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the coach, etc.

i’ve had some questions recently about the coach and how he is doing with the birth of little jude. i’m sorry i haven’t posted before now. he is in our everyday lives so much that when i say “we” he is included.

so. the coach was present for jude’s birth. while i was in labor, he was in charge of updating my mom and sister and auntie big jude, which he did like a pro. h didn’t leave my side once during labor. all throughout my pregnancy, i waffled over whether or not i would want him in the room when the baby was actually born. on one hand, he is a dear friend, a brother to both h and me. but. if we were trying to create healthy boundaries for him and for us, would it be too much to have him present? would i want a man in the room, period? and so i continually offered him an i don’t know, and he was gracious about it.

when it came down to me pushing and jude’s arrival being imminent, my midwife asked me if i wanted him to come in, to be the one to take pictures. i was completely naked and squatting on the assless chair, and i gave a hardy attempt at a shrug: let him in! and so there he was. i was aware of his presence in my stoned birthing state, and it was anything but intrusive. he was part of the room’s energy. i don’t know how afraid or awkward or grossed out he felt at being so close to the action, but i think that being behind the camera gave him a sense of safe distance. i’m not sure. i should ask him. but there he was. he watched as jude crowned. he bore witness as h pulled our slippery daughter from my body and into the world. he saw–with horror–me start to hemorrhage, and was present for the emergency pit shot to my thigh, and immediate recovery from a scary moment. he was among the first to hold jude.

the coach may have voluntarily relinquished the title and responsibilities of dad, but he and jude have an undeniably precious connection. he is the man in her life. she quiets down when she hears his voice. she snuggles into his arms. she stares at his face as he holds her and reads her articles from the austin chronicle or chapters from joseph campbell. simply put, she loves him.

the coach’s parents were the first set of grandparents who came to meet jude, when she was 4 days old. gabby and pop pop, as they have decided to be called, are smitten by their little girl, and though they are quick to point out the many features jude has inherited from the coach, they are equally respectful of both h and me being her parents. they even want to come to her adoption hearing this december.

and so that is how things are with the coach. he is in love with this little girl who is obviously related to him, and i think he is a little in love with us for bringing her into the world so he could meet her.

in other news, h and jude and i ventured out of the house as a fambly today for the first time. jude LOVED it. she slept soundly in the car, slept through brunch at a favorite coffeeshop called bouldin creek, woke up briefly at wheatsville, the local co-op (and only because she needed to be changed), and nursed happily at rio rita. altogether we were out for four hours, and it was delightful.

here she is wearing her elvis snarl, inherited from moi:
elvis snarl.

discovering her sal cat:
discovering her kitty.

and finally, rocking her gang signs in her treasu(red) outfit from her auntie sheela:
thanks auntie sheela!

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after a long nap during which sparky kicked me relentlessly (i’d had coffee AND lemonade this morning, just to make sure she was active and willing to give up the money shot), i got up and scanned a few of the less abstract ultrasound photos. enjoy!

scary frontal photo in which sparky appears to have a handlebar mustache, but totally redeems herself by sucking on both hands:
front view

turtle-free photo, showcasing her gorgeous hamburger bun:
bits.
(the u/s tech said with a little giggle, “wow, she’s really spreading her legs for us!”

beautiful profile shot, where we see that she may just have my nose, and the coach’s lips:
sparky's profile.

sparky is a girl. my daughter. i lay on that table with h and the coach by my side this morning, and watched a miracle on a big flat screen tv. there was my daughter, flailing around, sitting crosslegged one second, and kicking herself in the head the next. she waved her little hands and covered her face. she smacked her placenta around a bit, and she sucked her thumb. h squeezed my hand, and every time sparky emerged clear and alive and moving, the coach gasped softly.

i just lay there with my belly exposed and took it all in: there is her cerebellum. all four chambers of her heart, which is pulsing steadily at 148 beats per minute. her ribs. her kidneys. toes and fingers. humerus. femur. that’s my daughter in there. all eight ounces of her.

afterward, we stood in the parking lot dumbfounded. the coach had to go to work, and h and i had an appt w/ our loan officer. and yet we couldn’t move. we made a little circle, huddled together, staring at the photographic evidence of what we just witnessed. look what we created, i said finally. all three of us.

i have never felt so much love flowing between four human beings. sparky radiated heat through my belly and i knew in that moment that my whole life has built up to now. every broken moment–every grief and fear–was redeemed in a parking lot, and i am beginning to understand what pure joy is.

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cd22 update.

first: to the person who found me via the keywords “lesbian milk drinking”, welcome! i’m a bit lactose intolerant, but i am a lesbian…

second: thank you to all of you who wrote such informative and kind comments. i took your information with me to the doctor today.

dr. c agrees that my cycle is most likely wacked out due to the travel/stress/grief of this month. trista’s helpful comment about opk results changed the look of my chart a bit. i may have ovulated yesterday/today, and be on the upward thermal swing today. opk is most definitely negative today.

we insemmed 2 nights ago, so if i did ovulate (or am ovulating now), we had pretty good timing. nevertheless, we’re giving it one more go tonight, which dr c thinks is a good idea.

at this point, she doesn’t recommend i up my dose of clomid. (i’m at 50 mg.) she thinks this month is simply a fluke. she also doesn’t recommend trigger shots now, either. since we have such a generous donor (tonight is attempt #6), she doesn’t see the need. and she’s not ready to hand me off to an RE just yet.

to break down everything that that happened today, the password is “wait”.

my ovaries look good and cyst-free, and cervix is still high-ish, so she’s happy.

onward toward the 2 week wait for us after tonight. here’s to intrepid swimmers and a rising body temperature. cheers.

oh! pee ess: i’ve lost 7 lbs since i began going to dr c.!

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meh.

last night, the coach stopped by for a delivery and maybe a movie (he brought flash gordon). that plan was thwarted by our sweet, well-meaning, but completely draining neighbor. he is an african refugee. sweet guy. a dancer. big pothead living with an apparent crackhead. this has not been boding well for their roommate relationship. yesterday was big drama. he came over to our house to vent. for a very long time.

meanwhile, i sat there trying not to have a panic attack. since i’ve been back from the funeral, i’ve had to jump into a very busy workplace, and basically just keep my shit together. [note: i am completely off my meds right now.]

and then there is ovulation season. i am excited about making a baby, but even with more calming techniques in effect, it all still stresses me out…especially the constant negative opk part. on cd17. i’m not out of the game, and i’ll probably still ovulate, but damn. it’s hard not to be stressed when you’ve had so many months of not ovulating at all.

our neighbor finally left a little after 11, and the coach did his thing and called it a night. we insemmed with my hips propped in bed, and both fell asleep immediately thereafter.

today i am just exhausted, and trying not to be deflated by yet another opk. had a half degree temp dip this morning; maybe that’s a good thing.

all i want to do is sleep.

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last night, we had a great time at the swim meet. we drove over to the coach’s house to pick up the swimmers, and came home to insem with a little more privacy than before. (usually, the coach sits outside and waits for us to finish before we all play cards.)

i’m fairly certain we’ve started a little early, since i’m still – opk, but the whole experience between h and i was so tender. even with a newly-introduced catheter, it felt the least clinical of all our attempts. we were making love, and making a baby. and we smiled and giggled.

afterward, the coach did come over for a rousing game of canasta. it was a perfect night.

hopefully i’ll get a positive reading tonight or tomorrow morning, and we’ll try again!

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h and i had a shut-in weekend here in rainy (!) austin, texas. we were menstruating together–something that happens once maybe every two years. i became a contestant on the clomid challenge.

really difficult conversations ensued.

we have agreed to a new approach about project baby. we will try again next month through october. if i get pregnant, we will stay in austin another year. h will begin her first year of teaching here (which begins fall ’08). i will remain part time at my current job (aka the place that gives us both benefits).

if i do not get pregnant by october, we will stop trying for awhile. we will relocate to eugene, oregon next summer. (thanks to alayna and wendy for their helpful responses to my inquiries, btw.) we’ve been talking about oregon for a little while now, and are very, very excited to get out of texas. to get out of the south, period. we will relocate a year later if we have a baby next summer.

if we move to eugene without a child, we seem to have at least one option to continue ttc.

1. the coach has expressed a whole lot of interest in moving to eugene for his own reasons. and he is very much committed to continuing the ttc journey with us.

2. we have a backup donor who lives in san francisco. not exactly close by, but possible. donor 2 is a best friend of mine, who i’ve known since i was 15, growing up in pennsylvania. he is beautiful, and kind, and wants nothing more than for h and i to have a family.

so there you have it. it took a lot of probably unnecessary tears to come to some really great goals.

oh, and pee ess. day 2 of clomid left me feeling nauseous and ragged. today? i don’t notice anything at all. i think it may have something to do with being back at work, forced to be busy after taking a short vacation. (nothing like working for the company responsible for the iphone to keep me on my toes.)

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last night we insemmed for the first time this cycle. i’m still negative opk, but the ferns were very very plentiful. i’ve never seen so many. i know that the spit test predicts up to 72 hours, so opk should be showing positive later today or tomorrow. i’m crampy. and emotional.

the coach had been withholding since weds–without our asking–just in case my o day came earlier than expected. he gave us over 5 cc’s! we were impressed.

i’d been giddy all day about beginning round two.
h was excited that the coach could come over last night on such short notice.

but as h and i sat outside while the coach “provided”, we got quiet, and i watched worry cross her face. the conversation turns this way as we’re about to actually try: are we really ready for this? our lives will never be our own again. we’ll be giving up so much freedom. but. we’re not getting any younger. we want a family. we have a great donor situation. etc.

when these conversations occur, i get scared. are you sure you want this, i ask h. she says yes, she does. she would be happy (happier?) adopting, but she knows how much i want to give birth. and so she handles the swimmers, even though they gross her out. she puts them inside me, because she loves me. she wants to have a family with me. she gets excited. and then she gets scared about our timing.

perfect timing is having a conversation about timing as you are about to inseminate, and your donor is in the bathroom.

we relaxed afterward, and thought happy, fertile thoughts.
but. the fear that maybe i’m being selfish, not listening to what h is really saying, pervades today.

we are good, honest communicators.
and this is scary territory.

i really think we’ve got amazing timing this month. but what if she’s got more than jitters…and i am pregnant…

the fear will pass.
oh look. i get to leave work early. i get to go home to my love.

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just when i thought i had it figured out: 38 day cycle, ovulate day 20-21, i take a spit test this morning, and FERNS! many many thick beautiful ferns! on day 14!

opk is still negative but the coach is on call. let it be known that on this first day of june, round two hath begun!

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mothers day.

the coach has been debating over when to tell his parents about his role in our famblymaking.

he decided that last night would be the night. what better way to tell your parents what you’re doing with your sperm than over sag paneer? afterward, he came over to our house, and sat on the porch grinning over a glass of wine. he had expected them to “arrive at happiness” after a few moments of shock and/or disapproval. after all, this is their only child…

alas, it was pure joy from moment one. his dad repeated over and over, “i’m just so happy!” his mom wants us to hurry up and get pregnant already.

he told his parents about the legal requirements of what we’re doing: that we would love for them to be involved in sparky’s life, but they have no legal rights or responsibilities whatsoever. they understood this perfectly, and seemed to have expected it.

have i mentioned recently how much we LOVE the coach’s parents? how the best christmas h and i ever had was the one we spent with them at our home?

so. h’s mom knows. the coach’s parents know.
that leaves my mother.

my mother is older than a lot of my peers’ mothers. she is also a pentecostal, very conservative christian, with a lot of love for the catholic church. i’ve wondered a lot over the past four years if she would even come to our wedding, once we can legally have one. and so, like we do in my fambly, i’ve just never mentioned it.

my mother has never come to visit us. granted, we are in texas and she is in pennsylvania. she does not drive, and rarely flies. i haven’t seen her in almost two years. she is the same age now that my father was when he died ten years ago. i carry this panicky fear that i won’t see her again. and so, i invited her to visit us soon. i offered to pay for her flight, offered to put her up in a nearby hotel if she is uncomfortable staying in our home.

she wants to come. she waved my hotel idea away as ridiculous. of course she’ll stay with us!!! (exclamation points hers.) she never ceases to surprise me.

my mother, the church worship leader, bible study teacher, defender of the faith told me when i came out to her: i am a christian, and though i may not agree with or understand your lifestyle, i am a mother first. you are my baby daughter. and i love you.

and then she added this statement, which can only come as a compliment from her, “tchaikovsky was gay, and it didn’t make his music any less beautiful.”

i think i might give my mother a phonecall tonight, and have some expecting to be expecting news.

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psychosomatical?

nausea? check.
…for the past 3 days, i feel piqued, like my finger is placed just next to my gag reflex. i had a random craving for fried chicken yesterday, and had to throw it away after one bite. wtf?
the nausea comes and goes in waves. i feel it as i type.

fatigue? check.
i have slept until noon every day this week. i could sleep later; it’s just that i work at 1.
i feel like sleeping to stave off the nausea.

i’m tripping myself out here. without the assurance of the opk surge, i don’t even know if i could be pregnant. if i am pregnant, i’m no more than one week along. is it too early to experience these symptoms???

and still, ewcm persists. and so i’m still peeing on sticks, wondering if the surge simply hasn’t happened yet. we’re going to insem again for my sanity.

thankfully, in response to another donation, the coach responded: “you got it. mi esperma es su esperma.” how bilingually kind of him.

any thoughts on my state of being?? or the kind of cm one experiences in the first week of pregnancy? would it be of the stretchy variety?

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