Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You want me to bend how????

During our visit with the psychologist, she threw out a morsel we hadn't thought of...

Handling stress, making sure we relax and make time for ourselves. 

She suggested carving out time to do things that we like to do for instance going to a movie and eating popcorn or nachos.  She also suggested yoga as a healthy way to exercise and de-stress.  She emphasized the importance of doing this especially after insemination during the waiting period to find out if it stuck.  Apparently some studies have shown that you are less likely to conceive if you are tense and stressed out.

Her suggestion has stuck with me and I am on week three of yoga once a week.  The first day was umm... confusing but it felt really good afterward.   It really does help you de-stress.  It's 45 minutes of stretching that starts with relaxing and clearing your mind and ends with relaxing and clearing your mind.  The 40 minutes not relaxing and clearing your mind are strenuous but not high impact or cardio.

I now know what down dog, crouching cougar and child's pose is...  and I still don't bend most ways but I can reach my toes without bending my knees when bending over in a standing position... I can not recall when I could do that before!

My gym offers two classes a week and so far, one a week conflicts with my schedule.  Hopefully next week I will bump it up to two times a week. Someday who knows maybe I can bend that way......rarrrrr.

Friday, September 18, 2009

7/10ths of an hour? Is that possible?

Today was my call with the lawyer. You know ... the one we put the baby plans on hold for.

The morning got off to a rough start. MJ hurt her neck and couldn't really move. It is a good thing she didn't get inseminated yesterday otherwise she couldn't have taken all those muscle relaxers today to help with her neck.

Because of MJ's ailment, I had a call with the lawyer instead of a face-to-face meeting, which was fine with me. He is a nice guy - he specializes in surrogacy, but helps people like us too and he taught me some very interesting things.

In Colorado law, there is a fundamental legal difference between assisted reproduction and adoption. If MJ and I create a contract before conception saying the baby wouldn't even exist unless we intended to have the child together, then I can file a prebirth parentage action. This action would allow me to be legally named the second parent BEFORE the child is born. Plus I wouldn't have to do a home study or background check and I would have rights to the child while still in womb. Now this all assumes the judge allows the action - which according to the lawyer, he/she should.

If we had conceived first and then written the contract, then my only choice would be adoption. BTW I should be thankful even for that because some states (namely Florida) do not allow gays to adopt at all. Bastards.

Apparently there is a law that may be passed in Colorado that would change the assisted reproduction law to more of an adoption type law where home studies and such would be required. Hopefully we can get pregnant before that happens. And my question really is why? Why make people undergoing assisted reproduction have to do a home study / background check? They don't make birth parents go through anything - and they shouldn't.

Anyway - so while talking to the lawyer I was feeling pretty good until we started talking money. He kept saying things like 'Your situation is much easier than surrogacy", "the contract will be pretty simple" etc. I was starting to think this whole thing would be reasonably priced.

$750 for the contract and it would be another $750 to $1000 for the court proceedings!!! Holy crap that is a lot. $2000! He did say "Since we didn't take the whole hour I will only charge you 7/10ths". I was thinking "if you go 45 minutes do they charge you 7/10ths or 8/1oths?" Who knows. All I know is that adoption is about $2500 as well. So no matter what we chose it will cost us $2000-2500 to adopt a baby that if we were married would just be ours. Frustrating.

So tally for baby - $2950 for sperm, $20 a doctor visit for MJ (luckily MJ's insurance covers the procedures otherwise we would have $500 a Dr visit), $350 for counselor. Yikes! Maybe we should have served pigs in a blanket at the wedding to save some money. :)

Truth is that any child would be awesome and worth every penny. I just like to complain. So as I write a check to the lawyer I say 'Thank you grandma for giving me the money to adopt a child." And then I smile knowing she would be happy about that.

Take Aways
1. If you and your partner want to have a child, check with a lawyer and have a contract drawn BEFORE conception. It may save you time and heartache later
2. Check your state laws, there may be a difference between assisted reproduction laws and adoption laws.
3. Save money before you decide to get pregnant. Cause it isn't the cheapest thing to do.
4. Move out of Florida - cause they don't like "the gays"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Missed an item - go back two spaces

So today was supposed to be our first try. MJ has been through 4 doctors appointments to get to today. We have filled out forms, had things notarized, signed papers, paid $350 for an hour of counseling, rush ordered sperm (which wasn't cheep), had a self injected shot sent to the house, and MJ had an ultrasound. So what could be left???

It is funny to me how life works. When you are willing to be open about what is going on, you find people all around you who have been where you are at in some form or another. What has been on my mind lately ... adoption.

The counselor talked to me about the stress of adoption, the Dr. has told me I have no legal rights to the baby until AFTER it is born - which seems like no big deal. But imagine the tragedy if my wife dies in labor - guess who would get our baby .... yup her parents. Not me. So needless to say my legal rights have been on my mind.

I have both a brother and a best friend who are adopted. Even though I know a lot about it, I had NO IDEA the process of adoption and how stressful it is for the adopting parents.

It all really elevated about a week ago when MJ came home and told me that her friends (heterosexuals and married) had been turned down after months of working with an adoption agency because of the BMI. The what???? The BMI - the body mass index. They got turned down not because they didn't pass three background checks or because they didn't have the money or because their marriage was unstable - no, no they got turned down because they are over weight...WTF!!! Isn't that discrimination?!? Now I have seen them both and these are not people who are out of breath after climbing a bus. These are active people who don't seem that overweight. If they had known that was a factor, they would have tried losing weight before the home study. I couldn't believe it. I still can't.

Second thing that happened was my close lesbian friends R and K just had a baby. Now K carried the baby and R is the "other mom". I figured once their daughter was born - R would go down to the courts, fill out a form, K would sign it and they would be on their merry gay way. Nope R has had to go through background checks, finger printing, written a novel about herself, paid $800 bucks and now has to go through a home study. Their daughter is already almost two months old. How can this be? No one asked K to fill out a background check to keep her daughter. Why does R have to go through all this when they used donor sperm and there is no father?

So if you remember earlier I told you one of our action items was to get a lawyer. We have been emailing a woman up in Denver who is an expert in adoption law. Well MJ finally was like "isn't there someone closer who can help us?" Turns out there was. Tom Beltz is an adoption attorney in town and when I started talking to him and his office he told me "Don't do the insemination until papers are drawn". Apparently there are these agreements we can fill out along with our intended birthing plan. If we do it, I don't have to go through as many aadoption hoops. Like no home study. We just have to file some paper work when our child is born and the baby will be legally mine too. Plus it is supposed to protect my rights incase something tragic happens to my wife - that fact is very important to me.

So sadly MJ and I had to cancel our doctor's appointment for today. We have a meeting with the lawyer tomorrow. We both agree it is the right thing to do and God's timing will work out how it is supposed to be.

Take aways
1. Have paperwork drawn BEFORE insemination. It cuts down on legal issues later down the road and protects the non-birth parents rights.
2. If you are adopting, be aware that they may use your weight, and your savings account against you.
3. If you are adopted, your parents went through a LOT to get you. Sometimes years of waiting. You were wanted and planned. That really says something.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finding a vial or 8 of Mr. Right!

How does one pick a sperm donor you ask??

With the ease of the internet of course! Take your time perusing donor profiles, hearing audio clips of their voice, reading over medical and family history, checking out a baby/child photo, sorting them by physical characteristics and/or blood type!

We found several cryobanks to choose from, and were pleased to find out the one we chose was one in good standing according to our physician's standards... You may want to note if doing a little sperm shopping yourself that the Colorado Cryobank did not meet their standards. Sperm is not something you can get "local" as it turns out, correction high quality sperm is not something you can get "local" from a sperm bank.

During all the poking and prodding it was discovered that I am RH- which essentially means...ummm...yeah. I don't know what it means but I know it narrows my options somewhat. If I go with a donor who has a negative blood type I can cut down on the number of shots that will be administered to me... If I go with a donor who is a positive blood type I have to take some kind of shot(more than once) that builds up antibodies or whatever....Wow I am so uneducated when it comes to this stuff!

So we picked our version of what we think is "Mr. Right Genes"! He is A(-) blood type, Caucasian, of Scottish Portuguese-Spanish Decent, 6', 150 lbs, with brown hair, and blue eyes...He has a bachelors degree in Business, likes reading and playing sports, and is in the Army. The staff think well of him and feel he has "movie" quality looks! His voice sounds smooth no hint of "nasal"-ish about it and he sounds intelligent. He has fair skin, not what I was hoping for being fair skinned myself, but I would rather opt for a baby who needs more sunscreen than deal with more shots and the small risk of the RH- thingy rearing its ugly head.

Mr. Right Genes has one more thing going for him, he is less expensive than our other two "likes", when you are looking at prices of $450+ a vial; seeing a price tag of $345 a vial felt like a steal! He also met our requirement for an open donor.

An open donor is a donor willing to be contacted by the child once they reach the age of 18. My girl read a lot of information including Donor Kid letters; of the letters she found none of the kids wanted to replace their parents, they have a dad or a second mom, they just wanted to see where some of their attributes came from. Our child is obviously going to know he/she didn't come into this world in a conventional manner and we have no desire to deny them the right to explore their roots.

Once we had decided on the donor for us, we had to fill out more forms! YAY!! We love forms, especially ones that require a notary! Not to worry our local postal annex notarizes, and they have handy birthday cards and cute flashlights so you can shop while you wait for your turn to sign! We overnighted the paperwork to the bank and the next day My girl placed an order for 8 vials of Mr. Right Genes and I got a cute flashlight for the mini cooper!

Why 8? Well our physician informed us that it may take a few tries so its best to order more than one at a time... How does " a few" end up as the random 8?? Well the bank will store your vials for free for 2 years if you order 8 or more. We figured if we got lucky early on we could store the remainder just in case we want to have a second child. Also, the bank will buy back unused vials that don't leave the facility at half price should we decide to never use them, which we thought 50% back is better than none and we don't have to shop anymore!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Poking and Prodding

It is official the month of September was invade MJ's personal space month...

As a woman we are all familiar with the uncomfortable nature of the annual check up...

Be forewarned....  Seeing a reproductive specialist is just that over and over again.

Sounds easy right....

Physical exam
Blood work

First of all, I don't really like needles, seriously, who does??!!  Secondly, we all hate the "uncomfortable nature" of the female exam!!  

The end goal is worth it better be, my mother in law informed me the poking and prodding is just beginning and I better get used to it!

Hmmmm..Poking and prodding shall continue until birth...and perhaps a bit longer... oye.

Let me just say that I haven't had the insemination yet... and I have had my blood drawn twice, I've peed in a cup, I have had the initial physical exam of lady parts, and the ultra sound which I thought was going to be far less invasive than it was... 

Picture a wand a long white plastic wand with a round nub at the end...and on that wand a condom.  Now envision it being lubed and inserted and moved around inside yourself...  To make matters worse, realize that you really need to pee.  

Yes, it turns out you are supposed to pee before taking the stirrup position...a little tid bit of information the nurse failed to tell me...but she did ask me how tall I was... again for the 4th time.

End result, I am ovulating as we speak and could be inseminated on Thursday 09/17/2009...if only our legal documents were in order!

For that price you should at least talk dirty to me

Did I mention our sperm Doctor was based out of Denver? (that's an hour+ from where we are). Because of this fact, he recommended a counselor that was also based in Denver. (If you didn't read previously, we must see a counselor before we are allowed to use the sexy services of a reproductive doctor.)

So ... up we trek to Denver on a lovely Colorado afternoon. We discuss kids names we hate to help pass the time. As it turns out MJ does not like the name Hermes or Cryptor. She is so hard to please.

After hunting for convenient parking, we wander up to the third floor to a wonderful receptionist who kindly tells us to have a seat. Things are all butterflies and puppy dogs at this point. Then we get to check in .. did I mention we showed up early? Well thankfully we did.

The nice receptionist tells us our appointment will be a $250 deposit .... ???

"Did I hear you say deposit?" I ask
"Yes" She answers "We won't know the full amount until your session is done"
"I am confused" I calmly reply (or ask while totally freaked out but trying to act calm)
"We won't know the full cost so we charge you $250 deposit"
"So do you have a price range of how much our 1 hour counseling appointment will be?" I respond
"No - sorry. It's $250 deposit"

So needless to say I ask her to find out the total cost. I don't want to be billed $250 let alone $500 for talking to a person for an hour! What happens next is frightening ... the counselor comes out .... and she doesn't even know what they charge!! WTF!!! How can you justify $250 an hour? How can you not know what you charge total????

After 15 minutes of research, they discover the total will be $350 - ugh - we bite the bullet and pay it. After all we have to complete this step to have a baby the "fun and sexy way" at the doctors office.

After an hour, I feel pretty much the same but at least I got to spend time with my favorite girl talking about babies.

Take aways
1. Ask how much the counseling appointment will be BEFORE you go to the appointment
2. Consider Cryptor - it is a lovely name.

"See counselor" shouldn't be written on a prescription pad

The first doctor's visit was a humbling and over whelming experience.

I don't usually feel different. I am "out" at work, with all my friends ... heck I even had a 100+ gay wedding with dresses and photographers and a giant cake. Sitting at the Doctors office reminded me that I am in fact "different".

Lots of people get accidentally knocked up in the back seat of a car, while on summer break, or when they miss a pill. But not us... we have to use a sperm bank, doctor and a whole hell of a lot of forms.

So there I was - humbled by the fact that being in the doctors office meant I was in fact different. Then it occurred to me - how hard it must be for straight couple who have been trying for a year to sit in the office seats. How emasculating it must feel for a man to have to use another man's sperm. How stressful it must be for a woman to want a baby so bad and not be able to get pregnant.

The experience gave me a lot more compassion and understanding of things I had never thought of before ... and then ... out came the forms.

It was bad enough to just be there but then he started writing out a to do list.
1. Have blood work drawn for testing
2. Physical exam and pap smear
3. Select donor
4. Fax donor agreement
5. Sign storage agreement
6. Contact lawyer
7. Check for insurance coverage
8. Make counseling appointment

Hold up! What? Make a counseling appointment? That's right folks ... it is required by law to see a counselor at least once before they will allow you to be inseminated.

Needless to say I left feeling completely overwhelmed and drowning in paperwork.

Take aways
1. Be prepared to fill out lots of forms
2. You will be required to see a counselor
3. Give yourself enough time to complete all the required tasks

Getting on Track

If you read My Girl's post about known and unknown donors you probably have figured out we have chosen to go the route of artificial insemination with an anonymous donor. 

The next question that probably comes to mind is who get's the honor of getting knocked up?? Well that would be me!


July we started tracking my ovulation cycle...  I never really paid much attention to the number of days in-between my period I just kinda had a general idea of when I needed to leave the house packin'.  So when August rolled around we had a count!  But what do you do with the count???

Do a search on the internet on how to know when you are ovulating and you will find a plethera of information out there. 

here is an article that we found useful:

For August we decided to use an ovulation calculator via the world wide web and an ovulation predictor kit.

By combining the two methods I only had to pee on a stick 3 times before discovering I was ovulating.

This was the start of our tracking.  

For September we used a much more high tech method of having an ultrasound done.  

The known makes for too many unknowns

If you haven't read MJ's intro, you may want to do so before you read all of my "how too" for the Colorasbians (That's Colorado Lesbians).

The first decision we weighed was known donor VS sperm bank. For those who don't know, a known donor is asking someone you know to donate sperm for you - like a friend or the handsome UPS delivery man. We initially thought this is what we wanted because 1. It was a lot cheaper, 2. We could answer questions about the biological father and 3. we would know what the donor looked like.

Let's all face a small fact right now - we want our children to be cute. If you are using a sperm donor of any kind, the big question you are secretly thinking about is appearance. You want tall, dark and handsome. Even lesbians want their boys to grow up handsome and their daughters to be striking beauties. No one wants to have a kid with Mr. "My hobbies are picking my nose and wiping it on my shirt"

So I initially thought it would be nice to have a known donor. MJ and I had conversations around who we would want to ask. We even had friends that just had a baby via known sperm donor. Then she took the plunge and asked a close .. but not too close friend.

After a few days of "logistics" research .. like "How would we capture his donation? Where would we store the stuff? How much does storage cost?" I came across some disturbing news - 1. Sperm storage was very expensive - like $700 a year. 2. to have our friend donate he would have to have two physicals at $500 a piece, he would have to donate and then we would have to wait 180 days before we could make a "withdrawal" and 3. known donor agreements have been over turned by some states. Colorado was a "gray" area.

I was like "whoa, whoa I am not going through all this to have my child taken away because I didn't give birth to it!" My main concern is my legal rights to the child. This is my kid too regardless of biological factors and I want to make sure I can adopt the child when he/she is born.

So the legal issue made it easier to decide that using a sperm bank was the right way to go for us.

Take away facts
1. To protect your legal rights, use a sperm bank
2. To protect your legal rights further, use a physician to administer the sperm ... not as fun as doing it at home - but the results are the same
3. Although sperm is free at many bars in town - Colorasbians have to pay for it.

Symptom: Baby Fever

My girl and I have decided to have a baby!!!  

We thought it best to document our journey via blog.  I am not much for grammar so be prepared for run on sentences that is my specialty, oh and I love commas, but will opt for a semi-colon if I get self conscious about the commas.

I guess a little back ground information would be a good start.  My girl and I have been together for 2 and 1/2 years and have been married for just over 2 months now.  We met on Myspace which turned into coffee which turned into love.   We both had been in previous relationships so going into this one with our past experiences helped.  We openly discussed our must haves and would likes; through that we learned that we both wanted to have kids someday.  That conversation came pretty early on so its not too surprising that right after the wedding I was chomping at the bit to get this baby train on the move.