I never imagined that selling my sperm would be on the list.
After holding my phone through meetings, meals, and the longest workday ever…
After calling every line at Clinic One, including the fax machine…
After expressing my outrage to the world via phone, text, and blog…
Clinic One called at 4:50pm.
This morning I shuffled myself back into Clinic One for a pregnancy test. Today, when they call with the results of my bloodwork, the two week wait will officially end.
While we (okay, I), wait, I hope you’ll indulge me in some hopeless navel gazing: the yays and nays of why I might (not) be pregnant.
The Pregnancy Test:
And no signs of bleeding, hence the need for the pregnancy test. Prior (unmedicated) luteal phases have ended 12 days after ovulation. I’m not on progesterone suppositories this time, so if blood is coming it should be coming. But I Googled (yes, I Googled), and apparently Femara can increase the length of the luteal phase by raising progesterone levels. Also, this is my first tracked cycle post-Bingo, and she may well have messed my cycle up. Still we know nothing.
On Sunday I grumpily declared to Sea and a handful of friends that this cycle had failed. I was cramping, it felt like my period was coming, despair set in. Three days later the cramping has continued on and off. Period warm-up stretches or pregnancy? Only my uterus knows.
I’m really, really tired. A toddler also woke me up at 5:20 this morning. Singing. I’d be worried if I wasn’t tired, frankly.
I’ve had moments where I feel like I’m on a ship, but that could also be psychosomatic. Or the result of getting up at 5:20. Or the fact that I ate Twizzlers for breakfast.
The other night, an episode of Modern Family nearly made me cry. When I was pregnant with Bingo, I could barely go on Facebook because posts about missing pets would leave me teary. Maybe I’m being overemotional. Maybe that’s a symptom of pregnancy. Or maybe the episode of Modern Family was just really sad.
And with that, gentle readers, I rest my case. So, while we wait for the phone to ring, yay or nay?
In the past two days, I’ve read 2/3 of a book. This is directly connected to a New Year’s resolution I made about 34 hours after the new year began, while staring at the large fishtank that features prominently in Clinic One’s waiting room design.
On January 2nd, as I sat staring at the fishtank, I was thinking about the liminal space of waiting rooms and of fertility treatments in general. Of how much time we spend waiting and bored, in what is cumulatively a life altering process. Not just the time spent in waiting rooms, sitting in light wood furniture looking at fishtanks or walls painted in neutral tones, but also the time we lose to TWWs, next tries, scans, or other anticipation. I tried to think back to what I had done in those countless waiting hours in 2012-2013. Stared at my phone, probably. Watched the fish swim in circles. Googled. Thinking back, I resolved to make the waiting that 2016 will inevitably hold more productive. I’ll do things while I wait, I decided. Not just crush endless candies on my phone. I’ll knit, I’ll read, I’ll write: anything that makes it feel a little more like my waiting counts. (My other fertility resolution is to not Google, which I’m half succeeding in.)
So, I’ve spent the last two days of cycle monitoring/waiting reading. Half-listening for my name or number, but mostly absorbed in somebody else’s life. (This Is Happy, if you’re wondering. On theme, and probably deserving of its own post.)
I only managed to read a little bit yesterday, in a visit that was luckily short. My ultrasound number was called before I could even choose a light pine chair to wait in, and my blood was drawn almost immediately after that. I did have to wait to see my doctor, whose face I couldn’t remember. So I read and waited, listening to other people’s names being called by other doctors. Then my doctor appeared. Though I hadn’t remembered what he looked like from our first visit, now it occurred to me that he looked uncannily familiar: eerily like my brother. We’ll call him Dr Paul from now on.
Dr Paul spoke to me for all of five minutes, as I tried to focus on what he was saying and not his resemblance to my sibling. The Femara has worked like a charm, it seems: on CD11, my lead follicle was 22mm. “A good follicle,” Dr Paul noted approvingly, “that will hopefully turn into a good embryo”. With that cheerful announcement, he sent me on my way to return for cycle monitoring the next day. (Today.)
Today’s visit featured a similarly quick ultrasound and blood draw, but was followed by a wait that stretched almost two hours. I diligently read, covering decades of Camilla Gibb’s life while I waited for Dr Paul to make his pronouncement. Patients filtered out of the office until I was only accompanied by a singing toddler and her mother. Dr Paul found me in the waiting room, not bothering to call me into the office. My follicle is now 24.5mm, or giant. (I’ve nicknamed it Chubs, though Sea doesn’t approve.) Dr Paul explained that, one way or another, the IUI would be happening tomorrow. I just needed to sit and wait until my bloodwork came back, so that they could decide whether to trigger or not. That wait took another hour, or 1/3 of a book. Finally he came back: my bloodwork shows that I’m surging, no trigger needed, IUI tomorrow.
So tomorrow Sea and I will head back to Clinic One, and I’ll finish a book while the sperm we’ve stored there since 2013 thaws. Then the IUI will happen, and we’ll be on to another wait.
Wish us (and Chubs) luck!
In an auspicious start to the new year, my period began on January 1st.
We didn’t end up trying in December, because it would have cut dangerously close to our holiday travel plans. We might have been able to squeeze in the IUI before we left, but we might also have been doing it on the way to the airport. So December came and went. I consumed a lot of sugar and paid very little attention to my uterus. It was lovely.
And now, 2016 is here: a year that, for one reason or another, will likely involve paying a lot of attention to my uterus.
This morning I received an e-mail from WordPress, directing me to my year in review. I read, with some interest, the statistics summarizing the number of visitors to my blog, most popular posts, most common search terms (“lesbian pregnancy” was the winner, in case you’re curious). Really though, this summary of posts written and read isn’t my year captured- my year is captured more by the stories the posts tell and, of course, by the small person currently lying stretched across my lap.
My year, in review:
January brought the disappointment of a third failed IUI and the last attempt with our first donor. February was the month that worked, March was the month where we learned that it had. In the middle months of the year, my belly slowly grew as did the number of people anticipating Bingo’s arrival. As I sweated through the late summer, we went Facebook public. We learned Bingo’s sex: a badly kept secret until she was born. In the fall we worried about about our maybe-breech baby. In October we anticipated her early arrival (ha!) then I lay inverted on an ironing board and she flipped. In November I left work and waited. On November 22nd Bingo was born- though I did not give birth. She came into the world almost two weeks late, after almost two days of induction and labor (story still owed). The rest of November was spent in flux, split between the physical and emotional exhaustion of post-birth/early parenthood and the wonder of learning and falling in love with our daughter. December has brought increasing stability, as Sea and I have learned a little more about who Bingo is and who we are as parents. It has been a month filled with amazement, frustration, spit up, dirty diapers, uncertainty, sleep deprivation and love.
2013 has been a terribly hard year for many of the people I care about the most. For me it has just been a year of much change and growth- both literal and figurative. There have been many moments- over the past five and a half weeks in particular- that have left me feeling raw. This is no bad thing: it comes with the potential for more change and growth. I have no resolutions for 2014, but I am full of hope and anticipation. Part of that hope is for those people I care about- including all of you. I hope that 2014 brings only good things, and finds you and your family exactly where you need to be.
NaBloPoMo, Day 3
At yesterday’s birthday party, a stranger asked me how pregnant I was. When I replied “9 months”, she knowingly responded, “Oh, so about a month to go”. No, I explained, there was only slightly over a week remaining until my due date. “Then you’re ten months pregnant!”, she smugly corrected me, “Pregnancy is 40 weeks—10 months.” I’ve heard this count before, usually from people who have had difficult pregnancies and want credit for every bitter moment, but I still don’t understand the math or logic behind it. 40 weeks would only be 10 months if every month was February, which it isn’t.
Instead, I count weeks and months of pregnancy in separate tallies. The week count is simple: I’m reminded of it every Monday as my phone buzzes with apps announcing weekly developments and the plethora of listserves that I signed up for deliver perky messages comparing Bingo to various fruits and vegetables. The month count is trickier: do I count forwards from the date of conception, or backwards from the due date? As I stood in the shower this morning, the stranger’s assertion that I was now ten months pregnant echoed in my mind, and I tried again to do my own math. While none of my counts added up to ten, I realized that today does mark another month by one count.
Nine months ago today my body greeted a negative beta test with the simultaneous onset of a stomach flu and my period. This means that, with the exception of the scary days of spotting around 5 weeks, it’s now been 9 months since my last period.
To be honest, not bleeding has been one of the major perks of pregnancy. I wasn’t one of those teenagers who welcomed their period as the onset of womanhood. Instead, it was just another awkward and embarrassing bodily shift, complete with my father’s uncomfortable congratulations over breakfast the next day. For a long time I desperately tried to hide any sign that I bled, furiously scrubbing blood out of underwear and burying the evidence under piles of tissue paper in the bathroom garbage can.
My relationship to my period improved exponentially when, late in high school, a friend introduced me to the Keeper. The Keeper, and then the Diva Cup, provided me with a neater solution to the fact that my body stubbornly kept insisting on bleeding every month. They were options outside those advertised in ridiculous commercials featuring women nothing like me. Through these alternatives, I made a sort of hesitant peace with my period, only interrupted by occasional cramps, cravings and crankiness (period alliteration!) Regardless, when Sea and I began to seriously plan for a child, I would greet each period with the vindictive thought, “Your days are numbered, period!” and when we started trying to conceive, my period hatred ramped right back up to early teenage levels. It was soothed only by the thought that this one could be the last for a long time. Or this one. Or this one. Then the fourth IUI worked, and (for the most part) I stopped bleeding. And, like I said, it’s been a major perk of pregnancy. It’s not that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the fact that I’m not bleeding (I haven’t), it’s that I haven’t had to think about my period at all for nine months.
Now Bingo’s birth is approaching, and I’m faced with the realization that I’m going to bleed again: both when Bingo is born and then, at some later point, on a monthly basis. There are post-birth pads stored in my closet: I pulled one out of the box last week and stared in horror at the sheer size of it. In some ways, this feels like being thirteen and feeling those first cramps again: the prospect of bleeding feels like an intrusion. The only difference now is that I’ve seen the method in the madness: the biological function served by having spent almost a week of every month of my adult life letting blood. I’m glad that my body has worked in the way that it’s needed to, that pregnancy was an option, that we only had to spend a short while in the world of fertility clinics, that if we chose to we might be able to do this all again. I’m glad for all of these things. But these nine months? They’ve been a nice break.
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.
A more inclusive cycle tracking tool is now available!
From the little I can see, it still seems to assume the type of sex folks are having. Regardless, if I still had a cycle to track, I would appreciate a tool that doesn’t involve various pastels and unfortunate euphemisms. And I would really love to set an app, any app, to “sex mode”.