Posts Tagged 'sperm bank'

To Sum Up

The past few days I have felt things/messages sent to my brain from my uterus saying, “Sorry!” once again. It’s hard to explain, and… it sucks. No one believes me because how would I know what’s going on in my body until a pregnancy test tells me?

In any case the blood test isn’t until next week. So while we wait, I thought I’d take a moment to summarize where we’ve been. I feel like I’m at the end of a long chapter, and, at least in textbooks, that’s where the summary goes.

I’ve always wanted to have a children, meaning, I used to think I wanted three (one girl and two boys, specifically). But as I grew up a little, I realized I just very much wanted the female human experience of making a baby and then raising it. I became an aunt at 10 and have loved me many a baby since. Once K and I were together, I knew she’d be the one I would do this with, but she was only 20 (I was 26). We would, of course, wait until we’d been together longer and she was ready to be a mom. After she became a massage therapist and we moved to Portland, we felt ready emotionally, but decided we should have a house first. So, we got our first home. Then we felt unprepared financially and had roommate drama to deal with. After a year or so, I got a job with health benefits and a salary. If I could wait to have a baby after my two-year anniversary at this company, I would get a lot more maternity leave. So we waited. In the meantime, I began charting and we began looking at sperm banks. Like all well-laid plans… About a year after I started this job, my dad’s health began declining pretty suddenly and confusingly. None of us knew the right thing to do, and so there was a lot of anxiety. About a month into this, K almost died. I spent a full month by her hospital bed while doctors (and our loved ones’ prayers) worked really hard and saved her. I spent the next year (and still) worrying about her and supporting her as she recovered and returned to her routine. During this time, my father got worse (with a lot of mini ups and downs). I traveled home a lot, often thinking it would be the last time I’d see him. A friend offered his services on the sperm front, and we got to try a couple of times. But six months after K came home, she had another, related health scare that just threw me over the edge. My systems shut down from all of the anxiety, and we put off trying again until after my dad passed away. At that point (early 2010), we needed to find a new donor. Once we did, we squeezed the hell out of him, thinking it was bound to work one of these times. I kept thinking there might be something wrong with his sperm, so we asked him to make changes and kept retesting him. It turns out that, all along, the problem was me. Here’s the cautionary tale part of this summary: ladies, if you’re thinking of trying to get pregnant, get your estradiol level tested, not just your FSH. For some reason that makes me so crazy mad I can’t think of it for too long, I had always had my FSH level tested, but it wasn’t until we’d given up on the “old fashioned” way and went to the fertility clinic that anyone mentioned estradiol. What we discovered is that I had a rapidly declining supply of good and/or healthy eggs. If I had known this at any point earlier, I would have done IVF then. But, as my dad said soon before he left, “What is is right.” And here we are. IVF (and the hormone injections that come with it) has turned out, for me, to be more physically, emotionally, and financially draining than I thought it would be. This is why I feel a chapter wrapping up; I don’t think I can do it again. Everyone likes to tell me that we can get a kid another way. I know this. But I am losing something if I cannot look into my baby’s face and pinpoint my father’s features. It’s this loss that will be the hardest to bear.

As I said, we find out next week. The following day is our 9-year anniversary. I made some plans for us to leave town the next day because, I figured, we can celebrate good news anywhere, but I can’t imagine all that devastation and disappointment ever coming out of our rugs, furniture and drapes if the news is bad. I want to be with K far away from things and people we know. I am hoping that, if it’s negative, we can scrub me of the horrible feelings many miles away and then bring me back a shell of my former self but one that won’t ruin our home or our friendships.

I know you’re rooting for us, and we appreciate it so much. I want you to know that I won’t be posting again for a while. I’m hoping to post sooner than later with good news, but it will still be some time. Thanks for your support and patience.


Such Sweet Sorrow

One of the most unexpected (and tender) experiences of my life was saying goodbye to our sperm donor Friday morning. Unlike college, dating, marriage, death, etc., it’s just not one of the things you expect to do when you grow up. We’ve known for months that E2 is leaving to travel Europe and who knows what afterward. It was still really sad, but also sweet, embracing him one last time.

K took him to make his final deposit at the clinic. We want to be sure we have enough of “him” to fertilize K’s eggs if mine don’t cut it. The two of them decided to mark the last hurrah with a ride on the tram that goes from the clinic at sea level up to the fancy university hospital on the hill. A lover of the earth and not moving, I opt out of said joyride at every opportunity because heights are also not my thing.

Up, up, and AWAY

So after he donated, they went up and then enjoyed the view from the top. They’ve bonded on many other occasions as well, usually while I was upstairs with my hips in the air. I love that they had these special times together. In the end, it may be their genetics that, through my body, thrive and take on the future.

They picked me up, and we hung out for a bit before taking E2 home. When we got to his house, I sat frozen in the driver’s seat. K had to make the chin sign that says, “Honey, get out of the car and say a proper good-bye.” We met this wonderful dude about a year ago. I went through all kinds of crazy trust issues at the beginning. I’ve come to love him, and he is the guy I want to be the biological other half of our future child/ren. All of this was swimming in my brain when I got out of the car and bum-rushed the poor bastard. When K hugged him, she said, “We want to have your baby!” to which he replied, “I hope I never hear that again!” It was good to end on a big laugh. I really hope that in a couple months he is somewhere in Spain, at an internet cafe, reading an email about his life-making sperm.

In the meantime, I’m finally getting my period. I was beginning to fret because I usually get it on day 24 or 25. But now that the lady hath announced her arrival, look out! I’ve already had one cry this morning, and that’s on my own, self-produced hormones. I’m drinking of the raspberry leaf like there’s no tomorrow, hoping to delay the need for painkillers. As I said to K out of my pathetic wet face, “Here we go.”

Leggo My Eggo

I wish people would stop telling me to relax, that women in their 50s have babies, that I’m so young, and that I will get pregnant and have a baby. They have nothing to lose with their optimism. I have it all. So when I’m spewing negativity, I want people to say, “You know, you’re right. Your situation sucks, and you may not be able to get pregnant. If that happens, I’m really sorry.” Is that so hard?

Last weekend we celebrated K’s birthday. I let myself relax and really enjoy being unpregnant. For example, we went to a chocolate tasting, and I consumed a significant amount of caffeine, which I would not have done if I was waiting to find out if I was pregnant. We also went to a hot spring and sat in a hot tub that was way too hot for health. Again, I would’ve missed out on that preplanned excursion. I felt good. I felt like I was doing exactly what I should be to prepare for the next go ’round.

I felt even better this week after talking to a fertility specialist. We formulated a plan of how to proceed. And since I was there and hadn’t had my FSH levels checked in a while, we went ahead and did that too.

This morning I learned that my FSH, which had been tested on a couple of other occasions, is fine. It’s my day 3 estradiol level that is too high. This means I was right: my eggs are old and tired. Beyond my years. I always say I’m old and people poo poo me. Well, according to my blood, my egg quality/number is decreased—especially for someone so young. So, if you’re a friend, please do not take my age for granted when I express my worries in the future. I will probably hit you.

What now? Well, we had E2 bank his stuff this morning so we have “him” here even after he leaves for Europe. (He told me  this morning that he bought his ticket last night; it took everything in me to bop excitedly with him and not start crying.) The expense of every little step in this new world of fertility clinic makes me realize what a gift we had in a local known donor this whole time. I’m going to have a look at my follicles next week. If there’s any big enough, I’ll get a shot that’ll ovulate me early, since it’ll only be day 9. Then we’ll do a quickie home insemination hours before K and I get on a plane to the Midwest. If the ultrasound shows what my estradiol level suggests, few poor eggs, then we’ll wait until January and bring out the big guns.

Isn’t it interesting how you think you’re going to the next level of a process, just sticking your toes in to test the water, and the next thing you know you’re being dangled from the high-jump diving platform over the deep end?

The Chosen Frozen

Well, I just got off the phone with the sperm bank. It’s done. We have two .5cc vials of washed IUI-ready sperm being shipped in a nitrogen tank (sexy!).

I have so many conflicting feelings about this move, but it’s done, and I have too much to do today to think about it beyond this post (yeah, right!).

We decided late last night on our 5th choice donor. We had originally ordered the choices by family health history. But we realized that we weren’t excited about the top three guys at all. We reread #5’s answers, which were so full of personality and so sweet. The deal sealer was the description of him by the sperm bank staff: “adorable and charming,” “intelligent, humorous and charismatic,” “very cute and easy on the eyes” and, my favorite: “huggable.” So what’s a little cancer and heart disease when you’re attractive?

Come to Mama

The whole process of order placement, shipment, and delivery is an extremely odd form of foreplay. The staff ship the tank two days before our chosen arrival date. The tank keeps the goods frozen for 7 days, so I ordered it to arrive a couple days early just in case. Then I get to wait at home all day for FedEx to arrive, so there’s that.

I should probably mention that after listening to our harrowing phone messages, E2 called back last night. K talked to him; I was too fumy and crampy. I heard her apologize at one point and almost lost my sh!t. Apparently there was a miscommunication about when we wanted him to call us back. I recall asking him to please keep us informed about his ability to contact a lawyer, given our tight schedule. Regardless, K is still working on getting him in touch with our lawyer or someone she recommends so we can still get a contract signed with him. This is after two wasted cycles and $600. Let’s add $300 for a lawyer’s fee. Let’s get a clue! I know he’s young and kinda hippy, but we’ve explained and discussed the need for him to be calling us back pronto. He claims that since he works early in the morning till late at night, he can’t call us before or after work. Why not?!?! Leave a freakin’ message! I also don’t buy that he has no breaks all day long. Who, me? Frustrated?

Regardless of what we do with E2, we’ve got the cryogenic possibilities flying our way. So, I should try to look at the positive. I’ll let you know when that happens and how that goes.

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?


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!)

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

The Family

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