Putting Fertility Into Perspective

October 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Lex Jacobson, Same Sex Parent

By Lex Jacobson

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about fertility. Since I’ve become pregnant, two of my good friends have also shared pregnancy news, as well as three colleagues in my relatively small office. So far, I’ll be the first to give birth, if everyone goes full-term.

I honestly don’t know what I’d do had we not conceived and had we still been trying to get pregnant and I heard all of these announcements. Although it felt like forever at the time, we were actually incredibly lucky that we got pregnant in nine months of trying with fertility treatments. It was an incredibly tough road, but reading other people’s journeys – especially those of LGTB couples – puts everything into perspective.

Unfortunately, when I couldn’t get pregnant, I also couldn’t let myself be happy for other people who got pregnant, no matter how close they were to me. I couldn’t help it – I really wanted to, but couldn’t find it in me. Selfish, maybe, but definitely something I felt I needed to do to get by.

Every time I’m on Facebook and see that my sister-in-law, who has four beautiful children, posts yet another status about how she can’t wait until school starts so she doesn’t have to deal with the kids all day or how there are too many mouths to feed or how she needs booze to get through the endless soccer games and gymnastics practices or how she should be paid for her incredible homemaking, I can’t imagine reading this without crying every time. Her comments are heartbreaking and I wish I had it in me to tell her how it might be hurtful to people trying to conceive – or how much harder it was for me to read when I was trying to conceive – but so far, I haven’t had the ovaries to do so. She thinks she’s being funny.

I feel similarly about people who update their statuses 5 times a day about their children, and though I do “get” this one a little more than I do bitching endlessly about your children, it’s still tough sometimes. I am a big fan of STFU, Parents and use that as a good meter of what not to do when the time comes. (I will not be updating my Facebook status during labor.)

At work, I can’t imagine what it would be like to see all these women around me grow beautiful, big bellies, when mine was just getting emptier. I realize I wouldn’t have the strength to deal with these everyday meanderings – on social media or at work or within my group of friends – had I still been trying to conceive. I just don’t know how this would look. Devon and I have one friend who refuses to see me right now, as it is too painful. She’s been pregnant 5 times and has lost each and every baby. I understand why she wants to sever ties, but wonder whether I would do the same. But maybe this is the only way to deal with the pain.

I’m incredibly lucky that things worked out the way they did, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not thankful. I think dealing with fertility setbacks has taught me a lot about how to deal with certain situations, and I am not that pregnant lady that won’t shut up about every single aspect of her pregnancy. My personal blog is really the only place where I let loose about everything… and that’s one of the purposes of the blog for me, but I still feel horrible that there are some readers out there who are struggling to conceive, and there I am writing about how awful heartburn is.

Puts things into perspective.

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Infertility Video Series: What Are Some Of The Basic Treatment Options For Infertile Couples?

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, In Vitro, Video

 

Note from the Editor-

This is a continuation of the infertility series that our readers have requested. Dr. Tourgeman will be doing a video series in which he will answer your questions in detail before you even step into a clinic.  He will address single parents and couples, whether same sex or heterosexual.  Please get involved; ask questions or, if you have been through the process yourself, give feedback.  Tell us your story in our comments section.

What are some of the basic treatment options for infertile couples?

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Infertility Video Series: What Are The Treatment Options For A Lesbian Couple?

September 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Same Sex Parent

 

Note from the Editor-

This is a continuation of the infertility series that our readers have requested. Dr. Tourgeman will be doing a video series in which he will answer your questions in detail before you even step into a clinic.  He will address single parents and couples, whether same sex or heterosexual.  Please get involved; ask questions or, if you have been through the process yourself, give feedback.  Tell us your story in our comments section.

What Are The Treatment Options For A Female/Female Couple? 

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Infertility Video Series: What Is The Work Up And Treatment Like For A Male/Male Couple Trying To Conceive?

August 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, In Vitro


Note from the Editor-

This is a continuation of the infertility series that our readers have requested. Dr. Tourgeman will be doing a video series in which he will answer your questions in detail before you even step into a clinic.  He will address single parents and couples, whether same sex or heterosexual.  Please get involved; ask questions or, if you have been through the process yourself, give feedback.  Tell us your story in our comments section.

 

What is the work up and treatment like for a male/male couple trying to conceive?  

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Video-Infertility Series: Females Conceiving Without A Partner

August 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, In Vitro, Single Parents

Note from the Editor-

This is a continuation of the infertility series that our readers have requested. Dr. Tourgeman will be doing a video series in which he will answer your questions in detail before you even step into a clinic.  He will address single parents and couples, whether same sex or heterosexual.  Please get involved; ask questions or, if you have been through the process yourself, give feedback.  Tell us your story in our comments section.

 

What special considerations do you have for females conceiving without a partner?  

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Talk to an Infertility Expert: Video

August 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, In Vitro

Note from the Editor-

Many of our readers are starting families of their own and have asked for more information about infertility and IVF.  Having gone through this myself I understand how scary the process is -not knowing what’s ahead of you, the procedures, the drugs, the expenses, the pain you might endure both physically and mentally.  I went on a search for an expert and thought, “who better than one of my fertility doctors?” After all, I did a lot of research myself and I now have three kids!  Dr. Tourgeman will be doing a video series in which he will answer your questions in detail before you even step into a clinic.  He will address single parents and couples, whether same sex or heterosexual.  Please get involved; ask questions or, if you have been through the process yourself, give feedback.  Tell us your story in our comments section.

 The first video is an introduction to Dr. Tourgeman and the second is the first question from one of our readers.

Question: What are the initial first steps for an infertile couple?

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Another Childless Holiday Passed

April 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, Lex Jacobson, Same Sex Parent

By: Lex Jacobson

The holidays are especially hard when you’re trying to conceive and haven’t had any luck. Whether it’s watching your nieces and nephews on their egg hunt or dodging questions at the dinner table about how our process is going, it’s exhausting.

Which is why we boycotted Easter this year. For the first time in a long time, didn’t want to hang out with our family. Just wanted to be with our little two-person family that we are now.

I can’t wait until we have our child and it is old enough to believe in the Easter Bunny, or Santa or the Tooth Fairy or hopefully all three. I love the excitement, the early morning rise to see what’s been brought to the house while everyone has been asleep. I want that kind of magic in my house. And I know eventually it will, but it’s really tough not to have a timeline of when we might finally get to grow our family.

As much as I appreciate the constant “it will happen soon” (or rather, I should say I appreciate where it is coming from, not the actual words), it drives me absolutely nuts. Part of me wants people to just ignore the fact that we are even trying to get pregnant. But part of me really does appreciate the interest. I know people care and I know people want me to be a mum so very much.

There was a time where I decided I didn’t want anyone to know we were starting the insemination process. I only told one friend for the first little while, but it’s become the #1 most important thing in my life and I’ve ended up telling quite a few of my friends – close friends and acquaintances, actually; nothing in between – because it seems as though I’m holding so much back from them if I don’t (and it’s just easy to tell acquaintances because they have nothing invested in it).

I will see all of my best friends tomorrow. We are celebrating my friend’s daughter’s first birthday. I am not the only childless member of the group, though it is just me and one other person, who is getting married this summer and plans to try for a baby in September. While I wish her luck, I think my heart would quite possibly break if she got pregnant before I did.

Although we boycotted Easter, tomorrow is another kind of celebration with kids. One of my best friends will be there with her three-week-old son. Another with her three-year-old. And yet another with two kids. And as always, I will feel empty handed and a little out of place. But this is our life right now, and whatever we need to do to get through these tough days, we will.

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A Lesbian Walks into a Bar

March 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, Lex Jacobson, Same Sex Parent

By: Lex Jacobson

When the lab at my fertility clinic had to close down suddenly for contamination reasons, I realized how little control I have over the process of conceiving a child. After hanging up the phone and getting over my initial shock that we would not be able to inseminate this month, and that we may have to go somewhere else next month, it hit me just how much I have to rely on other people – and other institutions – to make my dream come true.

Yes, I could get sleep with some random dude that I meet in a bar to get pregnant. This is what straight people like to tell me anyway. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “You know you can get that stuff for free?” or “Why don’t you just get drunk and sleep with a hot guy… it would be so much easier.”

Sure. Easy. But also incredibly hard. If the tables were turned and it were my partner that wanted to carry, I can’t say I’d be super supportive of her sleeping with a man just for this purpose. Not because I have some intense fear that she’ll enjoy it and leave me for a man, but because she’s MY wife. Why should I have to share her? Also, we’re lesbians for a reason: We are not attracted to men. And after thinking I was straight for years and sleeping with a good amount of men and not enjoying one moment of it, why would I want that again? For me or my wife? Even if we were both in the room for the attempted conception, I can’t think of anything less appealing. Unfortunately, we also don’t feel comfortable asking any of our male friends to be known donors.

Instead, we choose the mundane route of staring up at a hospital ceiling with a speculum and a much-too-long syringe to inseminate me with sperm from someone I have never met, and may never meet, if my child chooses not to find him when they are older (if I’m even still around). Instead, we pay ridiculous amounts of money for something that we could technically do ourselves, but we would rather be out of pocket and safe about than playing Russian roulette.

I have nothing against people who choose the one-night-stand route, but it’s just not something that would work for us. However, it is incredibly frustrating that because our clinic had to close down for the next few months, there really isn’t a hell of a lot that we can do ourselves except wait until they open again. They prioritized IVF patients, so we were told there was nothing they could do to make our IUI happen this month.

I wish so much that we could have gone to the clinic with our own nitrogen tank, picked up the sample, brought it home on dry ice and done the insemination ourselves, turkey baster style. Unfortunately, for legal reasons, we could not. It’s ridiculous: We pay close to $800 for one vial of sperm, we pay for the clinic to store it, and we can’t do what we want with it. We have to pay the clinic $200 to do the deed.

Yes, sleeping with a man that you meet at a bar may be cheaper, and yes, sometimes I wish we could have that kind of free access to sperm, but the way we are doing this is the way that feels right to us. Unfortunately, shit happens and setbacks occur. I feel completely helpless, heartbroken and angry, but this is another dip down in the roller coaster that has become this journey towards our baby. So this month, we will sit out and try to pass the time. Next month, we will figure something out. And soon, all of this will be just story to tell to my grown-up son or daughter.

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Moods, Meds, and Maybes

March 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, Lex Jacobson, Same Sex Parent

By Lex Jacobson

We are not pregnant again this month. The “we-tried-we-waited-two-weeks-and-we-failed” thing is becoming an old story now, one that I hope will end a little differently next month. A happy ending would be really nice about now.

It is tough not to get discouraged, and those first few days after the negative test results, I feel as though I’m swimming in a pit of my own misery, but luckily it’s been passing and the week gets easier when I realize that it’s not that far away from my next attempt.

Next month brings a lot of pressure, specifically because if we don’t get pregnant, we won’t have our baby this year (if I carry to term). 2012 feels like it has just started, in my mind, I can hardly fathom waiting until 2013 to have our baby. I know it will feel a lot less desperate when I’m actually pregnant, as we’ll have something to look forward to, and a future date to celebrate, but right now, next year seems so far away.

On the health front, I haven’t decreased any of my medications since mid-January. I wanted to have a few stable months before we tried anything else. I’ve been told by two different doctors that I’ve done enough – that decreasing the amounts that I did will be significantly better for the baby, and that I do not have to play around with any more of my doses. That makes me feel great and I’m very proud of the last two years of getting to a relatively healthy place. But I am also getting antsy and want to try something else.

In my mind, the fewer meds the better, but I know my psychiatrists are wary of too much change. If I get pregnant now and don’t change a thing, they are confident that I’ve done enough to carry a healthy fetus with no long-term effects from exposure to meds. Like anything in life, there is no guarantee, and we won’t know until we know, but it is nice to hear from the experts that we’re doing well with where we’re at. I’m making myself wait at least a month, and then I would consider playing around again with one of my anti-depressants.

I picked up a month’s worth of meds just a few hours ago. Two years ago, my monthly medication bill came to about $500 (covered, luckily). With all of the decreases, the bill today came to $137. Monetarily, I’m spending almost 75% less than I was, which means that I’m roughly putting 75% fewer “toxins” into my body – and my future fetus – than I was two years ago. I hesitate to call them “toxins,” because I know for me, they are as important as oxygen. But it’s not just me that I have to worry about anymore.

I’m not ready to come off the meds completely, but I do have a goal. I’d like to be drug-free in four years. That covers a pregnancy, a year of post-partum when I’m at home with the baby, a year of transitioning back to work and a buffer to play with.

By the time we try for #2, I would like to be able to have a natural pregnancy. Who knows whether that could happen. And who knows whether we’ll go for a #2! Let’s focus on getting #1 for now…

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In The In Between

February 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, Lex Jacobson, Same Sex Parent

By: Lex Jacobson

We have moved onto our second-choice donor, who thankfully has become our first choice. I will know in a week whether I’m pregnant or not. I’ve managed to hold onto the vacation vibe, and I’m blissfully nonchalant about the whole thing. So far.

It’s the wonderful moments when I open a beer and suddenly realize that I can’t drink it, or when I almost buy a bridesmaid dress online for my best friend’s wedding that I may not be able to fit in once the time comes. I love this feeling far more than the constant questioning of imaginary symptoms and daydreaming about big bellies and nurseries.

Whether I feel good about my chances, I don’t know. I am a strong believer in positive thinking, but my last negative pregnancy test result made me realize that no matter how much I believe, there is another plan for me.

One of my fellow bloggers/readers from my personal blog started trying to conceive at the exact same time that we started. We actually had our first inseminations just a few days apart. She is in her late 30s and is now entering her second trimester. And yet another blogger friend, who is in her 20s and has just given birth to a beautiful child, did so after three years of trying to conceive. There is no rhyme or reason.

It is going to happen when it is going to happen.

That’s a mantra that I keep having to remind myself of, and it is not an easy one to always believe in. Sometimes the phrase feels condescending and makes me feel a little bit resentful. Angry, sometimes. It can sound like a cop-out. And seriously, what does it actually mean?

Of course it’s going to happen when it is going to happen. When else would it happen?

The English language has always been a love of mine, but it often falls short.

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