Bionic Mamas

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


Things That Are Not “Symptoms,” A List

Two days past a 5-day transfer, an attempt to record various bodily occurrences now, while even I have to admit they have nothing to do with who is or isn’t taking up residence in the Ute of Requirement:

  • Cleavage
  • Yes, my boobs are sore and Parton-esque. But they were like this before transfer, too. Progesterone.

  • Nausea, Intermittent
  • Progesterone. Acid reflux.

  • Nausea, Extreme
  • Last time around, I blamed the progesterone, but this time it was clearly the doxycycline. Vanished as soon as I stopped taking it.

  • Cramping
  • Progesterone again, plus a side of people fussing with my cervix.

  • Spotting, Evening of Trasnfer
  • Remember how much that speculum hurt? Use your head, child.

  • Spotting, Future (Hypothetical)
  • You spotted last month, too.

  • Exhaustion, Pathological
  • Progesterone again. It’s nice sleeping through the night, though, isn’t it?

  • Vague Uterine Sensations, Various
  • Gas, child. No sesame seed ever kicked like that.

  • Mood Swings, Rapid, Violent
  • Progesterone is a hell of a drug, ain’t it?


    Embryo Aweigh

    Hi, internets. Sorry for the wait. Valium remains my favorite drug, which is why I didn’t write yesterday.

    So. The transfer was fine. After striking out with our usual sitters, thanks to the holiday weekend, I found a former student to stay with the Bean. I was beginning to think I would have to go to the clinic alone, which was a sad thought. Of course all my monitoring appointments have been just me, but a transfer feels more momentous (or at least potentially momentous), and a person likes to feel she isn’t acting unilaterally, you know? It was unexpectedly cold, so Sugar and I had a chilly walk to the clinic from the subway. It rained a little.

    At the Baby Factory, we were directed upstairs, to the floor with the ORs. Dr. BFs office, the exam rooms, and the blood draw room are on the lower floor. The last time I was upstairs was the day of the Bean’s transfer, but I always think of the first time I climbed these stairs, when we paid our $450 gay tax in the form of that stupid “counseling” session. Luckily, Starrhillgirl distracted me with a picture of the blue mountain view where she was waiting, and I reciprocated with a picture of the lot beside the Baby Factory, which, despite what I can only imagine must be an astronomical value, has been vacant for at least four years. To give you an idea of the kind of money we’re talking, that tall building in the background is the UN.

    Waiting room view

    Soon enough, a very solicitous nurse with an English accent led me back to the changing room, buckled me into my hospital bracelet, and gave me that Valium I’d been pestering everyone about. I changed into a Baby Factory gown, but unexpectedly I got to keep my own socks and sweater. I might have chosen more special socks, had I realized, but I was very pleased that I’d worn my softest, most comforting sweater. And the socks were red and striped, so it could have been worse.

    I sat in a backwater of the recovery room for a while, waiting to be reunited with Sugar and meet the doctor. A man in Hassidic dress — long, black, silk coat, white stockings, round, flat, black hat — hurried back to meet his wife behind a curtain. A tall, Russian nurse strode in and out in scrubs. I am almost certain her shoes, with blue, gauzy surgical covers wrapped and tucked around them, were either flip-flops or the cheap, mule-ish houseshoes people here wear in the summers. She had lovely ankles, but all that bare flesh still seems odd in an environment with so many sharps containers. Then again, I was walking around in socks.

    Bunny slippers

    Because of the shoe covers, I can’t say for certain that these are the ones she was wearing, but neither can I guarantee they aren’t.

    By the time someone took me to the antechamber by the OR, the Valium was kicking in a little. A nurse took some blood from my left arm; I’m still letting the right recuperate following its refusal to yield anything last week. Sugar met me there, and Dr. Friday, an unknown quantity, arrived to talk about our embryo. It turns out I like Dr. Friday, though I admit that her almost cartoonish voice — it’s possible my mental fog exaggerated the pitch and speed — baffled me for a moment. Pre-transfer googling (what?) leads me to believe she, unlike most (all?) of the other Baby Factory doctors, also still does some OB/gyn work, and she certainly seemed more gyn-ish than the others, in that she seemed interested in hearing about how my septum had behaved in delivery (and, following some clipped statements from me to the effect that I had not been pleased with my medical care, who my OB had been). I know what you’re thinking, but her practice is in Connecticut.

    She gave us some papers to sign and said some complimentary things about the embryo in question. The embryology lab, we are told, is put in a very good mood by embryos like this. Later, when I was looking at the creature itself on a screen in the OR, she said “it doesn’t even look like it’s been frozen!”

    I’m glad she said all those things, because in truth, it doesn’t look to me quite as textbook-perfect as the Bean’s. I expect it isn’t, but I’m hoping that doesn’t matter, and I certainly know that less than perfect looking embryos have turned into actual people. (Who knows? Perhaps even my own embryonic beginnings were not so glorious.) It’s a 4BB, from what I saw on the chart — only maybe one of those Bs was lowercase — and something about it was “95%”. I don’t have much of a sense of what that means in the scheme of things. Regardless, it’s the one that’s inside me now, so alea iacta est, you know?

    Off Dr. Friday and I went to the OR. Nurse Flip-Flop helped me into the most spread-eagled stirrups ever. The embryologists put the embryo up on the TV screen. It was fascinating to watch it change radically as they shifted the focus of the microscope; I wouldn’t have guessed it had enough height to make depth of field an issue, but it did. (Must be the donor; I am quite short.)

    Dr. Friday cranked the speculum open to 11, and I must say, it was excruciating. The pain burned from two lines, top and bottom, running the length of my vagina; I suspect this is where my septum was. I have had occasion on my own to notice that what I assume are those areas do not stretch as well as the surrounding tissue. Indeed, Dr. Friday said she could see the septum’s remains, which was almost interesting enough to make up for the pain.

    The transfer itself was perfectly smooth, like the way other people often describe IUIs. No wonder people don’t think this is a big deal! (I’ll still ask for Valium if there is a next time, though, if only for the sake of my nerves.) Unlike Dr. Paternalistic, who always hogs the ultrasound screen, she left it tilted enough that I could see it. She and the nurses pointed out the image of the catheter entering my uterus and then, after it retreated, the glowing, white ball of fluid enveloping the embryo it left behind.

    Blast 2



    I hate blog posts apologizing for not posting, so this won’t be one.

    Nor do I have a proper post in me now.

    But there are a couple of things I think you should know:

    1. It’s CD1. Yeah.

    Not sure what the next course of action will be, but at the very least we will probably switch donors, since we need to order more anyway. More on that later.

    Also, I need to do my taxes so that we can see if we can even afford to order more.

    2. Mrs. Spock made me cry. Practically everything’s been making me cry lately, so that’s not much of an accomplishment per se, but she made my cry in a good way. She sent me the …I’m looking for a word, and all I’m coming up with is “bestest”… BESTEST! sock-gram package! It arrived when I was really at the very bottom of feeling crappy about everything, and it was just the very thing. Pictures to come.

    3. A toddler I hang out with has been read somewhere — I think in a Moomintroll book, but hers are in Danish, and I can only read the third-rate, adulterated Danish we call “English” — about creatures cheering one another up by kissing sad creatures on the nose. She has become a dutiful practitioner of this technique, which is predictably sloppy and surprisingly effective.



    (I told Sugar I’d post something so her deer necklace would come off the top of the blog and people would go easy on agreeing with me about it. Heh. She should be grateful: now my loyalty has been aroused and I love the damn thing — I never thought it was hideous, just a little unbearably hipster-ish. Which it is.)

    I have never felt less pregnant in my life. Even when there was no sperm at all in me, I felt more pregnant than this. My knees don’t even feel pregnant. True, I have no way of knowing for sure that I’m not, yet — it’s only 8dpo — but the whole idea seems laughable. In a bitter-laugh kind of way.

    In a sense, this is easier than feeling hopeful, as I have in previous cycles. Much less up and down of the ol’ emotions when they just stay obediently down. Sure, I still get weepy, but at least I’m not coming down from feeling giddy and warm.

    It does make my few tangible concessions to the whole “PUPO” fantasy — not drinking, not taking any real painkillers, not having (very much) caffeine — seem insane, though. Like I am playing some mad game. Like I am pretending my handbag is a kitty-cat and no one knows whether I know it isn’t.


    Baby Dust

    Still not feeling very enthusiastic about this cycle. Meaning: I’d like to get pregnant. I’d really, really like that. (And don’t get me started about the little voice in my head pointing out that this would be the cycle that would continue what my birthday-mate aunt calls the family tradition of first children born in late November/early December. Quite a number of us within only a few days, it’s true.) But I feel like it doesn’t matter if I’m hopeful or not — my endometriomas are just too fucking big.

    And we’re out of stored sperm now, so we’ll have to scrape up money again. (Thanks, body, for slowing things down enough that we JUST crossed the line into having to pay for a second six month’s storage at the Baby Factory. Nice work.) And the sperm bank raised their prices. Yippee.

    So, yeah. I’m not drinking or anything, but I wouldn’t say I feel terribly PUPO, as it were. Nonetheless, I made a nice little baby dust* blingee for a board friend last night, and I thought y’all might like it, too. The pink background — attentive readers will recognize the Sparkle Menace — makes the dust itself a bit hard to see, but yes, it is meant to be emanating from the…hindquarters.

    unicorn baby dust

    I’ve got a baby-dance one, too, but it still needs a little work. Something to look forward to.

    *a phrase that makes me think of ashes. Nice, huh?


    Lovely Day


    Happy Valentine’s and Year of the Tiger and, of course, Mardi Gras! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

    Sugar and I had quiet plans for Valentine’s — I made her the stamp above, she gave me cute underpants with a hedgehog from my favorite store in Brooklyn and picked up fixins for a nice dinner for two — but while I was furiously carving and Sugar was waiting for the chocolate cake layers to cool, the phone rang. It was The Dane, the wife/mother portion of our favorite neighborhood trio, asking if we’d consider coming over to help them eat the duck she was roasting.

    (What kind of a question is that? Isn’t a question supposed to have more than one possible response?)

    We did consider, briefly, staying home alone, eating lamb chops and being generally Valentine’s-y. But only briefly. Because why turn down an opportunity to spend time with people you love just because Hallmark says so?

    So we packed up the cake and carried it over. And we had the most wonderful feast of duck braised in beer, roasted sweet potatoes and onion, red cabbage with clove, and apple stuffing particular to The Dane’s home island. We played with Mr. Potatohead smashed playdoh between our hands. The Aussie Super Geek convinced us that we ought to be building thorium-reactor power plants, though he clearly remains scandalized by my hatred of efficient light bulbs. The Charming Toddler invented a perfect game for Valentine’s, which consisted of her gathering her bucket and “going out” behind the chair, then “coming home” to tell us what she saw (“Ice!”) and be greeted with exuberant hugs. Over and over, and it never got old.

    For dessert, we at Sugar’s fudge-y, nearly black chocolate cake, piled with whipped cream (as things tend to be, when The Dane is serving). And just like love, there was plenty for everyone, once we’d decided to share it.

    /sappy part

    We did get a time alone at the park before dinner, when The Dane suggested we take their sled on our walk. Normally I don’t post pictures of us on the blog, but what the heck?

    First, Sugar (right, foreground, by the bench):


    And Bionic (by the lamppost):


    You’d know us anywhere, right?


    A Fine Idea

    It was a fine idea, the idea I had, earlier this week, for a blog post. It was going to be about Unknowingness, and how surprisingly comfortable I was finding it, this time around. It was going to be about how during the last TWW, I couldn’t stop thinking about the binary possibilities — that I was pregnant or not pregnant — while this time, this calmer time, I was enjoying the peaceful, uncanny feeling of admitting the Unknowing into my heart, of thinking of myself not as either/or but as ? How thinking about what was happening in my body was like trying to see to the bottom of a too-deep pool of water, that my state is literally unfathomable, and how that was okay.

    What a load of horseshit that was. Or rather, is.

    I really did feel like that, at least part of the time, for 7 days. By 8, I was starting to feel a bit more invested in binary realities. And by 9? Yesterday?

    Stark raving mad.

    In the past 24 hours I have been:
    1. pregnant
    2. not pregnant
    3. riddled with cancer
    4. pregnant with TWINS! OMG TWINS!
    5. menopausal

    My breasts have been more swollen than ever, rapidly deflating, reinflating, and so forth. Sometimes they hurt too much, sometimes not enough. (Full disclosure: the hurting could be related to my constant grabbing to see if they hurt.) My ovaries are similarly mysterious.

    I find myself typing things like “I’m not pregnant, am I?” into Google, expecting a useful response. (And, following links, finding instead a dilemma: does one give medical advice about infertility to a 17-year-old and her boyfriend? How about to a 17-year-old who doesn’t know the most basic things about how and when ovulation works? Is it judge-y not to? Plenty of people think I shouldn’t get pregnant, after all….)

    And the uterus? Naturally I scrutinize its every twinge, most of which are probably gas. I AM SO PREGNANT, I decide. Then, for a thought experiment (for I am nothing if not scientific), I decide to spend five minutes thinking about my left knee as closely as I have my ute.

    OMG, Y’ALL.




    And you can all say you knew me when.