The Pirate has Commandeered the Mother…Ship

The transfer went well yesterday. The appointment was set for 9:15, but we had to be there at 8:45. Due to the general suckitude of the traffic, we decided to stay in a hotel 1/2 a mile from the clinic, and that was an AWESOME decision.

Tammy has to travel for work more often than we’d like, but the upside of this is that she has hotel points. Cashing in those suckers was SUCH a good idea. We didn’t have to pay for the room (which is good, because we have no mas money after paying for all this IVF shit), got to sleep in, had an awesome breakfast at the hotel, didn’t have to sit in traffic, and got to the clinic in literally 3 minutes.

When we got to the clinic, I was told to put on booties (AGAIN WITH THE BOOTIES) but didn’t have to change into anything else. Except take my pants off. (Isn’t that a given?)

booties

They made Tammy put on booties as well. On one hand, I don’t really understand WHY we had to put on the booties, but it made it seem more sanitary (I guess? Like are they worried they’re going to drop the blast on my dirty foot?).

I got another ID wrist band.

wrist ID

And then the doctor came in and ran us through the stats:

23 eggs retrieved
18 mature enough for ICSI
15 fertilized normally (I found out an additional one fertilized abnormally – WTF is that? I didn’t even know that was a THING)
Day 1: 14 in the 2-4 cell range (GOOD) 1 at 7 cells (BAD)
Day 2: 14 still growing at the appropriate pace
Day 3: Down to 12 – 2 have slowed down and don’t have as many cells as they should
Day 4: No update, they just leave ’em in the incubator (MY BABIES ARE ALL ALLOOONNNEEE)
Day 5: 5 at the transfer/freeze stage (blastocysts), 5 more just one step behind that they’re going to watch until Thursday and potentially freeze.

The doctor strongly (STRONGLY) recommended that we transfer 1. Tammy and I had discussed this ad nauseum, and were still somewhat divided. (HA! Get it?! I made a cell division joke! Divided?! Cell division?! Nevermind…) We decided to wait and hear the doctor’s recommendation to help make our final decision. My waffling decision making on this issue looked something like this:
Transferring 1
-Same pregnancy success rate at my clinic as transferring 2 (60%)
-Would be easier on my body to carry 1
-Would be nice to be able to focus on one baby at a time
Transferring 2
-Would get the whole “having babies” thing out of the way in one go – only have to go through this (emotionally, physically, financially) once
-It would be fun for our kids to have a friend to grow up with that was their age.
-The “luck” factor. If my chances are roughly 60% with this IVF, what if we transfer 1 and it wasn’t THE one? What if it was the unlucky embryo? Wouldn’t transferring 2 give us more of a shot?

But like I said, the doctor STRONGLY recommended that we transfer 1. And Tammy was STRONGLY leaning in that direction also. The doctor got me to agree by telling me how much higher the miscarriage rates are for twins than a singleton. Now, I know as much as the next person that miscarriages can happen regardless of how many are in there. But having experienced one, I’m fairly desperate not to go through that again (my heart goes out to all you RPL ladies. You are so strong and it is so unfair. I’m so sorry).

So one it was. And it was a beautiful one.

Perfect Blast

Internet, meet Captain Jack Sparrow. It is currently chilling (hopefully NOT chilling – get to WORK young man*. We’ve got IMPLANTATION to do) in my uterus. They put a picture of it on a TV screen while the embryologist brought it in. Tammy’s first comment was “look how big it is!” Mine was “look how tiny!”

Speaking of wee, you must have a “moderately full” bladder for the transfer. And by “moderately full”, they mean HOLY GOD YOU ARE ABOUT TO PEE ON THE DOCTOR LOOK OUT. I actually asked the doctor if anyone had ever peed on her during transfer and she said only once, but the woman was under sedation for the transfer and didn’t have control over her bladder. Then she told me she used to be in obstetrics so a little pee and a little poo don’t faze her. “Now VOMIT on the other hand, I don’t do so well with,” she said. (Duly noted. I will aim my vomit on the nurse.) I only had a FEW panicky moments when the damn nurse pressed on my stomach with the ultrasound wand, but I was distracted by the small flash of light in my uterus, which was the moment the doctor ejected Captain Jack into my uterus. You can’t actually see the blast, of course, but the flash is the fluid surrounding it.

After 5 minutes of laying still, and about 5 minutes of blissful peeing, I went home and I climbed into bed to do my 24 hours of bed rest. Normally I enjoy nothing more than some downtime to laze around and read or watch movies. But yesterday I was bored as hell. Apparently sometimes I can be a wee bit stubborn and contrary. Just a teeny tiny bit.

The next two weeks are going to be agonizing.

*We both for some odd reason think it’s a future boy. NO idea why. But IF this sticks, and IF it’s a girl, well, Captain Jack Sparrow is still a badass name.

Family Linen

I had two very different interactions with two of my sisters-in-law at the wedding this weekend.

The Bad
We drove up to the wedding location Thursday morning, in time for the rehearsal Thursday afternoon. It was chaos, as most things having to do with Tammy’s large, boisterous family are. As I was making the rounds, I ran into one of the two sisters-in-law that knew about my (lack of) pregnancy troubles. I leaned in for the hug, and immediately felt the hard press of her stomach against mine. My heart sank, and my throat clenched up. I knew. FUCK. FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK. I pulled back, and she opened her sweater to flash her stomach at me while chirping on about how she was knocked up with an “oops” baby. I hugged my smug brother-in-law (he of the sanctimonious comments regarding infertility treatment), but couldn’t even bear to look at my sister-in-law (V) as I mumbled my congratulations.

Now, we all know how hard it can be to hear of friends and family members who get pregnant with ease, and especially by accident. And that would have been bad enough. But this bothered me particularly because she knew what I was going through, and admitted later in the weekend that she was nervous about telling me she was pregnant. WTF?! If you were nervous, that would indicate you realize the situation could call for some sensitivity. Pressing your pregnant stomach against me is one of the most insensitive ways I can think of.

Then of course, the rest of the family was falling all over her, and I had to listen to interminable questions, comments, excitement, sex guesses, and “maybe it’s twins!” har har. She’s three months along. She would know if she were pregnant with twins.

The Goodish
Tammy’s brother got married this weekend to my new sister-in-law (M). M was married before, and has two kids from her first marriage. When she was pregnant with her second, she got into a bad car accident (was hit by a drunk driver) and had resulting complications. I’m not entirely clear on the details, but when her second was delivered via C-Section, she had a hysterectomy. Now she’s married again, and her new husband (Tammy’s brother, my in-law) really really wants a biological kid. And M would really really like to provide him with one, but lacks the necessary equipment (still has ovaries but doesn’t have a uterus anymore) to do this easily. This is all fairly well-known within the family (or so I thought).

When we were on the way to the wedding, some of the other bridesmaids started singing “[Tammy’s brother] and M, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage!”

WHY they were singing this song, I will never know. I looked at M after the song was over, and she looked absolutely crestfallen. My heart broke for her.

The day after the wedding, the whole family got together for lunch. By chance, I ended up sitting next to M, and we chatted about various things. At one point, someone at the table brought up how V was pregnant, and maybe M would be next? My mother-in-law made a few comments about how M’s kids are growing up, and would she really want to go back to having diapers and midnight feedings, etc. M was stammering about how it would take a miracle, and finally I cut to the chase. I leaned over to my MIL and said, “she doesn’t have a uterus.” (unsaid message: please shut the fuck up and change the subject.) MIL laughed uproariously as if that were the most hilarious thing she’d ever heard. I’m sorry, It’s FUNNY that your son, who desperately wants a biological child, and new daughter-in-law that desperately wants to be able to provide that for him, cannot do so without great emotional, physical and financial expense? Ugh. That woman.

M and I were chatting later, and I brought up the “baby carriage” song. I apologized, and told her I knew how hard that must have been for her. She nodded, and said “the most annoying thing is that all of them singing that song knew our situation”. We began discussing surrogacy, who she would want to do it (family member or professional surrogacy match?) and the logistics. As we were running through the list of family members, I told her that I was probably out, as you would a) want someone with proven success and b) want someone who wasn’t trying themselves. I told her how long we’d been trying, and I told her about my miscarriage. She said all the right things. That she was sorry, that it must be so hard. That she would be thinking about me. Perfect.

I felt like we “got” each other. We may have different issues, but neither of us can have a baby without medical intervention. While I’m really sad that they are going through this, I’m so grateful that there’s SOMEONE in Tammy’s family that can discuss in/fertility with a modicum of sensitivity.

IN OTHER NEWS…
I started stims Saturday night. I already feel bloated and exhausted. Fingers crossed that means the perfect number of follicles are growing, perfectly paced, in my ovaries. Pleaseletthisworkpleaseletthisworkpleaseletthiswork.

Coming Out

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I wanted to chat a little bit about coming out. I know this is a big topic of discussion among the infertility community: Do you talk about it openly? Completely in the closet? Only tell a few specific friends? What about telling your family? What about work, does your boss know? What do you tell work when you have to take off? If you’re reading this, you probably have a blog, but most of them are anonymous or semi-anonymous.

I have a lot of experience with the coming out process. You see, when you’re gay, coming out is not one big “here I am, world!” moment (although that’s often part of it). It’s a decision you have to make every day, sometimes multiple times a day. It can be as small as when the woman ringing up my groceries asking “how do I like that vegan cheese?” and I have to make the instant decision: do I say “oh, I have no idea. My wife is the vegan” or do I say “I haven’t tried it yet”, and move on?

GAYPRIDE_FLAG_1251120c

It can be a bigger deal, of course. In a job interview, do you mention your wife? Will that have an impact on getting hired? What about colleagues you don’t work with very often. When they ask you about your plans for the weekend, do you mention her? Or do you say something non-committal about chores and weekends never being long enough? I’ve been at my job for over three years now, and I hate that I still have to have these thoughts (it’s a fairly large office). And do you correct people when they say something about my “husband”?

Being openly gay and being openly infertile is not a perfect comparison, of course. But there are similarities.

1) Judgment. If you tell, are they going to judge you? Say it was your choice (i.e. the gay “lifestyle” or promiscuity or putting your career first or waiting too long, blah blah blah)? I’ve gotten judgment about being gay, mostly from Tammy’s family, but also from former “friends” from high school (there’s a damn good reason I left that hick town) and strangers. I haven’t had the joy of experiencing much infertility judgment directly. The “best” example I can think of is Tammy’s brother, a year before we started trying, telling us that he didn’t support infertility treatment, because if you cannot have kids “naturally”, then “nature” is trying to tell you something and you shouldn’t reproduce. Sanctimonious ass. I think he might change his tune if he and his wife had any trouble getting pregnant (they didn’t. Tammy’s family is disgustingly fertile. Fertile and sanctimonious).

2) Which leads me to my next point, unhelpful comments. I think everyone in the infertility community has experienced this. We have a “once burned, twice shy” mentality about telling, because so many people we’ve told have been complete idiots with their response. They’re trying, bless their hearts*, but so often fail miserably. I’ve experienced way too many of these:
“why don’t you just adopt?”
“I’d NEVER do IVF. I don’t believe in playing God”
“Maybe God doesn’t want you to be parents”
“It was a blessing the miscarriage happened when it did”
“Want to borrow mine?”
“Be glad you don’t have kids – you can sleep in, enjoy “you” time, and you have money to spend on yourself!”
Etc. etc., ad nauseum.

Gay people also experience their fair share of unhelpful comments. I’ve also experienced way too many of these:
“Are you sure it’s not just a phase?”
“Maybe you just haven’t met the right guy yet”
“Can I watch?”
“So who’s the man?”
“Hate the sin, love the sinner”
“God has a plan for your life, and it doesn’t include being gay”
Etc. etc., ad nauseum.

So, have I come out? (Gosh, don’t I make it sound GREAT to be out?) I’m pretty much as far out as a person can be with my sexual orientation. I’m very hopeful that at some point in my life I’ll stop caring about the judgment from random people at the grocery store, and I’m also hopeful that as our society advances, judgment that matters (in terms of employment, housing, etc.) will lessen. As will the shit comments.

Am I out with my infertility? Not really. My immediate family knows, and I talk about it a lot with my parents. Many of my aunts and uncles know as well. Most of Tammy’s family does NOT know, due to their shaky status on their sister/daughter/etc. being married to a woman (THE HORROR). The poor dears might lose their damn minds if I threw GAY BABIES into the mix. I did tell two of my sisters in law after my miscarriage, and regretted it immediately. SIL #1 kept saying things like “well, you’re getting closer. It’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen”, and SIL #2 asks me about it every. damn. time. we see each other, while eyeing my stomach suspiciously. Damn, I wish I hadn’t told them. Seeing them this weekend for a family wedding (remind me to bitch at/tell you about this damn wedding).

I DID, however, tell my boss on Friday. I had to let him know I needed 2+ days off in early May, but I didn’t know the exact dates. I have taken a lot of time off over the past year, and he’s been very/mostly good about it. I had a monthly meeting with him, and he asked me, very concerned like, if everything was OK. And it just tumbled out of my mouth. He looked VERY surprised (now I’m curious as to what he thinks was going on) but quickly pulled himself together. He really knew almost nothing about infertility and treatement, but he asked decent, semi-intelligent questions, and wished me luck. When I told him about my miscarriage, he said his wife had had one. She was 11 weeks. Now of course, they have one and another on the way. He said I could take off all the time I need for appointments, treatment, etc. Yay! One non-shit response from the big bad world.

I know the value in coming out. The gay community has benefitted immensely from people coming out. Studies show that people change their mind about gay rights when they find out they know someone who is gay. If you trust the statistics, there are roughly the same number of gay people as there are infertile people (and then you have fabulous crossovers, like yours truly!). What would happen if we all came out? All posted our blogs on our Facebook page, or just started casually dropping appointments and bloodwork and all that jazz into conversation?

I’m not brave enough. I wish I was, but I’m not. I feel too raw to open myself up to the judgment and critisism that I’m sure will follow. I’ve told myself that once I have a baby, I’ll start being open about how hard it was to get him/her. But what if I never get there? Will I be in the closet forever?

*Where I come from, “bless your heart” is the perfect insult. It blends sugary southern sweetness with absolute biting criticism. You can almost always follow “bless your heart” with, “you fucking idiot”.

Today, on “Obnoxious Family Members”

1. Scenario One:
My cousin, let’s call her M, came down to visit the extended family this weekend, and she brought her two kids. She used to live just south of the city where I live, and so we’ve spent a good amount of time together in the past few years (including staying overnight with her toddler while her second was being born). It’s been a change, because they lived hours and hours away when we were kids – we got together once a year for our family’s beach week.

She and her husband have given us some baby items over the past few years. I had never really discussed our baby making plans with her, but she knew we wanted to have kids; we were just vague on the timeline. We were talking on the phone on Friday, and for some reason, I decided to open my trap about what’s been going on (or not) with my uterus (MISTAKE). What follows is our exchange about my misadventures:

SARAH: …so, after all that, we did get pregnant once. Unfortunately it ended in an early miscarriage. I was pretty upset about it. Still am.
M: Well, you know I had both of mine early.
SARAH: [frantically trying to remember if M has ever told me about a miscarriage before] M, you had miscarriages? I’m so sorry! When was this?
M: No, I mean I gave birth to both of my kids early. Technically I’ve never carried a baby to term.
SARAH: …

Obama-angry-face

Yes, M did have her kids early. Her first was a month early, and her second was six weeks early. I don’t want to take away from the fact that it must have been incredibly scary for her to go into labor before she was expecting to. But both of her kids are FINE. Neither of them had to stay in the NICU. Neither of them have any problems as a result of being born early. Both of her kids weighed over 7lbs when they were born. So let’s recap: M, two pregnancies, two healthy kids. Sarah: 1 pregnancy, zero kids. TOTALLY APPROPRIATE TO COMPARE.

Scenario Two:
I have an aunt, let’s call her Aunt L, who lives in the same city as I do. She is my Mom’s late brother’s wife. I have a long history with her, as I lived with her and my uncle when I first moved to the city. Even after I moved out of their house, I stayed in the neighborhood and we hung out a lot. I was also her favorite as a kid. She would invite me over for a sleepover, while pointedly excluding my sister (which, as an adult, I can see is totally fucked up. As a kid, I thought it was awesome). Anyway, that’s all to show you why I put up with her incredibly insensitive comments. Shortly before Tammy and I had our first IUI (almost a year ago, OMFG) I told Aunt L that we were going to be trying. I sincerely wish that I hadn’t said anything, because she asks every single time she sees me – including at Christmas when she GRABBED MY STOMACH and asked if there were any babies in there.

Anyway, when I saw Aunt L this weekend, she asked how the baby making was going and I told her that we were doing IVF next month. Here’s how that exchange went:

SARAH: …so we’re going to do IVF next month.
AUNT L: Oh, you don’t need that!
SARAH: Actually, to have a baby it looks like I do. I’ve talked with my doctor about it, and this is the best way forward.
AUNT L: You just need to relax! I know TONS of people who adopted and then got pregnant right away!
SARAH: Actually, that’s an old wives’ tale. And, even if that were the case, we can’t exactly try at home.
AUNT L: [not listening] You know what you should do? I saw this program on Anderson Cooper a while back, where men donated sperm for free! Like, you just meet them somewhere and they hand you some sperm. You should try that!
SARAH: Ummm. I like my sperm disease free, thanks. Also, sperm is not the issue. There’s something wrong with me, but we don’t know what. My doctor said it’s unexplained.
AUNT L: Oh, I don’t believe in all that!
SARAH: … Yeah, my uterus doesn’t believe it either (??)jackie-chan-wtf-face-i16

Look, I get it. People don’t know what to say about a reproductive system that doesn’t work…quite…right. People are uncomfortable talking about sex in general (throw in LESBIAN sex, and let’s not even go there). We like to genteelly ignore the whole P in V aspect (if that’s your kind of dish) and just focus on cuddly cute babies. But infertility and ART forces people to discuss it, and people seem to lose what little tact they possessed to begin with. For an added bonus, throw in a little miscarriage – wheee!!! NOW we’re having fun!

Fuckin’ A, man. Family. I was trying to be open about our struggles to help end the stigmatization of infertility. Clearly I didn’t do so well for team IF. I didn’t say anything rude in response, but that was only because I was so busy scraping my jaw off the floor. I fear that next time I’ll actually get something out, and it might not be pretty. Any suggestions on how to handle these kinds of comments in the future?

Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before? Injected myself with a needle in the STOMACH for god’s sake. Cooked a holiday dinner for my family all by myself. Bought a house.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I’m terrible at remembering what my resolutions were, so I’m going to go with no, I didn’t keep them. I do have some for the coming year. They include making at least 2 homemade meals a week, getting back into yoga, and taking time to do little things for myself.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nope. Early in the coming year though.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No. Knock on wood.
5. What places did you visit? Canada, Virginia, & Florida. All family related travels.
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? A baby.
7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? The date of my miscarriage – November 17, 2012
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Making it through the year, (relatively) sane, and still happy in my marriage.
9. What was your biggest failure? My first instinct is to say “not being able to have a baby” but I’m getting off that train to negative town. So I’ll say work something mumble mumble let’s not talk about work.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I had a few bouts of illness, plus the miscarriage. My body was pretty wacked out from the fertility drugs.
11. What was the best thing you bought? We bought a bedroom set, and LOVE it. We both agree it is the most comfortable bed we’ve ever slept on. Plus, we now have room to store all of our clothes (damn you, old charming houses with miniscule closets!)
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Tammy’s, always. She keeps me going.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Various extended family members that I’m not going to name. They all seem to have similar traits though, that grate on my nerves. I read somewhere that the traits you most dislike in others, you really dislike in yourself. God, I hope that’s not the case.
14. Where did most of your money go? First to the down payment on our house and then to unsuccessful baby-makin’.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My pregnancy.
16. What song will always remind you of 2012? Somebody that I used to know by Gotye. Not because the lyrics were significant, but because I heard it, loved it, and played it about 3 million times in a row until I hated it.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Sadder.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. Damn fertility drugs!
c) richer or poorer? Ha! Poorer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Yoga. Time with Tammy. I wish I’d started cooking sooner. Standing up for myself at work.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Sitting in the house, depressed, avoiding pregnant people or babies. Those fuckers are everywhere – it’s not safe to go outside! But also, being short and snappy with Tammy. I hate that tendency in myself to get frustrated with something unrelated and be an asshole to people around me.
20. How did you spend Christmas last year? At my parent’s house…working remotely. That sucked, but it’s always good to be with my parents.
21. Did you fall in love in 2012? Stayed in love, how about that? And I fell in love with the embryo that I didn’t get to keep. What ever happened to “you break it, you buy it”?
22. What was your favorite TV program? I’m literally years late on this one, but we started watching Battlestar Galactica and LOVED it.
23. What did you do for your birthday in 2012? Tammy took me on a double pedicure date (the first pedicure she’s ever had. I know, what?!) and out to dinner. Oh, and my date with a vial of sperm and a cold speculum.
24. What was the best book you read? I read so many books this year, it’s impossible for me to pick one. A few that come to mind are: The Hunger Games Trilogy, Flight Behavior (in the middle of this one, but so far it’s good), and The Red Tent.
25. What did you want and get? We’d been dreaming about owning a home for years, and it finally came true!
26. What did you want and not get? Ugh, I’m a broken record: a baby.
27. What was your favorite film of this year? I haven’t seen Les Miserables yet, and I’m dying to. This weekend, for sure! I can only assume that will be my favorite. But wait! That’s not this year! Umm…I have no idea.
28. Did you make some new friends this year? Nope. Neurotic, intraverted homebody to the core.
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? (Ok, not saying baby for this one AGAIN) I wish we’d gotten the house closer to “done”. We still have a lot of little (and big) projects to do.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? This was the year I started caring a lot more about comfort than style. So “personal fashion concept” is probably a misnomer.
31. What kept you sane? Tammy. The fact that even though money is tight, we CAN try again. My parents.
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? No idea on this one. I will always love me so me Hillary Clinton, but it’s not like I want to sleep with her. Does that count?
33. What political issue stirred you the most? It was awesome to see the country move toward marriage equality. Leaps and bounds, y’all!
34. Who did you miss? I miss my co-workers that left for other jobs this year.
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.  You cannot control everything. Remember to breath.

Getting started

Hi there, I’m Sarah. For some inexplicable, biological reason, I’ve always wanted to have kids – and by have kids I meant the whole shebang, conceive, gestate, birth, raise, try not to screw up too badly. It’s very weirdly animalistic, this urge. That fact that I’m a lesbian seemed (and still seems) like an insignificant detail.

When Tammy and I started dating 4 years ago, I was pretty clear from the beginning that I wanted to have kids. Tammy also wanted to have kids, but had absolutely no interest in giving birth, and she also wanted to be married first. I truly did not mind the idea of birthing a couple of bastard children, but Tammy didn’t find that idea as funny as I did. So we did the square, conventional thing and got married, then bought a house (although we did live in sin for a few years before the marriage).

For my birthday this year, Tammy bought me a vial of sperm and a date with a piece of cold medical equipment (cue the doctor saying “relax your knees. You’re going to feel cold and pressure”). And then…nothing happened. We did four rounds of unmedicated IUI (Intrauterine Insemination, where the doctor runs a catheter through your cervix and deposits washed sperm directly into your uterus), and then two rounds of IUI with clomid and triggered ovulation. Clomid is a drug used to make you ovulate (if you don’t on your own) or produce more eggs (if you do). It comes with some charming menopausal side effects (hot flashes, night sweats, bloating…)

At first, all of those negatives, while disappointing, didn’t seem that worrisome. We would chant to ourselves about how young I am (mid twenties) how healthy, how all of the tests (including the excruciatingly painful HSG) came back with the all clear. But that shit just wasn’t working. And the doctor didn’t know why, except to ever so helpfully point out that maybe I wasn’t “the most fertile person” she’d ever seen.

Then we came to try number 7 (the third medicated cycle), and during the two week wait I did my ritualistic christening of the pee stick, obsessive message board and blog reading, and careful (hysterical) interpretation of every twinge and burble. This symptom interpretation was harder this round, as I was on progesterone supplements for the first time. Progesterone supplements (or naughty pills as they are known around these parts) are either intramuscular injections or vaginal suppositories. Guess which kind I had? Progesterone supplements will drive you out of your damn mind, because they give you every pregnancy symptom in the book – exhaustion, nausea, cramping, tender breasts, etc.

And then, the day before I was supposed to go in for my pregnancy test at the doctor’s office, I got a positive one at home. I almost didn’t believe it. But sure enough, my blood work at the doctor’s the next day was positive. Seeing that beautiful second line was one of the best moments of my life.

…until I started to google my HCG number and saw that it was low. Really low. And subsequent beta testing showed that my HCG wasn’t rising at all. My doctor called it a biochemical pregnancy, but I hate that term. It sounds like it wasn’t a real pregnancy, but it was goddammit, it WAS. I’ve chosen to call it what it is, without any qualifiers: a miscarriage.

It may seem strange to you to mourn something that wasn’t even a baby yet, and something (what?) that was only a few weeks old. But I grieved like someone I had known all my life had died. I’m still grieving, in fact, even though we tried again right away. I’m grieving for my baby that never was, I’m grieving for the toll this has taken on Tammy and my relationship, I’m grieving for the stress the drugs and crippling anxiety have put on my body. And I’m grieving for myself, for this idea of myself as a healthy and complete woman, whose body had never let her down before. I’m grieving because of the questions that pop up in my head at particularly bad moments; questions like “am I really a woman if I can’t even perform a basic goddamn biological function?” Questions like “are the haters right? Is there a god, and is s/he punishing me for being a lesbian?” Questions like “All those stupid things I did in high school and college – did I somehow damage my eggs and they’re all shit quality now?”

I wish I knew. I get the results of our eighth attempt tomorrow (fourth medicated), but it doesn’t look good. If it’s negative, Tammy will call for my file from the doctor’s office (I’m too much of a wimp) and we’ll make the switch to a new doctor (which is a discussion worthy of a post in and of itself).

This is where our story starts.