Saturday, December 26, 2009
We're in a hotel in Terre Haute, Indiana. We've actually stayed here before...the Thanksgiving before last. We ate at the same Lone Star Steakhouse. It was better than it should be both times--probably because it feels like a date.
So, anyway, here's Mindy, right here. I wish you could see her: white tank top, bra, underwear. She wears a bra a lot now because her boobs are heavy and hurt her. I read in the pregnancy books that a woman's boobs can go from weighing 7 oz. to 24 oz. Ouch. And no thanks.
Last night I was watching Ghost Adventures on the travel channel while Mindy slept in the other hotel bed. It was around midnight. (we've been sleeping in separate beds and rooms because her snoring is so loud lately). I had an urge to crawl into bed with her. I pictured the peach-sized baby inside of her and felt mushy.
In my half sleep, I dreamt that we were having an ultrasound and we accidentally saw that it was a girl. I felt overwhelmed and warm and happy.
This morning Mindy told me she had a dream too: it was her first time seeing our child. It was a girl who was just old enough to walk. Mindy said she had her eyes and she felt so warm and fuzzy and mushy.
When people are offering advice and opinions to us it usually goes like, "Your life is going to change forever." The next thing we hear is: you don't know what love is until you have a child.
I'm usually annoyed by both of those. Duh. I know my life's going to change in huge, horribly wonderful ways. That's why deciding to have a baby is a big deal. I'll admit that I can't understand those ways yet, but I know they're coming.
And about the love of a child. Gross. And just shut up.
But this past week I've been with Mindy and her family. We see her mom not too often (since she still lives in Alaska). Mindy's relationship with her mom is weird to me. They kiss each other on the mouths. They hug a long time. They touch in ways I've never wanted to touch my family.
Last night I was sitting beside my wife, watching her mom stroke her back and look at her with watery eyes. At first I was like, "sheesh." Then I thought, like, this woman shoved this child out of her body. And for the last 35 years of her life she's had to worry about her. And love her.
This time next year, if things go as planned, we'll have a 5 month old baby.
Mindy will have created inside of her, a small human being. She will have endured heavy boobs, mood swings, nausea, hunger, and horrendous pain.
I'm really trying to ignore the snoring that wakes me every hour. You know, because she's growing a baby. I'm tired. I only know it gets worse after the baby comes along.
Mindy has a peach-sized human inside of her, sucking her energy.
And for all of that, the least the baby could do is have her eyes.
Monday, December 7, 2009
We are more than halfway through Mindy's 10th week of pregnancy.
Last Tuesday we had an appointment with the doctor. The real doctor. The woman who will deliver the baby. Of course, I've been going with Mindy to all appointments. But maybe that's not an "of course."
Every time Mindy goes to the doctor she has to pee in a cup (to check for proteins) and get weighed and blood pressured cuffed. No big deal. Twice now the nurse/doctor/whomever will not look me in the eye until she's asked Mindy, "and who do you have with you today?" Mindy says, "my wife/partner." Then, like a switch, I'm acknowledged, spoken to, though only about 10 percent of the time. Every other question and statement is directed at Mindy.
Last Tuesday was the big day. Or, one of many big days we'll be having. Let's say, one of the biggest so far. We'd heard it from other mothers that the dil-cam ultrasound might be done.
Mindy was directed into a room with a table and stirrups. Of course, there was lube and tubes lying out on the table near the sink. The doctor came in to talk, was very friendly, and then asked when Mindy last had her pap. As is turned out, she needed one.
The doctor left, and I didn't know what to do. I knew we were going to get to see the baby, so I wanted to be there for that. I didn't need to be there for the pap, though, and I had a moment of panic. Should I leave the room? Should I stay and act cool? What did the father usually do?
I stayed, but I took off my coat as it was getting very hot. Mindy said I should leave if I was going to cry like last time, but I promised I'd be tough.
So, I'm at Mindy's head while the doctor did the pap. I made a joke it was the first time I'd ever been in the room for one...when it wasn't mine. We asked the doctor if the husbands usually stayed for that part. She said they normally left the room.
I felt a little stupid.
But then the cool part came (except for the vaginal probing ultrasound). Within in seconds of flipping on the screen Mindy and I saw a little, teeny fetus. "Cool," I said. But when it started moving, and not just moving, but fuckin' doing the robot, that's when I said, "Holy Shit!"
The doctor asked what I did for a living. "I'm a professor...of English." She smiled up from Mindy's spread legs.
* * *
Like a good expectant parent, I've been doing some reading. Every week I get an email from babycenter.com telling me what size the baby is compared to a fruit. This week a kumquat, next a lime. Of course, when I signed up, I checked the box that said, "Father."
When I'm flipping through the baby books, there are little, if any parts directed at the other half of the baby. While at Barnes and Noble looking for books, I found 3 designed for men. One was called, "The Caveman's Guide to Pregnancy." I thumbed through. It was sad. If I were a man, I would've been offended. It had some recipes to cook when mom was feeling tired: pesto and pasta. In the back I found at least 10 drink recipes.
Oh, I know, it's supposed to be funny, and I admit that I smiled once.
Other books address the father like he's a little smarter, but not much. Tips I've read recently are "being nice to her since she's pregnant" and offering to massage her back. It's not until week 16 in one book that this "dad tip" pops up:
Do you have concerns that you haven't shared with anyone? Are you concerned about your partner's health or the baby's? Do you wonder about your role in labor and delivery? Are you worried about being a good father? Share your thoughts with your partner. You won't burden her. In fact, she'll probably be relieved to know she's not alone in feeling a little bit overwhelmed by this monumental life change.
Like it would take anyone 4 months to think of these things and talk about them? Or here's this gem at week 10:
Are you concerned about sex during pregnancy? You both may have questions, so talk about them together and with your partner's doctor. Occasionally during a pregnancy you'll need to avoid intercourse. However, pregnancy is an opportunity for increased closeness and intimacy for you as a couple. Sex can be a positive part of this experience.
Oh ok, here's a tip at week 5: Clean or vacuum the house without being asked.
Oh, and this one Ask your partner which visits to the doctor she'd like you to attend. Some couples attend every visit together, when possible. Ask her to let you know the date and time of each appointment.
Well, thank you pregnancy books, for those enlightening ideas. Men, be offended. Women, be offended. Humans: protest.
Listen, I've mentioned before that I feel like I'm at an advantage over dads. I'm a woman and have female parts. However, this advantage does not apply, nor should it when it comes to general care and maintenance of a relationship. If either man or woman doesn't know when to take over when a partner is feeling shitty, then I just can't see that relationship as working.
* * *
Now, listen up, people. One of the bad things about being a woman and reading these pregnancy books is picturing it all happening inside of you. I'm almost afraid of having an hysterical pregnancy from all of this reading. What I do know is this: it's worth the extra house cleaning to not have to have a human growing inside of me.
But again, another disadvantage is this: sex. As a woman...who (occasionally) performs oral sex on women (one specifically) I probably shouldn't be reading these books. I keep seeing words like, "increased vaginal discharge." Listen up, ladies. As a woman, I know what goes on down there, and because of my attraction to women, well, I don't want to say it again. But, I'm afraid that my giving of such services may be rendered null and void, especially after a baby comes out of there.
Guys, no matter how intimate you are with your ladies, I guarantee it can't get as close as another woman (and I'm only talking about physicalities) Like, you'll never have cramps, breasts (proper ones, not moobs) a vagina or vulva. (of course women don't usually have those things that you have, either)
God, so what I'm trying to say is this: ignorance is bliss. No, I'm trying to say: being a lesbian can be tough. No, what I really want to say is: oral sex should be illegal.
noNoNO, that's all wrong.
My point is this: I'm going to be a parent.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The little embryo has already developed a beating heart; (s)he has little webbed hands and feet, the hands resting across his/her chest. (S)he is the size of a kidney bean, but already causing problems.
Mindy hasn't thrown up yet, but she feels like it...all the time. I've had to quit wearing perfume and burning candles around the house because the smell is too overpowering. She's eating less. Apparently, everything looks good and then she gets going and then feels pukey.
She's also really tired and tends to fall asleep around 8:00 on the couch. Though she was already a snorer, it's gotten louder. I'm pretty much setting up camp on the couch. I hope that doesn't last for 7 more months.
Thankfully, I'm off on Tuesday and Thursday, so I clean. I've pretty much been cleaning everything. Mindy's too tired to do anything when she gets home from work.
Other than that, nothing has changed. We haven't bought anything or fixed the house in any way. We haven't discussed names since before the baby was made. Except for the sleeping and nausea, everything feels normal.
Except for the waiting. Last night we just talked in the quiet of our house. The cats lounged around, totally unaware of how their lives will be affected in the coming months. They don't suspect a thing.
I suggested we start up our "date night" again, before we lose each other to the screams and diapers, to no sleep and coffee breath. The only problem is Mindy staying awake long enough for me to take her out.
No one has called us squealing into the phone. I mean, my family knows: all of the Holzhausers. No one has really said anything. Well, that's not entirely true. Last night my aunt Connie asked me to meet her at Hobby Lobby to pick out a baby cross-stitch quilt. When I first saw her, she hugged me and then started talking about her day at work, neighbors, the family, how she hated Wal-Mart for taking out their fabric section. I guess I was expecting more, so I said, "Can you believe that Mindy is pregnant?" She said something like, no, 'cause I thought you said you were going to have the baby...that you wanted a baby. I'm sorry, guys, but I've never said that I wanted to have a baby (come out of my body). I gave her my usual line, "You can't drink beer and play rugby if you're pregnant."
Again, she talked about herself and other random things. Minutes later I tried again, after I picked out the quilt pattern, "I'm nervous," I said. "Oh, you'll be good parents. You'll teach it..." (and here I thought she'd say how to love, how to be open minded, how to care)... "how to play sports, and Mindy'll teach it (and she pauses)...how to be a lady."
Yes, those are the two most important things to teach a child.
So once again, I realized how much my family doesn't get me. I was sad. And hurt. Do they really think that all I have to offer is athletic ability? What about my love of music? Literature? Films? What about my strong sense of self...you know, the reason I was able to get out of town. What about my intelligence? Love of animals? The way I love my wife. I guess sports is the most important trait.
And Mindy has more to offer than her fabulous hair and beauty mark, as you all know. She's smart and funny. Nurturing and tender. Spontaneous and loving.
My family has never taken the time to get to know me, either. No one ever asks me anything. Never my opinion. Never.
When Connie and I parted at the Hobby Lobby, I told her I'd see her on Thanksgiving. Then, I asked who would be cooking (since Grandma will have dialysis). She mumbled some things. I mentioned that I could be handy around the kitchen. That I was the cook in our house. I asked what I could bring. I got a vague answer.
I walked out, the rain spitting and the sky dark. An old man sat up against the building, his face was red from cold or drink. He was dirty. A dog curled on his lap. He was petting him and talking to him. Reaching into my pockets, I found nothing.
So I went my car, closed the door, and started to cry.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
So, for a week now, we've known we're going to be parents. Our lives haven't changed much yet. All we've done is buy more fruits and vegetables. Oh, and Mindy quit drinking half decaf and now goes all the way. By doctor standards, Mindy is 5 1/2 weeks pregnant. The fetus (at least I think it's a fetus now) has a heartbeat...kind of. I know this because we've both subscribed to http://www.babycenter.com/ It sends us weekly updates of what's going on inside of Mindy. http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-5-weeks_1094.bc?intcmp=Nav_Global_MyBC_Stagepage&pn=BC%20Homepage That link tells you a lot. Mindy has been complaining about her boobs hurting and feeling heavy and lifting upward...she says. I've noticed that she's tired a little earlier. Oh, and she gets nauseous a couple of times a day.
My life is changing, too. On Thursday, while I was at a rainy rugby practice (with my cell phone tucked safely away in a car) Mindy called from the neighbor's phone to say she'd locked herself out of the house. Two and a half hours later, I check my phone and rush home. She has been sitting on the porch for nearly three hours. I know it wasn't my fault, but I felt badly about it.
And then Friday morning, we're getting ready for work. Mindy kisses me and shuts the door. I hear the engine rev in the truck and then I hear a smack. I'm in the bathroom and I run to the window, knowing what I'll see. The truck pulls forward, away from our car. The hood looks funny.
I run outside, pissed, but calm. "What happened?" I ask. Then, this thing happens, Mindy gets this look on her face, like a three year old, like she can't control herself. Her face contorts, she pulls her hands to her mouth and she starts crying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." And tears are rolling down her face, "I knew it was there. I saw it." I laugh and frown and look at the car, assessing the damage (it doesn't look bad, but it'll probably cost 1,000$). She laughs and cries and then really cries. I gathered her up and convinced her to go back in the house. She keeps saying she can't calm down.
You see, she has baby brain. The only experience I've had with this is a coworker, who, while getting out of our MoDOT truck, stumbled a little, giggled, and then forgot what she was saying. "Are you pregnant?" I asked. She seemed embarrassed, "How did you know?"
And poor Mindy was still crying, her hands to her face, "What if the baby is ditsy like I am?" I laughed and hugged her. She cried a little more.
I got her calmed down and she left for work. It was then that I cried. I stood in the kitchen and let some tears fall. And they fell as I drove to work, sipping my cinnamon coffee and listening to NPR. And they almost fell when I got to work.
I cried because it all hit me. I cried because I felt like I'd lost my best friend. I was devastated at the thought of losing the Mindy I know and love. I realized I had 8 months left and I hoped her brain got back to normal soon. Yes, my wife is sometimes wrapped up in her thoughts and she forgets things, but she's not silly enough to back our Tundra into our car. I kept picturing her crying in the driveway, " I wrecked your car," she had said. And her face again, that three year old deep inside of her, her expression, how crazy she looked. I felt alone, like I would have to deal with this the whole time. Like no one had ever done it before.
* * *
Since Friday, everything seems ok. I graded papers today while Mindy went grocery shopping (normally I do that). When she got home she said she wandered around lost for a little while.
* * *
I've been reading that damn website and parts in the baby book. It says that the "dad" usually feels like he's not really a part of anything yet, that while his wife's body is changing, he feels nothing. That's totally not the case for me. But, I'm not a man.
The other day in the kitchen, my arms around my wife, I told her I thought being a lesbian helped. I am a woman. I have a womb. Though there's no baby growing inside of me, messing with my body and brain, but I still feel closer to Mindy. Closer than what? Than a guy, I guess, though I hate to say it. I know what cramps feel like, I know what it means to have PMS, swollen boobs, the whole thing. You see, chemicals mess with my moods, too.
I hope Mindy doesn't have morning sickness. I also hope this wrecking the car episode is a one time thing. What if she were on the road instead of in the driveway?
I understand that right now the widget is the most important thing in our lives. I knew this would happen, but I didn't realize it would happen before he was born. I've heard everyone say, "Your life won't be about you anymore." I knew that. I still know that. In fact, quit saying that to me.
Mostly, I want my wife back. I am an only child, and I'm used to having her full attention. This little fetus is the size of a sesame seed, and already he's taken my wife and my best friend from me. He gets what he wants already. Mindy said one of her fears about having a baby would be that I'd fall in love with it, and she'd be number two in my life.
I never even though that he could get to her first.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Still, though it was too early to test.
So, we made the decision that we'd test yesterday morning and that would be the first test where it really counted.
Mindy woke me up at 6:00 yesterday because she had to pee. For the ovulation test it's important to pee in the morning or some other time when your pee is more concentrated. Mindy decided to stick with the pee in the morning thing, I guess. Anyway, the light went on in the bathroom and I was still half-alseep, starting to write this blog in my head. It went something like this:
Mindy peed this morning and it was negative, but you know, I'm not too sad. After experiencing all the weird emotions that came with the insemination, it seems like I can handle it from here on out. In fact, it'll be nice to spend more time with just Mindy, maybe we could get a drink to........
"BABY, BABY," this shriek comes from the bathroom, "GET IN HERE NOOOWWW!" I run into the bathroom to find Mindy naked, this look on her face and she's staring at me and then pointing toward the bathroom counter. Still in a dream like stage of early morning writing in my head and sleeping, I look on the counter and see the pee stick. It has one very dark line (as usual), and one other line. The other line is not as dark. Mindy is still standing there, waving her hands around. I grab the instructions to read, "One line may be lighter than the other." I'm naked, too, you should know, hair all over the place. We just stare at each other for a while.Then she smiles. Then I smile. We stumble over words and laugh and get serious and laugh and get serious for what feels like hours. I hug her. She pushes me away and tries to read more of the instructions. I assure her that it is what it says. I say, "Get the camera."
But, we're telling you all for a few reasons: 1. I can't keep secrets 2. Mindy will have to wear a special mask at work, so people there will know anyway...and then they'd say stuff on facebook and you'd all know accidentally 3. I wanted people to know how it feels to be gay and wanting to have a baby, to be gay and pregnant, or possibly, to become unpregnant.
Zygote Approves Uterus, Peace Talks Underway
Saturday, October 17, 2009
After Friday's trauma at the insemination, I couldn't stop thinking about Mindy's uterus. For three days I had trouble focusing on anything but thoughts about babies or no babies. I should add that I was Pms-ing during the insemination and that could be part of the reason I was so emotional. I was emotional all weekend, too, staring at Mindy's stomach, putting my hand on it pretending there was a baby in there.
For three days Mindy and I were certain she was pregnant. And somehow, this idea really turned me on. Normally, my sex drive is like, in neutral (or park), but I mean, she was totally the hottest thing on the planet for three days. (yes, again I realize it was p.ms. and the fact that she is the hottest woman of all time ever)
On the third day, Mindy texted me from work saying she felt crappy: achy, headache, thirsty, cramps. I googled them and found this website: http://www.twoweekwait.com/web/
So, I spent too much time looking at early pregnancy symptoms and convincing myself that was her problem.
On the fourth day, I was still turned on, but I could finally use my brain for thinking again, instead of obsessing. Mindy had a terrible headache. The website said pregnant women experience them when hormone levels change. Again, I knew she was pregnant.
But now it is day 8. If there is a little baby, it's the size of a pin head...and it's still trying to find a cozy spot to park itself for the next 37 weeks. If there is no baby, then Mindy should be drinking with me.
One of Mindy's coworkers told her she looked radiant and she should just pee on the stick now. I encouraged her to do it last night, (Yes, we realize that the hormone levels are usually too low to detect at this point) even though that's technically 9 days earlier than the doctor said to wait, and 3 days earlier than the pregnancy test said.
I was awaken at 6:30 this morning to the sounds of rustling in the bathroom. Then the light came on. I tried to pretend I didn't know what was happening. Five minutes later and Mindy crawled back into bed. "What are you doing?" I asked. "Pee stick." "And?" I said. "Negative."
There are two reasons this could be the result: Mindy is pregnant (the hormone levels are not high enough to detect yet) or Mindy is not pregnant at all. Not even a little bit.
Mindy said last night, "No matter what the stick says we won't believe it." I agreed, but told her to pee on it anyway. Just in case. But just in case what? Just in case...so we'd have an extra 5 days to prepare for a baby? so we'd see two pink lines and obsess about them for 5 more days until we really knew the answer.
I remember, as we left the doctor's office, he said, "If you're pregnant at day 10, you'll still be pregnant at day 17, so wait until then."
Before Christmas day, when I was younger, I'd sit under the tree staring at the presents, trying to lift the corner of the wrapping paper with my mind (though I knew it was wrong and silly) just to see if I'd gotten what I wanted.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
After much internal debate with myself, I paid the extra 17 dollars to see #3912's baby picture. This is him on the left. Yes, I'm serious. I also paid and extra 35$ to read his "long profile." It wasn't much more information than what I already knew, but it felt nice to have it. I printed it...for the baby book, I guess. For the zygote that may or may not be bedding down in Mindy's fluffy uterus.
I thought I'd give you some more information on me in man form. Here's what I know of 3912:
#3912 was born in Rock Springs, WY in November of 1982. He is currently 5'11'' and 160 pounds. He has fair skin with blonde hair and blue eyes. At the time of his donation (2006) he was in graduate school for Film Studies. His high school GPA was 3.7 and his undergrad was 3.8. He majored in Psychology and Film.
He has many strengths, he writes:
Mathmatical ability: Relatively strong
Mechanical ability: Strong
Athletic ability: good (varsity tennis in high school and runner in college)
He's played the viola since 5th grade.
Artistic ability: Extremely strong. He considers himself and exceptional writer/thinker, but only a strong visual artist.
He loves to read, write, and watch films.
He's a vegetarian. His favorite color is blue. He grew up with four dogs.
He studied at Oxford and would love to go back.
He claims to be easy-going, highly intellectual, introspective...and a terrific sense of humor.
His goal in life is to become a highly respected film maker and fiction writer. He says that a donor is purely biological; parents are people who truly nurture the life of the child.
His mother teaches English to Immigrants. She was born in Pennsylvannia.
His father is the VP of an Insurance company. He was born in New Jersey.
His sister is very athletic and is majoring in Neuro-psychology. She was born in Texas.
So, this is the DNA that could be mixing with Mindy's right now. Or, this could be the DNA that couldn't convince Mindy's egg it was worthy.
Friday, October 9, 2009
By 3:15 we were in a room, Mindy with her pants off...waiting.
By 3:30 the doctor and an assistant had come into the room, looked at me, the assistant said, "you must be (pause) the other half," (and I said, "the spermless half") spread Mindy's legs, speculumed her, swabbed her cervix with a gauze, and injected 16.9 million sperm into her unterus. She said it hurt. I felt her squeeze my hand.
By 3:32 the assistant and the doctor had left the room and told Mindy to lay there for 15 minutes, "You've come all this way and spent the money, I figure it won't hurt, " he said.
And then it was just us.
So, Mindy got mushy and wanted to hold my hand. It was then that I felt a huge lump in my throat and my eyelids start to burn. I cried, but I wanted to fucking sob. I can't really say why. I cried and Mindy got worried. And at first she probably thought it was a good thing, but soon realized I was not crying out of joy.
And then I felt like an asshole. Here was my wife, her pants still off, lying on some sterile table (a terrible painting of flowers on the wall). "Are you grossed out?" I finally asked. "Kindof," she said.
I tried to compose myself.
The truth is, I cry every time I have to go to the gynecologist. Not because it hurts, because it does slightly, but because...and here's the reason I don't really know. And that's the reason I cried.
When I was 16 I had really bad periods. They'd last for 10 days. Bloody as hell. Curled up on the couch painful. Mom and I talked to the doctor and the only suggestion was birth control. I came out not too long afterward, and then Mom, it seemed, was forcing me to go to the gynecologist.
So, I was 17, a virgin, never planning on having sex with a guy, when some nurse practitioner stuck a cold piece of lubed metal inside of me. I kept my cool then. But the car ride home, Mom driving, I cried, and Mom just kept saying, "Oh, it's not that bad." And that was the only thing she said on the way to the place, too. "It doesn't even hurt." Like, I was just supposed to be ok with the fact that some person I didn't know was going to touch me that way for the first time. Like, any girl is just supposed to be ok with that.
And here's Mindy, my beautiful wife, and some old man I've never met, and some assistant with too much make-up on her leathery sun tanned skin. And he's like,"Is this your first insemenation?" Like, you know, it's just something that everyone does. He said, "I see you work at the vet hospital...have you done inseminations before?" And Mindy joked with him and so did I. I said, "she held the vibrator for the bulls." And we laughed. At the time I thought it was funny. We all did. The assistant piped-up, "We just had a lady in who worked on a farm...she said she felt like a mare." Mindy agreed that she felt like a mare. I looked at the floor and tried not to imagine how a gauze against my cervix would feel, or a long tube pressing into my uterus.
But it was over quickly. I think he said good luck as he left.
I cried on the car ride home; Mindy kept trying to comfort me, but I told her to just leave me alone. I knew she was worrying about me, about if I regreted it already. It had nothing to do with that.
But I thought, as cars rushed by on I-70, how clinical it all was--just like I expected it to be. How I had nothing to do with it. How, not only can I not have a child with the person I love, I can't even marry her. I can't even have rights to the kid without thousands of dollars and paper work. How people sometimes think I'm so tough and all I can do, right now, is just cry and cry about all the unfairness in the world. About how traumatized I still am. About how, at this very moment, Mindy had to go back to work, and some man's sperm (16.9 million) is swimming around inside of her. And we have to pretend that this is how it goes. That this is how you all have done it. That this is what we wanted from our lives. To be excluded and marginalzed. To have to pay $150 dollars up front at the window before the procedure can begin, when we've already spent $1,720 dollars on sperm.
When all some people have to do is make love. Have sex. Fuck. Whatever it is happens to be the moment you do it.
Now, I just sit here on the couch, waiting for my face to unswell, to unredden, to dry. And Mindy works at saving some dog's life while, maybe, just maybe, there's a life growing inside of her.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
So, we're pretty sure she's ovulating.
Tomorrow afternoon we will go to the doctor. She will do an ultrasound. But, of course, it's not the normal kind. It's more like a probe. It's what our friend nicknamed, "The Dil-Cam." The doctor will check to see if Mindy's folicles are open. If they're at 8cm, it's go time.
While visiting with close friends this weekend, Chris asked me to call him right before the insemination. I was happy to see he's interested and so caring. I sipped by beer, "Will you call me before you and Shannon have sex?" We all laughed.
Yes, I'm blogging about it, but it hasn't happened yet.
And I'm still wondering what that call might sound like:
Dude, ok, we're in the office. Mindy's all up in some stirrups. Ok, the doctor has this tube. Ok, she's looking at me like shutthefuckup, and now Mindy's, like, frowining....Dude. Yeah. Ok. Ok. Thanks. Uhhuh. So, I called. OKOK bye.
Monday, September 28, 2009
While I was away for rugby this weekend, drinking and acting like I was young and single, Mindy was at home buying a book on lesbian pregnancies and ordering sperm.
The sperm will be at our clinic on Thursday. It'll probably be at least 2 weeks until we need to use it.
In two weeks I could go from a carefree, married rugby chick to a worried, lesbian mom. It's too crazy for me to even comprehend. If Mindy gets pregnant, it's all our fault. I mean, that's a life altering event that we chose. If we aren't prepared, it's our fault; we saw it coming. I can't believe we've made this decision.
Now, I know that when a woman gets pregnant, she's not supposed to tell people for three months because a lot of shit can go down in the first three months. But, since I'm writing this blog for you guys, I promise to tell you as soon as I know and parents and close friends have been notified.
Go ahead and ask If I'm ready. I don't know. I don't fucking know. If Mindy was my age, I imagine we'd wait a few more years. Just a few.
We're in debt. I don't have health insurance. Mindy says our house is too small.
But people have had babies for thousands of years under the same circumstances. But, I guess it was all on accident. If we fail as parents, as providers, we are scum because we made the decision to bring the baby into the world. Jesus. Into a world of war, global warming, hate, hate, hate, pollution, over-crowding, and overeating. Of ipods and text-messaging. Of Brittney Spears and Taylor Swift. Of greed and reality shows.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
With that, the baby name conversation started up again (we both have a favorite name--they're both unisex if we say so--but of course, I like one and she likes one). One of the problems with finding a good name is that this kid will have my last name. Go ahead, try to think of a name that sounds nice with "Holzhauser." No matter what, that name just doesn't roll off the tongue. The kid's middle name will be Jacobs so, by default, that kid may be called (insert letter of first name here). J. Holzhauser. AJ, BJ, CJ, DJ, EJ, FJ?,JJ, KJ, LJ, MJ, NJ? OJ!?, PJ, RJ, TJ, VJ (sounds Indian), ZJ (that sounds cool,right, but then that kid will be named Zelda or Zach or ?)
So, all that stress aside, we had a phone conversation with one of the RNs who works at the sperm lab. It's all part of ordering the sperm. She asked Mindy some question about her health, if she knew how to track her cycle and take her temperature, all that stuff. I listened on speaker phone. The lady, Ingrid, (Ingrid Holzhauser?) was very friendly and really sounded like she lovced her job. I know that sounded sarcastic, but I meant it. She was totally cool.
Part of getting sperm is signing a contract that if, god forbid, we had to do in-virto and Mindy made a lot of eggs, and we donated those eggs, we'd have to let the sperm place know. Apparently, the sperm can only go to 20 different families. That's part of the contract that we must sign. I'm glad there's a limit on how many families can be made with one guy's sperm. I mean, evolutionarily speaking, it's the best way to go to spread your seed, guys. But, again, we have to sign a contract for sperm.
At the end of the conversation, Ingrid asked if we had any questions. We didn't. Then she said something really nice, like, "I really hope everything works out for you and your partner. And please let us know when you get pregnant (part of the contract) and please let us know when you have the baby (part of the contract), and we love when people send pictures so we can hang them up here on our bulletin board. We're always so happy to see those little babies."
With that we hung up the phone. Mindy got mushy and I tried my best to hide all the thoughts I was having about little (X) Jacobs Holzhauser. How (s)he'd look like Mindy and be bitter like me, how (s)he'd look when I put him/her in little rugby shirts and skeleton hoodies, how Mindy and I will be proud, hippy parents, how, like my parents did to me, we'll tell the story that starts with, "We wanted you so badly..."
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Yes. I have picked out sperm. I had to list my top 5 choices. And I should mention that buying sperm isn't that easy. You have to register with some clinics (150$) and then have your physician sign some forms and fax them in. Of course, you can also have sperm sent to your house in some crazy frozen container (there's a deposit on that container and you have to return it within 30 days) with instructions and a syringe. The fine print said if the syringe isn't in the pack, just use a turkey baster.
My top five choices are as follows:
1. #3912 The Irish/Israeli/Ukrainian Guy who has an MFA in Film and wants to make documentaries.
2. #5579 Norwegian/Scottish/Irish athlete who teaches high school and considers himself to be artistic, laid back, calm, and funny.
3. #5761 Australian/Irish/Scottish guy who likes reading, traveling, and world politics.
4. #4072 English/French/Irish loves films, music and traveling
5. #4276 A French Canadian who considers himself to be logical and athletic.
All of these guys have blonde hair (either light or medium) and hazel or green eyes. Again, what does one even look for in sperm from a man she's never met and will never know?
Meanwhile, babies are everywhere. One of my closest friends has a two month old. My very good German friends are 3 months pregnant. Mindy's coworker is being induced today.
Mindy asked what we'd do if she isn't ovulating. I said we'd talk about it when we were sure.
I know. You're all just pointing a finger at me. Yes, I have ovaries and a uterus and as far as I know they do what they're supposed to.
I have tried, in the past months, to picture myself pregnant. Let me say this: Sperm is gross. I shouldn't be so harsh. I'll try again: Sperm is completely foreign to me.
Only in porn have I ever seen sperm. The closest I've been to it is when I'm talking to some guy, but you know, it's still neatly tucked away in his body.
I have never touched sperm, nor have I seen it in real life. I have no concept of its texture, smell, and yes, I'm going to say it: I have never tasted sperm.
By design, I find it gross. It's something that's alive. It shoots out of a man's body. It swims into another body, pecks away at an egg until it finds its way inside. Now, all you ladies out there who prefer guys, even some of you have admitted your disgust, or at least, apprehension of these little swimmers and the fluid that surrounds them.
I find babies in bodies creepy. They are parasites.
So, to picture myself pregnant I have to picture myself with my legs spread wide in a doctor's office. I have to imagine what it feels like to be speculum-ed. I have to picture my uterus and a tube reaching all the way into it. I have to picture millions of wiggling things I've never seen before living in my body. I can't do it.
On top of that, I have no health insurance, so why even toy with that notion?
And here's a gross fact: "unwashed" sperm inserted directly into the uterus causes cramping.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
But then, a few days ago something happened: Mindy did the math.
Now, when we started on this venture I said something like, "I'm not paying tons of money to get a baby when others get them for free." I stick to that. At first I thought this process would cost us 15,000-20,000 dollars. No joke. But after I figured it up, it only turns out to about 2,500. So, these few weeks, I was expecting this amount and envisioning we'd put it on the credit card. No big deal.
Let me show you the costs, though:
$500-$590= Cost of sperm from a man who has a masters degree and is willing to be known. This cost is per widget, per vial, per one visit with porn mag and plastic cup. One insemination.
$190= Cost of shipping widgets of sperm.
$150=Cost of the doctor spreading Mindy's legs in those horrible stirrups and using those medieval devices to put said widget of sperm into Mindy's uterus.
$0-150=Cost of "registering" on some websites so we can pay them more money for sperm.
So, that equals about $1,080 for the first shot. Each month after that would be about, let's see, $740. These are liberal estimates, you know, worst case scenarios. Basically, it's like having two mortgages for however many months it takes for Mindy to get pregnant.
So my wife hadn't considered this until the other day. She got weird and angry. She, at long last, was the bitter one in the relationship. I didn't like the role reversal.
Her plan was to use 1 of the 3 local donors=$200 per widget, no shipping cost, and no registering fee. That does save money, but this guy was not willing to be known. Also, he's 23 and probably goes to Mizzou. eeeewwwww. If we had that baby I'd worry every time I walked downtown, past the Field House, he'd be the one with his khaki shorts, frat shirt, white hat on backwards, beer raised and yelling at passersby. I can't live with that.
Mom and Dad came for lunch today. As we sat on the porch, Mindy asked the hard-hitting questions. "Do you want to be grandparents?" Mom said, "If you want us to be." To which Mindy relplied, "Faye, that's not what we asked. Mom said yes. And then I turned to Dad. "Yes," he said, "I'm gonna be straight with ya." Dad will make an excellent grandpa.
We discussed the cost with them, and of course, Mom said, "Do you need help?" As if they haven't helped me enough. I mentioned that a PhD man's sperm is about $100 more per widget. Dad shifted in his chair, "Well, there's a lot 'a people out there who are book smart, but ain't got no common sense. There's a lot 'a people who are dumb and have smart kids. It doesn't make a goddamn bit'a difference if you shovel horse shit in a tunnel or go to college. You just never know."
Dad imparting his wisdom to our son or daughter= Priceless.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Mindy has had her blood drawn several times for what seems like thousands of tests. So far we've learned nothing except that she's not a man, as the doctor hinted, and she's HIV negative. Duh. Ok, the doctor didn't hint that Mindy was a man, what she said, by looking at her arm hair, was that she possibly had too much testosterone and perhaps polycystic ovaries. Since then, I keep asking Mindy if she's found out if she's a man or not. If she was, well, things might be a little easier. She's not. As it turns out, she just has dark hair. Like other women.
As I've mentioned before, we have to pick sperm. Mindy told me it was all my decision. I was a little weirded out, thinking that I'm probably already seen as "the guy" in the relationship by those who don't know us well, and I didn't want to perpetuate that stereotype by doing all the sperm pickin' by myself. But, it's kinda cool/fucked up if you really think about it.
I've always wondered what type of guy goes to the sperm bank and says, "I'd like to donate." It's weird. I've tried to put myself in his position...but I can't. A woman donating an egg is painful and much harder than masturbating and aiming at a cup. In fact, I'm not really sure what the process entails, but I do know that when I touch myself, eggs don't fly out of me. That's one of the reaons I think some guys donate; it's fun and easy.
No, I don't really think that. These banks ask you lots of questions, it seems. These guys have to write an essay, answer medical questions; they're asked to profile themselves. It's not that easy. So why do it? Money. But really, how much money can a guy get?
I've narrowed my choices down to a few...I think. Basically, I'm trying to find a male version of myself. Anyone can search these sperm banks and I encourage you to do so. It's fun. It's weird.
So far I think I'm an Irish/Israeli/Ukranian man with an MFA in film studies who considers himself artistic, extroverted, and emotional (rather than rational). I prefered the German/English/Scotish writer whose essay said, "to be honest, I'm doing this for the money." He checked the boxes that said, "athletic, extroverted, and rational." But he has a medical thing that doesn't jive with Mindy's body...other than his penis, I mean. I should mention that both of these guys are around my age.
I keep having to ask myself the question, "who am I?" I search for blonde hair and hazel eyes. The only other requirement is that the man if WTBK "Willing to be known." This means that if our child was interested, his information would be sent the kid when he or she turned 18. It's perfect (for me) since I'm adopted and I needed the truth. I want my kid to have that option.
But really, how do you narrow yourself down to a few checked boxes? How do pick the other half of Mindy's baby? It's weird, I know.
And I know, even if I pick some athletic dude with blonde hair who loves to write (yes, he exists), the kid might be just like Mindy. And I also know that it wouldn't matter if I pick a 6 feet tall black man who teaches Business. Because I know from experience that whole nature vs. nurture thing. I know my sense of humor and sarcasm and attitude come from Joe Holzhauser. I know my neuroses, silliness, and need to overfeed people comes from Faye Holzhauser. My bad teeth, high metabolism, and blonde hair come from Rhonda, my biological mom. My brains came from her too, but my ability to apply them (or not) came from Mom and Dad.
I can't control anything. You could make a baby with your partner and that kid could look like your great uncle so and so. That kid could be missing an arm, or brain cells. It's all one big risk, right?
So, I'll leave you with this: me, a guy I'll never meet, the possible other half of the baby that will grow in Mindy's body. A mystery. A risk.
Monday, July 6, 2009
We talked with the doctor for quite a while. Or I should say the doctor talked at us, wrote things furiously on the paper and didn't laugh at my jokes.
Here's what made us sad and need drinks:
She said at Mindy's age the chance of getting pregnant every month is 15%. If she takes one form of medication it might move to 20%. If she does something way more drastic it could improve to 40%. But as I understand, those are the drugs that make people have 8 babies. 8 Babies bad.
Then she pointed out that Mindy had dark arm hair and suggested she had elevated male hormone levels. There's a test for that.
Of course, we should probably test to see if her fallopian tubes are open first. That involves spreading your legs, getting speculumed and then injected with stuff and all of this happens under an x-ray machine. The doctor said "invasive" and "intensive." Words I don't like. And I told the doctor.
Then, of course, she asked me my age (29) my family history (i'm adopted) if I'm on medication (nope) and if my periods are regular (I told her the Mayans built their calender based on me). She smiled. Kind of.
She suggested we consider "switching carriers." Something, I assured her, we'd discussed already.
She named so many tests, you guys. So many drugs she could give us to get things going.
But I don't like that. I don't want Mindy pumped full of drugs. I don't want her legs spread every few weeks for weird probings and tests (though she says she doesn't mind). I don't want the doctor to keep looking at me.
So, I came home just now and turned on the t.v. for a little relaxation. Dr. Phil is discussing teenage pregnancy. What should the 16 year old do? Abort? Give for adoption? Keep it?
And now I'll get bitter: I can't fucking stand it that that little girl A. had sex and B. got pregnant. And now she's on a fucking talk show like, "oops."
Mindy and discussed for a moment what happens if she doesn't get pregnant. What if she wants it so badly and I don't? I don't know. I'm not crazy about getting a baby. I told my ladywife that I would put in minimum effort to get pregnant. I guess Mindy took this to mean if we had a baby I'd put in minimum effort.
That's not the case.
Let me tell all of you that if Mindy got pregnant I'd do whatever I had to do plus some. The point I was making is that I don't want to spend millions of dollars on this. I also don't want to invest myself emotionally. What fun is it to come home crying once a month? I don't want it that badly.
But Mindy might.
Right now everything seems bleak.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
After twelve years of repeating this word, explaining what it meant to me (and what it didn't mean), I've grown used to it. But now there is one place where I find myself turning red and hiding behind it.
It's the at the doctor.
Let me just come out and say it: Mindy and I are going to try to have a baby.
So far it hasn't worked. I mean, the normal way. We have sex. Nothing except intense pleasure and cuddling. After that, maybe a sandwich or a Popsicle. Never have we gotten pregnant.
Mindy went to her doctor on Monday to say she wanted to get pregnant. The nurse asked, "how long have you been off of birth control?" Mindy replied, "I'm gay." The nurse, not hearing her asked again, to which Mindy said, louder, "I'm gay!"
The doctor was saved the trouble, of course, and read it on the history before she entered the room. Mindy said she would like a referral to someone who specialized in pregnancy.
Today there was a huge letter in the mail from The Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility. Stuffed inside were two pamphlets, "Evaluating Infertility," and "Treating Infertility." Both pamphlets are a faded blue color, both bear a heterosexual couple: one couple is walking down the beach holing hands, the other couple is staring into space hopeful, yet sad. Like they just realized it was Sunday...still the weekend, but almost a workday.
These pamphlets aren't very helpful unless you don't know what masturbation is or how men have penises that ejaculate semen. It's crazy. Did you know the semen carries the sperm to the cervix!?!?!?! What's a cervix you may ask. Don't fear, it's all there in the pamphlet.
Listed are some of the most common causes for infertility: Problems with ovulation, blocked fallopian tubes, quality of sperm.
But there's one I see missing: Homosexuality.
Ah yes, the 'ole lack of sperm (or in some cases, lack of an egg and uterus). I wonder why the doctor didn't happen to mention to the infertility specialists that our problem might be, well, we're scrotumless.
Also in this fat envelope is a questionnaire for the male and female. Mindy's filled out the female spot. And now I'm left wondering what smart ass thing I could write in for me. We have four pages of family history to fill out, but I know that mine doesn't matter at all, you know, since I won't have any genetic say in the baby. Some questions for the male are, "when you were a child, were both testes descended into the scrotum?", "Do you have any discharge from the penis?", and my favorite, "Do you feel that some of your ejaculate is deposited in the vagina?" I'm not quite sure how to answer those.
I've never wished to be a man. Ever. I have wished that I liked guys enough so I could make a baby with one, but he'd have to have it. I just never saw myself as the maternal type.
I wish that one night Mindy and I could get frisky, one month later she'd notice something that should be there that wasn't, and then we'd tell the family the news, "We had sex and this time it wasn't just fun, it was productive!"
The conservative redneck in me thinks we shouldn't try to have a baby. Not because it's not God's will or whatever, but just because it doesn't happen in nature. I know that some species have same sex couples who try to raise others' kids and eggs, and I might be better with that if I wasn't adopted.
This is where it gets complicated. I can't even imagine a tiny being who looked like Mindy. Or myself. It just occurred to me yesterday that I could have a baby and it would look just like me. Adopted kids just don't think like this. So, I'd like to adopt. But, I'd also like to see a little Mindy. Of course I'd love to see a mix of Mindy and myself, but that's impossible. And even if it was possible, I just couldn't do it. I'm too much of a hippy, a naturalist, I think.
And though not a fan of following the Bible (or any religion) I wonder if I'm supposed to have a kid. I'm gay, maybe I'm one of the lucky ones selected out of the hassle of soccer games and cleaning up puke at 3 in the morning. Maybe I'm one of the chosen. But I think of all the people who can have babies. Like, all those 14 year olds, meth heads, 96% of the people who scream at their kid at Wal-Mart, that fucking octuplet Mom. They can all have babies. Easily. Accidentally. So if they can, by gods, so can we.
And now I'll leave you with this:
Of the four pages of family history we're to fill out there is the column titled, "VI. History of Fertility Therapy." Underneath there's a column for the male and female where one can check the boxes that correspond to tests that've been performed.
-Hamster Egg Test