I have decided to post a series on the birth story of our daughter, who recently arrived. It will start from the beginning of trying to conceive through pregnancy and labor and delivery, ending with her birth and some reflections. These posts will be detailed and include some descriptions which some readers may find uncomfortable/graphic, (labor and delivery is no joke!) though, I have endeavored to not be too gross with details. I want to be true to the beautiful, messy, incredible experience and journey. I hope that it adds beauty, inspires, and adds some light and hope this season. Peace to you all.
We found ourselves so full of love for each other, for truth, and for beauty, that we wanted to expand that love – to give it away even more and invest it in a lasting way. We wanted to love and raise a child together. To teach her about life, about goodness, and about kindness, simplicity, and responsibility.
Our options were somewhat limited. We so desire to adopt a child who needs a home, but there are legal hurdles, and gross inequality stands in our way. Perhaps one day.
We knew we wanted to have biological children, too. To have a piece of us to carry on in the spirit of our love. So, we did the best we could to match an anonymous donor with D’s features.
When I was younger and even all the way through graduate school, I told everyone I didn’t want to have (carry) kids. First, I was gay, and knew I would never want to be with a man. Second, I feared pregnancy and childbirth. I remember watching Steel Magnolias as a child, and fearing that what happened to Julia Roberts would happen to me. I soaked in images from visual and audio media, like the country song “Don’t Take the Girl” and the plethora of labor scenes beginning with a gush of water and including intense screaming and sweating from the woman in labor.
I feared the pain.
I feared the chance of loss of pregnancy.
I feared for my own health and safety.
Now here I was, suddenly empowered by the love D and I share, and grew in my desire to carry and deliver a biological child.
We started our journey with a consultation at the fertility center. We talked about my health, and our desire to have children. I underwent tests to make sure everything looked ok with my reproductive system. Everything was cleared.
We poured over our finances, and we knew we had enough to try about 3 times with IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). We didn’t want to go over that so that D can have her chance to carry a child as well.
We began the process in November 2013. After returning from our anniversary/legal marriage trip to Washington State, I started a round of clomid. Then, I found myself at the fertility center having blood drawn, and having my ovaries checked via vaginal ultrasound, several days in a row. It was an uncomfortable experience, but one I was willing to endure.
As I lay on the table for our first IUI, I thought about how cold it seemed. And how badly I wished that we could just make a child together as a result of our love. I thought about the scene from If These Walls Could Talk 2, when Ellen Degeneres’s character laments over this with her partner as they look over potential donors: “there is no – oops – because of our love…”
IUI’s are not comfortable. It kind of hurts, at least to me. I had strong cramps, tensing of my body, and I held D’s hand firmly.
I just knew it had worked.
This was an incredibly stressful time for me with situations at work and personally. I was having anxiety attacks. I remember the day I felt different. Like maybe the news would not be good after all.
When I went in for my blood test, it wasn’t.
It was Advent, and all I could do was cry at the advent carols, the image of Mary and Jesus, and at the emptiness and darkness I felt inside.
The next time we tried (with a couple of tweaks), I tried not to get my hopes up, but again, my body and my mind tricked me into believing that it would be good news, but it was not. I told the medical assistant that we could try one more time. They adjusted my medications again. I talked with D about least leaving the option open for the future – though I knew that it would be even more difficult once I got a little older. We agreed we could swing trying again in the future if we needed to. I couldn’t handle so much pressure.
I had a massage at the fertility center followed by an IUI in early April. I ate pineapple core and all. I ate a fertility diet where you eat certain foods on certain days. I practiced relaxation and walked.
We went to a fair a week later with my mom and a good friend. I noticed a tinge of pink on toilet tissue. I told myself not to think about it and to just keep calm.
It was time for my blood test, and by now my veins were worn out from all the frequent drawing of blood. My veins wouldn’t allow blood to be drawn in a few places any more. The needle was painful, but it carried with it hope.
I went back to work, and I logged onto my patient portal hourly to check for news.
Where there had been a < 1, I suddenly saw a number for HCG levels. I called and asked to speak with the med assistant. There was excitement in everyone’s voices.
I cried when she told me.
I called D.
“We are going to be mommas.”