Archive for February, 2009

no news

except to say that my timing is like clockwork, which is heartening. and I’m truly enjoying the process. so, in 15 days, another chapter…


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Monday afternoon my ovulation stick turned. Sort of. It was a different brand than the past five months and I was checking it every time I sat on the toilet, so I certainly would have known if I got a solid Yes. I started feeling like a 3am driver seeing tracers on the side of the road, staring intently at this little strip of cardboard like it might have something more to say beyond Slightly Purplish Line.

Whatever. It was proof enough and by now my cervix and I were buddies, mano a mano. 24 hours after I took my first vial of sperm into my own hands, I called the midwife to schedule a second Meeting of the Gametes.

I asked her if it seemed like a good time. Or when might be a good time. “What do you think?” she asked. Um. I had some opinions. But it seemed to me she’d done this a few hundred times more than I . Oddly, we continued this passive dance of ambiguity until finally settling on a late night visit.

And I just have to say, after countless lengthy, useful conversations with the multiple goddesses at the sperm bank, this deflection approach was disorienting. It’s clear that women who offer IUI at your beck and call know what they’re doing. But I got the sense after a series of meandering, confusing conversations that woo woo was fuzzing the corners of their expertise and plain common sense. This didn’t diminish as events unfolded…

At 10pm a midwife showed up at the door. I’d been sort of fretting, never having had a health practitioner come to me like this. Very Little House on the Prairie. I wondered if I’d feel the same way delivering at home and relished not being bent over in pain. There were definite perks: I got to wear my sheepskin slippers and flannel moon jammies. I had a reason to clean up around the kitchen. I could stay pretty much horizontal for the next 8 hours.

So we gathered around Tank, let another wave of cool frostiness out and pulled the second vial out of its restraints. I carefully set it on the counter to thaw, just as the instructions I’d read 30 times told me to do.

“Oh no, don’t leave them there!” she cried “These little guys are going to get you pregnant! Hold them close.” An unusual thing to be chastised about. I worried I’d warm them unevenly but did as I was told, clutching the frosty tube in my oven mitt.

We perched on my bed and proceeded to fill out paperwork. She asked me if I knew when I’d ovulated. I described the Illusion of the Second Purple Stripe on the most recent ovulation stick and the most recent cervical facial expressions all to the best of my ability. Didn’t seem to be quite what she was looking for.

“Have you had any twinges, any feelings of the follicle erupting? What does your intuition tell you?” I wracked my brain for more words, incorporating a show of hand-waving in an attempt to satisfy her unquenchable hunger for woo woo. “I can convince myself of nearly anything,” I confessed, “so it’s hard to say really.”

“Ah, but you see, you touched your left side there as you were talking – you’re probably ovulating from there, and you felt something.” She seemed pleased with herself. I was too amazed to record exactly what she said. Because it was gas pains. I’d been farting all night and was trying to be a gracious host and it hurt. I changed the subject.

Fortunately the Little Guys Who Are Going To Get Me Pregnant were thawed by now so we got down to business. And she was good at her job. However, woo woo failed again, I can’t help but report. Apparently there are a couple of gates in the entry process: the first door of the cervix and then a second one (who knew?!). The second one wasn’t cooperating. She asked me to visualize it opening. I did. It didn’t. Still hurt in a discomfiting but far away kind of way. Then she suggested I push down on my lower belly, the uterus shifted, the tube went through.

Physics wins. Again.

So now I wait another week and see if it took and if it didn’t, I get another visit to the Twilight Zone. Meanwhile, I’m on the lookout for once this kid takes root: if anyone knows of a midwife with a sense of humor and a healthy dose of irreverance, don’t hesitate to send me her name.

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We met on Saturday morning, 11:00 sharp. Our first date. I was told to be exactly on time – not early, not late – and to find the hidden buzzer next to the coffee shop. I’ve been through my share of obstacle courses, I was well prepared. A woman met me on the second floor. Silent. Entirely alone in a conference room filled with chairs. I sat at the head of the table and filled out a bright yellow form while she went into the back room to prepare… Tank. There it was. Not quite as hefty as I’d been led to expect, but I appreciated the shiny silver handle and rugged appearance. #25. Made in the USA, just the way I like it.

She donned leopard-print gloves and removed the cap… a chunk of steaming nitrogen came with it. At least, that’s what I assume it was. It made that nice chalky sound as she lifted the lid, and inside the tank was nearly empty, save for a silver ladle that she pulled up to reveal a plastic strip gripping two frosty little vials with yellow cap. Hi Van!! I was told to verbally confirm that these were indeed of the donor I’d chosen and I did verbally confirm, an activity that deeply satisfied the obsessive-compulsive gnome crouched in my spleen.

Then I wracked my brain for questions and got her to produce three more party favors: a plastic speculum (I never did have much luck with my metal torture device from the Castro); a needle-less syringe; a plastic tie to keep Tank’s raucous lid from popping off during the ride home. Then I asked her if I could go to the farmer’s market. She said yes, I could. Tank would be okay in the car.

So I walked two blocks back to my car with Tank, wondering if anyone had the slightest clue what I was carrying and feeling extremely self-sufficient. I carefully snugged Tank into the trunk, waving off parking vultures, and trolled the market for dinner, worrying a little about the chunk of fresh tuna but resolving that fish is important, mercury be damned.

We drove home.

Tank was still upright when I pulled into the driveway (our first success) so we celebrated by hanging out in the yard for a little bit. Once in the house, the current residents got close and personal right away.

getting acquainted

getting acquainted

fast friends

fast friends

I was going to photograph the tiny vial snugged onto the plastic carrier and the ladle and whatnot, but frankly it was a little scary yanking one out while worrying about leaving the other one without enough nitrogen vapor to make it through the night. So it’ll remain a mystery.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. So I waited for Signs of Ovulation and other woo woo factors. I’d just finished proclaiming over the phone to the nurse who intends to help me with my second insemination – the intra-uterine one – that I have no ethereal signs of any sort. And then proceeded to concentrate for the next 48 hours on divining said signs.

Turns out the good ol’ cervix came to my rescue again. If you’re trying to get pregnant this way and want to know more, send me a note. I don’t want to completely gross out my casual readers. Suffice it to say that there weren’t signs, and then there were. And it was all about juggling the mirror and a massive MagLite and angling the speculum down to an absurd degree to finally see what the hell was going on in there. Interesting thing is, those little sticks I like to pee on weren’t giving me the thumbs up. But the books kept saying “*sigh* everyone inseminates too late” so I decided to ignore the feeling that all my woo woo factors (the “intuition” that was pushing me to do it NOW) were just a soup of impatience and panic, donned a pair of kitchen gloves and pulled out Vial #1.

immaculate preconception

immaculate preconception

Seems this extremely prolific sample (with 45% motility, a stat he could easily win manly bar bets with) was gathered a year ago December. So now I’m wondering, does that mean a kid conceived from this is going to be half Virgo, half Scorpio? That’ll be a fun puzzle to toss to the astrology nuts in my midst.

Okay, so it thaws. On the kitchen counter. All tiny and huge attention whore all at the same time. Can’t stop peering at it. I check the clock and prepare the bed with Pillows for a Heightened Pelvis and put on a little Astral Weeks to drown out the cats tangling themselves in the window blinds.

I lie down and finish warming it up in my armpit, as instructed (they could make me contrive a rain dance and build a scaffold of string cheese by this point). Draw it up in the syringe *SLURP*. And despite what everyone says, .5cc’s is plenty. I even managed to spill a little while pulling the damned syringe out. Yes, Virginia, there is a learning curve.

Sparing you details again. The long and short of it is, I lay there until I really had to pee. And I felt a weird sense of accomplishment and mild anticipation for the rest of the day. I’m currently entertaining myself by peeing on an ovulation stick every single time I sit on the toilet. Thankfully I found a cheap source of sticks, so it’s not nearly as expensive as a crack habit or a night out at the movies.

Vial #2 awaits, nitrogen slowly diminishing, while Tank valiantly holds court in the kitchen. I’m waiting for my predictor kit to turn and tell me I’m actually ovulating before calling the nurse and having a second highly-reportable experience…

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