Partner’s Post: Poppyseed

When a person becomes pregnant without the intervention of a fertility clinic, the medicalization of conception is largely absent through the first trimester. My therapist dismisses my obsession with signs and symptoms that fluctuate by the minute and charts of numbers that are never even measured, let alone documented, when pregnancy is achieved “the usual way” (her words, not mine). Back when she had children, she says, HCG numbers were not a thing.

I understand that a great deal of the world has far more life experience in this regard, but it was everyone’s first time once, and I highly doubt that even my all-knowing therapist was as blasé about her first pregnancy as she seems to expect me to be about A’s. Is that condescension I detect? Or am I just painfully self-conscious and projecting?

Part of me wishes that we hadn’t shared the news with anyone on day 14. As the internet continually reminds me, the first three months are defined by uncertainty. Miscarriage rates are astronomical. I dread the humiliation of having to renounce the announcement. “Oh, sorry, I’m just a naive idiot who believed that a blood test at 13 days actually meant something.”

I feel as though I’m perceived as a naive idiot. I feel as though I’m being watched and judged by everyone who knows. I feel as though out of earshot, I’m being mocked and PartnerA and the poppyseed are being pitied.

I’m incredibly insecure. There are good reasons for that. But I’m not here to write about myself. I’m here to write about the poppyseed.

The first and second HCG blood test numbers were higher than average — 155 (13 days) and 536 (15 days). The nurse half-joked (and half not-joked) about the possibility of two poppyseeds, given the high 13-day number and the notable 15-day leap. That’s a good sign.

A less good sign: spotting. Day 15, blood. Intermittently, days 15 through 18. At this point, it (whatever ‘it’ is) is the size of a poppyseed. Which is to say, a poppyseed that could have easily been passed without detection.

I went with PartnerA to the fertility clinic this morning for her third HCG blood test. I didn’t have to. I could have slept in on this chilly Saturday morning. In fact, PartnerA encouraged me to stay in bed. But I know that presence demonstrates support and support is important, right? It felt important that I be there with PartnerA this morning.

We spoke to DrText for all of two minutes as he dashed between patients. I’m not sure what I expected, but he was more pessimistic than I’ve ever seen him. The Google and many a blog reader reassure that spotting is common. The Google asserts that first trimester blood occurs in 30% of pregnancies and 15% of those go on to avoid miscarriage. The Google would have one believe that first trimester spotting is relatively shrug-worthy. After all, what can you do? Nothing.

This morning, DrText offered PartnerA no such Google-like reassurances, though. Instead, he gently explained that a miscarriage is the result of a poorly developed sperm or egg or both, and that should miscarriage be the result of this cycle, know that it was nothing that PartnerA did or did not do that caused it.

Hm. All of this before 9:00 AM. Also, perhaps a tad premature to prepare oneself for the end before it’s even begun. Should we not at least await the results of the third HCG blood test?

In my non-official assessment, only today’s HCG number (day 19) will tell us if the poppyseed is even still present. If the number goes up from 536, that’s good news. If it goes down, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Truth be told, for all of my hesitation and anxiety (borne of my own tumultuous childhood), I would be very disappointed. Honestly, I’m rather excited about that potential poppyseed.

Partner’s Post: Call Me Maybe (The Fourth IUI)

If the day of the fourth insemination was a sitcom, it would be titled Two and a Half (Strange) Men. The episode would feature our half-stranger fertility doc Dr. Text, our brand new donor Lefty, and a man named Tom who PartnerA and I came upon outside as we made our way to our appointment at Clinic One that morning, face-down on the icy pavement bleeding from his head.

Oh yes indeed, the day of the fourth insemination was a doozy.  Continue reading

Partner’s Post: The Facebook status that I could post, but won’t, part 5.

“If today was a sitcom, it would be ‘Two and a Half (Strange) Men’. The episode would feature our half-stranger fertility doc Dr. Text; our brand new donor Lefty; and a man named Tom who PartnerA and I came upon outside as we made our way to our appointment at Clinic One this morning, face-down on the icy pavement bleeding from his head.”

Immediately before IUI #4 today, I spent 15 minutes on the telephone with a 911 dispatcher. What’s your favorite pre-insemination activity?

Partner’s Post: Retired

At the ripe old age of 24, “Mickey” has retired.

Our number one, perfect in every way, first choice donor is sold out with both The Great Sperm Warehouse and with all regional suppliers.

A regional supplier in our city had promised PartnerA six more vials of “Mickey”, but then the regional supplier forgot (oops!) to follow through and actually order those vials from The Great Sperm Warehouse, and now those promised six are gone, destined for other uteri. The three vials of “Mickey” that we purchased last month are it, and the first attempt in October failed, so now we’re down to two shots in the dark. Literally and figuratively. Two.

I could be angry at the regional supplier’s incompetence, but being angry won’t procure us more vials of “Mickey”, so while I’m disappointed, I’m trying to keep hold on perspective.

Several years ago when we were house-hunting, our number one, perfect in every way, first choice house fell through too. When I’m feeling disappointed about losing our number one, perfect in every way, first choice donor, I remember being the second-highest bidder on that cozy white duplex on a quiet side street. At the time, it felt devastating, but in hindsight, the house that we purchased in the end, our home, is even better than what was once “number one”. Perspective. Losing “Mickey” is similar to losing that house? Maybe “Mickey” isn’t “home”. Everything happens for a reason. I’m trying to remind myself regularly that what is meant to be will be.

Trouble is, our second choice donor is perfectly fine, but he’s not perfect. “Mickey” is perfect. I’ve struggled (I’m struggling…) a great deal with finding a comfortable place as the “NGP”, feeling like a third wheel, feeling useless, purposeless in the process, and all of those other formerly articulated words that so unintentionally offended some readers of this blog… It’s the truth… It’s how I’ve felt and sometimes how I feel… Through the self-loathing, through the fear about not being “enough”, and through some future child’s voice yelling “You can’t make me! You’re not my mommy!” ringing in my ears, over time, I’ve slowly begun to identify with “Mickey”. “Mickey” is enough like me that in some way, his biological offspring could be mine? I’ve only just begun to feel that way. And now what? Now we’re down to two vials of “Mickey”. Two more chances. Could I feel the same, eventually, about our second choice donor? Could I identify with number two, too?

Who knows, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ve still got two more tries with “Mickey”. “Mickey” may still work out, right? Two tries might do it?

I’m trying to remain optimistic. TheImpendingFetus will be exactly who TIF is meant to be.

Nevertheless, when the new disclaimer pops up over “Mickey’s” profile in The Great Sperm Warehouse’s online catalog, my heart sinks just a little.

ADVISORY

This donor is no longer active in the donor program and is currently sold out of units

Donor ABC1234 is no longer active in the program and is sold out of units. Additional units are not expected to become available in the future. Please take this into consideration when considering purchasing this donor.

Partner’s Post: Hey, Mickey

I admit, there is a spreadsheet. Buried in the depths of my laptop’s hard drive amidst family photographs, the Excel file contains images of the nine dark-haired, dark-eyed strangers selected as contenders from the donor catalogue on the sperm bank’s website. Accompanying the columns of photographs are rows of biographical information: date of birth, height, weight, ethnicity, religion, blood type, and reasons for becoming a donor.

Each potential donor has a nickname:

– Cheeks

– Dalmatian

– Grad Guy

– Mickey

– Monkey

– Jazz Hands

– New Jew

– Perfect Except

– Swoop

Each nickname is followed by two columns of rankings — first PartnerA’s, then mine. We agree on number nine, number eight, and number one. All that really matters, I suppose, is that we agree on number one. PartnerA and I have chosen a donor. Yikes. Continue reading