Saturday, August 24, 2013
OK, so an unusual title for a post, I’ll grant you. But, it is appropriate – and accurate – because that’s more or less the sound I made on Thursday morning (8/22), when the Ovulation Kit came up positive for an LH surge. Because that meant – it’s time!
As much as I was ready for this, the reality that it was time to have the procedure made me very nervous, and a little scared. There really was no turning back at that point. So I called and made arrangements for my first IUI. I went in a couple of hours after the test (at 9:15), because they needed two hours after the “thaw order” was placed for the sperm to be ready.
Given that this was the first time doing this, I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I had researched it (http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/insemination-procedures-for-infertility), but had no idea if it would be painful. I figured it would be, though, since it requires opening things up down there, and that’s not a highly-trafficked area! And I was right, of course. The procedure is fast, just a couple of minutes, really, plus some time to lie down and let things, um, sink in. But getting in there is tough, at least for me. Yet another reason why I hope this works sooner rather than later. Of course the primary reason I hope for that is that I really want my baby. Also, it will be emotionally difficult to go through this several times. It will also be financially difficult, as each insemination costs me about $300, since it’s not covered (I did two, the second on Friday, to increase my chances). That doesn’t include the cost of the sperm. Then, there is the pain factor. I really don’t want to have to go through that twice a month for however many months.
After Thursday’s procedure, I had some cramping, which is considered normal. I took some Advil and was fine. I met my friend Trish at Starbucks and we talked all about it. It was nice to have someone to talk to after just having, pardon the expression, “taken the plunge.” Trish was really supportive, and getting together did help it all feel a bit more normal. After Friday’s treatment, I felt much better, and I actually went skating. I figured I should go while I can, and skating around on a public session is like walking on the street for me, so no big deal. I was a little worried about getting knocked down, although it was too soon for that to do any damage, as nothing had yet been formed.
Later Friday, though, I started to feel cramps – not like period cramps but, rather, diarrhea-type cramps. It didn’t really amount to anything, and I’m not entirely sure if it was physical or psychological. Because, of course, I’m now obsessing over whether it worked, and whether the slightest little thing can destroy my chances. I feel like I have to do everything all natural – which isn’t a bad thing, but I’m pretty sure I’m overdoing it ( I threw out a perfectly good package of goat cheese because I couldn’t tell if it was pasteurized or not). So today I allowed myself a caffeine-free Coke and a cup of Ramen noodles. I have to be realistic and accept that I’m not suddenly going to go Vegan or all Organic. That said, I do want to be as healthy as possible, because my age is already working against the health of my potential baby. I found some good fruit juices at Agata & Valentina (http://www.agatavalentina.com) that I’m diluting a bit with water (as they are both expensive and a bit rich). I think they may provide an acceptable alternative for Coke. Talk to me again next week, when school starts, though.
My biggest problem right now is my state of mind. I’m a mess because I really want this to have worked, but I’m afraid to believe it did because I’m afraid of disappointment in a couple of weeks. But then I’m afraid that I will cause it not to work by not believing that it will. Now would be an awesome time to be able to talk to Mom. She’d know what to say to make me feel better, but she wouldn’t sugar-coat it for me. Argh! I really wish she were here.
Monday, August 19, 2013
There’s been an interesting evolution in my birthday gifts to myself over the last three years. In the past, I might have bought myself a handbag at the Coach outlet or something similar. But, in 2011, the gifts got a lot more “Big Ticket.” It’s probably because, now that I’m on my own, I figured I’m the only person who’s really going to go all out for me (Keith always gets my what I ask him for, but I can’t ask for a really big ticket item – like the film editing software I wanted, but decided was too expensive!).
So, what have these gifts been? Well, we need to go back a little earlier for the start of the trend. In August of 2010, after I had bought my apartment, Keith and I went to our last Yankee game before I left for London. At the Stadium, we saw the pairs of seats from the old Yankee Stadium that they were selling as benches, etc. I already had my Monument Park brick, but those seats were tempting. Keith jokingly said, “Hey, Kris, you should buy those for your apartment. I responded, “Yeah, right. Where would I put them?” “On the balcony!” And . . . light bulb! What started out as a joke ended up as my birthday present the following summer. While I was still in London, I saw that they were having a half-price sale for Old Timer’s Day. So, I snapped up a pair of seats, and they are now nestled in the corner of my balcony.
Now, for 2012, I turned my attention to more girly things, and found myself craving some strappy, sparkly shoes. So, I took myself off to Saks with the intent of splurging on some Louboutins, with their shiny red soles. Alas, the Louboutins were not to be had – couldn’t find a pair I liked. But the salesman steered me toward some Jimmy Choos that are to die for! I have to say, so is the service at the shoe department at Saks, known as 10022-Shoe (http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/10022-shoe.js). I could get used to that type of service!
So how does one top Yankee Stadium seats and Jimmy Choo shoes in 2013? One buys oneself sperm, of course! Yes, once the decision on James Bond was made, it was time to place the order. Since I needed certain consent documents signed (which I did on the day of my “Day 3 Bloodwork” for this month), I didn’t get to place my order until the afternoon of August 12. That meant the vials would not ship until the next day, making the delivery date Thursday, August 15th – my birthday! Given certain other factors associated with my birthday, and this planned pregnancy (which I will get into when the time is right – sorry!), it just seemed so perfect that Mr. Bond would arrive at his temporary new home on that day (and, despite a subsequent miscommunication with the staff at RMA, he did arrive safe and sound!).
So, that’s a logical progression, right? Seats, shoes, sperm. Totally makes sense.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Well, it’s official! After a tightly fought contest, we have a donor! Last Saturday, August 3, I finally had my long-anticipated (at least by me) donor party. There were six of us in the end (plus Cali and Brooke). Unfortunately a few people couldn’t make it that I had hoped would be part of it. But, I did have various aspects of my life represented – my cousin Vivian has been a very special person in my life since she babysat for us and took vacations with us when I was a kid. I’ve known my friend Maria since we were about 7 or 8 and were in Girl Scouts together – we’ve been through most of life’s milestones together, and she was always there for me when Mom and Dad were sick. Erika and I met after college when I worked at US Trust (my brief inexplicable investment banking career) and have known each other for about 17 years. And Meredith and Denika are newer friends, from my Fulbright days in London, but just as important. And especially important was the fact that each of them entered wholeheartedly into the spirit of the night.
THE FINAL FOUR
After much internal debate, and some discussion with close advisors (like Keith), I settled on a bracketology format, which I dubbed, “Sperm Madness.” Yes, Sperm Madness. And it was a hit.
THE SWEET SIXTEEN
We started with a Sweet Sixteen (since 64 would have required a lot more time, and alcohol!), and the brackets were divided by the two Cryobanks (California and Fairfax). Round one involved audio interviews. The top eight (pre-selected by me) from each bank went head-to-head (so to speak) in sets of two. We listened to excerpts from their interviews, and then voted one on to the next round. In most of the brackets, there was a clear winner, and most in the group were in agreement. But there were one or two tougher brackets that prompted a bit of debate.
THE ELITE EIGHT
From the Sweet Sixteen, we narrowed it down to an “Elite Eight.” This round involved the perusal of the profiles by my guests (since I had already read them), while munching on desserts and indulging in a bit more wine. Then I would read out a number, and whoever had that profile in front of her would give us the highlights from the personal profile, staff impressions, essay and medical history. Again, the donors competed in pairs, and we whittled it down to a Final Four.
THE FINAL FOUR
By the time we got it down to the Final Four, we had a pretty strong impression of the remaining candidates, and so we just discussed them together, reviewing their highlights. Also by then, most of the candidates had earned a nickname. Some came from the descriptions by the staff (Doogie Howser, James Bond). Others came from our own impressions from the profiles, interviews or photos (The Russian, Jug-ears, Chubbs). OK, so maybe they weren’t always the most complimentary nicknames, but it was easier to remember them by these names. So the Final Four was comprised of The Russian vs. James Bond (from Fairfax) and Doogie Howser vs. well, the fourth didn’t have a nickname at that point. He was the only one that no one could remember anything about from round to round. But, somehow, he kept getting through. And wouldn’t you know, when he went head to head against Doogie, he emerged victorious and made the Top Two. And that earned him the nickname Cinderella, since he reminded us all of the Cinderella teams that have come into any major competition as the underdog or lowest seed (heh, heh, “seed!”), and make the improbable run to the finals.
THE TOP TWO
Of course, the Cinderella story doesn’t always end with a victory in sports, and it didn’t end with a victory in Sperm Madness either. We ended the night with the Top Two – James Bond and Cinderella – and I took the profiles up to Friends Lake to make my final decision. Both choices were smart guys who were physically fit and had a number of the attributes I previously detailed. In the end, though, James Bond had three things going for him. First, since he is blond and blue-eyed, he is closer to my coloring, which I prefer as the sole (known) biological parent. Second, although there is cancer in his family, none are the type that would be typically a genetic issue. Unfortunately, Cinderella’s dad had colorectal cancer at age 50 and, given my family history, I decided that would not be a good combo. And third, James Bond was the one I wanted all along! It’s funny how that happened, but my friends all chose really well. Both candidates that finished in the Top Two were ones that I considered front-runners. But James Bond was the one that, from the time I read his personal essay, I said, “This is the guy.” And he made the cut! I knew my instincts were right!
(That’s me on the left, with my cousin, Vivian, and our Top Two)
When I was planning the party, I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, let’s face it, there’s not a lot of precedent for this. I mean, I know other women have done similar things, but it’s not like Martha Stewart has a book on throwing the perfect Donor Party! Hey – maybe I should write one! Hmmm. Anyway, the party turned out to be exactly what I had hoped it would be – a fun night that allowed me to share this experience with a few close friends and family (those who have been granted security clearance).
Some might say I took a chance or I didn’t take the process seriously enough because I left the fate of my unconceived child to other people. Well, the truth is, I told everyone at the start of the night that ultimately I would make my own decision. And I did. But what can I say? They all know me well enough to pick the right guy for me (or at least his sperm!). As for not taking it seriously enough – I’ve never taken anything more seriously. But, the things I’ve gone through over the last few years have taught me to find the joy in life. I want to enjoy this process, and the donor party was the first step in doing so. And I had an awesome time!
By the way, don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @Sister_Kristen