Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Switching it up this week! I want to hear from YOU!

Hi all!  
I hope everyone is enjoying the summer heat we are having on the East Coast.  This week, I’ve decided to switch things up a bit.  Instead of me writing an entry, I am going to flip the switch and put the creative writing out there to you all!  I’d like to hear from my readers and have you share some of your experiences with me!  It can be anything from TTC to actually giving birth and all things in between.  You know me, nothing is off limits (within reason—don’t get too gory on me!)  You can keep your story anonymous or share your identity if you wish.  I will pick my favorite story and will post it on the blog next week!  I also welcome people to share with me any ideas for future blog posts they would like to see!  If you have questions, feedback, or anything at all, please let me know!  You can send your entries, questions, and feedback to my email,   I can’t wait to hear from you and thanks again for being a reader and supporter!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Could it be?!

This is our actual positive pregnancy stick.
I’ll never forget the morning when my wife told me she was pregnant.  It was what I thought would be a typical day.  My wife was out of bed before me getting ready for work and I was still sound asleep.  I usually hear her getting ready but for some reason on this morning, I was passed out.  This was only until I heard our bathroom door open and my wife said, “Steph, look!”  In a daze of being abruptly woken up, I slowly opened my eyes to see a white stick with purple cap being handed to me.  As I continued to try and focus on what’s being handed to me, I see the word “pregnant”.  I paused, looked at her, and in disbelief, I rubbed my eyes thinking I was not seeing things correctly or this was some sort of dream.  I looked again, closer this time, and it still said “pregnant”.  Holy shit.  It worked.  Could it be?!   After many months of trying to regulate her hormones, picking up sperm from our baby daddy, inseminating in the most bizarre of places, and then finally being able to use the Semenette® to try and get pregnant, and then, it freaking worked?!  I was in total dismay and shock.  She burst out, “We are pregnant!!”  It was an overwhelming feeling of emotions that flooded me.  It was happiness, relief, and freaking the fuck out.  We hugged for a brief moment and then the wheels started turning.  What do we do??  Do we call our moms?  Do we call the doctor?  So many thoughts and things all happening all at once and I’m still in my damn pajamas.  I was NOT prepared for this but god damn, I am excited!
We both took a breath and decided we should call our moms first since they had to hear about every try that wasn’t successful thus far.  It was about time we were able to give the new grandmas to be the good news.  We called my wife’s mom first since her mom had basically been asking us for grandkids since the day we got married.  It was very early in the morning so we knew she would be suspicious of our call but it was so worth it.  We had her on speaker phone and when she answered she was nervous and wondering why we were calling so early and my wife said we had something to tell her and that was all it took.  She knew.  She said, “OMG you’re pregnant?!”  We all shared an overjoyed moment together.  We called my mom next who was also eager to have her first grandchild.  My mom is very intuitive and since I work with her on a daily basis, she knows something is weird when I call her that early in the morning.  And as I guessed, we called her and said we had something to tell her and she said, “I knew it!  I knew it was going to work!”  It was the best 10 minutes in my life in a long time and on this long journey.  After sharing the news with our parents and siblings, we had to get our shit together because we both still had to go to work that day!  I literally could not contain my excitement and just wanted to hug and hold on to my wife as tight as possible.  We were really going to have a baby! 

In this day and age, anytime there is big news we all typically take to our social media, mainly Facebook, to share news like this with everyone.  As tempting as it was (and boy was it tempting as hell), we obviously did not want to share the news publicly until we knew the pregnancy was confirmed by our doctor and of course, there was the ever dreaded 3 month waiting period of time that you have to wait until it’s statistically “safe” to tell everyone your with child.  It’s as if they don’t make you wait long enough with this whole process, then you finally have success and you have to wait more.  This doesn’t even include all of the different waiting you will do throughout the pregnancy.  Shoot, you have to wait close to 10 months to meet the baby let alone everything before that!  We made a pact despite how hard it would be not to tell everyone, we would wait.  We certainly didn’t want to jinx anything.  The next challenge for us would be figuring out how to explain why my wife wouldn’t be drinking when we were out with our friends (my wife is irish and loves her red wine so it would look VERY weird if she didn’t have a drink for no explainable reason).  We would encounter this several times over the next 3 months and it was VERY difficult not spilling the beans to some of our close friends, some of which we had to tell because they were so suspicious and wouldn’t let it go.  After we got confirmation from the blood test, we knew this was really happening and it was time to start navigating through the first trimester!  Here we come tiredness and weird smell aversions….

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Our Last Ditch Effort

I wanted to start off by saying how much I appreciate all of the support for my blog and for my product, The Semenette®.  I really appreciate everyone’s feedback, suggestions, and support. 

Back to our journey…
When I developed the idea for The Semenette®, I was able to execute a prototype a lot faster than I ever expected.  In midst of working on a prototype, the journey to conceive did not stop; in fact, being able to actually test prototypes with my wife was the best product research anyone could ask for.  However, since my wife and I had been unsuccessful getting pregnant at this point, we decided it was time to talk to a doctor to see what our options really were.  It was NOT what we wanted to do, but we still felt it was the right move to at least talk to a doctor and then go from there.  We knew we weren’t going to be forced into anything, so that was the reassuring factor.  We met with one doctor first and did not like him at all.  We explained our situation and asked about coverage for IUI’s and he said insurance companies require same sex couples to do 6 IUI’s not covered by insurance and then they would begin to cover it.  The overall experience with the first doctor was not a pleasant one so we decided to try a doctor at Beth Israel Hospital.  I knew that facility had a good reputation for ART and thought it would be a good place for us to start.  When we met with the doctor, we explained our situation and how we were using our known donor.  He was extremely kind and open to our situation unlike the first doctor.  He began to explain that if my wife and our donor had come into his office and simply told him that they had been trying to conceive for almost a year and had not been successful, that he could apply to the insurance company for them to cover IUI’s for us immediately.  In the state of Massachusetts, if a heterosexual couple has been trying to conceive for a year unsuccessfully, they are entitled to some insurance coverage unlike same sex couples who have to do 6 IUI’s with no insurance coverage.  Yet another of the injustices of being a gay person in our country!  Don’t get me started on that!  Anyways, we decided to take his advice and he said he would pretend we never came into his office.  We then had our donor and my wife go back and make a long story short, we got full coverage for 3 IUI’s.  Here was the tricky part, we were still really adamant about trying to make this happen at home but having those 3 IUI’s in our back pocket was a HUGE sigh of relief and comfort. 

The doctor also suggested that they do a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) which basically means they shoot dye into my wife’s fallopian tubes to make sure there were no blockages or anything prohibiting us from getting pregnant.  He said this would be the last test needed to make sure there was no medical reason we were not having success at home.  We were both in agreement that was a good next step and my wife had the procedure that week.  As we awaited the results, Kiersten was also eggulating.  It was that time to do our monthly inseminations.  We mutually decided this would be our last ditch effort of home inseminations.  We had both somewhat reached our breaking point of desperately wanting to conceive and decided if it didn’t happen this month, we would move to IUI’s with the doctor. 

The Semenette is here!
Coincidentally, I had my 2nd prototype of The Semenette® in my hands and we of course were eager to try it!  With The Semenette® in hand, we did 3 inseminations that month.  We decided if we were going to stop here, we might as well go all out and down in a blaze of sperm glory!  We successfully did 2 inseminations before getting a call from the doctor telling us that my wife’s HSG came back normal and it was now our decision to either continue at home or proceed with the IUI’s.  We explained we were doing our last efforts at home and would be in touch next month.  We did one last insemination that night and felt content with our efforts.  Might I add that our experience with The Semenette® was fantastic!  It exceeded my expectations and I knew I needed to share this with the world.  Anyways, our journey of trying to conceive at home was now all in the hands of the baby making gods!  I’m going to make you wait until the next week to find out what happens.  Until then…. 

If you are in the Boston area, please come check out my booth at Boston Pride.  And, more importantly, HAPPY PRIDE!!! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Finally, a Better Option

It’s hard to fathom how many same sex couples actually go through all of the trials and tribulations that I talk about here and then some, just in the hopes of starting a family.  I don’t want this blog post to be salesy in anyway, but I do feel it’s important to share with you a little about my background and how I got to where I am today, personally and professionally.

I am a 33 year old lesbian woman that “came out” when I was 21 years old.  I had a later start in my career as a lesbian.  When I graduated college, the only experience I had with a girl was with a best friend of mine.  Imagine my shock when I realized I actually enjoyed being with girls more than boys.  My “coming out” is another story in itself but I’ll save that for another time.  Once I was able to admit to myself that I was in fact a lesbian, I knew my life would be quite different from what I had originally thought.  There wasn’t going to be the traditional wedding or family like I had intended…or would there be?   When I came out, it was already over 10 years ago.  It’s amazing to me to look back and see how much things have changed (for the better) since then.  Gay marriage was not recognized when I came out, you couldn’t comfortably walk down the street holding hands with your partner, and forget options for having kids…those were still in the ice ages.   But things have definitely come a longggggg way since then.  There are currently 19 states that allow and recognize gay marriage.  Hell, there was the first transgender woman on the cover of Time Magazine this past month!  We are making progress!  

 Over those 10 years, I spent my entire professional career working for my family business, which specializes in women’s reproductive health.  The family business, Sepal Reproductive International, distributes Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)/devices and tests to doctors and patients all over the world.  AKA, we help couples make babies in a clinical sense.  I take pride in the fact that I have spent countless hours on the phone with women and couples, guiding them, giving friendly advice, or even just providing a listening ear to the emotionally taxing experience of trying to conceive.  I was recently asked in a radio interview if I take my work home with me or if I can leave it all behind?  This was a very simple question for me.  When I talk to a patient on the phone, it is impossible for me not to become invested in them and in their successes and failures.  Their success is my success, and I am constantly making myself available after work hours and thinking about these people all the time, hoping and wishing they have success in their journey of trying to conceive.  Now let me bring this all full circle for you…

As I mentioned, I came out when I was 21 years old.  At that time, I was not really thinking seriously about having a family of my own or how I would have a family when that time actually came.  Well, as you have read, the time did in fact come for me and my wife and you have seen how difficult and horrible the options we had to try and conceive at home were.  Being in the industry of helping couples get pregnant and also being a lesbian woman, I clearly had realized how few options there were for same sex couples to try and get pregnant at home and not have it be the most clinical and medicinal experience ever.  I have always had the desire to create something better for same sex couples and then one day, after another insemination of my wife with a damn needless syringe, I decided to take action.  I was sick and tired of everything my wife and I were going through and not to mention, my only involvement was squirting a stupid syringe into her vagina…NOT romantic or sexy at all.  I didn’t want to have to tell my kid someday that mommy and mama made him or her with a syringe.  It just didn’t seem right.  And the wheels began turning…
I have been told a dozen times how many people had the idea to make a dildo that would allow same sex couples to have sex and allow them to try and get pregnant so when I started researching it and saw that no one had actually ever created it, I was shocked and stunned.  I didn’t invent the most earth shattering thing like a Chia Pet or the Sham Wow (insert laughter), however, I did decide that it was time for someone to actually make this inseminating dildo a reality.  So I did, and the birth of The Semenette® happened. 

My pride and joy :)
The Semenette® was invented and designed to be a novelty sex toy that would allow couples to have intercourse and also mimic an ejaculation, therefore allowing them to use this to try and get pregnant at home in a romantic, private, fun and affordable way.  It was everything and more that I had wanted for my wife and I all along.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to make this idea a reality and here I am today, a year and a half later with my new business, my product The Semenette®, and most importantly, my greatest success story to date, my daughter.

I continue to work for the family business while I also run my new venture and promote my product, The Semenette®.  I have an even greater appreciation and passion for what I do.  I used to be able to say that I provided women and couples with advice and the medical tools to help them get pregnant but the doctors were always the ones that made it happen and now, I am beyond proud to say that I am providing something that women and couples can use in the privacy of their own home to try and conceive.  What makes it even better is seeing the many success stories along with my own.  Being able to give people something that helps their dream of having a family come true is the most rewarding thing in the world.  

I recently did a radio interview that I mentioned earlier in this entry and I welcome you to check it out.  It’s my favorite interview thus far and will give you more insight into my life and my story about The Semenette®.  You can listen to it here,  You can also check out my website,  It is my ultimate goal and hope that women and couples will be able to use The Semenette® not only to try and conceive but to have a little fun in the process as well.  Lord knows we all could something better than a damn turkey baster!