Thursday, August 31, 2006

Co-mom thoughts

As the co-mom (or whatever name you may choose to use for the non-bio mom), I find myself reading as voraciously as Wendy about being pregnant. We were sitting at Starbucks today sipping our drinks and reading. Did I have my trusty Laurel Hamilton (Anita Blake the Vampire Hunter series) or some other mind candy to whisk me away from reality? Heck no! I had a British magazine called "I'm Pregnant" opened before me and was highly intent on reviewing the article on Prams and Carry Cots (I love the British terms for things!). I'm currently fascinated by strollers and how they work. It's kinda like doing research to buy a car and there are soooo many models to choose from.

I read interviews with 4 expectant moms and their early pregnancy thoughts, feelings and body changes (quite interesting that all 4 of them were quite different). I read about reusable "nappies" (I love calling a diaper a nappy for some reason). I read about how to deal with back pain during pregnancy and how your hair is very different during pregnancy (did you know that we all lose 50-75 hairs per day *except* when you're pregnant and then you don't lose any!).

Wendy and I are both big readers and big planners and organizers. We can get pretty single-minded when it comes to having something on our minds and then researching it until we feel as if we've looked at it from every angle. It makes us feel more at ease and in control (as much control as you can "think" you have anyway). But, I'm surprised that I'm not searching out (at least not yet) more co-mom specific stuff. I'm currently very content and excited to be diving into pregnant mom stuff. I suppose that's good as it may help me to understand and support Wendy as she experiences the biological elements of the pregnancy.

Anyway, I find it interesting and cool that I'm "feeling pregnant" too in so many ways. I may not be carrying the child in my belly, but I'm sure carrying him/her in my heart.

- Karen

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pregnancy math is driving me nuts!

OK...this baby math business is beyond my ability to comprehend. A shout out to Holly over at Lois and Holly's Baby Story for her take on the problem!

I.just.don'! The "rules" (and our little ticker up on top!) say we're 5 weeks and 2 days pregnant based on the start day of W's last period. But...if we didn't get inseminated until Aug. 7, we couldn't have been pregnant for 5 weeks and 2 days because we only inseminated 3 weeks and 2 days ago. So, are we in week 3, week 4, week 5 or week 6?

Even all the pregnancy books seem to count differently, although they all say they're counting the same! In one book they say we're in week 6 while another says week 5. I can't stand it! I'm a numbers freak; I freely admit that I am addicted. I remember numbers easily. Here's a test for you: can you recite your driver's license number, your frequent flyer number and at least 2 credit card numbers from memory? I can. Sad but true. I work with numbers and math in most everything I do (I'm a computer geek by trade) and am generally very comfy with my numerical friends. But, at this point (and I realize it's *very* early in the process), I'm really freaked out by the lack of proper, actual, firm formula on which to base all this pregnancy stuff.

I want to call it week 6 because week 6 sounds "better" to me than week 5. The farther along we are, the better! But, I want to call a spud a spud (so to speak). I need relief! I need to not have every book I read say something slightly different. I need ONE ANSWER. My guess is I just need to get over it and quit fretting and that I need to make internal peace with the fact that pregnancy math is it's own "wierd science".

Any ideas?

- Karen

Showing my politics

Wendy here. Calliope, over at Erstellen Mutterschaft blog hosts a weekly photo theme. This is a way for all us pregnant or trying-to-conceive bloggers to get to know one another better and get our heads ever-so-briefly out of baby land.

I thought I would play along.

This week's theme is: Show me your politics.
"How have you tried to change the world? Let's see photos of rallies, marches, sit-ins, boycotts. It doesn't have to be politics in the traditional sense. Just something that shows how you got involved."

Here is a picture of me at a peace/anti-war rally in the Fall of 2002 in my hometown of Knoxville, TN. I'm holding a "Peace is Patriotic" sign. A group of us were outside a building where President Bush was speaking and fundraising for some "Young Republicans" group. I remember that I was nervous but happy that day. All these young Republicans, both men and women, had to walk by the protesters to get into the building. They looked uncomfortable in their suits and heels and scared that the "liberals" were going to spit on them or something.

We protesters laughed and smiled a lot that day. We were serious about not wanting our country to go to war yet we had a good time while holding our signs.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gestation Project

Wendy here.

My Dad just sent me a link to the coolest video. Go to this website and click on the gestation video which is located on the right side of the page. Love the pictures and the music!

Karen and I are picking "our wall" so that we can do a similar photo stream. Thanks for sharing Poppa!

[6 Babies R Us visits]

Monday, August 28, 2006

Progesterone belly

Wendy here.

I'm five weeks pregnant! The whole math thing about pregnancy still trips me up. For example, today is the first day of my sixth week but I claim "five weeks" because I've completed five weeks. Already, I'm getting twisted up about how this counting system works and have thrown my hands in the air with an expletive. Did you know MATH is a curse word?

According to the many pregnancy books throughout the house, my progesterone continues to rise. This can cause bloating in the belly. And if you've had a previous pregnancy, your abdominal muscles may already be stretching.

Well, I haven't been pregnant before. But I have been overweight. And although I haven't gained a pound in the past five weeks, my belly has stretched with bloating to where it was when I was 20 pounds heavier. (I lost 10 pounds in May and another 10 in June). Right now I can still wear my jeans but if the bloating continues, I'll have to go up a size (fortunately I have two pairs of jeans in a larger size).

Following the lead of the of the folks at What About My Life Plan, I'll put how many weeks and days we're pregnant at the bottom of each post. And how many trips we've made to Babies R'Us!

Did everyone else visit Babies R Us six times by their 5th week? I think it's a little overboard but it's so close (five miles away) and it's so fun to visit!! We've already picked out the glider we want and have lovingly stroked several onesies.

[6 Babies R Us visits]

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Note to self... not laugh, giggle, grin, clap gleefully or otherwise celebrate when your pregnant partner first experiences waves of nausea.

Yep...I did just that. Wendy and I had gone out for lunch today and just as we were seated and our drinks arrived, this look came across her face. It was a look of falling...kinda like the face you might imagine just as you begin a 100 foot drop on a roller coaster (except without the screaming!). At first, I thought it was just the bliss of the the first sip of Diet Coke she'd just taken (her first in more than 6 weeks) but it became quickly apparent that Diet Coke wasn't the culprit. She closed her eyes and took several deep breaths. Her color faded and she looked, as my mom would say, "white around the gills".

With the hint of a smile on my face, I asked "are you feeling nauseous"? A slight, affirmative nod of the head was my answer. I lost it. I started laughing and clapping my hands like a little girl. One eye slowly opened as she looked at me in the midst of my delight. It was "the eye". You know's the eye that your mom gives you when you've done something she doesn't approve of that says "stop it now or else". So, I attempted to remove my smile and stop my giggling. I wasn't overly successful and finally as the wave of nausea passed, Wendy smiled at me too.

We've been waiting with anticipation as well as trepidation, the onset of her nausea. Anticipation that nausea is usually a sign of a healthy, growing baby and trepidation that for the next days/weeks, her life will be a series of time intervals between nausea and normalcy. But perhaps, a giggling fit of delight wasn't necessarily the proper reaction to her first nauseous feelings.

I promise to be more appropriately concerned and not giggle at all when the feelings come again. Although I think I'll find it hard to be completely stoic. This whole miraculous adventure has me walking around with a goofy smile on my face that even nausea may not be able to erase. So, sorry honey (in advance) just in case....

- Karen

When love finds you

I just returned home after my 12 day odyssey across the southern US. I spent 6 days in Atlanta working and then 6 days in TN visiting my family. Am I ever glad to be home! What I have been pondering during my time away and since I have returned is the depth that love reaches. When love finds you, however it finds you, it is wondrous.

As I walked through the secured area at the airport, I saw it. I saw Wendy's face beaming at me with this big grin that said "I love you", "I missed you" and "I'm soooo glad you're home". We hugged and just stood there are a few seconds holding each other just feeling the love. I think I relaxed, really relaxed, for the first time in 12 days in that moment. While we got my luggage and made our way home, all I could do was to just keep staring at her, soaking her in and reveling in the knowledge that she was carrying our child inside her. I was truly home... Love found me.

I had missed the morning when she got the positive pregnancy test (although I heard about it within moments by phone), so she took another test when we got home just so I could see the "Pregnant" indicator pop up in window in person. Love found me.

While visiting my parents, my mom and I spent a "girls day out" together shopping and just spending time with each other. Every so often she would just reach out and pat my hand or my leg or my face. Even now at 41 I feel her love for me and I feel as safe and warm as I did when I was a little girl rocking on her lap at story time. Love found me.

My 94 year old grandmother occassionally has trouble with remembering things in the short term, but it seems she never forgets anything related to me. She's just a bit over 5 feet tall (I'm 6'4) and fits quite snuggly under my armpit when I hug her. She tucks her head and nestles into me for a hug and squeezes my middle with her walking cane dangling from one hand. She looks up at me with her eyes that don't see so well anymore, but somehow she sees me and says "I love you darlin" and tells me how beautiful I look to her. Love found me.

My TN friends, Mimi and Trula, met me for lunch during my visit and wanted to hear all the details of our baby-making adventure and effusively smiled and laughed and questioned and commented. They just loved us and were so happy for us and are so supportive of us. Love found me.

Our dear neighbors, Heather, Jeff and Ethan, were here to rejoice in our pregnancy news with Wendy and to take her out for a celebratory dinner after the news. They share themselves and their little boy with us so easily - so trusting - so accepting. Love found me.

You never know when/where/if love will find you. Even in a world that often seems prejudicial and cold at times. I find myself being so aware of all the times love finds me these days. I think the miracle we've been given to have conceived on our first try and to be on our way towards motherhood has made me very cognizant of all the gifts of love and connection that seep into my life every day. I am so very grateful. I'm grateful to our friends and family (wherever they may be) and all of you who stop by to share our journey with us.

May love find you...

- Karen

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Word travels fast

As many of you have read, Karen is visiting family in our hometown of Knoxville, TN. On Monday, she ran into an old lesbian friend of ours. This friend already knew we were pregnant! I guess word travels fast since we just found out ourselves over the weekend.

What was interesting about the conversation between Karen and this friend was that this person said, "I guess you and Wendy are trying to live the 'straight life' in Portland." She couldn't imagine why we wanted to have a baby when (and I quote), "Neither of you like children."


First of all, I found that incredibly rude (a simple "congratulations" would have sufficed). Second of all, Karen answered her in the witty, articulate, non-confrontational way that only Karen can do. Bravo Karen!

I don't feel the need to defend myself, but this conversation got me to thinking. What I concluded was that some people see others the way the see themselves. What I mean is that so many lesbians we knew in TN were older than us, somewhat set in their ways, and really didn't want children for themselves. And by being associated with this group, some of the characteristics were latched on to me as well.

But I've always enjoyed children. And for many, many years I've dreamed about what it would be like to carry a child of my own.

I started walking down memory lane by looking through my older photos. I found two that I wanted to share:
This is a picture of me in my 20's (check out the long locks and mascara!) cradling baby Issac. I remember beaming when others would say how happy I looked with a baby in my arms and how I looked like "a natural Mom".

This second photo is from a special scrapbook that I have of my favorite small pieces of art, postcards and photographs. The photo was given to me by Jeanne R. in 1997. It sat framed on my desk or nightstand for many years before it got added to the special scrapbook. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be Mary and Baby Jesus or simply a statue of mother and child, but I've treasured it for a long time.

Reviewing my photo album and thinking of the friends who've had children and who've let me joyfully babysit for an hour or two (or a day) over the years was a good reality check in answer to the accusation "You never liked children".

Lastly, I believe two lesbians having a baby together is a VERY gay proud thing to do and is a far departure from trying to live a "straight or closeted life". Already in this conception process, my partner and I have stood as proud lesbians before doctors, nurses, attorneys and others.

So there.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Grateful Flowers

Wendy here. We just ordered a small flower arrangement to our nurse practitioner at Pacific Reproductive Services (here's a picture of the flowers we ordered). She made the insemination process such a great experience.

What can I say? This lady can inject some sperm!! And we're sending grateful smiles to our donor. May he have mucho blessings in his life.

Frogs, pickles and ice cream

Wendy here.

Our dear friends, Heather and Jeff, dropped off a pregnancy present last night. A jar of pickles (with a Baby, Baby label, ha!) and several gift certificates for Baskin Robbins ice cream. It was a wonderful gesture that I'll always remember.

What's even more incredible is that they found the time to do this while at the same time taking care of their 6-week old son!

I had fun walking into Babies R Us yesterday as a "new mom". I just browsed around but I couldn't resist this stuffed frog. I'm all into frogs at the moment... go figure!

Premonitions or wishful thinking?

I can't seem to wipe this silly grin off my face! Wow! We're pregnant! If you can imagine a smile 3000 miles long, that's what I have! It stretches all the way from Tennessee (where I am right now) to my sweet Wendy at our home in Oregon. But, I'll tell you, it's been an interesting few days!

As Wendy mentioned in her earlier post, she actually tested on Thursday (that's my girl...patience is her middle name ) and got a negative. She didn't tell me until I called her at my lunch break and then she said "honey, I tested and I'm not pregnant". I hesitated for just a moment, took a breath and said that it was was still early and a "false negative" is surely possible and that we wouldn't know for absolutely sure until she got her period. Her disappointment was so heavy and evident that it almost broke my heart to not be there with her. On my end, I was of course a bit disappointed, but I just couldn't quite think it was over yet.

You see, since we decided to try this month, and I had done all the math (figuring dates and what not), I had two dates that just kept pinging around my head: Aug. 7 and Aug. 19. Aug. 7 was the date I thought Wendy would ovulate and we'd be inseminated. Aug. 19 was the date I thought should do a pregnancy test. Maybe it was just hopeful thinking given all the charts and date math I'd done, but there was just this calm assurance about those two dates that was riding inside me. When Wendy called me on Thursday Aug. 3 to say her ovulation test showed a faint line and that Pac Repro had suggested we get on down to San Fran to inseminate the following day, I was actually surprised...but went on to San Fran anyway thinking my gut feelings were just "off" on this one. Then, the ovulation test line practically disappeared and we ended up waiting in San Fran until (yep...that's right) Monday, Aug. 7! My initial date had been right!

So, when Wendy tested on Thursday and got a negative, I just couldn't quite let disappointment overwhelm me because I was still holding out for the Saturday date before I was going to allow myself to let it in that we might be trying again next month. I just kept trying to encourage Wendy to not give up hope yet and that we still had a few days before we'd really know for sure if it wasn't going to happen. So, when she called me on Friday to tell me that she had a screaming headache and that she thought the test she did showed a "faint hint of a shadow of a line", I chuckled to myself and told her to go get a digital test to try on Saturday. She was still a bit hesitant to want to hope too much after being so disappointed with the stark white test the previous day but she went out to get the new tests and said she'd try again.

Saturday...Aug. 19. My phone rings at a little after 8am (Eastern time) and caller id announces it's Wendy calling. As I pick up the phone to answer, the smile is already spreading on my face and I answer with "Hey honey...what's up?". "We're pregnant!" she says. Yeeeeeee-haaaaawwwwwww! After our giggling, laughing, happy fit I told her about my date premonitions. Weird but true!

So, maybe...just maybe...I'm a bit of a wizard way deep down. Maybe I've got a bit of the Harry Potter/Ron Weasley/Hermione Granger type wizard floating in my DNA. I picture myself in a pointy hat with a wand waving it gently over Wendy's belly saying "Expecto Pregnatus" and wah-lah...Wendy's pregnant! Guess I'd better keep my internal ears open for the next premonition, huh!?!?

- Karen

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Wendy here. It's official. We're pregnant!

I feel so lucky and so blessed that we got pregnant on the first try.

I had first tested on Thursday 8/17th (9 days past ovulation or dpo) and had gotten a negative. I think I will always remember that feeling when I saw the pregnancy test's blank window. Such disappointment and sadness and dread in thinking I would go through this whole process again. I called Karen and shared the news. She was concerned for me and still hopeful. Her statement was, "It's not over until you get your period".

On Friday 8/18 (10 dpo), I had a shadow of a line in the pregnancy test window. I couldn't say it was a line but I could see where the line would be and my hopes raised again a bit. Later that afternoon, I got one screamer of a headache. It was not quite a full migraine but painful just the same. I was upset again because I thought it was it was a precursor to my period (even though I usually don't get headaches before my period). Still, I held off taking a Tylenol... just in case. Now I think the headache was just my body reacting to the pregnancy.

On Saturday 8/19 (11 dpo), I woke up at 5:00am and couldn't go back to sleep. I tested again and wrapped the test in toilet paper so I wouldn't look at it until the 3 minutes were up. And there it was... a faint line. I called Karen and we laughed for over an hour. "Any line means you're pregnant" was what we said over and over to one another. My good friend Heather called later that morning. She told me to get my but to her house. She wanted to see my test. She pulled her pregnancy test out of her baby box and showed me that our "faint lines" were almost identical. "Girl, you are pregnant!" she announced.

And this morning, I tested with a digital pregnancy test. It popped up with the magical "pregnant" word within seconds. It's official!! WOW!! My due date is May 1st and I should be able to learn the baby's sex around Thanksgiving.

Our families have been told and everyone is excited for us. I feel so blessed and happy!! Please wish us well as we begin this incredible journey!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Rainbow connection

This morning I awoke with Kermit the Frog's song "Rainbow Connection" singing over and over in my head. Do you remember The Muppet Movie? Loved it... just loved it.

I couldn't find Kermit's version on Itunes but I downloaded Sarah MacLachlan's. (Did you know that Willie Nelson covered this song too?)

I've started a list of lullabies that I want to learn to sing. This one is at the top of the list.

For all of the lovers and dreamers trying to conceive, I'm sending you Kermit hugs.

Here are the lyrics:
Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell. We know that it's probably magic.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors.
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Anything but boring

Late last month while I was on a business trip, I was perusing my USA Today (found by my hotel room door each morning) and saw an article about a lady in England by the name of Helen Kirwan-Taylor who had written an article saying her kids "bored her". The uproar over that article was amazingly fast and furious. While a handful of people applauded her for admitting this, most people slammed her for her un-motherly attitude.

I have to say that I can't even remotely imagine how your child could bore you! My child hasn't even been born yet and much of my energy and attention and emotion is already caught up in him/her. If I'm this enthralled with the baby before he/she is even born, I'll be even more so entranced after the birth! Wendy and I were asking each other last night during one of our many phone calls (we talk alot on the phone when I'm out of town) what we talked about before we started trying to have a baby. Maybe the lady who is bored would have a different opinion of us, but I think it's cool to be so in love with your child (before, during and after birth!) that you find joy in every little thing about them.

I can imagine being lots of things as a mom, but bored is certainly not one of them. We want so badly to become parents that it is quite infuriating when a mom with two glorious children seems to want to give them the brush off.

It is said that having a child will change your life. Some people fear that and think they'll lose themselves in the child. I think our child will be a marvelous joy that will bring new experiences and opportunites into our lives. Will our lives change? Oh yeah! Are we happily looking forward to that? Oh yeah! We love our life now and are just so excited about sharing it with a little one. We have a lot to give our baby and our baby will give us oh so much in return. What a miracle!

Boredom....never! Change, surprise, ups, downs, ins, outs and anything and everything imaginable....absolutely! But never, ever boredom!

Speaking of not being bored, we're 4 days from the end of this cycle and are about to enter the POAS (POAS means pee on a stick for those of my friends and family who aren't familiar with the acronym) phase. We'll know soon if our little miracle is cooking along inside Wendy or if we'll be trying again next month. Either way, boredom is no where in sight!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Business trip day 2.5

Well, 2 days (actually 2.5 days...but who's counting?) of this trip down and 10 to go! I'm in Atlanta doing my thing but can't help taking little mental side trips back home every 5 seconds or so. I do love what I do for a living, but girl-oh-girl this being away from home as we approach the date of our first pregnancy test is a killer!

I find myself swinging from very cool and zen about the whole thing to totally freaked out and completely, fanatically desirous for the time till test day to magically pass in the blink of an eye and it be here and we know! And...I'm here freaking out all by myself in the Hampton Inn. Can you say fun? (Not!) Of course Wendy is home working her way through the same waiting period all alone (well, she does have the kitty cats to keep her company). We both keep trying to keep the other's anxiety in check as best we can with our multiple daily phone calls, but it's hard for both of us. We both want to know (NOW!) and yet we don't want to be too stressed or anxious. How do you keep the balance between healthy excitement and freaked out stress? I suppose that's what we'll find out before this whole process is over.

- Karen

Hanging In

Wendy here. It's been eight days past the first insemination. S--L--O--W week.

Yesterday I had to indulge in a little retail therapy. I looked in my closet and hated every shirt in it. My wardrobe consists of mostly Life Is Good shirts. I normally love these shirts. Yesterday, I hated them all. So I went to an Old Navy store and picked up 3 items that were on sale.

Today I was thinking about the small changes I've made since deciding to have a baby.
  • started taking a prenatal vitamin
  • started taking my temperature in the morning.
  • stopped salting all my food. I don't add salt to anything now.
  • switched to caffeine-free diet coke. PS - It does NOT taste the same. Therefore I'm only drinking 1-2 glasses where I used to drink 5-7.
  • drink only decaf coffee and limit to one serving a day.
  • drink lots more milk.
  • change my reading material. Now I'm reading baby books and I prefer a lighter fiction. I've started several new fiction books and have stopped reading them because the story-line would have a bit of violence. For some reason, that has little appeal for me now and I'll look for something else.

    And the things I've changed since the insemination:
  • stopped lifting really heavy things. Don't want any pulling on the lower abdominal wall.
  • stopped doing the floor work (abs, thighs,but) in Jazzercise. Same reason.
  • stopped taking really hot tub baths.
  • use disposable gloves for the cat box and for gardening.
  • started eating at least four fruits/vegetables a day. In the past, I would only get around two.
  • and I look at the calendar around 20 times a day.

    I obsess about the calendar. I have done the math of "If I conceived on this day, then implantation would happen on this day" WAY too many times. And good Lord, the math around my period!!!

    If I'm on a 28 day cycle, then my period will be on the 21st. If I go by last month's cycle, then my morning temperature will drop from around 98.2 to around 96.3 either on the 21st or maybe on the 20th if I'm NOT pregnant.

    And then there is the decision about whether I'll do a pregnancy test beforehand. I have several First Response Pregnancy tests at home. Here's what the box says:
    In clinical testing, First Response detected the hormone levels in 69% of women 4 days before their expected period, in 83% of women 3 days before their expected period, in 93% of women 2 and 1 day before their expected period.

    So I haven't decided which day I'm going to test. But I do the calendar math CONSTANTLY. I've got highlights and circles and notes on both the downstairs and the upstairs calendars. Doesn't keep me from doing it again and again. There are times that I think that I am truly nuts!

    But hey, other than calendar obsession, I'm hanging in.
  • Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Squirrel or ostrich?

    Wendy here. While in San Francisco, I bought a fantastic magazine- "Junior- pregnancy & baby". Inside this British mag, there is a wonderful article written by Christina Hopkinson.

    Here's an excerpt:

    "There are some pregnant women who seem to know and have it all. You know the ones- they've road-tested every buggy on the market, signed up to their pre-natal classes, planned their route to the hospital and bought the bottle warmer- all before they've even developed a bump. They are the squirrels of the pregnancy world, hoarding equipment and information in eager anticipation.
    And then there are those trying to squeeze into their jeans at 30 weeks, still insisting nothing's going to change in their lives and saying, 'Baby, what baby?" With their heads in the sand, they're the obvious ostriches of gestation."

    The article goes on to say that many women won't allow themselves to think about a baby beforehand because you might not get one and so it's psychologically sensible to protect yourself. Others think it's bad luck to have baby things in your house.

    Let me tell you, different people have their ways of dealing with the two-week wait. My way it to be a SQUIRREL and to get informed about pregnancy, babies, and toddlers.

    You see, I feel comfortable with newborns. I know how to care for them. But I don't know much about babies past six months old and know very little about child development.

    So my new ritual is to take my book, "Your Baby's First Year" by Shelov to my favorite Starbucks (decaf coffee of course) and to read a chapter.

    And, in addition to reading my favorite "trying-to-get-pregnant" blogs, I also check out Kiddley's web site for neat kid activities and information. If you know of a website like Kiddley, please share it!

    Doing things like this makes me happy. And of course there is knitting. What do you do?

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    How do you know?

    How do you know that you've done everything you possibly could to make a baby? How do you let go of the fears and the worry that you could've done something more? How do you just -not know- exactly how to do it and be OK with all the guessing and hoping that you did everything at the right time and the right way?

    I leave tomorrow for 12 days. I hate the thought of leaving Wendy here to pass this next week of waiting on her own. I hate the thought of being on the other side of the country when she does find out one way or the other. It's gonna be a long 12 days!

    We've been talking about the whole process so far and how there are so many supportive and uplifting blogs we've read that help keep our spirits and hopes high. But, occassionally, we hit upon a know, the blog entry that says that they tried and tried for months to get pregnant and when they did everything "wrong" (like waiting until your temperature spikes to inseminate...not when the little OTK says you're surging) and finally got pregnant. How do you know? If we supposedly did everything right this time but we don't get pregnant, does that mean we should do something different next time? I mean, isn't the definition of insanity said to be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

    Sigh... You'd think if they can figure out how to give a man a 12 hour erection (i.e. Viagara), then you'd think they could figure out a more exacting approach to getting pregnant! Wendy and I are both planners, organizers and detail people. It's hard not to want a very specific, step-by-step roadmap that says "do this" and "that" will happen...and it will happen on this day at this time and in such-n-such a way! That's the hardest part of all in this process for us. Letting go of the exacting details and allowing your "best shot" to be good enough.

    It's always tough when Wendy and I part at the airport when I leave for a trip. This time will be the toughest yet, for both of us. We've always felt we had a tether between us. This invisible chord that links us, heart to heart and soul to soul, no matter where we are. We both feel it stretch when we're apart, but the cool thing is we feel it. It's the feeling of surety and of bondedness that grounds me and supports me. It's the feeling I will carry with me as I journey away during this time....and it's the feeling that I'll follow home in 12 days to whatever awaits....pregnant or still TTC.

    - Karen

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Abdominal obsession

    Wendy here. There's a great post over at seeking the stork blog about the joys of the two week wait (look for the post "piece of cake"). This is a great post that sums up exactly how I feel.

    Especially about the lower abdominal obsession. I swear I've never been so tuned in to my lower belly in all my life! Every little interior ping makes me tune out the world and puts either an anticipatory goofy grin on my face or a shocked what-the-crap-was-that? face.

    By the way, on my other blog pixie portal, I post pictures constantly. Pictures of yarn & knitting (my obsession), cats and gardening.

    It seems strange to not post a picture with a blog entry over here at 2-moms. But what kind of picture would one post? Fertility pictures? Pictures of eggs or sperm? Dunno. Here's an attempt:

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Life "between"

    It seems like we're in a "between" place right now....and it feels kinda strange. We're between the insemination and the time when we'll know if it took or not. We are ever hopeful that we'll be among the lucky ones who get pregnant on their first attempt and we also remain prepared for if it doesn't.

    My sister called today to ask "are you guys pregnant yet?". She's so excited for us and I love it that she is. Her youngest is now 6 and she's envious of the baby phase that's headed our way. She keeps asking if we'd consider giving her one if we have twins! Yeah...right! It's funny though and her daughter (the 6 year old) has overheard her talking to me about it and thinks that we're going to have puppies and that we're going to give them one! When my sister tried to explain it to her that she was talking to me about babies, little miss promptly replied, "duh...I puppies!". My sister has given up on trying to convince her otherwise and only hopes she won't be too disappointed when I bring a baby home for a visit and not a puppy for them!

    I'm trying to be as zen as possible about the whole thing, but it's hard to remain in that "quiet space". But, I can hear the little voice in the back of my head saying "I wanna baby! I wanna baby!"....over and over again. Sigh...these next 12 days are gonna be interesting. Then, to top it off, I'll be out of town on business when the day comes to know one way or the other. I've asked Wendy to call me if/when she takes the pregnancy test so I can "be there" (more or less).

    Keep sending us the good baby mojo vibes!

    - Karen

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    So glad to be home

    Wendy here.

    Yesterday was our second insemination. We learned that our second insemination held 15 million sperm (in a 1cc syringe--isn't that amazing!!) and our first held 14 million. Since PacPro guarantees at least five million, we were thrilled with the higher numbers.

    After the appointment, we had a leisurely lunch and then some coffee/computer/reading time at Starbucks. We were so thrilled to fly home and sink into our own beds. There's nothing like your home sweet home. I don't see how K travels as much as she does.

    It's funny.... I don't feel any different except that I know that I might be pregnant and therefore have a desire to protect my mid-section. Karen has been very sweet and has done all the lifting for me. Yesterday, I started to pick a suitcase out of the trunk and she shook her head and said, "Nope, I'll get it for us". Same with today's groceries.

    I went to Jazzercise today and did all low-impact moves--no bouncing or jogging or jumping. And I didn't do any of the floor exercises that work the abs, thighs and but. Instead I walked 1 mile around the exercise center and came home. Just barely got my heartrate up and broke a light sweat. I guess I'll have to cut back on some calories since I'm not going to burn as many with high-impact exercise - at least until I learn whether I'm pregnant or not.

    I was hoping that my temperature would surge up (indicating the end of ovulation) but it didn't. I took one last ovulation test and I was back to a faint line. I just pray that we got inseminated on the "right" two days and that I've conceived. At least we can rest assured that we did everything we could to get pregnant.

    Thanks again to all our family and friends for their well wishes. Now we begin the two-week wait.

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Captain...thar' be sperm here!

    Did you see the Star Trek movie where they had to go back in time to rescue a pair of humpback whales in order to save the world in the future? Well, when they finally find the whales and beam them on board, Scottie says "Captain, thar' be whales here!". Today as we finished our first insemination attempt, that one line kept singing in my head (with one small change however)...thar' be sperm here! Wow!

    I never thought I'd feel so wonderful and absolutely delighted that sperm were swimming around in Wendy's uterus! The coolest thing was there wasn't a "real" man anywhere in the vicinity. Please note this is not a slam on males....just a cool realization that getting pregnant in this day and age doesn't mean that an actual male person has to be present (just his little swimmers have to be there!). While we don't know the donor, and never will, I honor his "contribution" to the process. But, it was just Wendy and me (and the RN doing the injection of course) present. It was sweet and exciting and it was truly the two of us, in that moment, making love. It was a moment that held all the love the two of us have for each other and all the love we already have for the little unborn child that may soon be alive and kicking inside of my sweet Wendy. It was was special...

    It's strange how getting to this point was the hard part. The waiting and the worry that we'd miss our window and that somehow ovulation wasn't going to happen or if it did, we'd test at the wrong time or get a invalid result, or, or, or.... But, now that it's happened, everything is so full of hope and anticipation...rather than worry or fear.

    We both know that success on the first attempt is statistically less likely, and we're prepared for having to go through the insemination process until we find success. But, for now, we will wait in hope for the next couple of weeks to pass until we know if our first try did the trick. Either way, we face the next steps with hope and confidence that no matter how long it takes, we are on the adventure of a lifetime...together!

    - Karen

    First insemination

    Wendy here. We had our first insemination today and what I felt most was...relief.

    It's been a difficult yet interesting 3 days. I'm the kind of person that can be really hard on myself. I have the tendency to say, "I'm sorry" quite a bit. My first "Sorry" began on Friday morning, after Karen & I had both busted some moves to get to San Francisco on Thursday night. You see, on Thursday, I tested a mid-line on my ovulation test (not dark enough for insemination but dark enough for the folks at PacPro to tell me to get my but to SanFran and that I would probably surge within the next day).

    On Friday, no dark line - not close enough to ovulation yet. And then again on Saturday. And then again on Sunday. My mind wanted to kick me over for bringing us out here so soon. And the hotel, car rental, parking back home and all the eating out just kept tallying up in my head. Lots more "sorry's"to get over.

    I swear that I have prayed more in the last two weeks than I have in the past two years (and I'm a praying person!). It seemed that I was being asked to give up all my ideas of control of my body and of the situation. "Willing something to happen" just didn't work.

    So I got to surrender to the current situation - surrender into waiting. There was a such a fine line between feeling like I'm giving up versus feeling like I'm letting go. It was such a dichotomous time. I wanted to be both realistic yet optimistic. Strong and faithful while feeling unsure, uncertain and apologetic. Thinking that there was no way that I could do this month after month, but knowing that this is exactly what I would do to get pregnant.

    Mental strain is a very real thing and all the various mantras of "relax" only cut it so far. So I got to surrender some more, and then some more and then even more. And lots of praying in the waking hours and the resting (should be sleeping but can't) hours. I just told myself that going without sleep is good practice for motherhood.

    So when I tested positive for ovulation at 4:30am this morning, I felt a lots of relief. We could finally do the insemination that we have been waiting for. This morning, the excitement and nervousness set in and the big, goofy grin settled on my face. My dad called - perfect timing as always daddy- to wish us luck and then we were off to Pacific Reproduction.

    "Relax and receive" was my mantra as we drove to the office. I desperately hoped that the RN would be in a good mood. "Let her not be hung over" I thought. "Let her have had a great night's sleep". "Let her be sweet and happy with us".

    It's amazing how my heart would dip and soar with what the RN said. "I haven't had my coffee yet" (HEART DIP). "Your cervix looks great!" (HEART SOAR!). Karen was there with me (thank God!) holding my hand and loving me with her eyes. Within, five minutes the deed was done.

    After the nurse left the room, I said the silliest thing, "Are we in the Matrix?", I asked with a giggle. I guess I was trying to communicate how surreal and deja vu-like the experience was. Of course, darling Karen, understood exactly. She giggled with me and gave me a bear-hug and kiss.

    So, we get to do another insemination tomorrow. And then we will begin the two-week wait. Thanks for all the well-wishes dear friends. Hold us in your hearts just a little longer.

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Ovulation watch keeps going and going...

    ...and going and going! Well, we're still here in San Fran and, as of yet, are not "with sperm". Sigh... Both Wendy and I have decided to drop stink bombs on the First Response headquarters. The little ovulation test kit sticks are still registering a light line and we are holding off for a dark line before inseminating. So...we've had ourselves a little unexpected mini-vacation!

    Today, to pass a few hours, we made a drive down Highway 1 along the California coast from San Fran to Carmel. I love the ocean and this drive, for the most part, is quite lovely. We took the scenic route from Monterey to Carmel by way of the 17 mile drive. It was wonderful being so near the ocean and the views were amazing. Wendy even stuck her toes in the ocean (brrrrr...) although I wasn't quite brave enough.

    We've both been a bit keyed up waiting on the stick to turn the right color and I remembered a web site the shows a little still photo "movie" that kinda helps me remember that there is so much of which I can be in awe and wonder. Our delay is just giving us a lesson in patience and an opportunity to look and find the wonder of it all.

    - Karen

    Friday, August 04, 2006

    Ovulation watch!

    Well, it happened....I somehow knew it would! Shortly after my lunch break yesterday (Thursday), I received a voice mail message (remember I've been in San Antonio this week on a business trip) from Wendy saying that she'd gotten a "light line" on her ovulation test strip. This is the moment we'd been waiting for in that according to what we've been told, a light line on the test is the precursor to a dark line and a dark line means ovulation is due within the next 24 hour period. Wendy called PacRepro (in San Francisco, where we're getting our inseminations done) and they told her that she should "come on down" with the expectation that her test would show a dark line today (Friday) and that once the test showed a dark line they'd inseminate her that day.

    I was about 1.5 hours from being completely finished with the class I'd been teaching but all I could think about was how to get done and get my butt to San Francisco...and to get Wendy on a plane to get there from home. It's like somebody shot me up with a huge dose of super-charged adrenalin! Wendy went ahead and made her plane reservation and while my students worked on a lab exercise, I started checking on car and hotel reservations in San Fran and also began to look at my options for changing my flight from San Antonio-Portland to San Antonio-San Francisco.

    In record time, I finished up class, made all the reservation plans and changes to my flight itinerary and by 7:00pm was on my way to San Fran! Wendy arrived ahead of me by not much over an hour and made her way to the hotel via the hotel shuttle. I followed upon my arrival in a rental car. Whew!

    As you can imagine, we were both excited about our first insemination attempt and were simply going to sleep away the night until time to do the morning ovulation test, make the call to PacRepro to set up our time for the first big try. Well, we slept. Wendy got up and took her test around 8:30 and....light line! What?! We were both trying to figure out what that meant since we thought that this test should've shown a dark line! So, we called PacRepro and they told us to wait until mid-afternoon, test again and call back.

    Off we went to breakfast and to find a bookstore to pick up some more reading material and pass the mid portion of the day waiting until we could test again and call back to PacRepro. We finally returned to do one more test. Once again, the test was a faint line. 1 of ovulation watch ends without an insemination attempt and we're on hold until tomorrow morning's test result.

    This is the part where if we were a heterosexual couple, we'd just stay in bed (and not for naps..if you know what I mean) for all of today and the next several days and that would be that. But, for us, getting pregnant is about more specific timing. Frozen sperm lives about 24-36 hours...the egg lives about the same amount of time. So...we have to inseminate within the same time window as when the egg should find it's way down the fallopian tube and into place. If the sperm were "live", they could live up to 5 days and simply lay in wait for Wendy's egg to drop into view. But our little guys have been frozen and they don't have as long a time to find the egg. we are. Waiting and testing and trying not to be too crazy about the whole process. It's actually quite surreal at this point....just knowing that in a matter of a few days we could be pregnant. We both know that having it happen on the first try is not a high percentage occurrence, but we're feeling positive and going to give ourselves over to the process for the next couple of days. Our mantra is receive, receive, receive....

    Keep us in your thoughts and wish us luck in the timing! We'll keep you posted!

    - Karen

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Pondering the "legalities"

    As I read more about the joys and trials of getting pregnant, the birth of the child, and parenting the child through his/her life, I am seeing more and more of the challenges being a two mom family can have. I was reading blogs last night of several two mom families that had problems with 2nd parent adoption by the 2nd (i.e. non-biological) mother. It got me to thinking about the challenges Wendy and I face as not only just a lesbian couple, but in particular as a lesbian couple who intends to raise a family together.

    Here's just a few things you may or may not know:
    1) While I am fortunate that my company's insurance plan allows me to have "domestic partner" insurance coverage for Wendy, the monthly insurance payment to cover her is considered imputed income to me. What this means is that the money it takes to cover Wendy's add-on premium to my insurance is first given to me as additional income. That income is then taxed. Then the money is withdrawn and used to pay the premium. So what, you may be asking? Well, let's do the math: each month let's use $100 as the extra amount of income that I'm given to cover the premiums for Wendy. That $100 is taxed (at my full tax percent which is around 30% or so). This means that over the course of a year, I receive $1200 of additional income which "costs" me $360 extra dollars in taxes. Still...$360 is not too bad for a whole year of insurance, right? But consider this, if Wendy and I were legally married (like my straight co-workers), the insurance premiums for my spouse are not considered imputed income. In other words, my male co-workers who carry their wives on their insurance pay absolutely zero. Fair? I think not.

    2) As the non-biological parent-to-be, I have absolutely no rights to a) make health-related care decisions for Wendy in the case she can't (not only during her pregnancy, but ever) b) to our unborn child and its care before or after birth c) may not be able to become the "legal" adopted parent of our child if we happen to have our adoption petition heard by a judge who doesn't like the idea of 2nd parent adoptions. I read about a two mom couple who actually had to move their county of residence so that their adoption petition could be reviewed by a non-prejudiced judge. This part scares me a little bit because we live in Washington County. My lawyer told me that she didn't think it would be a problem, but it might be a little more dicey than if we lived in Multnomah County. If, however, I was a male (any male at all), then there would be no prejudicial roadblocks that could possibly come up when I attempt to adopt our child. Fair? I think not.

    3) When the baby is born, I want to be able to cover the child on my insurance plan (just like I mentioned doing for Wendy above). Well, since Wendy is covered, she will have full maternity benefits, etc throughout her pregnancy and also to basic post-partum services after the birth. The child will be covered prior to birth under the terms of Wendy's maternity care. But, here's the kicker....once the child is born, I have 30 days to legally adopt the child. If my adoption doesn't happen within that 30 day period, the child is no longer able to receive insurance coverage under my policy. This is due to the fact that I have no legal tie to the child. So, I have to have all my legal ducks in a row so that on the day our child is born, I can simply sign the paperwork and hopefully have my adoption petition presented to a judge and approved before our 30 days are up. If the process takes longer than 30 days, our child is uninsured and any medical costs we incur will be fully 100% billable/payable to us. Our neighbors just had a baby and Heather showed us a copy of the hospital bill. It was some huge amount around $19,000 (if I remember correctly). But, because of insurance coverage, all they pay is the deductible of a few hundred dollars. Imagine if, heaven forbid, something happened to our child that required medical care on day 31 and the adoption hadn't completed yet. Even just a few days in the hospital could cost thousands of dollars. And it would be that way just because we were a two mom family and not a straight family. Ethan, Jeff & Heather's new little boy, is automatically papers to sign, no adoption process to go questions asked. But...not for us. Fair? I think not?

    4) Schools, churches, day care facilities. All these institutions may have prejudicial bias against same-sex parent families. Unlike straight couples or single parents or even mixed race couples (at least here in the Pacific Northwest this is true), same-sex parents often have to be very cautious about interviewing the directors/administrators of these facilities to make sure they will not harbor prejudice or allow such prejudice to be tolerated towards our child and our family. Some same-sex families I've read about in, you guessed it, the South, have unknowingly placed their child into a school or child care facility that openly disparaged 2 mom or 2 dad families and even went so far as to call the families and the children of those families "abominations". Even families who have abusive parents are tolerated, and even ignored to the detriment of the children, while loving same-sex families face judgement and attack. Fair? I think not.

    I suppose it's time to come down off my "Fair? I think not" soapbox, but it truly gets my dander up (as my mom would say) to think of the possible challenges we may have to face as same-sex parents. I'm not sure if it's my maternal instincts already kicking in, or what, but I've never been an activist or in any way outspoken about the "cause" of gay rights. But the thought of my child and my family being treated as "less than" any other family is quickly sending me into a wave the flag, sing the chorus, march on the picket line frame of mind. When I think of a sweet, innocent child who Wendy and I are lovingly and thoughtfully working towards bringing into our lives, I feel a pull to stand up and speak out for the injustices that face any same-sex parent out there today. It's easy to stay quiet and just let life flow when the flow doesn't really effect you in some material way. But...when the effects of prejudice and judgement against who I am and how my family looks is based simply on the fact that we are a same-sex parent family, my tolerance goes out the window.

    In the end, I don't know where all this will lead. We may find our road free of potholes as we drive along it...that is my deepest prayer. But, if we do hit a few bumps I hope that I will rise to the challenge and do what I can to either re-pave over the rough spots or find a new and better road to travel on that keeps our family safe and always standing firm in the fact that we are, and will always be, a f-a-m-i-l-y.

    - Karen