Partner’s Post: And The Green Grass Grew All Around

Neighbor, who knows we’re expecting a baby in the fall: Taking out the trash

Me, long-haired and girly-looking: Mowing the lawn and minding my own business

Neighbor: “A woman in your condition shouldn’t be mowing the lawn!”

Me: “Um-” (This is uber-awkward.) “-I’m not pregnant. PartnerA is.”

Neighbor: “Oh, uh, oh, um, oh…”

Me: “Don’t worry! Lots of people make that mistake-” (Because they equate hair length with fertility.) “-but nope, it’s PartnerA who’s pregnant!”

Neighbor: “Oh! Well, neither of you are showing!”

Me: I should hope I’m not showing! I’m saving immaculate conception for another day, thanks. Now may I and my ‘condition’ return to mowing the lawn?

Partner’s Post: Diet Coke and Herbal Tea – A Tale of Two Midwives

If Clinic One is the Costco of fertility clinics, then the midwife clinic to which we transferred after is the small town general store. A general store of the sort that sit, chipped red paint fading, at the fork of two dirt roads cut through a thick wall of evergreens 30 minutes from the nearest sign of modern civilization. The sort of place that offers everything from fishing bait and firewood to quarts of milk and Band Aids, with a rusted, mud-splattered pickup parked outside, and its interior wood paneled walls adorned with kitschy metal roosters and retired license plates. Continue reading

Partner’s Post: It’s A…

…fetus!

C’mon, you didn’t really think that I was going to say, did you? 😉

The big 20-week ultrasound happened on Friday, June 21, 2013. At 3:00 PM, it was a sunny afternoon on the first day of summer, a perfect day to be a 20-week-old fetus. Bingo was technically only chronologically 17 weeks and four days at that point, but gestational age is measured on its own special scale that races Bingo ahead to 19 weeks and four days. And 19 weeks and four days is apparently plenty old enough for a 20-week ultrasound. It lacks logical sense, but that’s just the way it goes in Fetus Land. Roll with it! Continue reading

Partner’s Post: Sea has been a busy bee in bedroom three.

Our house is 90 years old. The place has character. It also has the telltale signs of old homes. PartnerA and I have been fixing the place up room by room since we moved in three years ago. So far, one of the by-and-large untouched rooms has been the third bedroom, which we jokingly refer to as “The Cat Room”. After all, it’s little more than a play room for our brood of mismatched felines and some office furniture left over from our college days.

With Bingo on the way, though, I decided to make Bingo’s bedroom my big project. So as PartnerA has been working at creating a mini-human, I’ve been working at creating a livable space of the third bedroom. Like Bingo, now at 19 weeks and one day gestation, Bingo’s room is coming along slowly but surely! Continue reading

Partner’s Post: Baby Steps

The idea originated in the narrow aisle between the racks of men’s long sleeve knits and children’s clothing. I’d been Pinteresting creative pregnancy announcement ideas for months and the ones toward which I always gravitated were the various incarnations of the shoe lineup. If you’re half as obsessive as I am about all things baby, you’ve seen the straight version: dad’s loafers, mom’s heels, and a gender-appropriate pair of pastel baby booties. I couldn’t exactly justify spending $22 on genuine baby Chucks for a fetus, but nonetheless I eagerly imagined staging a queer take on the aforementioned announcement with a lineup of Converse.

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The birds and the bees.

When my mother asked how I had gotten pregnant, I responded: “Sometimes, when a sperm and an egg love each other very much…”

This summary didn’t satisfy her curiousity.  I suspect that a story about a stork wearing a rainbow bandana and a pair of leather chaps wouldn’t cut it, either.  Instead, our weekly conversations have now become near interrogations of the whats, whens, wheres, whys, but mostly the whos of Bingo’s conception.

Sea and I have been asked about which procedures we used, which medications, which clinics, how much money, how many attempts, how many months, whose eggs.  We’ve responded to most of these questions with evasions and ballpark answers, with an outright refusal to disclose the answer to the last one.  Superficially my mother seems to accept this, but we’ve learned that she’s been mining my aunt for more information.  My aunt doesn’t know anything more about the process than my mother does, but the very asking of the question reveals her focus on Bingo’s genetics.

That focus moved over to questions about the sperm donor in today’s conversation.  She began casually enough, “So, when you buy sperm from the fertility clinic, how much information do they tell you?”  Following a brief lesson on sperm banks, I explained that we were given quite a bit of information about our donor.  This brought us to my mother’s real subject of interest: how had we chosen?  What criteria had we used?  Who is he?   She asked specifically about his post-secondary education, his ethnicity, his family’s medical history.  (There’s a larger discussion of eugenics to be had in how these are the questions that get prioritized, but I’ll save that for another day.)

I refused to answer.  The truth is that a lot of time, thought and discussion went into picking our donor(s): first Mickey, then Lefty.  There were even spreadsheets.  Like Mickey, we picked Lefty not because of his high SAT score, impeccable medical history or interest in mixed martial arts, but because he was the right choice for us.  The choice was partly made because he resembled Sea, partly because we wanted a Jewish donor, mainly because a lot of his quirks and comments just made him feel right.  But it’s also the truth that it doesn’t matter who Lefty is: Lefty’s sperm comes with countless genetic possibilities (as do my eggs) and, more importantly, Lefty isn’t going to be the parent of our child.  Bingo may end up with my dimples or large head or Lefty’s nose, it’s true, but Bingo is also going to end up with the values, habits, expressions and quirks that will come from being raised by me and Sea.  This is what I want to focus on: not Lefty’s post-secondary education.

So I told my mother that we had closed our eyes and pointed.  That we had flipped a coin.  She wasn’t satisfied, but those are the only answers that she’s going to get.  And, at the end of the day, how much difference is there really between a coin toss and a spreadsheet?  All that we can do is make the best choices that we can, and trust that Bingo will be who Bingo is meant to be.

Partner’s Post: Bingo

Tonight, PartnerA and I Skyped PartnerA’s parents. The script that we had practiced in advance of this call included the words ‘we’ and ‘our’ in every sentence to tacitly reinforce to PartnerA’s already-skeptical mother that regardless of its genetic makeup, PartnerA’s and my child is PartnerA’s and my child. Our embryo and someday-child has two parents and two parents only — and PartnerA’s mother, contrary to some opinions, is not one.

The rehearsed plan was to catch both of her parents mid-conversation at the point when they exchanged seats in front of the webcam. But that didn’t quite work out so well because upon completing a lengthy conversation with PartnerA’s mother (during which PartnerA’s mother referred to PartnerA as “child” twice), she announced that PartnerA’s father was in the midst of making dinner and was too busy to chat. PartnerA insisted, so PartnerA’s mother disappeared to the kitchen. Moments later, she returned, sans Daddy. Again, PartnerA’s mother reiterated that PartnerA’s father was too busy making dinner to talk. Again, PartnerA insisted and again, PartnerA’s mother disappeared to the kitchen. Moments later, PartnerA’s father appeared in front of the computer, sans Mummy. Dude! Getting those two into the same room is impossible.

That’s when PartnerA made the spontaneous decision to ditch the plan and launch into our script. She caught me off guard, but I squeezed her hand out of view of the webcam and rolled with it.

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