Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the beginning

Karen thought I should maybe bring you up to speed here, and explain how we got to where we are now.  We've both wanted kids for a long time -- I have wanted kids since I played with my dolls as a toddler.  I also used to nanny for a local family, and watched them go from a family of three to a family of seven.  I have always enjoyed spending time with kids, and have always known that I want to be a mother.  Most of my imagined family planning up until recently included the typical scenario: husband, marriage, 2.5 kids and a house in the burbs.  That all changed when I met her.  I was faced with new questions about donors and carriers and insemination.  We discussed who wanted to carry this baby, and decided that it should be me. 

I am a huge researcher -- I read everything I can get my hands on about a subject that interests me  -- but I knew nothing about how to begin researching this.  I checked the internet for local OB/GYNs, picked one randomly, and requested an initial appointment using their website.  When I got a call back to schedule something, I didn't even know how to phrase what I was looking for.  'I am interested in artificial insemination.'  They would ask me if I had any reproductive challenges...  'No... I am interested in using a sperm donor.  Am I meeting with the right person to discuss my options for this?'  I felt like an idiot, but I got my appointment -- they were able to get us in on December 31st.

We went to the reproductive endocrinologist's office nervous and excited.  Filling out the medical questionnaire in the car en route, I answered the typical inquiries about reproductive history, family history and health background.  I asked her about her family's history of some genetic disorder, and she laughed, pointing out that they probably didn't really need to know that info since she wouldn't be donating her sperm.  (Funny, Karen.  Very funny.)  The appointment itself went pretty quickly; the doctor explained our options as well as his recommendations.  He gave us a hand-written list of things we'd need to do before we could get started, and a packet of information on sperm banks.  I stopped in the lab to have them take some blood for a prenatal workup, and we were on our way.  We had lunch with my parents afterward and she relayed the morning's appointment as if she'd taken notes.  That night we had her family over for a New Year's Eve party, and told me she wanted to fill them in too.  She started to tell them about how I had an appointment that morning...  With a doctor...  and then she froze.  Silence.  I chimed in and finished the sentence.  'We're working on having a baby.'  We walked through all the detailed plans for tests and such, using medical terms while discussing menstrual cycles and hormones.  The discussion seemed so matter-of-fact that it didn't embarass us at all, and we joked about how odd it was bring up fallopian tubes in a coverstaion with her brother.

We had to meet with a psychologist -- standard procedure for anyone going through any type of artificial reproductive assistance.  For some reason, I wasn't the least bit nervous about this meeting.  We were aware of the state laws concerning same sex couples, and we knew that we'd need to work on Powers of Attorney and Guardianship papers.  We figured we'd discuss how to disclose this information to a child, and other typical therapy-type questions.  We sat down in her office and discussed our decision to start a family.  She asked when we met, how long we'd lived together, how long we'd each been dating women.  After giving us a few things to discuss, and probing just enough to make us a little uncomfortable, she convinced us to look into open donors and wished us luck.

After a few weeks and an uncomfortable HSG, we were on our way.  We sat down with the pamphlets about donor banks and began to make our selection lists.  We were looking for someone who shared our nationalities and who had our hair color and eye color.  We thought it was important that he be somewhat athletic, somewhat educated and somewhat creative.  After a few weeks, we decided on a donor.  We ordered vials and figured we should get all the information we could about who this person is.  We got a baby photo, a long profile, a personality test, a facial features report (which, honestly, didn't really tell us anything except that he has large ears) and an audio interview.   We listened to that interview very carefully.  He has a very deep voice, and sounds like he reads a lot.  He has typical guy taste in movies, likes music, and wasn't the least bit funny.  (This actually works out well, because according to Karen, I am also not the least bit funny.)

Fast forward to today.  We are on cd11, which means that tomorrow morning we go in for an ultrasound to find out when we'll inject me with more hormones, and when we'll schedule the IUI.  My prediction is that it'll happen on Thursday.  More to come...

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