Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Headlamps and Headstands

If only this was my actual hand...
I’ve talked many times thus far about how “unsexy” the home insemination process had been for my wife and I.  Well, I’m about to delve into the most unsexy part of our journey in our quest to conceive.  As if the turkey baster or syringe wasn’t unsexy enough, my wife and I were learning more and more with each insemination we performed and realizing things we could do differently and things that were missing and needed as well.  One of the major problems I would run into as the “inseminator” was not having enough hands for everything.  My wife would be laying back, legs open and ready to receive, and I would be there hovering over her, trying to prepare the syringe, speculum, sperm, lube, etc…  They also say it’s a good idea to try and use a flashlight so you can actually see what you are doing.  Essentially, I was supposed to be able to do all of the above while also inserting my fingers to find the opening of the cervix and then being able to do the insemination.  Legit, I needed 4 sets of hands in order to achieve all of this and that clearly wasn't an option.  So, we started thinking about which things we could make “hands free”.  You ready for this one?  Well, I wasn't.  We were out shopping one day and came across these headlamps.  They were very industrial looking, probably since we were at home depot (homo depot as I like to call it).  There was a 3 pack special on these headlamps and we thought it would be a good purchase to have at the house in case the power ever went out or we needed to go in the basement.  When we purchased these, we NEVER intended them to be used for what I'm about to use them for.  One afternoon at the house, after several unsuccessful inseminations and me wishing I had 15 hands, I saw the head lamps in a drawer.  I jokingly put one on and said to my wife “babe, look how sexy this is!”  We both chuckled and she said, “you should wear that when you inseminate me!”  At first, we both laughed again, but then I started thinking to myself how that wasn't actually a bad idea. 
Fast forward to our next insemination and we were packing our “goody bag” and I said, “I’m going to bring the head lamp, just in case”, not really thinking I would actually stoop so low as to wear it.  Well, desperate times call for desperate measures.  As I once again, fumbled around, needing way more hands than I had, I proceeded to put that hideously ugly head lamp around my head and turned it on.  It was like Christmas morning.  I didn't even care how ridiculous I looked and how my wife was laughing at me.  I felt like I had a new lease on life and a new set of hands to help!  Not to mention, it really did help having the light and being able to see better as to what I was doing.  As I look back and think about this, I often wonder how my wife can still actually find me sexy.  I mean, the thought of having to wear a headlamp while inseminating your wife truly is as awful as it sounds. 

This doesn't even do it justice
When I had those moments of wondering how my wife could still find me sexy, I started thinking how she probably felt the same way.  Although, I find her sexy no matter what, all day, every day, I can imagine she doubts that sitting there spread eagle while I accost her vagina looking for your cervix isn’t the sexiest thing in the world.  And then there were the headstands.  Yes, instead of propping her butt up onto a pillow (which we also did after each insemination), my wife was determined to take it to the next level and make those spermies swim to where they needed to go.  So after I inseminated her, she would have me put a pillow down on the ground, she would fly up off the bed and plop onto her head into a head stand against the nearest wall.  Sounds funny, right?  Looking back, I can certainly see the humor, but at the time, it was miz for shiz.  Having to watch my wife strain her neck and all the blood rushing to her head just so the damn sperm would swim to where it needed to go, it wasn’t a laughing matter. This wasn't pretty like a nice relaxing yoga class, this was some real shit. We obviously tried to make the best of it and would laugh at each other, but imagine the embarrassment when really thinking about the use of headlamps and doing headstands, just to get pregnant?! 

I can tell you this much, if I never see another headlamp again, it won’t be too soon.   And I don’t imagine my wife would willingly do another headstand unless she absolutely had to.  Bottom line, just when you think things can’t get any more unsexy, they do.  And that is what lesbians deal with when it comes to home insemination every day!  Unless…..   

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Our First Trip to the Doctor

Tick Tock Tick Tock
A lot of people say, “timing is everything”.  When it comes to trying to conceive, that couldn’t be more true.  Timing really is everything in more ways than you can probably imagine.  There’s timing of your period, timing of your cervical mucus, timing of your ovulation, timing of your inseminations, I could go on and on.  When trying to conceive, it feels like the clock is often your worst enemy.  Waiting for the damn results of your OPK’s or pregnancy tests feels like what could be an eternity.  Is it a positive or a negative?  The clock just seems to tick so slowly in anticipation.  After receiving a bunch of negative pregnancy test results, my wife and I began to question so many things.  Was something wrong with her?  Was it me not inseminating her properly?  Was our timing off?  Was the sperm ok?  So many questions and not enough answers we could provide with our resources at home.  So, as much as we didn’t want to, we decided it was time to go consult with a doctor.  We had come to the realization that if we wanted to make this happen, we needed to make sure everything was ok with my wife and make sure there was no other medical reasons preventing us from getting pregnant.  We were not going to commit to any inseminations with the doctor, as we were dead set on doing this at home, even if it was with a turkey baster or needless syringe.  So, off to the baby doc we go.

It looks as bad as it actually feels.
I will say this much, going to the doctors office for any kind of anything isn’t fun.  Its just all around emotionally taxing, invasive and unpleasant.  My wife and I were told that if we were going to do a fertility consultation/workup, we would have to commit to testing for the duration of a month.  Luckily, our insurance covered this part…the only part.  The first visit we were given a ton of information about IUI’s and IVF and all of the things we were not interested in.  The doctor was nice but we weren’t feeling this whole medicinal experience already.  They advised us that they would monitor my wife’s menstrual cycle, her ovulation, how many eggs she produced, and do a lot of blood work.  Basically, my wife needed to prepare to be poked and prodded all over.  They did some initial blood work on that day (I believe they took something like 7 vials of blood from her) and told my wife to come back in a week between the hours of 6am-8am for some more fun stuff.  So, not only did she have to get poked and prodded, she had to get up at an ungodly hour.  I wouldn’t let her go alone so we would both proceed to get up at 5:30am on 4 separate occasions and drive 35 minutes to get blood work.  Good times indeed.

Although I clearly have my complaints about the doctor, I will say this much, they did help us uncover a few things going on that may have been factors in our ability to get pregnant.  The blood work revealed a few things that were actually quite a shock to us.  First, my wife found out that she had hypothyroidism.  When I heard the doctor say it, I was repeated in my mind, “hypowhaaaaaaaat”?  Then he explained that she had low estrogen levels as well.  Luckily, both things were very easily treated with some medication.  My wife had good eggs, which was huge and there were no other indications telling us that we would not be able to get pregnant.  PHEW.  Huge weight lifted.  However, the final bit of news that was uncovered was a bit scarier.  The doctor said that my wife was a carrier of cystic fibrosis.  This meant that if our donor was a carrier, there was a very high chance that the baby would be born with CF.  Very scary to think about, especially not knowing if our donor was a carrier or not.  Thankfully, we had our do some genetic testing which revealed he was NOT a carrier!  PHEW AGAIN!

After our month worth of visits to the doctor, they “recommended” that we do IUI’s with them.  They proceeded to explain that since we were a same sex couple, we would have to do 6 IUI’s that would not be covered by insurance before insurance would kick in.  They then mentioned that each IUI would cost approximately $1500 per try, and that did not include lab fees.  Yeah, no thanks.  The other thing that was troubling is that Massachusetts is one of the only states to provide full coverage of IVF for patients, that is, unless you are a same sex couple.  Don’t even get me started on how unjust and unfair that is.   My wife and I end up going back to a different doctor and I will explain that story later on… but don’t forget I mentioned this now.  You will learn why later.
You need a whole lot of this...
To get this.
I feel like I got all serious on you this week.  Next week is all about head lamps and head stands.  You won’t want to miss it.  Until then, happy baby making!