Anything to Avoid Google

Its 5 days past my IUI, which means I have been insanely thinking of whether or not the egg got fertilized and might be tumbling down a fallopian tube towards my uterus for . . .4 and 1/2 days.

If there is someway to avoid this being the primary thing I think about, I would love to hear it. But based on the posts y’all make, my guess is that this elusive solution either doesn’t exist or has remained so elusive none of us are aware of it. I’ve been trying to decide if I prefer the first week (optimism, but you know that nothing you are feeling/thinking/experience can reasonably be correlated to pregnancy because implantation hasn’t even happened) or, week two (nagging doubts, harder to stay positive, but at least the obsessive google searches feel somewhat tied to reality) – and I have concluded they are each a different and special kind of suffering. 

My only TTC related news is that I believe I successfully ‘tested out’ my trigger this morning. I have been testing every other day (initially, just for the novelty of seeing what a positive pregnancy test looks like) and this morning it was back to what I’m used to, namely: stark white. I’m 6 days past trigger, so that seems reasonable. I haven’t noticed much in the way of side effects from either the trigger or the progesterone, which I am appreciative of . . .although the underwear sludge is something I could do without. (Sorry not sorry bitches, this is a TTC blog)

SO, rather than bore you any further with TTC non-updates, I thought I would share some things that are kind of awesome and only tangentially related to trying to get pregnant. I’m calling this episode of the blog “Andie’s Favorite Things!” – sorry I’m not Oprah and can’t get you all free shit from my sponsors, because I don’t have any. whomp whomp.

So now, without further adieu . . .

  • The Oil Cleansing Method! In December, whilst getting my nails done and ready trashy fashion magazines (my favorite thing to do while I’m getting a pedicure) I read a cosmo article about this (yes, cosmo publishes more than just heterocentric sex tips!) and thought I would give it a try, because I much prefer making my own toiletries/products when I can, and I am inherently a contrarian. The basic gist is that instead of washing your face with soap, you wash it with oils. And while this sounds disgusting, it is not. Because science! Basically, like dissolves like (remember, from sophomore chemistry?) and so ‘washing’ with oil allows you to dissolve the nasty oil and sebum from your face and replace it with new, good oil. I, too, was skeptical, friends. And while I live in Colorado (also known as the place where skin goes to wither and dry up and wrinkle) I also have an oily complexion and am somewhat prone to zits. I decided to give it two weeks, and if I broke out and looked like the fryer at Burger King, I would blame it on hormones and call it quits. BUT IT DIDN’T! Instead, my skin is soft and clean and needs no lotion – ever! Plus, its hella cheap and makes me smell delicious. Here’s a link for y’all who are ready to take the plunge! I use 1/3 castor oil, 2/3 grapeseed oil, 10 drops of lavender (its antifungal and anti bacterial!) and 10 drops tea tree oil, in about a 3 oz container. No zits since December, y’all. 
  • Chia Seed Pudding! Ok, so the dietician I’ve been working with – who is super supportive and, if not ‘fat positive’ than at least not fat shaming – has encouraged me to eliminate dairy, grains, vegetable oils and . . .SUGAR. The dairy, grains and oils went away without complaint or issue. I thought I might miss cheese (and I do, sometimes) but I’ve been shockingly happy with the modified paleo plan, and have been sticking to it. Sugar, though. Damnit, I can’t quit you! I have been working on a plan of progress vs. perfection, and so have been limiting my sugar intake instead of quitting, since the latter just makes me feel crazy rage that ends in eatingallthedonuts! Chia seed pudding has, so far, been my favorite non-sugar sweet-ish treat – and it actually feels like it meets the craving, in some respect. Now, to be fair, there is stevia in it – which may or may not count as non-sugar depending on your preferences. Imma let y’all debate that for yourselves. I’m ok with the stevia, the nutritionist is ok with the stevia. So, here’s what you do: 1/2 c. chia seeds, 2 1/2 c. almond or coconut milk, a few drops of stevia. Combine all and stir well. Let sit in the fridge for a while. Then stir again to avoid clumping. Refrigerate until set. Add berries and nuts! If you have texture issues, or don’t like tapoica/rice pudding type of textures, this might not be for you. But I f**king love it. 
  • Coconut Chicken Crispers! This is another ‘paleo’ recipe, but so far, its the only one that has made it into super heavy rotation at our house. I’m the primary cook, and I don’t have much experience cooking non-poultry meat well. Since paleo/the plan I’m using is so heavily meat and plan (vs. grain) based, I am learning quickly. But this is a good fall back when I want to make something easy that is guaranteed to be delicious. La also loves it. You need: a package of chicken (breasts or tenders, preferably free range organic, but dudes I know that can’t always happen), 1/4 c. coconut or almond flour, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, other spices you like (I usually do some rosemary, sage, thyme and a little basil), 2 eggs beaten with a splash of non-dairy milk (coconut, almond), 1 1/2-2 c. shredded (unsweetened) coconut, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix the flour, garlic, onion and selected spices in one bowl, beat the eggs with milk in another bowl, and combine the shredded coconut with the salt and pepper on a third plate. Then dip the chicken (I cut it into fairly small pieces so we can use for salads) in the flour mixture, then in the egg, then in the coconut mixture, coating each time. Put in a cooking pan or sheet (you can put foil over it to aid in clean up, but I prefer a little oil in a pan to make slipping easy) and bake on 400 degrees for 10-20 minutes, turning once to brown both sides. You could probably fry in coconut oil too – I bet that would be crispy and delicious – but I haven’t tried it.
  • The Broncos! Ok, I won’t dwell because some of you (a lot of you?) don’t give a shit about the super bowl or football or whatever. But I’m super excited! I was raised to be a football femme, and my hometeam hasn’t been to the superbowl in a long time. So I hope that, should you not have yet chosen a team to favor, that you might favor my sweet Denver Broncos and the best damned offense in the NFL.

That’s all, friends. I know many of you are similarly suffering through the longest wait. Make some chia pudding, it won’t distract you but it will make the wait more delicious.

Back in the saddle

Well,  the final IUI is on the books.

The trigger shot ended up being a hilarious non issue.  I made La get up with me and count down,  which she did.  And when she got to “1” I jammed the needle in my thigh and . . . LAUGHED.   Because I was shocked at how little it hurt,  and by little I mean not at all.  I laughed because I really managed to make a big deal out of something so inconsequential.  Afterwards,  though,  I did feel pretty badass.  At least when your partner is to scared to give you a shot,  it means she will be really impressed when you give it to yourself.

I decided to take the day off of work on Friday so that I wouldn’t have to drive back and forth across town before the IUI.  Plus,  La watches our nephew Liam on Fridays and he’s kind of irresistible and if I have an excuse to stay home with them, I will.
Can you blame me? 
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So La and Liam came with me to the IUI.  This is a first since the other times have been when La is teaching and can’t get away.  Of course,  given the awkward situation we are in with the clinic,  this isn’t necessarily the most straightforward experience.  By which I mean,  all of the nurses and other folks have just assumed that BFF is my husband,  an assumption we have not corrected because we don’t want to risk the extensive quarantine process.  This means that when La is with me,  there are lots of assumptions made about who she is,  but never is that assumption that we are gay together.  Throw a baby in to the mix and people are even less inclined to go there. 

Sometimes I wonder if the choice we are making is cowardly.  I don’t have ethical qualms but I do think about the history of homophobia,  internalized and not,  and wonder if we are contributing to it?  On the other hand,  I have long said that as long as fucked up systems exist for marginalized people,  those people should not feel one iota of shame about using those systems to their advantage when possible.
But it’s complex. 

This IUI wad definitely the most painful one yet.  It took the nurse forever to get the speculum in and arranged, an issue I’ve never experienced before but Damn it hurt.  And the catheter was also easy pinchier and crampier than before too.  But since the HSG remains my benchmark for cervical and uterine pain,  it was really not a big deal in comparison.

And now we wait.  This go around I have the privilege and pleasure of using prometrium suppositories.  I’m grateful for the progesterone support, since my levels have been so low the last few cycles, but those things are the pits.  I hate that I kind of have to hope I’ll be using them for a long while.  Ugh.

This is pretty funny though:
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One per vagina, eh??

We rounded out the day with haircuts,  which were desperately needed,  so that’s nice.  But now it’s back to waiting,  and I am sorely out of practice.

Some things I am excited about today

1. Today I applied for a really great job in Portland, OR!

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Its no secret that La and I have our eye on PDX. I know, I know . . .queer girls moving to Oregon, what a cliche. And while there is lots to stereotypically love about Portland, putting the city in our 5 year plan (which is now a 4 year plan) is about more than just oreganic farm stands and really good bookstores. Most importantly, there is a huge crowd of people who we ADORE living in Portland. There’s Big Star, La’s grad school roommate and her very favorite artist to collaborate with (they seriously make amazing theater together); there’s my high school BFF, Dr. Nerd, and his wife and baby. Then there’s a couple of my former co-workers and very favorite people and their partners and kids. La and I have been to Portland thrice in the last two years, and every time we go we end up feeling called to the city. There are people there who we want to raise our family with. There is a vibrant theater scene for La to work in. There are a whole lot of hipsters and not a lot of jobs and we know that every semi-progressive white person dreams of Portland, so we are trying really hard not be a cliche and be realistic.

Because we have these folks we love (who love us) in Portland, in particular people who know my professional skills and strengths, I occasionally get a job posting in my inbox. Some of them sound ok, some of them sound great but don’t pay well enough to constitute a move. But last night, I got one that is both fabulously well matched to my work and interests AND has a pay scale that would make moving worth our while. So I applied.  Obviously, only time will tell if the employer things I’m as well suited to the job as I do, and if they do, if moving is the right decision to make. But I am absurdly, distractedly excited about this possibility. I haven’t been distractedly excited about something in . . .a long damned time.

2. Its the anniversary of Roe v. Wade!

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Last year, I wrote this post about why people who WANT to get and stay pregnant should care about abortion. I feel it all so much harder now. The gatekeeping around sexual health and human reproduction is just astounding in this country. We think of abortion as a singular event, one THING, when its actually connected to so many other pieces of health care and reproduction and sexuality

So, I’m excited that we are celebrating another year of a decision that legalized abortion in this country. And I’m sad and rage-filled about how distorted and perverted that decision has become under the sneaky and malicious intentions of many law makers. 

3. This awesome article about why you should teach your kids to call their genitals (and all body parts) by the anatomical names. We talk about this a lot in our house because I frequently have to say “penis and vagina intercourse” in front of stodgey school board members and tittering suburban house wives and La cannot help but giggle when she even THINKS the word penis. So, clearly its been agreed upon who will be doing the bulk of the sex education in our house. BUT I think its just so important that kids grow up knowing the names of their parts, being able to communicate, and not feeling shame about their sexual selves. So, since so many of y’all are either in the process of parenting young children or will be soon, I thought I’d share,

Let me know if you need additional awesome early childhood sex education resources!

I am NOT particularly excited about giving myself an HCG shot in 12 hours, but I am feeling prepared for it. Thanks to so many of you for sharing your stories (be they ridiculous, painful, or just ho-hum) I’m sure it will be remarkably uneventful.

FINALLY, let’s talk about how FUCKING HORRIFYING THIS IS. 

 

More questions than answers

So.Much.Anxiety.

Today I went in for a CD12 ultrasound and blood work. I was anxious, since I really didn’t respond to 50mg of clomid and then responded a little too well to 100mg. So what, pray tell, would the letrozole do?

Well, it produced one big follicle, measuring in at 19mm, along with a couple of others that may or may not be big enough to be considered mature by the time we trigger.

Ah, yes, the trigger. Remember when we were hoping that today’s report would be so stellar that they would just poke me then and there? No dice. The IUI is scheduled for Friday at 1pm, and the trigger needs to happen 36 hours prior (also known as 1am.) This not only puts the trigger during a time when accessing the clinic isn’t an option, it also makes it damned near impossible for us to ask one of the other alternates on our list – like my pharmacist dad or my awesome co-worker.

So, either La or I are gonna have to steal ourselves and get this done. And by “La or I” I mean me, because girl is not going to be able to handle it. This is already clear.

So, the next question becomes how I can successfully inject myself. I’m nervous, but feel capable. Except . . .

After closer inspection of the needles sent with the novarel, I realized that the mixing syringe is an 18 gauge (for the uninformed, the bigger the number, the smaller the needle) 1and 1/2″ long, and the injection syringe is 27 gauge 1/2″ long – which is a subcutaneous size needle, and I’m supposed to do an intramuscular injection. The fact that the needle is smaller than anticipated does not actually assuage any fears, since it now feels more impossible than ever to stick it in my own butt cheek.

I have sent an e-mail to my nurse to clear these issues up. I doubt it will lower my anxiety much, but at least I’ll have expert advice to rely upon. I become more and more hopeful that this IUI will work, if only because I really can’t imagine how we will get through the many IM injections necessary for IVF . . .

 

Hit me with your best shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This morning as I was putting on my make-up, the IVF nurse called to introduce herself. Simultaneous to this, the bulldog ran in the house with something unidentifiably gross on his butt, La was trying to leave the house, and I found a package on the doorstep. Rest assured, she now things I am a totally distractable idiot.

Inside the package was our novarel, sterile water for mixing and two GIGANTIC SYRINGES.

Let me take a minute to say that I am not, generally, afraid of needles. Our sweet pup Ed had twice daily injections of insulin for 5 years before he died; my first long term girlfriend was a Type 1 diabetic and I watched her give herself shots and even gave her some myself. Getting blood drawn is fascinating, not scary. But maybe it didn’t occur to me that insulin needles are like tiny wisps of baby hair compared to the massive diameter of the intramuscular needles. 

In contrast, La made me send Ed to my parents house when I was out of town because she was terrified of the insulin needles. This does not bode well for us.

So, I am *really* hoping that when I go in on Tuesday for my u/s and blood work, the follicles are ripe and juicy enough for them to administer the shot. Because if La has to give me a shot in the ass with that needle, it could be really rough for both of us. My coworker, a transguy who is, by his own estimation, excellent at both giving and receiving shots, has offered to help but I think getting a shot in the butt cheek from a coworker crosses some professional boundaries. Right? (PS – it just occured to me, three hours after writing this, that he could probably give it to me in my arm. Heh heh.) 

In other weird fertility news, La and I had lunch with my mom on Wednesday to fill her in on the process. We veered away from logistics and started talking about how weird and freaky IVF is, how fascinating the science of it all can be. I happened to mention, offhandedly, something the doc had said on Tuesday – that with PGD [preimplantation genetic diagnosis] (which we will be doing because its a freeze all cycle) you can actually choose the sex of the embryo (at least, the chromosomal sex) you put back. I said it more in a ‘isn’t that fascinating?!’ tone, but my mom immediately said, ‘girl.’

Its no secret my mom wants a baby girl grandbaby. She feels like my brother delivered the grandson, its my turn to deliver the granddaughter. She has also long said she felt intuitively that I would have a girl. I, meanwhile, am terrified that my mom will flood us with girly crap if we do, in fact, have a girl. I am so terrified of it, in fact, that while I begrudgingly have accepted finding out the sex at an ultrasound (because La wants to), I didn’t want to share with anyone.

It hadn’t even occurred to me to *choose.* Just thinking about it makes me feel icky. Its waaaaay too far down the line of eugenics for my personal taste. One thing I have been so grateful for in the way we have done this process is how little I’ve interacted with those kinds of lines. After all, we didn’t even really ‘choose’ our donor – he came as a part of the package with La. While BFF is a smart, handsome dude, and I think he will contribute some excellent genetic material to our kids, ultimately we didn’t have to (get to?) think about whether his education was a bigger priority than his eye color. BFF is my partner’s very best friend, he is – for all intents and purposes – our family. We chose him in the same way that we chose each other.

So the idea that we could PICK which embryo goes in feels really weird. I mean, obviously, I would pick one that looks ‘healthy’ or well developed or . . .I don’t know, like it will successfully implant. But I don’t want to know if it has two X chromosomes or an X and a Y. I also wouldn’t want to know if it was likely to have red hair or freckles or dimples. And yet . . .I don’t have qualms about PGD in general – and maybe I should – because I am clearly ok with weeding out trisomies and genetic abnormalities that could result in miscarriage. 

I guess what I’m saying is this: I am having to confront my ethics around having babies in a way I didn’t expect I would ever have to, and it is freaking me out. And while I have had the occasion to think about some of this in impersonal news story conversations – or even the experiences of people in my life – it feels very, very different to be in a situation where the choice is actually yours.

Ultimately, La and I have decided that – should the time come for such decisions – we will request that the docs and embryologist make the decision. I don’t even want to know that early on (or, really at all because, I mean  . . .chromosomes are one thing, genitalia is one thing, gender is another – none of them equal each other) – I think I will mostly be concerned with being and staying pregnant. 

But I’m curious – if you did IVF and did PGD, did you choose the chromosomal sex of your embryo(s)? If so, how did you make that decision? What was your process around choosing one sex vs. another, or what was your process in deciding NOT to choose?

From 0 to Shitty

Its shocking to me how quickly I can go from elated or at least buoyantly happy to dragging misery. Its always the damn consults with the doctor that get me down in the dumps.

This morning I had my ‘official’ IVF consult, which was not so very much different from the “new patient consult” I had in November, except that it was slightly more specific and included a different power point slideshow – this one with shots of embryos and needle aspiration instead of just bar charts with success rates.

But the first thing we talked about was my damned TSH. The TSH that went from a mostly well regulated 3 in October to 7 – 7! – at yesterday’s blood check. For the uninformed among my readers, a normal non-TTC TSH level is between 1-5, with a normal TTC level between 1-2. I’ve been slowly sinking from a 5 at my pre-conception check a year and a half ago, and had made it all the way down to 3. And then, because western medicine had figured out how to outsmart my body’s other bullshit tricks (like not ovulating, for example) – my thyroid decides to go and pull this kind of nasty trick. 

The doc has switched me over to Synthroid, the name brand thyroid drug (I’ve been on a generic for years) and upped my dose. This will hopefully get my thyroid in check quickly – because whether this IUI works or we have to move on to IVF, I need a thyroid that is working appropriately – to avoid miscarriage, ensure good egg quality, and generally be a happy and healthy person.

But what I am feeling the most exquisite misery about right now is the looming stretch of time between now and maybe pregnancy, and how my damned thyroid is just making that horizon tinier and tinier. 

The best case is, of course, that this IUI works and we get knocked up! Bonus awesome/depressing point – if we DID get pregnant, our due date would be my 33rd birthday. 

The next best case, if we don’t get pregnant this cycle, is that my TSH is back down to a reasonable level at my next period. If that’s the case, we start birth control and stims at the end of February and have an egg retrieval sometime near the end of March. Because of my PCOS, the RE wants to freeze all embryos and do a FET later on – the earliest would probably be the end of May or beginning of June. Which feels impossibly far away already.

But if my thyroid doesn’t play along? Well, add in at least another month . . .maybe more . . .July? August? Who knows. It all just sounds like ‘forever away’ right now.

And yes, I KNOW that in the great gift of retrospect, this year . . .two . . .it won’t matter. I know that once I have a baby (however I have that baby) I will forget how each day felt like a plodding eternity, I won’t remember the minutes seeping into hours that had no real meaning or end, it will all be a blur where time becomes meaningless.

But right now, I am in the middle of endless time, and right now, 6 months until I might be pregnant feels like the equivalent of never. 

Rolling!

Well, after weeks and weeks of waiting, things are finally moving forward! Of course, anything would probably feel like warp speed after the last couple of months, but the addition of working with a bona fide fertility clinic has made things even speedier – just the way I like it!

I called on Friday to report CD1 and schedule my baseline ultrasound and blood work for this morning. I’m sure none of you care really but this was my first wanding while bleeding. Kind of awkward, right? I’m generally a tampon girl, but that wasn’t going to work, so I resigned myself to a pad. Which probably would have been fine in a normal cycle, but whether the provera or the 60 days of endomentrial build up, I am bleeding like Niagra falls. Not into it.

The u/s showed my usual ovaries full of follicles (30+!) and my blood work came back glowing (which means, in some cases, the meds I am on are working!) The one exception is my TSH (thyroid) which came back at 7! This is higher than it has been since well before I was diagnosed hypothyroid more than 8 years ago. Since we began the TTC process, my TSH has been hovering around 3.5-4 and various folks have upped my dose of levothyroxine (from 50 to 100mcg over a year) with some success getting it to inch down. I’m *shocked* that it is so high, although it might explain my general malaise recently. The RE is switching me over to Synthroid and upping the dose again. Yikes.

I got my script for letrozole and will take the whole thing (25mg) today . . .I was expecting the more typical 2.5-5mg per day for 5 days, so I googled the single large dose and found a good peer reviewed article suggesting it is as or more effective. And easier! So, I will down 10 pills tonight, then head back next Tuesday for another u/s and more blood work. Assuming my follicle(s) get with the program, we will use an HCG trigger next week and do the IUI between next Wednesday and Friday – just in time, since BFF heads out of town a week from this coming Saturday! 

I also scheduled my ‘official’ IVF consult (I am still not sure how it is different from my ‘unofficial’ consult in November? But when I pressed them they said I definitely needed to do this as well, so, ok) for tomorrow, and my pre-IVF uterus study (sounds so fun! hysteroscopy, trial embryo transfer and doppler ultrasound) for Friday afternoon. I realize that this may all be for naught (and I sure hope it is!) but I can’t handle the idea of having to sit another cycle out, especially one where I don’t have the support to ovulate, which could mean another 50 some days of waiting. Maybe that’s stupid, but its where I’m at. I’m willing to spend some dollars now (though hopefully, some of it will be covered by insurance, since its diagnostic) to avoid the misery of endless waiting later. 

In other news, I spent a Christmas giftcard on a hoard of books, including And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents and Our Unexpected Families, and La and I started reading it last night (we have a standing tradition of reading books together out loud, a chapter at a time.) Already, I feel so much of my own experience reflected back and am excited about the conversations its going to start for us. A year ago, I might have said that using BFF as a known donor was about free sperm and friendship. Now, I can honestly say that BFF is far more than just a donor for us. While I think we are still in the process of figuring out the language to describe what and who he IS (to us, and to our future children) I know that we are and have been in the process of creating a really unique family structure. Basically, I would already highly recommend it to those of you who have used or are considering using a known donor in whatever capacity.

Finally, I leave you with this, because seahorses are beautiful and hella queer:

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On Radical Lawyers and the complexities of the law

Sometimes I think about how all of this trying to make a baby stuff intersects with the rest of my life, in particular my politics, but for some reason it doesn’t often make it to the blog. Which is a damned shame because sometimes those are the most interesting thoughts I have in a day! If I am going to subject you to updates about the status of my endometrial lining, I ought to at least give you something substantive once in a while. RIGHT?

Lucky for you, and me, I have good cause to do that today.

First, some recap and context (bulleted for brevity’s sake):

  • Nov 2012, La and I met with a lawyer to draw up a donor agreement between the two of us and BFF. The experience was pretty soul sucking, but we agreed it was best to cover our asses. The lawyer pretty much ignored us as human beings and just told us about lots of terrifying scenarios that could maybe happen if we didn’t do XYZ. This process cost us about $750 after all was said and done.
  • Jan 2013, BFF, La and I all signed the donor agreement. Because our GP wasn’t allowed to sign the ‘Physician Assistance’ form (which basically just stated that she was the ‘supervising physician’ and was available by phone or e-mail during the inseminations) we recruited a friend of ours who is a queer pediatric oncologist. She signed but did not date the form.
  • In July 2013, BFF was sent to the RE clinic for a semen analysis. Although the OB-GYN who ordered the SA was aware of our arrangement, the paperwork limited her ability to disclose, and therefore, BFF was filled in as a my ‘partner’ for the purposes of the test.
  • In November 2013, our OB was unable to perform our IUI on a weekend, and so sent us to the RE clinic to get the procedure done. Because of the SA, we were already in the system, with BFF and I listed as partners. We saw no reason to avail them of their mistaken assumption. La came with and, well, you have to have your head buried pretty deep in the sand to see me, La AND BFF together and not make a pretty good guess about our queerness.
  • When we decided to pursue IVF, we agreed that instead of correcting the assumptions made and possibly having to have BFF’s semen frozen and quarantined (not ideal for many reasons, also stupid in this scenario if not all others) we would simply allow the misperception to continue. I felt (and continue to feel) absolutely no shame or guilt about this. 
  • About a month ago I totally freaked out that we were totally screwing ourselves with this and our child would be an unnecessary victim in this process. So, we called our friend who is a family lawyer AND is hella queer and super political to help us. We had coffee with her last night.

After explaining all of this to us, she basically said, “You’re fine.” We are fine because, effectively, the three of us are in a deeply intimate, very trust filled and highly communicative relationship. None of us believes that the law (including the courts or the police) are the best way to solve issues, especially issues related to family systems. I am entirely confident that BFF doesn’t want to parent and if, for some strange reason, he decided he wanted to after a baby was born, I am even more confident he wouldn’t use the courts to make that happen. Its just not what we do. Similarly, if La and I ever split up, I imagine we would engage with the court system as little as possible. We just don’t do conflict that way. 

The law, she explained, is really only an issue if there is conflict between parties and those parties utilize the law to address the conflict. So, for example, we might need a bunch of complicated contracts to ensure La is on the birth certificate *IF* BFF wanted to be on the birth certificate too. Because he doesn’t, and because civil union legislation allows for two parents of the same gender who are in a CU to be listed on a birth certificate, we actually don’t need to worry about it. 

Risk vs. trust – that basically what it comes down to. We are in, comparably, a higher risk situation than many other parents (because we are using a known donor who does not want to parent to conceive) but we also have a higher level of trust and communication within that relationship. As our friend pointed out, the law has been shaped by the worst possible scenarios and how litigation informs them. It is also often the result of how people with the financial means and general desire to use the law shape it. Our friend’s family is shaped very differently from many, with a total of four people co-parenting two kids, and they have gotten through 13 years and a relationship break up without issue – all during a time when there was even less written law in place about these kinds of situations. Their high level of trust and intimacy has protected them in what could be considered a legally precarious situation. 

So, La and I are deciding to take a calculated risk, knowing that the love, trust, intimacy and vulnerability we have in our partnership and in our relationship(s) with BFF provide a safeguard that is, for us, as good or better than the law. The law which, right now – regardless of what we put into place or how much money we spent – is grey and murkey and undefined in relationship to our family. Our family which includes BFF, even though he will not be parenting. 

I feel so grateful to be able to let out my breath, at least on this issue. I’m sure there are folks – maybe even some of you – who think we are being naive. That might be true. We also have some degree of privilege in this situation, to be able to trust that we can use assumptions to our advantage, to have fluent enough understanding of the law and enough education and big enough vocabularies to both fly under the radar and put any questioning authorities in their place. But this is a choice we can make – to operate from the love, trust and communication that we have worked very hard to build and nurture instead of the fear that a litigous, capitalist culture teaches breeds. If we had homophobic parents, lived in the middle of the bible belt with 0 relationship recognition, if we were poorer, not white, not culturally middle class, not formally educated – all of those things might make this situation more precarious. What sucks is that the law was not and probably never will be written with many of those situations in mind, because the law is usually shaped by the people with the power to create it. 

Which sort of also makes me think about THIS. I highly recommend you read the link, but in brief (if you’re unaware): A woman in Texas, Marlise Munoz, tragically collapsed and died in her home from a pulmonary embolism on Thanksgiving day. Her husband came home and found her, not breathing, and attempted CPR while also calling for help. Marlise was taken to the hospital where they were able to restart her heart with electric shock and medications and have been able to keep her heart beating and her lungs filling with air mechanically. While there is still some question, Marlise’s family has said the doctor’s informed them she is “brain dead” which means there is 0 function to her brain. This is different from being in a coma or in a permanant vegetative state. Marlise is being kept ‘alive’ because when she collapsed she was 14 weeks pregnant, and the state of Texas says that ‘live giving and sustaining support cannot be withdrawn or withheld’ from a pregnant patient. Marlise’s husband and parents have stated unequivocally that neither Marlise nor they want her to be kept ‘alive’ in this state. Marlise and her husband were both paramedics and had spoken about end of life decisions. It is also unclear what kind of damage could have been done to the fetus, as Marlise may have not been breathing for over an hour and the medications used to restart her vital functions may have an impact on the fetus’ development. 

I have been sick over this case since reading about it, and have become even more distressed by comments some of my friends and family made when I posted the link to this NY Times article on my FB page. I’ve been upfront about my pro-choice politics but I actually don’t think this case is a pro-choice/anti-choice case. What it ultimately comes down to is that the state of Texas has more power to make decisions about the live of Marlise Munoz and her unborn fetus than her husband and parents – the father and grandparents of that fetus. Marlise died when her fetus was 14 weeks gestation – well within the legal timeframe to obtain a legal abortion (even in Texas) and while she chose not to abort, in her current condition, her next of kin should be able to make medical decisions on her behalf. 

Instead, the Munoz family (a widower and his 15 month old son, in addition to Marlise’s parents) will have to foot the bill for months of hospitalization for something neither they nor Marlise wanted, they are unable to say good bye and grieve their loss, they may face the stillbirth or early death of the fetus or they may need to care for a severely handicapped baby. All of this has been done without their consent. What’s worse is how Marlise’s humanity has been so completely robbed from her, even in death. Her choices are being ignored so that she can, effectively, incubate a fetus in her corpse. It is disgusting. We all deserve to have rights to self determination – whether it is how we parent, how we choose not to, how we live or how we die.

FINALLY . . .

Thanks for all of your well wishes, woo, prayers, hope. And thanks, too, to provera, parsley, vitamin C, castor oil, heating pads and yes, even the universe.

I am fucking bleeding!

Bloody Betrayal

 

 

 

Day 47. Still waiting. But hopefully one of the following (or all of them in concert) will get my mojo (and my endometrium) flowing:

-Exceptionally strong parsley tea 

-Finishing my provera script

-Castor oil packs

-Dong Quai 

-Extra vitamin C supplements (don’t worry though, I haven’t gone totally off the deep end)

-Sexy time with my lady friend

-A lot of bargaining with the universe

In my rational mind, I know that getting my period a day or two earlier (which is all that any of these things are likely to accomplish, other than possibly giving me some nasty cramps) won’t make a lot of difference in terms of how everything shakes out. But my rational mind stopped being a part of the baby making process a long time ago, unfortunately. 

Really, it comes down to my deep distrust of my own body, which I hate. On Monday night, in therapy, I was sobbing about it. “Why can’t my body do anything right?” I asked. “Forget getting pregnant, I can’t even menstruate like I should.”

Is this overwrought? Yes. Melodramatic? OF COURSE. But it feels so impossible to not be betrayed by this thing that I live and breathe and love in. It isn’t actually about getting to start the diagnostic cycle, or try one last Hail Mary IUI. Its about my body acting like we are told bodies should. And how deeply implicated I feel in my body’s betrayal. 

It shouldn’t be long now. I’m definitely having cramps (whether thanks to the emmenagogues or my uterus’ own contractions) and provera has always sealed the deal before. But, like every other part of this process, its always the last bit of waiting that hurts the worst. 

 

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