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We did it!

29 May

We had our first insemination! Finally, hallelujah!

Got no sleep last night, I was so nervous. And, in full dorkitude, I wanted to fall asleep with positive thoughts in my head, so naturally the meant my brain had to pull up the ol’ ‘Embarrassments and Failures’ file and rifle through those pages.

Finally, I fell asleep after midnight and woke up bright and early at 5:30am. My appt wasn’t until 8. I took my temp and then got up and went ahead and started getting ready. The Wife popped awake, too, she seems to do well with sub-6am waketimes.

We got to the clinic early, so proud, but then we had to wait. And wait. Other women (clearly in monitored cycles) were coming and going with the gauze and tape badge on their arm that shows they survived the bloodwork and transvaginal ultrasound.

About an hour later, The Wife had to pop out to feed the meter and I got called back, of course. The med assistant assured me that they would wait until The Wife got back.

Minutes later, it was me on an exam table, The Wife at my side, the doctor, a med assistant, and a nurse practitioner who was shadowing him all crammed into a teensy exam room the size of a generous closet.

The actual IUI itself was a breeze! All I felt was the speculum! I think I have a very easygoing cerix as none of the intra-cervix procedures I’ve had were painful or even uncomfortable. The doc said that I had a perfect cervix and perfect timing-whoo-hoo! This was really great because this was the doctor of doom, the one who liked to tell me the worse case scenario. So if he thought things looked good, things must have looked A+ sparkletime unicorn happiness!

He had The Wife come around to actually depress the syringe plunger. She looked panicked for a moment; later, she said that she was happy to trust in our doctor’s expertise, but she did it just fine and everything got where it was supposed to go.

After that, the doctor had us hang out in the exam room for ten minutes, with me laying down, and then we got to head home. It was nice to have that brief alone time. I was surprised how overwhelmed I was by the process! While The Wife was knocking me up (hopefully) all I could think was ‘holy crap! Shit just got real!’. There’s no going back once your uterus has been invaded! I didn’t have any last minute doubts, it was just, wow, we’re finally here. After all that prep, it kind’ve felt like we’d never get to that point and there we were!

The Wife held my hand and kind’ve sideways cuddle me in her chair and we talked and she said encouraging words for egg + sperm. Then I made her watch this Japanese (?) video about pregnant women and I have NO idea what’s going on, but the song and the visuals are beautiful and, combined, they always choke me up. So we watched that and chatted and then got home, me trying to not walk too vigorously.

The Wife was so sweet. She made me breakfast and tea and tucked me in for nap (don’t judge! I hadn’t gotten any sleep last night!). She had to go back to work for a bit and was bummed, but hey, the important part is over. After the appt, all that’s left is me hanging around. Doing stuff. Interspersed with laying around with m pelvis tilted. She’s not missing much!

And that brings me to now. Now, I have to figure out how to keep myself occupied so I don’t drive myself and The Wife crazy in this two week waiting period until I can take a pregnancy test!

Dozens of Imaginary Posts Later…Here’s an Actual One

15 Mar

Well, crap. It has been pointed out to me that I’ve been remiss in my blogging. I could have sworn that I had put more stuff here, but, uh. Guess not? (What’s worse is that I have actually downloaded a WordPress app to my phone so I wouldn’t have any excuses not to post!)

Anywho.

To recap: I revolutionized assisted reproduction by pioneering the at-home IUI via midwife, but just in my own mind as it doesn’t work out for me due to early ovulation issues. And because other people have been doing it for ages.

-When faced with a lackadaisical midwife, I approached an anxiety attack, came to my senses, and then broke up with aforementioned midwife.

-Hooked up with a fertility clinic and, many doctor’s appts and vials of blood later, I couldn’t be happier!

After the last blog entry, I told my ex-midwife that my partner and I were going to step back and re-consider our options to better capitalize on my cycle timing (The Wife had to help me on the wording. I just needed two specific words, but she insisted it be more professional).

I had gotten a couple of recommendations for this fertility clinic, so I sucked it up, put on my big girl panties, and got over my ‘let’s avoid doctors’ attitude. I called them up and made an appt. And they couldn’t have been nicer! Straight off the bat, they used gender-neutral language, asked about The Wife, and assured me that she would be involved as much as we wanted.

Our first appt was on the March first. Gave a bit of blood, had an ultrasound, consulted with our awesome doctor (also recommended by other folks-she’s great! And, if not gay, very lgbt-friendly). We talked about our options and then met with a financial counselor to talk about those options (unfortunately, but not surprisingly, insurance won’t cover until we’d tried and failed to get pregnant for 1 year). With our doctor’s guidance, we decided to go with a no-meds, doctor-supervised cycle this month. So that means that I won’t be taking medications, but I will have a lot of doctor’s appointments (I swear that I’ve had more in the past few months than the past ten years!). And there will be so much blood drawn! Between that and the acupuncture, my needle-phobia should be taken care of in a snap. Who knew the intimate relationship between needles and getting knocked up?

So that was my first appt. My next one was to be 2-3 days after my the first day of my period. Never has menstruation been so anticipated! Oh, Aunt Flo, I was beggin’ for you so! And then, when I started to have cramps way too early, I started to freak. Because, did you know, that if the time between when you ovulate and when you start your period is too short, it could mean problems when you actually have a fertilized egg in there trying to implant? Thanks, Dr. Google! But, no worries, my period arrived with great timing and I called my clinic to let them know so we could schedule my appointment.

When the receptionist answered, I told her that I was calling to report that my pregnancy had started. I could hear the lady on the phone’s “Wha’?” face and The Wife gave me crazy eyes and then I realized what I had said. What a slip of the tongue, eh?

THAT appt was Monday. And now we wait for Day 12 of my cycle (Day 1 is the first day of my period). In the meantime, the type of package we have at our clinic allows us to have as many ultrasounds, doctor’s visits as we need this cycle (once we get pregnant or I get my next period, this package expires and we have to revisit o options). I really feel like I should take advantage of this, but recreational ultrasounding? I don’t know.

So now you’re caught up. In other news, the cat pile at the animal shelter has carried over into my home. I’m cat-sitting for a very awesome someone who is getting all married up in India. So I have 3 foster kitties, plus my cat. A very respectable cat pile. And I’ve made a mushroom risotto, successfully made chicken that walked that fine line between ‘dry as hell’ and ‘serious salmonella risk’, AND I can clarify you all the butter you ever need! The Wife is in Missouri on business and I’m debating the wisdom of watching Paranormal Activity 3 by myself.

Aside

Hope it rubbed off

21 Feb

Holy crap, I had a moment today.

I was having a sandwich at my local joint (which was unusually empty) and, as I’m chowing and compiling my errand list for the day, I am also kind’ve watching this trio make their way across the street towards the sandwich place-a very pregnant woman, being supported by a dude and another older woman. The pregnant woman stopped them once they got to the entrance and she leaned onto one of the patio tables. And in my head, I’m thinking ‘holy crap! I know that lean! Someone rub that woman’s back!’ (I watch a lot of pregnancy-related TV) and sure enough, the guy starts kneading her lower back. They come into the shop and she’s holding pads (pregnant woman and pads? Mm-hm, we all know what that’s about) and has that faraway, not-present look on her face. The person who I’m assuming is her doula helps her into a bathroom and her partner is tasked with picking something for her to eat. He tried. He tried so hard. I saw him reading the menu on the wall over and over before sitting down, defeated and dazed.

When she came back, they ordered food together and sat and chatted-he updated her on the excited texts they were getting from family and friends (yes, I was totally and unabashedly eaves-dropping! I’m actually proud of myself for not joining the conversation). She decided she wanted to be out in the sun, so the two women stepped out while he gathered up coats and sandwiches and bags. I told him congrats and he just gave me this totally blissed out smile. He was so happy; it was just beautiful. He said they were walking around to get things kick-started and I wished him luck and told him his partner was amazing.

I’m not going to lie, if I could have thought of a non-creepy way, I would have just stayed and been an anonymous cheering section-really, who gets to see active labor in the wild like that!? Also, I’m pretty sure I would have started stockpiling napkins and ordering boiled water if I stayed much longer. So sending congratulations and luck to her, from a totally non-creepy distance!

Oddly enough, I don’t think that the rest of the staff there noticed what was going on. Weird, right?

I also got confirmation that our donor sperm has been successfully ordered and should be here on Saturday! Hopefully, today’s adventure is a sign of good things to come.

Biology + Calculus + Magic

17 Feb

We just had a meeting with a midwife to go over the home IUI process. The Wife busted butt to get home from work, skipping an important meeting, so she could be involved. And then the midwife was 40 mins late. Ok, I understand that this process is old hat to someone who works in the biz and maybe I could have been clearer that The Wife was on a timeline, but really? 40 mins? However, she brought her 5 month old baby who was the sweetest little thing so ok. The rest of the meeting went well and we’re going to have her do the IUI in our house!

After looking at the application that I’m using to compile all of my fertility stats, it looks like the insemination window opens on the 25th, so I went ahead and placed my “specimen” order. We’re going to do two inseminations to, hopefully, bump up our chances a bit. It’s so complicated, this getting pregnant business! So frustrating. On the one hand, frozen sperm has about a 12-24 hr life once they’re thawed. And my egg, once released, will hang out for one day. You’d think that’s a huge, lovely overlap to work with, how could anything go wrong?  I won’t go into the technical details because I’m probably the only one interested (and I’m only interested because I have to be). Suffice to say, the timing is capricious, the target is constantly moving, and there are a lot of things that could go wrong.

If you were to take the bits from calculus and biology class that you hated the most and mixed it all about, added some really high stakes, then this is what would result.

In other, less stressful news, you know how I’m trying to eat healthy? I made a cake from scratch yesterday. Last week, it was a cheesecake. And just so you know, it is surprisingly hard to eat healthy when you have baked goods in the house. I think we all learned something just now.

Things that I Am Doing or Have Done in the Interest of Reproductive Optimization

15 Feb

Charting my cycle. With the help of my handy smartphone and the Fertility Friend, I have successfully tracked and documented the indisputable fact that I menstruate. Aside from that victory, I’ve learned that the avg length is 32 days, with 39 as my max and 29 as my min. Why is this important? Since I need to know when I’m ovulating so I can pull the trigger, so to speak, I have to know my cycle length. That info helps me approximate when I’ve got an egg at the ready. It’s also good to know that I have a semi-regular cycle. If I wasn’t getting a period on a regular basis, I might need to work more with my doctor to figure out what’s going on.

Taking prenatals. I started these months and months ago. So many months. These are pretty much the most vile things ever. I think they boil lawn clippings and butt and condense them into these huge horse pills. Taking the typical prenatal vitamin is like trying to choke down a disgusting marble. I found some chewable ones whose worst offense is their chalkiness. Oh, and they turned my mouth a particularly vibrant shade of orange. I tried taking them at night before I went to bed and it began to dye my toothbrush orange, too. I was willing to make that sacrifice, but then I found out that they didn’t have all the essential whatnots and, really, what’s the point in looking like I had a face-first accident in the Cheetos factory if I’m not even getting the vitamins and minerals that I’m meant to?! So now I’m back to the regular foul pills (although I did find a brand where the dosage is just 3 small pills daily). Why is this important? Gotta offset the incoming onslaught on my body’s vitamin and mineral reserves. Want to make sure my offspring has all the building tools necessary to become the evil genius I know they will be.

Recording my Basal Body Temperature. This was probably the most difficult habit to cultivate. Every morning, first thing I do after opening my eyes (usually before even that), I fumble for my digital thermometer and pop it in my mouth. After a few minutes, pow, I got my temp reading for the day. Why is this important? I want to see a steady-ish temp line that suddenly dips and then shoots up, telling me when I’m ovulating.

Peeing on sticks! For a few days a month, I get to pee on a stick every day. These sticks kindly interpret my urine and tell me that, yes, I am in fact about to ovulate which is then reinforced by my BBT, as detailed above.

Green tea. At least a cup of tea a day. Why? Because I read on the internet that it helps with conception and it makes me feel pro-active and semi-in control of my fertility.

Exercise. See above. In moderation and low-intensity. Don’t want to overheat my innards!

Research! Oh my word, so much research. Now, if we’re being honest, a significant amount of that “research” involves reading birth stories and watching Baby’s First Day on TLC and whatnot. BUT I have done thesis-level digging on all things related to conception, fertility, queer parenting and, oddly, at the end of it, I still feel really intro-level junior league. I feel that I should be able to lead a whole lecture and power point display on this stuff, but in reality, would have difficulty hemming and hawing through an explanation of the birds and bees to a 12-yr old. My poor brain is fried.

First toe in

11 Feb

Writing the first paragraph has never been my strong suit, but since this is not going to be red-marked and graded, I’m going to go ahead and indulge myself in a nice exposition dump. A big ‘sorry’ to my 7th grade English teacher, Mr. Reyes, who would NOT approve.

I’m Jasmine. I’m 31 yrs old and am otherwise employed (read: not). I’ve got a sweet cuddly cat, an old and somewhat rickety dog, and a partner of many years. We (my partner and I, that is) have been together since 2003 and we wifed it up in 2009. We started the ‘maybe baby?’ conversation about a year ago and decided to really get things going this summer past. I’m to be one who carries and The Wife the one who rubs backs and figures out baby furniture instructions. Since the decision has been made, I’ve been charting and waking up to a nice thermometer in my mouth. I’ve consumed more than my fair share of pre-natals, started working on the ol’ fitness and diet. I’ve made it through the stirrup rundown (including giving up SIX vials of blood. SIX!) and been pronounced healthy.

So now we find ourselves at the precipice of that first step, that initial leap, into the world of alternative insemination. We decided that this month would be our first go at inseminating me up and now all we have to do is hurry up and wait. So. Much. Waiting. The timeline goes like this: get period (check). Wait. Maneuver all factors into play (the specimens in question, the insemination tools, the one who will inseminate. Wait. Receive ovulation cues. INSEMINATION! And then the 2 week wait of doom. Pregnancy test. Then it’s either non-alcoholic cheers all around or back to step one.

Right now, we’ve decided to go with a unknown donor via a sperm bank who is willing to be contacted by our kid should said kid be curious down the line. We’re talking to a midwife to arrange an at-home intra-uterine insemination, where the a long tube will place the specimen right inside my uterus. Usually, IUI’s are done in a clinic setting as you don’t want just anyone putting stuff into your up there (sorry, Wife), which I’m not keen on, but they’re also supposed to be more effective than the alternative: ICI or intra-cervical insemination (aka the “Turkey Baster” method). I really want to avoid hanging out in dr’s offices as much as possible so I searched around and found a midwife team who did house visits and has done IUI’s in client’s homes before. So yay!