Lemonade

The things that are keeping me hopeful right now:

  • A  totally unremarkable perfectly uneventful cycle last month. Downside of uneventful= not pregnant; upside of uneventful = a 32 day cycle, ovulation clearly happening on day 17, a 14 day luteal phase. In short, typical and healthy and not at all confounding.
  • Bleeding again, because it means the waiting to wait has started and who doesn’t feel hopeful at the beginning?
  • BFF will have insurance through his employer beginning on May 15, which should be right about the time we find out if try #4 worked. If it doesn’t, we will be able to get the swim team tested for speed and agility without paying out the crapper for it.
  • I started knitting a blanket for my nephew-to-be. I haven’t knitted anything for over a year but decided this is definitely a good reason to start again. I got some nice babysoft yarn and a pattern that is complex enough to keep me engaged but within my skill set enough to be able to interact while knitting. I forget how medicinal knitting can be for my anxiety.

BFF took La and I out for dinner on Monday, and it was exactly what I needed. That dude is so good at cheering me up. Its also comforting to know that it bums him out too, that he is invested in and cares about the outcome and its impact on us. I drank a big glass of a much fancier than usual (for me) wine and tried to put my bad attitude behind me.

Although we all understand that tries 1-3 could have been ‘unsuccessful’ for about a million reasons that are out of our control, we have decided to switch a few things up this time. Namely, we are going to do inseminations in the morning and evening, although we still need to figure out timing so we don’t over tax the team. I’m also upping my OPK game (which is substantial already):I stopped in walmart yesterday (not a place I’m accustomed to shopping but as they are the *only* pharmacy in the area that carries the specific kind of insulin we have to give our dog, I do have to stop by a few times a year to get his prescription) to pick up insulin and syringes for Ed and took a spin around the pharmacy. I actually was considering looking for one of the First Response fertility kits (which I have mixed feelings about, but thought might be interesting anyway) and ended up finding these CBE “advanced” ovulation kits, which supposedly identify 4 days of fertility – 2 high and 2 peak. Because of my inherent distrust of anything I don’t know, I will plan to continue testing with my usual wondfos as well, but I feel like I owe these a shot, and since they are so new that there aren’t any reviews yet, I feel like I’m doing my part for the great TTC experiment. You can never pee on too many sticks, right? right.

An update. Not necessarily a lot of answers.

Hello gentle readers. Welcome to CD42, 26DPO.

I got the blood test results back:

HCG quantitative: less than 0

TSH: 3.55 (old normal, that most labs use = between 1 and 5; new clinical normal = .05-3, ideal conception range = under 2.5) Despite my asking multiple times, including while I was in the chair looking a needle in the facethey did not do a full thyroid panel, and so now I wait to see if #1 my doc will order the full panel like she claimed she already did and #2 if they will do the draw and lab without charging me. Ugh.

In other news: Today my temp jumped from 97.1 (its general above cover line range for this excessive luteal phase is about 97.1-97.4) to 97.6 – so, that’s weird. And, I have been getting very weird spotting for the last three days. This spotting is, literally, a drop of bright red blood in a dollop of clear cervical fluid. I have never had this before and its kind of weirdly unsettling. Today, I have also been experiencing pink tinged creamy cervical fluid.

I am hopeful that all of this menstrual madness is due to a cyst that is on its way to resolving itself. My ‘symptoms’ all point to a cyst of some kind – the nausea and cramping/pain quite soon after ovulation, the spotting, the delay in menses, the dizziness – all can be attributed to a cyst. It also might explain why my temperature shift was not as significant as usual, why my BBT temps have been lower than usual in the luteal phase, and why my OPKs never showed as clear a positive as they historically have.

The good thing about a cyst is that they are common, resolve on their own, and as long as they are fairly isolated, don’t indicate any ongoing problem. Our luck was shitty – to get this the first cycle trying to conceive. But, of all the possible issues to have, this is probably the best one.

That said, I still haven’t bled. And I imagine that until the blood comes gushing, I won’t be entirely free of my anxiety. I haven’t been this anxious to get my period since I was 11 and everyone except me was buying tampons and I was so jealous.

Tonight my acupuncturist did everything she could to get all my chi and blood flowing. I hope my uterus gets the message.

Thanks so much to all of you for keeping hope afloat and offering your words of wisdom, kindness and perspective. If you’ve got the time, put in some prayers that this never ending cycle is coming to a swift and speedy close.

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!

3DPO or, now I’m really not in control

Sorry for the shitty/sporadic updates, but I wanted to wait until I had had the Total Insemination Experience (c) before getting too elaborate in the ol’ blog. That said, the wordpress app makes it WAY to easy/fun to update while my feet are in the air.

I am on day 19 of my cycle, 3 days post ovulation if Fertility friend and their supposedly ‘expert analysis’ is to be trusted. I feel strongly that FF is consistently guessing my ovulation a day early, based on pain/feeling in my uterus and cervical fluid. So, maybe it would be more accurate to say I am 2.5DPO, as that would be the average.

We did a total of 5 inseminations this cycle – on CD 13 (O-3), CD15 (O-1), CD16 (O), CD17 (O+1) and CD18 (O+2) – all of the data is based on FF prediction of ovulation. This is, according to my research, excellent timing. Ah, if timing were the only factor . . .

Overall, I’d say the experience was about as charming/awkward/ridiculous as I would have expected it to be. BFF is so excited and happy to help, even putting up with my ‘biology lecture’ after I felt like I needed some extra support in determining ovulation. La is, of course, the girl of my dreams in every way: from her incredibly beautiful plan for our ritual tong lin meditation, to her hilarious but not too harsh jokes with the syringe in her hand to her quiet encouragement of sperm and egg as she rested her head on my belly.

BFF’s BF (I’m SORRY, I KNOW how awkward that is) came over a few of the days, too – which could have been weird but was actually somewhat pleasant. In case I haven’t mentioned, BFF’s BF hasn’t really been involved in anything for a variety of reasons but mostly because BFF doesn’t want him to be. I didn’t particularly care, whatever was gonna help the goods get delivered! But I think it brought up some interesting things for me about just how far the ripples of this experience can go. Try as we might, it’s never just us in this world.

I do feel like we have a solid technique for moving forward (the hope is, of course, we won’t have to use our perfected technique for another few years, not until we want to get La knocked up) which makes me feel like, regardless of outcome, we achieved something this time around. Bonus: we got to hang out with BFF way more often than usual AND we had sex way more often than usual. I think we are lucky in that having sex for us is a part of this experience in a really different way than for straight couples. We don’t technically have to ‘do it’ to get it done so I think it feels a little more like we GET to do it. If that makes any sense at all.

And now we wait. And I try to quietly and not obsessively pay attention to everysinglething happening in my body and then decide if everysinglething means anything or not. I will do my damndest to stay off the computer, dear readers. Today (FAR too early for any ‘symptoms’) my back hurts. This is very likely because I spent most nights of the past week with a pillow shoved under my hips and my feet propped in the air while reading “A Song of Ice and Fire.” But we’ll go ahead and play the game and call it a symptom.

La leave for a conference in Sacramento on 2/17, so we will be testing then for sure if the ol’ menstrual period hasn’t shown up (someday I will talk to you all about why I don’t use and have a lot of feelers about using ‘aunt flow’ to talk about bleeding) although that would be 14DPO and areyoukiddingme? does anyone wait that long?? La really doesn’t want to have the false negatives to contend with which I understand and even agree with but that just feels like such a long time to wait when there are ladies on the boards testing at 8DPO! I don’t even always have a 14 day luteal phase (although I did last time and sure hope it continues to stay long)  I was thinking 12. Seems like a nice number, right?

Anyway, here goes. All y’all can laugh and jeer – I know I’m a newbie to this whole thing! Hopefully, I don’t get too much practice!

May the odds be ever in our favor!

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.

The Baby Avalanche has begun!

At 12:19pm, mountain time, one of my colleagues delivered her 6lb9oz baby girl, who is nicknamed Lou (which I tell you because I LOVE it) Lou is the first of what will end up being a virtual landslide of babies to come in the next few months. After Lou, there is the baby that is just about done cooking in my boss’ belly, the babies from La’s cousins, due just two days apart in March, my friend H’s baby due in April, my new niece or nephew in July and my cousin’s baby, also due in July. I may have missed one or two as well . . .that’s how many babies are coming.

Of course, I’m hoping that all of these pregnancy hormones swarming around me will give me a good shot come the end of january/beginning of February when we give it a go. But I’m also just genuinely so excited to have so many babies in my world.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the babyless trying/wanting baby jealousy that I think comes up a lot – at least, I see and hear about it a lot on the boards I’m a part of and in the conversations I have. My cousin, for example, was in tears (reportedly) when my brother and sister in law announced their pregnancy. They had a miscarriage in September and, I assume, had been trying before and since. Some friends of a friend have been trying (with a known donor at home) for over a year now, I think – they too had a miscarriage at the end of the summer – which seems just insufferably long. And there are countless others who I don’t know who hate that they feel jealous, even though they do. Its sort of a part of this process, I think  . . .especially when it ends up not being easy – or just isn’t easy from the start.

Right now, I’m not jealous – I’m overjoyed. I can’t think of anything better than having babies to love and cuddle, and, with any luck, having so many peers for the baby we hope to have. And while I’m not, in general, a jealous person (learned or natural, I don’t know; but I certainly honed my skills when I was in a long term non-monogamous relationship) I can imagine beginning to feel the burn if this process ends up going longer than we expect. I already have a bit of that hole-in-the-heart longing, although that tends to crop up most often in target in the diaper aisle, that I think can make me blind to the bigger picture. I’m scared of getting jealous – because I don’t think anyone *wants* to resent their friends and family for something so wonderful as a baby – but its also a human fallability to feel jealous when someone has something we want so much for ourselves – especially when we can’t get that thing through no fault of our own.

Tomorrow La and I go for our first couples counseling appointment. I’ve never been to a couple’s counselor before, so I’m nervous and excited. I’m glad that La and I are going now, when things are still so awesome between us and in our feelings about this adventure. Having babies is a big and super scary thing, and I love that I am married to a woman who believes as much as I do in the power of prevention. There is both hope and trepedation here.

Friday I go see the OB/GYN. I’m a little more nervous about this appointment. To start, I don’t have a real ‘reason’ for going – I’m going to frame it as a ‘pre-conception’ appointment. I made the appointment after AwkMD gave us a referral when she couldn’t sign the paperwork. I decided to keep the appointment even when that got taken care of because I’d rather have *some* sort of established relationship when I make a call to get a confirmatory pregnancy test. But going to doctors is always nerve racking for me, even more when it comes to this stuff. I just don’t have any trust that a medical practitioner isn’t going to make assumptions about me and my life based on my body. And as outspoken as I am about fat acceptance in so many other areas of my life, in a doctors office there is a lifetime of shame that comes with me.

I’m hoping to bring a really wonderful experience with me. Yesterday, a yoga teacher who I took a class from last year left me a link to a blog entry she’d written. It included this passage:

There was this beautiful girl in my Body Acceptance yoga classes, let’s call her Mandy. She’d come to class, and laugh and sweat and move and I liked her. One day during class I walked over to adjust a posse, and I caught a glance of one of her tattoos. It simply said fat, in a cool, bold, typewriter-ish font. In that little nugget of a moment, she was my new hero, and that was just the beginning of the unraveling of “Fat Acceptance”

That’s my tattoo. I got it years ago, when I hardly even qualified as “fat” by many standards.  It was heartwarming that I gave this women some support in loving herself – even if I didn’t know it then. What meant more to me was being seen as a person in a fat body who sweats and laughs and moves in the world in a joyful way. So often I think fat people are seen as sub human blobs living out pitiable existences in the world. Shit, sometimes that’s how I think of myself – in less than loving moments. But I’m not that. I am a yoga enthusiast, a runner, a dancer, and I live in my big beautiful body with joy and love and humor – most of the time. I’m very grateful that I was seen in that context.

Many milestones this week . . .even if it isn’t the one I was most looking forward to. The requisite cycle update is this: I definitely ovulated on Jan 4th, which was CD18. I got + OPKs on Tuesday and Wednesday (CD16 and CD17) and a sustained temp rise beginning on Jan 5 (CD19) This is all MUCH more in synch with a more ‘typical’ cycle for me. I’m hoping that I will have a luteal phase of at least 12 days (going for 14 this time around, with the addition of a B complex and B6 supplement) putting menstruation at 1/17-1/19, and, with another ovulation on CD18-20, the insemination process would likely be 1/30-2/3, since we are aiming for 3-4 days of insemination.

Which could mean a home pregnancy test (with reliable results) on 2/14. Now, just as a caveat, I am not a big fan of Valentine’s day. I am a religious scholar (by training) and I think what modern american society has done to this otherwise kind of bloody Saints day is really weird, which is why I was super resistant to doing anything for the holiday back in Feb  2009 when La and I were just barely dating. La, though, is a tried and true romantic. Which is why we ended up having a very schmaltzy date and deciding to be girlfriends (I call it the DTR or “define the relationship” talk) that night.

Dudes, what I’m saying is: if we DO have a one hit wonder and the dates DO line up, La and I could find out we are having a wee one 4 years after we decided we were an item! Or, we could be wicked disappointed . . .whatever.

But, in any case . . .I may just be grateful for the profusion of chocolate and an excuse to spend some extra time with my boo, for one reason or another.

Your Children are not Your Children (Plus CD1: It Begins!)

This weekend was bookended between tragedy and  joy.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

Friday, of course, was another day in America where a single gunman managed to kill tens of people in moments. This time it was a barely not-baby killing a bunch of sweet 1st grade babies. I asked my facebook feed that afternoon – between checking the news, sobbing, and working – why I would want to bring children into a world where this happens? Not just a world where children might go to school on a sunny morning a week before Christmas and end up dead in piles – but a world in which a child would kill his mother and then continue to unleash his fury on children he didn’t even know. I am equally terrified of having children and losing them to the increasing militarization and violent world I live in as I am raising a child who could participate in that way. Neither option is off the table, no matter how hard I try to instill certain values or put protection in place.

“You may give them your love but not your thoughts, 
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, 
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

I was a 11th grader at a school less than 10 miles from Columbine High School in 1999 when the first school shooting of record happened. We had no understanding of the gravity of the situation. We left campus to eat 99 cent ice cream cones at Burgers Plus and watched news coverage on the scratchy TV there and no one knew what was going on but it never occured to us that someone would be killing people at school because that didn’t happen. In 15 years, it has become not only something that could happen, but something that does. Regularly. The fresh horror is only how young the children will be and how many will be killed and by what kind of advanced technology assault rifle.

I got a lot of thoughtful responses to my question, for which I am grateful. I am still struggling with the idea of intentionally bringing children into a world that is so broken and busted. But that is still my plan . . .maybe that’s the best explanation of humanity: that even when faced with evidence of unending pain and struggle, we still choose to bring forth life.

“The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 
and He bends you with His might 
that His arrows may go swift and far.”

I am grateful that the remainder of my weekend felt much more life affirming that Friday did. Saturday I spent the day with my fave fatties talking about supporting awesome body love and working wingman magic for my buddy SB – we totally scored her a phone number! In the evening, we watched the Bee and the Bug and made them pages for their scrapbooks.

The best, though, by far was Sunday when the Bug and Bee had their 1st birthday party and baby blessing. I put my masters degree in theology to good work and facilitated a little ritual for them and their parents. It was really lovely. They are such beautiful babies and were brought into the world with such intention and love. I am grateful for the two of them and their wonderful parents and the many things I am learning about the struggle to raise children from their family. This morning, La went to do her regular gig watching them and found this:

Image

So much for the first name anonymity, eh?

I am very similar to Bug and Bee’s mama – we work in public health, are anxious type A overachievers and feel like we should be in charge even when we aren’t. It is beautiful to watch her parent and learn viscerally some of the things I know I will need to learn – about letting go, letting your children be who they are, recognizing your own limits and learning what your priorities really are. One of the readings we used during the blessing is a poem by Kahlil Gibran that I think is really wonderful. I have shared pieces of it above,but you should read the entire passage here (it’s brief!) 

In less heady updates: I started bleeding today, which makes us in Cycle #1 of trying to conceive. Holy shit balls! We have about 20 days until the swimmers will come to try out the pool and I’m hella nervous + excited. La is also pretty giddy, which is probably even better. This morning she said we should order our supplies – until I reminded her we were going to be in Indiana in less than a week. We decided to order towards the end of our stay since it will be a short timeline thereafter. We also agreed to have BFF and his BF over for dinner this week before we head out, since the next time we see BFF it will be sperm date night and it seems like we should have a little social time before that. Right?

Once again I am shocked at my lack of freaked-outedness at my shorter-than-last-time luteal phase, which was 10 days, if you care. Everything I’ve read suggests that’s about as short as you want it to be, but that pregnancy can definitely still be sustained. I picked back up my B6 intake (though it is still well within normal ranges) to give the ol’ LP a little boost, but am totally not sweating it.

So, now’s about the time I let you know that 1) I may become a more anxious and frequent poster come mid-January and 2) please feel free to send me whatever woo you believe in – baby dust, happy thoughts, good juju, prayers, etc. Please know they will be returned, for sure.

 

And the blood gushed forth

And the blood flowed forth from my loins once more.

I haven’t been this excited to get my period since I was 10 and ALL my friends already had theirs and I was still waiting. Its a little odd, as well, since usually in this trying to conceive business, bleeding is not a welcome sight. But since my cycle got all wacked out just as soon as we started getting serious about the babymaking business, I have been on the look-out for the good and the bad. With the arrival of my period 12 days after my suspected ovulation, within 3 days of my usual cycle length, makes me think that everything is probably a-ok, and it was the buying-selling-moving-travelling-sick month of September that screwed everything up.

Tonight we sit down with BFF to talk about donor stuff. In preparation, La and I made a list of stuff to be sure to cover: time commitment, expectations during the insemination times each month, legal understandings around parenting, etc.

It turned into a really, really wonderful conversation. It could sound like I am pressuring La into this baby stuff from the way I talk – but I not, I swear. I am definitely on the more expedited timeline and a little less apprehensive about the process, but we agreed on this timeline and this process and we are both looking forward to making, getating and raising a baby. La tends to go back and forth in the expression of how she feels – she makes us walk through the baby section at Target *everytime* we go, but sometimes when I start talking details she freaks out. Once she explained a little bit about why she has such bi-polar feelings about babies, it all made much more sense and we’ve been more able to find a middle path around planning while still each having our own space to process the experience.

Anyway, last night . . .after talking through our list of donor topics, we ended up talking about what it might look like for me to be pregnant, to have a baby. It was sweet, and it reminded me of the times before we sold a house and bought another and we just dreamed about having babies and being badass parents. Strangely, it was this conversation that actually made everything much more tangible and real to me – and inspired more anxiety than I generally have about it all. A healthy dose of reality (vs. research) is probably a really good thing for me.

When I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, La mumbled something in her sleep. When I said , “what?” she responded with some much more clearly articulated gibberish, and when I asked for clarification one more time, she said “we need to choose a donor for that!” Clearly, this process is getting into both of our heads.

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