Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pee on that stick!!!

Dip the stick in the toilet?
I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be so well versed on telling people how to pee on a stick.  Being that I have worked in the women’s reproductive health industry for the last 10 years and we sell an ovulation predictor kit, you can imagine how many women I have talked to about this.  I will never forget one woman that I spoke with.   She called our customer service line and had some questions about exactly how to pee on the stick.  I never thought it would be difficult to simply pee on a stick, but I suppose when you are trying to make a baby, you can never be too sure about anything.  Better safe than sorry I guess, at least for this woman.  She proceeded to ask me if she should hold her leg up on the toilet and put the stick under her leg or if she should dip the stick in the toilet water.  I honestly had to hold back my laughter.  I certainly wasn’t judging, as this was not the first time I was asked some “off the cuff” questions, but it gave me quite a giggle to imagine a woman dipping her ovulation stick into toilet water or the image of her holding her leg up while trying to pee on the stick.  Regardless, after 15 minutes of “coaching” I was able to talk her through the process and she was able to successfully pee on her stick. 

In the process of trying to make a baby, I feel like all women do is pee on sticks.  Whether it is to predict the timing of your ovulation or to test whether you were actually pregnant or not, there’s a lot of peeing on sticks that happens when trying to conceive.  I recall my wife having pee sticks in every purse she owned, in every bathroom we had in our house, and even hidden in the most obscure places.  And then when you actually have to interpret the results of the pee on a stick?  Forget it.  There are so many different brands and the way they tell you if it’s a positive or a negative can vary so drastically.  Some do the smiley or sad face, some just say yes or no, some make you interpret colors (as if peeing on the stick wasn’t hard enough).  And then there is the waiting for the results.  How can 5 minutes feel like 5 hours?  I can’t begin to explain how excruciating those 5 minutes would be when waiting for the results.  Over time, the OPK test’s get easier and easier because you know that if you get a negative and are not ovulating, you still have more chances to get a positive, so you don’t feel discouraged.  But waiting for the pregnancy test results was a whole other ball game.  Those were probably the toughest 5 minutes of the entire process. 

But back to the OPK’s.  There are so many options and so many different ways to interpret the sticks, how does one choose?!  The feminine care product aisle at your drugstore can be quite overwhelming.  Well, at least to me it used to be.  I would walk into that aisle and when looking at all of the options for ovulation predictors and pregnancy tests, it was like trying to pick a green M&M out of a bag of red M&M’s.  Who the heck knows which is the best or easiest to read?!  Luckily, I had a bit of knowledge going into this but my wife had her own preferences which did not overlap with my knowledge, so ultimately it didn’t even matter at the end of the day.  I bought what my wife liked.  Period end of story.  A valuable lesson learned early on in this process for me.  Just say yes to the wife and get what she wants.  Wait until I tell you about her pregnancy cravings and what trips to the grocery store used to look like for us… I’m pretty sure I ate cereal and ice cream for dinner at least twice a week.  Until then, don’t fret too much about peeing on sticks.  Just let it flow… 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Oh the places you will go...to inseminate.

As you have read from my previous entry, when you are eggulating and it’s time to inseminate, there’s no lengths you won’t go to.  When the time is right, the time is right!  This was certainly the case for my wife and I.  I mean, we inseminated in my parents condo which was so bizarre and weird.  I thought that would be the weirdest place we would ever inseminate but boy, was I wrong!  The thing about it is that, life still carries on, even when you are eggulating.  We have jobs, responsibilities and commitments and we can’t always have that oh so sacred moment of “basting” your partner.  I can recall several inseminations that were done in even more bizarre places than my parents condo…

Our baby making surroundings
Squirt Squirt
We would often inseminate at our baby daddy’s house.  Our baby daddy and his husband were so gracious to allow us to “do the deed” in their guest bedroom.  Let me set the scene for you… The drive to our baby daddy’s house was usually 45 minutes to an hour.   Upon passing a certain exit, we would text our donor and let him know it was time to “get to business” aka produce some baby batter.  Upon arriving at their house we would go inside, chat for a few minutes and then head upstairs to their guestroom where good smelling candles were always lit, the bed was always nicely made, towels were neatly folded on the bed, and the fresh cup of sperm was placed on the nightstand table.  It almost sounds too good to be true.  And now it was time to send those sperm to their home!  It’s not the easiest thing in the world to get comfortable in this “sexual” way knowing that just downstairs is your baby daddy and his husband but as I said, you gotta do what you gotta do!  I would clumsily try and navigate all of the “tools” we had for inseminating and then squirt away.  Don’t even get me started on the time I “pre ejaculated” some of the sperm in the syringe onto my wife’s leg.  That wasn’t one of my finer moments.  After I was done inseminating her, she would lie on the bed with her legs elevated for at least 20 minutes.  This was us thinking we could force those sperm to swim in the right direction.  My wife would sometimes even do head stands to assure those swimmers knew where to go.  And this was all while the guys were downstairs. 

Backseat baby making
Our inseminations didn’t stop there.  We were on our way to a wedding in NH and of course, my wife happened to be eggulating on the day we were going.  So, we did what any couple wanting a baby would do and we stopped at our baby daddy’s house on our way to the wedding, ran in, picked up some sperm and because we were running late to the wedding, we had to inseminate in my car.  Yes, you read that right, in my car.  Not to mention that my sister was riding with us so we decided to make her useful as well.  We literally had my sister stand in front of us in our baby daddy’s driveway with a towel covering us, my wife laid in the back seat and I proceeded to inseminate her…very quickly.  Talk about romance.  I often thought about having to explain to our future child where he or she might have been conceived.  "You were conceived in the back of mommy's car! YAY!" 

The bottom line here is that there are no exceptions to the rule when it comes to making a baby.  You will do whatever it takes wherever necessary, clearly.  A good day was being able to inseminate in the privacy of our own home, even though it still was with a damn needleless syringe.  The sexiness continues…

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The First Insemination...

Picture this… Getting dressed all fancy like, glass of champagne in hand, beautiful dinner with your partner, good bottle of wine, dessert, and then home for a night cap and round 2 of dessert aka sexy time with your lovah.  It’s the perfect and most romantical date night you could imagine.  Sounds magical, right?  Well, this kind of date might be a reality on some nights but this was not the kind of “date” my wife and I had when we did our first insemination.  In fact, the first insemination was nothing short of horrible, awkward, laughable, and disastrous.   The idea of romance when your wife’s legs are spread eagle in the air and you are holding a syringe full of sperm is nothing short of “national geographic”.  Here’s the reality of what our “date” looked like… 

It was the summertime so my wife was actually working with me at my office a few days a week.  At least this made it ideal for us to be able to keep a close eye on her eggulation and be ready to go whenever necessary.  Yay for spontaneity!  My wife tested early that morning and saw that her ovulation was starting to peak.  We put in “the call” to our baby daddy and we set up a sperm drug deal for early that afternoon.  Since this was our first insemination, we were extremely excited, nervous, anxious and were feeling all the emotions you can feel when you are about to try and create a baby.  I was feeling fairly confident in my insemination abilities since I had worked in the women’s reproductive health industry for the past 10 years.  I had talked so many women through using a cervical cup and using a syringe at home to inseminate, I figured this would be easy for me. 

The device.
The animal...
I met our baby daddy outside, picked up the brown bag o sperm, called to the wife who was waiting in my office and then it was time to make this happen.  Here’s the catch, we were in my office, not near our home or bedroom.  Where the heck were we doing to do this?  The best option that we came up with??? My parents condo was just a block away and since time is of the essence, we figured we had no better option other than my parents place.  My first thoughts were, yuck, ewww, gross, ughhhhh, and no.  And then the instinct and reality set in and I said to myself, fuck it, doesn’t matter where we do this if we are able to have success.  So, we proceeded to walk to my parents condo, brown bag in hand and another small tote filled with sperm friendly lube, a plastic duck billed platypus (aka speculum), and needless syringes.  Ohhhhh sooooo sexy!

Sexy?  More like scary.
Upon entering my parents house, we both agreed that we would “do this” in their spare bedroom.  My wife proceeded to take her pants off and assume the position!  This position was knees up, butt scooted towards the edge of the bed with a small pillow under her butt to prop her up and she was ready for me.  As she was getting herself in position, I was also doing my own preparation and getting my "tools" ready.  This included loading the syringe with the sperm.  This was more gross than I imagined.  Again, I have touched sperm before but when you have been out of that game for as many years as I had, it brought back all those memories as to why I wanted to get as far away from it as possible.  I told her I was ready and explained that I was going to find her cervix first.  Talk about awkward and NOT sexy.  It’s like, oh hey wifey, let me accost your vagina and try and find your cervix while you lay there and do nothing.  Awesome.  And then my nerves set in.  I was struggling with all sorts of things.  I thought I had found her cervix but I kept second guessing myself.  Then it was the issue of simply not having enough hands for the job.  I had to get the speculum in, hold the syringe, hold a flashlight (yes a flashlight) so I could have some attempt at seeing what I was doing, and it was nothing short of a hot mess and disaster.  My wife kept trying to calm me down and we would have a laugh or two in between the nerves. I finally was able to unloaded the sperm into my wife and after i was done, felt like I had run a marathon.  There is this urban myth that says if a woman has an orgasm after an insemination it will help the spermies get swallowed up by the cervix.  Since there is no scientific data supporting or negating this theory, we both wondered what to do.  I mean, I was just looking inside my wife’s vagina with a flashlight, how were either of us to get “in the mood”?  We decided against the big O for now also due to the fact that we were in my parents condo.  It just didn't seem right.  My wife thought she would elevate her legs over her head for awhile to help the sperm swim in the right direction instead and so we (I) sat there trying to comfort her as she lay like a gymnast.  
Sadly and not surprisingly, that insemination was unsuccessful.  I was disappointed but mostly frustrated.  I knew it was only the first time but it was nothing short of horrifying.  And the inseminations only got more hilarious and awkward from there.  I'll share those as we continue on this journey together.  The one thing I kept thinking to myself was, there has to be something better than needless syringes and speculums…  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sperm Drug Deals

Cup o' Sperm
Ever pictured yourself meeting a guy on the street to pick up a brown bag containing sperm?  Yeah, neither did I.  This whole process of trying to make a baby contained A LOT of firsts for my wife and I.  After we secured our baby daddy as you know, the next task at hand was actually getting our hands on the sperm.  Aren’t lesbians trying to get away from sperm by choosing to be with women?  I know I was.  I had my days of “dealing” with sperm and I was all set with them.  But here I was, about to plunge right back into the wonderful world of semen.  (Insert gag reflex).   I suppose the upside to having to come in contact with sperm again was this time it was not going to be anywhere on my body (or mouth) and it would be the source of my potential child.  For that reason alone, I was totally willing to make an exception and get my hands dirty…literally.  Not in the way you might think.  Our donor was “taking care of business” on his own (thank goodness), so all I had to do was open the cup and get that semen inside my wife.  Not as easy as you might think.  I’ll share that story in a later entry because it deserves its own post. 

Am I eggulating?!
Back to the collection and acquiring of our sample.  This is in short how the scenario would go.  My wife would diligently test her ovulation to see when she was in her peak baby making time.  She would often know it was time because normally she never has to wear deodorant but when she was ovulating her right armpit would require some.  Oddly enough, that was a better signal of her ovulating than the pee sticks themselves.  Ohhh the wonderful pee sticks.  We had lots of those on hand and all different brands to make sure we wouldn’t miss the peak time.  When we were sure we had that dark line or smiley face we would text our baby daddy and say, “it’s time!”  He called her ovulating “eggulating”, a term I have grown to love.  So, my wife would eggulate and we would coordinate a “meeting” of either us driving to their house or him driving to meet us.  I had previously given him some sterile plastic cups for him to use to collect the baby batter.  We had several pick up and drops offs of sperm but the one that stands out the most to me is the one where our donor met me outside of my place of employment.  

Sperm Drug Deals 
My office is located in what some might call a sketchy area.  It’s been known to have prostitutes, happy ending massage parlors and lots of drug deals.  When my donor and I were planning on meeting, it felt very much like your average drug deal in the area except the contents in the brown bag were a warm cup of sperm.   Quite different from a bag of drugs.  Our donor pulled up in his truck in front of my office, texted me that he was outside where I proceeded to meet him.  He rolled down his window and handed me a brown paper bag containing our baby batter.  We chatted for a few minutes but time is always of the essence when holding onto a warm brown bag of sperm so he drove off and our “drug deal” was complete.  It was more laughable than awkward.  Our baby daddy was so great about making this whole part of the process not awkward which was just another reason why he was such a perfect choice for us.  Let me take a minute to give kudos to all the donors out there.  While it might seem fun and easy for a man to ejaculate on demand, it’s not and they are doing us such an amazing thing by donating their swimmers to our quest for a baby, so props to all the baby daddy donors out there.  And so now, with sperm in hand, the drug deal was complete and now it was time to get those spermies into my wife’s cervix! 

Next stop, insemination boulevard…