Overachieving ovum and subpar spermatazoa

The results came back from BFFs repeat semen analysis: 4% normal morphology,  up from 2% in July.  This is,  add I anticipated,  a very marginal and pretty much inconsequential improvement.  Normal morphology is 14%. La and I were hoping for something like 8 or 10. 4% just feels.  . . Unfair.

So we will be going forward with the IUI using BFF this time and hopehopehope that one of those 4% of normal shaped sperm find one of my five follicles and make a baby.  It’s not impossible or even a total long shot.  This protocol is,  after all,  the recommendation for a woman with PRO and a man with poor morphology.  So hope isn’t lost.  But today is still sad.

We will be contacting our two other potential donors to talk about moving forward with one of them.

It can’t all be good,  I know,  and I am still grateful for the hope we have to hang on to,  but there is a fair amount of grief to contend with today as well.  Especially for La, who has held on to this idea for years,  the possibility for loss is just as present and palpable as the hope.

Bust.

Its been a helluva week.

Today is cycle day 22, still no positive OPK. After the almost-the-same test on Tuesday morning, I got almost no line at all on Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning I got another dark-but-not-positive and then . . .of course, no line Wednesday night. My cervical fluid has followed a similar, although opposite, pattern – with creamy fluid in the morning and stretchier, clearer fluid in the evening. My temperatures have stayed solidly in the pre-ovulatory range. This morning’s pee stick ritual yielded another dark but not positive. In other words, nothing to speak of.

I sent an e-mail to the Texas Ranger on Tuesday asking for an ultrasound to see what was going on, and mentioning that I would also like to talk more in depth about fertility medications. She responded telling me to come in for a blood draw to check progesterone and to schedule an appointment to talk about further interventions.

I’m a little perturbed about the progesterone check instead of an ultrasound. The progesterone test will show that I have not ovulated. Which I know, because I track my temperatures.  I’m not sure why I had to drive half way across the metro area and get stuck in the hand to prove what I already know. But I did.

The next available appointment for The Texas Ranger wasn’t until Oct 1st. Aside from this feeling like a lifetime away, I was also concerned with how it might work in terms of timing for the next cycle (assuming I ovulate in the next, you know, few weeks) and I was not willing to be patient to talk about something that I’d wanted to talk about a month ago. So, I am going to see a doctor at the same practice this coming Monday.

After a week of grief, anxiety, busy-ness and just general too-much-ness, La and I made the decision to cancel this cycle. Between the havoc that’s been wrecked on our lives with friends leaving and lives exploding in work and ovulation not coming, and the fact that we were advised an IUI wouldn’t be recommended with ovulation any later than day 24 (at this rate, we are almost past that cut-off as is), it seems like the best, most reasonable plan to forgo the IUI, take some time to breathe, figure out our next steps, and then move forward in September/October.

I’m terribly sad and also decidedly relieved. I have been exhausted by this process, wrung out with waiting, and blame filled (from myself, always only myself) when the OPK shows up negative. again. and again. And while there is loss – not getting to try is a particular kind of heartache I think – it feels quieter and more peace-filled.

The one sticking point from our conversation last night was whether to have BFF’s sperm analysis repeated before or after the IUI. Following the previously decided upon ‘plan’ would mean getting it done prior to the Sept/Oct IUI. La doesn’t want to do this. She wants to go forward and have the SA repeated after the IUI.

I have a lot of complex feelings about this. First and foremost, if we are upping our game so significantly, I’m not sure why we wouldn’t test the semen. Its been more than 8 weeks since BFF started acupuncture and supplements, and that was time time frame we were given to see some improvement. I think La’s desire to try is more about sticking her head in the sand and hoping for the best – a tactic I have often gone with when the emotional stakes are high. After all, no news is good news, right?

But it feels hard that in this instance, The Plan is being put aside in the service of BFF/La’s desire to use BFF as our donor. The Plan has been the primary sticking point whenever I wanted to bump the timeline up. Whenever I wanted to make an appointment or ask questions about interventions or see a naturopath or or or . . .The Plan has been the reason I didn’t do any of that. When I’d come home worried or wanting to try something, La would say, but we have The Plan. We have to stick with The Plan. and The Plan says we don’t try that until _____ (after 6 tries, August, if we get a bad test result.)

So I’m a little resentful. And I feel shitty that I feel resentful, but I do. We tabled the conversation and made an agreement to revisit after doing some more thinking and talking and uncovering. I certainly don’t want to make a decision based on my resentful feelings; I also want to give ourselves the best possible chance, because this shit is fucking hard.

 

Doctor’s Orders

And so begins, possibly, a new era of the baby making saga.

Yesterday we went and saw a “full spectrum OB-GYN” Practice (ie: an OB/GYN who does some fertility work as well) who had been recommended to us by a lesbian couple who are also trying to conceive using a known donor. Due to a bunch of rescheduling mishaps, the appointment was with a different doctor than we had initially planned on seeing (that is, the specific doc recommended to us)

On Monday, during my lunch break, I looked around on the practice’s website and found the bio of the doctor we were scheduled to see. And I just about lost my shit. There, amongst his accolades and degrees earned was this:

“Raised in the mid-west from a strong Catholic family of twelve, Dr. Lennon has a sincere appreciation of traditional family values.”

Maybe this doesn’t phase you, but I’m going to go ahead and guess that many queers would have the same response I did. Which was to feel a deep and abiding fear strike deep into my heart.

Monday night, La, BFF and I made a plan of action for if the doctor ended up being a bigoted asshole. We decided to be calm, collected, professional and strong. We decided to not walk into the office with judgement based solely on this phrase, just as we wouldn’t want to be judged. But my heart still raced and I, admittedly, did try and choose a few incredibly brilliant come-backs for any potential shitty comments.

We showed up to the appointment – all three of us arriving at different times – and waited. I showed up a full half hour early, amped on a half caff americano spiked with sugar syrup. BFF showed up so late he had to be shown back to the room. La was, of course, perfectly on time.

The MA who took us back was great. She was prepared for there to be three of us (although there were only two at that moment, see above) and clearly knew who was who. She was kind, good humored, and funny. As soon as we sat down and told her BFF was on his way, La asked if the doctor was ok with us and how things were working. She smiled and said “OMG YES! This is the most liberal practice EVER!” And went on to report exactly how and why they were awesome. Cue giant sigh of relief.

Before she could finish taking my medical history, someone popped their head in and told us that the doctor had to go to a delivery and we could either wait for him or see one of the midwives. A little frustrated, we decided to see the midwife. Once the door was closed, the MA warned us that this midwife was the “most conservative” in the practice, but that we would be fine still and would get good information from her and then could continue seeing the original doctor. Cue sharp intake of breath. again.

The woman who walked in was a straight talking shoot from the hip middle aged woman in a breezy black blouse and white tennis shoes. “So, the three of you want to get pregnant, eh?” she asked immediately. Yes, we nodded. We do. “Well, tell me what you’ve already done and what you want to do next.” She was kind of scary, but in a super sweet way. Like a Texas ranger housewife.

I explained our 5 failed attempts at home insemination, detailing that BFF provides his sample in a sterile cup, brings it to us, we insert it with a needless syringe. That we do this somewhere between 2-6 times in my peak fertility period. That I know when to do so because I track my basal body temperature, my cervical fluid, my cervical position and use ovulation prediction kits.

“So, you’re ovulating?” She asked.

“Um. Yes? I mean. I think so? I mean, all of the evidence I have here suggests . . .” and then I pulled out the folder of my printed BBT charts and showed her. “This is what ovulation looks like, right?”

“Yep, looks like ovulation to me. Sounds like you work.”

I was confused at first. Did she mean that I was ‘working’ at understanding this? and if so, was that a judgement? Was she asking if I had a job? if so, that was a weird non-sequitor. Did she mean . . .it sounds like I am fertile?

“Um. Yeah. Yeah I guess I do.”

She then turned to BFF and asked if he had ever fathered a child. He mentioned the accidental pregnancy he caused when he was 15, and then mentioned that was a while ago. She asked him his age and did the math. “yeah, let’s get you a sperm analysis.”

“Once we do that, you all should do IUIs. You know what that is?”

Yes, we said. We did. But . . .

“Can you do that? I mean. Will you have to freeze and quarantine BFF’s sperm? Because everyone we’ve talked to has said . . .”

“What? Why do I care where you get your sperm?” The texas ranger asked.

“Well . . .its just . . .I mean . . .they’ve said some things about liability and . . .” At this point we launched into an abbreviated version of the sperm saga we have heard. That our GP didn’t care how we got pregnant but couldn’t help us with fertility. That the OB at the other practice didn’t care how we got pregnant but couldn’t help us with fertility. That the RE we got referred to could totally help us with fertility but could only do it with frozen anonymous sperm OR with the sperm of my *MALE SEXUAL PARTNER* and no it didn’t matter how many times this dudes sperm had been in me.

The Texas Ranger didn’t care. Nope. Not a bit. She explained that they could do IUI’s in the office with BFF’s sperm, which they could wash either there or at a nearby lab. No freezing. No quarantining. Sample that day. Bim bam boom.

And with that, the Texas ranger wrote a referral for BFF to get the semen analysis, told us she will call with result and, assuming at home try #6 doesn’t work and BFF’s team is ship-shape, we will do our first IUI cycle in August. It will likely be unmedicated and unmonitored, although the details weren’t discussed. If the IUI’s don’t work after two cycles, I will get an HSG and blood work done. And then we will go from there.

I got an increased dose of thyroid meds for my clinical sort of normal but TTC-high thyroid results as well. Score on that, since the GP wouldn’t up my dose since she only goes by the regular guidelines, not those established for women trying to conceive.

I feel more hopeful than I have in a while. I’m nervous about increased medical intervention, but also feel like it could shorten the waiting and take a lot of the load off of me. We still get to use the donor we adore, and while we will be paying more than free (or, actually, the cost of OPKs and bulk orders of syringes and cups) the cost is still quite low as these things go, and we have a benefactor who is willing to support some of the costs.

And, of course, there is still a chance it will all be unnecessary. That in approximately two weeks we will be pregnant and can return to the OB for a prenatal visit instead of an IUI.

Return from Paradise

Image

We are back.

If only everyone could spend a week in Cancun every time they have to wait to try again to make a baby. It really is an excellent way to stop thinking about the minutiae of getting pregnant and just really exist in the moment. I vote free beach vacays for all people TTC – every cycle you don’t get knocked up, you get to go away. Who’s with me?

Unfortunately, you can only suspend reality for so long before it comes crashing back down on your head. My usual M.O. is to have a mild-moderate panic attack on the flight home when I begin subconciously making the list of crap in my head. I staved it off until we were in customs this time.

But I have also managed to hold on to a teeny tiny bit of paradise. By this I don’t mean the white sand or water so blue you don’t remember its salt or a mojito whenever I ask for it. I mean bobbing in waves unaware of time, I mean moments without narrative or checklists or somethinganythingijustneedtothink, I mean seeing – actually seeing – all of the things around me, I mean looking at my girl’s face and feeling all of the big beautiful feelings bubble up.

So I’m going to try and float with these feelings, even in the midst of re-writing my work plan for the funder who it seems like I can never please, in the middle of managing money when an unforeseen expense or 30 pops up, and yes, right here smack dab in the center of trying to make a baby.

And we are smack dab in the middle of it, again. We arrived home on CD12 and I commenced peeing on things. I’m expecting to ovulate between now and Thursday and we did our first insemination last night.

BFF is currently living with us while he and BFFBF look for a new place to live. BFF got a new puppy (the biggest floppiest most adorable grand pyrenees named Yankee!) and the puppy is also living with us. Our house is kind of like Three’s Company on a farm right now, and yes its as ridiculous as it sounds. On the upside, we can do inseminations any old time we feel like it . . .which will probably be every other day until the positive OPK pops up, and then a few more tries.

ImageA few other notes . . .

On DOMA . . .Our Cancun resort didn’t have free wifi and pat of my vacation plan was to be as unplugged as possible. So, we didn’t find out about the Supreme Court decisions until we got home. And what a fuckin’ mixed bag, eh? I’m super psyched that DOMA was struck down and that same sex marriage will be federally recognized on some level. I’m also glad the shenanigans in California got addressed. I know that the DOMA ruling doesn’t entirely take care of the issues (I do happen to live in a state where a similar amendment has been enshrined in the state constitution) but I also think this is a sign that the BS is on its way out. Supreme Court precedent is a big f’ing deal, you know?

But OMG can we talk about the Voting Rights Act for a minute? That is BAD BAD BAD. The irony that this decision came at the same time as the Paula Deen scandal is just too much Americanism for me. Why are people not outraged about the VRA being dismantled in the same way they are ourtraged at Paula Deen saying the “N” word? For serious?!

And also . . .I really really really hope that now the marriage stuff is beginning to happen that the LGBTQ ‘community’ can start paying attention to the other million issues that really deeply impact queer folks. Like immigration reform, and health care, and homelessness. And I hope we care as much about those things as we do about the right to get married. I hope we give just as many shits about the way people of color just got totally disenfranchised as we do about the ability to file federal taxes jointly. Now that our relationships aren’t wedge issues, please let us keep standing on the right side of justice.

On Doctors  . . .

Tomorrow the triumverate goes to visit the OB/GYN. This appointment has been a long time coming. It was initially scheduled for three weeks ago, but has been rescheduled a million times (by both us and the doc) and it felt like it was never coming. Now that it is, I’m terrified. I’m scared of the possible homophobia (even though we have a referral from another queer couple using a known donor); I’m terrified of fatphobia (kind like this) and having to defend my body and my life; I’m terrified of finding things out that I don’t want to know about maybe why we aren’t pregnant yet.

But, I’m also hopeful. We have the opportunity to find out that everything is OK, or to fix things that might be getting in the way. We have a chance to ask a lot of questions. We have access to things that might support knowing, understanding, or making this happen.

An update to the great doctor saga – or, the day I talked to every department in the hospital that does anything with vaginas

Since our last episode . . .

1. Got a call on Friday from the maternal-fetal health dept (what?) telling me that they had received a referral for me to see Dr. B in their department. When I expressed confusion about who DR. B was and why I should be seeing her INSTEAD of Dr. C (‘the best we have’ doctor) the scheduling lady said “I don’t understand the clinical stuff but DR. B is the specialist, the super specialist, and you’re supposed to see her.” So, I cancelled with DR. C and made an appointment with Dr. B

2. Feeling confused and wanting to forgo any additional weirdness, I send an e-mail to my awesome GP (who is also on the advocacy committee for one of the LGBT orgs in town) and asked her to do a little informing to ensure the same shit didn’t happen. She said DR. B was great and of course she would send a head-up.

3. Today I get a call from maternal-fetal health telling me that, actually, Dr. B is not who I should see, that I should see a reproductive endocrinologist in advanced reproductive medicine because Dr. B only sees pregnant diabetic patients (what?!) so they can transfer me to ARM. Um. Ok. I guess.

4. Get transferred to ARM where I have to explain to the receptionist that I have done inseminations at home, approximately 10 times, before it was clear. (“Who did you IUI?” “No one. I did it at home.” “I’m sorry, WHO did you say did the IUI?” “NO ONE. My friend came over and jerked off in a cup and I put it in a syringe and put it in my vagina.” “Oh . . .”) I was finally allowed to make an appointment although the receptionist sounded confused.

5. Call the patient advocate people to complain. While I’m on the phone with them, ARM calls back and leaves a message saying that, actually, I shouldn’t see them, I should just go back to SA, the nurse practitioner who started this whole charade.

6. Call ARM back and explain that OB-GYN sent me to DR. B who sent me to ARM so can someone just fucking tell me who to talk to? Get a nurse on the line and she explains that absolutely! They can see me! They are totally the right department to see! But they don’t approve of known donor at home inseminations! Ok!? So then I spend a half an hour asking if they can still figure out what’s going on in the case of the missing menstrual period (or, really, the case of the delayed Ovulation, as its becoming clear is actually the case) and get treatment for that even though the way I am getting sperm into my uterus is not the way they want me to. Never get a very clear answer but determine that I am not likely to GET answers on the phone that day and decide to go see the ARM doc anyway. Where I will probably have to be very clear that I know the risks and that I just want them to determine if there is something going on with my lady parts that needs to be addressed in order for me to get knocked up.

The juxtaposition of this experience with the first half of my day is absurd, and disheartening. I continue to be unclear why in the world my BFF’s sperm needs to be quarantined when I have a more trusting and loving relationship with him than I did with many of the dudes I slept with during my wilder days (which is, apparently, the magic key to not having to go through the bullshit in ARM) unless its because some either a doctor or the government has to attach me to a man to legitimize my pregnancy. But more than that, I just want someone at the damn outpatient pavillion to listen to me long enough to know that I actually don’t even want their help getting pregnant right now – I just want to know why I went from having 30 day cycles all my life to suddenly not ovulating for 45 days.

The eternal wait

I’m not really sure what’s happening, but I feel like some sort of explanation is needed. For myself, more than anything . . .and because all of you have been so kind and I have maybe been a drama queen and I don’t want to take advantage of that kindness.

So here’s the latest:

After a hellish week at work (I LOVE my job, FYI, but I don’t like doing anything for 60 hours a week, into the wee hours of the night) and exhaustion from waiting and waiting and trying to get information, I had a particularly pitiful call with a nurse from my doctor’s office on Friday afternoon.

I’m lucky that I live in a pretty queer friendly world. My job, my family, and even my old timey neighborhood are all safe places for me to be out, and I am mostly met with a pretty high level of analysis and understanding about LGBTQ issues. And while my OB/GYN are certainly OK with queer stuff, they are also not very culturally informed – or, at least, not my doc and her nurses. Thus, my phone calls are usually infused with not only having to come out (over and over, everytime a new nurse calls) but also explain exactly what that means insofar as trying to get knocked up goes. I suppose the fact that we are going about this in a less than usual ‘artifical insemination’ fashion also makes things complicated.

So, while I am generally grateful that we have the ability to do this thing in a not-so-medicalized way, I am also longing to have a professional medical place that is somewhat cognizant of how our journey to conceive is unique from so many others. And I am especially tired of both explaining in depth everything I can and being patently ignored.

Reaching out for support from the medical profession has proved decidedly unfruitful. So I just keep tracking and temperature taking and peeing on sticks, hoping some sort of pattern will eventually emerge. As done as I have felt with looking at my cervical fluid (because it may very well mean nothing, and its hard to care when there is no discernable goal lurking ahead) I have kept doing it.

On Saturday morning,  stuck my fingers on up there and pulled out strands of clear slippery stuff. And I thought, “huh.” I looked at it so long that La half yelled “quit playing with your cervical fluid, I have to pee.” It was unusual, but nothing about the last few weeks has been usual.

Saturday afternoon, I came home from some errands and did my daily pee stick ritual. I have taken to peeing on both the ClearBlue easy smiley face digital OPKs and the cheap internet wondfo’s because the cost of amazon.com procured OPKs is worth having some sort of peace of mind. Even after the eggwhite cervical fluid, I wasn’t expecting anything. I happened to look down in the middle of cleaning my contact lenses and saw that big stupid grinning smiley face. And I thought, WTF? The wondfo was dark, not my usual positive, but dark enough to be considered a positive by internet OPK standards.

Apparently, my LH was surging.

I sent a text to both La and BFF and said, in effect, “um, sorry I have had no f’ing idea what is happening with my body but I think I’m ovulating? So maybe you can bring the swim team over tonight?” La called and was all like “um, what?!” and BFF sent back “Of course! I love you both!” And so, on Saturday night, we did our 6th insemination total, our first for this . . .uh . . .whatever it is.

Yesterday, even more eggwhite showed up, along with another smiley face (this is likely only because I had opened a new box of them) and an incredibly dark wondfo. Cue insemination #2.

And now, we wait. I wait to see if I get some sort of temperature rise (again?) to see what happens with my cervical fluid and the OPKs, to see if my period shows up . . .ever again, if a pregnancy test comes back positive. I’m not even sure what I am waiting for anymore. And that is oddly comforting.

I’m trying to retrace my data, look back at my chart, and figure out what’s going on. The first temperature shift was less significant than usual – although it was still there *and* corresponded to other fertility signs. The OPKs were never as clearly positive in February. All that cramping. All the nausea. The fact that this fertile patch is coming 28 days after the first . . .eerily ‘on time’ if I had gotten a period.

My best guess is that a cyst impeded ovulation, and this is my body’s second go at it. I certainly hope its an anomaly, anyway. Otherwise, I am currently on day 45, with ovulation likely to happen today – and that is a mighty long cycle, and probably not a good sign.

So . . .so. I wait. Like always. But now with no clear end in sight. A blessing and a curse.

After two weeks of feeling embarrassingly obsessed with the possibility of being pregnant, I am happy to return to a state of mind which includes more coherent and complex thoughts than “omigodwhatwasthattwingeinmybelly? whatdiesitmean?!” My type A personality keeps me productive at work, but once I was home for the day, it was no holds barred.

Saturday was long and sleepy and sad. But Sunday was fine, even with La leaving for California for a week, and today I am cheery and lighthearted. I am more sure now, after a negative result, than I was before we started trying that we will be parents – and soon. So I am trusting that calm and letting it guide me for now.

We went to game night at A+K’s house (they have the twin girls) and they gave us bags of baby stuff to look through. We had to do it then because it was going to a consignment sale and we didn’t want to hold them up. It was a little bittersweet, but I appreciate the thoughtfulness and am grateful to already be stockpiling hand-me-downs. Another friend told us there is a ton of items in her mom’s basement waiting for us whenever we are ready. I’m nervous about collecting too much – I don’t want to have a room full of baby stuff before there is a baby, it just crosses some line for me – but I’ve never been known to turn down free stuff. So, for now, we’re trying to figure out a line to walk.

In awkward news, a guy at my church approached me and actually asked  if I was pregnant.  He did it because of some posts I’ve made on facebook which, I guess, are very ‘first treimestry” (please note that when you have to try real hard to get knocked up you sometimes do things prior to conception that others do during the first trimester but, whatever.) I had to smile and say, “oh no, not yet. but we are trying.” He’s kind of a well meaning fuck up, and really it could have been worse but, for the love of God dude, you don’t ask people if they’re pregnant.

So now I’m just on the lookout for my period, which hasn’t shown yet. I’m 16DPO, which is kind of crazy for me (out of the four cycles tracked, I have had 1 13 day LP, 2 14 day LPs and 1 11 day LP.) I also still have milky-watery-creamy cervical fluid, which is also unusual for me. I’m chalking this up to my body’s first encounter with sperm in about 10 years. In any case, I would like to start bleeding so that I can have a formal end to this cycle and move on to the next. Its also somewhat important that I be able to project out ovulation so La and I can decide whether we are going to ditch her cousin’s fancy-ass straight wedding to inseminate or just dress up super gay and go. So, clearly, it is very IMPORTANT that my uterine lining pack up and leave already.

Onward, ho!

A few more details

Well, I hate to leave you all hanging (I’m a sucker for context) so I thought I’d provide a quick but more detailed update.

Despite still no positive OPKs, we did our first insemination last night. BFF’s car broke down and he asked La to pick him up from his teaching gig, and suggested we give it a go, since he was coming over anyway. I was a little surprised but figured it might be best if we did a sort of test run. And, I do have fertile fluid right now, so it’s not totally out of the question that the little suckers could hang out until O. Although we aren’t taking that chance – we will be doing insems this weekend as well.

It was awkward but sweet. We did a tung Lin meditation and some other ritual type stuff. Then BFF left with his cup and La and I fooled around until he knocked on the door and gave us the sample. There was a fair amount of giggling and awkward sounds from the syringe, but it never felt embarrassing.

Afterwards I put my pjs on and propped my hips up, and BFF, La and I read BFFs tarot cards and laughed. I went to bed after that and they stayed up talking.

So, one down, a few more to go. In La’s immortal words, “we’re gonna flood that shit”

It’s a good week here at the Gayby Project.

On Wednesday, La and I went to our first couples counseling appointment in preparation for making, birthing and raising a child together. The counselor is fabulous – just enough woo woo but not over the top – and it affirmed for me that La and I have a lot of really good tools and strategies for handling things when they are shitty. I knew this, but having professional confirmation is always nice. We both have a lot of feelings and thoughts about so much – from La’s experience of, essentially, being a non-party to the legal contract between BFF and I relating to sperm donation, to my fear that I might be infertile, to our experiences with how people react when we tell them we are going to try and conceive. I’m very glad we are taking the time and spending the money to really parse things out before there is a wailing infant and lack of sleep making things that much more challenging.

Today, we had an appointment with the OB-GYN for a pre-conception visit. I’m also really glad we spent the money for this, even though I felt kinda silly about it. I talk a lot about my unsubstantiated fear of being infertile, so it really helped to have a doctor tell me that she didn’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant quickly and easily. We also asked questions about our plan with timing (she recommended every other day, instead of every day like we’d planned), the process after getting a positive home test, and about how to get involved with the Midwifery Center at the University (we see a faculty practice out of the University of Colorado)

She also got me a pertussis vaccine, since I didn’t have one and you need it prior to or during pregnancy, and drew some blood to check my thyroid (its always been slightly underactive, but managed with medication. She said my TSH was a bit higher than ideal at last check, so she wanted to review it again – but that would just mean upping my levothyroxine slightly – and a higher TSH could account for my lengthier cycles) She said I’m ovulating, my labs and other numbers look good, and that she thought we shouldn’t have issues.

The OB-GYN was such an awesome place to be – I genuinely enjoyed my time there, which is not something I often say about medical practices. I’m sure it has something to do with pregnant people waddling around and an overall feeling that there is more expectant joy than impending disaster than most other places, but I LOVED the Doc we saw, and we chatted with lots of the ladies in line for the lab, and everyone was chatty and happy and nice. I felt a little bit like a fraud, waiting in line with the pregnant bellies – a few of them asked when I was due and I had to blush and say, we’re not -yet. But, I’m hoping that a couple of months from now, we might be back and have an answer to that question.

Hung out with BFF last night. He is very excited, has been wearing boxers regularly for two months now, and said his last steam room visit will be next week. OMG, love that man. I really can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have a guy who is involved, excited, and willing to do stuff like not have sex for days or change the type of underwear he wears and he ALSO doesn’t want to parent. Its totally the best possible situation.

I’m on CD26, 8 DPO, with either 4 or 6 more days to go before I menstruate. I’m hoping that I might have a 14 day luteal phase this time, but am also expecting it to be closer to 12. In any case, I should be bleeding by next week, which will mean the start of our (actual, for sure) first cycle of trying to conceive. As disappointed as I was to miss January, I have to say I am actually so relieved it worked out the way it did.

So . . .here we go. I think I am just ready enough.

On Fatness and Fear

I keep having moments where I FREAK OUT about how close we are to actually inseminating! La said yesterday – just think, a month from now, you will have sperm INSIDE of you. It was kind of creepy and gross but also YES, yes I will. I have not had sperm inside of me since approximately 2004, and even then it was by accident. So.Weird.

Some of the scary shit is hitting me now, though. The biggest fear I have is that I won’t be able to get pregnant. There is no evidence or even suggestion that this would be an issue, its just an irrational fear. No one in my family has ever had problems conceiving and I’ve been getting my period (and, thus, presumably, ovulating) pretty much every month without fail since I was 13. But the fear persists until I talk myself through it.

Then there is the fear of being pregnant while fat. I want to let you know that I have been fat all of my life and I have spent a LOT of time working out what that means for me in terms of health (physical and mental) and wellbeing. In about 2005, I started down a journey of body acceptance that works most days. I hang out with radical fatties who resist the idea that thinness equates to health, goodness, or beauty. Most days, if the pants don’t fit, its the pants’ problem – not my bodies. My fabulous, superhot babe of a wife is a fattie too and I think she is just dreamy. Lucky, she thinks I am too – not in spite of my body but because of it. Its delicious and wonderful.

I’m not worried about gaining weight while I am pregnant. I understand that 1) I will, because you are supposed to no matter what and 2) I am most concerned with having my body be a place where a baby can grow in a healthy space – and that includes not subjecting myself to body terrorism just as much as it means laying off the caffeine, eating more kale and drinking lots of water.

I’m really afraid of being pregnant and no one knowing it. I’m afraid of being pregnant and people thinking I’ve just gotten even fatter. Not because I’m necessarily worried about being fatter, but because I want to be seen as a pregnant woman.

I’m also afraid of being treated differently in the medical context of pregnancy. There are all kinds of myths about the dangers of fat pregnancy that aren’t actually true, but get perpetuated in the same way that other myths about the dangers of fatness do. I’m afraid of being denied the option to labor naturally. I’m afraid of being forced into a cesarean without cause. I’m afraid of being judged and ridiculed and being considered a bad parent before I’ve even become one, all because I am a fat lady.

Last night, I wanted to try and hunt down pictures of pregnant fat women. Can you think of a time when you have seen a picture of a fat lady pregnant? I don’t think I ever have. The pictures we see are usually thin women with big basketball bellies. That’s not even the norm for all women of non-plus sizes. My co-worker, who is a bigger girl but by no means would be considered ‘fat’ doesn’t have a belly like that. I appreciate having a few examples to look at right here and now, to reassure me that baby bellies vary as much as mama bodies.

I found this amazing blog in my search. In particular, you should check out the plus size pregnancy photo gallery (be careful, it’s not safe for work – unless you’re lucky enough to be a sexual health educator like me, in which case pictures of pregnant bellies and boobies don’t make your boss mad) It made me SO happy. The rest of the site also has articles on medical bias, great tips about pregnancy and childbirth, and lots of other awesome resources for fatties in the family way. It was like finding exactly what I’ve been longing for – and I am ready to be well armed once I do get knocked up and I have to advocate for myself.

 

This article is awesome too! 

 

 

I’m still kind of scared. Maybe scared isn’t the right word. . .because I know that whatever baby bump I get is going to be an unusual one. In addition to being a fat lady, I’m also almost 6 feet tall, and my torso is pretty long. An ex girlfriend who was a doula told me that you can roughly predict your baby bump size by measuring the space between your hip bone and the bottom of your ribs. Mine is almost the entire span of my hand. Most other folks I’ve met have a fraction of that. Between already having some good space in my tummy area, plus the layer of fat (although, as La tells me, I am a flat stomach fattie, which is another way of saying my ass is like a small bedside table but my belly doesn’t really stick out – *not* that I have abs!) means that I could make it to 7 months without anyone being any the wiser.

Right now, I’m trying to stay focused on what is in front of me: a week of work (with awesome projects), an 18 hour drive cross country with a babe and a bulldog, time with the out-laws in Indy, another drive back, another week of awesome projects at work and then . . Try #1. And all of that will happen while I am fat and loved and healthy.

OH YEAH! AND . . .On January 12th (when I may already have sperm inside of me!!!) I will be getting a tattoo of the badass pinup Hilda on my right thigh. She is such a babe and La says I kinda look like her (except my boobs aren’t that nice – I said that, not La) and I’m so excited to have her as my inspiration! This is what she looks like: Image