Baby Making (pt. 2): Insemination Day

I’ve been away from blogging because, well, pregnancy and baby. But, I am back! It is time to continue our baby making (pt. 1) story: Insemination day!

But first, my hysteroscopy

On March 3, I had a hysteroscopy done, which was the most evasive option I was given to check out my girl parts as a precursor to insemination. My fertility doctor said it would be smart to have my uterus checked out from all angles prior to moving forward with IUI, just to be sure nothing in there would hinder the process of a successful pregnancy. This, in the long run, could save time, energy, and money when trying to get pregnant. I thought of it as me tossing out the pantry’s unhealthy temptations before starting a diet- just a good practice to set myself up for success vs. failure. This procedure was simple, but I did opt for general anesthesia- and from what I hear, that was a wise choice. I remember walking into the clinic with Valerie, looking around and feeling…I don’t know, scared maybe? The clinic seemed full of sadness and darkness. I noticed a few women by themselves, some with a parent, and a few couples. Some women sat there, fidgeting, and some left puffy-eyed. I was so oblivious as to the clinic’s hardships until I overheard an acronym from the nurse checking in a noticeably heartbroken young woman…D&C. I asked Valerie what that was, to be sure. My face sank. I will never forget that girl’s face. I just started praying. For her, her family, her future family. I felt some of her burden and just teared up. I quickly learned that this clinic was not just full of couples or individuals that were excited to grow their family. As we waited, I reflected. I said a prayer for us, too.

I was called back, changed into procedure-friendly attire with a “the drip” attached to my arm that I tried hard not to look at. Valerie was in the tiny, cold room with me and we were talking up a storm until I sat there, wondering why I couldn’t hear her well. I soon began sweating and shaking, convincing Valerie that something was wrong beyond my anxiousness of all things hospitaly. Valerie opened the door, called for a nurse, and they came running just as my tunnel vision was kicking in. I’ve never been so thankful for mom’s old “cure all” remedy- a cold rag to the forehead. They questioned how much I had eaten and well, after explaining I had been on the Phil Mickelson fast, they well, probably questioned my ability to be a fit mom, but also, explained blood sugar levels. (I don’t regret any decisions I made that day, for the record.) Anyway, I remember feeling so much better but poor Valerie being so scared and voicing her concern of how or if she could handle seeing me go through the labor process. So sweet. Back to the procedure: I was ready to get this over with and so was she. The waiting game finally ended. I was in the type of room I had never seen in real life- one with lights, surgical masks, and all the tools. Long story short, I went under, they examined my insides, I woke up to the most egregious cramps, and then we left. Our consultation wasn’t until March 19, so there was nothing left to do at this point besides get ready for our spring break trip in San Diego with my mom and sister!

Finally, insemination day

It was a brisk morning on May 22, 2020 (jk, we live in Houston, TX. It was not brisk.) and wow I was nervous. For 1, this was our first try with IUI and we had no idea what to expect. 2, I am terrified of any pain and I knew I wasn’t going in for a joy ride. (Ps. I was told it would feel like a well woman’s exam. More on that {lie} in a minute.) 3, I was hoping Guard and Grace still had foie gras and bone marrow on the menu, as we had reservations that evening just for said dishes. Because of Covid, restaurants had limited menus & they weren’t yet open so I couldn’t call, but I digress.

Here we are, pulling into a crowded parking lot of a small, slightly dingy (but reputable) medical complex that housed our fertility clinic in suite 300. I was walking in with nothing on my mind, at this point, other than “Omg, I will be walking out of here in an hour or so, carrying our child.” That’s how I viewed it, anyway. Of course it’s more complicated than that but I’m all about mind games and manifesting what I want.

We found our way to the desk, checked in, but then left to wait in the downstairs lobby because of Covid. It was the longest wait of my life. About an hour later, it seemed, we were called back up and we went right in, down a long hall and into a small room. Ok, this is fine. I see stirrups, no crazy tools- maybe this IS just like a well woman’s exam. The doctor, a man of few words, came in with one nurse. I remember them placing the vile of sperm in a little holder near my feet. Valerie and I were on the same page with our thoughts, but as mine remained in my head, hers did not: “Whoa. That’s a tiny amount! Is that all there is?? Seems like we should get more for $1000.” I laughed, they did not. The nurse explained that we got our monies worth as the sperm count was high and that we wouldn’t need a “larger quantity” to get the job done. (We both silently gagged.) But, that’s good news- we didn’t even think of the tadpole count as being a deterrent, so yay, it was not. Again, long story short: I was on my back, feet buckled in, and theeeen the longest tube/syringe thing you’ve ever seen goes in, I wince, I was told sternly to relax, I ask how can I??? The doctor said I have to or else he could not complete the procedure, so I tried harder to relax, it hurt like hell, but 1-2 minutes later it was over. Whew. The doctor and nurse were heading out of the room, but not without me telling them I was lied to. No Pap smear has EVER hurt like that. Fk me it sucked and all they did was nod to acknowledge my valid feelings, which I appreciated. We had 10 minutes to ourselves as I had to stay in that infamous position to let things, I don’t know, settle in? Sweet Valerie never stopped holding my hand so tightly- a gesture that I needed more than she could ever fathom.

From there, we went straight to Barnaby’s Cafe for brunch. We had this cheerful waiter and evidently I felt an instant connection because when asked what we had been up to this morning, well, I told him the truth: I had just been injected with sperm and hopefully next time we come in, I will be pregnant*. Valerie was shocked at my transparency, and honestly, I was too. It just, happened. Maybe because we were in a gay-friendly neighborhood, and he was gay, and it was a big secret we were holding in, I don’t know. But. I am glad it happened because his shared excitement for us made my day and at that time, I experienced a glimpse of a “proud parent” moment. I remember touching my tummy and just smiling.

(For the curious minds, Guard and Grace did have said dishes. What a beautiful day to be alive.)

The TWW (Two Week Wait)

June 5, 2020 at 9:30am was one of the most anticipated times of my life: pregnancy test day! That was seriously the longest two weeks of my life, by the way. I wanted so badly to take an at-home pregnancy test prior, but we were instructed not to as the results wouldn’t be accurate, so I didn’t. We headed to the same fertility clinic we had been going to for months now, they drew my blood, and told us a call could be expected by the end of the day. So, we went home and literally just sat on the couch, talking. Valerie kept asking me if I “felt pregnant” or if I had any inkling and I just remember hesitantly saying I DID feel pregnant. Hesitant because I didn’t want to jinx anything or set myself up for disappointment. It had been about 2 hours at this point, I believe, and I was giving them 3 hours to call. How long could it take? It was a simple blood test. Valerie went to the bathroom and I got a phone call at that exact moment. It was quick. The nurse said “Hello, Holly? We have your blood test results back. Congratulations, you’re pregnant!!” I don’t even know what I said because all I wanted to do was tell Valerie and cry. Hindsight, I would have told the nurse hold on, gone to get Valerie, and put it on speaker. But, that didn’t happen. I was frozen and nervous and just omg, anxious to hear the facts. I think I said “Omg seriously!? That’s amazing news! THANK YOU!!” Valerie came out of the bathroom, sat back down, and I regurgitation the news before she even had time to get comfortable. We hugged and hugged and kept saying omg omg omg. Then, Valerie took a 4 hour nap (her common response to BIG news apparently) and I just sat there, staring at the powerless TV.

I had, and still have, all the mixed emotions about this journey of ours. I have thanked God endlessly for affording us the opportunity to grow our family in a seemingly pain-free process. But I also feel guilty and heartbroken for those who are or have struggled in this space. I was hesitant to write about our process because of it, even. I wish I had to right words for those who haven’t had an easy time, but I do not. I pray for families struggling- pray for their trust in the process, timing, and outcomes. Pray for their hearts and healing. It’s all I know to do, except, well, ask you to pray for them, too. I can’t fathom that pain and I don’t want to pretend I can.

Thank you for reading this, even if it’s just you, Valerie. 🙂 This has been the most rewarding journey and there’s not another soul I’d want to share it with. You will always be my #1.

*For the record, we went back to Barnaby’s after taking pregnancy photos on August 15, 2020. We had that same, cheerful waiter and we were able to share the good news! He remembered us, because I verified prior, but how could he not? “The lesbian couple that told him about their sperm injection.” I don’t think it happens too often…

No promises as to when “Baby Making (pt. 3): Labor” blog post will be written, as I still get WAY too emotional thinking about it (hormones. Ugh.). Buuut, it will happen because I don’t want to forget a minute of it!

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