact that… well, I’m a worrier. A nervous Nelly. A hiding-behind-her-mother’s-skirt pansy. Afraid of everything real and imaginable. And I do not want to pass that on to our kid.

The good news: “Temporary activation of the sense of attachment security allows even chronically insecure people to react to others’ needs in ways similar to those of people with a more secure attachment style.”

What do you all have to say about this? If you have kids, do you find you are repeating patterns from your childhood? Are you able to notice and stop? Do you think it’s inherent and unavoidable? If you’re a worrier like me, how do you compensate when talking with your kid?

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

The Family

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