Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son


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Red Light, Green Light

I thought it might help to sort out what about IVF I am and am not scared of. Something’s gotta help soon, because I’m sick of waking up at 4:30. (Good news: I found a sliding-scale acupuncture clinic! Gonna call next week, for reals. We’ll deal with what about acupuncture I am and am not afraid of another day….)


What I am scared of:

Big needles. Dr. Baby Factory prefers to use progesterone in oil, but he said he’s okay with coochie bullets. So I don’t need to worry about that one (except for the part of me that’s like “but shouldn’t I use THE VERY BEST THING? WHY DON’T I WANT A BABY???”)


What I am not scared of:

Small needles. I’m a tiny bit weirded out by the thought of the follistim injections, but not in an unmanagable way. I used to watch my dad give himself allergy shots. I think this is one of those times that being a doctors’ kid helps — I don’t have the feeling that medical care is something that doesn’t happen at home, and I’m basically into science experiments. And if it gets that bad, I have a friend with a medical degree who’s already offered to give me the shots. (And if that doesn’t work out, I can always have her 2.5 year old daughter do it. That kid gives me “medicine” with my bbt thermometer every time she’s over, which is often. She has a great bedside manner — comforting but very firm.)

– That follistim and friends will make my ovaries hurt unbearably, given that Cysty Lefty hurts an awful lot of the time as it is. Oh well. I suppose childbearing is a weird goal if I’m interested in avoiding discomfort, huh?

Two-week follicular phase. That sounds like a big improvement over my usual twenty-odd days. I can do anything for two weeks, right?

Egg retrieval. That’s normal, right? How could I not be scared of giant needles in my vagina, right? And how the hell are they going to get around my big-ass cysts? (According to my dream life, I am also afraid of crazy infections that enlarge the lining surrounding my heart. Awake, I am afraid that the Terrible Metaphor part of my mind is taking over. IVF leads to heartache? Real original, brain. MFA in Writing = money well spent.)

IVs. Dr. Baby Factory said he’d want to do my ER with anesthesia — and he thought I’d object! Ha! I’m a big wimp and am all for being knocked out. So I’m telling myself that all I will have to do on ER day is show up and get an IV. Everything that comes afterward…well, I’ll be down for the count. (I hope. Last time I had twilight anesthesia — when I had my wisdom teeth out — I woke up in the middle. On the bright side, I was still too blissed out to be bothered. I remember lying there thinking, “Oh, that crunching sound must mean they’re having to break my tooth to get it out. La la la!”)

Not having any eggs/embryos. Dr. Baby Factory doesn’t think the no-egg thing is likely (since I had a bunch of follicles on the last scan), but really, I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

Twins.

Single Embryo Transfer. Dr. BF thinks this is a great idea for me, given my age and all the rest (like my fear of twins). He thinks it lowers my odds only a little bit, and since my insurance is paying….
But then again, my insurance company wouldn’t be the ones climbing back into the stirrups, not to mention dealing with the emotional fallout not getting pregnant. Okay, it turns out I am a little afraid of this. But I am more afraid of twins in our New York apartment and our loosey-goosey financial situation.

Believing this is a sure thing; losing my mind if it doesn’t work, even if only on the first try.

Never having a child. Always being the-adult-kids-love, with none of my own to sometimes love and sometimes loathe me. Again, only one way to find out.


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Seven Swans A-Swimming

Hey, y’all. How’s it?

On the blog and in my life, I’m feeling a need for spring cleaning. Got a number of projects malingering* around the house and mind, needing to get finished before I can move on to new things. So here’s one I’ve been letting slide for too long:

April, of CD 1 Again — and doesn’t that title say it all? Don’t you wish you were still back in the innocent past, when “CD 1” was the first disc in your compact disk changer? — gave Our Dear Blog this award some time ago. Thank you, April! You’re grand.

Here are the rules:
*Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
*Copy the award and paste it to your blog.
*Tell us 7 interesting facts about yourself.
*Nominate 7 bloggers that you love and link to their blog.

(I know the purpose of these things is to tell you a bunch of random** details about my non-TTC life, like that I know how to eat fire and did so in several parades in college or that I was one of those super-nerd kids who took the SAT in 7th grade for no particularly good reason (but they gave me a book of timelines of European history (that I never read) because I got a good-ish score) or that my fingers are double-jointed, but really? All I want to talk about right now is TTC stuff. So here follow seven facts about our current TTC plans. You’ll have to decide for yourselves whether they’re more interesting than knowing that my geneticist father and I both have simian creases on our left hands and that he used to show his medical students slides of my xeroxed hand prints (Remember xeroxing your hands? Wasn’t that the greatest?) and that I wonder if I’ll one day have a child with the same crease (Oops, that one was TTC-ish).)


Seven Possibly Interesting Facts

1. We met with Dr. Baby Factory yesterday, so he could re-wand my cysty ovaries.

2. They look the same as last summer, which is something of a relief, as they hurt a lot of the time and I was worried they were worse or turning to the Big C or something. But they don’t look good, per se. Two bigguns on the left (around 3 cm each — no wonder it hurts), some smaller ones on the right. I could have the cysts out with laproscopy, but while that would help with pain, it might well hurt fertility, since some ovarian tissue would have to go, too. I feel down on losing ovarian tissue right when I’m hoping to use it.

3. Plenty of follicles, though. And E2/FSH levels are fine (58/4.3 vs. 74/4.2 last year).

4. Dr. BF thinks we’ve tried enough IUIs. If we had a free source of sperm or if my insurance wasn’t as great as it is (and it is! the one good money thing about my job!) or if the cysts were smaller…but yeah. He thinks three tries was enough.

5. It’s IVF time. Probably in June.

6. I feel partly scared about that, partly excited, partly hopeful that all that’s wrong with me is that my eggs can’t get to the ute, because they’re stuck under cysts or getting hung up in scarred tubes.

7. But mostly right this minute I feel a little ashamed to be moving on after only three tries, even if the doctor does think it’s the thing to do, that my odds without it are getting quite small. I’m afraid people — and that’s mostly you, internet, since not that many IRL people know about all this — will think I’m cowardly or lazy or somehow cheating. HOW I WOULD LOVE to get pregnant in my own bed, with my pervy cats curled up and purring beside me. HOW I WOULD LOVE to not get poked and prodded in new, exciting ways. HOW I WOULD LOVE to never learn to give myself injections, let alone ones that will make my ouchy ovary ouchier.

But more than any of that, how I would love to have a child.


Seven Certainly Beautiful Bloggers

1. Mrs. Basement, whose blog I only found today, but whom I already adore.

2. Hairy Farmer Family, who has two cervices, like me! And also two utes. And she’s named them. Also? She’s brilliant in every way.

3. love+love=marriage, who are a whole lot of fun and have cutie-cute pictures of wee Mr. Holland.

4. The magnificent Mrs. Spock! Who is all kinds of wonderful and to whom I owe a proper thanks-for-the-socks-and-love post — the next piece of spring cleaning business.

5. One of His Moms, who likely doesn’t know I exist, but whose blog is one of the first lesbo-mom ones I found. I devoured the archives over the course of a few days last spring — and even if I never got to try my, erm, hand at home insems, I credit her with teaching me how.

6. Madame X at The Young and The Infertile, who is not so infertile these days but remains eloquent and intellectually dashing.

7. And peg o’ me heart, Starhillgirl at Caved, for whom I would log my lunch faithfully forever.

*Ed: GOD, I hate that “malingering” doesn’t mean “lingering, but in a bad way”. I’ve gotten over “nonplussed” not meaning “feeling “eh” about it,” but “malinger” is still hard. I want to use it so bad, but I can hear my mother’s correction, so I won’t. (I can also hear her sigh over the colloquial use of bad as an adverb.)

**I know Mama hates this usage, too, but it’s taken hold nonetheless. Sorry.


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Greetings, ICLWeegers

Hiya.

Thanks for dropping by, despite the fact that I obviously missed the stay-classy memo in re: how to answer that “what do you usually blog about” question, such that while you all said things like “faith” and “hope” I said “peeing.”

Sugar is shaking her head right along with you.

Our story so far:

We’re just your typical lesbian couple trying to start a family. Totally ordinary. Only I have two vaginas. Vaginae, if you’re a big nerd like me. And also two cervices. See? Dull, almost.

After what feels a million ultrasounds, MRIs, specula, and nasty tenacula on my poor little cervices, the doctors, nurses, ultrasound techs, receptionists, and zebra fish embryologists I’ve dropped trou for since first googling “double vagina”* have come to the conclusion that I am a freak among freaks — despite the Doublemint twins that are my naughty bits, my good old ute is singular and otherwise normal. Plus, I found out I have a bonus ureter…

…and also endometriosis. So even though we’ve only tried one IUI, Dr. Baby Factory thinks we should be thinking seriously about IVF if I don’t have a bun in the ol’ oven after the next 2-5 tries. We’ve had our differences with Dr. Baby Factory, but he does strike me as a smart cookie.

We took a break in November (to get married! for real!) and December (to see our nutty families! for far too long!), but we’re back in the saddle this month, which means I’m bitching about pee sticks. OPK negative today, thanks for asking — but it’s only CD 1,000,000.

*make sure safe search is ON.


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Best Planned Lays

This isn’t going to be one of those well-made blog posts. This is one of those pissy lists. BUT: Before the ranting commences, Hello and Thanks for dropping by! to everyone, but especially to those of you directed here by the lesbian-lovin’ Kymberli. It’s a pleasure having you. If any of the rest of you don’t read Kymberli’s blog, you should certainly head over to read today’s tale of accidental head-shaving.

1. LH surge: I can has one, pls? Still spending my days with legs crossed, still but the palest of lines on the OPK. Not yet out of bounds for my longest cycles, but getting close. Am secretly convinced I don’t make LH.

2. Farewell, Mr. NMEBSI? It turns out he wasn’t screened for a genetic disorder that I only just now got tested for. I won’t know my results for at least another month or so. I had thought that no donors had been screened (so my own results would only be to help us decide about prenatal testing), but it turns out that some have. So we will choose a screened donor for September, at least, and maybe beyond (depending on my results).

(If you think I’m being over-cautious, please keep in mind that my father is a pediatric geneticist, who treats very small, very sick kids. This disorder is common, and although my parents raised me to be independent, he all but asked me to get tested.)

We were pretty upset about this, but we’ve since found some screened donors who also seem like good choices. Which means we have plenty of energy left to be upset that…

3. Dr. Baby Factory will not waive the $450 counseling session, nor will he allow us to see a counselor outside of the practice (who might take our insurance or just charge a little less than $9/minute). There are so many reasons this enrages me (and fills me with hopeless despair, but the anger is more interesting, I imagine) that it’s hard to keep them all straight in my mind. I’ll limit my rant to three. I’m realizing that they mostly come down not to the refusal to waive the counseling but to how it’s been talked about.

a. There’s equal ≠ fair aspect to the whole thing — Dr. Baby Factory cannot or will not (as I find white men of privilege generally can’t or won’t) wrap his mind around the idea that treating all couples using donor-whatever in the same way may be equal but it isn’t fair, in the sense that it is willfully blind to what brings each couple to this place. The best I can come up with is that this is like saying that it’s fair that no employees get Jewish holidays off, when in fact that’s equal but unfair. It bugs me that he won’t acknowledge that our position is different from that of a straight couple using donor-stuff.

b. There’s the giant fuck-you that is their counselors working with NO insurance. I don’t think I’d be half as mad if they worked with some but not ours, though I’d still be pretty tweaked, since we chose this practice because it works with our insurance. But taking no insurance at all? So it’s just an automatic “too bad you aren’t normal” charge? Shitty, shitty, shitty.

c. There’s the way Dr. Baby Factory distinguishes straight couples from us by referring to them as “married”. GAH! I AM TRYING TO BE MARRIED, JERK-FACE. (How I wish we’d already eloped to CT, so I could tell him off properly for that one.)

As I see it, we have three options — but please let me know if you think of any others, wise internet:

1. Suck it up, swallow pride, see if pooped-out pride sells on eBay, and pay for it.
Pros: Path of least resistance (except cost means less sperm means fewer tries before we have to store up money again).
Cons: Money, rage.

2. DIY at home, at least to start. (Assuming Dr. Baby Factory will still sign the home delivery release, as he said he would back at the HSG.) Reevaluate after a month or so.
Pros: No one involved who makes me want to spit nails.
Cons: Lower conception rate than IUI. Inefficient use of money, since we would be buying 2 vials/month and having to get them shipped every month (vs. getting 3 months’ at once and storing at the clinic).

3. Change clinics.
Pros: I have another recommendation that my insurance will cover, with free sperm storage and no seekrit psych fees. Could work on details while trying DIY for a month.
Cons: Starting all over with intake, etc. More prodding of the vages. More theories. Sounds exhausting and like it will take forever.

Stay tuned, internet, to see down which path our heroines next gang agley.


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I’m A Lesbian And I’m Okay

I should really put my insurance on speed dial. Not a day goes by, it seems, that I’m not talking to them.

This morning, I finally got resolution on the “will you pay for this genetic test” question I put to them in…June. That’s 2 months of their losing letters, requiring codes they hadn’t asked for in the first place, requiring still more codes, and so on. Every fax takes two days to process because they convert them to microfilm before reading them. This makes the bureaucratic aspects of my health care sound more like a James Bond movie, but also seems to negate the speediness of faxing.

Now I’m on hold to find with a different branch of the company. Rather than the Mozart the main line uses, the mental health section favors silence punctuated by a firm voice saying, “Please wait.” Repeatedly. I’m calling the mental health division because apparently, I’m cruising for a nervous breakdown by being gay. News to me, but hey, I’m no doctor.

The above is an oversimplification, but near enough to the truth. Sugar and I had been thinking we’d skip the Barry White and vanilla-scented candles portion of the TTC journey in favor of the favorable if florescent-lit odds of IUIs at the Kips Bay Baby Factory. Mr. NMEBSI* has more IUI than ICI vials available, and we have been starting to think that we should face the fact that we don’t have baby-making equipment in the house, rather than let sentiment stand in the way of a better chance of conception. In the aftermath of my HSG, I had been feeling reluctant to encourage any more catheter-on-cervix action, but now I’ve had two months of the least painful periods since high school. Some private investigation indicates that I’m bleeding almost exclusively out of the side that was — to quote my chart — “perforated” at the HSG, which makes me think that totally tubular experience left my cervix more open and that an IUI was therefore less likely to require overwhelming force. So today I called the clinic IUI nurse to find out the procedures. All fairly straight-forward, except, oh, had no one told me I’d have to meet with their psychologist first? Everyone using donor sperm does.

Let me be frank: I’d rather we didn’t have to use donor sperm. I’d rather bring home a bottle of cheap champagne, line a roasting pan for Ray’s lucky Beer Can Chicken, and end up with a kidlet who looks half like me and half like Sugar. I’d also like a magical flying pony who lives in the apartment and doesn’t poop. I suppose I can see recommending a sit-down with the counselor for het couples using donor sperm, who perhaps haven’t spent more than a decade considering the ramifications of having a child who isn’t genetically related to both of them, but come on. We’ve been over this, trust me.

I find this requirement annoying if not discriminatory, but I also remember my grandmother telling me not to cut off my nose to spite my face, so I called the office psychologist and made an appointment for next week. Sugar must have been able to tell over gChat how pissed I was, because she didn’t say boo about having to miss more work. At the end of the conversation, the receptionist says, “By the way, the fee for the consultation is $450 and we don’t work with any insurance companies.”

EXCUSE ME? $450 because you’re worried that I might not have thought about being gay? $450 so Sugar and I can put on our Happy, Well-Adjusted Couple Show for you? No matter what anyone who’s known us for more than an hour might think of our parenting ambitions; clearly what you think matters most.

Since I started writing this post, I talked to a very nice woman at my insurance company, who tells me that they’ll reimburse for 80% of the fee, less my deductible, which is $363. So it would only cost me $380.40 to be gay. Bargain prices! Everyone will want to be gay now!

I say “would” because this pisses me off way too much, even if we had $380.40 we couldn’t figure out how to use (answer: sperm). I have a call in to the doctor. If he won’t waive this, we’ll go elsewhere or just crank up the Barry White after all.

*I love this name, by the way. Mr. Nmebsi sounds like he would get his oil changed by Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and perhaps respectfully consult Mma Ramotswe about his suspicion that his neighbor was pilfering from his garden.