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.

Neurosis and butterflies in the city

Yesterday I took a break. A break from all things related to fertility. After spending the past week researching 1001 ways to get pregnant sans sex and signing up for too many fertility calendars, chat groups and donor registration sites to keep track of all the passwords, I was reminded by that small inner voice (well, that and M, my midwife friend) that the key factor to conception is being relaxed. Oh the irony.

In my former I-want-to-have-a-baby-yesterday self I am a pretty laid back person. I typically go with the flow, like to have fun and am up for whateves. Except. Except when I get neurotic and overstimulated by a surge of information about something I’m into and manically gather data in the wide not deep sort of way. Eventually I enter into an analysis paralysis; foiled over and again by the ole’ First World paradox of being immobilized by options.

So. Yesterday I resisted the single mom blogs, the donor sperm baby memoirs, the fertility Q&A’s, the home insemination PDF I downloaded and even my actual donor site, where I often go to peruse all the sweet little childhood faces and profiles of my top 22 favorite donors (how to decide??). I took a bath, splayed myself out on the couch with a cold glass of water, and read an awe-inspiring interview in The Sun magazine with John Elder, entitled The Wild Places Close to Home. Curled up in the womb of my couch on a rainy afternoon, I reveled in one of my other loves: nature.

(I’d like to believe this is exactly what the doctor would’ve ordered, if I had the insurance to actually have a doctor for non-catastrophic life events.)

Elder writes: When Thoreau speaks of “awakening,” he means being present to the moment. In Walden he writes, “only that day dawns to which we are awake.” Wildness is not about millions of roadless acres. Wildness is a quality of awareness that millions of roadless acres may help us to achieve. And if we do achieve it, we’ll be thrilled by those acres. But that awareness can also be cultivated in the middle of the city. In fact, you’d better look for it in your city, and your home, and your office.

This brings me hope. Sometimes my pregnancy plan feels akin to looking for daffodils in a Detroit automotive plant–unnatural and uncommon. And then I read an interview with a naturalist, who speaks of the migratory-bird routes that come down over Staten Island, and the monarch butterflies that migrate down Fifth Avenue in NYC just above the heads of pedestrians. The little wings of grace that pass us by unnoticed, when left to our premeditated trances of how things are.  I’m reminded to let go, look up, breathe slower and take heart.

Fertility (bearing no infertility issues) is really just timing and timing is really just awareness.  And awareness is more spiritual than anything.  It might be bad: I may be infertile.  I may get pregnant next month, it may take six months, I may never get pregnant.  I don’t know.

What I do know (for now, anyway) is that it’s all going to be okay.  That if we live in a world where caterpillars turn into butterflies and then take flight in the busiest city in America, the order of things is indeed wild and often precarious … and there is hope for me on this new path.  Hope and also transformation.

Artificial Insemination is NOT for the Birds

Let’s start with the acronyms:

TTC (trying to conceive)
O (ovulation or orgasm? I still don’t know)
IUI (inner uterine insemination) not to be confused with ICI (inner cervix insemination),
G (total number of pregnancies)
P (total number of delivered pregnancies)

I could keep going …

I’m learning a new language.  Really, I’m learning a new everything: a new way of thinking about parenthood, a new way of managing expectations and thinking about finances; a new way of getting pregnant (the least sexy part of this whole process!), a new way of relating to men, my friends and myself.  New reading. (If you could see the things I’m Googling these days, such as: ici home insemination and orgasm. I know, right?!?) Hopefully, a new life.

Two nights ago I spent almost an hour on the phone with my cousins friend in L.A. who used a frozen sperm donor eight years ago.  I’d had a long (but good) day of seeing clients and was walking around the lake with my dog, blathering on about all things sperm. (Still weird.)  I had a thousand questions and, lucky for me, she had a thousand answers.  She told me about “Mom’s by Choice” the on-line community of single parents, and sibling registries where you can see if your potential child has 20 half-siblings running around.  We talked about the lonely bits of raising a child by yourself, along with the endless supply of love you gain, and all the vulnerability you learn to withstand.

I left the conversation grateful but exhausted.

I keep coming back to an email my friend J wrote me earlier in this process:  Love, is the thing. Isn’t it? You want a child biologically but you want the love of a child, and a child to love. That’s the essence. That’s the thing to concentrate on. Everything else is dross.

Love is the thing.  I have to remember this when I get overwhelmed with exacting my knowledge of ovulation, calendar matching it with Fed Ex-ing frozen sperm, not KILLING the sperm in the defrosting process, or SPILLING it during insemination.  This strange, expensive process … it all comes down to love.  And really, don’t we all do crazy things in the name of love?