Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is it a comedy or a tragedy?

The question is posed by Dustin Hoffman in Stranger Than Fiction, and it’s posed every day that Heather and I spend trying to have a baby.

I guess every day in every life we face the same question, both about our circumstances and how we react to them.  Some days, grumpy-ass customers are funny to me, and sometimes I wish they’d disappear or at least get herpes.  Some days my boss is a delight, and some days he’s avoiding a problem he ought to address—this determines, in large part, whether my job feels like a comedy or a tragedy, and also what kind of privacy-blocked shit I write about him on Facebook.

Tuesday and Wednesday were giddy days.  Wednesday was fully two weeks since we inseminated, and every moment that Heather didn’t bleed was a triumph.  Despite her pledges to ignore her body’s signals—each round, she’s become consumed with breast pains, premature spotting and headaches, and, with each negative, declared that she clearly doesn’t understand what her body is telling her or what it feels like to be pregnant—Heather Googled the burning pains in her breasts and the strange pains in her ribs.  She called me to tell me she’d thrown up, and it was a moment of delight for both of us.  “I’m sorry,” I said, “but I’m so excited!”

Friday, March 4, 2011

The rising costs of swimmers

$685.  That is what a wee vial of Persian sperm cost us this week.  And by “we” I mean Heather, because receptionists do not roll that way.

In December, I ponied up (thanks, Christmas) and a vial of that same Persian’s sperm cost me $535.  I’d like to get revved up and indignant about how the Cryobank is exploiting us with their monopoly on good sperm, but they’ve always been nice and they do have some fancy-ass sperm, so I can’t be mad.  Like when my cat eats the Chihuahua’s food: it’s not right, but he’s so damn cute—which our chosen donor’s baby pictures are, too.
After January’s disappointment, we took February off to distract ourselves with a fancy vacation.  We weren’t back in time to inseminate, and oddly enough I think I forgot about it.  It’s been a while since I looked at Heather’s cervix, or even gave it much thought.  Again, that’s not right, but it sure is a relief.  Then when March’s ovulation rolled around, we’d barely stopped to obsess over it.  We ordered the sperm at the last minute and just waited for the egg and the dot to appear on the fertility monitor.   
A couple days later, I texted Nina and told her it was time, so we met up at the clinic in the morning: I heated the vial, Heather had awful cramps and some bleeding as the tilted uterus effed things up again, and Nikole told us that Heather’s cervix looked just beautiful.  (We pretended that we’d totally looked at it, even though the reality was that we’d let the machine do the work and hadn’t pulled out our own speculum in over a month.)

The kitchen renovation does its magic still: Heather stays up late painting and using the electric screwdriver to re-mount the cabinet doors, and we don’t talk, or even really think, about whether she’s pregnant.  Maybe she’s thinking about it and not telling me, but, if so, it’s on purpose.

What we also aren’t thinking about is that this is our last try with the Persian donor: this is our fourth go-round, and we can’t afford to buy $685 vials of IUI each month then pay Nina $150 each time she inseminates Heather.  If Heather doesn’t get pregnant this time, we’ll have to find a new donor who has the cheaper ICI samples, which we can insert at home. 

Nina also asked if we had given thought to starting Heather on Clomid, which we’d like to avoid.  I guess what it comes down to is that, even though this is only our fourth try and the average is three to six, it feels like the clouds are speeding towards us and we have to scramble to get pregnant before they converge.  We don’t want drugs and we don’t want a different donor, but soon we might not have the luxury of rejecting them.