Ok, so fast forward 3 cycles. Let me just say, in brief, that those 3 cycles were full of their share of spermy adventures, and someday I’ll relate what happens when a man ejaculates into an empty salsa jar…
So, I’m in my second year of an MFA program, desperately trying to think of ideas for my thesis, and Kristin’s resolutely not pregnant. Our Ob/GYN decided to drop the ob part of her practice and was really just keeping us on for pity. Also, she was refusing to manage any of Kristin’s meds for her PCOD. Apparently, they’re kinda scary for those who don’t know them well. So, we had 3 doctors at this point: Dr. Endocrine, Dr. Gyn-NOT-Ob, and Dr. Nurse Practitioner for all unrelated issues. No one was talking to each other. No one knew if all the different Meds were combining in unpredictable ways. We couldn’t get any straight answers. The pharmacists were beginning to drop hints that they thought we were druggies skimming for scripts – except that none of the scripts were very good. And then Kristin developed chronic high blood pressure.
Apparently, one of the meds that she had been on, and had just been taken off of, had a side-effect of masking developing hypertension. That was the last straw for our poor Dr. GNO. Before Kristin was even pregnant, Dr. GNO declared her “high-risk” and recommended that we start seeing Dr. Blue Eyes – a specialist in high-risk pregnancies at the University Hospital. This was a blow. We had been hoping to have a home birth, or if not a home birth, then a low-tech one at the local birthing center. Further, Dr. Blue Eyes didn’t work with infertility. Well, technically Dr. GNO didn’t either, but at least she had made noises about helping should we need her. During this same month, Dr. Endocrinologist stopped taking Kristin’s insurance, so we really didn’t know what to do. We made an appointment with Dr. Blue Eyes. Yup, she’d be happy to see us (and manage all Kristin’s different health problems) but only AFTER we got pregnant. She recommended an RE at the hospital. It was 2 months to get in to see him. We took that appointment and in the meantime went back on bent knees to Dr. GNO. Kristin had just ovulated, it was our fourth cycle, could she please just order a test of her progesterone or whatever hormone levels to make sure everything was working ok? She agreed, a favor because we were so darn cute.
I should mention that Kristin hates needles. HATES THEM. She doesn’t have good veins, and the majority of phlebotomists miss the ones in her arms. It works best to take the blood from her hand but for some reason the phlebotomists seem reluctant just to take our word for it and start there. Consequently, blood draws are very painful for her and leave to a lot of needle tracks and bruising. To illustrate how important getting pregnant had become, not only was Kristin willing to have her blood drawn for this test, but she was starting to look like a junkie from all the blood pregnancy tests she’d been taking over the last 4 cycles. (Why waste pee on something that can’t tell you if you’re pregnant until you’re ready to start bleeding? There’s a hospital in our area that will give a blood test for $15.) So we went in for the test and had the usual fight, “No, don’t try to prove that you’re the best with a needle this side of the equator. You’re not, just take it from the goddamn hand you bloodthirsty, arrogant – OUCH, I told you so -- FUCK!”
A couple of days later, Kristin had started her period, so we were already depressed when we came home to a message from what was obviously a transplant from the Valley (you know which valley I’m talking about).
“Hi, um yeah? Like, I’m calling from Dr. GNO’s office? And like, we got the results from your test back? And like, you ovulated? But, you know? Just not very well. Call us back.”
WTF? How can you ovulate “not very well”? Wasn’t it an either/or kind of thing? You either ovulated or you didn’t? How could she leave that kind of a message at 4:55 on a Friday afternoon? Besides her atrocious phone voice and mannerisms, they had Kristin’s cell number on file. We knew from bitter experience that the office closed at 5. Now we had to sit with that knowledge for an entire weekend with no way to get our answers resolved. No way to know if we were going to be able to afford to fix the problem. No way to know if we were capable of having a baby in the near future or not.
We got online and surfed the big wave of unfiltered information and found out that it is possible for women with PCOD to develop an egg and release it, but for that egg to have difficulty making it past all the other nascent babies to the fallopian tubes. It was a mystery to me how they could tell that from a blood test. Maybe there was something else wrong. Still, the “cure” for this condition was Clomid. Though Kristin and I had been reluctant to consider Clomid in the past because of the cancer risk and the way it made women crazy-hormonal, we decided to take it if it were offered because 1) Cancer wouldn’t kill Kristin until after we had a child and 2) we were already under so much stress that adding crazy-hormonal to the mix might actually make it more fun.
First thing Monday morning we called Dr. GNO’s office and were told that as a last favor (and don’t call us again you crazy lezzies!) the Dr. would write us a prescription for the lowest dose of Clomid – refillable once. One month later the CLomid had failed us (yes, we had been certain that it would work the first time, we are, if nothing else, incurable optimists). Still, we refilled the prescription and decided to keep going.
I know I haven’t really talked about any of the inseminations since the first. But I think I will mention this next one because it so perfectly illustrates our life. We had gotten into the habit of having our donor over for dinner on one of the nights he was making his donation (we usually did 3-4 insems a month). He’s really enjoys cooking and he’s excellent at it. So, though the original idea was that we would feed him, it had evolved into a large experimental cook-fest with all 3 of us pitching in – but with him doing most of the work. We usually made Indian food. This one night he had decided that he was going to make samosas from scratch. While I got started with dinner, and he’d gone to produce his contribution to Kristin’s and my baby, a woman knocked on our door. It was Adelaide (name changed to protect the easily embarrassed). Our donor had told her that he would be over here and she didn’t have anything else to do, so she thought she’d stop by. Did I mind if she came in? Oh, says I, ummm well, no? (I knew that this girl and our donor had started a serious flirtation, but wow, this was… wow) so she came in. She had brought wine. Our donor had told her she would be welcome. He’s a very generous and social person; it wouldn’t occur to him that others might not be. He walked upstairs, jar discretely hidden in his palm. I took it into the bedroom where Kristin had been getting ready. Donor began making samosas, the phone rang. I picked it up on my way by. 2 other friends. D had just witnessed a stabbing through the peephole on the front door of his and T’s apartment. They were really shaken. They didn’t want to be alone. Come on down, says I, the more the merrier. I hung up and went in to make some babies. When Kristin and I came out about 30 minutes later the house was full of people (their chatter had provided a soundtrack while we did our thing) – Donor and Adelaide (doing more flirting in the kitchen than cooking), D and T, and our friend Jennifer who had also just stopped by. We ran to the store and bought more supplies, finished the evening surrounded by friends. We told donor that if he wanted to get it on with Adelaide he’d better do it that night because we needed him to start saving up again in the morning. That’s precisely what he did.
It was finally time for our appointment with Big Shot RE. Kristin and I wanted to discuss to possibility of doing IUIs. The appointment was a HUGE disappointment. We had been told that this RE was the most liberal and understanding in the valley – possibly even the state. And, indeed, he had a reputation for helping lesbians get pregnant. However, he kept referring to Kristin as a “single mother” even though I was sitting right there and we had explained our situation to him. Then he told us that before they could do any services we would have to get a note from the hospital’s counselor. I kid you not. Kristin and I just looked at him. “We have been planning this for over a year! We have a binder full of budgets, timelines, mucus descriptions, to-do lists, names! This is not some spur of the moment thing.” “ Nevertheless, it is this hospital’s policy that any single woman wanting insemination services attends at least one counseling session.” “But we’re not single.” Kristin was ready to walk out, but our desire for a baby was too strong. We agreed to the counseling. Then the subject of sperm came up. They would only use fresh sperm if the man was the woman’s husband. If we insisted on using a known donor his jiz would need to be frozen for 6 months. Or, we could buy already-frozen sperm. Unfortunately, the sperm bank in Utah is not available for use by single women. “But we’re not single” we kept repeating. This was a nightmare. Semantics gone wild. The one hope we had was that we were 3 DPO and might be pregnant this time. We said as much to Big Shot RE and he agreed to write us a prescription for a blood pregnancy test. We took the prescription because that meant we could go to the hospital with the good lab, the non-hand-hating lab. Then we left his office hoping beyond hope that we would never have to step foot in there again.
On December 15th Kristin shed some more blood for the sake of our sanity. She felt good about this test. So, she had me call in to the lab to get the results. The following is an excerpt from my thesis which contains an almost exact transcription of my conversation with the lab tech. The formatting is screwy because of the width of the screen.
from NO NORMAL LOVE
(A Sci-Fi Lesbian Pirate Bodice-Ripper)
Part the Twenty-Seventh
In Which The Pirate Goes To See The Biographer of Desire (Who Is Not A Real Doctor)* and Ends Up Shedding Blood
*The Biographer of Desire (who is not a real doctor) appears courtesy of Geoffrey Babbitt
BD – You’re a 7.
TP – But what does 7 mean?
BD – By law, I’m not allowed to tell you.
TP – You’re a doctor, you can’t tell me what 7 means?
BD – 7 means many things, one of which you are. I’d like to tell you,
but that would mean I was practicing medicine.
TP – It was supposed to be a qualitative, not quantitative test.
BD – What’s done is done. There’s no going back. You need to move
TP – Well, can you tell me what 6 means, then.
BD – Are you a 6?
TP – You just said I am a 7.
BD – Why would you want to know what 6 means?
TP – Why shouldn’t I want to know what 6 means? Is there
something wrong with wanting to know about 6?
BD – Well, if you’re not a 6, then I can tell you that 6 means yes.
TP – So I am a yes.
BD – You said you were a 7.
TP – I want to know if I’m a yes. 7 is more than 6. Yes is
more than no. Am I wrong?
BD – Yes isn’t necessarily more than no. For instance, you could ask
if I took some of your pieces of eight. If the answer were yes,
then no would be more.
TP – But we’re not talking about pieces of eight, we’re talking about
weeks and hormones and 7. Wait, did you take some of my
pieces of eight?
BD – At week three, 1 through 5 is no. But I can’t tell you if you are
a yes. You’ll really just have to figure that out on your own.
TP – Look, scurvy knave, all I want to know is if I’m expecting. I’m
seriously considering running you through with my cutlass
BD – I’ve told you what I can. Are we through here?
TP - Not quite…
We were going to keep our maybe-news on the down low. But the English Department Christmas party was that night (we were getting ready for it when I called the lab) and we are TERRIBLE at keeping secrets (like you couldn’t tell that from the nature of this blog) and so by the end of the night everyone knew that we were pregnant. Complete strangers knew that we were pregnant. Drunk English professors knew that we were pregnant. My parents knew that we were pregnant. By golly, we had better really BE pregnant.
And guess what? We were. And we never had to see Big Shot RE again.