I will not tell anyone to feel anything today, just to clarify if you thought that the title might lead to some cockeyed optimism that you just aren’t prepared to deal with. That is not what I’m going to say.
I’m going to start by acknowledging the obvious: America has made a devastating but actually unsurprising decision to elect a xenophobic, racist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynist blowhard and we will all suffer the consequences. The racism and classism that has been bubbling beneath the surface of our communities for decades has surfaced and, I fear, will be set loose with abandon. The best we can do now is to dig deep for strength and resiliance, batten the hatches, protect the most vulnerable amongst us, and do what damage control we can. In the intervening 4 years (less!) we need to build strong coalitions and elect progressives in the midterms, and then emerge with a solid candidate to run in 2020. And pray.
L and I, distraught as any two queers (though, to be fair, white middle-ish class queers in a hella progressive state) decided to do the audaciously hopeful thing in the midst of this absurdity: we went to the fertility clinic to begin the process of making another baby.
That’s what I’m going to tell you about. That’s where I’m putting my focus (what focus I can wrench from the gut plunging anxiety of what might be on the horizon for myself and those I love) because I need to believe there is life beyond the next four years. Is it selfish and stupid, to think about bringing another baby into this broken, busted world? I don’t know, maybe? I don’t think that we have reached a point of no return, although I also don’t think we will somehow emerge from this shitshow unscathed. But this world needs more magical queer babies, right?
So, we went to the clinic. We discovered, not surprisingly, that we would not be able to use BFF as a known donor OR use the embryos from the previous cycle (my eggs +BFFs sperm) because of the hep B issue, despite having already assumed the risk through at-home inseminations. The doc said they would be happy to work with a directed donor through the Seattle sperm bank or an anonymous bank donor. We asked about going directly to IVF, given the lifetime max on our (really amazing) insurance benefit and they said, sure – great. And then they asked if we wanted to get started with testing today.
I’m letting L drive this car. I drove the last time, for better or worse, so I’m doing everything I can to be a thoughtful co-pilot. Of course, if there are hard vetoes, I’ll bring them up but when it comes to the finer details, she gets to make the calls. She was game to at least move forward with the testing, so we got started.
As we were waiting for the doctor to do the ultrasound, I asked her what she was thinking about the donor issues. “You might be surprised but, I think I want to use a sperm bank donor.” I was surprised, but also. . . was feeling the same. After fighting tooth and nail to make it happen with BFF, after the almost irreconcilable disagreement mid-way through our process where she was all but unwilling to even consider another option . . .here we are, both feeling shockingly ready to pursue a willing to be known but ultimately anonymous donor.
Part of it is cost and time, the expense of a directed donor and the 6 months + of waiting and testing would be 2-3 times that of buying sperm and cost us a minimum of half a year. We don’t even have a for sure known donor in the area, which would mean more time and not even a guarantee. And, knowing BFF is out of the picture, there really isn’t anyone else we feel so deeply about. So why go through all of this extensive process and cost for . . .a maybe?
I also think both of us have learned a lot about biology and it’s complex but ultimately somewhat irrelevant impact on a family. Things were different 3 years ago, they felt more intense and maybe more fragile. Knowing what I know now, it just doesn’t feel important. Not as important as having that extra money for the million other things a baby needs that do matter, much more than if their genetic donor is our friend.
So, we are doing the thing that so many of you have done: sperm shopping. We are likely going with the Seattle sperm bank because they are cheaper and also save us some $$ on shipping. L spent most of Ansel’s nap looking at donors, and I just went through a few as well. I don’t feel like it will be an agonizing choice. But, it is really really weird. right?!
With that choice made, it’s possible we will be doing an IVF cycle in December (!?) and a transfer in January or February (we are doing the genetic testing that we did on our last IVF cycle because the peace of mind is worth the extra month and the out of pocket cost) which feels . . .surreal. But exciting. And hopeful.
You know what else gives me hope?
Who, most recently, has entered the toddler phase of condiments-as-food (god help us he ate an entire cup of mustard that came with the Peruvian rotisserie chicken) and the throw-yourself-full-body-on-the-floor-when-you’re-tired-or-frustrated. Even still, he’s adorable.
(those are beans which, because we gave him a chip, he believed was a dip/condiment)
I also owe an update on my parent’s visit this past weekend which was exhausting and emotional and intense. Basically, we rode an emotionally draining weekend right into a devestating Tuesday and are bobbing gently on the small buoy of hope known as TTC.
So, I’ll be back.
Stay strong, loves. You are important, you matter, we’ll get through this – somehow.