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.
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:
- 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.
- Spreadsheets, lots and lots of spreadsheets.
- 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.
- We had to deal with that flipping Financial Counselor.
- That Finan…OK. Sorry.
- 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!).
- Needles. Yes, her injection situation was different. Yet, I can probably say ours turns out to be a little more painful.
- 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.
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.
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?!
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.
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.
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.
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.