Bumps and Bruises

Yesterday, Seafoam graduated from embryo to fetus! Hooray, Seafoam! Congratulations!

I would have liked to celebrate this accomplishment on behalf of my little stowaway, but we were too busy getting checked out at the emergency room.

Driving home from work yesterday, I was turning left into my neighborhood, stopped to wait for opposing traffic to pass. Because this is a busy but still residential street, there is no turn lane – only a single lane of traffic each way. I had been stopped for 45 seconds to a minute waiting for the other cars to pass, when a van slammed into the back of my car. I don’t think the woman driving even put on her breaks – just kept on going as though I wasn’t even there. If I had to guess, I’d say she hit me going about 35 mph.

My airbags didn’t deploy (which is generally a good thing) and I had my seatbelt on, so I didn’t hit my head or really experience any significant physical harm, minus the whiplash that was inevitable. I immediately called 911 though, because my first thought was seafoam and what kind of experience he might have had in the crash. 

The woman who hit me begged me not to call the police, and then tried to collect my name and phone number and head out. This should have been a clue that what had started in stupidity was probably going to end there as well. I told her she could do what she felt she needed, but that I’d already called the police and she’d be facing another ticket if she left. Before she could decide to leave, a firetruck and ambulance showed up, so she didn’t have a choice.

The EMT’s checked me out and decided I likely didn’t have any injuries, but advised me to go to the ER to make sure Seafoam was ok. We waited around for the cops to collect the information they needed and – sure enough – the other driver didn’t have insurance. So, I left with her name and address and while La drove me to the ER, we called our insurance agent. We do have uninsured motorist coverage, which will pay the medical expenses, but we will have to front our deductible for the damages to my car. $500 we don’t have for a mistake that wasn’t mine.

At the ER, they drew blood to see if seafoam’s blood had mixed with mine (both BFF and I are Rh+ though, so it doesn’t make much difference) and did an abdominal ultrasound (weird and wonderful to not have dildo-cam!) which showed Seafoam still happily floating around, heart beating away. I have a follow up with the midwife next week, but it all seems good. No bleeding or cramping since then – so I think we are probably in the clear.

My car, however, is another story. We went to a body shop to just get a ballpark, and he said the visible damage was at least $2500, and because the van hit my station wagon where the gate met the bumper with a pretty good amount of force, if the floor in the back of the wagon is buckled (which could very well be) it is likely a total loss.

For those of you still under the impression that a totaled car = a new awesome ride, I am here to tell you that, especially if you have a financed car (which I do) it could very well mean no car + car payment, depending on what you have left to pay and what the insurance company pays. 

So, now we wait for the adjuster and the awful, teeth pulling insurance process. This is the third time I’ve been in an accident in the last 6 years – none of them even remotely my fault. I’m kind of feeling bitter about it all. And the no insurance is rage-inducing. The problem is, I also know that not buying insurance is likely the result of poverty, so its hard for me to feel fully righteous in my anger. That said, I get having to make choices about what you pay for, and I’ve gotta say that I feel different about decisions that impact other people. Insurance is to cover your ass, but its also to make sure you don’t totally fuck someone else over.

But, we’re ok. And we have the money to pay the deductible. And if the car is totaled, we’ll figure something out. But I’d be ok if this was the extent of the drama in my pregnancy. 

Going Public

Since our miscarriage rate is already quite low thanks to pre implantation genetic testing, and hitting 8 weeks with a solid heartbeat under any circumstances is just about a 1% rate,  we decided to go for it and make seafoam public.


I hope I don’t get reason to regret this.  . . But after so many years of heartbreak is time to share the joy.

8w4d – Seafoam has feet!

Life – and early pregnancy – just keep trucking along.

Friday was our first midwife appointment. After doing some research about our options and the kind of birth I’d like (at least, based on how I feel right now) we decided to go with the midwives at the large, urban hospital – which is, also, the closest to us. Lots of folks have had things to say about this. This hospital is also home to the public ‘drunk tank,’ the free clinic system, and public health programs. This is ‘the people’s hospital.’ Which is, in some respects, why we chose it.

It also has the lowest C-section rate, and the best score for early best practices, such as skin-to-skin time and lactation support. And, it regularly serves low income folks with the entire array of sexual and reproductive health services, from birth control to L&D to abortion. I want my money (and my insurance company’s money!) to go to this hospital.

I’m not gonna lie, it is NOT the chi-chi fertility clinic. (and oh, I am grateful!) Our appointment’s are at a clinic in our part of town, which has a specialized women’s care area, but also houses the more general adult and pediatric clinics. And, in general, its a very different setting than the average doctor’s office. Lots of folks sitting and waiting, numbers being called to register, babies crying and folks with all their worldly possessions sitting next to them. Downstairs is the women’s clinic, which is separate from the more chaotic areas, but still friendly and full of people.

I think we are probably the first IVF pregnancy the clinic has seen recently – maybe ever. Our nurse was fascinated by the information we already had, but still treated us like every other patient. They explained all of the tests they run and gave me the option to decline or accept (not what I’m used to, for sure) and talked through how our care would be managed. (I am on a thyroid medication and an anti-anxiety drug that make me somewhat more complicated than some midwife patients.) And I just loved every minute of it! Really, they’re so great. I go back on Sept 19th, when I’ll be 12 weeks on the dot.

Yesterday was our “9 week scan” at the fertility clinic (which must actually occur before 9 weeks, which is why it happened at 8w3d) and everything continues to look good! Seafoam is measuring ahead slightly at 8w6d (21.46mm, with a heart rate of 169 beats per minute. 

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Obviously, the best part of the ultrasound is the little flipper feet near his butt. The cutest! 

I’m starting to feel less vommy, which I am thankful for, although its still a daily struggle, for sure. I still need approximately 12 hours of sleep a night to function without falling asleep at my desk, but I’ve made some changes to make that happen. Not much else to report in the way of gestation. 


A few months before we started trying to conceive, a (now former) colleague (also a queer woman who, at that point, was pregnant with her first child after a long haul of trying to get pregnant) recommended I check out the GLBT board on bab*center (I am altering the full name because I don’t want weird adds or whatever might come with even casually affiliating myself with the giant baby machine that is bab*center) – so I did.

I found a very helpful group of mostly fellow lesbian or queer identified ladies. There were enough folks there to get lots of information, but it was slow enough moving and small enough in population that people got an opportunity to actually get to know one another and have an investment in these stranger’s lives. Indeed, I have a few fellow bloggers and ‘friends’ here who came to me by way of the bab*center GLBT board. The IVF thread, in particular, is full of folks who have a deep level of care for one another. One woman even donated her embryos to another who was looking into donor egg IVF but couldn’t afford it. It’s like seriously tear jerking stuff, y’all.

After a few months of trying to get pregnant, I stepped outside of my GLBT board comfort zone and started occasionally posting and reading the thyroid board and the male factor board (since our donor has low morphology) and while I didn’t find good community there in the same way, I did get my questions answered by lots of thoughtful and smart folks who had more experience than me. So that was cool.

In the last few weeks, I made the decision to take a look at my “birth board” on bab*center. These are individual message boards set up for each month, and the idea is that you can form lasting relationships with the folks in the group based on a shared due date. It sounded like an ok idea – after all, I had some questions about pregnancy that I didn’t want to pose to my friends still trying to conceive on the GLBT board.

I went for that reason. I have stayed because of my (sometimes sick) sociological fascination with human interaction. And because a lot of the posts affirm why my job (as an advocate for comprehensive sexual health education in schools) is still relevant and necessary.

Here are some of my observations and thoughts about the mainstream bab*center board:

1. Those bitches are MEAN. I dunno if y’all have noticed, but I do my share of snarking. That said, I usually give people a small amount of grace or at least limit my condescending comments to my head. But the women on this board have 0 qualms about just sayin’ whatever shitty thing comes to mind. Sometimes the shitty things don’t even really make sense, that’s how carelessly flung about they are.

2. There is a sizable portion of the BBC posting population who don’t have any sort of grasp on reproductive biology. I’m going to admit that, prior to getting into my career and even then, before embarking on project make-a-human, my solid knowledge of reproduction was a little hazy. For example: following an ill-advised one night stand where the condom came off, I immediately stopped at the grocery store and bought a home pregnancy test, and was relieved when it came up negative. No matter than conception could have very well been happening at that very moment, I was sure I was in the clear. Thank God I actually was in that case. I got shit-all for sex ed (one of the reasons I feel strongly about people getting it now) and despite my general smarts, I wasn’t very well versed in how to get (or not get) pregnant. However, I did have the basics down about where babies come from, something some women using BBC don’t seem to have. This is not laughable, it’s depressing.

3. EVERYONE is terrified of miscarrying. For some reason, I thought the  all-consuming fear of miscarriage was more limited to those of us who are infertile or have had repeat losses. Not so. Just about every other post is someone asking if X or Y means they are having a miscarriage.

4. Google is totally the devil. Google + limited reproductive knowledge is dangerous. I’m not saying I haven’t done it, I’m just saying it’s really, really bad news. The more data our doctors give us, the more we compare it to google searches. The more we come up with the least likely scenario ever.

5. Many, many people do not realize that the most effective way to find out if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.

I hope to continue updating as my experiment continues. because, y’all, I cannot stay away.

In other news, just four days before her scheduled spay, Hilda the Baby Bulldog went into her first heat. Let me tell you, I find it difficult enough to manage my own vagina, I did not want to have to manage my dog’s vagina. But, a dog can’t be spayed while in heat, so La and I will be finding ways to manage the dog period for the next 15-18 days – as that’s how long these things usually last. We have enlisted our neutered boy dogs to protect their little sister’s innocence, but OMG this is so stressful.

Upside? We bought her the cutest puppy panties!

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Tomorrow is 8 weeks, and our first visit to the midwife, where we can be regular ol’ pregnant lesbians, instead of awkward fertility patients. Of course, the RE saga is not over. One more ultrasound there on Monday afternoon, then weaning off the meds. Can’t say I’ll miss the daily needle to the ass, or the rings of sticky on my belly from the patches. I still mostly feel like puking all the time. Also I had the absolute most intense constipation cramps of my life on Tuesday and I maybe had a moment where I thought I would die. Is this swollen uterus related? Because as a life long constipation sufferer, I really thought I would have a handle on this particular side effect.  I need to get back on my pooping regimen, because this cannot continue, and I know the traffic jam is only gonna get worse from here on out.

Actually there (7w3d)

I wasn’t even that nervous this morning before the ultrasound. I slept ok (minus bulldog shenanigans. If the bulldogs ain’t happy, don’t nobody sleep well) and woke up 95% excited and only 5% terrified. Very different from even the beta mornings. I think puking while brushing my teeth has begun to convince me I’m actually pregnant for reelz. 

And, I am. 

2014-08-18 11.23.07

Seafoam chillaxin in his gestational sac with his little (giant?) yolk sac buddy.


Seafoam is measuring in at 7w2d which – depending on which medical provider I’m talking to at the clinic – is either exactly where he should be, or close enough to count. (Apparently no one can make up their mind if I am 7w2d or 7w3d today, and whether my due date is April 3 or 4th. Not that it especially matters but given that literally every part of this process has been tracked down to the minutia you’d think they might be able to agree.) Crown-Rump length is 11.32mm. Heart rate was a gorgeous 141 beats per minute. I started weeping right there on the table when I saw him. As clear as I am that the image above happened when the dildo-cam was inside my vagina, I’m still feeling a little weird that I am sitting here, on the really actually pregnant side of this experience. 

Not much else to report, in either pregnancy or the other parts of my life. I spent a lot of the weekend sleeping, which was nice. Friday I had some more rage, this time directed at the woman I supervise who decided not to tell me that she decided NOT to apply for a grant that we need, after taking the task on. I spent the day writing that grant and  had to deal with her sassy e-mail as well. She’s out today, which is probably best. I haven’t quite decided how I want to address the situation in person.

I did also, finally, hear back about my TSH (thyroid) which I asked to have tested after my first HCG beta. I got put off for a while on it, but kept insisting. It was drawn last week and, conveniently, no one called me with the results. When I asked about it this morning (again, had to push) I found out my TSH was back up to close to 5. Not awful, but much higher than ideal for pregnancy. They upped my meds but . . .WTF? After being so insistent about NOT starting stims for IVF until my thyroid was under control, y’all are just gonna act like its no big deal when I’m actually pregnant? Ugh. 



Pregnancy Rage (or just the garden variety) – 6w6d

Y’all, the blueberry/coffee bean/sweet pea (depending on the app) sized being in my uterus is a total energy sucker. I mean, I get it. He is growing into a human being, forming a spine and a liver and multiple sets of kidneys (some of which he’ll never use, which seems like a waste? But it isn’t his fault) and all of that takes some juice, some juice he is borrowing (nay, taking) from me. But damn. 

Last Friday I was sitting at my desk, writing a lesson for a curriculum (aka: fully engaged in some thinking AND physically moving at least some of my body) and I did the airplane nod-off. I almost did a face plant into my keyboard. WHAT?! I haven’t nodded off mid-activity since I was in college, pulling all nighters and being forced to take really boring classes right after lunch. 

This also means that I try and nap after work or go to bed as early as is reasonable (I prefer to wait until the sun has gone almost all the way down, at least) which has left little time for anything other than work. And sometimes hanging out with my boo (although she would say her time is suffering as well.) 

So that’s why you haven’t heard from me. Sorry.

Today I am feeling pretty ragey. 

There is, of course, some legit things to rage about.

There’s the police state/intense militarization/racist bullshit happening in Ferguson, Missouri – where protesters (who are rising against an incredible injustice – the death of an innocent and unarmed black teenager) are being tear gassed and flash-grenaded and shot with ‘crowd disbursement materials” and reporters are being arrested or tear gassed to prevent them from doing their jobs. It is a rage worthy thing. (Oh hey, if you wanna talk about the ‘rioting’ or ‘looting’ instead of the real issue, which is the murder of an innocent black man, could you choose a different forum? I just don’t have the spoons right now.) 

You don’t know, but I have been arrested twice. Both times were in situations that echo this one. Once, I was quietly observing the arrest of a friend of mine, a trans man of color, when the officer told me to leave. Since it is legal to observe (and record, FYI) the police, I told him no. So, he arrested me. The charges were dropped because, well, I didn’t do anything illegal.  But I did spend a night in jail. The second time, I was arrested at a protest of racist shit happening in my city. I knew I was going to be arrested that time – gave my boss the bail money in advance, even – but I did experience excessive force, something the cops in my town are known for.

And I’m not saying that I get what’s happening in Ferguson – cause I don’t. But I do have some personal reserves of rage on which to draw in this situation. I am, simultaneously, heartbroken. Because I feel 100% helpless. I donated today to a fund to support those arrested, but aside from that and my anger, I haven’t got much. 

I also have my own personal rage.

After days of long, hard work (with seafoam happily sucking up whatever energy he needs to create his human form), including a lot of extra stuff I did as ‘favors’ for this particular school partner, I showed up this morning ready to conduct a 6 hour training. Y’all, I even brought the giant jar of tums to ward off the heartburn! I got there, started setting up my stuff, felt weird, but went with it, was told the room had been ‘double booked’ and I’d need to move, rearranged my stuff to be ready to move, and then was told they didn’t have subs for the teachers I was there to train, so none of those teachers would be attending.

Nevermind that this training has been booked since May, or that I sent reminder e-mails two weeks ago, a week ago, and just three days ago. Nevermind that I busted ass to get 10 giant adapted curricula printed and bound and color coded to their ridiculous specifications. Nope, doesn’t matter. I barely got a halfhearted, “sorry.”

Its hard not to feel shit all over when someone basically said, “Your time? yeah. It doesn’t actually matter. But thanks!” 

I smiled big and diplomatically said we’d reschedule. gave my card (again) to the folks in charge and asked them to call me with a better date. And then I made a quick exit because I was shaking with rage. Thank God La was available to hear me bitch, and that my boss totally has my back should I need to address their fuck up with a little more directness. I rewarded myself for the time spent with a fancy salad and a cucumber-mint house made soda from the cute cafe next to my office. 

I have a sneaking suspicion that the feelings I am feeling are a bit bigger thanks in part to being all doped up on hormones. So I’m letting myself be comforted by my pregnancy rage. 

What else?

Well . . .I’ve determined that tomatoes give me wicked heartburn, so they’re off the menu for a while. (sad since its tomato season and I LOVE them) 

Tomorrow marks 7 weeks, which feels – finally – like a ‘real number.’

I am starting to feel a little bummed when I see visibly pregnant women and I can’t have a solidarity nod with them because I am not visibly pregnant. I’m also sad cause I think it might be a while before I am visibly pregnant (like, longer than usual) cause I’m tall and big. 

Monday is our first ultrasound. It is also, if all goes well, sex-ban end day. I don’t know which we are more excited about. (just kidding. both.)

I’m really gonna work on staying a little more up to date because I have always kind of hated when bloggers I follow get knocked up and disappear (I mean, maybe some people prefer that, but we clarified that last week, so . . .) and I don’t want to do that. But also, as a fellow blogger pointed out, the first trimester feels really long and kind of boring. I mean, I can’t believe it’s actually been less than a month since our transfer. RIGHT?! It was on July 17th and today is August 14th! (it has been 4 weeks, but you know how months go.) Guess I’ll have to talk about things like politics or my job or something. 

First midwife appointment is next Friday! 




Oh man. It’s been a helluva week. And yes, I’m well aware the week just passed it’s midpoint.

Due in part to my less-than-stellar time management last week, this week has been pretty grueling. The fall is always my big training season, since I work with schools, but somehow I forgot how exhausting training by yourself all day can be. This week I had a two day training that required more than average prep time, serious work on adapting a curriculum, and my usual co-trainer is now being co-opted by a different grant, so I’m flying solo. This + newly growing a tiny human means that I have been running on fumes for the last 5 days. Being out of the office for two days then meant everyone scheduling meetings with me all morning today.

It’s 3pm on Thursday and I’ve finally taken a good, deep breath. 

That’s my excuse for the dearth of posts since my ranty-pants Saturday night diabtribe. It’s also my excuse for not publicly thanking my two really fabulous blog friends who have gifted me with fun newly pregnant presents!

Super special thanks to Alicia at Ladylove & Babydust for some adorable little baby treats to brighten up our house. It feels really special to me that, although many of us have never met – and might never meet – support one another and build legitimate friendships and community. I’ve got all of the things crossed that there is a long lasting second line in your future, girl. xoxo.

And also amazing thanks to dear, kind, and eloquent The Unexpected Trip who gifted me with a copy of the Mayo Center’s Guide to Pregnancy and a bonus journal – both boons she passed along. I’ve always much loved hand-me-down books, even when they are only technically so!

Of course, the excitement hasn’t JUST been prezies and too much work. This morning I went to the bathroom and got my first chunky brown discharge (well, technically it was more of a sludgy green, thanks to the estradiol I take vaginally) which sent me directly to panic mode, do not pass go, do not collect $200. There hasn’t been any more since then, so I think my anxiety has slowed to a low simmer for now.

Ice-T, of course, responded that this is 100% normal and not to worry. But, she did also schedule me for a TSH and free T4 draw at my next lab appointment, which I pretty well insisted on. When I initially got the call with my positive beta, I asked for this to be scheduled, and was told by the sub nurse that they would check it at my “OB” (actually, PA) appointment at 7w. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I thought this was B.S. and I wanted it checked before that. Tuesday is my next lab appointment, and I’ll be 6+4 by then. . . Small comfort, but some.

Oh, also . . .as I understand, there’s been a lot of recent pregnancies in the IF blogosphere, and I just wanted to say a few things:

  • If you are an IF blogger who isn’t pregnant yet and you don’t wanna follow me anymore, I would 100% understand and not be at all judgey.
  • I totally understand if you are feeling love/hate (or just hate) at this time because it fucking sucks to feel like you’ve been left behind, and that’s how this shit feels. 
  • I’m gonna keep following y’all and rooting you on and telling you how bad ass you are, unless you’d prefer I don’t. If that’s the case, just tell me straight up – no harm, no foul. Cause this shit is hard and there’s no getting around it. And we all should feel free to do whatever we have to do.

That’s about it . . .not really a lot to report from pregnancy land. I continue to feel exhausted, nauseated all day e’ry day, and have an exceptionally dry mouth (a handicap when you are a trainer, for sure.) I also had my first official pregnancy puke on Tuesday, thanks to the smell of the dingy work kitchen sponge. So, high fives on that? Only nausea since then, though. I’m hoping to keep my pregnancy puke count to a minimum. 


Reproductive Choice Means All Choice, Part 2: Colorado’s Proposed Amendment 67


Me and some of my co-workers (plus Hilda the baby bulldog!) at the NO on 67 rally a few weeks ago


I’m fired up right now. Which is kind of shocking because it’s 11pm on a Saturday night and I’ve been working all night, and usually I’m a pile of exhaustoid dust by now. But, I’m gonna run with it.

(I also fully recognize that this post might ruffle some feathers, and while I invite spirited debate, personal attacks and general meanness will get your comment removed. I mean, duh.)

So, recently a fellow blogger took on the very complicated issue of selective reduction – from a theoretical perspective. She mentioned that she and her partner had made a careful and well thought out decision that IF the situation arose, they would likely chose to reduce to two fetuses. She followed this up with very thought out and self aware paragraph about reconsidering going forward with further IUIs when there was the chance of higher order multiples.

There was a comment left on this blog which urged her to reconsider and mentioned something about “killing babies” when discussing selective reduction. She said she found it particularly distasteful for people who had conceived through advanced reproductive therapies to pursue selective reduction, and that if someone went forward with an IUI (or, I assume, other ART treatment) knowing there was a chance of conceiving high order multiples, they should “take the consequences.”

I left a comment in response, but I also really wanted to follow up on my previous posts about how deeply intwined I think ART and other kinds of reproductive choice (like birth control and abortion) are, and why those of us actively TRYING to get knocked up should give a lot of shits when legislation or other rhetoric pops up that is against things that make NOT having babies possible. (for reference, you can see my past posts here and here)

In Colorado, a small but very persistent group has been working to get a “personhood” measure into the state constitution for quite a few years. Every time it’s been brought to the people, it has been defeated easily. This year, the group has changed their tack and have billed it the “Brady Bill” by co-opting the heartbreaking story of a pregnant woman struck by a drunk driver who subsequently lost her pregnancy (at approximately 7 months along.) Of course, this is horrific and there should be (and are!) laws in place that protect women in this situation. Unfortunately, this group is once again trying to define “personhood” as beginning at the moment of fertilization.

The consequences of this are far reaching. It would outlaw ALL abortion at any phase, and could put some birth control into question as well. It would also OUTLAW IVF. It could make it possible for women who miscarry to be investigated for MURDER. It would make medical records PUBLIC. It is super scary.

And I really, really hope it won’t pass. And I do generally believe that the people of my great (and widely “purple”) state will defeat the measure, again. But I also don’t doubt the power of a good sob story, and this is a good one. It’s just being really deeply abused in this case.

Unfortunately, there are bills like this popping up all over the place, and in some places, their likelihood of passage is much greater.

So, here’s what it ultimately comes down to for me:

I am grateful to have the CHOICE to have babies in the way I am. Without IVF, my ability to create a family would be limited. For many of us, it would be impossible. We need these therapies in order to realize our dreams. My choice to bear a child is no better or more noble than another person’s decision NOT to have one.

I honestly believe that if we want to have our choices about our reproductive health respected, we have to respect every one elses. That includes abortion – for whatever reason – whether that is to reduce a pregnancy to a healthier and more sustainable number of embryos/fetuses, or because you just don’t want to have a child. When we start saying our choices are better than others – in a broad and generalized sweeping way – we undermine the choices we have made. 

As hard as we have fought to get pregnant, if the situation forced us to consider termination. . .. because of health or some other god-awful unforeseen circumstance, I would indeed consider it. And I would want my choice to terminate a pregnancy to be as supported and as legal as my choice to start a pregnancy.