Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Patty-cake, patty-cake

Nurse Nina says Heather's test results should be available in a few days.  I still assume they'll show her body to be pure and exceptionally ready to support pregnancy, but I can't help but be curious to see if something unusual pops up.  When I heard a fizzing in my neck (you know how sometimes you hear things in your own head, like a different chewing sound from what other people hear?), I brought it up to my psychiatrist, who was concerned I thought I had a snake in my brain-- surprising me as I considered what her other patients were like.  I said that, no, I thought I might have a tumor and that removing it would completely solve any chemical issues in my head.  I thought that when I had migraines, too.  Nada.  Anyway, I would like them to say, "Oh, Heather needs to take three vitamin C pills and the baby will manifest itself without insemination."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All I want for Christmas is you

Wednesday we went for Thanksgiving Eve dinner at my parents' house.  It was a nice meal with even nicer cornbread, the remains of which my mom helpfully sent home with us.

Before dinner, we'd gone to the clinic to get Heather's blood taken for hormone tests.  I don't even know what the tests were, only that we had no option but to hope the results held a ringing endorsement of Heather's fertility.  In the waiting rooms were unhappy-looking people, probably not there to get pregnant but more likely to get un-pregnant, and I imagined they were staring at the white ladies getting special attention with resentment.  Still, they were there in hopes of a better life, just as we were.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Irregular ovulation, pt. II

I dreamed that Nurse Nina was standing at my desk as I admitted to her that Heather was on day 15 of her cycle and still hadn't ovulated.

After all my jubilation at our decision to tramp our own path, I can't help feeling a bit embarrassed when I think of telling Nina that we're going to keep working on getting pregnant at home, despite her misgivings.  Last night, Heather and I discussed whether we should skip a concert because a friend was in town: it would be a waste of $50 tickets, but we didn't want to blow off our friend.  Buying sperm is a waste if Nina discovers hormone issues in Heather's blood tests, but we want a baby so badly, we'll blow off Nina and the money on the chance we could get pregnant sooner.

Where are the easy choices?  When do we get to argue about giraffe-versus-turtle nursery themes instead of whether we should gamble $1,000 next month if we don't know if Heather's hormones are right?  And what if we find out that they aren't?  How much more money and hope is the process going to drain from us?

It's 3:00A.M. and I'm being awfully melodramatic.  I can't wait till all our family's melodrama is coming from an angry pregnant woman.  She's going to be gorgeous.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Just as we're re-evaluating our relationship with Nurse Nina, I'm re-evaluating the relationship between this baby and my mom.  Nina wasn't always the cheerleader we needed, and it's increasingly clear that my mom isn't going to be, either.

Two Saturdays ago, as the realization that Heather wasn't pregnant settled in, Heather took the day off to sleep and be sad.  My mom e-mailed me at work to say hi and ask if I'd be at dinner Sunday night.  I wrote back, chattily, and said that Heather was at home for the day because the insemination hadn't worked out and she was feeling glum and sick.  I've been reluctant to mention anything baby-related, but then again I felt like taking a chance.

Mom wrote back, helpfully, "Tell Heather I'm sorry for the loss of the desired pregnancy."  Why did she specify "desired"?  As opposed, perhaps, to "the pregnancy that we think would be a big mistake"?  I thought we were done with this shit.  She told me that she was fantasizing about re-decorating and knitting, for fuck's sake.

It's a reckoning.  There's Nina, who seemed to be as much a part of the lesbian/baby package as the Cryobank was, and there's my mom, who has always been part of the Rachel-supporting package, and now I wonder how important they truly are in those equations.

I wrote back to my mom and told her that I felt her response to our disappointment was a little odd and that my feelings were hurt to think that, contrary to her previous statement, it wasn't enough for her and my dad to have "expressed their reservations."  I said I hoped she would be able to accept the situation.  Then I left for the weekend.

Sunday, I checked my home e-mail to see if she might have written to that address.  She had, but only to share an article about a dead Prussian relative.  And then she sent four more e-mails about our Mennonite ancestor.  No, I don't think it's symbolic of her acceptance of our "desired pregnancy" into the great family saga.  I think she just likes Ancestry.com that much.
Monday, there wasn't any reply in my work e-mail either.

What I try to focus on, and what all my friends say to reassure me, is that my parents will forget all this when we have a baby.  I don't know if I will.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


So, what would happen we stopped working with Nurse Nina?

I sat down to lunch with Heather and our friend Lamont, feeling despondent about a work conversation I'd just had.  They were joking about my plans to babysit our friends' baby tonight; Heather said she didn't feel like going and that it would be good for me to do it alone to "see if I really wanted one."  Feeling even more sorry for myself, I said, "Well, it doesn't matter if I do.  It feels like we're never going to have one anyway."

It was pathetic to say and both my lunch companions promptly called me on it, but lately it's felt true.  We've just come off the painful disappointment of our failed second insemination, only to hear a few days later that we can't try again for months.  The prospect of a baby, floating before our eyes since last January, feels so distant right now.
Heather, having just rescued me (almost) from self-recrimination over my talk with the boss, bravely entered to the fray again.

"Why don't we just do it anyway?  We can go buy another donor's sperm and do it at home.  Why do we need Nurse Nina?"

Why indeed?  Just because one couple who had a baby worked with her doesn't mean she's the end-all and be-all of baby-making.  Other people can do hormone tests-- on a time-frame of our choosing-- and we did our own ICI at home in August.  It didn't work, but neither did the IUI at her office.  That doesn't mean it's Heather's hormone levels; some of this is just about playing the odds.  Heather won $200 at the casino over the weekend and I think she can beat this game, too.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Heather got her period exactly two weeks after we inseminated.  We spent the day trying to believe it was just spotting, until "light spotting" turned into, well, bleeding.  Unwilling to acknowledge what Heather already had, I insisted on extra tests, including one we picked up at Walgreens and used at our friends' house.  The third test from the other pack turned out to be a dud, doing very little to soothe our anxiety, and I don't think Heather felt soothed by testing in someone else's bathroom with a three-person audience when she revealed the results. Still, it was a friendly crowd, and we all squinted mightily at the test stick, just in case there was an extra line.

Friday, November 5, 2010

From how many years away does a baby come?

It is the fate of a woman
Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost that is speechless,
Till some questioning voice dissolves the spell of its silence
. -- Longfellow

I keep hearing that waiting and patience are beautiful virtues-- "good things come" and so forth-- but I've had enough of that bullshit.  Neither Heather nor I can avoid watching for the pot to boil.  If I'm around when she comes out of the bathroom, I look for a thumbs-up to let me know that there's no bleeding and Heather, bless her heart, changed from pink to white undies before bed so she'd see for sure if she bled in the night.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Heather cheated again and tested at 1am.  Our friends Robert and Kelly, parents of 4-month-old Noah, conceived on the same date that we inseminated and Heather, ever a gun-jumper, was delighted to hear from Kelly that she tested a day short of the full two weeks and had a faint plus sign.