Monthly Archives: March 2012
Soo..in typical “us” fashion, we are clearly biting off more than we can chew at this point in time.
But, lets start at the beginning with things, shall we? Today is CD21, this morning the ClearBlue Fertility Monitor gave me my 8th day of HIGH fertility readings, but still no LH surge detected on the monitor or the internet cheapie OPKs. The tank that I took out of the cryobank on Friday with thoughts that I might O over the weekend is due back on Thursday. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do if I don’t O before Wednesday (for an IUI on Thursday). Do I take it back to the bank and ask them to recharge the liquid nitrogen for another 7 days (at possibly $50 tank prep fee) or are they going to make me put the vial back into my account ($75) and then remove it again ($125)? I’ll have to call and ask, but it’s causing me stress. I don’t know how I’d manage all this stuff if I didn’t work at home.
So, there’s that (which I guess is actually no news at all technically). And then there’s what we did with ourselves all weekend and that is decide to put our house on the market and get started on buying a house, not a 3 floor townhouse style condo aka the baby deathtrap. We’ve been talking about how we both wanted to transition to a house in the next couple of years and where we wanted to go based on Jon’s commute and staying sort of in between both of our parents. Jon had been emailing with the real estate agent from whom we bought our condo and set up a meeting with him. So Real Estate Man came over on Saturday morning, took a walk through the house to refresh his memory and then we sat down and he said that if we did some decluttering and he could come in and take some pictures during the week then we could be holding our first open house by Sunday. Woah.
We got to work decluttering but in the process of bringing some bins into the basement I stepped onto an area rug and it went “squish” beneath my feet. Um. Awesome. Apparently our furnace pump decided that the very same day we decide to list our house would be a great time to stop working and spew water all over the floor. SO we had to stop the decluttering and get on Servicemagic.com to find an HVAC person to come out and help us. We pressed the button to submit our request and literally 15 seconds later our phone rang and it was one of the technicians. He offered to come out the same day and take a look at it.
So in the meantime we got back to work. Jon decluttered while I sanded/spackled/painted some spots in the stairwell that were cracked. We boxed, we scrubbed, we hauled an area rug outside only to find the world’s grossest centipede living in it…things like that.
Now this week is filled with furnace guy coming over, real estate guy coming over, a day with my mom & sister in the middle of it, possibly an IUI if I ever O again and more cleaning before a possible open house on Sunday.
WHAT IS GOING ON!!!
……spoiler alert: It’s EVERYTHING.
But I have found that I am exceedingly concerned with getting back the same sperm we gave to the bank at which we’re storing the vials.
The bank we’re storing at has some dodgy reviews online from people who have used their donor catalog and so I think I’m kind of projecting a little nervousness onto the bank. I have this (likely absurd) fear that I’m dropping off vials from a brown haired guy and somehow what we’re going to get back is going to be a red-haired dude. And there’s no way to know. It kills me that instead of just ordering from our bank and taking it to the doctor’s, this third party has to handle our merchandise. I don’t like it (and like I mentioned last post, if I could figure out ANY other way to do this, I would surely do it..).
This process. It is killing me. I find new shit to worry about seemingly every day.
But then when this process does finally work, I’ll have a whole new set of things to worry about. It never ends.
I will be the first to admit that I am not a big picture girl. Or rather, I see the big picture, I am just infinitely more concerned with all the little details that it takes to get to the goal. I am a small picture girl. I am a day-to-day, what-needs-to-be-done-right-now, oh-my-God-there-is-so-much-to-do-panic! kind of girl.
During this process, the details have killed me. I am not worried about the actual IUI itself in the slightest but everything leading up to it has been a huge pain in the ass.
All of the things that concern me most stem from the fact that I have totally wonky cycles. They’re all over the place. Over the past 15 cycles they have been anywhere from 30 to 46 days long. I have ovulated on day 19, I have ovulated on day 36. There’s no consistency at all (except that my luteal phase is generally 10 or 11 days).
When normal people order sperm from a sperm bank, they order it to arrive the week when they’re going to ovulate and when they do they bring it to their doctor’s office, have the IUI and then ship the tank back to the bank. The tanks with the liquid nitrogen are good for 7 days. If you know about when you’re going to ovulate then that’s plenty of time. You know when to have it arrive at your house. Not me. A 7 day window doesn’t even begin to cover it if it could be day 19 or day 36. That’s a two and a half week difference..
So the first problem we faced was…when do we order it. Our options apparently were 1) have it overnighted for roughly a million dollars. This however wasn’t an option for us since our bank can’t assure us they’ll have a tank available if we call the day before we need it. 2) find someone to refill the liquid nitrogen after 7 days 3) find somewhere local to store it 4) guess.
We went with option 3. So we bought 3 vials and brought it over to the local cryobank. No problem, right? Except now I have no idea how to handle weekends between days 19 and 36. They’re closed on weekends. So do I take it out on Friday, hold it for 7 days and then return it? (By the by, taking it out is $75 each time. Putting it back in is another $75.) I don’t like it, but honestly, I don’t know how to get around it. I literally cannot figure out how to handle this. We haven’t been able to figure out where to get liquid nitrogen refilled…
And lest you think I’m not doing due diligence in paying attention to my cycles..I have been using cheapie internet OPKs for over a year and I was gifted a ClearBlue Fertility Monitor which I’m using for the first time this cycle. In their instructions it says that I’ll get 2-5 “high” fertility readings before getting 2 “peak” readings (at the first one I’d call and schedule the IUI for the next day). But then I read online that some people were getting 2 WEEKS of “high” readings the first time they used the monitor. So far I have 3 High readings, so we’ll see how many I end up with, but I’m nervous. Hopefully as I use it more it “gets to know me” better, but for this first cycle I don’t 100% trust it. I’m using the cheapie OPK’s as a backup. And I’ve scheduled to pick up the vial on Friday.
I’m hoping my body just gives me a break and I get the positive/peak reading sometime between Friday and next Thursday before I have to bring the vial back to the bank for $75. And then take it out again for another $75 sometime between the next day and a week and a half later. The bank will think I’m a crazy person and it will be expensive.
THIS is why I cannot see the big picture and am instead blinded by the stupid little details that get us there. I might worry about the IUI itself or, hell HAVING A BABY once I can figure out when and how to get the sperm to the appointment at the appropriate time..whenever that happens to be.
It’s a weird weird feeling when the Fed Ex guy arrives, has you sign his clipboard and then hands over a tank that is currently housing 3 vials of someone’s sperm.
It is also strange loading the 25 pound tank into your car and driving it around town to the cryobank where it’s going to live now. And talking to it when you get lost.
Monday morning, bright and early, we headed to a session with a therapist/social worker to talk about all that we’ve been through emotionally in the last few months. Since I’ve never been to therapy, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know if Jon & I would both end up sobbing puddles on the floor or arguing about something or deciding that we didn’t want to do donor sperm anymore or if it would sway us from what we’d decided was the best path for us.
As it turns out, all that happened was a lovely conversation with a woman who knows what she’s talking about and we realized that we really are on the same page after all.
She helped us to talk through the decision, how open we wanted to be about it (which…pretty open. Hello Internet!) and what we were concerned about the most. The therapist has friends who used donor sperm and now have 3 grown children who are all completely normal and well-adjusted. I have found that the most helpful thing for me has been hearing first hand accounts that things end up ok and that the children are not traumatized and angry. For Jon, this has never been an issue, but it’s something that I find myself worrying about every once in a while.
We learned that what makes us the most sad is that our children won’t share Jon’s mannerisms. I’m sad that our kids might not be as even-keeled, sensible, reliable, sarcastic, crazy-intelligent as Jon is. The social worker revealed that a lot of this has to do with just growing up with Jon and mannerisms that Jon exhibits will be picked up by the child regardless of genetics. So I guess that makes me feel a little better, but the fact that we might not see Jon’s personality exhibited in our kids still makes both of us a little teary.
We talked about how we’re going to go about telling other people, like parents. My mom already knows and has known since the beginning, so it’s more about how we’re going to tell Jon’s parents and whether or not they will be on board with our decision. I honestly don’t know how that conversation is going to go. I’m sure they will have some questions and I don’t know if they’ll agree with the decision we’ve made. I hope they do. Or at least, they understand why we’ve made it. I guess we’ll find out on Tuesday when they come over for dinner.
We can put that on the “Things I’m Not Looking Forward To” list.
Overall, I think the session went really well. I felt good sitting with Jon and talking about our plans and hearing that we’re both on the same wavelength and ready for what’s to come. I left feeling like it’s going to be an interesting journey, but one that we’re both ready to conquer together and that was important.
So, we’ve picked out our donor, placed the order for 3 vials, have found a place locally to store them and called to let the doctor know that yesterday was my cycle day 1. We are officially in our first IUI cycle. Sometime nearer the end of the month, we will be attempting to get pregnant and for the first time, all the pieces will be actually available to do that.
Of course, the odds are only 15% chance that we get pregnant in any given cycle. A lot of things have to go right. But, it’s exciting to think about our first cycle and what COULD happen if all those things go well.
Now that we’ve decided to go this route and we’re satisfied that we’re making the right decision for us, a lot of what we worry about has to do with how we discuss our decision with other people.
I think this is much easier for me than Jon. We both agree that we want to tell the child early and often and have it just be something that’s a part of them. I want it to be something that they just grow up knowing, I don’t want them to remember a time they didn’t know and then all of a sudden after a big conversation, now they do…I want them to be aware of how they came into our lives and while it makes their story special, it’s nothing to be ashamed of or hidden. I want our kids to be aware that this was a hard choice, but that we wanted a family and we were excited for them to come into our lives and that we made this decision knowing and prepared for the fact that someday they might be interested in their donor.
There are a lot of stories about parents not telling their children until they are teens or adults, but I would worry that #1, that’s a long time to keep a secret and #2, if your kids find out that you’ve been keeping this secret for so many years, won’t they feel like they people they’re supposed to be most honest and safe with have betrayed them? I don’t want our kids to find out later in life and then question everything they’ve known about their family unit. We’re both on board with the plan to tell our kids young about where they came from.
I think where we might differ is the telling of people around us. Two of the first people I told were my mom & sister, so they’re with us every step of the way. They know what’s going on and what we’re going through and what kind of a road it’s been. And I have found that I needed that support. My best friends also know and it’s been helpful to have people checking in and asking how things are going. It’s nice to be able to unload and have people understand. I don’t think any of our friends know anyone who has gone through this process, but to be able to explain to them how it’s going has been helpful. I find when I say things out loud to other people, I learn what parts of the story I understand well and where I need more clarity/research to fill in some gaps or questions. It’s a learning experience for everyone. Jon & I just told our first mutual friends last weekend and I think it was helpful for him that they were incredibly supportive. One thing that was said that I thought was particularly helpful was “it’s interesting as we grow up to see how families come together and all the different ways that are possible.” Between IVF, donor insemination, adoption etc..it’s clear that people around feel like whatever method you use to have your children, the end result is a family that is loving and that is the most important part.
If you’re ever bored (I mean, really bored. There’s really no other reason to do this unless you have to), check out websites for sperm banks. It is amazing what you’ll find. Some of them offer things like long profiles explaining generations worth of medical background. Some have baby pictures or life-cycle pictures available of the donor at different ages. Some of them have recordings of the donor answering interview questions. Some have just what they’re interested in and how they came to be a donor in the first place, more like short essay questions.
I honestly never thought about these kinds of sites. I never thought about the information that’s out there or isn’t out there, I never thought about the differences between anonymous and identity-release donors and I never thought about what makes one sperm bank better than another.
After the casual browsing, we decided to choose a sperm bank that we felt comfortable with first. Some banks don’t have identity-release programs, some banks don’t monitor or cap how many families can use one donor, some banks have bad reputations for customer service or don’t hold to FDA guidelines or have lawsuits against them and whatnot.
We started with the sperm bank whose info had been given to us by our RE. They’re our hometown cryobank, so it would be really convenient to use them. Unfortunately, they don’t have any information available about how many families per donor are allowed (or if they cap it at all), there are some complaints against them so far as sperm quality goes and the more we read, the more we felt like things that were important to us weren’t featured in this local bank. After reading a lot of reviews and deciding what was important to us, we have chosen a bank. It limits each donor to 10 families, it’s a non-profit organization and was one of the first banks to develop an identity-release program wherein the child, at age 18, can reach out for information about their donor. The bank we chose also does a lot of independent research about how the families lives proceed and what the emotional outcome is for members of the family. It makes me feel good that this bank isn’t just a catalog of donors, it’s interested and concerned with the family dynamic and making sure that things go well in the long-term.
Once we had a bank we were comfortable with, choosing a donor…honestly, it’s just weird. You’re looking at profiles of a person that will share genes with your child. Answers to short essay questions, what kind of health issues they have in their family, what they look like, what their heritage is like..it’s all available to peruse and you narrow it down based on what is important.
First and foremost, we wanted an identity-release donor. We want to leave all avenues and options open for our potential children. We don’t want to take away their options, we want them to have access to whatever they need to know to make themselves comfortable with their roots. So choosing someone who has indicated that they are willing to be known is important to us. After that…tall, brown hair, green/hazel eyes…Basically someone who fit our specifications and just sounds like a good, interesting, well-rounded person. Even with all this research and all these profiles though, it’s really a genetic crap shoot. Who knows what will happen or what our baby will look like. We just know that we’re ready to start trying with all the proper materials and see what happens.