lezbemoms

Raising a Blended Family

Preparations…

Shorty is supposed to talk to our potential KD again today at work (and possibly tonight on the phone, too, if they don’t have adequate time to talk today) to get a more final decision after all the preliminary conversations we’ve been having.  Depending on how this conversation goes… well, I don’t have to explain to you guys what all could happen here.  Depending on how it goes, we could be doing a sit down this weekend to go through everything that would be required in detail, have him go ahead and go get tested,  and just generally take further steps towards having him transition from “potential KD” to just “KD”.

I’ve also been working on crafting a donor contract, using one I found on the HRC website as a baseline and editing it to include Shorty in the contract as well.  A neighbor of ours across the street is just about to graduate law school, so we’re going to ask her to read over it for us, to make sure we’re not missing anything that would protect us or our future child more than the language that’s already in there.  I’ve done a lot of research on the laws in our state as well regarding sperm donor parental rights, and there just don’t seem to be any… which makes the contract we’re drawing up even more important in my mind, since it could potentially be all that stands between our family being a family of four or suddenly having a big problem on our hands.  Not that I think this man would do that- Shorty knows and likes him, and I’ve met his mom as well… they’re great people.  But one can never be too careful when protecting one’s family.

Other than that though, there’s not much I can do except sit and wait.  Wait for Shorty to tell me how the convo went, wait to sit down with the donor, wait for STD testing to be done, and wait for AF to come.

Speaking of which…  AF is still not here, making this another 60ish day cycle.  We’re still unsure what could potentially be causing this (and haven’t yet gotten any tests done), but it has occurred to us that stress could be the culprit.  From the time when these long periods started until now has been pretty durn stressful, what with the wedding, PhD drop, and all.  Maybe I’m just uber stressed out and my body is reflecting that?  Maybe it’s going to go back to normal but it might take some time?  Maybe I’m completely grasping at straws.  Who knows.  The good news is, my health insurance kicks in only 30 days after my start date at this new job (a few weeks), instead of the 90 day wait period we were dreading, so answers should soon(ish) be forthcoming.  And in the meantime, we figure that if we get everything in place regarding PKD, it wouldn’t hurt to do one “test” cycle… the worst that could happen is that I come up not pregnant and we get the tests done anyways. Or, I could get pregnant and it would be a moot point.  So we’ll see.

Anyways, so that’s where we’re at.  It’s a funny little dance, isn’t it- the KD dance?  Having a series of delicate conversations that gradually lead to more serious delicate conversations that gradually lead to okay, let’s do this…  or at least, I hope that’s the way it turns out. We shall see!

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Sperm.

Okay, so I’ve decided to jump in the Blog Carnival Sperm Bandwagon.  Just a little late… but it’s been an important topic on my mind lately and I figured it fits right in with the prompt.

I guess right now,  more than ever, the issue of having a third party- a donor- and the way in which he may shape our family is at the forefront of my mind.

Shorty and I are at a crossroads, trying to make a decision between two completely opposite directions.

In one direction lies the land of sperm bank sperm.  Anonymous sperm bank sperm.  This was our first choice by default and seems a pretty solid one.  A comfortable one.  We trust the sperm bank to do its job and screen the right donors, ensuring the quality of the sperm that’s donated and making sure it’s safe to use.  Because we chose anonymous, the role of this type of donor in shaping our lives is minimal.  Yes, our child may have questions, but the donor would never be a part of our lives.  He would be detached just by the very nature or the fact that we went through a sperm bank.  Downsides that I see, however, include the fact that donor sperm only lives about 12 hours once it’s thawed, it’s expensive, and no matter how exhaustive the online profile of the donor is, you still never get a complete picture of who he is.  What he looks like, up close and personal.  His mannerisms.  If he’s fit.  How tall IS 6’4″, anyways?  That sort of thing.

In the other direction lies the land of the Known Donors.  You know… the real thing.  We have one potential KD already, and thanks to Love Shack Baby, have been made aware of this website that connects couples to men who are willing to donate free of charge.  Although it’s not a perfect resource and caution is certainly advised, it’s still a starting point I’d be excited to explore if our PKD doesn’t work out.  Excitement aside, however, using a KD brings up many many issues that have to be reckoned with and made peace with before you can step foot down that route.  Although I briefly went over the logistics of it in my last post on the matter, something I didn’t go too much into depth with is the personal, emotional side of it.  By the very nature of the interaction, a KD cannot ever be an anonymous donor.  Certainly we, as parents, retain the ability to withhold information from our child until they are at an age when they can understand better, but this leads into tricky, choppy waters, such as the difference between lying to your kid and withholding information for their own benefit.  And no matter what you do, YOU will always know who that donor was.  The potential for them to become involved in any way with your child’s life- your family life- is much higher.  But of course, there are benefits to the KD relationship as well.  Free sperm, for one thing.  Fresh sperm, for another.  The possibility of the KD being a close family friend who you are happy to have in your child’s life as a special “uncle”, and the ability to inseminate more often with a higher volume of sperm than if using frozen.  The question here is whether or not these benefits outweigh the negatives.

I’m leaning towards answering yes, they do.  I say “leaning” because I’m not completely sure.  It’s a bigger risk to take, and I don’t know that I could completely make up my mind one way or the other without sitting down and talking to the PKD face to face (hopefully, soonish, as I am an impatient person and I am dying for some answers to a few questions I have).  However, I’m optimistic that it could work, that this could be the right path for my family to take to get to our Thing 2.

As far as answering questions our potential child might have, and when those questions might get answered… that’s something I’ll have to defer for now.  All I can say is we would do it when the time felt right, whatever that was.  We don’t want for this donor to be a “father” figure, but we’re not completely closed to him knowing of the child, seeing pictures, meeting after the child is 18.  Something along the lines (and all of this would be explicitly written out in the contract, mind you).

So that’s my take.  I think a donor can have very little impact to a medium sized impact to a huge impact- depending on which route you (we) take and how you choose to answer the questions that may arise on that journey.

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Exploring the Possibilities of a Known Donor….

Well, first off, I have to post a big congratulations to the ladies at lesbo parents to be, and also to mine and Shorty’s RL friend Nicole on the births of their respective babies on Friday and Saturday. Haven’t seen pics of Baby Buggie yet, but Nicole’s baby is such a chunker! Ten pounds of cuteness.  Unfortunately I woke up sick today and can’t go visit him.  Boo.

Anyways, back on topic… exploring the possibility of a known donor.  When we originally thought/talked about TTC we had considered having a known donor;  however, upon looking around and surveying our friends, there was nary an eligible male in sight whom we felt comfortable asking and whom we thought would be up for it (we did “probe the waters” a bit with one friend… turns out he’s snipped! so not helpful).  So in any case, in absence of available known donors, we turned to frozen donors, and found a few we quite liked.  However, at $300 a pop for less than a milliliter of the stuff, it’s not the most economical option for us, nor is it the most convenient in terms of timing out exactly when you need the frozen stuff to arrive and when to return the Dewar.  Lacking other options, we had pretty much resigned ourselves to doing it this way and were in fact pretty okay with it (aside from bemoaning the amount of $$$ the stuff costs).

Enter Possible Known Donor (PKD).  Without going into too many details, he’s someone with whom Shorty works.  He has considered sperm donation before to another couple, but at the time he wasn’t yet 18.  He knew we were trying and struck up a casual conversation about it that led to him offering to help.   All of this happened yesterday, and my mind is spinning.  Shorty told him she would have to talk to me about it, so here we are, in blogland, “talking” ;).  The differences between KD and frozen donor seems so vast!  So many different things are going through my head about it, and so, without further ado, I present you with a bullet list:

  • Initial reaction was weariness mixed with hopefulness.  I am completely okay with using a KD (I think?) but could we actually make this work?  Is it going to make things more complicated down the road (in terms of knowing who our child’s second set of genes belong to- and the fact that Shorty works with him?)
  • Logistics-wise:  he lives 45 minutes away.  Transportation might be a problem.  Lots of goog.ling has informed me than fresh can live for up to ninety minutes if kept at body temperature? Anyone wanna verify?
  • Legal-wise:  if we did this, we would need to draw up a KD contract to protect us all.  Something along the lines of the baby would be ours and PKD would have no legal rights over him/her.  Those of you who have used KD, where’d you get your contract? Draw it up from scratch?  We’re thinking it would be a good idea to have a lawyer look over it as well, before we all sign it and get it notarized.
  • Health-wise:  Screening is a must, as well as a physical work-up.  We would pay, of course, but no way in hell is that stuff going anywhere near me without being screened for STD’s and the like first.  Should we screen for genetic stuff too?  Is a full physical enough?

There’s just so much to think about.  Ultimately, this would be amazing if it could work- no more paying $700 for two tiny vials, and timing wouldn’t be as hard either- get a positive OPK, call PKD!  But there seems to be so much to work through first.  Anyone who’s used a KD before have any input for us?

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YAY!!!

I have to share the bestest surprise I ever came home to.  I walked in the door and my wife slammed the computer shut and tried to hide something… suspicious, right?

After some coersion (okay, I admit it, tickling might have been involved)- she revealed that she had just bought us tickets to the INDIGO GIRLS CONCERT in Michigan at the end of next month for our anniversary.  SO EXCITED!!!

Best anniversary gift ever.  Can’t wait for the show!

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In Celebration

I wanted to take a moment to commemorate the end of a very homophobic national policy.  As of today, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is officially outta here!!!!

I can hardly believe it… I remember college days spent chanting across from military recruiters, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Hey recruiters go to hell!” surrounded by my fellow queer student advocates.  I guess now queerkids will have to find other slogans to chant.

Also, on an unrelated but related note, if you haven’t seen the Courage Campaign’s official flashmob video yet, please watch below and enjoy.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll clap your hands in delight at all the gayness going on.  It definitely made my day- and for such a good cause, too.  🙂

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Hard words to hear.

Hello Everyone, Shorty here, Amazon mentioned in an earlier post about me blogging. This is hard for me to blog about because it puts all my insecurities and fears out for all of blog land to know. Also, there’s something about keeping them inside and keeping your guard up, that makes you feel safe, but here I go anyway.

Thing One is biologically my daughter (which I’m pretty sure everyone already knew).  She does have a father who plays a big role in her life. She worships every step he makes and he can do no wrong in her eyes. This is really hard for me to deal with, because he doesn’t help, he’s inconsistent in paying his child support, or he just doesn’t pay at all most of the time. He does take her every other weekend but that’s only after I call him and say “so you coming to get her”, then I get “ho hum I guess” in response. When he has her he lets her stay up late, watch TV all day and night, and do pretty much whatever she wants. He’s the “fun” parent.

Now normally this does not bother me. I try and for the most part succeed in not talking negatively about him or arguing with him when she’s around. This past Thursday, however, was a tough day.

Thing One came home from school and asked to watch TV.  I made her do her homework first, and then let her watch a show while I finished picking up the house. I needed to go to the store to pick up a few things so I told Thing One to turn off the TV and get her shoes… which is when all hell broke loose. She started screaming and stomping and throwing a fit, throwing a tantrum about not wanting to go to the store, wanting to watch tv, etc. I then told her to get her shoes and that she wasn’t watching TV the rest of the day.  She continued to yell at me, and then she said something that was like a punch to the gut:

“I don’t like my mommies, I don’t want to live here, I want to live with my daddy.”

Now this isn’t the first time she has said something like this, but this time it really bothered me.

On top of my child having an emotional breakdown, I also got a letter from her school saying they were going to start giving her extra help with her reading. Now I haven’t talked to the teacher (yet) so I don’t know exactly what she is struggling in. We read to her just about every night, she reads to us. I thought we were doing everything right, so I’m lost as to what else to do. I started thinking, what kind of mother am I if my kid doesn’t even wanna live with me, and is in the 1st grade and already needs help in school. Then, not knowing the kind of day I was having at home, Amazon called on a break from her EMT class and immediately wanted to start talking about us having a kid- and I kinda panicked. For as long as I can remember everyone has told me there isn’t a maternal bone in my body, and somewhere somehow I’m doing something wrong.

Amazon of course says I’m a good mom, and is looking forward to having a child with me and raising it “from scratch.”  I want to have a baby with her, and oddly enough it’s reassuring for me that there won’t be anything genetically attached to me about this baby.  It’s also reassuring that Amazon will be there, from the beginning, because doing it the last time with T1’s dad was and is hard.

I hope Thing One doesn’t grow up angry at me and hating me, and will see that it was Amazon and I that were there for her and provided for her. I do not want Thing One to grow up resentful and angry. A mentioned the possibility of putting T1 into counseling, so that someone who is trained can help T1 understand and work through any issues she might have.  I know that amazon had nothing but good intentions when mentioning this, but it was just another thing that made me feel like a failure as a parent, my 6 yr old needs therapy.

…Maybe I should have just stuck with my fish tank.  Fish are easy.  Sigh.

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Digging up more details…

I’m the kind of person who, when I get worried or curious about something or when it catches my interest, I won’t let that kind of thing go until I’ve found as much information and as many answers as possible.  So after (and before) posting my last post, I have been digging and digging and digging and digging for answers and information regarding my possible fertility.

I happened to remember that for awhile there, I was keeping track of my start/end dates on my period in Goog. calendar… so I went and looked and this is what I found:

# Cycle Days          Dates

31 days                    Nov 3- Dec 3 2010

33 days                    Dec 4-Jan 5 2011

34 days                    Jan 6- Feb 8 2011

37 days                    Feb 9-Mar 17 2011

26 days                    Mar 18- April 12 2011

~69 days                 April 13-June 20 2011 (exact date iffy, sometime the week of the 20th cycle ended)

~46 days                 June 21-Aug 5 2011 (exact date iffy, sometime the week of the June 20th cycle began)

Aug 5- Sept_          Ongoing

Yeah, anyone notice anything strange?  Specifically, the fact that my last three cycles have been craaaazy long?  The April-June one I had previously documented and attributed to the stress of wedding planning and called it a fluke- now, I’m not so sure.  Suddenly, I seem to be in a pattern of extra-long cycles (with documentation to back me up now!) and it’s definitely worrying me.  I’ve always had slightly-varying cycles… but not this long.

So naturally, I’ve also been looking at lots of options in order to be screened for any potential problems.  Many of you mentioned going to a regular doctor to get bloodwork done- would love to and probably will as soon as my insurance kicks in. There’s also this option though, an FSH and Estradiol D3 blood test offered by an RE near us, that might work just to get us started… and at only $99 (plus a few tacked-on consult fees, I’m assuming) it’s affordable even without insurance coverage. Obviously I wouldn’t need the male part of the testing, but I’m wondering if the female part of it might provide good information- enough information, say, to know if it’s even worth ordering a few vials of sperm shipped here the next time I ovulate?  Or just wait and see a PCP to have these tests run?  So once again I must ask the opinions of those who know more about this than I do- whatcha think??? And also, for now I have to resist my own nature to continue googling the hell out of this issue and just have to leave it alone for now, as hard as it is for me, because my priority is finishing this EMT class, and THEN I will have time to do all the Dr. Googling I want to do.  But in the meantime- please feel free to chime in with opinions about whether or not that testing might or might not be a ripoff!

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Pinned down/Up in the Air

We interrupt the EMT-studying to bring you news about, well… lots of things!

I guess one of the most important would be to say- I GOT THE JOB I INTERVIEWED FOR!!!  They called me yesterday to offer a full-time day shift position with full benefits, but, as I was in class, the official “I-accept-your-offer” discussion didn’t happen until this morning on my drive in to class.  I start the 17th, which is kinda perfect- I should be done with my EMT stuff by the 24 (class) and take my final EMT test the 27th, and then I’ll have about two weeks of vacation time before jumping right in to this job.  It’s such a relief to know I have employment- dropping the Ph.D. program was a huge risk, job-wise and money-wise, and so not having to go through a prolonged period of time in which I am searching for a job while Shorty supports us all is a huge relief to all of us and makes me feel like the decision I made is already paying off.

In the two weeks between the EMT program ending and this job beginning, I’ll also be looking for places to volunteer on a part time basis as an EMT.  I’ll make more money at this job than I ever would as an EMT, but I still want (and need, for PA school) to be an EMT so part-time volunteer work is the way to go it seems.  I’m hoping to find a place that will let me work every other weekend or so- I need to do more sleuth work.

Another thing this job does is put us on even more solid footing for TTC.  Although we have had a few rough patches/freak outs about planning for baby and parenting and such (I am going to try to get Shorty to post more about this on here, as I think this issue really needs her perspective) we remain committed to TTC.  I’m still hoping for that before-Christmas baby, but frankly, it’s not looking likely.

One thing I am pretty worried about, that I’ve never really admitted to you or anyone, is my ability to get pregnant at all.  I have always assumed that with my great big baby-birthin hips that Mother Gaea saw fit to give me, along with my relatively young age and general healthfulness, that I am a mean lean not-so-lean-as-of-late baby-makin-machine…after all, that’s the way it’s supposed to work, right?  However, some recent 40+ day cycles (day 45 here people, second 40+ day’er in a row), plus distant unpleasant memories from this chart and even more very distant memories of the horrible cramps I used to have, before I went on (and came off) the Nuva Ring (haven’t had problems since) have both Shorty and I, well… rather worried.  Dr Google is of no help, with his cold indifferent definitions of 25-40 day “normal cycles” that leave no room for a girl to rationalize in her 40+ day cycles as normal, and vague random suggestions/diagnosis on what the problem might be.  A real doctor might be of some value here (would that be an OB or an RE?) but I won’t have health insurance again until ye olde job begins, so gotta wait on that.  I do feel a bit like a dunce for not having thought to check these issues sooner (I mean, hello- we have been talking about this for over a year now, and I have seen both in real life and on these blogs the problems couples can have getting pregnant- even couples with unlimited free sperm) but, like I said… I’m pretty sure my Big Birtha hips and all the “wow! you’re a born baby-maker!” comments I’ve gotten in my lifetime (from both well-meaning relatives and stranger-assholes alike) gave me a false sense of baby-makin-it’ll-happen-don’t-you-worry assurance.  That assurance is quickly unraveling now.

Funny how life works, isn’t it? Some things get pinned down and taken care of (job, EMT training) while at the same time others get thrown into question (um, am I even fertile?*).  Round and round and round we go….

*Fi.rst respo.nse sells an OTC fertility test you take on CD3… anyone know if it’s worth its salt?  Obviously it can’t replace a real doctor but I’m wondering if it’s worth it to pee on one of those things to get some reassurance?  And anyone know if I should go to an RE? OB?  Whoever’s more likely to be covered by whatever insurance I get?

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Just checking in…

…to say a BIG, TWIN-OR-TRIPLET-SIZED CONGRATULATIONS to the ladies over at Love Invents Us on their BFP and amaaaazing beta numbers!  So so so SO happy for them and excited for all of us- we get a pair or so of new cute babies to coo over in about nine months! =)

Anywhoo… things with the EMT program are going GREAT.  Frankly- I love it. L-O-V-E it.  We’ve been going over a lot of material that is review for me, given my biology background, but then a bunch of stuff that’s brand new for me, such as patient assessment and treatment.  Overall, it’s refreshing and I can’t wait to get out there to get some in-the-field real-patient experience and rub off some of the aura of “green as grass newbie” that I’m sure is sticking to me. =)  Tomorrow I start clinicals- 8 hours in the ER.  Sunday will be 8 hours on an ambulance.  I’m looking forward to both of them.

One thing I will say is I am tired as hell.  Days have involved up by 6, bed at one, go go go nonstop in between.  Tomorrow will be more of the same, so I suppose it’s off to bed with me now… or more studying. One of the two. 😉

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This is it!!!

Well folks, here we are… the eve of a very special kind of TWW.  Tomorrow, I start my EMT class (EMT bootcamp!), and the rest is history.

Although I’m super duper excited about this (as you all know), it’s definitely not without its hardships.  In order for me to attend this class, Shorty basically has to be a full time single parent for the next two weeks.  Class hours are 9am-7pm, and it’s a little more than an hour drive round-trip.  Since T1 wakes up at 7:30 and goes to bed at 8:00, I’ll be leaving right when she gets up and getting home (hopefully) in time to give her a quick snuggle or peck on the cheek before she falls asleep- so basically, I won’t see her for two weeks.  I’m gonna miss the little bugger- and I’m going to miss my wife, too, for that matter, since home hours will consist mainly of studying and sleeping, in that order.

My self-exile will also mean that- horror of horrors!- responsibilities for laundry, cooking, and grocery shopping will be landing squarely in Shorty’s lap.  Ohboy.  Didja read my “mother or father” post from earlier?  Yeah, laundry/cooking/grocery duty are definitely more ways in which I fall squarely into the “mom” category!  I’m sorta–kind-kidding-but-no-really-slightly-worried that I’m going to come home to them eating pizza rolls for dinner every night and that “grocery shopping” will consist of Diet Pepsi and some cereal- maybe some fruit cups or something if I’m lucky.  LOL.  But hey- I guess, even if that is the case, it’ll only be for two weeks. Two weeks of junk food won’t hurt them..right?

In any, I am absolutely not complaining- I am way too ecstatic about this opportunity and for only two weeks, it’s a small price to pay.  I’m also completely proud and thankful that I have such a wonderful wife who takes on such a monumental task as full-time single-handedly parenting a six year old and running a three person/two cat house solo with nothing more than a shrug and words of encouragement for me to enjoy my class.  Such an awesome wife I have.  Guess I owe her for this one, eh?

And of course, I have to put in my disclaimer that due to my shortage of free time (see above) I won’t be blogging or reading much in the next two weeks (but maybe more reading than blogging).  To this end, I am requesting that no Important Events happen in my absence.  No Exciting News stories, no Pregnancy Announcements, nothing of the sort.  Wait till I’m back, people- This Means You.

Ha. Totally kidding. 😉 But I know there are some TWWs that are about to end and other things of that nature- I’ll catch up in two weeks, promise!  Until then- I’m off to go learn how to save yo ass.

PS- for those wondering, second interview went well! Very well.  Just waiting to hear back from them, but they said it wouldn’t be until the end of next week.

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