… to a lesbian conception adventure!

Posts tagged ‘a leap of faith’

The Medicalization of Conception: Planning ahead

C and I have repeatedly said that, if possible, we would like to have two children.  Last June, in a final planning meeting with our doctor, he suggested that after we got pregnant, we might want to purchase additional vials of our donor for future use, suggesting at a minimum the number of vials we needed to conceive number one and recommending at least a couple more as we will both be older at that point.

As we began actually trying, C realized fairly quickly that she agreed with the doctor. It was important to her to make sure that the two children were at least full half siblings, biologically connected through the donor if at all possible, as she and I might each be taking a turn at the pregnancy thing and we do not have the money or interest in voluntarily undergoing IVF just so that we can share eggs. In thinking about this further, it not only made sense from a more intangible potential connection-between-siblings perspective but from a practical and tangible sharing-genetic-material-with-someone-else-may-benefit-you-medically-in-the-long-run perspective. So we decided that when the time came, depending on finances and our state of mind, we would consider purchasing additional vials (also making sense in the saving money perspective as vial costs continue to rise exponentially).

So I got pregnant in November. And at 16 weeks, we are feeling pretty good about the pregnancy (finally). And the cry.obank just announced that their prices would be going up very soon.  And we are still part of their little “club,” earning us lots of good discounts and deals. And our donor still had plenty of vials available.

After looking at our finances (and realizing that two or so years from now we won’t likely be in a better financial position), C and I decided that tax refunds mean planning for the future. And we ordered a bunch of vials, scoring free storage for two years and two free vials based on the current and previous purchases (saving well over $2,000 in the process which makes my little I-love-to-save heart VERY happy).

So now, in the midst of lots of pregnancy fun (oh the leg cramps last night!), we are not only thinking ahead but have invested a good chunk of change in doing this again, while not knowing for sure if we will try and knowing that, even if we do try, the investment may not actually pay off. It is bizarre to me because, while I am a planner, I am also really trying to focus on the present moment and enjoying this time that we’ll never get back. And while it is true that once we get the paperwork and file it away for a date sometime in the future, it is also true that a little part of my mind will consider those tiny expensive vials from time to time and wonder what might come.

 

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The Medicalization of Conception: Unforeseen Consequences

I first started posting about the medicalization of conception shortly after meeting with our RE. In that initial post, I focused on the questions one begins to ask when starting down any kind of medical ttc path. Other posts followed, focusing on the control (or lack thereof) that welcoming the medical profession into your home (or body) offers.

What I did not realize at the time, and what I failed to realize until our BFP, is that for me, the medicalization of conception had another surprising dark side.

You see, a long long time ago, back when we first started thinking about babies, I had a lot of concerns, worries, and, at times, reservations about becoming a parent. None were overwhelming or deal-breaking – they were just the product of a normally anxious personality with a little too much directed thinking on a process that could not be left up to the whim of unprotected love.

These concerns and fears, while totally appropriate to the life-changing nature of bringing a life into the world, were also totally incompatible with trying to conceive. Because as we quickly discovered, trying requires an unceasing drive in which normal worries have no place. Taking daily temperatures and prenatals, monitoring fluids and OPKs, trying fertility treatments, the actual insem all require setting aside normal fears and concerns and focusing intently and whole-heartedly on the goal: pregnancy. And when each pregnancy announced by a friend and each stark white test feels like a  tremendous setback to that goal, you push harder and more relentlessly than ever, so much so that even the idea of taking a much-needed break becomes ludicrous. With so many concerns about how to get pregnant, there is simply no space for any other worries about the impact of that pregnancy.

And then, suddenly (and even almost unexpectedly), there are two lines on that stick, the start of a second life inside your singular self, and the race is over (but not yet over) and the race is won (but not quite won) and you can relax.

For about ten seconds.

Or at least that was what happened to me. Excitement, joy, happiness, hope, all that is good rolled into a few moments. I faced you, medicalization, and with your help (and heartache), I won. I. Won. KING (Queen!) OF THE WORLD!

And then, as if on cue, all the normal concerns and worries of pregnancy and childbirth and changing my whole life and family began to resurface like a high school acquaintance you haven’t seen in a decade – recognizable, but confusing and awkward. And that awesome feeling of winning was challenged a bit with fears that I had suppressed months ago.

In a nutshell, medicalization and relentless focus on trying prevented me from coming to terms with any other concern and success brought those concerns to the forefront alarmingly quickly. Add that to the fact that medicalization (and participation in a community of women who have faced all kinds of challenges) makes one all too aware that two lines does not mean that you pass go and collect a baby and you have a recipe for some confusing sadness and uncertainty.

It was also briefly a recipe for a bit of guilt and resentment. Guilt because I felt like I should be feeling happier with all the good news and resentment that I was not having the elated, walking-on-air kind of experience that some women seem to have.

Since I started writing this post days ago (and half of it disappeared at one point), I am happy to say that a lot of the negative flood has receded and that I am in a much calmer place. I strongly believe that I was unable to properly prepare for the impact of a positive because I was so focused on getting the positive, period. I am grateful that I have a wife and friends who have listened and reminded me to be gentle with and accepting of myself and I am feeling much less overwhelmed, though I am still surprised just how many worries about the future hit me all at once as if I had never considered them at all.

See the title of that last post…?

That’s pretty much EXACTLY how I have felt today.

Earlier this weekend, my boobs grew (like the first try). I was exhausted all day yesterday (but there was some emotional stress going on, too, so I chalked it up to that) and I took a nap (I NEVER EVER NAP unless I am ridiculously sick or sleep-deprived). Some minor breast tenderness last night which is different than AF tenderness but not so “real” that it might not be psychosomatic. Mild nausea while cooking but again, nothing that I couldn’t chalk up to desperation. Our friend, August, was over and she begged me to test but I decided to wait until today.

Today, 13 DPO. Woke up at 6 this morning and my temperature, which has hovered around 97.45 for the past couple days, shot up to 98.38. That’s a HUGE jump and by far the highest temperature I’ve had all cycle. I decide to test.

[Now if you’ve ever tested first thing in the morning and you’ve had some negatives and you’re anything like me, you keep the lights dim, your eyes half closed, and generally try to keep yourself in a sedated space so that if you test negative, you can get back to sleep quickly. You may also glance over repeatedly while still on toilet and you may have tricked yourself into seeing things in the past (it IS dark and you ARE hopeful).]

Well, this morning, I start to see something within a minute or two. And I say to C, who has woken up and I can hear outside the door waiting her turn, “I THINK THERE IS SOMETHING THERE!” And the lights go up and there are TWO PINK LINES.

I would like to say I was ecstatic, over-the-moon, so thrilled. And I was, in small amounts. But more than anything, I was excitedly shocked. In just two previous tries, I have looked at BLANK after BLANK pregnancy test and have publicly lamented never even getting an evaporation line. For something to BE there and for it to be getting DARKER… why, that was just unbelievable. Seriously, I felt total disbelief. C and I hugged, I was teary, and she, ever practical, expressed enthusiasm before suggesting that we return to bed. I took pictures for August and for the internet before going.

… where I laid awake for another two hours, wiggling and making shocked statements about how we are pregnant and watching a movie to keep my anxiety down…

… because let’s face it, if you TTC, you know the risks. And a positive test is step one of about a million. And it’s a HUGE step and I am GRATEFUL but I am not unrealistic about the (negative) possibilities…

I called the doctor before his office opened and got the answering service. I refused to tell them why I was calling since this was MY news. When I did speak to him later in the day, he made gasping sounds, said I made his day, and said “oh I’m going to cry!” (have I mentioned that I LOVE him?!). Went for bloodwork in the afternoon and while the visit was fairly short, he was super excited with me.

I called my endocrinologist and her secretary called me back and gave congratulations from both herself and the doctor. We scheduled an appointment and before she got off the phone, she said “Congrats again, mom!” … SO WEIRD.

I (of course) took another test this evening and it was a different brand (internet cheapie instead of FRER) and it was also unmistakably positive.

I am excited now and want to tell everyone and no one. I want to share the good news and hide it until I have more proof. I am STILL in disbelief but it is sinking in. I will say that two lines, while cognitively reassuring and a sign that something is happening, do not make you FEEL IN YOUR BODY pregnant. It’s strange to know a fact that you have so much emotional connection with but not to feel it.

I am hyper aware that this might not work out the way we hope but I am making the conscious choice to enjoy it as if it will because I don’t want to regret missing out on some of the excitement of these next few weeks (or months).

I should probably stop here and apologize in advance for what I’m sure will be endless musings on all of this strangeness. I find that this is just like my first try… no matter how much mental planning I did, it was not like I expected. Life seems like, that doesn’t it?

Also, time for some new tags!

Edited to add: bonus cheapie pee stick picture:

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Wait, what?!?!!!!

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I think we have the start of something wonderful.

I am physically shaking…. I apparently did not believe this was goi g to happen. Please pray, hope, cross fingers for a sticky pregnancy!!

More later. My wife values sleep more than telling the Internet about out TWO lines.

TWF

A post, but first thanks for all the well wishes and a toast:

To all of you fine women who are able to maintain some semblance of composure following your first (or any subsequent) IUI, cheers.

To everyone else, after weeks of “Questions of the Week” and cerebral ranting, I finally understand. This isn’t a two week wait. It’s a two week freakout!

“But wait!” you might be saying, didn’t you JUST do the IUI thing yesterday?!

The answer would be yes. And, by doctor’s recommendation and cervix position, we did the same today. But that is no match for the power of Dr. Google, who has been fed such phrases as “nothing on ultrasound after ovulation” and “LH surge no ovulation.” Or for my thermometer, which went LOWER today rather than higher.

Because either the timing was “exquisite” or something was wrong.

And my doctor was good today, though he did not come across as ridiculously optimistic (which is probably more about the fact that there are no guarantees than this being a bad situation). The sperm was good today (we were congratulated on picking such a great donor). And I was good today, except for this nagging feeling of needing some kind of control over a process which has, despite LOTS OF SCIENCE, NO control.

The doctor continues to think good timing or terrible timing. He mentioned that next cycle we might try some drugs “just to get everything more precise” and he shared that if I see fertile signs early, I should definitely call and come in (I wish he would have said that BEFORE this cycle, because I had have had fertile signs this whole week). The whole chatting about the next cycle makes sense (if I get my period, we have to get going ASAP) but is frustrating because I don’t want there to BE a next cycle. I asked the poor man so many questions he cannot answer or cannot answer with much certainty. Was it good timing? Who knows? Is my body broken? Who knows?

Today feels a lot like yesterday but a little less crampy since we didn’t ultrasound. The IUI itself was slightly more annoying (not painful) – I could actually feel that my cervix was not as open.

As of right now, I don’t plan to test for the full two weeks.  I am going to be continuing to temp, however, and also hoping for some other magical signs that mean something more than the dull tension in my uterus from two catheters and a lot of sperm. Oh and hope.

I apologize that this blog for the next two weeks might turn into one long rant. I am trying to have an outlet that I can turn to and then turn away from so I don’t dwell TOO much. 🙂

Feed me Seymour!

Had to miss a training this morning to go, but we got to the doctor at 9:15. He promptly checked my cervix, noted that it looked great, mentioned my awesome CM and then did a quick ultrasound… 

… And saw nothing. No follicle hanging out on either ovary, which we learned means one of two things: (1) something is wrong with this cycle or (2) I just ovulated and we were hitting the perfect moment. He noted that he usually likes to inseminate just prior to ovulation and then left the decision up to us. C and I looked at each other and then I asked him what he thought and he said “Go for it.” Because basically it was awful timing or, in his words, “exquisite timing” and there is really no way to know except that I had a positive OPK last night that was negative this morning, a wide open cervix, and tons of great cervical fluid.

So we went for it. He did his sperm warming, got everything together, and returned, noting that we had an “excellent” sample (he seemed genuinely impressed, which isn’t something he seems to fake)

And it seriously took less than two minutes, with the bulk of that time being him asking C if she wanted to do the deed and C pushing the plunger. It was completely painless. I even bent around to look at him and say “that was it?!” before adding “that was easier than sex!”  He laughed and asked if we wanted our cigarettes before agreeing that it is an easy procedure.

He had me lay there for twenty minutes and, probably because I asked some questions, stayed with us the whole time, chatting, which made me more comfortable than focusing too hard on fertile thinking, though I still left room in my brain for that.  I asked the count – 60 mil! – and then asked a variety of questions about the procedure, what he sees on the ultrasound, and how he got into the field. In talking about it afterward with C, I think it was my attempt to further humanize something that is so medical.

After the 20 minutes, I got dressed and C snuck in a couple kisses before we returned to the waiting room. We had already agreed that I would come in again tomorrow for a cervix check to decide if a second insemination is worth it. So tomorrow morning we may be at it again.

Aftercare plan was a joking ” no housework, no laundry, get a back rub.” Which is to say he made no recommendations. Which in some ways is reassuring since I have a busy work day today.

We left the office feeling very accomplished and also hungry. Ate a quick breakfast together during which we rehashed “the event” (and during which C spoke of my open, ready cervix as being akin to Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors). Then it was off to work.

Now, a few hours later, there is some mild crampy pains similar to after having a pap (or an internal ultrasound).

I hope our timing was perfect and the egg had just made it to the uterus. I hope we get pregnant on this try. I also hope to survive the TWW!

more to come on after thoughts but for now time to relax after a 10 hour work day!

CD 1

… Or maybe the last period of 2011?

I seriously cannot believe that the month we were looking for back in February is here now. My lab work from the endo came back fine, my period started exactly when predicted, and we are 16 – 18 days from the big day.

We do have two possible donors picked and will ship early next week to the doctor, who is storing for us. We have to send a check to the doctor in advance. And then we wait. And work. And wait some more.

I am nervous but excited. Ready but terrified. And so uncertain since this is, by nature, so uncertain. Also I’m not thrilled to see money leaving my bank account for what is little more than an educated gamble, but there is little I can do about that.

The up side is that I have been charting and temping so long, this cycle does not feel different yet. Which means I’m less anxious than i might otherwise be. Less but still with butterflies.

Meanwhile C has hopped on the hoping for twins train and is trying to convince me to hope because it is more economical. I have never particularly wanted twins and no amount of savings would get me hopping on that pregnancy wagon. Just saying. 🙂