I love the way that R chose to begin this blog. Both of those poems mean so much to us and are so illustrative of our relationship. I, too, believe that this process (like our relationship) has always existed. I can’t really remember what it was to be without R in the world. One thing, though, that you will come to know about me is that I’m a tad bit chronology-obsessed. Anytime R needs to know when a particular event happened from any point in her life, she shoots me a look and I dutifully fill in the requisite date, locale, etc. She’s not really a chronology kind of lady. So, here I am, screwing up her plans for ethereal origins…
My wife, R, and I met in 2007. We spent the remainder of the year coming together, falling in love, and making a plan. We were both women committed to the idea of building a family, but at first we had slightly different definitions. R wanted around six children, just a whole mess of kids from all over the place. I, on the other hand, wanted at most two. The idea being that we could each have the experience of carrying once.
R’s father is older than our other parents, and as a young boy he was adopted during the Great Depression. There are aspects both sad and noble to that story, but it wrote a narrative about adoption for R, so that became a very important part of her definition of family, and mine by extension. We found compromise pretty early on in our relationship. We would each attempt to carry once (R is four years older than me, so she would try first). Then we would adopt at least once, while staying very open to the possibility of adopting siblings. Accounting for the possibility of multiples, that puts our family at between three and five kids. A happy medium for all involved.
Along with a deep love, unwavering honesty, and a new spiritual awakening, our desire for family is the bedrock upon which our relationship has been built. We were engaged in October of 2008 and then married in December of 2009. Our spiritual home recognizes same-sex marriage, so we were married under their care here in our home state. Our home state, however, does not recognize same-sex marriage, so we were legally married in Massachusetts on our honeymoon. As we are both currently graduate teaching fellows, we plan on moving around a bit before settling into our “final home.” Hopefully, by then, laws and minds will have continued to change.
We began serious family planning in the summer of 2009, but quickly learned that R would need some medical intervention having to do with her reproductive health before we got the green light to try. While we weren’t planning to begin inseminations until after our wedding, these medical procedures pushed our starting date back until the summer of 2010. We are happy to report, though, that R has had an awesome bill of health for the last seven months, so we’ve been given a 100% green light for TTC (trying-to-conceive).
There will probably be more in-depth talk on this blog about our process of choosing a donor (known v. unknown, willing-to-be-known v. anonymous, etc), so for now I’ll give the briefest of explanations. There are two donors that we adore. They are from two different banks (one very expensive, one much more reasonably priced), and their motility is pretty disparate (one somewhat low, one very high). It would seem like the most obvious choice to stick exclusively with the less-expensive, high-motility donor, but, due to his popularity, he’s not always available each month. Plus, there are things that we like more about our “less potent” guy. He’s a willing-to-be-known donor and we’ve had access to a lot more information about him. At this point, our plan is to always try to use “potent” donor, but on months when he is unavailable we’ll use our well-liked donor as back-up. After all, it only takes the one sperm, right?
Our first try was last month during R’s July cycle. We did two ICI’s at-home using the less-motile donor. It was an amazing experience. There’s something about the comfort of trying in your home together that creates such a sense of intimacy and empowerment. We were a little disappointed with our post-thaw numbers (45% motility; Quality 3 rating; total of 45 million motile sperm for the whole cycle). I’m not saying that those are bad numbers just that his stuff is very expensive, so I think we were hoping for something stellar! I’ll let R blog about what it was like for her during that first TWW (two-week-wait), but let’s just say that we really thought that she must be pregnant (and then she really wasn’t). We were sad for a few days, but in our hearts we never thought that we would get pregnant right out of the gate.
As for this month’s cycle, we are currently in it. We are using our “potent” donor this month. His washed, post-thaw numbers are amazing (65% motility; Quality 3+-4 rating; 76 million motile sperm for the whole cycle)! We had our first IUI with our nurse practitioner, JK (who we adore), yesterday, which went really well. R was a trooper. She had some cramping while we put the catheter in, but no real cramping to speak of post-insem. JK let me guide and depress the catheter, and she let me look at a sample under the microscope. That was very satisfying. I came back in and did an interpretive dance for R illustrating how motile our sperm were. You’ll come to know through this blog that I’ll dance over just about anything! We’re still a little unsure about timing this cycle, as our digital OPK (ovulation predictor kit) hasn’t popped yet, but JK told us that since we had three of the four indicators (midpains and fertile mucus at the cycle’s mid-point), that we should go for it. We have another vial that we’ll use at home (probably today) assuming that the OPK test peaks this morning. Then it’ll be off to another TWW we go!