By: Lex Jacobson
After dealing with last month’s miscarriage, I’m excited to have a clean slate to try to get pregnant this month. We’ve decided to up the odds and start fertility drugs. It’s really hard not to think about the money this is costing, when I’m spending roughly 35% of my monthly salary on sperm, drugs, and insemination costs. We are blessed to have two decent jobs, though the combination of a mortgage, commuting costs, and general living expenses in this over-priced city takes a lot out of us.
While many of our friends are saving for their child’s college education, we are spending to get a child in the first place. Although it is a waste of energy dwelling on the straight-vs-gay parent cost conundrum, I have to let myself go there sometimes: it’s really not fair. As much as some religious extremists might disagree, I did not choose to be gay; nor did my wife. I did not choose to spend the rest of my life with someone who cannot give me an unlimited supply of sperm. And as silly as it sounds, all I want is to have my wife’s baby. Instead, we are paying enormous amounts of money to get what 99% of my friends get for free.
There, I went there. And now, I will focus on the more positive things about this process. We are lucky to have good jobs and a relatively decent income. We are lucky to have found a donor who we feel is a good fit for our family. We are very lucky to have supportive families and friends. We are lucky that we get to fulfill our dreams (hopefully!) of expanding our little family.
So, we’re adding fertility drugs. This means a few things. Our chances of having twins increase to about 10-12%. I would welcome twins but I would also worry. Even with a singleton, there are risks with this pregnancy. Some of the known side-effects of taking anti-depressants during pregnancy include cleft palates, heart defects, and neonatal drug withdrawal. I know that if I came off the drugs completely, there would be more risks than that, and my doctors and I have decided that the risks of staying on meds do outweigh the benefits. With twins, it doubles the risk, and if I have a 25% higher risk of postpartum depression, I wonder if that would double to 50% if I had two babies.
There are perks to twins though. Twins are awesome! Even as a child, when I imagined my future family (before I realized that I would never have a husband), I imagined having twins and loving it. I have always been fascinated with twins, and love the fact that they are never alone. The bond between them is hard to replicate with a regular sibling.
I don’t want to dwell on the monetary aspect of this, but twins would also be the most cost-effective way to complete our family. That sounds awful, and it’s true.
Apparently my subconscious is having issues with adding fertility drugs. I keep having these dreams about being pregnant. But there isn’t one baby in my tummy, there aren’t two… there are three, or more.
Twins, I could handle. Triplets or more? No way. Our chance of triplets is 0.5%, which may sound low, but it isn’t zero. Triplets fascinate me even more than twins do, but after living with my godmother and her two-year-old triplets for a summer when I was 17, I do not want to recreate that scenario ever again.
Instead of focusing on the quantity of babies, I’m just going to focus on the conception. Whatever happens after that, we’ll deal with and welcome (okay, but maybe not the triplets). Whether our family comes in one push or two, we’re just so excited to become moms.
I have another 3- 4 weeks before I start the whole process again. I’m gaining some strength back and can now see the light -albeit through a pinhole. I am able to celebrate that I can have a drink and exercise and give my belly a break from all of the pricks. I’m not ordinarily such a dark person but this process has certainly thrown me for a loop. I submerge myself in hope each try and with every failure I get weaker and stronger at the same time. I am callused and no longer the tender fragile girl I started as. I am a better person for the challenges I’ve faced- I know this now. I sometimes wonder if my luck has run out. I have had a rather blessed life and I can’t help but think that this is my lesson, my weak point, my bad luck and that the universe is telling me to let it go. Am I being selfish by wanting so badly to have a baby rather than to adopt? There are so many amazing children out there that need parents and here I am spending thousands of dollars selfishly trying to conceive my own. These are the daily battles that go through my mind as I sign the waivers, write the checks and order the drugs for the next round of enhanced scientific wondrous baby-making.