Having been inspired by Wannabemom’s posts on how she and her partner met, and feeling much better since Anne’s comment, I thought I would kill some of the time waiting for the baby’s arrival by writing on how she was conceived in the first place.
In the summer of 2003, Kristin and I bought a house. We moved in. Once there, we realized that the 3 things that we had told ourselves to achieve before getting pregnant were now done: Kristin finish her bachelor’s degree and find a career, Trista get accepted into grad school, and finally buy a house (we already owned a condo, but thought it was too small for a family). We rattled around in our house for a bit, unpacking and settling down, and then one day Kristin started asking for a puppy. Another puppy, since our grown dog still considers himself 6-months old. I balked. One 80 lb puppy was enough, I thought. But eventually I caved in and we got Oliver. A couple months after Oliver came home (during which we nursed him through both Bordatella and Parvo) Kristin admitted to me, “Well, when I said I wanted a puppy, what I really wanted was a baby.” Excellent. I’d been ready for a couple of years, just waiting for her to catch up.
So, we started making decisions. Because I worked at a non-profit organization with only one other employee, I didn’t have any health insurance through my employer. Because I have a history of depression, I can’t get health insurance on my own. Kristin works for the state, so she has excellent insurance. We knew that if I were to get pregnant, I could get Medicaid (Medicare? I don’t know, the one for poor people) but then when the baby was born we’d be relying on CHIP or other welfare programs for its health-care needs because co-habitating adults can’t adopt here, so Kristin wouldn’t be able to put the baby on her insurance. Because of these reasons, it seemed really irresponsible to us for me to be the one getting pregnant – even though I’m a couple years older and have wanted to be pregnant for so long. So, decision one done: Kristin will be carrying.
Decision 2 was about sperm. Kristin felt very strongly about having a known donor. I was less happy about the known donor issue, but felt that my fears could be alleviated through careful planning. We started keeping our eyes out for possible donors but basically tabled that discussion while Kristin began tracking her cycles and meeting with health-care professionals to get an evaluation on her reproductive system. Kristin has Poly-Cystic Ovarian Disease, and she had been told before that she would not be able to conceive. However, since she had been given that diagnosis, that doctor (a premier endocrinologist in our area) had been revealed a raging homo-phobe who had screwed up some friends attempts to conceive, and we wanted a second opinion. Thank god we found a new doctor. Not only had the first doctor been wrong, but he had been sabotaging Kristin’s reproductive health. (I’d say more here, but I want to protect Kristin’s privacy) So, the new doctor was very optimistic about her chances of conceiving, and began prescribing Kristin new medication to get her body back on schedule.
Meanwhile, months were passing and the donor issue has not been resolved. We’d asked a few people (my brother, some friends) and were turned down. We wanted to start trying in July 2004, but it was April, and still no sperm. With Kristin’s cycle ok’d to try, but still a little iffy, we felt we needed every advantage on our side, and that meant using fresh sperm. Finally, a donor said yes. We entered into negotiations, everything seemed fine. It would be completely anonymous, with a clause that the child could know the donor’s identity when he/she was a teenager. Relief, thy name is semen.
One Sunday morning in April, Kristin and I went to church. We go to the Unitarian Church in SLC. We were sitting in the balcony because we were late (we’re always late) when I noticed the most strikingly handsome woman I’ve ever seen (besides my beautiful bride, of course) and I said as much to Kristin. She looked, and began to laugh. “I think that’s a man!” She was right, he was. We began joking about getting to know him so we could ask him for his sperm and have strikingly beautiful children. A few weeks later we did get to know him, and surprise! He’s already going to donate to another lesbian couple TTC. I didn’t realize that Kristin was beginning to have doubts about our chosen donor. But once she found out that he was open to donation (or open for donation ha, ha) she began dropping subtle hints about changing our donor. Subtle hints like: “I think X should be our donor now.” And before I knew it, we were in full blown negotiations with a new donor. It was June.
July arrived and Kristin’s cycle started beautifully. The first insemination was awkward, and messy, and hilarious. We got SO MUCH semen. We had bought the 5 cc syringe even though the book recommended a 3cc to cut down on surface area on which to lose sperm. We couldn’t find a 3 cc syringe and were worried about all the little sperms we were going to lose in our gigantic syringe. Hell no! He had been excited, and celibate, for days. I know this is going to sound crazy, but we got about 7 or 8 cc’s. We had to REFILL the syringe. A lot dribbled out. It was stringy and gross and we were both dry heaving, but we finally got it all in and done and were convinced that there was no way we were not going to be instantly pregnant. Still, we asked him if he was available for two more in the next couple of days. He was, and we got our routine down, but we never got that much semen again.
July’s ovulation was over. We were sure we were pregnant. All the other lesbian parents we knew (or had heard of) had gotten pregnant on their first try. Oh, we knew that theoretically that was unlikely. But come on! With all our anal-retentive planning, and the amount of semen we had been provided, plus our sheer perfection as parents-to-be had to guarantee that we would AT LEAST do as well as those other couples who were less perfect than us in every way. If they did it in one, we would do it in one-half. Arrogant, weren’t we? We were ready for a smack-down.
Two weeks later: disaster, devastation, death. Our cat was killed. Kristin had had that cat for years. She was devastated. We buried him two days before leaving for vacation. We were trying to fly standby to Ecuador. We got on the plane, and then sat on the runway for over an hour listening to the pilot reassure us that that strange noise was NOT coming from the engine. It was July, in Utah, on the Tarmac. There was no air. People were passing out from the heat. The flight attendants were testy. Finally, we started taxiing for take-off. We moved into position, revved the engines, started forward, accelerated… then de-accelerated and pulled off the runway. The pilot comes on over the speaker. “Uh, ladies and gentleman, we’re going to be returning to our gate. It seems our left engine just gave out. I know some of you have some tight connections, but there will be a gate attendant to help you make new reservations…” Ecuador was o-u-t out. In fact flying anywhere was out. There was no way stand-by passengers were going to be getting out of SLC on that airline that weekend. We left the airport, got in our car and started driving. We stopped for the night in a trashy motel and Kristin got her period.
OK, though I was inspired by Wannabemom, I didn't want to copy her use of installments. Still, this is just too long for one post. So, more tomorrow. (or later tonight)