Monday, March 30, 2009

The job search

My partner Elizabeth is just a few weeks away from completing her PhD.  She's been on the job market this year, and it hasn't been pretty.  Academic jobs are always very competitive, but this year is particularly tough.  In many cases, there are over 200 applicants for a single position.  We've limited our options even further because there are so many places we're just not willing to live.  
Elizabeth and I are somewhat spoiled in that we were both raised in liberal states, went to college in a liberal state and now live in a liberal state.  We've always lived in places that offer some sort of legal recognition of our relationship, even if it was just same sex partner benefits at work.  So although there are plenty of jobs in states that have banned gay adoption or amended their state constitution to prohibit any sort of same sex unions, we're not applying for jobs in any of those places.  I don't mean to insult anyone who lives in a more conservative part of the country.  On the contrary, I'm in awe of people who are able to navigate through these less than tolerant environments.  I just don't know if I'm strong enough for that.  If it were just the two of us, it might be easier, but I'm scared to think of all the "worst case scenarios" that could come up if there's a baby thrown into the mix.  
Sometimes I worry that we're limiting ourselves too much, and that Elizabeth should expand her job search to include other parts of the country.  She's worked her butt off to get this PhD, and she deserves to get a good job.  But I think Elizabeth is even more concerned than I am about living in a liberal state since she would not be the biological parent of this child.  For now we're just sticking to our original search area, waiting, and hoping that a job comes through.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Symptoms of the disease - jealousy

One of the most common symptoms of gayby rabies is jealousy.  No matter how happy you are for the pregnant people around you, you'll feel just the slightest twinge of jealousy over the fact that it's them and not you.  

I realized just how badly I've been afflicted when my co-worker Colleen mentioned that she thinks her 17 year old daughter is pregnant.  If the daughter is pregnant, it is of course unintentional.  I'm ashamed to admit that I did have a moment where instead of feeling sympathy for this girl, I felt a bit jealous.  It seems unfair that for some people, getting pregnant is so easy that they can do it without even trying, but others have to try for months or years and spend thousands of dollars.  Of course I did come to my senses a few seconds later, but this whole TTC business can really mess with your head.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The 6WW

After 3 unsuccessful unmedicated IUIs, it's our clinic's policy to begin medicated cycles.  When we met with our doctor, she admitted that c.lomid probably wouldn't help me very much since I'm already ovulating regularly.  FSH would be a better choice, but the cost is much, much higher.  Our insurance doesn't cover fertility services until 6 failed cycles. Elizabeth and I were ready to write off the FSH option because the high cost of the medication plus the extensive monitoring it would require were far out of our budget limits.  But then our wonderful nurse at the clinic told us that she might be able to work with the drug company to get us some reduced cost injectables.  It would still cost more than a c.lomid cycle, and we would have to skip a cycle while our nurse worked on procuring the drugs. 
In the end we decided to go with the injectables despite the higher cost hoping that we'd end up doing fewer cycles than if we'd gone with c.lomid.  This means that I had to skip my March cycle.  I ovulated over the weekend, so now I am in a sort of 6 week wait while we ride out the rest of this cycle and wait for the next.  Taking a month off has really thrown me.  I feel like I have absolutely no sense of time.  I'm surprised at how quickly my life was broken up into 2 week blocks of waiting to inseminate, and then waiting for the results.  Truthfully, I am feeling a bit guilty and unproductive during this break time-  like when you watch TV instead of doing your taxes.  I know there's nothing wrong with taking a break occasionally, but feel like I don't know what to do with my time anymore.  What the hell did I do with my free time before I started this process?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Faking it

One of the most difficult aspects of keeping the TTC process secret from family and friends is that you have to pretend things are normal, even when they're not.  Pulling myself together after BFN is one thing.  I can mope around and cry during the day, and then put on a smile to go out with friends.

It's the food restrictions that are really tough.  I've been off coffee and alcohol for several months now, since I've heard that caffeine and alcohol can drastically reduce fertility.  I used to be the type to drink coffee throughout the day at work, and I really enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner or when socializing.  Now it's become an elaborate game, trying to hide the fact that I'm not drinking coffee or alcohol anymore.  If a friend wants to meet at a coffee shop, my partner Elizabeth and I will arrive a few minutes before the intended meeting time.  That way, I can sneakily order a decaf drink, and our friends will be none the wiser.  Alcohol is a bit tougher, since I can't exactly sit down at a restaurant and order a non-alcoholic pinot noir.  There are only so many times I can use the excuses of feeling sick, being on antibiotics, or being dehydrated to avoid drinking when we go out, so we try to suggest places that do not serve alcohol when going out with friends.  

I'm pretty proud of the system we've come up with at home.  I've found an organic black cherry juice that's a dead on color match for red wine.  All I have to do is pour the wine in the kitchen and then bring the full glasses out to our guests.  As long as nobody accidentally takes a sip of my wine, there's no way anyone would know I wasn't drinking.  For beer, I've saved one empty bottle and washed it out well.  If our friends want beer that night, I can fill the bottle up with water or juice, and it looks like I'm drinking beer.  Of course this really only works if you get beer in brown bottles, so nobody can see the color.  Clear bottles would take a lot of work to get a good color match.

Last night, Elizabeth and I went out with some friends to a local place that has a really great beer menu.  Since we're skipping this cycle, I figured I could treat myself to a beer and have plenty of time to get it out of my system before we inseminate again.  Besides, I thought it would be a good way to throw friends off, just in case anyone was starting to get suspicious.  I ended up having two beers since we were all having a good time and the night lasted longer than expected.  I can not believe how much these few month off have changed my tolerance, and how quickly I got drunk and silly.  I am officially a two beer queer.  

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The first post, or, Who knew you had to TRY?

Anyone who's been through a high school SexEd class probably walked away convinced that getting pregnant would be easy.  Some teachers seem to encourage the myth that you'll get knocked up if you let a guy get past second base.  To top it off, our culture is full of urban legends involving innocent young women who get pregnant from a contaminated toilet seat, or a few lone sperm who've been swimming along in a public pool.  So of course, when we bought our first vials of sperm a few months ago, we thought we'd be pregnant right away.  To top it all off, we were having an IUI at a fertility clinic, so it seemed like there was no way we could fail. 

What poor naive fools we were.  After a few tries at home and a few at the clinic, we've finally come to terms with the fact that this journey to conception won't be easy. We have not told family or friends that we're trying yet, so it's been tremendously comforting to read other TTC blogs.  It's been helpful to know that there are so many other couples out there experiencing the same things we makes the process less emotionally isolating.  

This is my first tentative step into the world of blogging.