Archive for October, 2008

I wish I had started a while ago, when A was in the hospital. Or even earlier, when my pregnancy started to get all scary.  Or while we were trying to conceive…. I suppose I could keep going back.  Blogging communities are such a unique place for support and story-sharing. A blog writer can be semi-anonymous; that is, anonymous enough to feel free to talk about personal things without taking many risks.

I suppose many, or even most, contemporary American babymakers get a lot of comfort and support from our mainstream contemporary American babymaking culture– the effect of which is so much stronger than I ever thought. I didn’t think I cared about it. It turns out it had infiltrated my subconscious, probably before I could even say “Barbie.” I have deviated from the norm: by being gay, by having a miscarriage, by having a difficult pregnancy, by having a preemie, by nearly dying in childbirth, and by having postpartum depression (along with a host of other postpartum acronyms; ah the bouquet: PPPTSD anyone? How about PPOCD? PPAD?)  As I interact with other moms who had babies around the same time I did, I feel like there stands between us many layers of my otherness. I still enjoy their company, as probably one day my baby will enjoy their babies’. But I am frequently reminded of my differentness, and the different circumstances that got us all our babies. At least I am white (like they all are) and speak English as a first language (as they all do); otherwise, it might be too much to bear. So, maybe by having some virtual/blogging friends who are gay, some who have preemies, some who have dealt with depression or a miscarriage, or difficulty getting pregnant– maybe I’ll have all my bases covered, with the cumulative effect of feeling less strange. That is my hope.

I started reading Alexa’s Flotsam blog first, at the suggestion of a dear friend. As someone who had never read a blog before, I found the similarities between my and Alexa’s stories totally incredible, as though stars had aligned to make this amazing connection. It turns out she has hundreds of readers all over the world who share a similar connection. She is an amazing writer, with the uncanny ability to describe the big and the small in the same paragraph, without either losing any sincerity. I would read her posts with mouth gaping, “Oh my god, that is exactly what A is doing this week!”  And I would read the comments her readers wrote– so caring and encouraging.  I clicked around, and soon came up with several blogs I was interested in enough to check on regularly. I’ve been doing all this online stuff while pumping, so every night I’d see how people were doing.

I started to see a trend among the women whose stories I’d learned:  When it came to babymaking, they didn’t have it easy, one way or another. They didn’t have it normal. Sometimes it seems like the world could be divided into two groups: those who had babymaking easy-peasy, and those that had it world-crashingly difficult. I know that there’s a vast gray area between the two, even amongst the blogs I read. But still, the difference is there.

My sister-in-law didn’t have to miss a single day of work her entire pregnancy, “might have been a little queasy one day,” carried past-term, was in labor for 2 hours, and pushed for 20 minutes.  Whatever.

I’m glad you all are out there. And I’m glad I finally got the gumption to add my story to the mix.

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A Big Day for Sweet Potatoes

Today our big boy stuffed himself with glorious orange mush.

We had tried rice cereal several times, the latest of which resulted in A pursing his lips in a pout: “No spoon shall pass these lips.”   That was how today’s session started too, until I coerced the spoon into his mouth and he got a reluctant taste.  A few tastes later and he had wrestled the spoon away from me and was shoving it into his mouth himself, making the near-growling noises he sometimes makes while nursing. I come from a very food-driven family, so this is so exciting for me. I can’t wait to make him food.  Yet today after the sweet potatoes,  I think he and I both wanted to make sure that nursing was still our thing. And even after eating half the jar he still nursed a full five minutes. My heart breathed a sigh of relief;  I’m still savoring breastfeeding since it took so long to work for us.

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From the very beginning our babymaking story wasn’t the one I had seen repeated in movies, TV shows, books, friends’ lives.  Collectively, these stories fused into a myth; I think we all know it:  Woman and Man have sex (presumably wild). Next month, woman runs from her desk job to vomit. Surprised but excited when the pee-test is positive, she tells the man who is also surprised but excited. She has a bit of morning sickness for approximately one episode, beyond which she is gloriously pregnant. She carries to term, but labor still comes as a comic, nervous surprise. She barely makes it to the hospital when out the baby pops!  Wipes brow and breastfeeds, etc.  The conception of this mythical baby happened in a blip, one spectacular moment. I suppose technically ours did too, though our Conception Story stretches from  October 2006 – August 2007.

October 2006 is when I decided it would be a Good Idea to take myself off my anti-depressants so that I might gracefully escort my unmedicated–and therefore more perfect–self into the romantic arena of babymaking.  (This ended up being Not A Good Idea.)  I was actively charting, with temperature-taking and ovulation-stick-peeing and cervix-feeling.

We were also figuring out where the necessary, and missing, ingredient of SPERM was going to come from.

That December, we confirmed that K would be our donor. He is a friend of W’s (Wife o’ mine) from undergrad, who now lives in Portland. Not too close and not to far from us in Seattle. We knew we really liked him, that he was a good person. He was the kind of person we could imagine doing this with: trustworthy, kind, thoughtful, gay, and seemingly in possession of good genes. We didn’t have the details completely worked out regarding how involved he would be in the baby’s life.  It wasn’t entirely clear to us how involved he wanted to be. We did make it clear, though, that he would not be the Dad; rather, this baby would have two Moms. We hoped he would want to be involved as a close Uncle. What we were asking of him was a completely selfless and huge gift. Being the type of person he is, he agreed.

Come ovulation time in January 2007, K visited us for a weekend for our first try at this. This process was more funny, awkward, and intimate than any of us could have imagined. We left the apartment while he did his thing, into a pink plastic tea cup. Then he left while we did our thing with a large needless syringe. Two weeks later, we discovered I hadn’t gotten pregnant.

For Februrary’s attempt, we went down to Portland and stayed nearly a week in a B & B, waiting for me to ovulate. These varied nights featured egg whites; a collective venture to a tupperware store for a better “collection” container; a spilled “sample”; what sounded like date-rapeish sex going on next door (very upsetting); and the three of us eating Ben & Jerry’s on the bed watching a movie afterwards.

Two weeks later, the pee stick had a big + !   The universe is showering us with kisses.  Are we really worthy?

One week later, the test at the doctor’s office was negative. I had miscarried. Heartbroken. It had been too good to be true.

This whole time I had been pretty deep in depression and anxiety. Realizing I couldn’t go on like this, I decided the imperfect me was allowed to get pregnant after all, and went back on anti-depressants. I tried several that were supposedly more pregnancy friendly, which had awful side effects and didn’t help. Finally I ended up with the one I had started with.

We took a break, and tried again in August. No charting, just a feeling that it was the right time. We went down to Portland just for the day. The whole process had gotten more familiar and a little less weird for the three of us; plus, it was so great to not be depressed and trying to start a new life at the same time. I have to say, I felt like we’d done it, like it had worked.

A week later, I was nauseus. One day I went swimming at this really beautiful park. I was walking back to the car, and looked up at this tree.

That’s when I knew I was pregnant. I burst into tears (of joy, of course) and sobbed my way back to the car.

A week later, the test was positive. We get this this time.

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