Posts Tagged 'sperm donor'

Pregnancy Is Real

I’m 9 weeks pregnant. My fetus is 2 centimeters long. Other than these facts, I have no proof that what I am going through is for anything real.

Real is nausea so bad that a vomit phobic wishes she could vomit. Real is when one burp begets another burp with a 2-second intermission of fiery acid. Real are hot flashes that could set a bedroom ablaze.

I began this week with an unexpected visit to the doctor. I had a day of much fluid loss (we’ll leave it at that), and there was concern of dehydration.  I was so ill, and she was squeezing me into a full schedule. After almost an hour of waiting (with  my pants down), I told myself that if she wasn’t in in the next 5 minutes (and if I was still alive) that we would go home unseen. I was that miserable. So I counted 300 seconds. Literally. Then I put on my pants and told K we needed to go. We were, of course, intercepted by reception who called the doctor over. She insisted she get a look in me, saying (with her very pregnant belly between us) that she knows exactly how I feel and that it sucks. I tearily (new word) told her I just wanted to go home, like I was a POW or something. But I was coaxed back in, and she did the fastest ultrasound in the world to confirm the fetus was fine. Nice fast heartbeat and good size. As for my condition, well, she prescribed an anti-nausea med that is supposedly safe for pregnancy and gave us a recipe for a rehydration beverage that K made for me later but that I knew there was no way in hell, not for me and not for this baby, that I was going to consume. Three days later, I can say that I’m feeling slightly better, but not enough.  I still hate all food — can’t think about putting any of it but rice in me. I can’t get regular. I have an unsustainable amount of nausea and heartburn. And I swear, I have tried everything that’s out there.

Now, do not let it be said that I am complaining. I know I worked to get pregnant for a long time. I know I bitched and moaned about it not ever happening. I know I am lucky and got what I wanted. I am very happy. The happiness is just hard to access from this place of physical distress and misery. But NOT complaining.

Tomorrow, we get to celebrate (which I’m sure involves eating, so I’m freaking out already) the great news with E2! He’s back from Europe and in town for a moment before heading off on his U.S. tour. I had no idea this was going to happen, so K and I are super happy to get to see him and smile big and goofy. I wonder if being around him might settle the stomach. If so, he’s moving in.

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.”

Up the Wazoo

I hate when it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. There’s too much to report and accidentally forget. But I’ll give it my best. I hope you have a comfortable seat.

The Clomid. I have nothing nice to say about it. The first night I took it, K and I watched the movie Mother and Child with Annette Bening and Naomi Watts. Spoiler alert: when the Watts character dies after childbirth, I lost it completely. I was crying like it was my party. The next day was no better. I felt stoned in a bad way, and then we and some friends watched the movie Inception. During this time, I was reading every minute-to-minute report on the AZ shooting (being from Tucson myself) and thinking that the world is totally effed and no place I want to bring a child. The next few days were not as bad; just one more crying episode on the last night I took a dose. I talked a lot about not doing it ever again and looking into adoption pronto.

It didn’t take long after completing the cycle for the effects to wear off. My mom came to town and I got back on the fertility treatment track. Last Friday we had a look inside and saw two big, beautiful follicles. It was only day 10. K administered a trigger shot on Saturday night (to hasten the ovulation) and we did an IUI at the clinic on Sunday morning. I wanted to be happy about the follicles, but I know that with my decreased ovarian reserve there’s a good chance the eggs from those follicles are duds.

The IUI went well; just the usual sharp pain from the catheter. I shouldn’t complain at all. Our donor had to get up super early to go masturbate before going to work on a Sunday, all while feeling really sick. I cannot even imagine being asked to do something like that. Not even for money. I know guys are different creatures, but c’mon!

He gave us a nice sample that was washed and spun down to just the 24 million sperm. I was given a prescription for progesterone suppositories (for better absorption), and we were on our way.

I had the usual post IUI cramping. But during the days after I started the progesterone, I got some really intense cramping. I have had a coughing cold since Dec. 23 that has definitely affected my stomach muscles, but this pain went groinal (my new word). So, I am now taking the progesterone orally and hoping the cramping subsides quickly. I can’t shake the cough, which is getting so tired. I’ve been to two doctors and acupuncturists, and I’ve taken everything and tried everything to get better. I can’t imagine a less hospitable place for a burgeoning life than my lower abdomen when I have one of my coughing fits.

To top it all off, I got my poor mom sick. Listening to her cough made me so sad. Then I stuck her on a train. Will I have an ungrateful daughter, Karma?

So, this is where things are at. I cough and I ache and I wait. Hopefully we’ll know something by next weekend. I hated the Clomid and can’t imagine one more IUI cycle with it. But the injections I’ll have to take for an IVF won’t necessarily be more pleasant. Messing with hormone levels is not for the faint of mood. Inserting them where the sun don’t shine (Portland?) is not for the faint of vagina.

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?

I Am Woman

This means I have the right to change my mind. Over and over.

What factors into a mind change, you ask? Information and experience.

We had E2 over for dinner earlier this week (our first attempt at African peanut stew was de-frickin’-licious). We wanted to discuss this break we’re taking and his upcoming month-long travel plans. Well, we got a lot of information. For instance, we learned that the month-long trip is only the tip of the we’re-gonna-be-spermless iceberg. E2 is tired of living in a city (who knew Portland was a city?!). He wants to go work on farms. And then travel around Europe. Who knows? Well… I know! Holy crap, he can’t leave! He said there may be a couple weeks between the month-long and the forever trips, but otherwise he’s Audi 5000!

You’re thinking one of the following:
1. They’re gonna try now because he’s leaving.
2. They’re gonna wait and hope he decides to leave in March rather than January.
3. They’re gonna buy Euro wear to camouflage themselves and stalk him through the Continent.

Because I was feeling reasonable, but not so reasonable to give up on having Xanax for my upcoming trips of intensity, I took the news quite well and asked him to please let us know as soon as possible when he has decided on his departure date.

But then my Aunt Flo came to town. She came angry, and she knocked me off my feet. Literally.

So, if you keep up with this blog, you are familiar with my whining about cramps that “just seem to get worse & worse each month. It’s uncanny!” Well, I mean it this time. The day before yesterday I had the worst cramps I’ve ever had. How bad were they? They were so bad that I had to rush home and yell commands at K for a hot water bottle, a barf bucket, and pain killers (which I’d already taken—prescription level, mind you) as I hobbled upstairs, panting. I literally was out of my mind in pain. K had to go pick up her mother at the airport and I had hours of work left to do that day. So, I laid in bed and tried to focus on breathing and not dying. A couple hours passed and so did that extreme pain. What came out of it, besides me in a much better mood, was the thought that something just ain’t right downstairs and I need to get a look-see.

This experience let to my mind changing about the HsG. No waiting ’til January. It’s happening this week. I wanna see what the hell is in there causing me so much pain. And, if it turns out there’s nothing (after all, we’re talking about the uterus, which makes its owner, by definition, hysterical), we are going to inseminate again. As in next weekend. As in no Xanax for me when I fly home for Dad’s unveiling since I won’t know if I’m pregnant. But, oh, my flight home… If I get another negatory pee stick, I’ll be flying higher than the plane.

I sent an email to E2 with the same subject line as this post, to which he replied, “I always suspected.” Cute.
He’s up for it (heck, it’s more moolah for the Eurail Pass), and, assuming the HsG doesn’t show a hairy nodule of tissue holding a big stop sign, we’ll be try-trying again.

Just a parting note on how scared I am about pain all of a sudden. I used to think I could handle it pretty well. But with this period, I’m beginning to doubt the power of my own “roar.” I’ve heard the HsG can be quite, let’s say, uncomfortable… especially afterward. Did I mention the fear of finding something that requires surgery? How about flying without my little friend? Maybe I should’ve titled this post: I Am Woman, Hear Me Whimper.

Born of Lies

My future child, that is.

Today is E2’s birthday. We picked him up for today’s insemination (we no longer accept post-biking sperm) and presented him with a little gift once we got back to our place. He was so surprised and seemed to like it. Then we were chatting, and it came up how there was one day during the previous round’s insemination when we had escorted my mom to a nearby cafe for the duration (high tea for The Womb Mum). Then I said to K, “Hey, I don’t think I even wrote about that yet!” At this point the kitchen fell silent, and K did her best to defuse my comment by saying, “Yeah, Malka likes to write to her sisters to keep them updated.” Then E2 said, “Gee, I thought you were going to say that you write a blog about all this.” And that’s when I went flush. “No, no. I’d never do that.” I slipped, and I fell into my own big, fat, stinky lie.

As we waited in our room for E2 to do his thing and bring out the goods, I tortured myself about having lied. I’m a terrible person, I said. (K just smiled and told me she loves the way I say, “terrible.”) He’s going to find out and know that I lied to him. And he’ll read all those mean things I said early on about him not calling back quick enough to keep me from freaking out. K saw my spiraling and tried her best to convince me that it was a small fib. But as she knows, I hate lying. I hate it worse that I walked myself into it.

E2 is such a great guy. So much greater than we realized when we picked him to be our donor. The more we get to know him, the more I’m sad that we’ll have to not see him for at least 18 years. I know I could go delete those old posts I wrote when I didn’t really know him and couldn’t imagine that I could trust a complete stranger so intimately. But that wouldn’t undo the lie. Have I tainted the whole thing? Will E2 learn of this blog and hate me? Will the child born of this lie grow up to be a compulsive liar or car thief?

These are the questions on which I get to ruminate while not falling asleep tonight.

(Oh, and happy new year to all my Jewey blog followers. May our lord find it in his infinite wisdom to forgive me my lie and still give me an honest baby.)

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

The Family

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