Apologies, Helpful Hints and I said “Yes”

Formal Apology.

I have been terrible, a lackluster blogger who needs to better organize her blog-work-baby making-life balance and for that, I apologize. Yet so much has been happening in this world of mine, that I literally made it a point to annotate the pivotal things during these past two-point-five weeks on electronic post-it notes on my laptop. Yes, you guessed it…just for…you.

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My Very Own Research Project

So where do I start? How about, my colleague who I spend roughly 8.5 hours a day with in the same room is pregnant. Giving me unprecedented access to utilize her as my real life, “what its like” research project. There may be small differences:

  1. Hers is unplanned, made by a big uh-oh mostly straight people sometimes have hurdles with. While mine I have been planning with my partner (now fi·an·cée more on that later) for a few months now and have a team of random people involved in.
  2. Spreadsheets, lots and lots of spreadsheets.
  3. She got it for free. Yes, she had to have a relationship with someone for a little while, technically not costing anything but perhaps a dinner out and some change. While we, had to come out of pocket an obscene amount and include insurance folk, including our sorry excuse of a Financial Counselor.
  4. We had to deal with that flipping Financial Counselor.
  5. That Finan…OK. Sorry.
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  7. She was able to drink- all the way up until the point she realized she missed her period. That is like a one month cop out. We, have had to abstain from alcohol as much as possible. Plus, we had to keep track of my period and reproductive system just about every day to ensure that it starts and stops when we want it to (Thank you Flo Period App Tracker!).
  8. Needles. Yes, her injection situation was different. Yet, I can probably say ours turns out to be a little more painful.
  9. Gaining weight from the injections and medication (average of 9 pounds so far that won’t go down even with exercise) and I am not even pregnant yet.
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Why does her being pregnant actually warrant a mention in a blog post from me? Well, two reasons. First, I am an only child. Never growing up with a sibling or many children in general (besides a cousin who was already a year older than me), or being around anyone pregnant in general. I didn’t have the experience of really holding a baby (maybe once or twice), seeing a big belly grow or having a younger sibling to really get the gist of how it all came together. I always wanted to play with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures rather than play house, and when I did play house I wanted to be the dad…or the dog. Then as an adult, I grew up and met someone I loved deeply, then evolved where I would love to create a family with her.

Second, I had known my colleague already for about seven months and have this experience of what to look out for in her becoming a mother. I mentally take notes and ask her random questions. Such as that medication her doctor prescribed when she had too much nausea. Then go home and research it on the computer.

While I understand that each woman’s experience will vary, this is the closest I am going to get to witness this amazing change happening to someone each and every day. A change that maybe, if things go just right- will eventually happen to me. So I have been counting the number of times she would mention to me she threw up that morning. What she can eat, what she can’t. How many times she has asked me for snacks and chocolates. Her mood swings, which I have literally walked out of the office twice already because of. Her admission that the pregnancy is going to cause her to leave both the company and state soon.

Blood Type O Positive + CMV Negative? You Can Help Save Babies, Kids and Other Immune-Deficient Patients Lives!

Remember when I had a whole discussion basically on my own, regarding how it felt difficult to deal with the CMV Negative status I held in our attempts to locate a donor? Well, I am happy to report that we did eventually find a donor, and after doing some research, learned something pret-ty damn cool about myself as well.

So- one day, back in college I decided to donate blood to the Red Cross. They were on campus and I figured, why the heck not. So I gingerly laid down in the chair, while they popped that IV in and out went all of my blood, in all its unrestricted glory. I remember feeling a cold rush after a little while, then they brought me a blanket and some Oreo cookies. Saving some lives, eating some cookies- yep, this isn’t so bad at all! Finally, the process is complete and I get up…and fall down in old school boy band fashion, then my hearing kind of just stopped and I promptly pass out. That was my first experience donating blood. Turns out there is a silver lining to the Emmy-worthy fall.

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Lets be honest. Somehow I have managed to not know my blood type until going through this fertility process as an adult. Thanks to the diagnostic testing I learned my blood type is O Positive. Also, that I am CMV negative. Not only that, but according to some pretty cool blood banks, I am considered a Specialty Donor. Why, you ask? Well turns out:

“If your blood type is O, and you are CMV negative, then you are a Babies and Kids Specialty Donor!  Because of your CMV Negative status, your blood can be transfused to babies, kids and other immune-deficient patients.  We encourage you to donate whole blood regularly, knowing that it is going to save the lives of our most vulnerable patients. O type CMV negative donors are the most desirable Babies and Kids donors, as this is the most commonly transfused type of whole blood.  In the Babies and Kids program, you can donate in a center or at a mobile drive.”

With love- Community Blood Center of the Carolinas

The slogan is 1 Hour = 1 Pint, which can save up to three lives. I decided that after the first leg of my expedition is complete, I’m going to take myself to my local blood drive and donate once a year.

If you are also blood type O and negative, I absolutely encourage you to do the same! How awesome are we?!

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Vows and Wows

So- I am officially a fiancée. My beautiful partner got down on one knee and professed her heart out. We sort of took the adult high-road and spoke about it at length in the past, even going to that fantastic attorney I mentioned in a prior post. Yet, the proposal itself was a real surprise beyond dreams or expectation.

Work had been wearing me down lately, and she called asking if I could both leave early and my car at my employer’s parking lot over the weekend. I consented and made it work. She comes to pick me up, we get dragged into a mess of traffic and after about two hours finally make it to this fantastic hotel called, The Mimslyn Inn. This place is just gorgeous. The room was just beautiful, with an electric fireplace, enormous bed and a warm welcome.

She said we have Date Night dinner reservations at the best restaurant in town, which so happens to also be in the hotel. We change, question whether to be on Latina-time and arrive late to make the entrance, or arrive too early and look too eager. Found our median, and went down the stairs. I wore a dress and heels. There was a piano playing in the main hall, and we had the best dinner I have had in awhile! Plus a table conversation that even moved me to happy tears. It was romantic, relaxing and heartwarming.

More frequently each day, I have been just taking in my world. Thankful for everything and everyone in it. The good and learning to embrace the not so good. Especially this day for some reason, breathing in the priceless moments that we are creating together and trying to memorize every brick in the fireplace, seam on her shirt and the way different lighting dances in her eyes. That night, I breathed in her perfume, how beautiful her smile is, the experience of her being impulsive enough (for someone who loves to plan) to take me away, everything…seared the memories of it all into my mind. So that when I get older and want to remember the moments of my life that actually mattered, that stirred me immensely with emotion, and molded perspectives of this life that I am so thankful for having lived, I am able to. While I tend to be a realistic pessimist, through these eight plus years together with her, the process of creating our family and knowing that we are each in each other’s corners indefinitely, the truth is that I am so filled with love that sometimes I feel as if I could burst at the seams.

We chat intently, eat the amazing food and then depart, heading up the stairs back to our hotel room. When the door opens, the room is blanketed in darkness so I seek to switch on the light, until I notice that at my feet, in this dark room two hours with traffic away from my daily life, there are tea lights in a parallel fashion snaking from the door entry throughout the room and rose petals everywhere. I see my partner walk in front of me, level her eyes to mine, take a knee, a breath and speak, delicately choosing each of the next words she uses to describe our relationship, emotions, my meaning to her, her feelings towards me, the importance of our love and the crescendo of her extending her hand up towards me while on the one knee.

I lose it.

In my mind conjuring of Good Year blimps and Cycling Studio Flash Mobs, I felt the intensity of how profoundly honest and raw this moment was. How someone already so genuine, sacrificed this moment in her life to become vulnerable- to profess that she wants to spend the rest of her life with me…to grow old and grumpy together. The courage necessary to proclaim your emotions, declaration of desire to live your entire life together and have it hinge on a two word response must have been unnerving. I cried and thought of how clearly intimate this all was, and how it was all symbolically just so truly who she was. So I cried…trying to ensure that I didn’t do that ugly kid face sob (I didn’t want her to remember something like that), and I pulled her up from her low stance and reciprocated everything she said as best as I could in one long hug, one long kiss and non ugly kid face sob tears.

Actual Photo:

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It was beautiful and I never felt so loved and appreciated at the same time in all of my life. Then we took photos of ourselves (like 10 with all the perfect lighting, hair flip after hair flip), picked one and sent it to everyone we cared about via text with the announcement.

So there you have it…I have and am a fiancée, with the most wonderful kindhearted person who laughs at most of my jokes, and is embarrassed by others…still loves me and  makes me feel whole.

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Current Treatment Status

I was placed on birth control pills for the first time in my life and as a lesbian, it is beyond awkward. Why the pills? Well, in order to prepare my body for the fun stuff, they have to ensure that the timing is just right- and they utilize the pills to do just that. The kicker is the weight gain. Optimistically I say to myself that it won’t matter, if I am blessed enough to get pregnant, then I get a free fat pass. Yet at this moment, my pants are just too tight…and at a height of 5-even, it makes me grumble. Good news? Yesterday was last day of them.

In fun replacement, have been taking a Lupron (Leuprolide Acetate) shot right in the tummy for the past few mornings. My fiancée has been administering them for me, along with a tummy rub and hug. Lupron essentially “shuts down” the body’s reproductive hormone system. I will continue this well on for the next three days, and then go to an appointment for a Lupron Evaluation, Blood work and Ultrasound. Then I return to those fun 2.5 inches of Delestrogen (Estradiol valerate) intramuscular injections in my lower back every three days. This injection will help thicken my uterine lining to prepare for pregnancy. Also, it will be joining the weight gain train I am already on.

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I will be on the Delestrogen for the next three weeks…and grouchy…grouchy as hell. Poor fiancée. An evaluation appointment here and there, then the embryo transfer. This is projected around Wednesday, May 10th. In parallel the barrage of medications that my fiancée will have to undergo herself beginning ten days from now (I will go into this next time).

How to make IVF Medication Cost Less

If there is one thing this pair of lesbians is good at, its looking for a better deal. With the average cost of IVF medications at a skyrocketing price, we learned a good lesson during the medication trial-run diagnostic testing. It is important that you do not allow the nurse (or anyone handling medication ordering) to just make the decision of where the medication is coming from for you. Our original nurse, prior to our current Nurse Great, without consult with us simply ordered our medications during our first testing while utilizing medication.

Now that the trial run was over, we became proactive and attained the list of our medications from Nurse Great. We were sure that our insurance did not really cover the costs of the medications. However, this set-back also offered the opportunity for us to shop for the best price for cash payment. It was as simple as a phone call to numerous IVF pharmacies, making a spreadsheet and dialing some numbers. The calls were usually quick and painless, saved us a bunch of money!

Here is a good resource for some pharmacies.

Next up? Wedding venues…Mom and Mami? Halfway through to retrieval and implantation. Oh and sweatpants, really baggy sweatpants.

Dismissing Nurses, Embracing Attorneys, and a Brave Announcement

Nurse, bye.

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This week has been one of those weeks where we learned the importance of advocating for ourselves. Yes, we heard it numerous times online from different people, “During fertility treatment, you are your own advocate and you should ensure that you advocate for yourself”. When we began fertility diagnostics a month ago, our nurse was pretty much assigned to us from day one. Although her actual involvement was not really required until a certain point.

We were told that our nurse would be available via email or phone at any time to answer any questions or concerns. Reading online, you see stories of how valuable nurses were throughout the fertility treatment process emotionally and educationally for many couples. Our nurse, seemed to not really be one of those nurses. From day one she did not seem very endearing with our desire to create a family. We would communicate via email, thoughtful, clear questions and concerns regarding current treatments or testing…and the nurse would respond with a one line response, not even answering all questions asked. At first, I believe that we considered it an issue perhaps attributing to a personality trait…but then, it started to add up:

  1. The injection class where she was rigid, as we were told how many injections and how often we would have to endure them
  2. The same injection class where although we asked a few times where to inject my Delestrogen, she did not really take any initiative to show us on my body
  3. Short emails that did not address our concerns or did so in less than 5 words
  4. Lack of follow-up on correspondences such as for bloodwork results and a complete lack of noticing that my CMV Testing (which is required) was not even on the blood-work list when it was drawn, causing me to notice on my own recognizance and have to go again for lab work unnecessarily
  5. Brief phone calls and matter of fact tone

Now, we are not asking for Mother Theresa- yet I don’t think that at the least some kindness and putting us at ease throughout this process is something that is too outlandish to ask for. And then, it clicked. We know that years prior she had great reviews online (we do our research), however it did not feel that she was showing us the same kindness and respect as other patients paying thousands of dollars. Additionally, we had a fantastic conversation from a fertility clinic’s nursing staff in Charlottesville, Virginia that was total night and day to our nurse. Quite a few epiphanies occurred.

Although it is not a conclusion we usually come up with, we suddenly realized that it was because we were a same-sex couple. At this realization, my mind went into overdrive in anger over the last one sentence response email, and the ones prior. I called my partner and we both agreed that we needed to switch nurses immediately. This woman will not be the one assisting us in making our family, especially if she is acting like she doesn’t even want to; much less getting money from our hard-earned paychecks to do so.

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We wrote an email and made phone calls. The fertility clinic immediately turned around and provided us undivided attention, probably sincerely concerned that there may be an ethics grenade. They brought in all the stops and the doctor seemed concerned. Additionally, they brought in another (gay) individual who attempted his best to basically say, “No worries, no one here is like that, we are family.” We didn’t need that. In fact, it was a little insulting. We don’t need anyone to be gay, all we want was a nurse who is responsible, looks out for our best health interests and who cares.

In the end the doctor was able to attain us another nurse, we had some luck in also getting some valuable feedback from others on specific nurses. Finally, we got one- and she emailed us a greeting the first day she was assigned, a phone call the next. She seems straight to the point, and at least she takes the time to explain the details to us. We are thankful that the change could happen before we really get into the real run on this in April.

So to our ex-nurse: I hope you are happy with the fact that you are now even lower on the totem pole than our “Financial Counselor”.

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Moral? Listen to everyone when they say, be your own advocate.

Lawyered Up

We both believe that the most important gift we could give to ourselves as a family is protection. Meaning, with the change in almost daily embarrassing gubernatorial episodes in our country introduced by our lovely new president and his bandwagon of morons; our little family will need all of the legal protections it can get. So after some due diligence, we found a lawyer who looked like she could handle us. Scheduled an appointment, typed up a requested “get to know us” report, and we were complimented on how well we addressed the topics and displayed our questions. Yes, that is me touting my Office Word formatting skills again- but the love of my life actually wrote the gist of the content and questions. I just made it sound prettier.

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I never had a lawyer before, so I pictured this whole bit where she sat there hands clasped on the table, asking us what services we need rendered. Yet as soon as we stepped in her office, I saw the Xbox One on her wall with the flat screen TV and I knew this was the attorney for me. She was full of energy and sheer aptitude. After two jam-packed informational hours, I was blown away at how valuable it all was. Thinking, this is definitely the woman I want guiding me and my family to safety against the tyranny of Putin…I mean Trump. She also reached out to provide us invaluable information on nurses and long term hospital providers.

She called us adorable and cute. Then I realized, I liked my partner and I being referred to as adorable and cute.

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Finally, in the sometimes difficult to find guidance for our expedition, someone we felt was a great add to our baby-making team. There is plenty of paperwork to be completed to ensure our family is safe, and I am sure we have made the right choice by finding this attorney to help us get it right.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage

It is funny how circumstances, emotions and personalities evolve. My partner and I have been together for more than eight years, and now both taking this leap towards beginning to create our family. This year, we have also decided to legally commit in the form of marriage to protect what matters most in our lives.

It is a scary subject. Until death do us part, seriously- they should’ve tried to come up with better language for that by now.

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Yet we have grown to understand how much the details matter and how much we want to make sure we do it right. There are no guarantees, but there is no doubt that if things went down, we want to do all we can to ensure that we are treated fairly and that any children we are able to have, are as well.

So for me, this is where it gets nerve wrecking and emotional. I begin to look at videos like this one of a Haka Wedding and my eyes well up in emotion; in the pride had in sharing with everyone your commitment towards one another, the new found commitment towards each other’s family, being the conduit that bridges them, and the publicly professed commitment towards the one you are beginning your new found chapter with. The little girl inside of me has always wanted that kind of moment with the right person, and the right person has professed to me that she desires to give us that moment. Without a doubt, only still in March…2017 has become the year that truly takes my breath away.

We decided to wait until April to announce this to both family and friends, April 15th to be exact. On July 15th, 2017 we seek to be married…in front of family, friends…in front of those who are a part of our lives.

So, now the planning begins…so much for one thing at a time!

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Best part that everyone knows even less about? We begin our official fertility treatment in April, meaning that by July there is a possibility that we could very well be pregnant.

Stay tuned for that.

Next up? One week until *&#! gets real: Fertility treatment begins.

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Meet the Parents

In another state (for the weekend) I laid on an air mattress in an empty apartment alone, covered in dry paint and looking at my phone display 7:30pm.
Let me give you the lay of the land here:

My partner and I are in the process of trying to start a family. Thing is, we have chosen to not tell anyone until it’s the right time. Meaning, to us, well into being pregnant if we are so lucky to have the opportunity. Why? Well, we know the ups and downs associated and while we know our families would be super supportive, this is something we want to commence on our own. Hence, why we never self-identify in the blog or Facebook posts (our families can be pretty stealthy sleuths). Yet we do plan a “big reveal” of who we are to everyone (including to you) if our dreams do come true, or heck maybe even if they don’t.

OK- back to the empty apartment:

So 7:30pm. Half hour until my partner has to give me my next Delestrogen 1.5-ver injection in my backside. Somehow she was able to sweetly convince her mother into taking her home and leaving us in our old empty apartment. Instead of luring us to her house as we usually do when we come to visit and although it was clear that she had no intention of making our wanting to “be alone” easy for us on this day.  We did some sprucing up of the apartment prior, as it was to be rented to someone next week, and her mother and father showed up for emotional and physical support.

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In light of beginning our treatment, we agreed that we would go no alcohol and less caffeine cold turkey. Pretty hard to do when you actually own a small recently restocked table bar you can see the moment you walk through the front door. Coming home from work after a hard day, you take solace at this point in just knowing its there- waiting for you probably a year from now at this point.

“Our bodies are a temple!” – my loving partner says

Me: 

So, immediate suspicion had arisen when my partner’s father offered us a beer and we refused, well mostly when I refused. Four times. Me, the primary eyebrow furrow causer, because I usually don’t mind a cold one after a long week of work. I smiled meekly, grabbed a bottle of water, unscrewed the cap, sipped and spent about the next half-hour painting in the closet. Yep, I was back in there after being stuck in the metaphoric one for about 13 years.

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Convincing her father to leave the apartment, that was slightly more challenging. He was hell bent on fixing all things imperfect, possibly until past 3am. My partner was coming back from dropping her mother off at her house, and called me while I lay on the air mattress, covered in dry paint, looking at my phone show 7:50pm. I relayed that her father and his two buddies were in the living room giving their best shot at fixing a closet, bless ’em, and I was pretty sure they didn’t have anywhere else they’d rather be. What followed was my partner arriving, pacing back and forth from the living room to the bedroom where I lay on an air mattress. The gears in her mind rotating so harshly I thought at one point I could hear them. Then I mouthed to her:

“Oh this is totally going in the blog.” [smile]

Her: 54pad9dwt0go

Finally, she mentions to her father that we were going to have to get ready, as we were to visit some friends/family by 8pm and had to shower. It was already 8:45pm. This was partly true, we did intend to see some friends/family at 9:30pm, but we also needed her father and his two friends out of the apartment…so I could lay stomach-down on the air mattress with my toes pointing inward, she could administer the injection, I could lay there hurting a little, be sweetly comforted, and then deal with the hefty headache that kicks me each time like clockwork five minutes afterwards.

He and his friends leave. My partner rushes to the refrigerator and instead of the usual ice bag, produces a bottle of water (when low on resources she is the best!) she puts it on my prospective injection site to numb it a little. She quickly prepares the needle and cautiously injects me- I concluded in that moment that an air mattress in an empty apartment that is not in the state I live in is not a place I ever want to do that shot in again. 8:45pm.

Meet the Friends and Family

9:30pm with friends/family is still on, except now it was about 9:10pm and I just recovered from the initial headache. A few more were to follow and my onset of the usual after-shot lethargic was setting in. We got ready, hopped in the car and headed over. Upon arrival, the light was already set low in the living room, her cousin offered a blanket, we had Chinese food…got my second headache, pulled the blanket up to my chin and fell blissfully asleep. Woke up when it was time to leave. 12:30am. In the car on the drive back, fell asleep again. Back to the air mattress, 1:00am.

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A Difficult Secret

We knew it would be difficult to keep this process to ourselves. We knew less how truly challenging it is until our first test of revolving it around our friends and family this weekend. For my partner, who is incredibly close to her family, I know her struggle is the worst. Something so important is happening in your life, and the people who would celebrate and support you the most, are the same people you need to keep it from- at least, for now. I saw it in her eyes when she spoke to her mother to convince her to go home without us, I saw it when she noticed my wincing in pain as I got up from her family member’s couch to head home. I take solace in the fact that the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, is so deeply impacted and emotionally moved when going against her normalcy, to ensure that our intimate expedition is treated delicately.

Light at the End of the First Delestrogen Tunnel

Every three days for the last two weeks, my partner has diligently been injecting me with Delestrogen for my Mock EEP. Basically to simulate the protocol and ensure that the thickness of the endometrial lining reacts well to the medicine, and hope the baby-making truly begins. The shot doesn’t hurt enough to cause a body-jerk reaction, but it certainly is not fun. There are a few ladies in the IVF/IUI Facebook Group chats who say the shots didn’t bother them an inch. Well, I am not one of those ladies. They occur in the space between your hip and rear end, and at least in my case the process is as follows:

  1. My sweet partner grabs the ice bag and fills it, placing it over the prospective injection site gently
  2. She preps the injection
  3. She hands me a pillowcase I have now dubbed the 1.5ver calmer case (due to the 1.5 inch size of the needle)
  4. She proceeds with the injection and I whimper into the calmer case sheepishly
  5. She completes the injection and I whimper again, then a small ache occurs in my lower back and she sweetly rubs the injection site awhile
  6. Five minutes later, while still lying down a tremendous headache takes hold
  7. She sweetly places a heated pack on my back and continues to rub while I ride out the headache
  8. I get lethargic, and just want to sleep

Everyone will be different, but that is my experience. Afterwards, for the next three days until the next injection, I found it difficult to handle my temper and emotions. The past 1.5 weeks I have been talking myself out of reacting certain ways to stressful situations, especially at work and during the one hour drive to and from work. I barked back at my partner a few random times, we would stay silent a few minutes and then I would apologize, embarrassed at my reaction. She has been totally understanding, on top of the fact that I told her to bear with me even before the injections began, because I knew that was a possibility.  It wasn’t an all day thing, but it took me a week to control it a little better.

Also, headaches. I rarely get them, so perhaps that is why I deal with the random ones caused by the medicines so terribly.

The good news is the injections have forced me to lay down more and sleep. Something my life really never afforded me much.

Also, today Friday is my final injection until the sonogram and blood-work for my lining check on Monday.

See? Optimism.

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Next up?

I Now Pronounce You…

 

 

Pros and Cons, Sittin’ in a Tree…K-I-S…

CMV Negative…are you positive??!

Oh…CMV. So we had been waiting for those results all weekend. My partner and I found a donor that seemed great! His genetic make-up was rare and promising…

and then I got my results back via phone call with the clinic, and this Latina is CMV negative.

I know…my face did the same thing.

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What is CMV, you ask? Well Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is basically a virus that many people acquire during their lifetimes, more than half of adults actually. You attain it via direct contact with urine or saliva (think Latin family kisses on the cheek too close to mouth), relations and in other simple ways. In a nutshell, it isn’t dangerous, but this is one of the tests you take if you are pursuing fertility treatment and seeking a donor. Why? Well, if you test positive it’s not big deal, but if you test negative and you plan on becoming pregnant, they suggest only utilizing a negative donor. Why Again? Well a positive donor can infect the child, causing a Congenital CMV Infection that has the possibility of causing numerous problems. Yep, I made that face too.

Turns out I am in the small camp of being negative. So, my partner and I are CMV-free, somehow…and you guessed it…as soon as you select that CMV negative button on any filter of a donor site it means your list of 350 potentials is down to 90.

Add to that the us trying to match our genetic make-ups as closely as possible, annnnd the fact that we are going via the, “can ID after 18 route”. I’d say we now have a narrow list of sperm donors to choose from of about…20…ish per site. I cannot lie, I cried a little after seeing a potential or two prior that were positive and feeling hopeful.

My response: “Well at least we know he isn’t a [trollop]”…clearly using another word.

Save your applause until the end please.

Financial Aid?

Alright. So we put in a financial aid application with our fertility clinic about two weeks ago. After the never received yet highly anticipated phone call on Friday, we were sort of hoping for the best. Who knows, maybe they forgot to contact all the recipients on Friday and therefore left us until Monday.

So I call the clinics “Financial Counselor” and ask her nervously about the result. She flatly stated that it was declined by the decision-makers and we should’ve received an email from them last week- as if she were reading an item off her grocery list. I stayed silent on the line for a long moment, I was bitter and wanted to make her feel awkward for not having the decency to call us and also for being terrible at normal basic human compassion. It worked. You know, since she is supposed to be financially counseling the hell out of us, and I am now learning she is more of a parrot call-and-response kind of person. I know, I know that money is money, but at least act like you care just a TEENY bit you damn robot.

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So there goes the Financial Aid. It hurts, especially after pouring our hearts into a personal statement we wrote and included that clearly didn’t strike a cord- but we will pull through it.

Honestly, if I were on the freeway in rush hour traffic and I knew she was behind me. I would probably park my car on the freeway and not move for 10 minutes. OK, that is the last of my slander. I’m just going leave that right…here.

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Mock EEEEEEEEEK!

My partner started shooting me up with a needle two days ago for the first time in our relationship. No- its not because we decided to “liven things up”, but for the Mock Estrogen Progesterone Mock Cycle. Done to determine how the uterus lining likes estrogen and thickens up for an egg transfer. For me, that’s the 1.5-ver (inch needle in the muscle of my lower back) over the course of two weeks, then a sonogram to measure my lining and bloodwork. Long live the Mock EEP.

It was a big step, which I felt ultimately led to a few revelations:

My beautiful partner…

  1. Got to wear those purple gloves we have had for awhile (don’t ask)
  2. Was able to enact probably her favorite opening scene of Dexter while spreading the “tools” onto the table: gauze, needles, Delestrogen vial…
  3. Had me on my stomach, with my rear-end sticking out vulnerably
  4. Got to rub in the medicine in the upper quadrant of said rear-end for awhile and this seemed to bring her great joy

    Me: dymbtgtf4qh1m

  5. With the plethora of videos and reading materials I threw at her shamelessly prior, my partner did a good job at plunging the needle right above my behind and ultimately doing the deed like a champ. MY champ!

I…

  1. Instead of biting into the pillow case she ever so gently rolled up for me to bite on as I had requested, I cried into it…a meek, little, nearly silent whimper. Because tattoo needles apparently are less scary than one. single. needle. = I’m a punk.
  2. Enjoyed the absolutely adorable nervous laugh she did right after, then her laying her head on my rear end as she rubbed the medicine in = great joy.
  3. Had to lay there for a moment, realizing that while we had our blood drawn, uterus’es (?) probed, xray-ed (?) and every other diagnostic test done over the past month; this was the actual moment where we began our jump into the pool of creating our family; and a serene moment came over me while the needle was withdrawn, that this was a moment I would never forget.

Injection Reaction?

It was not the most flattering shot in the world. Got a good tip to lay down, have my toes pointing inward so that I wouldn’t be able to tighten my muscle and hence produce more pain. We placed a zip-lock bag with some ice on the target a few moments before to numb a little. Also, I didn’t look at the needle prep, although I had already seen it during our Injection Class. Took short spurt breaths during the injection which worked pretty well. Laid somehow was motionless throughout, and more than the puncture I think it was when she withdrew the needle that hurt most. Afterwards, I felt achy and developed a headache that kept coming in and out throughout that and the next day. Besides that, fit as a fiddle. Although reports from co-workers that I was “mean” the next morning.

Shot #1 Del Estrogen [check]

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Donor Sperm Speed Dating

So we had a “Donor Date” on Sunday, kind of like speed dating- but on a computer and its for the person who is going to give you his sperm. So, basically donor sperm speed dating. We had completed some random searches in the past, but after the CMV Negative result, we had to change tactics. We first created a spreadsheet (I am an organized nerd who likes to strut her Excel stuff) and searched for sperm banks that have a valid Tissue Bank License for the state we are going to prospectively have the procedure in. Note that: you can’t just choose sperm from any sperm bank- they have to have a license in the state your doing the IUI or IVF baby-making in.

In the end we came up with a list of banks, and then sat next to each other on our laptops and began going into each site, one-by-one with our filters:

  • CMV Negative
  • ID Donor
  • Multi-Ethnic
  • Hispanic

Began reading, listening to audio and getting to know these men who are so eagerly volunteering to make a pair of Latina lesbian baby-making dreams come true. Each filter selection drastically lowered the result count, and we probably didn’t notice that we held our breaths each time the final results displayed. The kicker? Well, we realized from some recordings that some were just plain old underwhelming. You think of your prospective sperm-donor to be this charismatic brilliant Pulitzer prize winner…or at least capable of writing a paragraph about themselves or saying something a little better about what they like to do in their spare time, “Uh yea, Video Games?”

The Most Interesting Man in the World says:        adr35z4tvatic

UNTIL. You come across one that makes you stop your scrolling in your tracks and BAM- yes. You select his profile and BAM- yes! You read his self-narrative and BAM- yes! Then you go to check out how many vials he has and…there it is, a big old zero. I was becoming angry, wondering why my aunt or uncle didn’t accidentally give me a kiss on the cheek and pass on that CMV Positive, open up my pool of selections by more than this.

My partner lovingly says, “Everything happens for a reason.”

Finally, after three hours in- we find prospects. Real, prospects. We come to about five we like and get to know every word of their profiles, narratives and medical histories. Then we set a time to call the next day to narrow them down.

Next up? 1 vial, mood swings and the non-stop vivid dreams…

Psychological to Physical: In 1 Weekend.

Saturday: Psychologically On Time?

Saturday I was driving on the freeway with my partner next to me headed to our ‘Social Work’ appointment: basically where we are psychologically evaluated as a couple seeking to have a child. She silently grumbled as I wove through traffic. As usual, after indicating which time we should leave the house the day before, I couldn’t get my own act together finding things (socks, shoes, eyeliner, keys…) and we were running “on time”. Pretty sure she looked at me that morning and probably had second thoughts that this may be the mother of her child. Not that I would’ve blamed her- especially when I admit that that while I don’t like pressure, I tend to believe I do my best work under pressure.

The paradox that is me- yay!

Me: xhmiday1qkzns

We arrive to the area *on time mind you* and then I smile at an LGBT pride flag hanging in front of this particular house, annddd…as a full fledged lesbian I decide to park there.

“Good juju,” I said.

Until we started walking to the building and noticed, that there were at least a good 5 houses with gay flags on the way. Wondering where we were, it dawned on us that we were in the District’s Chevy Chase neighborhood, where Mister VP himself Mike Pence was supposed to have stayed until his Hill house was ready. Though lucky for him, the neighborhood was more than happy to show him that the beautiful liberal Democratic civilians were reigning the travesty of love and acceptance upon all (In Mr. Pence’s new D.C. neighborhood, not exactly the welcome wagon)! The horror of humanity.

Check out our actual photos:

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Best Fence Sign Ever

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In reflection, us taking the walk to the office and seeing all of these gorgeous houses just decked out in love and compassion was really heartwarming. Within that moment, I felt that the politics that has divided our nation so deeply still hasn’t changed the substance of those Americans who understand what it is to love our differences and embrace the richness that our individuality provides to our country…

For us: We are Latinas, first generation in this country to go to, and complete college, then pursue our careers. We are Lesbians, first generation to be genuinely out to our immediate families. We are Women, following the path of others who fought for equality and hoping we make similar strides during our lifetimes- despite adversity.

We appreciate our differences and the sacrifices made by others for us to have the liberties and strong sense of identities we have today.

…and we held hands as we walked, and again after the Social Work appointment for at least 20 more minutes to take it all in again.

The best sign read [you can see this captioned in the pic above!]:

In this house, we believe:

  • BLACK LIVES MATTER
  • WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS
  • NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL
  • SCIENCE IS REAL
  • WATER IS LIFE
  • IN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
  • LOVE IS LOVE
  • KINDNESS IS EVERYTHING

The Deep Stuff

Won’t give too much detail on the Social Work visit, as I am sure this overall blog will have the breadth of what matters anyway.  The Psychologist was pleasant, asked us questions, we sat on a couch, had our answers and there were no real surprises. We were on the same page. No matter how terrible I am at getting out of the bed/house in the morning, no matter how she hogs the bathroom when we are going out, we wanted this family together and saw eye-to-eye on the important stuff. My partner and I had discussed pretty much everything on that checklist during our baby-making talks. Don’t think that visit really did much to be honest, except provide some nice reading material, maybe a teeny bit of validation that we really didn’t need and deplete an extra $265 out of our pockets. Yet maybe it was just all about those houses during the walk for me in the end anyway.

 Monday (Presidents Day): Injection Class.

Along came Monday, Injection Class day. Which I went into like:

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My partner and I arrived, and you guessed it- she drove this time. We got into the elevator, I kissed her and *ding* in the office we went. She submitted to getting genetic screening done (optional), which we had the choice to pay either $300 via the clinic itself or $3k directly via the genetic company. Somehow I felt insulted they would even put that out there like that to begin with. Like, “Maybe the morons will choose the latter!”

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So my partner went in to do her blood work justifiably horrified, because she left like an addict with huge bruises on both arms for a week due to the nurse missing a vein. I felt terrible seeing how super bruised up her poor arms were. However, to their fairness my partner has never exactly been the easy one to draw blood from based on her self-admission. Her veins love her dearly and just like to keep the blood inside her, thank you very much. While myself, on the other hand- end up with the vampire nurses excited at how bright and “eager” my veins look and of course my veins have no problem in being drained dry.

My nurses when I walk into a room:

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We were able to schedule the required Injection Class (yes, fitting I know) the same day. After going into the room with our nurse, she had two large (dry) wetpads on the conference table. Without as much fanfare as guessing the phrase on the The Price Is Right, she said:

“OK, this is for [Partner Name 1 here].”

Then proceeded to gently open one of the (dry) wetpads and display the arsenal of syringes as if they were illegal. The sheer panic on our faces made her smile gently, while probably choking back a laugh and wishing she had her cell phone to make this viral. Guess it is one thing to actually do all of your reading and due diligence, and a completely different one to see a 1.5 inch syringe (which I have dubbed 1.5ver) made to go in my lower back muscle more than once.

On forth to the injection class. I was pretty impressed that I got it down pretty smoothly, my partner who struggled a bit with the syringe screwing portion looked up at me with an eyebrow raised and a face that said, ‘How the hell do you know how to do that so well’. Which, while I felt proud at my knack to get it down, then made me wonder myself if I sleep walked and should start checking my arms or something.

Actual Photo:

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I can’t lie. The first feeling was panic which slowly steadied itself, then as our nurse revealed the second (dry) wetpad with close to twice as much (although not with the 1.5ver) for my partner, I felt weak. Then a little bitter…then anger. Inside I was boiling, feeling upset that this all was so difficult because we were Lesbians: the process, the heterosexually-angled reading materials, the treatments, the medicines, and the health insurance expecting us to ‘try for one year and fail’ (only possible as a heterosexual couple) in order to qualify for something!

Then I took a breath.

At least, we have this.

While I am not exactly the epitome of what you would call a sheer optimist, in fact I can be quite the sarcastic a-hole…I have to admit that I may need to summon all of the emotions and direct them towards being thankful that things are not entirely limited by our current political/social environment and that we can at least have this opportunity, together. The opportunity to create a family with the one person I love and care about the most in the whole world.

My insurance has been helpful for the preliminary portion of this expedition, funding the co-pays and some sessions. In addition, covering two of my current medications. It is a start. We are still waiting word on that fertility financial aid application- ETA = end of this week.

Until then we’ll both be like:

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After the run-through of medicines with the nurse, she left in order to get some paperwork we required. Inclusive of my reminder that they never even did my CMV results- meaning, you guessed it- after work the next day I would have to go to the lab for another blood draw. Grumble. So, we’re waiting on that result.

My partner called me over and I nearly ran to the other side of the conference table, and we leaned on each other. Reflective. Worried. Casting our eyes over the (now wet) wetpad cemetery of discarded syringe wrappers and bottle caps.

“We’re going to have to make a will” -she said.

I laughed. Then remembered that no matter if we are going through this together, how lonely it may sometimes be without the support from family (since we have to keep it between us for now). I know she feels that as well, which is why I will always summon the most of myself to be there when she needs it, even when emotionally things get rough for me as well- especially during this expedition together. In successes and disappointments, I will be her comedic relief…and other half.

So whats next? CMV Outcome, Donor Search, and my first set of medicines (yep- the 1.5ver) for my Uterine Lining Test in about 6 days.

Prediction- Me to all the syringes at the end of this preliminary testing: f67cdgixmxzoa

 

TMI

Good news and Daily Dose of TMI:

[Warning, this will be a long post as so much has happened- grab some orange juice to keep your stamina up 🍹]

I was given the all normal as far as my hysterosalpingogram (HSG) was concerned on Saturday!

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As interested as you all are I’m sure- I will give you the fun facts as to how it went. So you are advised to take a painkiller half-hour prior to the procedure (which I don’t even think bothered to help at all), and sent to a specific location so they can pump iodine into your fallopian tubes. Why? Well, they want to ensure that there are no clogs or any fun obstacles to overcome when they try to make your baby-dreams come true. As the procedure didn’t take place in the same office that had conducted all the other tests, I was uneasy. This was in fact, justified. They were particularly cold and I really didn’t feel they were trying to make much of a report. Considering they were putting my legs on stirrups and way more above my head than I am used to, guess I expected a little more. They also didn’t let my partner come in to hold my hand. Clearly, I was someone who required her beautiful partner’s hand-holding while her fallopian tubes were being invaded. Yet nope. No mercy, she had to wait in the waiting room. Those scoundrels. We kissed, I brisk walked to catch up to the nurse because she must’ve had her Redbull today walking that damn fast. 😒

Luckily though, the doctor was pleasant. Asked me if I ever get menstrual cramps, I responded not really. Which I think threw off her whole, “Yea well this will hurt a little like that” calm the patient down spiel, because then she kind of stuttered. Then I perkily stated:

But I did get my Day Three Testing and Mock ET a few days ago!

To which she tilted her head ever so slightly, looked at her assistant, then looked back to me pitifully and responded:

Yea uh, this is going to hurt a little more than that.

Me: l4jz6pnksveub5xyc

She proceeded to saddle me up, push iodine through my fallopian tubes and yep- there was the cramp. Ugh. I started breathing deeply in and out in a pattern. It must’ve sounded like a horrible attempt at Lamaze (mental note to work on that). I made some comment about there should be a television on the ceiling. The doctor responded that she once went to a gynecologist who had a bunch of rings or heels on her ceiling. I nervous laughed a little, and it hurt. No more laughing. 🤐
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Beware: Facility Fee

We are supposed to be pretty much covered insurance-wise for these diagnostic tests and paying a co-pay which is rather minimal. So, upon initially approaching the front desk, the young lady asked me my name, and immediately asked for $300, we looked baffled. After all, our Financial Counselor financially counseled the hell out of us to understand that all diagnostics were covered. So I asked,

What is that for, I thought I only had a ‘–‘ co-pay?

Just as all the other diagnostics I have had conducted so far. Flatly she stated,

Facility Fee.  5kiwb9yp5pdx2

After the procedure, we emailed our baby-makin’ organization hook up with this information, and they then indicated it was an “Out-Patient Fee”. My partner and I were unaware that we had to pay the $300 to begin with, and this proved a bruise to our trusting-ego towards our baby-makin’ organization .On site, I wanted to call bull…poop to her face, but seeing as they were going to be using forceps and injection needles in the next few minutes inside of my vagina, I  thought the better of it. Upon Googling, “Facility Fee” a couple of articles come up which indicate that this is an underhanded action taken within the hospital business in order to additionally charge for services not necessary rendered, but to cover their “overhead” aka light bills, for example.  Bullpoop, basically. There seem to be certain cases in the courts to attempt creating legislation against this practice.

Point is. Get a flat out fee list from your Financial Counselor even before diagnostics and get it in writing. Or else you’ll be surprised that you are paying a building’s electric bill and the good Samaritan contribution not being able to be written off on your taxes. 😐

The Money Quest

My partner and I have taken it upon ourselves to apply for financial assistance via a program provided by our baby-makin’ organization. Considering the astronomical prices that are going to take a toll on both us and our quest, its pretty clear we need to do our best to prepare ourselves. We wrote a heartfelt letter along with the application, and hope that they like Latina lesbians. *fingers crossed* We find out the verdict in two weeks.

The Social Work Visit #LesbianBonding

On the task-list of things we need to do to attain a little human being is attend a Social Work consult this coming Saturday. This is probably one of the only appointments that I am looking forward to that doesn’t contain forceps. My partner and I will sit across from each other, eye-to-eye and talk about allllll the things we like and dislike about each other, and then they put gloves on us to have it out.

Kidding.

Honestly speaking, she kicks pretty hard and high anyway (thank you martial arts), she’d surely kick my ass.

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Basically, we will have an opportunity to chat with a specialist about the emotional dynamics of our expedition. She even gave us some reading to do and suggested we watch this show, Generation Cryo which talks about a child who is seeking out her biological siblings and father. Its a little awkward, but hey- it is pretty interesting. In addition, gave us some articles and books to read. I was proud to see on her book-list that my partner and I have actually already read two of them – BOOYAH.

IVF/IUI Module for…straight people?

My partner and I also finally got the luxury of having to take this IVF/IUI learning module, kind of like those sexual harassment and don’t hate on minority videos they make you watch at work. They explain a few things, then you have to take a quiz after every module.

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However, one little glitch. While the overall content was super interesting, it was clearly geared towards straight couples. We would roll our eyes here and there and I would internally cringe at the man putting a needle in the woman’s stomach or butt- and it wasn’t because of the needle.

Also, on the quizzes we got only one wrong out of MANY- but I blame that on the fact that we were too distracted by the sperm that didn’t look so alive as they sucked it up the little tube thing. Besides that, it took a little over an hour to watch, and so the champagne helped.

Next up? Social Work visit, Lawyers and an Injection Class…

Just when I thought the needles were done for awhile.

Who Cares?

You’ve Got a Friend in Me.
It’s pretty late at night, and I have my HSG pending in a few hours keeping me up.

One of the things I realized as the second half of a couple embarking on this IUI/IVF expedition, is that while as a couple you choose to embark privately- inside sometimes you just want a bullhorn. It’s a delicate balance: in disappointment you want your partner, in success you want your partner and the world 🌎.

I understand an outlet is going to be important, and believe to have found an unlikely ally in a specific Facebook Group and the private commenters on this blog of mine.

I have experienced the emotional value even as early on in this process as now- through the torture…uh…I mean tests.

A stranger from as far as Australia 🇦🇺 tells me that you got this, and you feel that- hell yea me and my boo got this! Then you think, “Bring it on!“, until your bare ass is hanging off a table > tons of liquid spewing from god knows where > you wobble to the car > then bed > and ultimately curl into the fetal position and almost start sucking your own thumb.

There is a connection between those of us who want this so badly, that we are willing to sacrifice what we can, and emotionally seclude ourselves to a certain extent- just to prepare our minds and brace for what comes, as it comes. Let’s face it, you don’t go into IUI or IVF, emotionally and financially invest the heck into it, and walk away. You are doing this because no matter the catheters, needles, tests, pain, horemones and sleepless nights, this matters to you.

You want to make tremendous memories and cultivate a long lasting bond. You want to hear the most genuine laugh and see the most angelic smile in the world everyday. You want to wake up at all hours of the night, to comfort your crying and exhausted… partner?

Wait a second.

Point is. We may have an idea of what we are signing up for during the preliminary phases of this expedition. Yet it will absolutely be the random trickle of:

Good luck! Breathe during HSG!

+

Take some Tylenol beforehand

+ my superhero partner: my rock, who will stand with me, holding my hand throughout every expletive (Spanish and English) I will probably utter

That will =

an expedition both anonymously enriching and privately truly profound.

Alright, HSG here we go.