Monday, July 31, 2006

On the road to fit and healthy

I've really been working on my diet and exercise regimen for the past couple of months. I decided if Wendy was going to spend the better part of the next year with our child growing inside her and her body going through all manner of changes, the very least I could do would be to get myself into good condition. I certainly want this for myself but I find my motivation is also keyed into the arrival of our child into our lives. I want to be as fit and healthy as I can for the baby. I want to be able to have the stamina and energy to be up all hours of the night, if needed, and to be able to keep up with a growing toddler over the next few years. I don't want physical limitations to hinder my participation in this adventure.

I've been an exerciseophobic since college. But, with a newly found love for Jazzercise, I've grown addicted to going to class. I even look up Jazzercise centers in the cities I visit on business trips and attend classes there. Last night I went to a class at the Babcock Jazzercise Fitness Center and this morning, I went to a class at the Churchill Jazzercise Center here in San Antonio. The folks at the centers are so friendly and welcoming and it's fun to see how different centers are as compared to home. Plus, moving my body sure makes me feel better than just plopping on the bed in my hotel room each night and snarfing hotel food or ordering pizza and feeling like a beached whale!

Anyway, what does this have to do with our journey toward mommy-hood, you may ask? Well, it's about being the best I can be for our child and for Wendy. I want to be around a really long time to see our child grow up. I want to be able to support Wendy during her pregnancy (and after) with whatever she may need/want/desire and being more fit/healthy will make it easier for me. And, I want the emotional satisfaction and sense of personal pride that is already increasing with each pound lost and each "jazzy" routine I do. I can already see and feel the difference! It makes me smile!

- Karen

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I found an interesting website namedMombian- Sustenance for Lesbian Moms.

It featured a great article on "How to Respond When Meeting Lesbian Moms". It made me smile and addresses a couple of points we've already encountered. So here is the article- verbatim.

1. Don’t assume that just because we’re lesbians, we’re completely different from other moms. We change diapers. We fix scraped knees. We worry when our teens start to drive. We comfort, we care, we discipline when necessary. We make mistakes like anyone else. We try to learn from them. Above all, we love our children.

2. Don’t assume that just because we’re lesbians, we’re exactly the same as other moms. We sometimes get strange glances when we’re in public and our child calls the two of us “Mommy” and “Momma.” We have to meet with each new school and daycare to ensure they will treat our family with the same respect as others. We often went through a different, deliberate process just to have our families and ensure the legal relationship of both of us to our children. We face different financial burdens; for example, if one of us stays home to raise our children, she cannot contribute to an IRA as she could if she was a non-employed mom with a working husband.

3. Don’t ask “Which of you is the real mom?” We both are. Maybe one of us bore the child in her womb. Maybe we both adopted the child. Maybe one of us donated an egg that the other one carried. It doesn’t really matter. Both of us are raising the child and committed to her or his well being. That makes us both real moms.

4. Don’t ask “Who’s the father?” Maybe there is a known father whom the lesbian couple wishes to acknowledge, and maybe there isn’t. Don’t assume there has to be. (And simply donating a chromasome does not a father make.)

5. Lesbian. Say the word. If there’s a need for this term in conversation, use it. (As in the legitimate question, “Do you find people around here are accepting of lesbian moms?”) Don’t euphemize with “your type of lifestyle,” “people in your circumstances,” “women like you,” or similar.

6. It’s always safe to refer to a lesbian couple (especially one committed enough to have kids) as “partners.” They may prefer another term–spouses, lovers, wives, etc., and will likely tell you if they do–but “partners” won’t offend anyone. Don’t use “friends,” which trivializes the relationship.

7. Don’t let any of the above keep you from inquiring “Do you mind if I ask how you created your family?” “What do you feel are the differences in being a lesbian mom?” or the like. Showing an interest in this way indicates you’re comfortable with the situation, and that’s comforting to us in turn. As with moms of any type, most of us enjoy talking about our families if the questions are asked in a respectful manner.

8. Remember that no two lesbian couples are exactly alike, and may approach discussing their families in different ways. (This last point added after a comment on the original post.)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Leaving for San Antonio

Tomorrow I leave for San Antonio on a business trip. It'll be my first trip in a month! This is the longest single stretch I've had off the road in 2 years. And now, I'm having a hard time getting prepared to head back out. It'd be hard under normal circumstances, but we're on ovulation watch and our first insemination attempt is likely to be at the end of next week or that weekend and I just want to be here when it happens! Actually, I want to be here to sleepily ask each morning, "What was it?". Every morning when Wendy first wakes up, she takes her temperature. When the little digital thermometer beeps indicating the temp check has completed, she gets up and goes to the bathroom to turn on the light to read it. Upon return, I typically ask her what it was. Funny how a tenth of a degree change in temperature makes your mind race!

All next week should mark the days before ovulation and along with her ovulation test kit, she'll be monitoring her progress toward the big day. And...I just want to be here for this seemingly simple, un-earthshaking thing. But, more important I suppose is that I'm here for the actual hormone surge that indicates ovulation is on the way and the flight to San Francisco to make our first attempt at getting pregnant. So...I suppose I'll be a trooper and patiently wait for my first call of the day to check on her progress, but I'll be wishing I was here for certain.

- Karen

Roller coaster

Wendy here. Yesterday felt like an emotional roller coaster.

I started writing a big, long story about yesterday, but I decided to give you a bullet-point list instead.

Things that are bad for Wendy when she's feeling a little stressed about trying to conceive:
  • Quadrant networking guy who spent an hour trying to fix a network drop just to guffaw and say, "Gee, I don't know how to fix this."
  • Wanting desperately to plan my next San Francisco (insemination) trip but knowing I can't because I have NO CLUE as to when I'm going to ovulate. I'm going to wake up one day, pee on a stick, see that line on the test strip and have to book my flight, hotel, car and get my but down there on the double and by the next day. With no planning. To a planner/organizer/anal person like myself, this is hard. "Relax and surrender", I hear you whispering. Yea.... I know.... I know.
  • Reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting". Geesh! They should name this book "What to worry yourself into a frenzy about when you're expecting." Or.... "All the crap that can screw up a happy pregnancy". I put the book back on the shelf, sprinkled holy water and held up a crucifix, and walked far, far, away from it. It's a freaky, scary, weird book.
  • Reading different blogs written by lesbians who have tried to have a baby for months and months or (gulp) years. You can feel their hopeful moments and their despairing moments. Knowing there are other folks trying like we are is supportive but hearing about how LONG it's taken them and the emotional toll it's taking is very hard to read. I could feel the angst building with each new blog I read.

    Things that are great for Wendy when she's feeling a little stressed about trying to conceive:
  • Loving girlfriend who kept working on the network situation until she had it fixed herself. Karen rocks!!! I would go nuts without my internet fix! She's got both downstairs office computers on the Internet. Yea!!
  • Cleaning the house.... strange, I know.
  • Finish cleaning out the baby room closet.
  • Knitting - of course!
  • Watching television programs like "Bringing Home Baby"
  • Reading more "fun" pregnancy and baby books. A trip to the bookstore was in order and well worth the trip. I have lots of better books now.
  • Savoring one margarita. Knowing that if I get lucky and conceive, it's the last drink I'll have for a long while.
  • Finally, my head in the lap of the one that I love. Her stroking my hair and whispering, "Take it easy baby. It's going to be okay". Sigh.

    My day on the roller coaster.
  • Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    The selection process and the first visit

    Wendy here.

    Did you know that you can review sperm donors online?!! How trippy is that!!

    At first, we were looking at Portland's only sperm bank (at OHSU). There was only one donor that we really liked (they have a very small donor list). When I called to check his availability, I learned that he was sold out with EIGHT people waiting in line for his next "installment". What an ego boost for that dude!!

    So we went with Pacific Reproductive Services located in San Francisco. They have lots of sperm donors available. But reading through the donor list is a surreal activity. I would get tickled and start giggling because I could hear The Dating Game theme song going through my head and hear host Jim Lange say "Now Wendy, donor 1555 is a 6'0 tall man weighing 145 pounds. He has brown hair, green eyes and enjoys basketball, surfing and reading!!". Ha, ha, ha... giggle, giggle, snort.

    We had our top three donors picked out before we flew to San Francisco on Sunday - a day early for our Monday morning consultation and physical appointment with Pacific Repro. We took in some San Francisco sights (click on the picture to see a larger version):

    Transamerica Building - seen from our hotel room:

    Castro district

    Fisherman's warf

    And the Yerba Buena Gardens where there was a cool band playing while some people did some tumbling kind of martial arts.

    The whole afternoon, Karen and I would ask one another, "Do you want to shop for anything?" Then we would say together, "SPERM!" We are there for sperm and sperm alone. No other souvenirs required.

    On Monday, we drove to the Pacific Reproduction Services office:

    And we read the long profiles on our top donor candidates and confirmed our number 1 pick. And we bought us some sperm!
    Here's what we know about our donor:
    He's of Finnish/Norwegian/German descent.
    He is 6' tall and weighs 170
    He has brown, wavy hair and hazel-green eyes
    He has a square face and a medium complexion
    He has a muscular, athletic body
    He has excellent health and there are no medical problems in his family.
    His blood type is O+
    He has a BS in Bioengineering and is working towards a Master's degree in the same field
    He scored on 780 on the math portion of his SAT's
    He has 20/20 vision
    He enjoys weight lifting, fishing and running.
    He played high school soccer, football and track
    He plays the violin
    His mother is a teacher; his father is a carpenter

    WOW! Doesn't he sound like a good choice? We certainly hope so!

    Karen and I spoke with Lynn, a registered nurse who will doing the inseminations. She explained all about the process and answered all our questions. She also gave me my woman's physical. My blood pressure was 104/70! Yea!

    The only down-side of the afternoon was that a fairly new lab person tried to draw my blood. He stuck me once in each arm (without drawing anything) before he called in his supervisor who drew my blood without any trouble. Needless to say, I have a couple of small bruises from the sticks but it's all a small sacrifice to pay. The lab will run lots of tests on my blood to make sure I'm a viable candidate for insemination.

    If all goes well, I should return to San Francisco around August 4 - 7 to have my first insemination attempt. I've been told that it is safe for me to fly after inseminations (which saves me a ten-hour drive!) Please send us your prayers and good thoughts on these dates.

    More later,

    Moving the office

    Wendy here.

    Once we decided we wanted to have a baby, we started discussing which room the little critter would live.

    The obvious choice was "the bunny room"- affectionately named for the garden mural, with bunny, painted on the walls. Our house was a show home before we bought it and this room was decorated as a nursery.

    However, for the past year, it's been our office. And it is chocked full of office furniture, computers and equipment.

    But I felt this incredible need to open up a space in our home for the baby. Gutsy and a little soon... I know... but hey!

    So last Friday, we spent the afternoon walking the computers down the stairs to the "new office" which is an empty, unused dining room. We had the joy of moving the treadmill from the dining room to the garage (and getting it wedged in the that was a lots of fun!!) Karen got to disassemble the desks (since they are too big for any doorways) and then reassemble them downstairs. But by Friday evening, we had it done. The new office is smaller and already I miss the lovely moss green walls and white wainscoting of the old office but I'm really tickled to have done it.

    Now we have this big empty room for the newest addition to our family. And the cats, while really freaked out for a while, have adjusted to the new arrangements.

    Here's a picture of the nursery during the house show.


    It's Karen.

    In beginning this whole, wonderful process towards bringing a baby into our lives, I have begun to do what I always do when a task starts...make a list! So, here you go - here's an excerpt from my "Having a Baby" checklist:
    1. A partner who I love and want to experience this great joy with. (check!)
    2. A healthy, willing and excited partner who will carry and nurture our little bundle of joy for the first 9 months of healthy development and growth. (check!)
    3. All the proper legal stuff in place to provide us the protections we need to be a "legal" family. This is all the stuff you straight folks take for granted, like being able to be in the hospital room with your partner during the birth, make decisions regarding health care (if needed) and so very much more. (in progress...)
    4. A physician/clinic who will provide the baby-making mechanism. I, unfortunately, cannot impregnate my beautiful partner so we will rely on modern science and heavenly assistance for making egg meet sperm. (check!)
    5. Sperm. Yup...can't make the baby without the little swimmers. (check!) Note: as of July 24, we have officially selected the competitors and they are standing by for their big debut!
    6. A credit card with a healthy limit. We hope to not come near the limit, but it all depends on how many attempts are needed by item 4 to get item 5 successfully fertilized with the egg from item 2. (check!)
    7. Love, excitement, hopes, prayers, and patience. (check, check, check, check and mostly check!) The patience part may be the hardest one but we'll do our best!
    That's not the whole list, but it's most of the key things we need to get things rolling. We're so very excited and find it a quite surreal reality that we find ourselves in.

    We will be hopefully optimistic that we'll find success as soon as possible and we ask that you send your thoughts, prayers and well-wishes along as we begin this journey.

    - Karen

    Fertility boot-camp

    Wendy here.
    Oh! The Joys of Ovulation!

    Part of this interesting journey has been learning all about ovulation. This is the nuts-and-bolts of it.

    About 10 days after your period starts, you will probably ovulate. So around 5-10 days after your period starts, you start using ovulation testing strips (affectionately known as "pee strips"). These tests check for a surge in your Lh hormone which shows up as a light-blue to dark-blue line on the strip. When the line turns dark blue, you go to your doctor for insemination.

    Now you are also checking your temperature every day of the month using a basal thermometer (which measures your temperature in hundredths of degrees). When your temperature soars up, ovulation has already occurred. If you haven't been inseminated, you've missed your opportunity for the current month.

    Also, your body temperature will decrease dramatically right before you start your period. If you are pregnant, your temperature stays up. So often, you will know if you aren't pregnant because your temperature drops a day or two before you start your period. Once inseminated, you are praying that your temperature stays up, up, up!

    Taking your basal temperature every day is just a way of gathering data on how your body performs over a 28-30 day period. The more data you have, the better you should get at estimating your ovulation time.

    So my mornings begin by taking my temperature first thing (before I get up or take a sip of water). I mark the temperature on the chart by the bed, draw some connecting lines, and try to get on with my day without obsessing about my fertility!

    The Adventure Begins

    Hi! Wendy here. Karen & I created this blog to share our adventures in the wonderful world of conception and (hopefully!!) pregnancy and birth.

    I admit that I'm approaching this blog with both excitement & trepidation. Part of me wants to be completely open and write all about this process. Another part of me wants to hold back and asks questions like:
    Are you going to write about each insemination attempt?
    What if it takes 3 tries, 6 tries or 12 tries before I conceive?
    Do friends and family really want to know about the process or would they rather be kept in the dark until we can announce we're pregnant?
    Will I blog the moment a pregnancy test comes back positive? What if there is a miscarriage? And so on and so on.

    I decided to go ahead and write the blog because, for me, blogging is great therapy. I love capturing what I'm thinking and doing on any given day. It instills me with a sense of gratitude for all of the moments that make up my life. It's more fun that writing in a journal (love the blog pictures!) And, of course, people's comments are great to read. It feels to good to know that someone out there sees me, "hears me", and takes the time to say, "Hey- you're cool!"

    Some time ago, Karen & I began to entertain the notion of becoming parents. We asked ourselves and each other thousands of questions about becoming mothers.
    Would we make good parents?
    Can we make such a huge and life-changing commitment and responsibility?
    Are we too old (I'm 35 and Karen's 41) and set in our ways?
    What about the social stigma a child might face having two mothers?
    Can we afford a child?
    What about the legalities around 2nd parent adoption?
    All good questions but we about made each other crazy analyzing all the answers.

    For me, the shift from maybe to yes happened when our good friends and neighbors, Jeff & Heather, gave birth to their son Ethan. In the final days before he was born, Karen found me crying in our bed. "What's wrong honey?" she asked. I answered, "No matter how close we are to Jeff & Heather...No matter how involved we are in Ethan's life... He will always be THEIR son, not mine."

    And I realized how much I would regret it, for the rest of my life, if I didn't have a child. The scales tipped.

    So we started reading and researching and did more reading and researching. Karen contacted an attorney and learned all about the legal process. We looked at our finances and budget. I contacted physicians.

    We said "YES" and jumped in with both feet. We got moving and moving fast! So here it goes, our adventure begins!