Diblings.

As you all know from avidly reading my blog, Bingo was conceived with the aid of an anonymous donor: the same one we used to conceive the still-cooking Powerball.  The donor is identity release– when Bingo is eighteen she can choose (or not) to find out his name and last known contact information– but for now he’s a man of mystery.

What I haven’t mentioned before is that we do know a small something about the other side of Bingo’s genetics. Continue reading

A visit to Clinic One.

I woke up to the sound of our alarm clock, early enough on a fall morning that our room was still completely in the dark.  I squinted as I rooted through the laundry basket of clean, unfolded clothes: hoping desperately that the clothes I grabbed would both fit and vaguely match.  Then I stepped out into the cold and headed downtown to Clinic One.

Yes, this was this morning.

Continue reading

A conversation with two ten year olds.

Kid 1: Wait, you’re pregnant?

Me: Yes.

Kid 1: How?

Me:  I just am.

Kid 1: What did you get pregnant with?

Me: A baby, I hope.

Kid 1: No, with what man?  What man did you get pregnant with?

Me: I didn’t get pregnant with any man.

Kid 2:  (leaping up, in great excitement) I know!  I know!  She got pregnant with insemination!  That’s how my sister and I were made!  With insemination!

The final dose.

Dear Progesterone,

We’re done.

I never expected us to get together in the first place, to be honest.  We came from different worlds, I knew you had a bad reputation, I just wasn’t that interested.

But then I found myself feeling low, and you appeared.  You got under my skin and promised that you would take care of me. I couldn’t resist: we fit together so easily.  Before I knew it, you were inside of me.  And then we were seeing each other every day.  Twice a day, actually.  Oh, I broke it off once or twice.  Went two weeks without you, even, but I always came back to you.

Our relationship got comfortable, you kept your promises, you made me feel safe.  But there was the other side, too.  You always wanted to see me, I had to take you everywhere, I always had to clean up your messes.

Maybe this doesn’t seem fair.  I know that you’ve done most of the work in this relationship.  I’ve ignored your issues for a long time, and you’ve taken care of mine.  But I’m not sure that I need you anymore.  I think I can make it on my own.

Oh, come on, don’t get all mushy on me.  You’ll be fine.  We’ll both be fine.  I’m moving on.  And as for you?  Well, you know where you can shove it.

Love,

A

The final shot.

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.

The case of the stolen sperm.

The title is a lie.  The sperm itself wasn’t stolen, just the IUI.  It’s been quite a day.

Sea is recovering from the flu, and this morning her hacking cough woke us up before the alarm did.  As she coughed and I stared at the clock, we decided that attempting further sleep would be an exercise in futility and we might as well get up and go for an IUI instead.

We left our house smug, congratulating ourselves and each other for the early morning that, we assumed, would translate into arriving at Clinic One before the morning rush.  Then, cutting through a park to get to the bus stop, we saw the man lying on the cement path– glasses broken and blood around his head.  A woman stood over him, on the phone with the emergency dispatcher, but she was the only other person there.  Of course we stopped to help.  As I sat on the ground next to his head, rubbing the shoulder nearest me and encouraging him to stay still, Sea ran to the ambulance bay conveniently located about twenty feet away from where he had fallen.  She came back minutes later, now on the phone with an emergency dispatcher herself.  “But I can see the ambulances!”, she said, exasperated.  “I’m at the park immediately behind Station #123…  What do you mean what’s the nearest intersection?”  Sea continued to go through the same questions that the dispatcher had just gone through with the other woman.  I kept talking to the man on the ground, encouraging him not to move, still rubbing his shoulder.  Finally, fifteen minutes after Sea’s call, an ambulance drove up to the edge of the park and two men in bright yellow jackets appeared.  They simultaneously helped the man up and flirted with the woman who had been there when we arrived: “Are you okay sir?  Oh, uh, that’s a nice coat, ma’am.”  The woman smiled briefly at the compliment before kicking snow over the blood on the path and hurrying away, explaining that she was late for the first day of a new job.  We followed behind her to the bus stop, not explaining what we were now late for.

We arrived at Clinic One almost at the end of cycle monitoring hours, stopping at the andrology lab first to request the thawing of our first vial of Lefty.  As the nurse teaching me how to inject myself had said during our visit, “They won’t thaw the sperm until they’ve seen the whites of your eyes.”.  As I signed the waiver, I pointed to a machine steaming in the background: “Is that the machine that thaws the sperm?”  Sperm Thawer laughed and replied no, it was just a humidifier.  Oh, okay then.

Having missed the early morning lull at Clinic One, Sea and I walked into a crowded waiting room.  We sat watching other people being called for blood draws and ultrasounds, aware of how far down I was on both lists.  The blood drawing miracle worker was on shift: I anxiously watched every time she came out to call another name, hoping that she would call mine.  She didn’t, and the back of my hand suffered yet another puncture wound.

I was soothed from the injustice of my bloody bad luck (Ha, get it?  Bloody!) by my ultrasound.  Granted, the wait was long enough to prompt Sea to ask, “It still hasn’t happened?!”, but while I stood by the closed door of the ultrasound room I ran into a couple who I had met years ago in a gayby making info session of sorts.  I couldn’t remember their names, but in the context of a fertility clinic still felt comfortable enough to compare sperm counts and procedures with them.  They’ve been trying for about as long as we have, and together we marvelled over the fact that you could put 20 million sperm right up next to a just-ovulated egg and still not get pregnant.  I was finally called in by the same sonographer who had performed Saturday’s ultrasound.  The room was, clearly, the room where they do pregnancy ultrasounds.  A screen was placed at eye level with the exam table, and I watched as my uterus and ovaries appeared, ghostly in black and white, on the screen.

After the ultrasound it was a long wait.  Sea and I began to name the fish in the aquarium.  We used my phone to read every website we could think of, twice.  I began texting The Doctor.  I had pulled out my knitting project and Sea was attempting to stifle a coughing fit when Dr. Text finally called us in for the IUI.  He seemed pleased with the timing of the IUI which, compared to his usual confusion with my chart, was a nice change.  As Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” played over the radio, Dr. Text reviewed Lefty’s sperm count with us.  18.9 million: a fine count that still managed to dash my dreams of Lefty being a much more virile donor than Mickey had been.  Dr. Text performed the IUI as all three of us chatted about how our parents had shared, or not shared, our conception stories with us.  Sea and I may or may not have high-fived at some point during this process.

Dr. Text left after the procedure and, a few minutes later, so did we.  We didn’t just leave the room, we left the clinic.  Without paying for the IUI, or picking up the additional progesterone suppositories Dr. Text had ordered.  To be fair, our sperm-fueled equivalent of a dine and dash was entirely accidental.  We were several blocks away from Clinic One when I turned to Sea and said, “Um, we forgot to pay.”  We debated going back, but we were far enough away that an awkward return to the clinic we had just accidentally fled was too unappealing to contemplate. So we just kept walking.  Tomorrow morning I’ll go back to Clinic One to pay and get more progesterone, but right now you are reading the blog of an IUI thieving fugitive.  May that one day be the search term that lands somebody here.

The pregnancy test is on Sunday, March 2nd.  I can only hope that Clinic One hasn’t issued a warrant for my arrest and put up my mugshot next to their liquor licence and collection of baby photos by then.  Stay tuned.

Total Ultrasound Count: 28

$perm.

This morning at “Really?  On a Sunday?” o’clock, I took an early bus over to Clinic One for some baseline bloodwork, ultrasounding and sperm purchasing.

Sunday morning at Clinic One is where the action happens, clearly.  The clinic room was more full than I have ever seen it as patients, partners and a handful of children waited restlessly next to the large fishtank.  I signed in the required three times: bloodwork, ultrasound, visit with the doctor.

The blood drawing was, as it always is, a fiasco.  As noted elsewhere, I hate needles.  The very thought of them makes me squirm.  This has cruelly been coupled with tiny veins, the result being that every blood draw involves a technician making displeased faces while I try to keep hysteria at bay.  My hands were freezing from the cold morning bus, which was apparently a Very Bad Thing for blooddrawing.  After one failed attempt, I was taken on a whirlwind tour of the clinic as they tried to find a tap with water hot enough to warm my hands.  As blood eventually flowed, the technician asked, “So you’re the one doing this?  Not your partner?”  Well, yes.  Indicated by that vial of my blood in your hands.

After much, much waiting and a predictably messy Day 2 ultrasound (my ovaries are beautiful, apparently!) followed by more waiting, I met with a doctor.

Apparently Dr. Text doesn’t work 365 days a year, so I met with his equally fast-paced counterpart, the left-handed Dr. Left.  Dr. Left seemed both utterly frazzled and utterly bored as he rushed through the details of my “subclinical hypothyroid”.  My what?  Fantastic!  More blood tests coming my way, with the threat of medication.  It’s shocking that anybody every gets pregnant at all, really.

Finally, I met with a nurse for the major task of the day: ordering sperm.  By some miracle, the slim chance that two vials of our of two vials of our first choice donor– Mickey– would be available seems to have panned out.  Not only that, a third vial was incredibly procured.  Not wanting to risk losing our chance with the donor that seems so right, we bought all three.

As the receptionist cheerfully said, “That will be $2400, please!” I gulped and paid up.

Come on, sperm, show us what you’ve got.

Total Ultrasound Count: 4

Next Up: HSG on Tuesday.  These suck, right?