The Final (well, actually First) Countdown

I got my test results back and feel very blessed that they were all good.  Good progesterone (which means I ovulated last month) and good AMH levels, which means I supposedly have a good reserve of eggs.  I’m especially sensitive to these issues as I’ve become aware (through my new on-line community) of fertility issues and how challenging it is for many women to get pregnant.  I still don’t know my journey on this front, but gave a shout out to God for the favorable results.

This month is the first of a possible series of pregnancy attempts.

Will inseminate in about two weeks at home. My friend M said it best: So when are you going to uh, have intercourse with a needle?  Of course I quickly corrected her: I’m having sex with a syringe, NOT a needle.  

Many have asked how this actually works so here’s the brass tacks:

  • Tank with frozen semen is overnighted to my home.
  • I’ll time this with my LH surge, which indicates that I should ovulate in the next 24-36 hours.
  • My brave and supportive nurse friends K and E are my ‘baby making’ duo.   We’ll thaw the sperm and use a syringe to insert the sperm close to the cervix. Afterwards I’ll attempt to relax and keep my hips elevated for a while.

This will be the plan for 2 or 3 days in a row, I haven’t decided yet. I’ve opted out of any fertility drugs this first time, since my test scores are positive.  My plan is to get more aggressive as I go: Clomid next try; possibly an IUI (where a doctor inseminates my uterus, bypassing the cervix–what the sperms usually swim through to get to the uterus) in a few months.  And on and on.

And one of these days, or months, I may get a baby out of the deal.

Deep breath.

Game on.

(If anyone of my new virtual friends has had success with this route please share your story, or any tips you may have!!)

Baby Daddy: #13403

Hello Blog,

It’s been a while.  How’ve I been?  Oh, fine.  Lake day with great friends (jumped off a very high cliff!).  Weekend in the mountains with different great friends.  Back.  Working.  Waiting for some test results from the doctor, which will determine how I’ll get inseminated (at home or at the fertility clinic).  Picked sperm-donor (!!).  Simultaneously doing my life and waiting for it to dramatically change.  Normal fare.

I have a little crush on the profile of my sperm donor.  According to California Cryobank he is rugged and outdoorsy but knows his way around literature and food.  His favorite book is Infinite Jest and he wants to go to Spain to better understand Don Quixote. He grows French herbs in his backyard (herbes de provence, chervil and savory) since they are hard to find at the grocery store.  He’s 6.4 and played football in college; was smart in high school (4.3 GPA) and (I’d like to think) “preoccupied” in college (2.9 GPA).  The staff at the sperm bank claims that he is a ‘more attractive version of Dirks Bentley.’ But what set him apart from the other seemingly amazing young men that are giving away their seed for cash (yeah, there’s still that) is that he seems really funny and down to earth.  Like someone I’d enjoy hanging out with, who would cliff jump with me or be a good date at my dinner club: he seems compelling, with a twist of dry wit and a dash of self-deprecating humor. He’s currently a Spanish translator.  Grew up in a Baptist church.  His dad was a famous baseball player.  Good bill of health from grandparents forward.

All this and more for $650 per vile of sperm?  

Sold to the 40-year-old mother wannabe!

And still; who knows?  Half of my potential baby’s DNA is from an Internet profile, including: a three paragraph written essay, a 10 min audio interview, a few childhood pics and an extensive medical and family medical history.  When did my visceral and virtual lives become so intertwined??

I’m excited.  I find myself day dreaming. Who is this guy that is going to help me create a little being?  And the he or she baby?–Already a little love mystery to me.

It feels strange to me that my whole life is still a potential trajectory.  And that nothing has actually changed, except what I want and what I’m after.

The ‘game-changer’ email

These days my world hangs in the balance of my cycle.  Not my bicycle (as it once did); but my fertility cycle. When people ask me how I am, what I say is: Well, I started my period on Saturday, which has me on a 26 day cycle.  So that’s exciting, yes??  I’m having a lovely full-blown period, complete with cramps and lots of bleeding, which means I’m fertile, right?? That’s not really what I say.  Usually.  But it’s what I want to say.  Because, by some strange twist of fate, it’s all I’m thinking about these days.  A twist of fate because a mere six weeks ago I had never used the words ‘fertility’ and ‘cycle’ in the same sentence.  And I was primarily thinking about my dating life, not my period.  That elusive right guy: the electromagnetic chemistry, romance, love, marriage and then a baby in the baby carriage.  Instead I got a lot of texting, a string of forgettable dates and a glut of emails from shirtless men on motorcycles who thought I was purdy.  Or hot, “for my age.”

Did I mention I am 40?

Here’s my story of deciding to have a baby on my own (in the form of an email I wrote to my besties):

Hey there,

So I’m thinking about having a baby on my own.  I’ve been crying about it all night.  Last night K brought it up.  It was not a particularly handpicked moment, just an easy back porch hang with friends.  I was on the deck with D, K and S enjoying a healthy throw-together dinner with kids in and out.  K said she had a question for me.  Would you ever have a baby on your own?  My cap answer for this is usually no. Babies need fathers, etc, etc. But she went on to say that she and D had recently watched “The Switch” on Netflix and that she realizes life doesn’t always offer up our dream life on a silver platter and that if I did want to do it on my own that they would be supportive.  I immediately started to cry.  I asked if it was selfish.  They all said no, it was natural and biological to want to have a child.  They reminded me that I’m financially responsible and stable, I love kids, I’d be a good mom, and this doesn’t mean that I’m destined to be single.  It just means I’m taking more control of my fertility and this very small window I still have left to have a child.  I broke down and talked about how I’ve felt this past decade, with no watershed moments of which to speak.  I started to think about how lackluster my spiritual life has become, how surreal everything seems, watching friend after friend get pregnant, get married, keep moving forward in life…

I came home last night and have been in and out of tears all night.  I look up sperm donors.  Then I break down, resisting the options in front of me. But something deeper than my lament is happening too … for the first time in forever I don’t feel totally powerless on this front.  I’ve been dating ad nauseam this past year and I’m tired.  And nothing is working in any dynamic sense.  I got off Match.com   a few weeks ago because I’m so weary of how trivial my personal life is starting to feel.  I feel like my professional life is rooted in matters of the heart; my personal life is an endless stream of fancy restaurants and cocktail interviews.  It’s exhausting.  And it’s not me.  It’s not the Northwestern girl that is rooted in nature and relationship; spiritual matters and real life living.  And maybe if I take more ownership of my dreams and desires, true love will find its way to me. It’s not working with me being a vigil ante, constantly on the lookout for love.  And it’s not realistic for me to ‘not care’ at this stage of the game, to let love find me because I’m ‘not looking for it.’  I am looking for it.  

The tears are letting a dream die I guess, as another one begins to rise up.  I don’t want to be alone in life.  And I would be a good mom.  Even more, I want to grow again; I want my roots to deepen and wisdom and grace to be guides again.  I want to take risks and live out of the faith that comes with risk.  Also, I think I could do it.  I could make a decent living working 20 hours a week while hiring a nanny part-time; I could be a single mom and raise my own child. I don’t have a trajectory of day cares and schlepping; 10 hr work days, financial stresses and constant time crunches.  I could do it in my way.  I could make baby food and teach a little one about compassion and God and how to play soccer and love animals.  I know I could.  And my community is supportive.  And filled with good men.  Men that would help me, that are already fathers and know how it works.

As soon as I begin to think about all this in any hopeful sort of way the tears start to flow. It feels so scary and lonely to think about doing it on my own.  And it’s not what I want.  But I don’t want what I have either.

Anyway, I feel like last night might be a game-changer.  I’m in the rabbit hole.  I’ve been looking at sperm donors for the past hour.  It’s extremely weird.  It’s crazy how simple and relatively inexpensive it is to get sperm.  Who knows if I can even get pregnant?  So much to think about …

But this is what I am thinking about.  Wanted to let you know.  xx

And this is how my life changed in three days. I had dinner with friends, then cried all night, wrote an email, cried a few more days, talked lengthily to my inner circle, got the blessing from my parents and then – within 72 hours – got off the dating sites and started to stalk the sperm donor sites, instead.

Cut to yesterday: I woke up and read my new bible, Taking Charge of Your Fertility for a while, after taking my basil body temperature of course. Then I noticed, since my period started on Saturday, that I’m on a 26 day cycle. According to my iPhone app this means I’m going to try to ‘conceive’ on July 9th! But I’ll save that story for another blog entry.

It’s not sexy. But it’s still a love story, in a Modern Family sort-of way.