By Mikayla Denault
On July 11, 2002, my moms’ lives changed forever. That day I was born and resembled the love of my two moms as well as the whole LGBT community. I proved to the whole world that love is love. Although I was born in a somewhat “untraditional” way, I was still made in the image and likeness of God. As I quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, “It doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there.”
My moms had anything but an easy process to have me. From facing criticism from peers to consulting with specialists, it was a perennial process, but they never gave up. Only the strongest of love could succeed, and they had more than they would ever know. Today, I’m here with my moms to interview them about their journey of creating me and to learn about how the procedure worked so I don’t have to tell anyone I was a “miracle” like I did when I was younger.
Q: When and why did you decide it was time to have a child? Or was this a topic you frequently talked about?
MISSY: We met each other in 1992, and we always discussed the topic. You really started to become a reality three years before you were born when we began to prepare greatly.
MEG: Exactly. Missy and I knew ahead of time that we wanted to have children. We talked about it in the beginning of our relationship when Missy said she wanted children, and I was totally fine with that. We both decided to wait until we were both settled in our careers and able to afford and take care of a child and ourselves properly. 10 years later, we were ready, and the process began.
Q: How did both of you decide who was going to have the child?
MISSY: I always wanted to have a child.
MEG: I was great with children but never really wanted to have a child myself. I am not sure if this was related to a family history of pregnancy related problems, but Missy and I were fine with this decision.
Q: After these decisions, what were the steps you took afterward? Describe the process and the people you had to consult with.
MEG: When we both finally decided it was time to start our family, I started reading and researching any information that I could find about two women having a baby. This was around the year 2000, so there were some published books on the subject but not as much information and choices as there are today, happily! Anyway, I was researching not only for Missy becoming pregnant safely (diet, vitamins, things to stay away from) but also for the best books on raising a child safely (breast feeding, sleeping, fever). After this first step was done, it was time to find Missy a doctor. We thought this was going to be really challenging because we were 2 women living south of “the Mason Dixon line” and not sure what to expect from our community, friends, and family. Missy and I were happily surprised; we found a Nurse Practitioner that helped us to find the resources that we needed in our area; she was great. She referred us to an OBGYN in the next town, and we were on our way. I can’t remember if we told our friends and family right away or if we waited until we were pregnant, you’ll have to refer to Missy for that answer. We decided on the process of insemination. Next step, picking a donor, which is not as easy as you may expect!
Q: Who was the person you picked to donate the sperm and why?
MISSY: We wanted to find a donor that who had characteristics of Meg. We also looked to make sure he was clear of any diseases and if he was RH negative.
MEG: Yes, Missy is rh negative. We needed to find a match for her. With, that factor, it narrowed down the choices quickly. When all was done, we were left with 2 choices from our list for a donor.
Q: How did you prepare for me, and did you find the whole process challenging?
MISSY: Meg kept records of my temperature and charted the results for months. We went through Dr. Cuthchins. He threw poor Meg’s charts out and gave me a pill to take to help with the timing of the insemination. It took two times. Preparing for you was fun. We read everything we could to prepare ourselves. Meg played music and talked to you every day. We bought all the furniture and things needed to prepare for your birth.
MEG: The process from what I remember was not overly challenging for us. Well, for me, poor Missy had to put up with my temperature taking and vitamin slinging and then eventually intrauterine insemination (IUI) but she never complained, total troupette! Our first attempt at pregnancy was not successful, but our next attempt was and I can remember how excited we were reading our positive pregnancy test. We then bought gender neutral clothes and toys for you.
Q: What was your reasoning behind your favorite boy and girl names, Peter and Mikayla?
MISSY: We always thought you were going to be a boy. I loved the name Mikayla. That was one of our options because in Philadelphia, there was a child on my swim team named Mikayla.
MEG: The boy’s name that we picked was Peter for Missy’s brother who passed away, and the middle name was going to be James after your grandfather. Mikayla was picked after I heard it while grandma and grandpa were watching Dr. Quinn medicine woman. Her name was Mikayla, and I really just loved it.
Q: Describe the day I was born. Explain details like how long Missy was in labor and how many people came to the hospital.
MEG: The day before you were born, July 10, started out very hectic. Missy went to work but first thing in the morning she had some pains and feeling of pressure. She got really nervous and called her doctor who sent her to the hospital. Before she left for the hospital she called me at work to let me know what was happening. I met her over there, just across the street from where I work. I met her upstairs in labor and delivery where she was being checked out. Luckily, the nurse was someone I knew from working in the hospital, and she was giving Missy the gold star treatment.
In the end, she said that everything seemed great but to be prepared just in case. As she put it, “Missy can deliver in a month on her due date, or she can deliver later today.” What? We were both very scared because this was a month too soon, which had me start wondering if the first IUI really did work. We both went back to work. Missy had a board meeting to attend that evening. During the meeting, Missy was having all types of cramping and could not get comfortable in her chair. She told the attendees that she was at the hospital earlier that day. I was already at home when Missy called and said she had talked to the doctor who told her to go home, take a shower, eat, and then get over to the hospital for more evaluation. Oh my. Oh my. Oh my……
When Missy got home and stepped out of the car, I was in utter panic. Missy barely had her shoes on her feet, and she said that on the way home her water started to break. I called my parents to let them know what was happening and that we were heading to the hospital shortly. That’s when cousin James was at our door in a heartbeat. He ran over from my parents’ house in record time and helped us get ready to get Missy to the hospital. James drove with us to keep Missy company in the back seat while I drove very frantically to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital around 6 pm, we all went right up to labor and delivery and got checked into our room. Missy was not feeling well at all and was vomiting with every contraction. James was right there at her side to catch it with the trash can, what a great kid.
Another problem for the nurses was Missy’s really low blood pressure and pulse rate (marathon runner), and it was totally freaking the nurses out. They must have called our doctor 10 times before she finally said that she would be coming in. This was around midnight. At this point, another doctor that wanted to go home came around giving out epidurals, and we were not happy with him at all because of his rudeness. Anyway, at around 4:52 am on July 11, our baby was born. The doctor delivered the baby to its waste and asked for any last guesses before she pulled Mikayla into the world, oh, it was so wonderful. Unfortunately, they had to whisk her into an incubator where the respiratory therapist checked her breathing and lungs while others cleaned her and evaluated her. She was 5lbs 12 oz. and 19 inches long.
Poor Missy. I was so busy watching what everyone was doing with Mikayla. The doctor had to say, “Hello what about Missy. She just delivered a baby.” Since Mikayla was pre-mature, we had to stay an extra day to make sure she was okay. The nurses were great, and the entire experience was awesome, well accept for the breastfeeding Nazi!
Q:What was your and everyone’s reactions when you all found out I was a girl?
MEG: We honestly didn’t care if you were a boy or a girl, just as long as you were healthy. We were kind of expecting a boy because from everything that I had read previously, it was more likely for you to be a boy. However, when the doctor pulled you out the rest of the way and said that you were a girl, we said, “Mikayla Margaret it is!”
Q: I was born a month early. Instead of August, I was born on July 11, 2002. What precautions did the nurses and doctors perform to make sure Missy and I were safe?
MISSY: You only needed to stay an extra day to make sure you were a healthy, happy baby.
MEG: Respiratory therapy in the room during delivery, along with an extra nurse, and of course the doctor. The room was equipped with everything necessary in case of emergency.
Q: Any funny and unforgettable memories from this time?
MEG: The breastfeeding Nazi, also known as the Lactation specialist, was a hoot. She came in like a military captain barking orders and telling us how important this task was. She told us what our responsibilities were and how to carry out our duties, like we were on assignment. At one point she glared at me and said, “You, do you want to breastfeed, too?” I replied that I didn’t know that I had the option, but probably one lactating mom in a house was good enough. “Okay then,” she replied.
Q: Do you have any advice to other LGBT families? Anything you would have changed? What were the good occurrences and bad occurrences that happened due to being LGBT?
MISSY: The biggest struggle was worrying about bigotry and making sure our family was safe. With two moms, raising you in a caring, loving environment was so easy. Two moms complement each other. You were always our top priority. It was so much fun and a great joy to watch you grow in each stage of development. If you want to start a family, remember to eat dinner together, plan family fun times, be silly, and enjoy every day.
I absolutely loved learning about my birth story and the craziness of the day because it connects me with my parents on a whole other level. I encourage every kid to discuss this with their parents on how they were born to strengthen your relationship. Love is not limited; it is expansive to everyone yearning for happiness. Although my birth story is nowhere near simply traditional, my family’s struggles and rejoices led us to the closest bond and gave me the safest, perfect lifestyle for me to grow and accomplish greatness.