Friday, May 29, 2009

maybe i want to drive my OWN car!!

when we share the fact that we have had trouble getting prego, people will often respond with, "well, its a good thing you have more than one uterus between the two of you!". this comment used to bug the shit out of me but i couldn't ever put my finger on why. the further along we got in our journey....and the more failed attempts we had...the more i came to learn that my ability to give life has more to do with my own feelings of self worth than i had initially realized.

im not sure if its about our socialization as women...from day one we are molded into little mothers... or if its just something in my biology.... *shrug*... all i know is that NM's spare uterus "between the two of us" (*rolling my eyes*) doesn't change the way i feel about my OWN ability to get prego.

one day, after a particularly difficult appointment at the doctor, NM was driving and was trying to be as supportive and caring as possible....

NM: "you know, maybe its time for me to get over my aversion to getting pregnant. if it would be easier, i can start to try if you want?"
NJ: (long pause)
NM: "i mean, i don't really want to get pregnant.... *shiver*... but if it would make it easier, i don't mind trying"
NJ: (long pause) "oh sure..... that sounds GREAT!.... lets just drive your car!"
NM: "um... huh?"
NJ: "well, you talk about it like its just as simple as, 'oh, your car is broken down on the side of the road? that's ok, we can just drive my car!". never mind the fact that i might actually WANT to drive MY OWN car!!!"
NM: "i think you have officially lost it."

the "lets just drive your car" conversation has now become a humorous story between us. but in the moment, it dawned on me that the reason why i don't like when people say, "well why doesn't NM try to get prego?" is because it discredits and dismisses my feelings about my own infertility. imagine losing a grandparent and then someone (in an attempt to console you) saying, "well, good thing your wife still has a grandmother!". i realize its a bit dramatic but you get the point.

its also interesting having two uteri (uteruses? uteri? NJ public schools = *shrug*)between us because it has really confirmed my belief in reproductive rights. i believe that women... technically all people, but especially women... have the right to make decisions about what happens with their own bodies. period. i don't want NM to feel pressured to get prego simply because my womb sucks. if she doesn't want to put her body through that... then we will find another way. *nod* and... if i want to carry a child, i want people to respect that desire and not try to make me feel better or distract me from my sadness by reminding me that my female partner has a uterus! no duh!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

that's just my baby daddy (oh and my high school boyfriend)

so, interestingly enough, in the last two days, two different male friends have volunteered their little swimmers to us in the hopes of helping us with our baby quest. ever since we have started on this journey we have only ever considered using anonymous donor sperm. the idea of using a sibling, cousin or close friend as a donor just creeped us out. (no judgement for those who have chosen that route...its just not for us).

we have had lots of humorous conversations with the men in our lives about all the reasons why they should be our donors.... "because you would make a great dad!", "because you could have sex with lesbians, make a couple hundred bucks in cash, and not have any parental responsibilities for the subsequent offspring", "please?? you have the best hair and fashion sense of all the men we know!".... but we have never actually considered using a friend as a serious option.

honestly, im not entirely sure that we would ever consider it, even with the recent offers. im blogging about this today mostly just to process via writing and to sort through some of the questions that are swimming around in my head. the first (and most sincere) offer came via a conversation i was having yesterday with a very old friend of mine who i had lost contact with until recently. he and i dated for quite a while and broke up while i was in college because we both grew apart. well, technically i grew into a lesbian but that's a different story for a whole different blog.

anyway... we were chatting yesterday and i asked him if he was happy with the path he is on in his life. he responded by saying that the one thing he wants in life is to have kids...but he doesn't really want to settle down and get married. i jokingly suggested that he find a couple of lesbos who live in the same state he lives in and offer his swimmers! he laughed and then said, "i would totally do that for you guys, actually". hm. interesting. suddenly the idea of using a friend didn't seem so weird.

which brings me to the point of this entry.... where do we get our ideas about what a "normal" family even looks like?? i mean, i work with a woman who had her partner's nephew's baby! when i first heard that, i couldnt even believe it was real... but the more i am around her and her daughter, the less weird it feels. i mean, how much less weird is her situation than the idea of 2 straight people accidentally getting knocked up after only dating for a month?!? who is to say which is more or less "normal"? i mean, is it really THAT weird to think of NM and i having a baby using my high school boyfriend's sperm??

um..... actually....*shiver*....... yeah.... it is. lol. (again, no judgement on those who have chosen this option... but its a little too much for me!)

i digress... the point is that i sometimes wonder how to keep a grasp on my own moral compass thorough this whole thing. like, 2 years ago i totally scoffed at the idea of people spending years and thousands of dollars trying to have a kid.... "i mean come on! if its not meant to be, why would you spend all of your time, money and energy on it?? move on already!"....

......but now that i sit here on the opposite side of the fence, 1 year and thousands of dollars later, i cant imagine ever giving up hope! so i cant help but wonder if our beliefs about what is "normal" will continue to change as our options continue to dwindle. and if in the end, we have a happy, healthy, loved, wanted baby.... does it really matter who the donor was?

i guess the point of this entry is that im working through the idea of "desperate times call for desperate measures". one year ago i thought that spending $15,000 on IVF was a desperate act. i judged women who chose this option and felt sorry for how desperate they were to have a baby. "Psh... that would NEVER be me!".

*swallowing my words*

now that it IS me, i have a greater understanding of why couples practically get a second mortgage in order to have the money to continue trying to have a baby. its about the dream...and about not giving up on the dreams that you have for your family. *nod*.

and to top it all off, the whole process is so damn complex and mind numbing that it stirs up emotions and values that you didnt even know you had! like for example, desperate times make the idea of having your high school boyfriend's baby (15 years later!) seem not so outrageous.

i need a beer.

the water is cold!! *brrr*

its been a few weeks since aunt flo came to visit and im feeling better than i had expected. in true universe-will-take-care-of-you fashion, i got my period in the midst of one of the busiest 2 weeks of the year. between grading final exams and spending a week in the mountains on a student retreat, i had lots of stuff to keep my mind off of my bleeding womb. interestingly enough, two of our friends had a baby the day after i got my period and i didnt even break down after visiting them in the hospital. i left the visit thinking, "man, kids are a lot of work!" and took the opportunity to appreciate some time alone with NM................
(sidebar: welcome to baby maya!)

.............thats not to say that i didnt have a few breakdowns. i certainly did. but interestingly enough, this time around the disappointment seemed to affect my general mood more than it created full blown breakdowns. i mostly just felt down and irritated. sorta like having a paper cut or a small pebble in my shoe. one positive thing about getting my period was the fact that i could go an entire day without cramps! (the small joys). fertility meds make you bloated and irritable and give you cramps...and then, just when you are ready to pull your hair out...your period brings a whole new level of crampy crapness!

so, needless to say, i have somewhat enjoyed having my body back to myself for the last 2 weeks. it has felt great to not have to worry about counting days or peeing on sticks or getting poked and prodded by the doctor.


at the same time, its somewhat sad to come to grips with the fact that we are no closer to having a kid of our own. as maddening as the TTWW is, at least there is hope that in the end we will get a positive prego stick. we are mostly spending these days trying to balance feeling relieved with feeling sad...relieved to have a break but sad that there isnt a baby in our future yet.

i can tell that we both are beginning to open our minds to the idea of talking about a new "plan". this never comes in the form of a full conversation with a list of actionable steps...typically the conversations happen in moments when we both know we dont have much time to talk about it, like while in line at the grocery store:

NM: look, john and kate are on the cover of people.
NJ: how sad. its terrible what the media has done to their family. speaking of family, how are you feeling about the idea of you trying to get prego next?
NM: (long pause)
NJ: oh look, its our turn to pay.

its not that we dont want to talk about the plan...its just been so nice to not have the daily "what if" conversation. "what if i dont get prego this time?", "what if we have to change donors?", "what if the new doctor is a homophobe?". i think we are both just slowly allowing ourselves to tip toe back into the frigid barren lesbo waters. *brrr*

Thursday, May 14, 2009

sick humor to help ease the pain....

Aunt Flo...

no energy to write.... my stupid aunt flo came to town. *sigh*

Monday, May 11, 2009

doing the pee-pee dance

so... i have officially reached the "i'm doing the pee-pee dance because i'm too scared to go to the bathroom" stage. ill probably end up with a urinary tract infection at this rate but its just so damn stressful!! since i'm at day 13 post IUI (which is day 27 of my cycle) and in the past i have started spotting anywhere from day 11-13 post IUI (day 26-30 of my cycle), each trip to the bathroom now feels like im walking on death row. ok...ill admit it, that was a bit dramatic but you get the point. in order to take my mind off of my full bladder, i have written a little limerick.

*clearing my throat*

oh woe is meeee
i have to peeee
my bladder is filling up to my head.

but pee i wont
cuz i really dont
wanna wipe and see any red.

*taking a bow*
thank you.

Friday, May 8, 2009

crampin my style!

i am 10 days post IUI and good LORD am i crampy! i keep getting waves of cramps that last about 5 minutes and they are intense!

i did some searching on the net to see what they could be from and im guessing its just a result of the fertility meds. my first self-diagnosis was OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) but i have since become less dramatic.
some folks have shared on thier blogs that intense cramps eventually led to a positive reading on a pregnancy test.... but im not ready to count my chickens just yet.
the symptoms that can come from using fertility medication include sore boobs, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal bloating.
the symptoms of an upcoming visit from aunt flo include sore boobs, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal bloating.
oh, and the symptoms of pregnancy?? guessed it! sore boobs, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal bloating.
*rolling my eyes*
i cant wait till the TTWW is over!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

some call it a sling blade...uh-huh

when i first moved to foco i lived in an apartment next door to a man who i believe was a cannibal. if charles manson and jeffrey dahmer could have a love neighbor would have been their offspring. he totally fit the profile of a serial killer... white male, mid forties...and he never left the house during the day. in fact, the only time i ever saw him was when i would come home late at night (like after midnight) and he would be outside on the patio, wearing hospital scrubs, grilling some type of meat (human?). at first i was nervous living next to this guy but one day my mom reminded me, "dont worry...the neighbor never gets whacked". (gotta love jersey mafia life lessons). from that point on i somehow felt more safe. i would come home late at night and put my key into the lock all while repeating, "the neighbor never gets whacked, the neighbor never gets whacked, the neighbor never gets whacked".

i have since moved to a new part of town and NM and i have our very own house! yay! our neighbor to the left is a widow who has lived in her house since the late 50's. she is all things that an older woman should be... funny, independent and sassy. NM and i have seen her out on the town on dates and even bumped into her at the obama rally!

our neighbors to the right however, are a completely different story (and the point of this blog). the wife of the house is nice enough...she is a stay at home mom with 4 (i think) kids and a yappy-ass dog that never shuts up. she spends most of the day chain smoking in the front yard but at least smiles when we wave. the husband of the house should i put it.... basically think sling blade meets deliverance meets cape fear. he is 100% sketch.

we both ended up in our respective back yards at the same time yesterday afternoon and i gently reminded him about the 3 enormous trees in his yard that are pulling down our phone line. we asked them to cut the tree branches last summer but they never did. i asked if it would be possible for them to cut them this summer and he replied with "ill ask the person in charge" (the person in charge = his mother who actually owns the house). he stared directly at me and didnt give a single warm facial gesture. his left eye was all bloodshot and i swore it was twitching (but i might be making this part up).

im writing about this today because i had a terrible dream about this guy last night. in my dream we shared a huge wooden deck that stretched from their back yard to ours. he and his racist friends were sitting at the table on our side of the deck drinking beer. they started making all types of racist and homophobic comments so i finally told them to get off of our property. he reacted very violently and then i woke up.

the possibility of being pregnant makes a dream like this even scarier. i already dont feel safe with him next door but i worry even more when i think about raising a child with him as a neighbor. NM and i are pretty discreet when it comes to public affection so for the most part it is easy for folks to forget that we are gay. but adding a child to the mix sorta ups the ante.

im not meaning to sound dramatic or to say that one day this guy is gonna grill my baby in his back yard.... im mostly just acknowledging the fact that i sometimes get scared for our child. its one thing to discriminate against me or NM but its another thing to make a child feel like they are somehow less worthy because they have 2 moms.

it is also another example of heterosexual privilege. we have a few straight friends who are expecting babies this summer and im sure they have never had to consider the way that their neighbors would treat their child simply because of who the kid has for parents. this morning while NM and i were in the back yard i mentioned building a bigger fence on that side of the yard. she asked why and i replied with, "to give us more privacy" but now that i reflect on it i feel like i am wanting to create a safe space in our yard for our family. i want to feel safe interacting with my family and not feel judged or unsafe.

in the meantime i will keep rubbing my belly and repeating, "the neighbor never gets whacked, the neighbor never gets whacked, the neighbor never gets whacked".


homophobia sucks.

Monday, May 4, 2009

laughter is the best medicine

this awesome blog has some great stuff including a "you might be an infertile if..." list. here are some of my favorites from the list...

You Might Be An Infertile If…

1. If somebody has ever asked you the date, and you said Day 21.
2. If you forget that the entire world doesn’t know what an HSG is.
3. If you’ve had three people in a room look at your hoohaa and it not make you uncomfortable.
4. If you wake up and the first thing you reach for isn’t a cup of coffee but a thermometer.
5. If you have ever seen your internal organs on a plasma tv.
6. If you reach into your fridge and instead of getting milk you accidentally grab a hand full of needles, injection pens, or vials.
7. If you’ve put your feet in stirrups more times than you’ve had sex in a week.
8. If you have ever considered the following to get pregnant: Getting completely intoxicated, sex in the back of car, smoking after sex, in every position created, with a condom on, drinking more V8 juice, propping your hips up, acupuncture.
9. If you’ve ever displayed a chart of your temperature, cervical position and mucus, and times you’ve had sex on your fridge.
10. If you’ve ever played the “I’ll be pregnant by then” game for longer than a year.
11. If you’ve ever been caught staring longingly at a pregnant woman’s belly.
12. If you’ve ever wondered if it would be considered a threesome if the two nurses in the room and yourself manage to get you pregnant.
13. If the most action you’ve seen in a while is the camera that closely resembles a vibrator your doctor’s office uses.
14. If you’ve ever shot up in a bathroom stall and it was perfectly legal.
15. If you feel like you are constantly speaking in acronyms that nobody seems to understand.
16. If you know more about your reproductive organs and the female body than all of your girlfriends combined.
17. If you have ever been placed on birth control to achieve pregnancy.
18. If you have put out more money for medications than vacations in the past year.
19. If you measure your life in two week increments. If you avoid alcohol, smoking, hot baths, hot tubs, saunas, and caffeine.
20. You glare at parents who don’t truly appreciate their children, and scowl at the ones who complain.
21. You literally laugh at people who ask when you are going to have children.
22. With the money you’ve paid for fertility treatments you could have bought yourself a summer home in Fiji.
23. You actually hate one of your body parts.
24. You honestly believe that wearing white underwear or purchasing a pregnancy test will bring on your period.
25. You have no problems discussing cervical mucus, your period, sexual positions, or the color of whatever IT is that is leaking out of you.
26. If you actually know how thick your uterus is, how many sperm are required, or how many follicles you have.
27. If you find it a miracle that people actually manage to get pregnant.
28. If your medical file is thicker than a Bible.
29. If you become obsessed with the numbers, your uterine lining, cells, sperm, embryos, follicles…
30. If you have a degree from Google Med and an advanced degree from WebMD.
31. You’ve honestly considered buying a white lab coat and having your name monogramed on it, because you know nearly as much as your doctor.
32. You’ve analyzed your saliva for patterns that would indicate you are ovulating.
33. You are on a first name basis with your pharmacist.
34. You have ever seriously considering punching somebody for telling you to relax, and would feel completely justified in doing so.
35. If the word cycling has nothing to do with riding a bike.
36. If you’ve ever argued with your partner about which method you are going to use to try and get pregnant next.
37. If you’ve ever carried on a conversation with your ovaries or considered redecorating your uterus because someone told you it was inhospitable.
38. If you’ve ever found yourself yelling at your spell checker, because IUI and IVF are real abbreviations for some important procedures and damn the creator for not including them in their programming!
39. You know that your birds and the bees discussion with your child will read more like a medical dissertation.
40. If you’ve ever been thankful for having a fat roll, as it makes injections more comfortable.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

as many of you know, i dont celebrate holidays. "christmas spirit" for me includes a protest of capitalist consumer culture and a resistance to christian privilege. valentines day is just another way to make couples spend money and to make single people feel like losers. the 4th of july...aka "celebrate white people's independence day"... totally ignores the roots of slavery and racism in this country and expects us to decorate our houses with various items painted in red white and blue to prove our patriotism (all items can conveniently be purchased at walmart). dont even get me started on rape and pillage day....err, i mean thanksgiving.

it is a common joke that the only holiday that i can celebrate these days is arbor day because come on, who can argue against trees?? but alas! i think i might have found another one! *drum roll*.......................may day.

now many of you know may day as international workers rights day where we celebrate labor unions, equal pay and other various labor rights issues. while i dont have any particular beef with this interpretation of may day what i learned today is that the roots of may day arent actually with labor rights.... it has to do with FERTILITY! *yay!*

apparently much of our present day knowledge about may day stems from the ancient celtic tradition called beltane (which btw means "return of the sun"). historically beltane was a time for celebration of spring and fertility.

"Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate Beltane, but the focus is nearly always on fertility. It's the time when the earth mother opens up to the fertility god, and their union brings about healthy livestock, strong crops, and new life all around."

apparently the beltane season is a perfect time for planting a garden or starting a family. (hence the relevance to this blog.) there are lots of ways that the beltane season is celebrated across the world but here are just a few that we are considering:
  1. "In ancient Rome, it wasn’t uncommon for the master of the land to take his wife out to the fields and have sex right there on the ground. If you had a lot of land, this could take all day, but it was practically guaranteed to ensure that the field would be fertile and productive once your slaves got the planting done."

    (ok... there are clearly a number of issues with this option. first, we have low fences in our back yard. second, there are tons of pine cones and pine needles on the ground that could prove to be quite uncomfortable. third, we have yet to pick up the dog poop from the last snow storm. and finally, we dont have slaves)

  2. "In some traditions, menstruating women add a bit of their blood to the soil to add potency. It's a scientific fact that blood contains a lot of nutrients, so it makes sense to blend this in with the dirt before planting."

    (Aunt Flo is currently visiting NM but im not sure that one woman is enough. is anyone else available to come share your "nutrients" with our back yard?)

  3. "In Crete, a sword dance called the Kuortes was held each spring. During the Kourtes, a group of men gathered together, moving in unison with sticks or swords. Although it sounds warrior-like, it wasn’t a martial dance but one that scholars say promoted fertility. If you think about it, banging a stick or sword on the freshly plowed earth has quite a bit of fertility symbolism."

    (the only men we know are gay so i fear that they would bang swords against swords rather than against the earth. *slapping my knee*... get it? banging swords?? *drying my eyes* gay-male humor is the best)

  4. "In Nagoya, Japan, residents still celebrate the annual Honen-sai festival. This is held each year in the spring, to make sure the crops will be plentiful, and includes a parade - the highlight of which is a giant penis on a float. The penis, carved from a cypress tree, is about fourteen feet long and quite impressive indeed."

    (since i work with victims everyday im afraid that a 14 foot penis might put me over the edge. i already have to practically beg my body to not kill sperm!)

anywhoo... the point of this post is that today is fertility day which i think is a great sign of things to come. *big smile*