Monday, December 15, 2008

One More Reason to Start Soon

I recently applied for a job in California. I lived in California for 11 years before moving to the East Coast for a job. I *really* miss California; I have many close friends there; in many ways I feel like it is my true home, even though I grew up in the Midwest. I also have real issues with the state I live in now, (read: insurance laws, insemination laws, corrupt government, you name it!) and would love to live somewhere more progressive. And prettier.

But it's been such a quandry, because the job and move, if I got it (and I think I am a good contender) would cut right into the whole "schedule." It was crazy for me not to apply, because I want to end up in CA, and I work in such a ridiculously specialized field that this is one of TWO jobs in the Bay Area that I would ever take.

Not to mention selling my condo right now would be a niiiightmare.

Plus, I checked, and the institution doesn't give maternity benefits until a year of employment. That would be a major problem if I arrived pregnant. (But they also provide up to 1/2 funding for an adoption--pretty amazing!) I've found that good policies for gay couples usually = good policies for SMCs, as well.

I know, I'm putting the cart way before the horse but if I am anything, it's a planner. It's a compulsion of mine that I consider absolutely every eventuality of a situation.

So I think this has been quietly weighing on my decision of when to begin. Well,...they contacted me today to say that they had to suspend the search due to budget cuts. They told me that I am definitely in contention but that it may be a year or two before they re-open. This is GOOD news! [read: financial crisis over (?); baby in hand (knock on wood)].

What this means is, no more dawdling for heaven's sake! Get going with the pregnancy, I say to myself! (And to my cat. He agrees).

I'm looking at Feb. for my first cycle. I am brimming with expectation!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

They Might be ... Adorable

After reading MeAndBaby's The Reason we do This, I couldn't resist posting this adorable video of my 3 year old nephew singing to a They Might Be Giants song. He actually says "aforementioned" (with a smile). You gotta love how he rocks out and sways. At the end he says something about his "banjo." Oh. Oh. OH. Precious!

I can't wait to see him at Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Se.gue of My Discontent

I don't understand. Men. The 3rd time around guy...oy vay.

Poor man. He's 43, SO NOT a boy (although he really truly does want to be a boy I think); he seemed to like me (or at least did when he asked me out for the 3rd go-around). But he can't seem to do anything that an actual relationship would require. Like talking. Like actually seeing each other. Like sharing any little bit of himself. Like having any enthusiasm whatsoever. This has been the most joyless 3 weeks of dating I've ever had. And let me add, we've only seen eachother 3 times in 3 weeks.

I ask, is it worth wasting my time for another minute? The answer, ladies, is no. I just want to know why. Why did he contact me to go out again? Why?

Such a distraction. I was reading this from My DIY Baby and realized how much this little se.gue fits into the typical story (how funny)! I guess I'm in the panic-don't-really-wanna-to-do-this-alone stage that is somewhat inevitable. Making bad choices about trying YET AGAIN with a completely uninteresting and unworthy man is definitely a part of the process.

So I'm getting back to business. I've been tracking my cycles since going off the pill in September and everything seems to be pretty good! Horrible, horrible cramps, as usual, but I finally found some medication that works for that after several tries.

BTW, anyone read this article in the NYT about adolescent girls with horrible cramps? The quote I love best from one of the doctors is "The pain is real." Wha? Like hysterical women have been faking the pain for all these centuries? (I think the doctor needed to convince himself--and thank goodness there is now scientific proof!) I also love the statistic: "20-90% of female adolescents have severe menstrual cramping." Uh, that's a really big window. Can we flesh that out a bit more? The thing I've always felt about women's health is there are SO MANY unanswered questions that seem to get very little attention by the medical establishment. C.ia.lis? Sure--men can have ere.cti.ons any time they want with a daily pill, but a teenager with bad cramps has trouble having a doctor take her seriously. Oish.

I don't have anything against the medical establishment, really: I just think there needs to be more research focused on women's health issues that many of us live with--chronically, daily--and just endure. I love that it was a big frigging "news flash" in the NYT that girls have cramps! And they're real! It's just a symptom of how behind we are on women's health: can you imagine an article "Men have e.r.ectile dysfunction: really!" in this day and age?

(Yes, I'm being dramatic--it's actually a good article, and the more coverage the better. But still. The whole topic just gets my ire up).

I guess I'm on a rant today. And, clearly, PMS-ing!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Update: my cat caught the mouse! I am filled with pride at the awesome powers of Charlie the cat, and yet horrified at the presence of said mouse. Are there more?

He wasn't dead. I put him in a bag, carried him downstairs, and dumped him in the back yard. Was that stupid? Will he be dumb enough to return?

Poor little guy.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I'm going on a third date with third-time-around guy. We'll call him 3ta. This is they guy who I dated twice for short periods of time over the past year and a half or so. So I guess it's really not our 3rd date; it's 3 of 3. I need a mathematician (or statistician?) to help me figure it out.

We have chemistry, and it hasn't gone away. I think I'm learning that the uncomfortable silences and long periods with no communication that drove me away before were not lack of interest, but probably, 1) extreme loner-ness, (verging on the antisocial) on his part, 2) uptightness. Yea, this cute guy, covered with tattoos, a designer, into snowboarding, you'd think he'd be Mr. Carefree. Ah, no. Can't relax. I feel like he's just not very comfortable with himself; always trying to play the cool dude. But all this is tempered with indications that he's a really sweet guy. Who I happen to find quite attractive.

My past is littered with relationships with EXTREMELY emotive men. The type who cry. And throw fits. And talk... extensively... about their feelings. I know, it's a rare animal, but somehow I found those guys. flash...none of those relationships worked out. The last attempt in particular was with such the Mr. Emotional that we spent the large part of the relationship responding to his needs. At first it seemed exciting; but after a few years, I think we forgot about me a little bit. I love emotions, don't get me wrong. But it's about finding matching emotional needs. Maybe I've been looking for the wrong type for me.

Not that being with an uptight, closed type of guy is the remedy (if only it were that simple)! But maybe I should stick it out a little bit longer and see if he can loosen up a bit.

And he has a really cute butt. We went bowling. Ample time for watching the butt in complete innocence. Oh, dear. That means he was watching my butt, too.

And....drum roll for the most original insight of the day.... it never gets any easier, does it?

On another note, I think there's a mouse in my house. My kitty is absolutely obsessed with the goings-on underneath my oven. Eek!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Anna Maria

This is an engraved self-portrait by a Dutch woman from 1633. Her name was Anna Maria van Schurman. Very few women were artists in the 17th century, so it's unique. Not only was she a rare female artist, but she engraved a self-portrait, something that would have been printed in multiple and seen by many. She was an intellectual; she argued for the advancement of the education of women.

What I love about this portrait of a remarkable woman is how forthright it is about who she is, or who she wants to be in the eyes of the world. It's so confident. And it just speaks to me in such a timeless way.

I think a lot about the ladies who came before me and I have a special regard for those like Anna Maria who became who they wanted to be against great odds. Of course she must have felt hesitant sometimes, but she kept her eye on the larger prize of self fulfillment. She must have felt irreversibly driven toward being as true to herself as possible.

I want to say thank you to my very thoughtful readers: it's amazing to be listened to, and to have complete strangers offer advice (really useful and poignant advice) as if I am a close friend. Here's to the Anna Maria in all of us!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A post after 1/4 bottle of wine and some rum

I haven't posted in a bit. I guess I'm all over the place. This blog should be a place where I can voice anything, right? Anything! I feel as if I wouldn't be this far along in my ttc journey WITHOUT this blog. And then here I am feeling strange and guilty about expressing hesitations.

I know that many of my readers have made very difficult decisions and are going through SO MUCH to have a child. So I guess it feels strange to post about not being sure whether this is the right decision for me. I want to say it has nothing to do with my desire to have children. God, no. But where I hesitate, ladies, is that I still haven't .... still...have...not....been able to convince myself that it's ok if it doesn't happen without a partner. I might admit that some recessive part of me thought that writing about it, planning it, would somehow make "him" appear. There is this part of me that is still in disbelief that I am alone at this point. Disbelief. And there's anger, too. I can't help it. I am still angry at my last boyfriend. Fuck.

I am reading a book by bell hooks called "all about love." She is a feminist writer who has written profoundly in this and other books about the absence of love in many of our lives. She is a major proponent of love being something you consciously decide to give, rather than something that you "fall into." God, maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot by reading these things, but it certainly makes me feel as if I have let a lot of opportunities pass me by. I feel a lot of regrets.

I have also been so wrapped up in work, and it has been so rewarding. I realize how rewarding my life is at the moment in so many ways. I think about how being alone works so well for me.

Here's what gets me, often. I have to admit that one of my major hesitations is leaving my child in daycare, something that would be unavoidable in my situation. I picture myself again and again taking my 6 week old child to some stranger for 8 hours a day and just wanting to die. I feel like I need to be in a situation where that's not my ONLY option. It hurts me to even think about it.

The thing about a blog is that we come to have a connection with our readers; I feel badly expressing my doubts because I know so many courageous women have taken the plunge and the last thing they need is some lady to say how scared she is about it. I think I will come 'round. Birthday number 38 on March 3 may be just the nudge I need.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What I'm Getting Myself Into

I've had one of these weeks where I've thought very little about ttc. I think the last month of decision-making and thinking has been so overwhelming that psychologically I just needed a break.

Part of it was that last weekend I had a talk with my mom, who happened to have spent a few days last week with my big brother (lawyer brother, the one helping me with the kd contract). Of course I pried her a bit and asked "What did you two talk about, hmmm??" She admitted that they had discussed my plans, and then she said "He's worried. He made me worry."

Ummm. About what, mom? Is it the legal stuff, or other stuff?

"He just thinks you might not know what you're getting yourself into."

Oh. My. God. Is that not the most annoying thing to say? And frankly, to think? Not only is it condescending, but here's the REALLY ridiculous (not to mention ironic) thing: my big brother and his wife have made the decision NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN. Their decision is completely off limits to all family (no one is allowed to discuss it with them). Being a prying sister, I did have one discussion with my brother about it and he admitted, "I'm just scared; I don't know if I'd be a good father; I don't want to 'give up our life' for something that scares me so much."

This is the man saying he "worries I don't know what I'm getting myself into." Of course he worries!! HE doesn't know what I'm getting myself into! (and, apparently, has always been too scared to find out)! So you see why that statement is doubly annoying.

For God's sake. This is what I get for involving family at this early stage. Luckily, when I pointed out how ridiculous it was for him to say that, my mom said, "Oh. You're right. I feel better now." Poor woman.

But the rub of it is that I spent all weekend thinking maybe he was right! Grr. Family.

So I took the week off from thinking somehow. I went out two evenings and stayed out too late (once with the man from the last post...more later!). I worked my ass off. I made fun plans for the weekend.

And now, I feel ready again. Onward. Onward. Onward.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Past Re-Emerges

So there is a guy in town who I dated on two separate occasions. By which I mean that we dated for about a month, broke up, and then dated again for about a month about 3 months after that (confused yet..?) I broke it off the second time; the first time was more complicated.

I have definitely wondered if I broke it off with him prematurely. You see, since "the big break up" 5 years ago I have been unusually quick to dismiss relationships. I tell myself that if there is anything that doesn't feel exactly right--any red flags whatsoever--I need to end things. This is an obvious offshoot of past experience, when I continued for years in a situation that didn't feel so great. And then it ended very painfully.

Anyway, I haven't seen this guy for a year (or even talked to him) and then last Friday night while I was out with some friends, there he was. Cute as ever. Nice as ever.

We talked for awhile. My friends told me we were both "glowing" and that it was a sight to behold. He spilled some beer on my suede shoes and was appropriately horrified (good sign). And yesterday, there it was in my inbox: an email from him suggesting that we should get together for a drink. I decided why not. One more try. Last year he had recently ended a long-term relationship so, I think, maybe he's more open to intimacy now (in a nutshell, that was the problem before). Hm. Right decision? I have no idea.

It's funny how dating seems like a distraction from the baby-making process, rather than a step toward it! Seriously. I am so convinced that doing this alone is my path; the thought of waiting to see if it will happen with a partner at this point seems ludicrous.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Big Bro Brings out the Big Guns

Thanks for your supportive words regarding my last post. Unfortunately I am still struggling with doubts, although now of a type more practical and less irrational.

I had a 2 hour conversation with my lawyer big brother about the known donor contract the other night. He is taking it very seriously and researching everything as best he can. He can't answer every possible eventuality however, since laws in this area have yet to be written (and let's hope my life isn't the one that will write them!)

But the talk did bring up some tough issues. I know my brother is trying to be the best advocate that he can be and also, in a combined lawyer-ly and brotherly sense, make sure I have thought everything through to the nth degree. I appreciate this! Using a known donor is indeed beyond complicated. But it's also tiring to concentrate on every future eventuality. Part of this has to be a leap of faith, doesn't it?

First, he thinks I should go even further than the recommended tests on my donor. He thinks I should be testing numerous genetic diseases as much as possible. He says how would I handle it if my child is born with a terrible condition and I could have known this beforehand? He's probably right. But where does it stop?

Secondly, he worries about my using a midwife, or anything non MD, for the insemination. I kind of chalk this up to a general suspicion of people working outside of established medical channels (this actually goes back hundreds of years)! I shouldn't place much stock in his opinion here, since the procedure is relatively simple. But ok--it did make me pause. He is my big brother and his opinions affect me.

Finally, he is worried about me financially (and I think he was "allowed" to bring this up with me because there is a clause in the contract about my financial fitness). He told me a story about an SMC he knows who was forced to leave her job to find something more flexible. Yea, that happens. But in my case I have a flexible job already. I think his major concern is that I haven't adequately considered just how difficult it might be. Maybe he feels he has to speak to me about it to get it off his own conscience.

I'm not giving up. Just waylaid in details at the moment.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On the Couch

Here's the post where my blog acts somewhat like therapy. I'm going to talk about some things that keep me up at night and that in past times I may have only shared with a professional. Since I don't want to spend the dough on that right now, here goes.

My anxieties seems to revolve around the stress of being the sole caregiver to my future child. Here are the things that run through my head (and that seem much scarier at 3 a.m.)

1. What if something happens to me? My child is 50% more likely to be left parent-less than with a 2-parent family. I worry about my child being left without me. Somehow planning for life insurance and custodial rights doesn't seem to banish this fear. Part of me feels guilty for subjecting my future child to this possibility.

2. Last night I woke up thinking of my future baby with colic, or with a cold or flu in the middle of the night, and the loneliness and fear of that moment. I even had a kind of vision of me standing by my window trying to comfort her/him. Those are the moments I think will be the hardest.

3. What if somewhere in there I am Mommy Dearest? Ok, this is really irrational, and surely brought on by the showing of that film last Friday evening on the WE network. There is no reason to fear in any way that I would be such a horrible, hurtful, mean mother as Mommy Dearest. Really. I don't want to scare anyone out there. I am a true devotee of wire hangers and even use those horrible dry cleaner hangers with the sticky rolls on them on a regular basis. Wouldn't be caught dead scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees with bleach. I'm going to file this under the "will I be a good mother???" "will my child love me?" anxiety.

[btw, sometimes I feel like tv is channeling into my brain; in addition to Mommy Dearest, did anyone catch the episode of House a couple weeks ago where the single woman Doc (name?) was trying to adopt a child and the child died? I thought the actress did a good job showing the hesitation of dealing with the biological mother--not wanting to seem too controlling but also hugely vulnerable to the bio mom's decisions. Ug. Part of me was happy this story line found its way onto network tv but the other part of me was hugely distressed while watching it.]

I think I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Six Steps Forward

First I just want to say that the last two days have been amazing...I am so proud to live in America. The stories on the news about people and their reactions to Obama's success keep me constantly teary-eyed.

So I've been researching and researching and listening to other bloggers and reading and here are the things that seem really pertinent to my situation at the moment:

1. I need to get a signed contract with my PKD before we ttc.

This is in the works. I am the lucky sister of a brilliant law professor. I hadn't talked to him about my situation until last week, when I decided it was time to get him involved with the legal side of things. He was shocked, but immediately open and supportive. He told me he thought I would be a wonderful mother. Such a good thing to hear. He also told me that we need to get the legal thing pinned down. He has now sent my sample contract out to numerous colleagues who he hopes will comment on it. I will be more than happy to share the results with the SMC community. Did I say I love my older brother? He is a sweet guy.

2. Trying home insems may lead to months of frustration

Yea, I'm aware of this, and at my age, every month counts. So, I started to look into how I could move on to IUIs, but with LIVE UNQUARANTINED SPERM rather than the frozen stuff, and found that

3. This isn't possible in Rhode Island

Yea, the FDA has a problem with this. However, there are some states (like NY, CA, MA, go figure) where live unquarantined sperm can be used from a directed donor, so...

4. Lucky me, I live next to one of the most liberal states in the union, Massachusetts!

In Massachusetts, it turns out, midwives can perform IUIs. They wash the sperm and then do the procedure for the SMALLEST PERCENTAGE of what it would cost me at the RE, with the added benefit of being a fresh specimen.

How cool is that?

5. I currently have an inquiry in to a MA midwife.

6. This is going to work. I am psyched. Knocking on wood here.

Please don't burst my bubble. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

FDA Approved

Today I had a follow-up with my RE. I left feeling ashamed. He didn't mean to shame me; it's just that I brought up the idea of "home inseminations," which apparently is a big taboo. He stopped me right there and said we couldn't even discuss it, that it was against the law for him to give me any advice! Maybe I should've known that. But it was so abrupt and then it felt like we couldn't recover from it. I think he wanted to get me out of his office as soon as possible after that.

I feel kind of embarrassed by the whole thing. It's funny that if I was a "normal" patient (ie: married and ttc the old fashioned way), I'm sure they could discuss regular sexual practices but anything using donor sperm that doesn't go through the correct FDA channels is a big no-no. I guess it's a don't ask-don't tell situation from now on. Fine. I just wanted his advice anyway. Whether or not he approves of the situation doesn't concern me. What's most important is that I'm confident in my donor (who has been tested for absolutely everyting btw)!

It's just ironic that when a woman really really wants to have a child (as opposed to just accidentally getting pregnant with a man who may not be "FDA approved"), the red tape appears...

A friend of mine suggested using a midwife at home; apparently in Massachusetts midwives are allowed to do home IUI's. They clean the sperm and everything right there. I have a feeling it is not possible in my state (RI). If anyone has knowledge about this, please let me know.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Color!

A break from the drama to look toward the sky! This amazing maple in front of my neighbor's (bright blue) house blows my mind. It wasn't even sunny when I took the shot. You should see it when there's sun behind it! Heavenly!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Waiting to ttc

My readers really keep me going on this quest...I am taking the advice of reading through a donor agreement with PKD. Hopefully if anything feels uncomfortable for him he will discuss it with me.

If all goes well, I will start ttc in March! It seems ages away, but I have to wait. I need to pay off two big bills (and I'm taking an extra teaching gig to do it). Plus I need to be just slightly practical because I have a huge career event next September, in the works for 3 years, for which my organizing skills are I can't really be on leave for that....Anyway, March, March March! The month of my 38th birthday. Gosh. Maybe I'll move it up to February!

And...I've decided to try home inseminations first. I'm not sure how many months to give myself but probably 3 to 6 before I turn to IUI. Anyone have any stories of success from home insems? Wouldn't it be a dream to keep it simple?

Babies babies babies. They are in my dreams. Two this week. Except in one of the dreams, the baby wasn't mine and for some reason it was a melancholy dream. In the other one, she was mine...and it was joyous.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Just a quick update. Since going off the pill I've had a roller coaster month...the beginning was euphoric, and the last few days have been absolutely miserable. I am coping. I managed to go to NYC for my dear friend's opening at a gallery in Chelsea. It was such a wonderful evening--he was ecstatic--and I'm so glad I could make it.

I stayed with PKD while in NY, who is moving from the category of "potential known donor" to "probable known donor." The visit was ESSENTIAL and cleared up a lot of complications and worries (it's amazing how important one-on-one face time can be). Firstly, we did away with the possibility of a romance between us. Our romantic weekend this past summer was an experiment--perhaps a necessary one--but a bad one nonetheless, one that took both of us out of our comfort zones. I really do love him, but much more like a brother. He admitted the same fraternal (or sisterly?) feelings.

He also told me that his willingness to be my donor has nothing to do with his own aspirations to have children. In fact, he admitted that he HAS no aspirations to have a family of his own, or a wife. Part of me is sad for him, because I think that derives from a difficult childhood and a father who abandoned the family. But it's also just one more indicator that he and I could never be more than friends (since obviously, I want the family). The lightbulb went on in my head when I asked him, "Well, if we WERE by some chance to be together as a couple, would you want children?" His answer was no. I therefore cannot ever, ever regret the lack of a romantic relationship between us since obviously it would never work for me (or for that matter, him)!

He also wanted me to know that he just wants to HELP me, because he cares for me. He doesn't need to be known to the child until I deem it necessary. He will sign anything. It was all pretty amazing, and I find myself somewhat in awe of his generosity and not wanting to question it. However, I am definitely open to outside opinions on the matter!

More soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Disparate Musings

Thank you to everyone who wrote me with support. I am not surprised, now that I've had time to reflect, that I responded in that dramatic way to the HSG. I should have known to tell the doctor my history of vasovagal fainting, but I definitely just put the whole thing out of my mind. At least now we (me and the doctor) know to be extra vigilant for future procedures.

The RE has said that I don't need to go through the HSG again unless I really insist (obviously I am not dying to try again). He says that given my history, as well as my laparoscopic surgery that revealed no endometrium on my tubes 5 years ago, the chances of my tubes being blocked are slim. He thinks I should go ahead and try a few IUI treatments (3, he said), and then if those don't take, do the HSG. I am inclined to go with him on this just because I'm leary of the HSG. My one hestitation is of course spending money on 3 months of treatments without being sure that everything is in working order. It's a tough call!

I am going to spend the weekend with my PKD next weekend in Brooklyn. There has already been a little bit of drama here---too much to even explain---let's just say it's complicated. Complicated is the operative word here. I am starting to think that the only way things will work out with this particular PKD is if we somehow end up together. Which is weird. Because after all, who would ever recommend coming at a partnership from this angle, now really? I am fully aware of the perilous territory I'm entering...

In the meantime, had an amazing talk with my mother, who must be winning the award for most supportive mother in the world...she is actually encouraging me to use anonymous (open identity) sperm! It was great to talk through the pros and cons with her, and it makes me realize I need to TALK about all these things more with people I love. It really helps. The blog is wonderful but it's not like having a conversation and seeing and hearing people's reactions to the things I'm struggling with.

In other thoughts, I've been moved by some of the amazingly supportive gestures taking place on the blogosphere amongst fellow SMC bloggers and Infertility bloggers (Dora, this means you!). There is amazing compassion out there.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Apparently, I'm one of the "sensitive" ones

The tests were traumatic. And I'm not being dramatic. In fact, the HSG never even happened. Don't read any more if you are squeamish...

I've always been a fainter, let's just start there. When I experience intense pain, my natural reaction is to pass out. This has happened throughout my life, and it's even been diagnosed as "vasovagal" fainting. The vasovagal nerve is the one that, if ultra sensitive like mine, sends currents directly to the heart and brain in reaction to pain, bringing unconsciousness. Let's just say if I lived in Victorian England and had to wear tight stays in my dress, I'd be the lady in the corner with the smelling salts.

I got through the sonogram fine (only one fibroid, and "tiny!"). When the Dr. went to put the catheter in my cervix to start the HSG, things got ugly. It was painful, yelpingly owingly surprisingly painful.** Within about 20 seconds, I heard myself saying... "I'm not feeling so well...." Next thing I know, I am waking up, or rather, not waking (those of you who have passed out before know the very odd in-between moment when you have NO FRIGGIN idea where you are, who you are, or even that you are). There were about 8--maybe more--people surrounding me, several trying to coax me out of unconsciousness with gentle "you're ok-s", the rest madly calling for the ER doctor, taking my pulse, or putting cold packs on my head.

Then the questions started. But I was in no position to answer them. I could not move for the nausea. My heart rate was down to 40, they told me later, and I looked like a corpse. But it didn't stop there! All of a sudden my uterus decided to cramp, like the tightest fist you can imagine, and the pain returned. It was ugly. I was limp as a rag and yet writhing in pain (the two things are not congruous). They put in an IV. They moved me to the ER. They did EKGs, blood tests. All that. The cramp lasted for about AN HOUR. "On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is your pain?" Speaking felt like running a marathon, but I managed to say "10." I didn't want to live in that pain. In 45 minutes it was a 6. By 60 minutes, I was completely back to normal. No abnormalities, no issues with blood or heart. Just, as they wrote on my discharge form, "Common fainting/cramping." Within 2 hours, I was walking out of there.

Besides being completely traumatized, I am now faced with the decision of having to reschedule this test. Next time, A FRIEND IS COMING WITH ME (my good friend was horrified that I hadn't asked her to go, but I really didn't think it was a big deal)! I'm scared.

I'm actually fine now (no residual anything). I even went to work in the afternoon! Crazy. I am not worried about the episode itself, since I know what caused it and similar things have happened before. But I am worried I won't be able to tolerate such procedures that will someday make me pregnant.

**I'm wondering if the catheter should've hurt that much! I really like my doctor, but this was the 2nd time he inserted it because the balloon had failed to inflate on the first attempt. The second time was the killer.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tests Tomorrow

I have my HSG and SHG scheduled for tomorrow morning... I am a bit anxious, of course. I keep telling myself there is nothing to be worried about (heh). Will update tomorrow after the tests...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

PKD on the Rocks?

Weird week.

For one thing, I'm off the pill for the first time in many, many years. I've lost 4 lbs without even trying (and I'm eating everything! I made my famous "tamale pie" all for myself and have eaten if for every meal since Wednesday!); I have what I would call "increased sex drive;" and, I have the energy of the Energiz*r bunny. My friend Mary tells me that my testosterone, which is apparently suppressed on the pill, is makes me wonder if I have been deadening all of the important hormonal impulses that would lead me to finding a partner for the last 5 years. But let's not go there...

I had a long talk with PKD and things are getting a bit complicated. I am sad to write this, but I'm not sure things are going to work out with this donor. Turns out there may be too many residual feelings between us. I don't think it's a problem for him, but I can just see myself, having a child and then yearning for a father for that child and then slowly, slowly, becoming resentful toward this man who didn't want to be with me as a partner, but sure didn't have any problem inseminating me. Do you know what I mean? And I ask that question to the universe and to cyberspace knowing that only I can answer it. I am going to visit him in a couple of weeks (he lives in Brooklyn) to have the big talk.

One of the complications that came up, very quickly I might add, is that PKD started to date someone and within a few dates told her all about "our" plans. He was distressed to learn that she was uncomfortable with it. He said that it made him think about his future dating life. OK, I can respect that (I have no choice but to respect it). But I can't help but reflect on our first conversation, when we talked about "forging a new kind of family relationship"...4 dates with a woman and it's all out the window?

I can't help but be a little pissed off of course (and here's where the dangerous residual emotional ties come in). But I have to remember that when I first asked him, he did say yes AWFULLY quickly. I was suspicious of that, and knew it was too good to be true. To his credit, he seems to have been thinking about things A LOT.

The next step? Go visit, have the big talk, try to figure out if the emotional ties are too treacherous. Then (and here I guess I am already moving on in my mind) start to look at anonymous sperm donation.

If I can spin this in a positive light, his initial willingness to be a donor allowed me to move forward, mentally, with the whole process. It became more real for me. I actually did things like research day-care, figure out my finances, talk to other parents, talk to friends, talk to family. So in this way, I feel more able to go ahead with things even with an anonymous donor.

There is ONE MORE man who I would love to ask to be a donor. This would be a much safer bet, since he is a gay man. Wonderful, smart, talented (a recognized artist), kind, perhaps the most interesting person I've ever met. Tall, with beautiful long fingers. I am fixated on his fingers. Anyway....I don't know if I can bring myself to ask him.

Friday, October 3, 2008

So THAT'S where they all are!

Last week, I had to be at work on a Saturday (we had a big opening event for a new building in our arts complex). There I was, walking through the galleries and everywhere I looked were COMPLETELY AGE APPROPRIATE MEN, good looking, interested, happy. Of course, in front of every single one of them was a stroller, next to which was a good looking, interested, happy wife. This shouldn't come as a surprise, that ALL of my peers are now living a life completely separate from the one I know. It's funny, though, because I never SEE these people! I guess they're all at home with the family! I go out, I try to meet people, and I'm always saying to myself, "this town just doesn't have any appropriate men for me." I had no idea they actually existed but they are all extremely, inextricably, totally, ultimately TAKEN.

And it hurt. I know in my soul, in my depths (dramatic, but true) that I am supposed to be there too. In my heart, I am one of them. But I'm not.

I guess I'm not as non-traditional as I thought.

I'm not going to go to work on Saturdays anymore. I prefer to live in ignorant bliss.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Grams and Pops

Grams and Pops---those are the names that my nephews call my parents.

During my parents' visit last week, we didn't really have much time together. They visited during the week and I couldn't take any time off. I did manage to fit in a talk with my mom after my dad went to bed. I've talked to her about having a child on my own before, but not with so much conviction. She is somewhat scared for me, I think. She has a tendency to focus on the practicalities, almost to a fault. She is most worried about the financials (probably with good reason). Still, I didn't want to talk about all that. I just wanted her to say she supports me, that she will love her grandchild with all her heart no matter how she or he is conceived. I think she finally got that--I felt very comforted after the talk.

So of course my mother told my dad the next day while I was at work. They tried to bring it up at a nice restaurant the next night (I put them off). My mom kept pushing my dad to say something to me (she thinks I don't notice those large-eyed 'say something'! looks she gives him). He did say that he loves me and supports me. I said, thank you--that's all I need right now.

But I must say it was so sweet, when I returned home from work the day they left, they had left me a card. It said, "Live your Dreams!" And then my mom wrote, "Looking forward to much happiness in your life---Love, Grams and Pops." I sobbed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

PKD, Discussion 2

I had another really good talk with PKD (potential known donor) last night. I thought maybe after our first conversation he would have second thoughts, come to his senses...whatever you might call it. Well, he's still very positive about it. I was able to bring myself to ask him what he would want out of the whole thing, or what his expectations might be as regards the child. He said that it's hard to think past the first couple of years, but that his overriding thought is that he would like to help. We still need to define what "help" means, obviously (taking it one step at a time..)! He said that it would be very hard, impossible, for him to have no contact with the child. I'm glad he said that. I want my child to know who his father is. We just need to come to a mutually-comfortable agreement. As I said him last night, I feel that as long as I / we are comfortable with the situation, the child will be comfortable with the situation.

One thing that we still need to work through is how or why our brief romantic relationship (of July!) ended, or more accurately, didn't go anywhere. I think it's important that we are both on the same page, and that there are no lingering desires to be romantically involved. The feelings that we have for each other are quite complex, but I think we both realize we aren't cut out for a partnership. More to explore there...

Finally, I had my 5th date with James on Thursday night. I didn't break up with him but I did feel (and I venture, indicate physically) that things are over between us. I'm sure he is surprised, since the first 3 dates were so wonderful, but it really just hit me on date 4 that it wasn't working for me. I could try to explain why, but it would sound too much like a Seinfeld episode.

My parents are coming for a visit tomorrow for 3 days. This is a crazy time for them to be here. So much going on in my head. I'm worried about conflicts (I have a history of that with my father). My mom and I are close and can talk about anything, but not the case with my dad. I feel that I need to talk to him about where I am going. I really need his support. But I am worried that my dad will be uncomfortable and say something painful and difficult that will replay in my mind again and again. For this reason, my inclination is to hold off on the group discussion and just wait until my mom and I have some time will be hard, though.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My First Appointment!

I went to my first consult with an RE today. I really liked the doctor, and the clinic seemed wonderful. I was very pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they made me feel about being a single mom wanna-be (basically this consisted of not flinching when I told them my status). I could feel that it was a bit unusual for them (the nurse kept saying "your partner" and then apologetically correcting herself). What I like about the doctor is that he clearly looks upon me as a fascinating new case or problem that he wants to figure out and solve. I like that analytical approach.

The only weird thing is that the nurse asked me if I am gay. I thought that was a bit irrelevant.

And I got what I think is some good news, although I shouldn't get my hopes up. I showed the doctor some LOVELY pictures I have of my innards, taken during my laparoscopy in 2002. The pics show my uterus and fallopian tubes in all their glory. He explained to me (as my surgeon never did!) that in 2002 none of the endometrium had implanted on either my uterus or my tubes (only on the cavity walls and intestines). He said my tubes looked "beautiful." Of course the pictures are from 5 years ago, and who knows what's going on inside those tubes, but hey, I'll take whatever encouragement I can get.

I am going off the pill and I will be scheduling an HSG and SHG in the next cycle, plus blood work. I had no idea they could estimate how many eggs we have (or did I understand that wrong)? My insurance will cover these tests since the diagnosis is still "endometriosis." So that's good. Despite the lecture the Doc gave me about how "old" my eggs are, my chances for birth defects and miscarriages, and all that good stuff, I feel positive. I am pretty sure I never would've had the courage to make this first appointment if not for the blogging community, so thank you thank you.

I haven't spoken to Matthew again since last Friday night; I think I'm going to make a trip to Brooklyn so that we can talk in person.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I was having a bad day yesterday. Work was bad. Work is usually my one really good, consistently rewarding thing, so when it sucks, all of the other depressing things in my life also come into high relief.

I got home after a long day of feeling unappreciated and inadequate, found a small little bottle (like, airplane small) of "dark chocolate vodka" in the freezer, and plopped in front of the tv. Next thing I knew, I was calling Ex Number 2 (Matthew). We are very close. We tried the romance this summer, and it was as if neither of us had it in us. We talked about that. I told him that, romantically, I feel like a cardboard cut-out of myself. [Case in point: James. Things are totally stagnating with that, and I know it's about me].

At the same time Matthew and I care deeply for one another, but I wouldn't describe it, exactly, as romantic love. We talked about that. Next thing I knew, through tears, I was telling him that "I am going to have a child--I mean, no, I'm not pregnant NOW, but I am working toward that." He just kept saying WOW; not a shocking, that's bad, but WOW, that's big, Jo. But he was so supportive, so wonderfully supportive.

Next thing I know (thank you, chocolate vodka!), I am asking him if he would consider donating sperm to my cause!

It got more intense from there, as you can imagine. He said yes.

I said, no, you need to THINK about this; we both need to THINK about this EXTENSIVELY, like for a couple of months, hashing through all the pros and cons, and how it would work. Writing down questions, asking them, figuring it out. This is not a relationship, at least not a traditional one, it's something different, and we need to define that.

I was elated after the phone call. But this is serious--talk-to-a-therapist-stuff, isn't it? Part of me has been wanting this for months (well, actually, I have been thinking about Matthew in this role for a couple of years), but how do I assess, logically, if this is the best choice? There are so many questions to answer.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Knocking Myself Up

Things have gotten wacky at work, as they tend to do this time of year. Isn't it amazing how, within days, that ole' stress can return? I think to myself "oh, yea, THIS. I remember this." Somehow I totally partitioned it off all summer. I guess I'm good at compartmentalizing.

I finally got the book, "Knock Yourself Up..." in the mail, and I stayed up until 1:00 last night voraciously devouring it. Then I awoke at 5:00 just thinking and yearning. Then, on my way to work all I could think about was my baby--the feeling of having him in my body, the extremely amazing joy of breathing in her smell when she is born. Oh, god. It was hard to switch it off when I got to work. One of these days I'm going to blurt out something horribly inappropriate to a coworker, with tears in my eyes.

One of the things that the book is helping me to grapple with is the idea of donor sperm. I do have hesitations about it. The major one, not surprisingly, is the consequences it might have for my child's identity (or his grappling with his identity). I just picture the average 15 year old and her angst and struggle at trying to know who she is. Many women more eloquent than I have written about this issue before. But god, it's a doozy, isn't it? I am also still just--uncomfortable--with the idea in general. Just not sure yet where I am with it.

One of the best sections in the book is about the advantages of single parenting. It's really the most honest assessment that I've ever seen. Basically, it's arguing that for some women, single parenting can actually be easier. I must say, that resonated STRONGLY with me. The reason being...that the relationships, well, they have always been so hard and honestly, unhappy for me. Of course there is always the blissful love phase, but the rest is mostly characterized by conflict, and pain. [I can't tell you how many times someone has said to me "When you meet the right one, it won't be that way." It's kind of like the ole' "When you stop trying (to conceive) it will just happen," which seems to be the most common sentiment expressed to those ttc.] Hmm.

So yea. Going it alone seems to fit who I am, however I may not have planned it this way, visualized it this way, or even imagined it. I must say--never ever ever did I imagine myself using donor sperm. Wow. But, perhaps I am slowly coming to terms with the possibility that that this is where I am supposed to be.

brief update: 4th date with James; I'm afraid the sizzle is dying, but then, I don't even know, anymore, what my criteria's all messed up.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

State Mandates... and an Appointment

I made an appointment with the local repro endocrinology clinic! I am proud of myself.

I had a good talk with my OB/GYN, who seemed as if she was expecting this call from me (or at least that's how she played it--I appreciated it).

So I started to look into my insurance seriously, made a few calls. And it turns out that the situation is even worse than I expected. My insurance is actually willing to cover treatments for infertility (i.e. insemination); but my LOVELY LITTLE NORTHEASTERN STATE imposes mandates that completely void my insurance. Firstly (and the only one that really matters here), is that I must be married to receive this coverage. The 2nd mandate (I love this) is that a married couple must have been trying for a year--unsuccessfully--in order to receive insurance coverage for infertility. I'm assuming doctors all over just fudge that one. I mean how many couples notify their doctor the day they start trying? Give me a break.

So, yea. There will be no insurance coverage for me. None.

Not sure what these mandates are supposed to be doing, but my suspicions are that in my very Catholic, very tiny state, our very conservative governor is worried about unmarried females (read: gay females?) trying to have children without a living breathing male in the room. Forget unmarried straight females--that's just wrong.

I'm very curious if this is only the case in my state, because I would seriously consider moving. I live close enough to a border that it wouldn't be a big deal. I would love to see this issue in the media...but really, what politician is going to want to broach THIS subject? I don't see it happening.

I'm going to see how things go at the clinic and go from there. I think all this information is just going to be helpful to me as I consider my best path...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Making That Appointment

Talk about setting the mind to work. The confluence of a new romance, as well as more and more information from my fellow bloggers (thanks everyone), has really got me to thinking. I had a great talk with my mom the other night. She is so darn supportive. Love that woman.

One of the things that has been suggested is that I need to visit my doctor, pronto, and get a fertility test. I guess at the very least that will alleviate any questions I might have about being able to have a child. Who knows what the current state of the ole' system might be.

I guess I have reason to worry, and it's been a bit of a mental barrier for action. For those of you who may have missed it in my previous post, I have endometriosis. As horrible as it is, I do think it is a relatively mild case based on what I know of the experiences of other women. I can basically control the horrible pain with birth control pills. What that means is that I've been on the pill since I was about 19. I had laparoscopic surgery when I was 32. It shouldn't come as a suprise that before then, I hadn't been diagnosed with endometriosis, even though I had been fainting with pain and having "fits" since age 16. One doctor put me on anti-depressants. Another told me I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome--one of the great catch-alls for female "issues." When they finally diagnosed me accurately, I was in surgery within 2 weeks.

Anyway, during the surgery, they removed endometria mostly from the exterior of the uterus and the intestines. No mention of the fallopian tubes being involved. So I guess I am still hopeful? Aren't we all? Should I be?

Yet all the more reason to get tested. I suppose I have feared taking the first step, just asking my darn OB/GYN for the test. I did bring up the fact that I was a thinking SMC within the last year. She is a great doctor and very cool, but I could tell that even she was a bit taken aback. Perhaps she's never worked with an SMC before. Perhaps I'm reading into it. Anyway, last time I had my regular appointment, I guess I was just having a bad day. I couldn't bring myself to talk to her or to ask for any of the information I really wanted (the tears were already swelling up, so I just couldn't go there). I left that appointment feeling depressed and it lasted for awhile.

I need to do this. I'm scared, because going off the pill involves really bad pain. It will definitely affect my sex life (4th date with James on Saturday btw).

But time, it is a-wastin'. Check in soon. I will have made that appointment. I will.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Things Get Complicated

Who would've thunk that the moment I begin to get serious about having a child, not to mention begin a blog on the subject, I meet someone.

I suppose many people would say it's fate. The ole' "just when you give up, stop worrying, that's when it will happen." I never thought my life really worked that way though.

Let's back up. I've only been on 3 dates with James. But oh, they have been good dates. There is at the very least boyfriend potential here. Almost certain boyfriend-dom. And I have been single for 5 years. F-I-V-E . Y-E-A-R-S.

Still, there's no point getting ahead of myself here. As I've said in many a post, I need to be serious about having a child now, since life is uncertain, especially when it comes to men. Let me rephrase that. MY life is very, very uncertain when it comes to men.

And honestly, it's very hard to pursue both things at the same time. How would most men take the information that I'm going through artificial insemination in order to have a child? Sounds like kind of a deal breaker to me.

Things get complicated.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Straight Man in my Life

I am not used to hanging out with straight men.

Seriously, this is true. I work in a job in the arts, where out of 60 employees in my institution, there are only a handful of men. Even the director is a woman. Most of our meetings consist of all women; the 2 male colleagues of mine with whom I work with frequently are gay. I have developed most of my close friends through work, and guess what: they're all females, or gay.

This is a very rarefied world. What's fantastic about it, is that at work, there are NO sexual politics. Zero. In fact, being a mostly-female institution makes it feel incredibly sane and supportive. The other thing that is conspicuously lacking at work is...practical joking. I didn't even know this existed at other work places until I dated a guy about a year ago who was telling me constantly about the funny things his colleagues did to one another's cubicles. I kept asking him what he meant: grown men? Putting v*seline on someone's phone? You're kidding, right? He also told me that there was a long "runway" that everyone in the office had to walk down when they entered the office. Everyone could see it from their cubicles, so they would rate one another's outfits (male or female). Very "Mad Men" if you know what I mean.

Of course, sweeping generalization here, but practical joking is just so....male.

And, because most of my close friends are women or gay men, I am so used to exuding, emoting, and connecting when I have conversations. So much so that, when a conversation doesn't go that way I feel somehow disappointed.

And then there's all that traditional guy stuff: sports? yea, right. Computer geekdom? not so much. People who don't take pride (or spend hours and hours thinking about) decorating their home, or their wardrobe? Or gardening? Do they exist? One of my closest friends is actually....the only male member of the Northeastern African Violet Society. And a fiercely talented artist. And an avid Jane Austen fan. I love him.

So, you see what I mean.

Which is all an introduction to say that I had a wonderful 2nd date last night with the guy I will call James. Being an academic, he and I have tons to talk about. We easily navigated topics like politics, family, prejudice, growing older, being lazy, being vulnerable. It was pretty great. And yet I found myself saying, what's going on here? He's so unemotional!! Oh, and he brought up football. A shock to my delicately guarded sensibilities.

A real, straight man. How exciting.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Days...and a Date

This is hard this week...for blogging. I am staying home from work to write an essay that will be published, and it's taking up all of my mental not to mention writing energy. So I am preoccupied. And tired. I've written 30 pages of the essay since Monday. On the other hand, during my downtime I've been reading a lot of blogs by some pretty amazing women. It's so encouraging to see SMBC actually in the midst of pregnancies ! Definitely a fantasy that I still can't imagine actually happening to me, yet.

And. I feel extremely, well, HAPPY this week. Maybe it's that I like being away from the office and setting my own schedule. Maybe I'm just happy, because I feel like, recently, I've been confronting things and taking action (finally). Heck, why analyze? I'll just go with it.

One bit of news is that I have a second date with the promising young man I mentioned a few posts ago. Well, he's not that young. He's my age. And a professor. And really sweet. We're going out on Friday. I need to give myself a pedicure and make sure I've done some laundry. Oh, yea. I better go throw a load in the washing machine---I need my black shirt! My wardrobe repertoire for dates consists of two outfits. I haven't been on a third date with anyone for a long time. Here's to hoping that I need to come up with a "third date outfit!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Being Childless is My Fault, Right?

I read a blog post yesterday, and one that will remain anonymous, but it was another ALI blogger. I was really hurt by something she wrote. I wondered why I was taking it so personally when I read it. When I woke up this morning still thinking about it I thought: better get this off my chest.

She wrote that most people are under the misconception that going without children is a choice. She said that for her it isn't a choice. It's not as if, after all, she put off trying to conceive, got a Master's degree, went to Europe.

Guess what? I put off trying to conceive (or rather, my failed relationships put it off for me). I got a PhD. I went to Europe. The latter two things may very well have contributed to my failed relationships. But I still don't think this puts me in the category of "choosing" to go childless.

If there's one thing I've learned in the last 5 or so years, we can only plan our lives so much. We can want many things, but that doesn't mean we'll get them. Perhaps one of the points of being on this planet is trying to find happiness whether or not things go as planned.

This is a very supportive community and I know the last thing my fellow blogger would've ever wanted to do would be to shame another ALI blogger. I know that her post was about her own personal experience and had nothing whatsoever to do with me. Obviously, it just hit the "shame" button and also made me wonder if people who know nothing about me will think that my childless state is a choice that I should just live with.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Baby Names Or, Putting the Cart before the Horse

Today, I looked on the website where they have a great list of baby names.

Kind of like picking out a wedding cake before the second date. Or while you're still completely single.

But I do these things to myself. Yes, I do.

Apparently, the two categories of names that appeal to me most are "Classic Cool," and "Vintage-y." I like names for girls like Elinor (from Jane Austen!), Violet (just sweet), and Nora (vintage, cool). But if I adopted a child from abroad I would take into consideration her roots and pick a name from that culture (or an anglicized version). For boys, I tend toward the more traditional, early-20th century names. I like the name Gilbert. Gil is a cute nickname. The Social Security website is fun, because it gives the most popular names by decade--fascinating! I love that the 20s was all about Gladys, Ethel, and Beulah--will those names ever come back?

Yea, so. One of the things the woman at the adoption agency asked me, and that I wasn't entirely ready to answer, was whether I would want to adopt a girl, or a boy. Apparently the vast majority of adoptive parents want a girl. She also told me that, barring China, most countries have more boys available than girls. When I asked her why, she said that people, apparently internationally, consider girls easier to raise. I wonder if this has something to do with economics, as well: girls are seen as contributing to the running of the household and staying close to home. Hmm.

Obviously were I to have a child on my own, I wouldn't have a choice, so it's a bit weird to choose. I have two young nephews, so I see how precious little boys can be. Still, and here it is, if I'm going to have only one child I suppose I hope for a girl.

Can't quite explain it. I don't think it's about it being "easier" to raise a girl. It's probably about duplicating the relationship I have with my mother, which is extremely wonderful. We are really best friends, but not in an icky she's-trying-to-be-my-age way. More like soul mates.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Which is the better choice for me?

This evening, I attended an information workshop at a local agency specializing in international adoption. I was the only person to show up at the workshop. Turned out to be a good thing. The presenter was also a single mother (although much older than I and not by choice), and we had an interesting talk.

It's great to get more information on the process. I was so excited, just sitting there thinking about the fact that I could start tomorrow, and have a child within a year.

And that's the thing. When considering having my own child through artificial insemination, vs. pursuing an adoption, I am really torn. If finances weren't an issue at all, I suppose I would choose insemination (although even as I write this I still have reservations about wanting to go through that difficult process). But the truth is that finances are an issue--a big one.

Here's how I see it as a logical, practical human being. Adoption is a sure thing. Yes, I will spend upwards of $25,000, but in the end, I will have a child. The one thing I have learned from reading other women's blogs is that even IVF is not a sure thing. 10s of thousands of dollars can be spent on the process and the end result may still be: no baby.

It sounds like such a commercial transaction when I put it that way! But I guess it's the reality.

Here's the other thing that is affecting my decision. I have endometriosis, one of the primary causes of female infertility. I've never had any fertility tests done, so I could be perfectly fine. I just have a gut (or uterine) feeling that I will have difficulty conceiving.

Either way, I'm going to have to start saving money, and I mean seriously. What I'm thinking--and this plan might completely change--is that I give myself 3 to 5 years to save the money. In the meantime, I try some of the less expensive modes of insemination, which would include, I suppose, home insem (via sperm bank, or dare I say Ex Number 2), and perhaps ICI or IUI. Am I skipping anything? I need to learn more about all this stuff. To the blogs!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Too much information?

Wow, I'm feeling really overwhelmed.

I checked out many of the great blogs on the blogroll, mentioned in my previous posts. I am blown away by the things women are going through (particulary, IVF) in order to have children.

Yet now, as I sit here with a pit in my stomach, I don't know if it's helpful. I'm still at the early, optimistic stage of things. It seems as if that's where everyone started. But now, so many of them have been trying for years. One woman had even sold her home and was living with her family in order to fund her fertility treatments.

It makes me wonder if I am up for all this. Maybe it's BETTER to go into it somewhat blind. Who says knowledge is power? How about ignorance is bliss!? I think it's important that I begin this journey with as much optimism as possible.

Obviously, this new-found community could be very helpful to me, as well. I just need to ease into things.


Following up on my last post, I received a great response from sprouts about a fantastic blogroll with tons of links to blogs by women going through similar experiences. I can't wait to check all these out. Thanks sprouts!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Shame of the Biological Clock

I've been thinking about the fact that there seem to be very few forums for women like me--single, professional women beyond the age of 35 who want to have children--even online. I have yet to find another blog about this subject (please correct me if I am wrong).

I've noticed, for instance, that it is perfectly acceptable to go on ad nauseum about dating and finding the perfect match. Apparently our culture condones this. However, very few women can bring themselves to acknowledge (at least publicly) that "the" relationship may not happen within the necessary time frame for a family.

I started looking into whether there was any press on this issue and it is all but ignored in the American press. In the UK, however, it's all over the place! Recently, there was legislation passed in the UK allowing single women to get insurance coverage for IVF (see this Times article). The London newspapers have also featured a number of articles about the phenomenon of single women who want to conceive by themselves.

Are we just behind the Brits? I can't believe this concern is any less prevalent among American singles (something confirmed just within my own group of friends). Is it too divisive a subject to broach in America? Were it to come up from the underground, would it become another cause célèbre for the Christian right (and there is reason to fear this, since single women are often conflated with lesbian couples in the press and legislation surrounding this issue)?

But more importantly, why aren't women TALKING about this on blogs, etc.? Perhaps acknowledging it is akin to giving up on finding "the" relationship (even though I do not agree with that).

My experience is that there is shame surrounding this issue. There is embarrassment about being "unsuccessful" at finding a partner (or not wanting to find a partner). There is shame about taking the biological clock seriously (not just joking about it).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ex Number 2

I need to keep focused. That great first date from last weekend (see Maybe It's not ALL that I want) was only a first date, after all, and Ex Number 1 lives in California (whereas I am in the Northeast). So. Do I have any other options for starting a family "the natural way"?

Matthew is more of a friend-with-potential than an ex. We became close when I lived in New York 3 years ago. At the time he was involved with a woman who ended up cheating on him. We had an attraction, but never acted on it, primarily because Matthew decided that he wanted to try to patch things up with his girlfriend regardless of her infidelity. Two years later, they broke up for good. No surprise there.

For the last year, Matthew and I have been dancing around our feelings for one another. We've seen each other intermittently in New York. In June, I decided to throw caution to the wind and invite him to stay with me for a weekend. He liked the idea. No pressure. Just friends. Maybe things would evolve organically over the course of the weekend?

They did. By the end of the weekend it felt to me as if we were romantically involved. And yet, very quickly after we parted, we both reverted to our previous, friends-only stance. I am having a hard time thinking of Matthew as a boyfriend, much as I care for him. It's an odd transition for me--friend to boyfriend. I guess I've always come at relationships from passion-first, friends-second rather than the other way around.

So, I'm not jumping out of my skin, wanting to be in relationship with Matthew. But there are many great things about "us." We care deeply for one another's happiness and well being. He also "deals" with me just right--he's compassionate, gentle, emotional, and almost devoid of egotism. He genuinely respects women. Could I make a family with him? Should respect, ease, and friendship take precedence over passion at this point?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"I just don't like being pregnant"

I had a close friend from college visit me a couple of weeks ago with her husband and 4 year old son. She told me that they are in the middle of the long process of international adoption. They will be adopting a child from Ethiopia.

My friend's reason for adoption was "I just don't like being pregnant" (she volunteered this information--I did not ask). I couldn't help but feel jealous: not only does she have the option to have another natural child if she desires to (and yet chooses not to because she doesn't "like it"), but also, she and her husband obviously have the ready funds to adopt a child.

I've been looking into international adoption quite seriously. Even though most agencies (one that I've been referred to is CHSFS) like to say that the costs range from $12,000 to $30,000, my research has shown that adoptive parents rarely get by with the lower end. The average appears to be around $25,000.

The bottom line is, it's hard to adopt unless you are part of a two-income couple, where expenses can be shared and funds can be saved. I am trying to figure out how to save enough money over the next 5 years to make this happen (not to mention actually start saving for retirement!), but I honestly don't know how I will accomplish that.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Maybe it's not ALL that I want

Yes, this blog is about one thing--having a baby--and titled "all that she wants"; but now I'm here to throw a monkey-wrench into the whole darn thing.

A baby is not ALL that I want. It's just the one thing that I might be able to actually control at this point.

In fact, I want much more than that, in a perfect world, and this weekend I caught a glimpse into those feelings once again. They are still buried, somewhere! Just dormant...

I had a really lovely--really great--first date with a quite wonderful man (thanks!). Age appropriate, handsome, very intelligent, kind, and gentle. And funny. Lots of common ground. We met for lunch and didn't part until 3-1/2 hours later, both of us completely unaware of time. I'd say that's a pretty good sign.

I really like this guy. Without "getting my hopes up," which is a really dangerous thing to do, as I've found from previous internet-dates (more on that later), I would say we have definite potential.

It's amazing, and worrying, how the fantasies immediately take over. A loving relationship. A partner in life. Sex (in the fantasy, it's always really good sex). A family. And then the more frivolous things. A date for events. A partner on vacations. Someone to try that new restaurant with. Someone to make dinner for.

Obviously I can't have those expectations yet in reality with this particular man...that would be silly...but I guess this demonstrates that my spirit really has not given up hope for the possibility that my family could be a more traditional one. It's really difficult to have that carrot dangled, since there is so much at stake (and it ain't so great for relationships to have so much at stake, as you can imagine!)

I guess I have to keep focused, and perhaps look at these goals (relationship, and baby) separately. Just because I have one good first date should not alter my quest to become a mother all by myself.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm not the only one

Last night, I had dinner with a girlfriend, also in her late 30s, never married, and still single. Like me, she is a successful professional who has had many boyfriends, including long-term monogamous relationships, but somehow finds herself single at the age of 38.

Karen and I have been friends for almost 2 years, but it was only about 2 months ago that we each sheepishly admitted to the other that we wanted more than anything to have a child, and, that we were getting very worried about when and how that might happen.

Why two women, confident and communicative in almost every other aspect of our lives, would be so hesitant to speak about this to one of our closest female friends is still a mystery to me. I believe that we were so caught up in our personal traumas (what is wrong with me? how did I get here?) not to mention what others might think, that we sacrificed the solace of community. Perhaps we wanted to focus on finding a relationship, without admitting that we had fears about that ever happening--and what the consequences might be.

Thankfully, we "found" each other on this subject and can now offer as much support as possible. We have even discussed going through the process of having a child at the same time.

Karen is much more invested in conceiving a child with a sperm donor than I, to the point that she is almost ready to start the process.

Neither of our insurance covers ANY of this process. In my state, even married couples must somehow prove (and how do you do that?) that they've been trying unsuccessfully for a year (a married year) to conceive before they are eligible for any health coverage whatsoever.

With single women, we aren't technically infertile, are we?...just lacking a living, breathing sperm donor in our bed.

Sometimes it seems as if this issue is INVISIBLE. I can't even find any other blogs on this topic. Ladies, are you out there?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ex number 1

I recently decided to contact two old flames. These are two men who I think about every now and then as I lie in bed.

In the back of my mind, I am wondering if either of these two men would be willing to simply impregnate me.

Last night, I spoke to Evan for the first time in almost 4 years. Evan and I had a brief affair when I still lived in California. A tech salesman, Evan knew what he wanted and how to get it. He pursued me actively, and when I finally said yes to a date, I was so swept away (and perhaps, vulnerable), that we ended up sleeping together that first night. When we met, I was still within a year of my shattering break-up with Marcus (a 4 year, live-in relationship). I felt incapable of commitments and emotional ties. When I got my fellowship in NYC, I ended it.

Here's the thing. I said I wouldn't settle, right? It's not as if I am manufacturing attraction, necessarily, just that the criteria by which I might judge who is right for me has altered as I've grown older (and closer to menopause). So maybe Evan will now fit perfectly into my 37 year old single life?

Here are the things that bode well for revisiting this situation.

Evan really, really liked me. Really. That feels good. It works for me.

Evan is a highly sexed man. He wants sex pretty much all the time and would do anything to get it. That works in my favor.

Evan is tall. Smart. Attractive. He's also a very young-looking 43 (or 44?). Good genes.

The outcome of our conversation is that we are meeting up in NYC.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Aging Single Woman's Dilemma

I am still actively searching for a loving relationship with a man who is right for me. But I am becoming less and less able to imagine that happening--at least within the time frame that works for me when it comes to having a family.

Even if I were to meet the man of my dreams tomorrow, it would be months, even years, before we were able to commit. So why should I wait for the perfect man to come along, when I know that I could be a loving, nurturing parent to a child right now? I will never give up looking for a relationship, but in this day and age, do I really have to wait for a traditional relationship while foregoing my dream of having children? The beauty of our modern age is that the answer is no!

I don't "hate men" or "think they are unnecessary" as several people (particularly those who do not know me) have suggested. My problem remains that I am much too romantic at heart to "settle." An article by Lori Gottlieb argues that I will be sorry if I don't settle for someone (anyone?) before I have a child on my own.

Lori wrote that she has regrets about having a child by herself. This deeply upset me, and also rang alarm bells. I hated her article (it was incredibly honest but also presumptuous--as if all our journeys are the same--as if every relationship was somehow in our [the female's] control and ours to lose).

But one thing she wrote did resonate with me: are there men in my past who I rejected, simply because I had "more time" and thought someone better (more passionate, more seductive) might come along? How would those men look today? I'm not saying that I am looking to settle--definitely not--but I can't help but wonder how my outlook may have changed. I decided that, in two cases, it might be worth revisiting and seeing what happens. Evan and Matthew...two old flames...both single.

The question is: what are my intentions? A relationship, or a baby?

All That She Wants

This blog will plot my quest for a family, with or without a man.

I am a 37 year old, professional woman. Attractive, happy, active, very well educated; in fact, a holder of the coveted "PhD" that so many of us sacrifice our 20s and 30s to achieve. I'm exactly where I want to be with my career and
then some. I get to buy, exhibit, and teach about art. It's my passion, and my life centers around my job and the people I have met through it.

After three monogamous relationships of 4, 4, and 5 years each in my 20s, I found my self single again--heartbreakingly, painfully--at the age of 32. With just one year to go before completing my PhD, I moved across the country from southern California to New York to take a fellowship and then go on the job market. I now find myself (after yet another move to a medium-size city in the Northeast) 3 years in to a job I love.

But no man. It's been 5 years now, and I have never gone this long without a relationship. It's not for lack of trying. You name it, I've done it. Especially the internet. Call it what you will--bad luck, or a very very shallow pool of qualified "applicants"-- I'm still single, and the clock is ticking.

Having a child is something about which I will not compromise. With or without a man. I will be considering adoption, IVF, and "the natural way" with one or two candidates (whom I have yet to approach). As a single woman, I expect to meet great challenges and difficulties in the next few years as I go on this quest.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Who Am I?

I am a single, 37 year old woman. I have a career that I've worked toward for 15 years, including earning a Ph.D. It's been worth it (I love what I do). From the ages of 20 to 33, I had 3 monogamous relationships with men, each with no more than 4 months between them. The last relationship was the most "significant;" we spoke of marriage and lived together. During that time, I was in graduate school. When I won a 12-month fellowship to do research for my dissertation in Europe, I thought the relationship was strong enough to take it. For my part, I felt this man was the love of my life. However, while I was gone, my boyfriend fell in love with another woman. It has been almost 6 years since that heart-wrenching break-up. I have not had a significant relationship since then. I would not change the choices I have made (obviously career fulfillment has been a driving force in my life), but now that I'm ready to "settle down," I find that my peer males are mostly taken. The fish in the sea have become a shallow pool...or rather, a puddle. I find myself searching for ways to have a family on my own. I am still not sure what the best option for me might be.

Addendum! Using my wonderful known donor, I found myself pregnant on the very first try (June 2009). Now embarking on the wild ride that is pregnancy.

Hi guys, June 2013 here. I'm now...42. And my son is 3.3 years old.