We’re not pregnant. Again.
R and I are intelligent, rational, capable women. We both have graduate educations and a range of diverse life experiences. We’re people who are often able to think our way through situations with relative ease. I guess maybe we thought that getting pregnant would be like any obstacle we had encountered before. That we would set our goal, work our butts off, and achieve success.
I believe that we were sorely mistaken.
Sure, we had read all of the literature about conception (specifically, lesbian conception). We knew that it took most women six to twelve months (on average) to get pregnant using donor sperm. We knew that R being in her 30’s might slow us down a bit. We knew that there were no guarantees. But all the knowing in the world didn’t seem to translate into actual acceptance of the statistics, and into patience. I think that all of this is compounded by the fact that we had a year of tests, procedures, and surgery in order for R to get the green light to start trying. So even though we’ve only had three insemination cycles, we’ve been micro-managing our anxiety around R’s body for the last fourteen months. Fun.
We’re also not very laid back people. I think for a while we both thought that state of mind should be an objective. We saw “laid-backedness” modeled around us, but we couldn’t quite mellow out to that extent. I, for one, have concluded that mellow is not my raison d’être. I am an intensely passionate person. I have a quick temper and a lot of opinions. While I’ve learned to translate and direct that anger into healthier outlets than when I was young, I don’t see that fire going out anytime soon. While her personality manifests quite differently from mine, R is also very intense. It’s one of the things I most love about her, and I think that some of that passion was captured in her previous post about her recent bout with homophobia-induced anger.
All of this is to say that I know we should be laid back about trying-to-conceive. I know that we should trust in the process, in R’s body, and in the fact that billions of women have done this before us. But each month when we haven’t been pregnant, we’ve taken time to readjust our approach. It’s like the process of landing a skydiving jump (though R will hate that analogy). You have to make all of these minute changes to compensate for the way things actually are, not just what you thought they were going to be. Our nurse practitioner, JK, thinks that we aren’t patient enough with the process; she thinks that we should be prepared to try for months without introducing any new variables. And while I’m sure that she has very valid points, we don’t have the financial reserves to try this indefinitely. What if one tweak here or there can save us thousands of dollars (and negative pregnancy tests) in the long-run? In my numbers oriented mind, it seems like a rational approach. We maximize benefits while reducing costs overall. Win/Win, right?
Well I had a long conversation with JK today. We’ve been feeling an instinct that R’s luteal phase (and perhaps progesterone levels) aren’t ideal. The Doctor who runs our sperm bank has recommended from the outset that we consider progesterone, but our NP has been very discouraging in that regard. We finally decided that it was important enough to get the Progesterone that we would push her on it a bit. She pushed back today. It’s not that she can’t sympathize with where we’re coming from. She is also a lesbian mom, so she knows better than most our subject-position. But she is one of those laid-back types, and it seems that she’s judgmental of/frustrated by our urgency. This past week we’ve been in touch with several local fertility clinics (there’s one that’s close, which we can get into within a couple of weeks, and then there’s one that is further and can’t see us until December…we really like the second, this is typical for us). We have some appointments on the books, but it looks like we’ll be doing this fourth cycle with JK again. We’re okay with it, though. We’re going to be using some topical progesterone, which is a compromise that we can live with.
This is a very unique time in my life. There are a number of things that are in flux for me right now. I’ll finish my current graduate degree in the Spring, but it will be another year before I start my law degree. I’m attempting to find full-time adjunct work in the department where I currently teach, but (given funding cuts) there are no guarantees. I’m also in a bit of a spiritual shift. I’ve been a participant in a very organized (though not overtly religious) organization for the last decade or so. Said organization has been a very guiding principle up until recent years when it stopped being as commensurate with my personal and political philosophies. Letting go of that narrative and trying to establish newer resources in its stead is proving to be a more difficult undertaking than I at first imagined. The “more difficult” part seems to be a running theme this year. It’s worth it, though, as this life is beyond any beauty I could have imagined.
In other news, it seems that the Air Force may want R back via its backdoor draft program (the inactive ready reserves). R was in for eight years, but has been out for the last five+. The government put a lot of money into the security clearance and special training that she holds, so I’m guessing they want their money’s worth. Ironically, this is transpiring the week that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy underwent a federal injunction, so our safety valve is a bit loose in this situation. Neither of us have any desire for her to go back in, so we’ll fight it no matter what. It’s certainly one more reason (albeit low on the list) why being pregnant would be highly advantageous for us. Even if they now might deploy a married lesbian, they certainly have no interest in deploying a pregnant, married lesbian.
I guess we’ll just be waiting to see how it all goes down…